Ontario’s defence industry 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).

Ontario Defence Industry by the Numbers


of revenues
from exports
of the top 25
defence companies

Who’s Here

Ontario Companies
Product/Service Company
Aerospace Magellan Aerospace, Precision Castparts, Collins Aerospace, Heroux-Devtek
Naval Systems Lockheed Martin Canada
Ship Support & Engineering BMT Fleet, Babcock Canada
Armoured Vehicles General Dynamics Land Systems Canada
Armour Systems DEW Engineering, Armatec, NP Aerospace
Unmanned Vehicles Aeryon Labs, Clearpath Robotics
Small Arms and Ordinance Colt Canada, IMT Defence
Communications Systems Honeywell, CMC Electronics
Electronics Systems Thales Canada, General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada, Raytheon Canada, DRS Technologies Canada
Surveillance Systems L-3 Wescam, HISS
In Service Support L-3 Communications ESS, Magellan Aerospace, Collins Aerospace


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.

We win big contracts

  • General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada (GDMS) of Ottawa is providing the Canadian Army with sophisticated communication and information systems that will help inform and direct land operations.


  • DRS Technologies Canada of Ottawa is developing Deployable Flight Incident Recorder Set (DFIRS) technology for Boeing for F/A-18 aircraft. The flight recorders will be able to separate from an aircraft at the onset of an incident and emit distress signals.

  • BCS Automation of Belleville is providing Canada’s new Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) with a ship control and monitoring system to provide ship personnel with immediate information on ship operations.

  • NP Aerospace of Burlington has been awarded a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to cover its fleet of 2,200 Protected Mobility Vehicles.

  • exactEarth of Cambridge is supplying the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) with satellite AIS (Automatic Identification System) services for vessel identification, collision avoidance, and location information.

Ontario centres of academic-industry collaboration

The defence industry has been increasingly shifting towards more collaborative and externalized R&D.

Ontario has been playing an important role, with world-leading science organizations including the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the National Research Council and Genome Canada. These organizations are partnering directly with firms to lead innovation, drive discovery and 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.

Ontario’s defence industry is an innovative ecosystem that delivers the solutions to tomorrow’s defence challenges.
Ontario’s defence industry is an innovative ecosystem that delivers the solutions to tomorrow’s defence challenges.

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 working with equipment.

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.

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.

FedDev’s ITB publication, available here for download.

FedDev’s ITB publication, available here for download.
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Talk to a business consultant

Request a conversation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up now

Back to top