CME: COVID-19 aid good first step; manufacturers need targeted relief

OTTAWA (March 11, 2020) – The federal government announced today measures to respond to COVID-19. While the steps announced by the government to ensure the health of Canadians and business continuity are reassuring and welcome, more action is needed to support manufacturers who are already reeling from the economic harm caused by the rail blockades and now the coronavirus outbreak.

“The manufacturing workforce cannot work from home, workers have to be present on the plant floors.” said Dennis Darby, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. “Manufacturers are therefore more susceptible to shocks and need targeted relief. We are calling on the government to adopt an aggressive recovery plan similar to that being considered by the US. Canada’s plan should include payroll tax cuts and Employment Insurance (EI) payment holidays. Measures like this would free up cash for businesses and encourage employers to keep workers on the payroll for as long as possible.

“While we are encouraged by the emergency funding to ensure access to business credit, businesses cannot afford to be taking on more debt in a time of crisis. This is why over 42 per cent of our membership has identified direct grants as the best way to support businesses.” added Darby.

“We will continue to work with the government to find solutions to help businesses weather this crisis and to build an economy that is more resilient to external shocks.”

In its pre-budget recommendations submission, CME laid-out a comprehensive plan to strengthen Canada’s business environment that focuses on:

  • Reducing the cost of doing business and increasing competitiveness
  • Encouraging business scale-up and investments
  • Addressing labour shortages



Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and, compete around the world. Our focus is to ensure manufacturers are recognized as engines for growth in the economy, with Canada acknowledged as both a global leader and innovator in advanced manufacturing and a global leader in exporting. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.


Stefi Proulx
Director of Communications
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
C:  613-292-6070 | | @CME_MEC