August 19, 2022

Alberta Stories

Ready for takeoff: Alberta’s aerospace and defence sector soars above the competition 

About 16,000 people are directly and indirectly employed in Alberta’s aerospace and defence sector. Here, talent, research, technology, manufacturing and beautiful landscapes join forces to solve the world’s biggest problems — an evolution fueled by high-value, high-impact investment.  

Over 500 companies in Alberta’s aerospace and defence sector—contributing to Canada’s $24.4 billion GDP in this sector. Beyond airplanes and runways, it takes a range of robust industries flying together to support this growing sector, and Alberta has them all: a globally-recognized, sustainable energy sector, world-class tech and innovation, financial services, agriculture, defence infrastructure and more. 

Here are just a few reasons why Alberta is a destination of choice for investment in the aerospace and defence sector: 

  • Competitive business environment: Low taxes, affordable real estate, great quality of life, and the lowest fuel costs in Canada give new operations a great head start in Alberta. 
  • Leading tech industry: Alberta has a strong ecosystem of disruptive technology. Alberta is home to the youngest workforce in Canada, and almost 200,000 tech workers, including cybersecurity experts, making Alberta the province with the fastest growing tech sector in the country.
  • Strong military ecosystem: Alberta is home to four military bases that provide training and critical supports to national and international military operations.
  • Artificial intelligence hub: Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) is a pioneer in the full spectrum of AI and machine learning research. As one of Canada’s three hubs of AI excellence in the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Amii collaborates with some of the world’s top institutions in AI and machine learning research, ranking it second in the US and Canada for its work, and third globally. 
  • Research and development: Alberta military and defence companies, military agencies and post-secondary institutions work together to advance many areas of research, development, and testing, including national centres like the Suffield Research Centre, Nanotechnology Research Centre, and more. Alberta’s new Quantum City partnership will also bring together post-secondary institutions and global IT investors to research and develop world-leading quantum computing solutions.  
  • Training and talent: The aerospace workforce is fed by specialty training programs at local post-secondary institutions. The new Alberta Is Calling campaign is also working to recruit skilled workers from other parts of Canada.
  • Climate conscious: Alberta leads the country in cleantech investment, including renewable energy development, alternate fuels, carbon capture, utilization and storage, and more. Canada’s oil and gas industry, led by Alberta, is the largest contributor to cleantech spending in Canada at 75% of the approximately $1.4 billion spent annually.
  • Manufacturing and maintaining: Alberta companies are making and maintaining the Canadian Forces’ communications systems, software, specialized sensors, and other electronic components. 25% of all UAV, geospatial data collection and analysis, and navigation and GPS firms are headquartered in Alberta. 
  • Extensive and secure transport and critical supply chain links: Alberta is a critical distribution hub for North America with market access to support global growth. With two of the largest airports in Canada, integrated rail, and intermodal infrastructure, thriving trucking industry and road transport enabling access to 50 million people within 28 hours, Alberta is well-connected to deliver efficient access to markets globally. 
  • Location, location, location: Alberta is a desirable place for companies to test a variety of technologies. Alberta-based aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle, space vehicle and missile manufacturing companies benefit from our geographic advantage for winter testing with an abundance of class G airspace and a range of sites for greenfield and brownfield industrial development. Alberta also hosts one of the first urban areas in North America to allow mass testing of commercial drones.  

Alberta’s ability to connect supporting sectors and build an ever-increasing capacity for research, innovation, talent and logistics continues to position the province as a center for aviation and defence excellence. When it comes to Alberta’s bold capacity to get things done for investors in this sector, the sky’s the limit.  

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