Manufacturing: The Core of Ontario’s Economic Plan

Jane Taber

The recent Speech from the Throne placed manufacturing at the core of the Government of Ontario’s economic agenda – exactly where it belongs. The province reiterated a solid commitment to an Ontario Made recovery that focuses on finding the workers we desperately need and mitigating the crushing effects of inflation on business investment. An essential part of this recovery is establishing a comprehensive, advanced manufacturing strategy and an economic council to support it. CME looks forward to working with the government and our members on implementing this vital budget commitment.

The essential nature of manufacturing and its strong contribution to funding critical services like healthcare and education has been strongly acknowledged by all political parties at all levels of government in Canada. The actions have been strong – lowering taxes, directly supporting investment, focusing on workforce development, investing in infrastructure, and attempting to reduce red tape and the regulatory burden – all are called for and fully supported by CME and our network. These actions have early positive outcomes with massive investments in new electric vehicle and battery production and transitioning to clean steel, to name just a few in recent months. However, despite the actions of governments and investments from companies, Ontario remains unprepared for what’s next and unable to capitalize fully on future opportunities.

The most concerning trend is the persistent struggle to attract investment. Despite recent victories for the province, we remain near the bottom of the OECD new capital to the sector. Over the past five years, the US received twenty-three times the investment that Canada did, while Mexico received ten times. Investment increases manufacturing output, employment, exports, environmental performance, and prosperity. A lack of investment leads to outdated, inefficient, uncompetitive, and shrinking companies.

CME believes that Ontario has a bright future with great opportunities in manufacturing and exporting products worldwide. Ontario is uniquely qualified to capitalize on global shifts, including an aging and growing population, an increasing sense of environmental and social responsibility, and ongoing technological transformations. These changes open new opportunities if the province is focused on the solutions and creating the right conditions for success. It will not happen by accident. Success will only happen if there is a strong partnership and shared goals between the government and the sector.

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