Panel Recap: Key Industrial Capabilities at the Western Innovation Forum

 In Company News

Michael Petric, the head of Avascent’s Canada office, recently moderated a panel in Vancouver at the Western Innovation Forum on the impact of Key Industrial Capabilities (KICs). Joining him on the panel were Tim Page, Vice President of Government Relations at Seaspan, Stu McIntosh, Vice President of Programs at Cascade Aerospace, VP of Defence Programs at KF Aerospace Ralph Wegner, and Senior Director at Heli-One Stephen Ow. Collectively they discussed the history of how KICs came to be, touched on how KICs had impacted their own businesses, and examined how KICs can help Canada advance its strategic and economic interests.

From the panel, key points emerged, such as the follow-on effects that policies like KICs can have domestically. Mr. Page discussed how Seaspan had let more than $850M in contracts to Canadian suppliers because of the impact of KICs and the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). Mr. McIntosh highlighted the fact that KICs directly support the 600 employees of their firm delivering critical services to the Canadian Armed Forces. The panel also touched on how KICs can be enhanced. Key themes included linkages to international markets to ensure follow-on impacts to the Canadian economy beyond the direct procurements let by the government. Panelists also discussed the role of academia in ensuring access to skilled labour and talent.

In addition to the opportunities that KICS presents, the panelists also examined some of the potential challenges KICs could face as the program matures. Those included ensuring support for Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they grow and recognizing the value of existing supply chains.

The panel wrapped with a discussion of how KICs can have an enduring impact, and how they may evolve in the future. Panelists and the audience were eager to see KICs strengthened and improved to ensure long-term growth of Canadian capabilities.

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