Government Invests In Manufacturing To Drive Economic Recovery

Jill Knaggs

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) launched the Manufacturing Accelerator Program (or MAP initiative), designed to help Manitoba’s manufacturers to become more globally competitive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with PrairiesCan and other key partners, the initiative will support individual companies and enhance the manufacturing network through advisory services, benchmarking assessments, and competency development to accelerate the competitiveness of Manitoba’s manufacturing sector.

“Manufacturing is a key part of the Manitoba economy. Nearly every local manufacturing company has had to make adjustments due to supply chain issues,” said the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. “Our government is providing support to the CME to help local companies succeed at home and internationally. Through CME’s important work, this initiative is moving quickly to mitigate risks to local businesses and allow them to seize new opportunities.”

While Manitoba manufacturers already have investment intentions of $1 billion, CME hopes to help boost these figures through the MAP initiative. CME will assist companies in focused corporate strategic planning and implementation to enhance Manitoba supplier’s capabilities and productivity through manufacturing digitalization and continued Lean processes.

“The program aims to support economic growth by building resilient, world-class suppliers better able to serve customers around the world, as well as accelerating productivity and investment through advanced digital manufacturing,” says Ron Koslowsky, CME Vice President. “It will also build competencies to develop skills needed and attract new talent into rewarding manufacturing careers.”

While the pandemic significantly impacted Manitoba’s manufacturing sectors, those companies that efficiently produced the right products using leading technologies improved their market position by a wide margin.

Still, many manufacturing sub-sectors suffered because of broader supply chain issues that impacted supply or delivery. Between supply chain problems and trade protectionism from our biggest trade partner, the US, the manufacturing sector is being hit on multiple fronts.

Several recent studies have concluded that developing resilient domestic and nearshore supply chains and critical infrastructure for the movement of goods is fundamental to the continued success of the manufacturing sector.

Most manufacturing executives identify the lack of talent as their number one concern for business survivability in the future. That unease is growing with each year that passes. Canadian manufacturers cannot find the workers they need to keep their business running.

The manufacturing workforce is aging, and COVID-19 is prompting many to retire, taking with them manufacturing knowledge and the ability to train new workers. What’s more, manufacturers across all sectors are having difficulty attracting new entrants to the workforce.

Manufacturing needs competency development processes that appeal to younger workers and new entrants to the sector by providing work-relevant learning experiences that fit their perception of the world of work and enable incremental growth in skills throughout their careers.


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