Ottawa, December 13, 2021 – Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is calling on Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to propose a comprehensive plan to address major challenges facing manufacturers, including supply chain disruptions, trade protectionism, and severe labour shortages.
“Manufacturers’ issues are Canada’s issues. Without urgent attention paid to the triple threat of supply chain disruptions, Buy American, and the labour shortage crisis, the strength of Canada’s economic rebound is in doubt,” said Dennis Darby, CME President and CEO. “It is critical Finance Minister Freeland develop a plan to tackle these problems in the upcoming Fall Economic and Fiscal Update.”
In CME’s recent survey of Canadian manufacturers, nearly half of companies reported supply chain challenges while almost two-thirds have seen an increase in raw material costs as a result. These problems are exacerbated by the flooding in British Columbia and ongoing transportation challenges.
The number one issue, however, remains labour shortages. “There are currently more than 65,000 job vacancies in the manufacturing sector. Our survey revealed that most manufacturers are struggling to fill general labour and assembly as well as skilled production (welders, machinists, operators, etc.) positions. These are good, high paying jobs that are going unfilled. We need the government to address immigration application backlogs and to streamline the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by adopting a trusted employer system,” added Darby.
Buy American proposals round out the top challenges facing industry. The electric vehicle (EV) proposals in the recent US infrastructure bill threaten Canada’s largest industrial sector – automotive.
“On Buy American, we need to see a strong commitment from the government in the update on combating protectionism, to ensure that Canada can maintain and grow its critical automotive sector,” concluded Darby.
- The manufacturing sector represents more than 10% of Canada’s gross domestic product.
- Manufacturers directly support more than 1.7 million jobs in Canada.
- The total manufacturing sales in 2019 surpassed $685 B.