At a Glance

  • 39,130 jobs in 205 companies
  • Sales of $15.5 billion: an average annual growth of 5,2% over the last 25 years (1991-2016)
  • 45% of Canadian aerospace workforce
  • 70% of all Canadian aerospace R&D
  • 52% of Canadian aerospace industry sales
  • Around 80% of all Quebec aerospace production is exported outside Canada

Source: Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Choose Greater Montréal

Greater Montréal is a major world aerospace centre. A world-class industry hub featuring the likes of Bombardier, Bell Helicopter Textron, CAE, Pratt & Whitney and more than 200 specialized companies makes it an ideal location for investors looking to conquer the North American market.

1. Strategic Location and Direct Access to NAFTA Markets

Greater Montréal is located in the heart of a vast free trade zone governed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with a market of about 500 million consumers.

Montréal is just a 90-minute flight from other major business centres like Boston and New York City, and less than an hour’s drive from the U.S. border.

Air Transportation

The region is served by two international airports: Montréal-Trudeau (passengers) and Montréal-Mirabel (freight), and by a regional airport. Some 50 airlines offer direct flights to 130 destinations in Canada, the United States and around the world.


The Port of Montréal, with service to and from more than 100 countries, offers the most direct link between Europe and North America’s industrial heartland.


See a map of Montréal in North America

2. High Concentration of Industry Leaders

Looking to get closer to the key players in the aerospace industry? Welcome to Greater Montréal. With a rich and diverse industrial base, the region is one of the world’s three major aerospace centres, along with Seattle and Toulouse.

Whether multinationals or SMEs, Canadian or foreign, the more than 210 businesses in the aerospace sector are recognized leaders in the field.

 Four industry giants:

  • Bombardier Aerospace
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada
  • CAE
  • Bell Helicopter Textron Canada

Did you know?

85% of the world’s commercial flight simulators are designed in the Montréal area by CAE.

13 system integrators, equipment manufacturers and MRO specialists:

  • Rolls-Royce Canada
  • Héroux-Devtek
  • Esterline CMC Electronics
  • L-3 MAS
  • GE Aviation
  • MDA
  • Sonaca Montréal
  • Messier-Bugatti-Dowty (Safran Group)
  • Mecachrome Canada
  • Thales Canada (Aerospace)
  • Aerolia Canada
  • Turbomeca Canada (Safran Group)
  • Liebherr-Aerospace Canada

Nearly 200 specialized sub-contractors and service providers, including Groupe Avianor, RTI Claro, AAA Canada, Marquez Transtech and Marinvent.

Did you know?

Every three seconds, a Bombardier aircraft takes off or lands somewhere in the world.

Greater Montréal’s Major Advantage

ICAO, ACI, IFALPA, IATA, CANSO, IBAC, and more… 10 of the leading civil aviation and aerospace international organizations have their head offices in Greater Montréal. Being close to decision-making centres is good for business.

Did you know?

In recent years, Pratt & Whitney Canada has produced more than 70 new engine models—a record.

3. Myriad Business Opportunities and Strong Investor Confidence

Between orders to fill and ambitious development projects like Bombardier’s new CSeries, the region is bustling with activity and regularly attracts new foreign investors.

Numerous European and U.S. companies recently chose to set up in Greater Montréal to position themselves for success.

  • Assistance Aéronautique et Aérospatiale (AAA, France): 210 jobs
  • Adetel Group (France): 100 jobs
  • Aeroconseil (France): more than 50 jobs
  • Aerolia (France): $75 million, 150 jobs
  • Akka Technologies (France): 100 jobs
  • Alten (France): 200 jobs
  • Assystem (France): 100 jobs
  • Latécoère (France): 60 jobs
  • Liebherr (Switzerland): $9 million, 35 jobs
  • LTA Aérostructures (USA): 185 jobs
  • PFW (Germany): 100 jobs

Source: Montréal International, 2011

What Aerolia Has to Say

“Greater Montréal has a dense, competent aerospace industrial fabric, a recognized level of creativity and excellent research structures, including the National Research Council Canada, which will be our partner.”

Marie-Agnès Vève, CEO Aerolia Canada 

Myriad Business Opportunities

The sector’s growth and the rapid development of technology constantly create new needs and generate new opportunities for businesses from all over the world that combine know-how and innovation.

Did you know?

In one decade, C&D Zodiac outfitted the interiors of more than 300 Bombardier planes and saw its workforce grow tenfold, from about 60 employees to approximately 630 today.

4. Quality Talent and Training

The aerospace cluster and the educational landscape in Greater Montréal have one thing in common—their international renown. Over the years, they have built connections and developed made-to-measure programs—basic training and professional development—to target the industry’s real needs.

Companies that set up in the region can count on:

  • Education programs specialized in aerospace offered by six universities
  • Professional and technical aerospace training offered by École des métiers de l’aérospatiale de Montréal (EMAM), École nationale d’aérotechnique (ENA) and Institut de formation aérospatiale (IFA)
  • New study programs, such as the master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, offered jointly by six universities in Québec and the Aerospace Embedded Systems Engineering program
  • More than 5,000 specialized new graduates each year, at all levels

Source : Ministère de l’éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, 2011

Did you know?

One person out of 92 works in aerospace in Greater Montréal, compared with one out of 389 in Canada and one out of 269 in the United States.

Source : Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011 and Statistics Canada, 2011

  • A wide range of skills:
Occupations by Number of Jobs, Greater Montréal, 2016
 Welding, brazing and soldering machine operators  3,100
Software engineers and designers  5,900
Electrical and electronics engineers  4,900
Computer engineers  5,200
Mechanical engineers  4,500
Aircraft assemblers and inspectors  4,400
Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionics mechanics, technicians and inspectors  2,100
Plastic products assemblers, finishers and inspectors  1,700

 Source: National Occupational Classification, Statistics Canada, 2016

Did you know?

Canada is home to the world’s best-educated workforce, with the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates among OECD countries

Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2012

Close ties between businesses in the industry and the Québec education system through the Comité sectoriel de la main-d’œuvre aérospatiale au Québec (CAMAQ)

• A multilingual workforce: 54% of the population is bilingual and close to 20% is multilingual (three languages and more)—a key asset for businesses targeting international markets

What a World Leader Has to Say

“We benefit from an impressive pool of engineers in Montréal, which is where all of our simulators are developed. I like pointing out that the majority of commercial pilots navigating the skies today have been trained on simulators designed and built in Montréal.”

Marc Parent, President and CEO, CAE

5. Innovation and R&D Hub, Supported by a Culture of Collaboration

The Greater Montréal research community reflects and bolsters the strengths of the aerospace sector: all the players are focused on the future and invest heavily in R&D, with the involvement of schools, universities and many high-level research organizations.

This flair for innovation extends throughout the sector and makes Greater Montréal a leader in technological advances. A few examples:

Development engineering: For more than 15 years, businesses in Greater Montréal have successfully certified aircraft every year thanks to close cooperation between the various contributors, from R&D to manufacturing, including training institutions (AKKA technologies, Assystem Canada).

Landing gear and corporate jet interior design: Through constantly-evolving innovative processes, some businesses in Greater Montréal have developed advanced expertise in these fields (Messier-Bugatti-Dowty (Groupe Safran), Bombardier Aerospace, C&D Zodiac, Héroux-Devtek).

Aircraft qualification and certification: Greater Montréal has the technological capacity, facilities and top-notch expertise to qualify and certify aircraft and aircraft parts (Averna, Marinvent).

Did you know?

Greater Montréal has the most research centres in Canada.

University research institutes:

  • AÉROÉTS, at the École de technologie supérieure
  • Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation (CIADI)
  • Groupe d’étude en management des entreprises de l’aéronautique (GEME-Aéro), at Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Institute of Innovation and Conception in Aerospace of Polytechnique (IICAP), at École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE)

Did you know?

Greater Montréal has been Canada’s leader in university research since 1999.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2013

Aerospace organizations:

  • Canadian Space Agency: Coordinates all civil aerospace programs and policies
  • Centre technologique en aérospatiale (CTA): Technology applications in machining, composite materials, metrology and avionics
  • Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre (AMTC): Assembly technologies for metallic products and composite-material-based structures, automation, robotics, state-of-the-art machining
  • Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec (CRIAQ): Business/student cooperative research
  • Comité sectoriel de main-d’œuvre en aérospatiale (CAMAQ): Management of the industry’s human resources needs

Aerospace ecology research centres:

  • Green Aviation Research and Development Network – GARDN
  • Coalition for Greener Aircraft (SA2GE)

Industrial research organizations in great demand by the aerospace industry:

  • Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ): R&D services, product qualification and certification testing, standardization, certification
  • Industrial Materials Institute: Competitive materials manufacturing, biomedical devices, aluminum technologies
  • Quebec Photonic Network: Innovation and development of the optics and photonics industry
  • Sous-traitante industrielle Québec (STIQ): Supply chain management and efficiency

6. Second-Lowest Operating Costs in North America

According to KPMG, Greater Montréal ranked first in 2017 for the most competitive operating costs of North America’s 20 largest metropolitan areas and second in the aerospace industry.

This includes taxation, salaries and benefits, energy, transportation, rent and professional services.

What AV&R Vision & Robotics Has to Say

“We plan to expand in the region and then in Europe to serve our clients, but we feel very much at home in Montréal, at the crossroads of European and U.S. technological cultures and commercial traditions. Montréal is a city with a great reputation where our clients are always very happy to pay us a visit.”

Éric Beauregard, President and CEO, AV&R Vision & Robotics

7. Made-to-Measure Financial Incentives

A wide range of government-backed financing assistance and programs are available to help you set up and grow your business in the Montréal region. Getting support at every stage of development is essential for staying competitive.

  •   R&D assistance, through two programs available to businesses in the sector:

The Strategic Aerospace and Defense Initiative (SADI), which covers up to 30% of the cost of strategic R&D projects, through refundable contributions.

The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, which offers 15% tax credits allocated by the Government of Canada and 14% by the Government of Québec (refundable in Québec).

Scenario 1 ($): Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, 2017


  • Private, foreign-controlled company
  • 20 eligible employees at $50,000 $/year
  • 100 % of their work is related to eligible activities
  • Subcontractors: $200,000 
SALARIES 1,000,000 1,000,000
SUBCONTRACTORS2 160,000 100,000
EXCLUSION4 225,000
1,587,500 875,000
FEDERAL CREDIT (15%) AND QUEBEC CREDIT (14%) 238,125 122,500 360,625

Notes: 1. This model takes into consideration changes made to certain tax credits (2012, 2014 and 2015) and is thus valid as of fiscal 2017.
2. Only 80% of the amount paid to a subcontractor is eligible for a federal tax credit and 50% for a Québec tax credit.
3. For the purposes of calculating the combined rate of the credit, the tax credit from the government of Québec is applied against the federal tax credit.
4. For SMEs, (less than $ 50M assets), there is an SR&ED tax credit exclusion on the first $50K of R&D spending. For large companies and companies under foreign control, the exclusion applies on the first $225K of R&D spending.

Source: Ministry of Finance of Québec, 2017
Compilation: Montréal International, 2017

Assistance for foreign researchers and experts, with a tax exemption on taxable income in Québec for up to five years (exemption of 100% the first two years, 75% the third year, 50% the fourth year and 25% the fifth year).

Assistance for job creation and training, up to 25% of eligible costs to implement a training plan and 50% of costs to implement human resources management services.

Assistance for major projects through the ESSOR fund: Contributions (refundable or not) and loan guarantees.

8. Generous Tax Framework for Businesses

Greater Montréal offers aerospace businesses an attractive tax environment: the corporate taxation rate here is one of the lowest on the continent, at 26.90%. Businesses conducting research activities may also benefit from generous tax credits, which further reduce their tax burden.

The tax burden here is lower by almost 80% (R&D companies) and 30% (manufacturers) compared to other North American cities specializing in aerospace.

Total Tax Burden Index, Average for R&D Sectors
(Average for U.S. cities = 100)
Selected North American Cities Specializing in Aerospace, 2014

Source: KPMG, 2014

Total Tax Burden Index, Average for Manufacturing
(Average for U.S. cities = 100)
Selected North American Cities Specializing in Aerospace, 2014

Source: KPMG, 2014

9. Industrial Clusters that Mobilize Their Stakeholders Around Common Interests

Setting up in the region gives you preferential access to all aerospace leaders. The sector has created an organization, Aéro Montréal, which unites all stakeholders around a common vision and defends the cluster’s interests at the local, national and international levels.

Aéro Montréal is a strategic think tank created in 2006 that groups all of the major decision makers in Québec’s aerospace sector, including companies, educational and research institutions, associations and unions.

An essential mission: Unite and support all industry stakeholders around common goals and concerted action.

Clear objectives: Accelerate and maximize competitiveness, growth and industry expansion.

Strategic themes: Supply chain, workforce and succession, innovation, image of the industry and national and international expansion, defense and national security, marketing, development of new markets.

What ICAO Has to Say

“Montréal is also known for its ethnic and cultural diversity, lifestyle, safety and reasonable cost of living—a very favourable combination of factors for an organization like ours, not to mention the unwavering support of Montréal International.”

Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

10. Personalized, Confidential and No-Cost Support from Montréal International

For many IOs before you, setting up or expanding their operations in Greater Montréal proved to be a strategic decision. And a smart choice too—thanks in part to Montréal International, who guided and supported them BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the process.

  •  MI: Helping you decide

Detailed information on the region’s industry clusters

Comparative data on the socioeconomic environment: taxation, operating costs, market access, labour, R&D

Help with finding business opportunities and key partners

Strategic, personalized and confidential advice for businesses setting up their operations in the area

  • MI: Helping you set up and integrate

Advice on available sources of financing: venture capital, subsidized loans

Expertise to help you take full advantage of tax and financial incentives

Preferential access to the Greater Montréal business community: private and public organizations; municipal, provincial and federal bodies; universities, training and research centres; financial networks

  • MI: Helping you succeed

Support to businesses looking to expand

Personalized and confidential international mobility services to help recruit strategic international workers

Access to our international networks: governments, universities, industry clusters

What Eidos Has to Say

“Before they made their decision, my bosses asked me to look closely at several Canadian cities. Montréal came out ahead in terms of competitiveness, creativity, attractiveness, critical mass, government programs, operating costs, and innovation. Very few cities have such highly developed support structures to help companies like ours develop and recruit strategic talent. That’s extremely valuable.”

Stéphane d’Astous, Former General Manager, Eidos Montréal

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