Canadian Manufacturing Industry Threatened According to Survey

The labour shortage in this country is impacting virtually every industry, including manufacturing. Limited access to skilled workers has begun to threaten manufacturers’ ability to utilize the appropriate technologies required to meet and compete not just nationally, but across the world. According to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the manufacturing sector is now at risk of falling behind on a global level.

CME & CMC Called for Action in March

In March, our publication highlighted the CME and Canadian Manufacturing Coalition’s (CMC) called for immediate action from the federal government in Budget 2023 to help attract new workers and accelerate the path to net zero production. The CMC and CME even outlined the four priorities that needed to be addressed by the government for change. Said changes were required to combat competition, especially against the “Buy American” protectionism, labour challenges, and inflation. Yet, only two months later, the CME has yet to see any progress being made and believes the manufacturing industry is at significant risk.

For the manufacturing landscape to continue to advance and become more digitized, complex, and competitive to stay at an advantage, companies within the sector need to acquire the right technologies, robotics, and machinery to improve profits. However, ongoing labour issues, inflation, and the ability to afford new products inhibited their ability to grow.

More than 90 per cent of Canadian manufacturers are small businesses and play a crucial role in the supply chain of larger companies,” stated Dennis Darby, CME president and CEO. “We need more targeted government support for these companies to help accelerate technology adoption in our manufacturing sector or risk our economic competitiveness and standard of living.

Survey Reveals Details of Sector

The CME survey revealed that one-third of manufacturers identify the shortage of skilled workers as their primary issue and barrier to technology adoption. The reason is that they are unable to find suitable workers with the ideal skills and knowledge of new technologies to hire. Two out of five manufacturing companies are not taking advantage of digital transformation and modernization which is said to inhibit their ability to progress and maintain a digital edge.

One out of four businesses surveyed do not take advantage of any of the nine digital software solutions available for manufacturing, including ERP systems, and only ten per cent have adopted said technologies and primarily use cloud computing, robotics, and cyber security. Small businesses are facing the greatest challenges to technology adoption than medium and large enterprises.

CME Urges Governments To Act

The CME has again outlined ideal ways for Canadian governments to support the sector and businesses within them toward adopting new technologies. Here are their expectations:

  1. Implement a national ten per cent investment tax credit that is equal in all provinces to reduce costs and prevent risky investments.
  2. Support employer-led training through a 50 per cent tax credit to balance out half of the costs of training for employees.
  3. Fund technology demonstration tours and exhibits along with site visits to support companies in better understanding the opportunities with the new technologies.
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