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Manufacturers call for a concrete plan on economic recovery, CME says

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CME has unveiled a platform for the 2021 federal election that aims to drive further growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) unveiled its platform for the 2021 federal election today, which outlines a national strategy to restore Canada’s manufacturing sector’s leading position. After a year and a half of the pandemic, this plan, which is based on four pillars – workforce, innovation, exports, and a net zero strategy – is a necessity to ensure the country’s self-sufficiency and to remain competitive, CME officials said.

According to CME, the sector has been lagging for several years: with a slow decline in investment since the early 2000s and little growth in exports, the erosion of Canada’s industrial competitiveness has had a direct impact on manufacturers’ ability to respond to and recover from the crisis. “Canadian manufacturers represent more than 91,000 businesses, 1.7 million employees, they generate more than $690 billion in annual sales, and are asking for government help to get back on their feet quickly,” it said. “This pandemic clearly demonstrated the importance of investing in our manufacturing capabilities now. CME’s goal in the upcoming federal election is to have all parties adopt a pro-jobs and pro-growth manufacturing strategy as part of their election platforms that will drive a manufacturing renaissance in Canada.”

Canada’s goal should be to attract at least two per cent of the annual manufacturing investment into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), or $50 billion annually in Canada’s manufacturing sector over the next decade, CME said. Concrete objectives and targets need to be set to meet the goals. The association states that this strategic plan’s primary focus must be on overcoming barriers to investment and working in partnership with the government to drive change.

CME is urging all federal parties to commit to a two per cent challenge and collaborate with manufacturers to implement an effective and comprehensive industrial strategy for Canada.


Key priorities of such a strategy must be:

  • Get the workers that manufacturers and exporters need;
  • Stimulate investment in innovation and advanced technologies;
  • Increase Canadian exports; and
  • Adopt an industrial net zero strategy.

Canada is lagging behind other industrialized countries in terms of digitization and the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies, CME said. Therefore, its asks to stimulate investment in innovation and advanced technologies include:

  • Reforming the tax system to encourage greater business investment;
  • Maximizing the impact of current industrial supports and allocating more help to SMEs.

“The manufacturing sector is critical to Canada,” said CME president and CEO Dennis Darby. “An industrial strategy must include specific and precise measures for our sector to invest in our manufacturing capacity. The time has come for the government to make a long-term commitment and finally support the recommendations of the industry.”


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