Leading aerospace industry stakeholders gathered in Montreal on March 14 for the “Soaring Higher” Aerospace Summit. Named in reference to Unifor’s strategy for this sector, the event was launched and organized by leaders of Unifor local unions with the support of the National Union. According to the Quebec Director, Renaud Gagné, “we can be proud of having made this event such a resounding success.”
“We were able to bring together representatives from across the aerospace sector, including employers, academics, teaching establishments, industry clusters, Quebec and Canadian politicians, and, of course, workers. That is no small feat and the organizers deserve a great deal of credit,” Brother Gagné added.
From the outset, Brother Gagné pointed out that “it is important to note that all the stakeholders were in agreement with the key points raised in our policy, particularly the crucial importance of this industry for our economy and the need for our governments to support its growth and sustainability.” The participants also expressed concern about the labour shortage that continues to pose a major challenge for the industry.
The event took the form of a series a conferences, panels and workshops, giving participants the opportunity to discuss the issues and reach consensus on several points. “We have a lot of strength here in Quebec and in Canada, and we have to make sure we preserve that strategic advantage in a context where our competitors elsewhere in the world receive massive subsidies from their governments’ defense budgets,” Renaud Gagné said.
A notable presence at the event was Jean Charest, chairman of Vision 2025, an initiative launched by the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada with the aim of bringing industry, government and other stakeholders together in a shared project to promote and support the aerospace sector.
Several participants expressed interest in holding another multi-stakeholder meeting next year.