Policy Initiatives

Supporting Business Scale-Up and Technology Adoption


CME is focused on helping companies scale up their operations in Canada and abroad by removing barriers to growth, and by lowering the cost and risk of investing in new machinery, equipment and technologies.

Why It Matters

Successful companies are growing companies. A business environment that supports growth and investment in new technologies helps you become more productive and innovative, lowers your production costs, and improves your ability to compete at home and abroad.

The Challenges

Compared to other advanced economies, Canadian manufacturers have relatively small operations and, on average, underinvest in facilities, machinery and equipment, and new technologies. The reasons for this include:

  • A tax system that rewards companies for staying small and penalizes their efforts to grow
  • High business costs that erode profitability, and leave less money available for investment
  • Government investment incentives that are less generous than in the United States
  • A lack of information about how new technologies would fit in to existing operations
  • The cost and risk of making major investments is proportionately higher for smaller companies

Other tax and regulatory issues also limit growth potential in manufacturing. These include long project approval timelines and regulatory uncertainty around major resource developments.


SMART Program


Encouraging business investment in new machinery, equipment and technologies is key to unlocking productivity gains, improving global competitiveness and reducing manufacturers’ environmental footprint. CME believes that implementing a pan-Canadian SMART program is an important step in achieving this goal.


The CME SMART program was a provincial economic development initiative run with support from FedDevOntario. It provided direct funding to over 1,400 manufacturing projects in Ontario and assisted manufacturers in the following ways:

  • Improving their day-to-day operations;
  • Making process improvements, such as the process to install production equipment;
  • Reducing their GHG emissions;
  • Improving their energy efficiency practices; and,
  • Supporting investments in new technology and process and productivity improvements.


CME is advocating for a pan-Canadian version of the former Ontario SMART program. Its goal would be to improve the competitiveness of the manufacturing supply chain, achieve cost savings and enable new investments for Canada’s manufacturing sector.

As the federal and provincial governments unroll their plans to price on carbon emissions, CME believes that the revenues collected from manufacturers should be returned to the sector through incentive programs to invest in new machinery, equipment and technologies. Based on its success in Ontario, a national SMART program would be an important step in that direction.


A recent CME report identified four broad, but interconnected themes that contribute to Atlantic Canada’s lagging record on innovation and technology adoption in manufacturing. The report offers 15 key findings, based on Atlantic Canadian manufacturers input, for government policy action that could help remove some of the barriers. Learn More…

How CME is Helping

CME is committed to helping your company grow. Our National Policy Team is working to:

  • Improve tax incentives for technology investment;
  • Reform the tax system to incentivize business growth;
  • Reduce project approval timelines and increase investment certainty;
  • Improve access to technology-related training and skills updating; and
  • Modernize and enhance the federal SR&ED program.


To get involved with CME or to provide comments on our position, please contact CME Senior Vice President Mathew Wilson at Mathew.Wilson@cme-mec.ca.

Graph Capital investment in manufacturing is stagnant



Graph Obstacles preventing businesses from investing in advanced technologies