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Harper Government Invests in British Columbia’s Aerospace Sector

August 24, 2012
Victoria, British Columbia

The aerospace sector in British Columbia is receiving a significant boost thanks to the Harper Government’s investment in research and development.  This support was announced today at the University of Victoria (UVic) by Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and for Western Economic Diversification.

"Today’s funding demonstrates our Government’s commitment to supporting leading edge western Canadian industries, such as unmanned aerial vehicle systems," said PS Saxton. "Our Government continues to pave the way in creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for the West and for Canada."

With more than $670,000 in WD funding, UVic will undertake research and development to improve the safety, performance and affordability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at a scale better suited to commercial, scientific and civilian use. Currently most UAVs are used primarily as either highly sophisticated military tools or amateur radio controlled units. However, UAVs can be used for a diverse range of tasks that are repetitive, hazardous or need to be performed on short-notice. UVic will focus on creating commercially viable systems to manufacture and use in western Canada to expand the current use of UAVs to include functions such as natural resource management, agriculture management, search and rescue and wildlife inventory.

"We are grateful to the federal government for its continuing support of innovative research and development at the University of Victoria," says UVic President David Turpin. "This funding allows us to make new advances in an area of aerospace research that has exciting commercial potential for Canada, with a broad range of applications, including search and rescue, forest firefighting and aerial mapping of crops."

"We are highly satisfied with WD’s continued efforts to support and assist the continued growth of the Canadian unmanned vehicles sector," said Spencer Fraser, President of Meggitt Training Systems Canada. "We applaud Minister Yelich’s leadership to bring national focus on this important emerging technology and are delighted to see UVic’s pioneering efforts being recognized by the Government of Canada."

Since 2006, the Harper Government, through WD, has invested in job-creating small and medium-sized businesses, aerospace, marine and defence industries, and supported innovative entrepreneurs in pursuing emerging markets.  By continuing to promote new economic opportunities, WD is helping to create jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity.

For additional information, contact (media only):

Jaime Burke
Regional Communications Manager - British Columbia
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: (604) 666-1318

Dr. Michael Miller
Associate Vice President, Research
University of Victoria
Interviews with Dr. Miller can be arranged by contacting UVic Communications at (250) 721-7636.

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