The Aerospace Industry is a pillar of the Canadian economy and an indispensable economic driver; it employs thousands of highly skilled people nationwide. In 2020, Canadian aerospace products were exported to 186 countries across six continents!

If you’re a startup in or selling to the aerospace industry and are thinking of expanding your operations to Canada, this blog will help you get a deeper understanding of the industry, resources available for Ontario aerospace startups, and a peek into exciting opportunities available in Brampton right now! 

Ontario Aerospace Industry

Ontario, in particular, is a world leader in assembling and modifying aircraft, producing avionics, aerostructures, MRO, aircraft engines, comprehensive unmanned aerial systems, as well as space systems and satellites, which is why it’s no surprise that Ontario is home to some of the world’s top aerospace manufacturing companies. Airbus, Bombardier, Collins Aerospace, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, Diamond Aircraft, and many, many more.

Quick facts about the Ontario Aerospace Industry

  • In 2022, Ontario singularly exported C$2.66B worth of aerospace products
  • Ontario’s space sector is the leader in Canada, with nearly 52% of Canada’s space revenues and 46% of employment
  • Ontario accounts for approximately 25% of MRO activity in Canada
  • Ontario provides landing gear for 75% of Boeing and Airbus commercial aircraft programs
  • There are more than 200 aerospace-related companies in Ontario
  • Ontario has a total workforce of over 38000 directly and indirectly employed by the Ontario Aerospace Industry
  • Ontario has more than 50 Post-Secondary Programs in Applied Aerospace, Aviation, and Space Disciplines
Source: Ontario Aerospace Council


Brampton Aerospace Industry

Brampton, Ontario, has always positioned itself as a leader in innovation. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada; Brampton is home to more than 700,000 people and 75,000 businesses. 

Because of its strategic location, history of a high-tech advanced manufacturing sector, and access to ample aerospace talent, in 2022, MDA announced that it would lay its roots in Brampton after 50 years of operating from the city. Brampton is the new location for MDA’s Global Headquarters and Centre of Excellence for Space Robotics. 

MDA is an international space mission partner, leading the global charge in viable Moon colonies, enhanced Earth observation, and communication in a hyper-connected world.  With the support of the Ontario government, MDA will be investing C$100M over five years in their Space Robotics Centre. The CEO of MDA, Mike Greenley, said: “This assistance and the full backing of the Ontario government will allow us to grow and scale right here in Brampton and ensure we remain at the forefront of the global space economy.

Their new  200,000 sq ft building in Brampton will house state-of-the-art labs, manufacturing, R&D, and assembly, integration, and test facilities. MDA plans to use this base to build a full suite of innovative commercial space robotics products.

This funding will help stimulate over $1 billion in direct economic activity and propel the province’s advanced robotics cluster. 

Brampton will be the birthplace of Canadaarm3

MDA is developing Canadarm3 in Brampton, with a target delivery of 2027; Canada will contribute to the US-led Gateway, a lunar outpost to facilitate a sustainable human exploration of the Moon.  
MDA has already received C$269 million from the Canadian Space Agency for use in completing the preliminary design of the Canadarm3 robotics system. Additionally, MDA has also announced the technical requirements needed for the design and manufacturing of the Canadarm3 Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based robotic system, opening up hundreds of opportunities for Canadian companies to be involved in the development of Canadaarm3.

Financial Support and Growth Opportunities for Aerospace Startups in Ontario

  1. Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness (AMIC) Stream

By: Government of Ontario

Brief Description: The AMIC Stream provides funding support and complementary services to small and medium-sized advanced manufacturing companies. The fund supports businesses and organizations in advanced manufacturing sectors, including Aerospace. 

Available Financing: As an eligible aerospace company in Ontario, you can receive:

  • Funding: 15% of eligible project costs
  • Loans: 15% of funding to a maximum of $5 million, interest-free during the project period (up to four years).
  • Grants: up to 15% to a maximum of $500,000 for small companies located in rural communities and up to 15% of $1.5 million for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments 

For eligibility and financing terms, visit the program website here.

2. FedDev Ontario Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative

By:  Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Brief Description: The Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative helps Canadian aerospace businesses and businesses connected to them emerge from the pandemic; it provides financial support between 2021-2024 to help green operations, adopt environmentally sustainable practices, improve productivity, and strengthen commercialization for impacted aerospace companies. 

The initiative will provide $250 million over three fiscal years (2021-2022 to 2023-2024) across Canada to support the recovery of the aerospace sector.

Available Financing: Up to C$10M in repayable or conditionally repayable financial support. 
For eligibility and financing terms, visit the program website here.

3. Aerospace Research Centre

By: National Research Council Canada
Brief Description: The NRC’s Aerospace Research Centre has facilities with unique testing capabilities. They are the perfect partner for businesses working towards de-risking product development for aerospace companies.

Available Support: They offer

For more, visit the website here.

4. Innovative Solutions Canada Program

By: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Brief Description: The program’s Challenge Stream and Testing Stream help startups and small/medium-sized businesses (SMEs) overcome technology testing and development hurdles while improving government operations. 

Government departments look for businesses to solve real-life issues. The Canada Space Agency (CSA) often puts out its requirements using this program.
Available Opportunities: View new challenges here.

5. NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)

By: National Research Council Canada

Brief Description: Under technology innovation projects and youth employment strategy programs, small-medium-sized businesses pursuing technology‑driven innovation may be eligible for financial support from NRC IRAP. 

Available Financing: 60-80% of labour costs in grant funding
View eligibility and financing details here.

6. Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentives

By: Canada Revenue Agency

Brief Description: Businesses conducting a systematic investigation or searching for the advancement of scientific knowledge or achieving technological progress can be eligible for SR&ED incentives. 

Available Incentives: 

  • A deduction against income
  • An investment tax credit (ITC) that can be
    • non-refundable
    • refundable

View eligibility and incentive terms here.

6. Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) 

By: National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program

Brief Description: Startups that need research funding for developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services, or processes in Canada.

Available Financing: Contributions of up to 60-80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor expenses towards a specified innovation project.
For eligibility and financing terms, visit the program website here.

7. Futurpreneur Canada Newcomer Program

By: Government of Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada

Brief Description: Young immigrant entrepreneurs can only use business loans with an established credit history.

Available Financing: Up to C$25,000

For eligibility and financing terms, visit the program website here. 
Using the Business Benefit Finder, you can find many more government grants and incentives relevant to your Aerospace startup.

Want to start an aerospace business in Brampton?

Brampton has an energizing startup ecosystem. Their average age of 37.5 is the lowest in the entire country! They take innovation and entrepreneurship very seriously in this city. 

In fact, Martin Medeiros, Regional Councillor, Wards 3&4; Chair, Economic Development, City of Brampton, gives The Brampton Economic Development Office’s Business Retention and Expansion program credit for working closely with MDA leaders to understand their needs and ensure MDA continued to grow and thrive in Brampton. 

If you want to start an aerospace business in Brampton, look no further. We are BHive, a startup incubator located in Brampton, Ontario. We offer international startups the tools, resources, and space to establish – and quickly scale – their businesses in Canada and North America. To apply to our Global Entrepreneur Incubation Program, click here!