February 28, 2023 – Victoria, BC – Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) sees some positive measures in the BC budget but is more concerned by what is not included.
“The word manufacturing is rarely used in the budget document,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, Divisional Vice-President of CME, “There are some measures that could support our industry, but details are vague at best. It seems there are plans to grow expenditures and grow the debt but little for growing the economy.”
British Columbia is a high-cost manufacturing environment, and the industry is facing supply chain costs, inflationary pressures and other issues. CME has consistently advocated for a comprehensive manufacturing strategy that would mitigate those costs and help industry to capitalize on BC’s advantages. Tactical measures have been taken and are important, but they need to be placed in the context of a broader strategy.
The tactical measures CME was pleased to see include the Future Ready Skills Plan. New training seats, short term skills training, speedier recognition of foreign credentials, and support funding for SMEs to address these challenges are all measures that we look forward to working with government to implement and support.
CME is also looking forward to consulting with government on the new carbon pricing system. At this point, the government’s programming to help industry adapt and reduce carbon does not apply to most manufacturers. The move to revise the system creates an opportunity to provide better support on carbon issues to BC’s important light manufacturing industry.
“Government had some strong short-term, post-pandemic recovery programs for manufacturers,” continued Mr. Wynn-Williams. “In addition, the Manufacturing Jobs Grant program announced last month is also much appreciated. But these isolated tactical measures need strategic context. In other words, these are great tools, but we still need a toolbox to put them in.”
- The manufacturing sector represents almost 6.3% of BC’s gross domestic product and 58.2% of annual exports.
- Manufacturers directly support 179,300 jobs in BC with an average wage of $1209/week (7.5% above provincial average)
- The total manufacturing sales in 2021 surpassed $62.8B.