Bell Helicopter has issued temporary layoffs to 500 workers at its Mirabel plant. The layoffs will last for three months.

The layoffs represent about 20 per cent of the production and production-related workforce.

The company says it was forced to slow down production because clients have been delaying their orders, in light of the global economic downturn.

There were 167 commercial helicopter deliveries in 2008, down from 180 in 2007.

A company spokesman confirms a memo was sent out to workers Monday.

The company

The company's website says the plant was opened in 1986 and employs about 2,400 people. On average, they make 200 commercial helicopters a year.

Bell Helicopter is owned by Texitron, which specializes in designing, building, maintaining and repairing military and corporate helicopters, among other helicopter-related functions. Its website says it is a $14.2 billion global company.