Ontario’s defence sector represents $5.3 billion per year in sales and over half of Canada’s defence industry. It is comprised of companies across several sectors developing products and services for military and security customers, including aerospace/space, naval, combat vehicles, munitions/weapons, soldier systems and C4ISR (Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance).

Defence in Ontario is strong and diverse

Ontario’s defence industry is home to firms ranging from large multinationals to high-performing SMEs, across the aerospace, marine, land vehicle and IT sectors.

Twelve of the top 25 global defence companies have a manufacturing presence in Ontario, and half of the 20 most successful Canadian military contractors are based here (2013/2014 data). Companies in the province produce everything from light armoured vehicles to combat systems for Canadian naval vessels:

General Dynamics Land Systems logo

  • Colt Canada in Kitchener produces firearms, including the new rifle for the Canadian Arctic Rangers

Colt Canada logo

  • Thales Canada provides command and control systems to Canada’s Army, Navy and Coast Guard

Thales Canada logo

  • GE Marine manufactures marine engines in Peterborough, including the engines for the Royal Canadian Navy’s new Arctic/offshore patrol vessels

GE Marine logo

Sales for the defence sector are $5.3 billion

Defence is a key industry for Ontario, representing skilled jobs, exports, and spin-off potential, meaning tremendous opportunities for your business.

For example, while unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) are rapidly maturing in the defence sector, they are also finding a strong foothold in the civilian world in applications such as gathering agricultural crop data and conducting environmental surveys.

We win big contracts

  • Lockheed Martin Canada in Ottawa, is modernizing the combat systems for Canada’s 12 Halifax-class frigates.

Lockheed Martin logo

  • Revision Military’s power management systems division, located in Ottawa, is providing battery systems for the on-board sensor suites that will be used on Canada’s upgraded LAVs.

Revision Military logo

  • Dominis Engineering of Gloucester, provided water jet impellers for the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships.

Dominis Engineering logo

  • Ottawa-based DRS Technologies Canada – a division of the Italian giant Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica) – is part of the company that was recently selected to develop an integrated voice communications system for the U.S. Navy’s Aegis-class cruisers and destroyers.

DRS Technologies logo

A broad, well-developed supply chain

Ontario has over 300 companies that provide defence products and services including aircraft handling systems, aerospace components, protective armour, ship-borne equipment, vehicle heating systems and unmanned vehicles.

Examples include:

  • Aircraft equipment and components: Precision Castparts (Centra Industries), Magellan and GasTOPS.
  • Armour systems and crew protection: Armatec Survivability, EODC, Beclawat Manufacturing, Morgan Advanced Materials and Tulmar Safety Systems.
  • Automotive systems for military vehicles: Ontario Drive & Gear, GT Machining and Fabricating, and General Kinetics.
  • Marine sector: Hepburn Engineering, Thordon Bearings and Dominis Engineering.
  • Information and communications technologies: Larus Technologies, Kongsberg Gallium and Edgewater Computer Systems.
  • Turreted electro-optical camera systems: L-3 Wescam

Whatever your supply chain needs, you will find Ontario companies able to meet them.



L-3 WESCAM of Burlington is partnering with more than 60 Ontario suppliers to develop high-tech air, land and sea surveillance cameras and sensors for military use. Shown here is their MX-10GS camera. L-3 Wescam’s camera systems are used around the world – customers include the UK’s National Police Air Service, the Norwegian Search and Rescue Service and the Spanish Army’s Disaster Response Unit.

L-3 WESCAM’s MX-10GS camera, which is gold and round.
L-3 WESCAM’s MX-10GS camera.

Ontario is where you can find R&D partners

Ontario has numerous universities and colleges conducting advanced research in fields as diverse as quantum computing, cutting edge composites, nanotechnology, renewable energy, and advanced manufacturing techniques – 14 universities offer industrial engineering degrees and four have mechatronics programs.

And, hundreds of professors and faculty members in Ontario support and advance the education, research, and innovation agendas. In fact, several Ontario professors maintain federal Industrial Research Chair and Canada Research Chair positions.

We also have a diversified mix of industry, academia, and supply chains to support a rich environment for R&D, innovation, commercialization, and production. Many small and medium sized Ontario defence companies are heavily engaged in R&D, in niche technology areas such as unmanned vehicles, advanced sensor systems, electronic warfare, and cyber security.

Researchers or technicians in white clean room suits examining data results and inspecting lab equipment.
Researchers/technicians in white clean room suits examining data results and inspecting lab equipment.

Ontario is home to leading government research centres, including the National Research Council Institute for Aerospace Research, the Canadian Space Agency’s David Florida Laboratory, the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) facilities in Ottawa and Toronto and the Fraunhofer Institute in London. Other specialized centres such as the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the province’s network of Regional Innovation Centres offer resources such as commercialization and advisory support along with R&D matchmaking. They work with companies in various industries such as communications and IT, energy, aerospace, manufacturing, and life sciences.

A researcher from the Aviation Centre of Excellence, Confederation College, in Thunder Bay, Ontario working with equipment.
A researcher from the Aviation Centre of Excellence, Confederation College, in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The federally run Defence Research and Development Canada operates eight research centres across Canada, each with a unique combination of expertise and facilities to carry out world-class science and technology research. Five of these centres are right here in Ontario:

  • The Toronto Research Centre
  • The Ottawa Research Centre
  • The Centre for Security Science
  • The Centre for Operational Research and Analysis
  • The Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis

The DRDC Toronto Research Centre

DRDC Toronto is a research and development establishment for defence and national security focusing on human effectiveness, science and technology. They research individual and team performance, human to technology interaction, and the social and psychological factors that affect the resolution of conflict.

Ontario’s defence-related research organizations have produced some of the most respected work in the security field such as:

  • A virtual reality simulator developed to help helicopters land on the deck of a moving ship.
  • The STInG – Sustained Tolerance to INcreased G system that provides G protection for pilots, superior to any current operational system.
  • The Personnel Readiness and Personnel Health Protection research from DRDC Toronto’s human factors lab.

Solid government support for your business

Here in Ontario you’ll find significant government support, including federal- and Ontario-specific tax credits and other initiatives to help your business thrive.

We have many incentives and programs to support investment including the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, as well as programs to help exporters.

Offset Policy - The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy

Launched in 2009, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) works with communities, businesses and not-for-profit organizations. FedDev Ontario delivers a suite of programs designed to bolster businesses and strengthen relationships and partnerships in southern Ontario.

You can learn more about Canada’s offset policy - the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy - by downloading the linked publication by FedDev Ontario.

FedDev Ontario and the Ontario government work together to help defence companies fulfil their obligations under the ITB policy and find the supply chain and research partners they need, here in Ontario.

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