Portrait of smiling factory worker using digital tablet in the factory

Regional Development Program Announced

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade announced a new Regional Development Program, which will invest more than $100 million over four years, while taking a new approach to support the manufacturing sector in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario.

CME had aggressively lobbied for the creation of this new program after initially informing the government that our members were growing increasingly concerned about the complex and delays that were taking place when manufacturers were trying to make investments in Ontario.

Under the new program, small and medium manufacturers can apply for funding through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF). As part of this initiative, the government has committed to a 60-business day decision guarantee in order to help manufacturers plan investment decisions. The highlights of the program are as follows:

  • Available funding for small-medium manufacturers so that they can invest in new equipment and training;
  • Complementary services and supports, including advisory services, assistance with compliance and approvals, accessing skills and training supports, and information on tax credits;
  • A reduced job creation threshold for small-medium manufacturers from 10 to five; and,
  • A shift to performance-based loans, while continuing grants for small manufacturers in rural communities to help them grow and expand.

We anticipate that there will be additional investment support commitments announced in the Fall Economic Statement (FES). If you have any questions or require more information about the announcement, please contact Alex Greco.

Women in Manufacturing Update

One hundred young women aged 14 and 15 visited today the Algoma Steel and Tenaris’s Algoma Tubes plants as part of a Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) initiative to encourage more women to choose a career in the manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing sector offers high-paying and rewarding jobs. Nearly 90% of those employed by the sector would recommended it to a friend. Unfortunately, too many women pass up on this opportunity. While women make up half of the Canadian workforce, they only comprise 28% of the manufacturing workforce.

Algoma Steel, Tenaris’s AlgomaTubes facility and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters joined forces to organize plant tours and help the young women of the Sault Ste. Marie understand what goes on behind the walls of advanced industrial facilities. The objective of the field trip is to make sure students can experience the manufacturing sector and are empowered to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or trades.

Engaging youth is a critical component of Women in Manufacturing, an initiative that aims to increase female representation in manufacturing by 100,000 in 5 years.

For more information on the Women in Manufacturing Initiative and to find out how you can get involved, contact Camay Fortier, Program Coordinator, Women in Manufacturing.

Five Key Areas to Keep Track of as an International Trader

By Asavin Wattanajantra, Global Expert in Large Business at Sage

Research from Sage indicates that that 99% of process manufacturers have identified business growth as a priority in 2020. Although this positive sentiment indicates a confident industry that is taking control of its own future, there are a number of external factors that decision makers must stay informed of in order to achieve their objectives.

Here are some of the factors you need to think about as an international importer or exporter:

1. TRADING TRENDS

Trade tensions can certainly impact businesses, with import and export conditions constantly changing at speed.

In May 2019, the Trump administration agreed to lift tariffs on steel and aluminium, a key hurdle to jump in approving the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which was signed 2018.

USMCA could be key for Canadian businesses that are poised to sell abroad, diversify their markets and push the economy forward. International trade agreements like USCMA, are vital to lowering trade barriers.

Knowing and understanding what changes have occurred in trade regulations and agreements is a must for decision makers. If you’re trading internationally, you need to understand how these changes can affect the efficiency of your global business operations.

Today, you can make use of business intelligence to better analyze the flow of goods across borders, to make sourcing decisions, to keep track of commodities and to trace your supply chain relationships.

2. INVENTORY

Another factor importers will already be aware of is cost tracking. This is an essential metric to keep an eye on when you consider that true costs will always be higher than what you pay a vendor – you need to handle freight, customs and duty costs for instance.

As you grow as an international importer or exporter, you’ll certainly require enterprise resource planning (ERP) software which can help you manage costs and improve the way you trade globally. You’ll need software that allows to handle your logistics, as well as your production process – planning, scheduling and forecasting.

3. REGULATORY CHANGE

In certain industries like food and beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturing, having a handle on changing regulations is vitally important. Canadian businesses exporting to Europe and the US will need to meet their standards and laws.

Your business will need to understand the formal standards and laws in any country you export to. These could change, and you will need to manage this efficiently. You can use technology and external support to get timely and accurate information on the regulatory environment.

You should also make use of analytics and reporting to boost productivity and ensure compliance, which can give you information support with regulatory change management, providing key insights on what you need to be doing and how to connect the dots.

4. FOREIGN INVESTMENT

You might be looking at different countries to export to as an international trader, but so might your competitors. For example, if a competitor in your target market receives investment, your export sales may decline because they have the advantage of having home advantage – not needing to deal with international expenses, freight and other duties.

However, if your own business gets the opportunity for foreign investment (FI), you might be able to increase your own exports, which means you’ll have considerations around capacity and financing to think about. Whatever the case, you should keep informed of current FI events and keep up to date about what’s going on in your target market.

 

5. TECHNOLOGY

Advances in technology can allow your business to reach more customers and make you more efficient. Even in the business to business world, there is an increasing expectation by customers for features such as search options, online reviews and real-time inventory tracking, not to mention mobile and tablet-ready apps.

Two key technologies you should be aware of as an international trader:

Blockchain – This could have a massive effect on the global supply chain, improving the efficiency of trade processes and moving towards a paperless future. You can see it as a means to digitize and automate trade finance processes, such as letters of credit.

3D printing – When mass production with 3D printing becomes viable, trade may well be affected as could reduce the need for countries to import intermediate and final goods, as they could just create it themselves digitally. If US businesses print more goods locally, they won’t need as many imports from Canada.

Ontario's Red Tape Bill Helps Reduce Business Costs

New measures to help streamline approvals and modernize environmental regulations, including removing outdated acetone reporting requirements, were announced earlier this week by the Ford Government.

We consider this legislation a positive step to reduce red tape for manufacturers. However, more must be done to increase Ontario manufacturer’s productivity and competitiveness.

Several measures introduced in the bill were aligned with CME recommendations from our Industrie 2030 ON Strategy that was developed with member input. A good portion of this red tape bill focuses on the approval process, which many members feel that the time frame and complexity in getting approvals for investments required multiple layers of government and directly delayed, and in some cases, stopped investment altogether.

Another red tape bill is anticipated to be tabled in the Spring of 2020. For more information and to provide ideas on how on the government can modernize regulations and reducing red tape, please contact Alex Greco.