CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

Manitoba budget misses manufacturing mark: CME

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CME says manufacturers are still waiting to learn more about the provincial government's vision for manufacturing. PHOTO courtesy Okuma.

While Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) members were pleased to see positive measures in Manitoba’s budget, CME says it remains concerned these measures don’t go far enough to address what the Bank of Canada has called a productivity emergency.

The widening productivity gap between Canada and other jurisdictions is driven in part by stagnant investment in the sector, and in turn, negatively affects the standard of living for all Manitobans. CME says Manitoba’s budget contained important social, health and education measures that will benefit all Manitobans, yet manufacturers are still waiting to learn more about the government’s vision for manufacturing.

“Manufacturers understand very well that the economic horse pulls the social wagon” says CME Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Jill Knaggs. “Given that manufacturing is the backbone of the provincial economy, with 26.4 billion in sales that generate 10 per cent of provincial GDP, we would like to have seen a stronger focus on encouraging investment to help our members grow their businesses and create opportunities for workers and their communities.”

Manitoba’s diverse manufacturing economy has long protected the province from steep swings in economic outlook. Availability of hydro-electricity, a skilled workforce and enviable position at the heart of the continent further add to the province’s economic advantage. However, Manitoba can no longer claim to be the low-cost jurisdiction as it once did. With steep US competition driven by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), labour disruptions to critical infrastructure and inflationary pressure, manufacturers are increasingly feeling the pinch when it comes to investing locally.

“CME has long called for an increase to Manitoba’s Industrial Tax Credit from 8 to 10 percent and for the measure to be made permanent. Not included in the budget, the credit would have accelerated economic growth in the province and created more good jobs for Manitobans, spurring the capital investment needed to address the productivity crisis the country faces. CME is also concerned about the government’s intent to ban replacement workers, which would disrupt a fair and balanced bargaining process,” CME noted in a statement.

While sector-wide manufacturing measures were notably absent from the budget, it did include a $50 million commitment to create a Manitoba-specific Strategic Innovation Fund, which CME welcomed as a signal of the province’s commitment to strengthening Manitoba’s reputation as a jurisdiction of choice for growing businesses.

“CME applauds a fiscally responsible budget and understands the challenge the government faces”, continues Knaggs. “The Kinew government has been committed to listening and has met frequently with CME and our members. While we had hoped to see targeted supports for the sector, we will continue to work with the province to overcome barriers to economic growth and signal that Manitoba is open for business.”

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