Toronto, April 22, 2022
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) today released its Ontario Manufacturers’ Platform for Prosperity, outlining a provincial strategy to restore Ontario’s manufacturing sector’s leading position. This plan, which is based on three pillars – workforce, business costs, and scale-up – is crucial to Ontario’s prosperity and its ability to stay competitive.
Ontario’s Manufacturing Sector Lags Behind
Ontario has been lagging for several years despite it being Canada’s largest manufacturing province, accounting for 45 per cent of the country’s manufacturing output and about 50 per cent of its manufacturing exports.
With a slow decline in investment since the early 2000s and little growth in exports, the erosion of Ontario’s industrial competitiveness is having a direct impact on manufacturers’ ability to grow.
While the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a strong demand for local and stable goods, manufacturers are limited in capitalizing on this opportunity for several reasons, including labour and skills shortages, which are the most pressing issues facing manufacturers today. In fact, a recent survey by CME showed that 82 per cent of manufacturers are experiencing labour shortages. The high cost of doing business in Ontario is also causing limitations.
A Concrete Plan To Boost Investment
It is time for action. CME has a “2% challenge” – for Canada to secure two per cent of OECD manufacturing investment by the end of the decade, and for Ontario to get its fair share of this activity – $18 billion annually. To accomplish the challenge set by CME, the three pillars of its Platform for Prosperity need to be addressed:
- Labour shortages/get manufacturers the workers we need;
- Lower the cost of doing business; and
- Support business scale-up and investment.
“The manufacturing sector is critical to Ontario, and we need to act decisively to re-establish our leading position. Following consultations with our members, we have identified solutions to help Ontario’s manufacturers reclaim their rightful place on the world stage and to create a strategy that will enable Ontario’s manufacturing sector to grow and thrive. However, for manufacturers to be ready to meet the challenges ahead, we need the provincial government to be a true partner,” said Dennis Darby, President & CEO of CME.
- Ontario’s manufacturing sector employs close to 775,000 Ontarians
- The sector’s 36,200 manufacturing firms also directly generate over 12 per cent of the province’s GDP and over three-quarters of its merchandise exports
- Taking direct and indirect impacts into account, the sector’s footprint amounts to more than 30 per cent of Ontario’s economic activity