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Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War
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Canada and the War
Assembly of Consolidated 'Canso' A flying boat at Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, Que., April 1944. - Photo :  National Film Board - NFB NEG WRM-4219, CWM Reference Photo Collection
Assembly of Consolidated 'Canso' A flying boat at Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, P.Q., April 1944.
Photo : National Film Board

The War Economy and Controls: Aircraft Production

During the Second World War, the Canadian aircraft industry grew to employ nearly 116,000 workers, 30,000 of whom were women. It delivered 16,418 aircraft to fill Allied orders, chiefly from Britain and the United States, but also for use by the RCAF and BCATP. Before the war, there had been only eight small plants in the entire country, making about forty aeroplanes annually.

The federal government was the industry's parent and guardian angel. The Aircraft Production Branch of the Department of Munitions and Supply sought out orders. Crown companies, Victory Aircraft Limited and Federal Aircraft Limited, were created to ensure speedy and efficient production. Sub-contracts for aircraft parts went to firms with no experience in aircraft manufacture, such as Cockshutt Plow of Brantford, Ont., which made hydraulics, and Otaco Limited of Orillia, Ont., which designed and manufactured undercarriages. The famous Avro Lancaster bomber rolled off the assembly line at Malton, Ont., now the site of Lester B. Pearson International Airport.

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