The essential nature of manufacturing and its strong contribution to funding critical services like healthcare and education has been strongly acknowledged recently by all political parties, at all levels of government in Canada. The actions have been strong – lowering taxes, directly supporting investment, focusing on workforce development, investing in infrastructure, attempting to reduce red-tape and the regulatory burden – all are called for and fully supported by CME and our network. These actions are having early positive outcomes with massive investments in new electric vehicle and battery production and transitioning to clean steel, to name just a few in recent months. However, despite the actions of governments and investments from companies, Ontario remains unprepared for what’s next and unable to capitalize fully on future opportunities.
The most concerning trend is the persistent struggle to attract investment. Despite recent major victories for the province, we remain near the bottom of the OECD new capital to the sector. Over the past five years the US received twenty-three times the investment that Canada did, while Mexico received ten times. Investment leads to increased manufacturing output, employment, exports, environmental performance, and prosperity. A lack of investment leads to outdated, inefficient, uncompetitive, and shrinking companies.
CME believes that Ontario has a bright future with great opportunities in manufacturing and exporting products to the world. Ontario is uniquely qualified to capitalize on global shifts including an aging and growing population, increasing sense of environmental and social responsibility, and ongoing technological transformations. These changes open new opportunities if the province is focused on the solutions and creating the right conditions for success. It will not happen by accident. Success will only happen if there is a strong partnership and shared goals between government and the sector.
That process starts during Ontario’s 2022 election. CME is calling on all parties to support a strong manufacturing strategy for the province that prioritizes investment, innovation, and prosperity for all Ontarians. This strategy must enable Ontario’s manufacturing sector to grow and thrive, not just today, but for years to come. CME’s election platform is our detailed proposal to meet this objective. This is our time. Manufacturing now!