By Sofia Sousa-Dias
(FORT ERIE, ON) – New strategic partnerships announced this week have leveraged almost $44 million in new investments and helped to create or retain over 1,400 jobs in south-western Ontario.
The latest investment under the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund is with Airbus Helicopters Canada in Fort Erie. Funding will support the company’s new production line, equipment and facility upgrades, and employee training required for a contract producing composite engine cowlings for the EC225 helicopter, which is sold worldwide.
“Airbus Helicopters is a mainstay of our Niagara region manufacturing community and I congratulate the company and its workers on this latest good news. I’m very proud of our government’s comprehensive approach to build up a strong and diversified regional economy,” said Jim Bradley, MPP for St Catharines. “Today’s investment, along with this week’s announcement of support for Niagara College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, demonstrates what can be accomplished when the industrial, educational and government sectors work as collaborative partners.”
Ontario is providing a grant of 10 per cent towards the Airbus Helicopters Canada project, which has a total value of approximately $4.5 million and is expected to create 40 new jobs while retaining 230 existing positions.
“Today’s announcement builds on the innovation and expertise of our team at the Fort Erie facility, which is recognized as a Centre of Excellence for composite component manufacturing throughout Airbus Helicopters,” said Romain Trapp, President and CEO, Airbus Helicopters Canada. “This new program and investment will strengthen our facility’s position, both as a key player in the global aerospace supply chain, and as a major employer in the Niagara region.”
The company announced last year that, following a competitive process, it had secured the contract from its home base in France because of Ontario’s highly skilled manufacturing workforce.
Airbus Helicopters Canada’s Fort Erie facility has been operating for over 30 years and conducts the engineering and manufacturing of helicopter components. In addition, the facility sells helicopters and related services such as repair and overhaul, flight testing, and training services.
Other projects announced this week include support for two London-based manufacturing companies, Artisan Metal Finishing and Attica Manufacturing. Ontario also announced partnerships with Aalbers Tool & Mold in Oldcastle, Wolf Steel in Barrie and DC Foods in Waterloo.
Together, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund have attracted more than $1.3 billion in investment and helped to create and retain more than 31,000 jobs in Ontario communities.