Quebec unveils aerospace strategy, with $95 million in increased spending

Quebec has updated its aerospace strategy and increased its funding by an additional $95 million.

In total, the government plans to provide $334 million in financial support between now and 2024 as part of the Quebec Aerospace Strategy (QAS) Horizon 2026, which was unveiled Monday. Part of this amount had already been announced. The government estimates that the SQA will result in $2.8 billion in investments.

“We are going to give oxygen to our industry by offering it a renewed business environment,” said Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon during a virtual press conference. “Our objective is to allow our companies to strengthen their position in the market to take full advantage of all the business opportunities that will arise as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The strategy focuses on three areas: innovation, industry diversification and contributing to the international influence of small businesses.

More concretely, Fitzgibbon said the government would support the defence and security sector, which is ‘less cyclical’ than civil aviation, as well as the development of innovations such as drones and space technologies.

On the defence sector, the minister said the government intends to use commercial diplomacy in Ottawa and Washington to help Quebec companies win contracts.

“I think we have influence at the federal level. Indirectly, in the United States too. I think we can help at the geopolitical level,” by putting forward Quebec’s expertise and the fact that Quebec is a “safe” jurisdiction.

The news was welcomed by Suzanne Benoit, president and CEO of Aéro Montréal, who attended the announcement.

“Thanks to the SQA and the continued support of the Quebec government, our sector will be able to exploit its full potential and further strengthen its leadership position on the world stage,” she said in a press release.

The policy was developed following a consultation process. In all, 24 submissions were provided to the government, resulting in more than 90 recommendations.

The Ministry of the Economy noted that the aerospace industry generated $15.8 billion in sales and represented 36,000 jobs in Quebec in 2020. It represents 10.5 per cent of manufacturing exports in Quebec.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 7, 2022