Inflation and Labour Shortages Remain High for Manufacturers

Jane Taber

Statistics Canada released two economic benchmark numbers, which showed inflation dropped slightly this month to 7% from 7.6%. At the same time, job shortages in manufacturing hit another record high of 85,870 in the second quarter, up from 85,480 in the first quarter. These figures come as Canada’s economy is still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic amid predictions of a mild recession in 2023.

“Today’s numbers show us that much more work needs to be done to address these troubling numbers, and the work needs to be done right now,” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME. “Although these figures show the Bank of Canada’s actions in raising interest rates are helping, manufacturers need more help, and they need it now.”

CME has asked the government to address four key priorities to help Canadian manufacturers.

  • Fix supply chain disruptions
  • Enact effective measures to spur business investment
  • A strategy to support small and medium-sized businesses transition to net zero emissions.
  • Address the labour shortage

The government needs to do more to fix the labour shortage issue. In a members’ survey conducted by CME in November, manufacturers identified this issue as a key problem for them. To deal with this, CME has long pushed for more immigration, including increasing the economic class of immigrants.

The survey also noted supply chain disruptions as manufacturers’ top challenges as the country recovers from the pandemic. The report recognized, too, that shortages are most common in general labour and skilled production positions, such as welders and machinists. As a result, 42% of Canada’s manufacturers have either paid penalties or lost work because of labour shortages. These issues hamper the sector’s ability to meet demand and deliver products to its customers.

In addition, to addressing challenges around labour shortages and supply chain disruptions, CME is asking the government to create a more favourable environment for business investment. Its fourth priority is for government to articulate strategies to support manufacturers, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, with their transition to net zero emissions.

“These are our key priorities for government,” said Darby. “Without action now, without any strategy or plan, Canada’s manufacturers will fall behind on the global stage, further dragging down our economy as we are trying to recover after the two-year pandemic.”

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