Among CME's main recommendations to government in its latest report is modernizing Canada's immigration and temporary workers programs to address labor and skills shortages. PHOTO courtesy CES-Transformers.
A national housing crisis, climate change policies, persistent labour and skills shortages, weak investment, sluggish productivity, and declining competitiveness have manufacturers across Canada raising alarm bells, according to a new report by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
The report – Manufacturing Canada’s Future – is the result of months of cross-country consultations with CME member companies and provides 22 recommendations to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments about how to revitalize the sector.
“Canada’s economy has essentially stalled and manufacturers, along with businesses in other sectors, will continue to face headwinds in 2024,” said Dennis Darby, CME President & CEO. “However, faster long-term economic growth is possible if all levels of government work with industry to develop and implement a comprehensive national manufacturing strategy.”
Among the main recommendations are a call on the federal government to modernize Canada’s immigration and temporary worker programs to address labour and skills shortages. Concerned about the housing crisis, manufacturers are also asking governments to ensure affordable housing near manufacturing jobs, including mandating modular construction.
The recommendations also address environmental issues. In an effort to adapt to the federal government’s climate change policies and compete with the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act, manufacturers want the government to speed up the implementation of expanded investment tax credits proposed in Budget 2023.
The consultations revealed, too, new challenges for the sector. In addition to the housing crisis, manufacturers are trying to grapple with growing pressures to rapidly decarbonize the industry.
Put together, these challenges require new policy recommendations for governments if the Canadian manufacturing sector is to remain competitive as other major economies embrace industrial policies, CME says in a statement.
CME’s statement adds that addressing these challenges through a national industrial strategy will enable Canadian manufacturers to seize the opportunities presented by global trends, including “nearshoring” and the green transition.
“Implementing this strategy and its recommendations will result in a more competitive business environment, lead to higher levels of investment, innovation, and productivity, boost the sector’s production and exports, create good jobs, and contribute to emissions reductions”, said Darby. “Given manufacturing’s far-reaching impact, its revival will help secure Canada’s prosperity for generations to come.”