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Ontario’s aerospace sector set to soar


Ontario’s aerospace sector is gearing up to propel the next wave of innovation in aircraft and flight technology that will excite global markets.

The federal government’s recent announcement of the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC) has opened up new funding opportunities for industry-academic R&D collaborations in aerospace. Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the Ontario Aerospace Council (OAC) have partnered with CARIC to become the deliverer of CARIC programs in Ontario.

“We are very excited about being part of this exceptionally strong partnership with OAC and CARIC that will undoubtedly yield amazing results for Ontario in terms of both jobs and economic competitiveness,” says OCE President Tom Corr.

In recent weeks OCE, NSERC, Ryerson University, Canadore College and Carleton University each hosted information sessions attracting 200 representatives of industry, academia, and government interested in hear about the new collaboration opportunities.

Richard Worsfold, director of business development for OCE, who spearheaded the events in Toronto, Ottawa and North Bay, recognized the key role OCE could play in helping to raise awareness in both industrial and academic research circles of the $4 million in each of the next three years available for collaborative research and technology development projects.

He pointed to opportunities for industry-academic collaborations to also potentially leverage funding from OCE, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), IRAP and GARDN when submitting a CARIC proposal.

Ontario is a leader in the development of Unmanned Air Vehicles, Purpose Built Aircraft and space systems, as well as a highly respected international supplier at Tier 1, 2 and 3 and systems levels. Given the province’s impressive capacity in Advanced Materials & Manufacturing and Advanced Robotics, which are integral to the aerospace community, prospects for the industry and its status as a global leader are seen to be extremely bright.

“This opportunity is highly significant for the aerospace community in Ontario including both industry and academia. These collaborations are the backbone of aerospace development in Ontario,” said Mr. Worsfold.

Denis Faubert, President Director General of Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec and CEO of CARIC, also highlighted the extraordinary prospects for the industry in Ontario.

“The extensive Ontario R&D community is world-renowned and has a key role to play in helping to maintain the leading position of Canada’s aerospace industry worldwide,” said Dr. Faubert. “I am grateful to OCE for giving CARIC a chance to explain how the aerospace R&D community can benefit from its program, leading to greater competitiveness of our industry.”

Ontario’s aerospace sector has a remarkable history of trailblazing and has evolved into one of the province’s and Canada’s most robust and innovative industries, said Dr. Corr.

As recently reported by the Ontario government, 14 of the top 25 global aerospace companies have key operations in Ontario. Ontario aerospace manufacturers are part of the global supply chain for virtually every passenger aircraft in the world, and the Canadian aerospace sector is ranked fifth in the world.

“Today’s event is all about making sure that this highly competitive global positioning continues and grows even stronger, and that Ontario aerospace companies and academic researchers are well equipped to take advantage of the very exciting new collaboration opportunities on the horizon,” said Dr. Corr.

OCE and the Ontario Aerospace Council have previously worked together in supporting collaborative R&D in the province’s aerospace industry, through a $2.5-million program supporting technology of strategic importance to Ontario’s aerospace sector. This has resulted in industry-academic collaborations being funded by OCE and NSERC in areas such as converting to more reliable and greener aircraft, and making plane travel more comfortable through improvements to seating, lighting, airflow, and vibration.