Montreal, February 18, 2021 — The Québec government has confirmed that it has signed, with Telesat LEO Inc. (Telesat) and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA Montréal), 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.

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.


“Today’s news is extraordinary, both for Québec’s aerospace sector and for Québec as a whole. 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!”

François Legault, Premier of Québec

“The Telesat project will raise the international profile of Québec engineering and our space industry. It gives us a key position in the new, private-sector space race. The industry will boost our aerospace industry, which has suffered over the last year. Québec is already a leader in the field, but with today’s announcement, we show that we will do what it takes to remain a leader into the future.”

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation

“Telesat welcomes and appreciates the strong support and participation of the Government of Québec as we embark on Lightspeed, the most ambitious and consequential program in our more than 50-year history. The vast aerospace expertise resident in Québec, coupled with the Government’s leadership and vision for the fast-growing New Space Economy, provides an overwhelmingly compelling rationale for Telesat to make substantial investments in the province, including the manufacture of the Lightspeed satellites and the establishment of our extensive technical operations. We deeply value the world-class talent and capabilities in Québec and we are excited to welcome that talent into the Telesat family. ”

Daniel S. Goldberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Telesat Canada

“ We are very proud to be selected for this critical role on Telesat Lightspeed, which will enable us to expand our presence in Quebec and create highly-skilled, high-paying jobs while engaging with our local supply chain on this ground-breaking program.  With this key role in developing next generation antenna technology combined with our advanced manufacturing capabilities, we anticipate major growth in our Montreal-based Satellite Systems business. We would like to thank Telesat for its confidence in MDA, and the Government of Quebec for its financial support. ”

Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer, MDA


  • An estimated 600 jobs will be created at Telesat and MDA at salaries of almost $100,000 per year.
  • Telesat This hyperlink will open in a new window. is one of the world’s largest operators of telecommunications satellites, with 15 geostationary satellites currently operating.
  • The company, headquartered in Ottawa, has facilities and offices in Canada and around the world.
  • MDA Montréal This hyperlink will open in a new window. specializes in the design, development and fabrication of payload and products such as satellite antennas and high-performance electronic systems for space.
  • The company employs almost 640 people in Québec and is considered to be a leader of Québec’s aerospace industry.

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