The Québec government has confirmed that it has signed, with Telesat LEO Inc. (Telesat) and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA, Montreal,
Sainte Anne De Bellevue), two agreements in principle representing $1.8 billion in estimated investment in Québec. Both agreements target the implementation in Québec of the project for the future Telesat Lightspeed network, which will involve the deployment, in low earth orbit, of a constellation of 298 next-generation satellites integrated with leading-edge ground infrastructures.
The Premier of Québec, François Legault, made the announcement today alongside the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
As part of the Telesat project, MDA Montréal has been selected to develop and manufacture phased-array antennas, a key technology for this type of satellite. MDA is also in advanced discussions with Thales Alenia Space for the Lightspeed satellites' final assembly and manufacturing in Québec. The Lightspeed program is expected to create up to 280 well-paid jobs at MDA Montréal. Telesat, in turn, plans to establish its operations centre for the network in Gatineau, creating at least 320 direct, well-paid jobs. The satellites will offer low-latency broadband telecommunications with fibre-like performance.
"Today's news is extraordinary, both for Québec's aerospace sector and for Québec as a whole," stated Premier of Québec, François Legault. "The preservation of 650 jobs and the creation of a further 600 jobs at about $100,000 a year is an example of how Québec will bridge the wealth gap with neighbouring jurisdictions. I am in politics to achieve this goal. The pandemic will have an ongoing impact on aircraft construction, and this is the ideal time to accelerate the pace of satellite development, a new and promising field for the aerospace industry. Your government will continue to invest to create better-paid jobs in Québec, to build a more prosperous Québec, and ensure a prouder Québec!"
The agreements in principle announced today are the last step in this major development project for Québec. The details of the deal will be released in the coming months. The Québec government will make an investment of up to a maximum of $400 million in Telesat and up to $50 million for MDA.