The CME wants the federal government to include the tools industry needs to gain competitiveness Click image to enlargeWith the release of Canada’s federal budget set for April 19, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is stressing the importance of strengthening the manufacturing sector.

"The COVID-19 crisis has shed light on Canada's need for a strong manufacturing sector that can produce what our country needs, especially in times of crisis. It also showed that we must fill the gaps by investing in our manufacturing capacity and making it a priority, with a long-term plan and a commitment to attracting research, investment, and jobs. It's time to give manufacturers the tools they need to lead the economic recovery. We cannot miss this opportunity," says Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME.

The CME wants the federal government to include the tools industry needs to innovate and increase both productivity and our global footprint.

Skills and labour shortages

Manufacturers have for years identified this as the most pressing issue, and the CME says we must ensure our businesses have the workforce they need to meet rising demand and be fully competitive.


Canada is lagging its competitors when it comes to productivity, with CME pointing out that growth of business capital investment in Canada over the past five years was 8.8 per cent, compared to 30.4 per cent in the U.K and 28.1 per cent in the U.S. This long-term erosion of our industrial competitiveness directly affects manufacturers' ability to respond to the current crisis or future ones.

7 recommendations

To address these critical points, CME is making seven policy recommendations to the federal government, including:

  • government de-risk and encourage manufacturers to digitize, automate, adopt advanced technology, and help drive productivity growth.
  • support R&D spending and scale-up of companies by improving and enhancing the SR&ED program.
  • implement a patent box regime to reward commercialization and production of goods and advanced technologies in Canada, eliminating a key competitive disadvantage
  • provide employer incentives to upskill, hire and retain workers, creating jobs and helping to address labour and skills shortages
  • help the manufacturing sector adapt to and advance Canada's climate change strategy.
  • increase Canadian value-added exports
  • continue actions to fight COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics

"Reigniting Canada's manufacturing sector — a critical engine of the economy — is essential if Canada is to build a greener and more competitive, innovative, inclusive, and resilient economy. The last year has shown us all that the Canadian manufacturing industry is an indispensable part of Canada. Let's build on that so we can manufacture a prosperous future for everyone," concludes Darby.

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