David Emerson, the former Liberal and Conservative cabinet minister, has been chosen to head a sweeping review of federal aerospace and space policies and is scheduled to report his findings by the end of this year.
The announcement was made Monday by Christian Paradis, the current federal industry minister.
Paradis said the review will examine how government, industry and other key stakeholders can address key issues facing the aerospace and space sectors.
Emerson, a former Liberal who remained in cabinet by jumping to the Conservatives immediately after the 2006 election, has also been a federal and B.C. civil servant, forestry executive and businessman. He will report his findings to the industry minister in late 2012.
A three-member advisory council will assist Emerson in fulfilling his mandate as head of the review.
Paradis said in a speech that the review was being launched "to ensure that Canada continues to have a strong aerospace and space sector and we will continue to protect the nearly 80,000 jobs that rely on it."
Paradis said the work being done by the review will form the framework for co-operation between government and the aerospace and space sectors going forward.
Details of the review were unveiled in Montreal, the home city of Canada's biggest aircraft maker — Bombardier — and key aerospace suppliers.
The review comes as a result of pressure from the aerospace industry, which has increasing concerns about new competition in the global market.
A number of federal programs exist that help aerospace companies through subsidies, training grants and other financing. Industry representatives have been waiting for months to find out who will lead the review.
The Canadian aerospace industry, which ranks fifth in the world, has annual revenues of more than $22 billion and creates jobs across the country.