Canada's Aerospace Industry Set to Stall Without Strengthened Federal Government Action, CAW says

TORONTO, June 28, 2012 /CNW/ - The CAW is warning that without renewed federal government leadership Canada's aerospace industry is heading for a stall and a vastly diminished role in this high-tech, global industry.

"This technology-intensive, export-oriented industry makes a unique contribution to a better role for Canada in the world economy," said CAW President Ken Lewenza in a submission released today to the federal government's Aerospace Review. "We can't take this sector for granted," Lewenza said.

Canada's successful aerospace industry is a living example of the wisdom of pro-active industrial policy efforts by government, Lewenza said. But the future is uncertain: Canada has lost 13,000 aerospace manufacturing jobs in the last decade, or one out of four. And our international trade performance has deteriorated: as recently as 2003 Canada had a $4.9 billion aerospace trade surplus - by 2011 that had been cut by 60%.

As other leading aerospace manufacturing jurisdictions including the EU, Japan and Brazil continue to strengthen investments in the industry, and governments in emerging aerospace nations such as Mexico and China work to aggressively capture a greater share of the global market, Canada needs to do more, the submission highlights.

The global commercial aerospace industry is expected to grow strongly in the decades ahead, but Canada needs to take action now to ensure it remains part of this growth, states the CAW submission called Pulling Out of a Stall: Plotting a Renewed Course for Canada's Aerospace Industry.

"This is a long-term business and we need to act now to make sure Canada stays in the game and that we continue to create high-tech, good jobs," said Dawn Cartwright, CAW aerospace director.

The 10-page CAW submission highlights six areas for strengthening government involvement in aerospace manufacturing. These recommendations include:

  • maximizing Canadian content, spin-off benefits and production offsets arising from procurement of military and civilian aircraft. The CAW has termed the massive F-35 jet fighter procurement as misguided and called for any contract to guarantee dollar-for-dollar investment in Canada. The CAW is also calling for the replacement contract for aging search and rescue aircraft to be awarded to a Canadian company;
  • using government research and development and investment support to ensure that key product development programs and production are undertaken in Canada;
  • addressing Canada's trade imbalance by demanding reciprocity in foreign trade: Europe, Asia and Brazil must accept imports of our aerospace products in return for our purchases of their products;

Other recommendations outlined in the CAW submission include enhancing skills development in the aerospace sector and the establishment of a sustained aerospace development council.

Jerry Dias, assistant to the CAW President, said the final report of the Aerospace Review to be completed later this year must be made public when reported to government. He urged the federal government to respond quickly and take steps to strengthen the industry as soon as possible.

"The ongoing support and leadership role of the federal government in building a stronger Canadian aerospace industry is crucial," Dias said.

To see CAW's full submission to the aerospace review please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/11312.htm

To see CAW'S full submission to the aerospace review in French please visit:  http://www.caw.ca/en/11313.htm

SOURCE Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

For further information:

CAW Communications, John McClyment, cell, 416-315-3202, or CAW Aerospace Director Dawn Cartwright, cell, 416-917-7720.

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