What advice would you give the federal government to help save and grow the Canadian manufacturing industry?
I recently spoke to several college mechanical engineering technicians. The level of training for the programs was good but the operating budgets are creating limitations to how much they can do. We must not let manufacturing slip further and government help (funding) is required at the high school, college and apprenticeship levels. We can produce competitively, but we need the training and increased technology to compete on a global scale. I see an ever-increasing shortage in available skilled help in Ontario that is hampering our immediate growth needs.
—Gerry Vandersanden, president, Sciens Industries, Peterborough, ON
We find the federal government to be very aggressive in connecting Canadian businesses abroad.
—Jim Jantzi, president New-Form Tools, Stratford, ON
As long as companies are allowed to source products overseas, manufacturing in Canada and the United States is in trouble. I think there should be some sort of levy/tax onproduct produced in countries where the rate of pay for workers is ridiculously low and where there is little regard for health and safety, with regards to the public and the employees.
Funding through programs like SR&ED, Yves Landry Foundation, CME-Smart, are definitely a positive thing.
—Nigel Burbridge, vice president, operation,Footage Tools, Vaughan, ON
I would tell our politicians this: Do not enter into free trade agreements with countries that do not have, or at the very least aspire to, our level of intellectual property protection, labour standards and environmental protection. Given a level playing field, Canadian manufacturers can compete with anybody in the world. Countries like China have corrupt trade practices with their habit of subsidizing raw materials,
artificially keeping their currency low and total disregard for IP. China’s repeated use of cyber espionage only reinforces the fact they do not have any ethics in this regard.
I believe we should threaten to eject Mexico from NAFTA as they still have yet to come close to US and Canadian standards in these areas.
—Peter Pubben, president, Tapmaster Inc., Calgary, AB