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Navdeep Bains is the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

In Canada – and around the world – innovation and the aerospace sector go hand-in-hand.

When I became Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in 2015, I was told the previous programs to support the aerospace industry lacked flexibility, were not designed to address technology development and did not encourage business process innovation – something we need to help companies be more productive and create more jobs.

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To address these problems, we created the Strategic Innovation Fund. This fund is better suited to meet the needs of industry. It is more flexible, it is more focused on business scale-up to create jobs and it is designed to attract global investment – a key to keeping Canadian businesses competitive internationally. Simply put, the Strategic Innovation Fund makes our government a better business partner with industry to create good middle-class jobs across the country.

As a result, it’s been a boost to innovation in Canada both in and outside the aerospace sector, securing more than $6.1-billion in research and development commitments. Just last year, through $795-million of federal backing, we attracted $7.2-billion in investments from our partners and created or maintained 50,000 jobs.

And because innovation happens across sectors and throughout the country, we partnered with Stemcell Technologies in British Columbia to help them commercialize their life-saving and job-creating innovations. We also partnered with ENCQOR, whose next-generation wireless systems will give Canadians a leg-up in the innovation economy. And there is room for traditional industries that are innovating to compete in tomorrow’s economy, like ArcelorMittal in Ontario, whose upgrades will reduce its fuel consumption and lower its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 100,000 tonnes per year.

As for the aerospace industry, government support remains strong because we recognize it creates and maintains high-quality jobs and is responsible for a disproportionate share of research and development in Canada, something we dearly need.

In 2018 alone, we announced investments of $238-million in support for our aerospace industry through the Strategic Innovation Fund. This falls in line with previous federal government support.

It includes $150-million for CAE Inc. and $49.5-million for Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. to create and maintain 4,610 jobs. We’re also supporting our promising up-and-comers who will become the high-quality employers of the future, to the tune of $9.5-million for Northstar and $11.5-million for Advanced Satellite Networks.

No wonder Northstar’s CEO called our government’s support “critical to [its] mission of creating … an innovative global environment information platform."

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These investments build on our support to Bombardier in 2016 and 2017, which on its own totaled $426.5-million.

In turn, these investments have successfully secured strategic private sector investments in advanced technologies, driving innovation and maintaining thousands of highly skilled jobs in Canada.

Our government proudly champions our aerospace industry on the domestic and international stages. I look forward to working with my counterpart in Quebec to ensure Canada continues to punch above its weight in the world of aerospace amid increasing global competition.

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