Aerospace industry at risk of further decline, says report by Jean Charest

MONTREAL — A new industry report says the aerospace industry is at risk of being overtaken by foreign rivals if government doesn't work with the sector.

New funding commitments, Canada-first defence procurement and fresh talent amid a labour crunch are key to staunching the decline, according to the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada report, authored by former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

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The paper comes amid growing concerns about the state of the industry as Bombardier moves to exit its commercial aviation business and global aircraft production edges toward a duopoly dominated by Boeing and Airbus.

Since 2012, aerospace employment and GDP contributions in Canada have declined five per cent and four per cent, respectively, according to the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The industry furnished 213,200 jobs last year and injected $25.5 billion into the economy, but will need 50,000 more workers within the next few years, the report says.

Charest invoked Canada's history of aerospace manufacturing, which took off during the Second World War and continued with the supersonic Avro Arrow jet and the Canadarm for NASA's space shuttle program.

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