One hundred years ago, Boeing and Canada made history. In March 1919, as the feature of an exposition, William “Bill” Boeing and pilot Eddie Hubbard flew 60 letters from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Seattle, Washington, in Boeing’s C-700 seaplane. It was the first international airmail. In approving the flight, the Vancouver postmaster said, “When we mount upon the wings of eagles, no line of demarcation then shows between Canada and the United States. May the first airplane mail be the harbinger of thousands more to follow…”
Since then, Canada has become a customer, a supplier and a partner to The Boeing Company in both the defence and commercial sectors. Boeing celebrated 100 years of partnership with Canada in 2019.
Boeing Sites in Canada
Boeing facilities in Canada provide parts, components and assemblies for all of the company’s commercial jets, along with software applications and consulting services for Boeing’s commercial and defence customers.
Boeing directly employs approximately 1,500 highly skilled Canadian workers at the following locations:
- Boeing Winnipeg: composite manufacturing plant established in 1971.
- Boeing Vancouver in Richmond, B.C.: focused on enterprise-level software development for commercial and defence customers.
- Boeing Vancouver Labs in downtown Vancouver: focused on rapid development of Boeing AnalytX–driven software solutions and consulting services.
- Boeing Montreal in Québec.
- Aviall: four customer service centres across Canada that distribute aircraft parts and offer repair services.
- C-17 field service support in Trenton, Ont.
- Boeing Commercial Airplanes field service offices in Montreal, Que.; Toronto, Ont.; and Calgary, Alta.
- Medium- to heavy-lift helicopter (MHLH) field service support in Petawawa, Ont.
- MHLH parts warehouse in Renfrew, Ont.
- Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Boeing Global Services Global Marketing and MHLH program office in Ottawa, Ont.
Boeing Winnipeg, part of Boeing Fabrication, is the largest aerospace composite manufacturing centre in Canada, employing more than 1,000 people. The site helps to sustain Boeing Commercial Airplanes production by being responsible for hundreds of unique composite parts and assemblies for all current 7-series jetliners.
Major products include the inner barrel, wing-body fairings, engine strut forward and aft fairings and landing gear doors. This Boeing business is a tier-1 supplier to the 737 MAX, responsible for engineering and manufacturing the one-piece composite acoustic inner barrel on the newly designed engine nacelle inlet.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
More than a dozen Canadian carriers operate Boeing airplanes, including Canada’s leading airlines Air Canada and WestJet. About 80,000 passengers fly on Boeing planes operated by Canadian airlines each day.
Air Canada operates the 787 Dreamliner, 767 300ER (Extended Range), 777-200LR (Long Range), 777-300ER and the new 737 MAX. Air Canada operates nearly 100 Boeing airplanes in its current fleet, and the airline’s low-cost subsidiary Air Canada Rouge operates 25 767s.
WestJet operates a modern fleet of Boeing 767-300s, Next-Generation 737-600s, 737-700s and 737-800s, and the 737 MAX. The airline has also ordered 10 787-9 Dreamliners, which started to be delivered in January 2019. WestJet’s new ultra-low-cost carrier Swoop began operations in July 2018 with a fleet of Next-Generation 737-800s.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security in Canada
Boeing is positioned to offer products and services to satisfy a range of Canadian civil, defence and security requirements. Substantial opportunities also exist in nontraditional markets, including remote area logistics, information solutions and the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Boeing played a major role in the transformation of the Canadian Forces by modernizing 77 of Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets with a two-phase avionics upgrade program completed in January 2014. L-3 Communications MAS was the prime contractor to Boeing and carried out the installation process for this program at its facility in Mirabel, Québec, and Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake (Cold Lake, Alberta). Boeing also provides the Royal Canadian Navy’s all-weather Harpoon missiles and supply chain services to fleet support programs.
In February 2007, Defense, Space & Security signed a contract with the Canadian Department of National Defence to supply four C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to modernize the country’s defence forces’ airlift fleet. Boeing delivered all four C-17s to the Royal Canadian Air Force within 15 months of contract signature. The aircraft were immediately put into service for military and humanitarian missions, including evacuation flights in Libya in 2011; transporting humanitarian aid, vehicles and medical patients following the Haiti earthquake in 2010; and delivery of emergency relief supplies to the people of Jamaica in the wake of Hurricane Dean in 2007. Canada’s C-17s also have supported Operation Athena in Afghanistan and in the Philippines with the recent typhoons. In December 2014, Defense, Space & Security signed a contract with the Government of Canada for a fifth C-17, which was delivered in March 2015.
In August 2009, the Department of National Defence awarded Boeing a contract for 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinooks, designated CH-147, to meet Canada’s domestic and international missions requiring medium- to heavy-lift helicopters. The Canadian Armed Forces received the 15th and final CH-147F Chinook helicopter in Petawawa, Ontario, in June 2014. The CH-147F Chinook is an advanced, multi-mission helicopter. Its primary mission is to transport equipment and personnel during both domestic and deployed operations, but it also provides a vital capability to respond to humanitarian emergencies, such as fire, floods and earthquakes. In May 2016, a Chinook was deployed for the first time on a domestic operation to support fighting the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Canadian industry is directly contributing to the mission-ready capability of the C-17 and CH-147 through separate 20-year in-service support contracts for the aircraft.
Canada announced in August 2016 that the Canadian Forces became the first international customer of the Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. The Blackjack system provides Canadian Forces greater situational awareness through aerial reconnaissance and surveillance to help conduct their missions effectively. This award is a follow-on to the May 2008 announcement when Canada awarded Boeing a CA$14 million interim contract to provide the Canadian Army with Insitu ScanEagle UAV services, including launch, recovery, maintenance, service support and training. The contract was extended to include installation of UAV capability on Royal Canadian Navy vessels, and all work was completed as of March 2015.
In March 2017, the Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-9) was launched on top of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket. In addition to the U.S. Air Force, Canada was a major contributor to WGS-9 along with Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand. WGS-9 provides Canada and the international partners with enhanced communications capabilities and increased coverage to help ensure that forces at home and abroad can communicate effectively to enable successful operations.
Boeing Global Services in Canada
Operating as a third business unit of Boeing, Global Services combines the services capabilities of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security to provide commercial, space and government customers with uncompromising service solutions worldwide. Specifically, Global Services is focused on bringing innovative services to customers in four capability areas: supply chain; engineering, modifications and maintenance; digital aviation and analytics and training and professional services. With competitive rates, operational agility and tailored solutions, Global Services aims to provide the best value and customer experience in the aerospace services industry.
In March 2018, Boeing Global Services and the Canadian government agreed to an amendment to an existing performance-based logistics contract to continue providing full system logistics, engineering support, supply chain, data analytics and training services to the RCAF’s fleet of CH-147F Chinook helicopters through 2023.
Currently, approximately 300 employees provide services support to commercial and government customers from operations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
Originally established two decades ago as AeroInfo Systems in Richmond, B.C., Boeing Vancouver is a leading provider of advanced software solutions to the airline industry and has more than 200 employees.
Boeing Vancouver’s Solutions Delivery group has been a key contributor to the design and development of several strategic Boeing products and services, including Maintenance Performance Toolbox and Global Fleet Care. Current programs include the delivery of mobile and cloud-based applications to support future airline maintenance solutions.
Boeing Vancouver’s Defence group provides products and services to Boeing defence programs in Canada and directly to the Department of National Defence. Programs include a performance management system for the Canadian CH‑147 program.
An extension of Boeing Vancouver’s existing facility, Boeing Vancouver Labs opened in September 2016 and employs more than 50 data science, consulting and software development professionals. Launched in 2017, Boeing AnalytX solutions provides data-driven rapid and enterprise software development services for defence and commercial customers worldwide.
Jeppesen’s Montreal office focuses on development of software solutions for crew optimization. Boeing’s operations in Canada also support the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership (GSP) and MHLH for CH-147 programs.
Boeing subsidiary Aviall provides global operations services and support for general aviation, airlines and military customers and is the largest diversified aircraft parts distributor in the world. Aviall has four customer service and stocking locations in Canada: Vancouver, B.C.; Toronto, Ont., and Montreal, Que., as well as a battery repair service centre in Toronto, Ont. Key accounts include Air Canada Express, Canadian Helicopters, StandardAero, WestJet, CanJet, Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada, MTU Maintenance Canada and Bell Helicopter.
Boeing Partnerships in Canada
Boeing is a global leader in developing and implementing industrial partnership programs in more than 40 countries worldwide, including Canada. Boeing has worked with Canadian companies under the government’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (formerly Industrial and Regional Benefits) program to perform business worth more than US$6.7 billion in Canada, with another US$2.9 billion in high-value programs under way.
Canada is home to one of the largest international supplier bases for Boeing – including more than 500 suppliers spanning every region of the country.
Canadian partners provide aerospace parts for all Boeing commercial airplane models and nearly all defence programs, including the AH-64 Apache, V-22 Osprey and CH-47 rotorcraft, F/A-18 and F-15 fighter aircraft, P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter and aircraft trainers. According to a Boeing study, combined with the Boeing facilities, this supply network significantly contributes to the Canadian economy by generating more than US$3 billion in economic benefits annually.
Boeing is also partnering with Canada to develop new technology. In 2002, Boeing initiated the process that led to the creation of the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) in Winnipeg, Man., a not-for-profit composite materials research organization that develops new materials and processes for the industry. Through engagement with the CIC, Boeing has provided funding to support the Canadian Composites Manufacturing Research and Development consortium, a teaming of industrial and research organizations across Canada seeking to develop new composite manufacturing processes.
In February 2013, Boeing became the founding industrial member of the University of British Columbia’s Composites Research Network, a group working with Canadian scientists to create practical applications of new composite manufacturing discoveries.
Boeing Global Engagement in Canada
At Boeing, community engagement and social responsibility are part of the company’s enduring values and foundational to its global operations.
Boeing Winnipeg is deeply involved in its community. Each year, the largest Boeing facility supports 16 charitable organizations and nonprofit groups investing about CA$550,000. For example, Boeing Winnipeg supports the United Way of Winnipeg and Siloam Mission, whose Building Futures/MOST program offers employment training to transition the less fortunate off the streets.
Boeing Winnipeg is considered a role model in creating a positive image for the manufacturing sector.
Boeing Vancouver partners with Science World, Future Science Leaders, an intensive after school program for BC’s top high school students, helping them to develop the talent, drive, and discipline needed to excel in scientific research and innovation. The brightest students, chosen from a competitive recruitment process, join a powerful peer network and participate in weekly innovative learning and skill building activities with some of BC’s top scientists, innovators, and business leaders.
Boeing Ottawa partners with Veterans Transition Network, which assist veterans and their families with the transition from military life to civilian lifestyle.
Boeing Canada supports the Ladies Learning Code to develop 21st century skills in children and adults in communities all across Canada.
Boeing Canada partners with Red River College to develop industry-needed skills for the Stevenson Aviation program curriculum. Boeing hires program graduates in cooperation with the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development and offers an annual scholarship for an Aboriginal student in a business or engineering discipline. Boeing also supports Stevenson Aviation’s Aerospace and Aviation in Manitoba Day.
Revised November 2020.