Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) are want to see a comprehensive plan to address major challenges facing manufacturers, the group recently announced.
They recently called on federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to put together a plan that addresses challenges like supply chain disruptions, trade protectionism and severe labour shortages.
“Manufacturers’ issues are Canada’s issues. Without urgent attention paid to the triple threat of supply chain disruptions, ‘Buy American’ and the labour shortage crisis, the strength of Canada’s economic rebound is in doubt,” Dennis Darby, CME President and CEO, said in a statement.
Half of the companies reported supply chain challenges while almost two-thirds have seen an increase in raw material costs as a result, according to a CME study of Canadian manufacturers. Flooding in British Columbia and transportation challenges have only made things worse, the group noted.
At the top of the list of challenges is talent. The CME reported 65,000 current job vacancies in the manufacturing sector.
“Our survey revealed that most manufacturers are struggling to fill general labour and assembly as well as skilled production (welders, machinists, operators, etc.) positions,” Darby noted. “These are good, high paying jobs that are going unfilled. We need the government to address immigration application backlogs and to streamline the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by adopting a trusted employer system.”
The ’Buy American’ mandate also is a significant factor.
“On Buy American, we need to see a strong commitment from the government in the update on combating protectionism, to ensure that Canada can maintain and grow its critical automotive sector,” Darby said.