Low Investments in New Technology Slowing Down Manufacturers’ Productivity

TORONTO (December 3, 2019) – Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) released today “Industry 4.0 and Canada’s Digital Future in Manufacturing”, a report that highlights the key reasons why Canadian manufacturers are struggling to adopt new technology compared to their international counterparts. The report emphasizes that low investment rates in new technologies are affecting Canada’s productivity, as well as its share of global markets. It identifies three hurdles to technology adoption for manufacturers – high purchase costs and uncertain ROI, lack of information and testing opportunities and, skill and labour shortages – and proposes solutions for the new federal government:

  • The federal government must improve accessibility of information about new technologies for business owners and testing opportunities by funding case studies, technology demonstration hubs and site visits, and working directly with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters to develop tools to help manufacturers plan their journey toward technology adoption.
  • The federal government must offset high purchase costs and investment risks of new technologies by working with provincial governments to implement a joint federal-provincial 20 per cent tax credit on the purchase of new machinery, equipment and technologies, including software. The government should also follow the model of Ontario’s SMART program to implement strategies to offset the cost of technology assessment, diagnostic services, and support advanced manufacturing adoption for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Take steps to encourage more Canadians to choose a career in the manufacturing sector and to solve the skills- and labour-shortage crisis, by funding the development of workforce planning consortia across the country, expand the Atlantic Immigration Pilot nationally and improve and expand the Canada Job Grant by making its funding permanent and allowing for multi-year training.

“Data from the World Economic Forum shows Canadian business are very risk averse compared to their US comparts. Canada ranks 31st in the world when it comes to business appetite for entrepreneurial risk, and 28th when it comes to companies’ willingness to embrace risky or disruptive business ideas,” said Dennis Darby, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. “But, with the right programs in place to mitigate risk, Canadian manufacturers address the three main issues highlighted in the report and become leaders in adopting new technology.”

“CME looks forward to working with the new federal government to implement solutions that will help manufacturers adopt new technology and, in turn, improve productivity rates,” added Darby.


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 | stefi.proulx@cme-mec.ca | @CME_MEC