Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

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Networking Key for Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) Success

Photo of Minister Yelich examining the cockpit of the Lockheed Martin CC-130J Hercules.

Minister Yelich examines the cockpit of the Lockheed Martin CC-130J Hercules. Procurement of the CC-130J has resulted in several Western companies receiving in-service support contracts on this platform, including Cascade Aerospace, NGRAIN, and StandardAero.

Last fall, potential prime contractors and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gathered at a conference in Saskatoon to be briefed by government representatives and to learn about one another’s services. Organized by WD and Enterprise Saskatchewan, the event was attended by 55 western Canadian companies and some of the prime and tier one contractors.

For their part, the prime contractors expressed satisfaction with the business-to-business meetings and welcomed the chance to make site visits after the event to the locations of some of the supplier companies, which familiarized them with the kind of support companies in the West could provide on major projects.

Among the area companies that hosted site visits the day after the conference were SED Systems, a Saskatoon communications technology business that provides test systems and contract manufacturing services to prime contractors and equipment manufacturers; Dumur Industries, a metal fabricator based in White City; and DynaIndustrial Inc., which specializes in industrial hard chroming, custom machining, and hydraulic cylinder rebuilding and has locations in Regina and Saskatoon.

Many of the companies in attendance were particularly appreciative of the chance to learn more about the federal Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) policy. The IRB policy requires winning bidders of major defence contracts to make investments in the Canadian economy in the amount equal to the contract value. It was designed to maximize the domestic economic stimulus of the contracts while giving contractors flexibility in sourcing materials and services.

The event hosted presentations by eight prime and tier one contractors: The Boeing Company, BAE Systems plc, Dew Engineering & Development ULC, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, The Thales Group, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., Force Protection, Inc. and Textron Marine & Land Systems.

The Saskatoon meeting followed other similar industry events in British Columbia and Alberta. At each event, western-based companies welcomed the opportunity to acquire first-hand information about the complex CCMRD process and the standards required to be a supplier.

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Promoting the West on the World Stage

Photo of Minister Yelich talking with Kevin Russell from ASCO Aerospace Canada Ltd. (ASCO).

Minister Yelich talks with a representative from ASCO Aerospace Canada Ltd. (ASCO), which is manufacturing the F-35 JSF bulkhead for Lockheed Martin.

The International Paris Air Show is one of the world’s largest tradeshows for aerospace equipment and technology. In June 2011, the West was well represented at the air show, thanks in part to the efforts of WD.

"The International Paris Air Show is an excellent venue to promote Western Canada’s vibrant and growing aerospace sector," said Minister Yelich. "Our Government is proud to support this sector, which continues to excel in research and development, technology and innovation on the world stage."

Minister Yelich traveled to Paris to meet with senior officials from several Prime Contractors that have CCMRD obligations that could be fulfilled in Western Canada. As well, Minister Yelich was the keynote speaker for the Government of Canada at the F-35 Networking Session, which was organized by the Government of Canada and the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. The session was attended by senior representatives from Lockheed Martin. The event provided western Canadian companies and organizations with the opportunity to meet with key decision makers on the F-35 program.

An important element of WD’s economic diversification efforts is to promote and connect western Canadian industry to international aerospace and defence contractors with CCMRD obligations.

In all, organizers estimated that the 2011 Air Show drew more than 2,100 international exhibitors from 45 countries, displaying their products and services for 151,500 trade visitors and 204,000 public visitors.

The association and government representatives seek to ensure that the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), or the large companies that subcontract work on their orders, are knowledgeable of the capabilities in the aerospace sector in Western Canada.

The western Canadian aerospace and defence industry is a competitive, vibrant and growing sector that supports the employment of about 27,000 people, generates over $4.5 billion in annual revenues and contributes more than $2.5 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).