Confederation College Receives Over $3 Million to Expand Aviation Programs



Greenstone (Longlac)
Lake of the Woods (Kenora)

THUNDER BAY, ON, April 11, 2022 – It was announced today that Confederation College has received over $3 million in combined funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC:  $1.5 million), FedNor ($1 million), the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC: $500,000) and the Student Union of Confederation College Inc. (SUCCI: $15,000) to expand the College’s aviation programs. 

“Confederation College is incredibly appreciative of its funding partners and the significant investment they are making to enhance the College’s capacity to meet the demand of an aviation industry that so many communities in Northern Ontario depend upon for the transportation of goods, services and people,” said Kathleen Lynch, President of Confederation College. “The funding also enables the College to provide and expand state-of-the-art training options for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to be successful in aviation careers.” 

Despite the pandemic, industry employment trends remain positive for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs) and Pilots. The funding will be used to modify infrastructure, purchase new aircraft and simulators, and support the introduction of a new Pre-Tech Aviation program in partnership with Indigenous institute partners, which will look to recruit and enroll an increased number of students.

Funding from SUCCI has been used to enhance student lab and study spaces associated with the programs.

“The funding received today is vital for our aviation programs. The investment will allow the purchase of new planes, simulators, and other equipment that will improve the safety and efficiency of our programs. Ultimately, this funding will improve program quality and increase enrolment, allowing the College to better meet the needs of regional employers,” said Colin Kelly, Dean, School of Engineering Technology, Trades, and Aviation.

It is anticipated that the total enrollment in the AME, Flight Management and Pre-Tech Aviation programs will expand to 238 students, an increase of 74 students, upon completion of program expansion.

The overall increase in student enrolment is anticipated to created $3.7 million in new direct regional expenditures annually, increasing the College’s total direct and indirect regional impact by $29 million per year.

Additional Quotes:

“Small and medium-sized aerospace businesses have a central role to play in our country’s economic recovery. This support is key for the hundreds of thousands of workers this sector employs and for the good jobs it generates, which strengthens our region and helps the industry remain competitive internationally.”

  • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

“Today, our government is investing in the future of Northern Ontario’s aviation industry,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.” Aviation is critical to Northern Ontario—moving our people, workers, and cargo. With this investment, our government is helping Confederation College ensure that the next generation of pilots and engineers are ready to keep the northern economy moving.”

  • Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources    and Forestry

“This investment in Confederation College will help ensure our aerospace industry is well positioned to emerge from the pandemic with the capacity to compete on the global stage. I am pleased this strategic initiative will help create 10 local jobs, increase Indigenous and international enrolment, while helping to meet the growing demand for qualified aviation professionals here at home and around the world.”

  • Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

“The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission is pleased to support the expansion of Confederation College’s aviation programs. The Programs and their graduates have an excellent reputation in the industry right across the Country and beyond. These flagship programs at the College have been foundational in supporting our local and national economies for many years and have also served to attract students to our City. Many of those students have stayed and made Thunder Bay their home and played key roles in strengthening our community.”

  • Bill Mauro, Mayor of the City of Thunder Bay and Board Member of the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission

“The Student Union of Confederation College Inc. (SUCCI) is pleased to be a part of the renewal of Confederation College’s Aviation Centre of Excellence by ensuring students have a study and social lounge that meet their needs and complements their new lab and learning spaces.”

  • Ronnie Kasana, President of SUCCI


Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has seven regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Greenstone, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout and Red Lake, as well as a growing Distance Education division.

Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,000 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 600 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $707.3 million annually.

For more information, please contact:

Kim Daynard, Director, Communications

Cell: (807) 621-5265, E-mail: [email protected]