Coordinated national action on skills development essential for economic growth

Toronto, March 7, 2017

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) along with its strategic partners, today released Building a Strong and Skilled Workforce for Growth, the fourth of five reports that provide detailed analysis and recommendations stemming from CME’s Industrie 2030 initiative aimed at doubling manufacturing output by 2030.

Manufacturing Matters:

  • Directly has 1.7 million employees (10 per cent of the entire Canadian workforce)
  • Directly and indirectly accounts for 30 per cent of economic output and 27 per cent of all employment
  • Directly responsible for $650 billion in output and more than two-thirds of all exports

“Labour and skills issues are the number one concern of manufacturing executives,” stated Mathew Wilson, Senior Vice President at CME. “Today nearly 40 per cent of companies are telling us that they are unable to find the right people with the right skills to help grow their companies. As a result, nearly 20 per cent of companies are forgoing business opportunities today. Within five years, nearly 60 per cent of companies expect labour shortages to affect their operations, which will have a massive negative impact on economic activities, investment and growth if action isn’t taken.”

Throughout the Industrie 2030 consultations with nearly 1,250 business executives from across the country, several critical and practical recommendations were identified to address skills shortages, including:

  • Improve engagement of youth, women and under-represented in manufacturing careers to growth the domestic skilled labour pool;
  • Strengthen linkages between industry and post-secondary institutions to improve alignment of skills and needs of industry;
  • Expand government support for business led training initiatives and management leadership development; and
  • Improve access to foreign trained workers.

“Manufacturing in Canada is changing. It’s becoming more high-tech and innovative, and that’s a good thing for attracting the next generation of talent to our industry, and for our customers and for our country,” says Don Matthew, Partner and National Sector Leader, Industrial Manufacturing, KPMG in Canada. “We have a real opportunity and it’s up to all of us – manufacturers, industry, government – to work together and address the skills and labour shortages raised in the CME’s national report. Canada’s continued vibrancy and strength depends on it, so it’s time to make it really happen.”

“If we are going to grow Canada’s manufacturing sector and the economy overall, we must begin to address the skills gaps that exist,” added Wilson. “While there continues to be a lot of discussion about what we could do and some concrete steps towards addressing the challenges, there is not enough action. We need governments to partner with industry and to support the needs of industry to ensure we can develop a domestic workforce that meets the needs today and into the future. The status quo is not serving our youth or our economic needs. And we need to start today.”

To read the report and the detailed recommendations, visit:

About Industrie 2030
Through its Industrie 2030 initiative, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) – Canada’s leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada -consulted more than 1,250 leading industry executives and conducted detailed research to define specific recommendations to overcome challenges and create a roadmap for the future of manufacturing, to strengthen its footprint across the country, and to drive growth, innovation, wealth creation and jobs.

Core recommendations include:

  • Building a strong labour pool and skilled workforce;
    Accelerating adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies;
  • Fostering innovation, commercialization and new product development;
  • Creating a competitive business environment in Canada; and
  • Increasing access to domestic ‎and foreign markets.

Our strategic partners have helped CME throughout this process by defining the agenda and supporting the research and consultation exercise. Like CME, they believe that a strong Canada can and must have a strong manufacturing sector at its heart. From business associations to manufacturers to key service providers, these groups have been instrumental in creating this report and in supporting the growth of manufacturing in Canada. A special thanks to BDO, RBC, Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), KPMG, Export Development Canada (EDC), Salesforce Bombardier, Tenaris, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Microsoft, Canada and Xerox.

This report is the fourth detailed report of the five core recommendations. Earlier reports, including the summary analysis and recommendations are available at

About KPMG
KPMG LLP, an Audit, Tax and Advisory firm ( and a Canadian limited liability partnership established under the laws of Ontario, is the Canadian member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG member firms around the world have 189,000 professionals, in 152 countries.
The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity, and describes itself as such.


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 & Branding
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
(613) 292-6070