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Widespread optimism, looming investment and labour concerns highlight need for Canadian manufacturing action plan: Survey

Published by Derek Lothian on October 18, 2012

Lacklustre government investment policy and mounting skills shortages are dampening an otherwise glowing outlook for manufacturers over the next 3-5 years, according to the results of a new survey released today by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

The study, led in conjunction with Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) and BDO Canada, polled 649 companies across the country, and found that while manufacturers are optimistic about their prospects for growth, they remain concerned with the lack of a cohesive national strategy to address their top challenges. Roughly three in four respondents indicated they expect a rise in profitability by 2015; another 77 per cent, meanwhile, anticipate production volumes will increase over the same timeframe.

"Canadian manufacturers continue to battle tough economic conditions, ongoing labour strains, soaring costs, and increased competition in primary markets," explains CME President & CEO, Jayson Myers. "But they see the opportunity, both here at home and around the world. It's now up to policymakers to ensure businesses can access those opportunities, create good, high-paying jobs, and invest in their futures."

In the study, CME outlined five core priorities to establish a world-class manufacturing sector in Canada, including strengthened support for productivity and investment attraction, immediate steps to bridge the skills gap, and a reduction in the regulatory burden. CME also called for enhanced integration with the United States and a continued focus on trade agreements that eliminate barriers for manufacturers to enter new markets.

"Canadian manufacturing – particularly of foods, beverages and consumer goods – has the potential to be an even greater economic driver," says FCPC President & CEO, Nancy Croitoru. "But to fulfill that potential, it must be a strategic priority for all levels of government. We need to improve locally, grow globally, and continue capitalizing on the strengths of our people, our natural resources, and our stable economy."

The survey, conducted between May 22 and July 1, polled Canadian manufacturers and their suppliers on the current and projected state of several key business conditions, such as relations with foreign markets, taxes and finance, and human resources. It has a margin of error of 3.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

"These results reinforce what we've been hearing and help us better understand the emerging industry issues faced by companies large and small," says Joseph Gipp, partner and national manufacturing leader with BDO Canada. "This information is invaluable in assisting businesses and governments to develop a strategy to compete and win in Canada and in the global arena."

To download a copy of the full survey, visit http://bit.ly/ManagementIssues.

To download a copy of the "Manufacturing our future: A manufacturing action plan for Canada," please click here

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For more information, contact:

Derek Lothian
National Manager, Communications
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Tel: 613-296-2156
E-mail: derek.lothian@cme-mec.ca

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