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Federal budget boosts Canadian manufacturing, economic competitiveness

Friday March 22, 2013 Written by  PEM Staff
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) both applaud the federal budget tabled yesterday by the Government of Canada that positions manufacturing and skills training as a top priority “and paves the way for a stronger, more competitive economy for all Canadians,” according to the CME. The 2013 Economic Action Plan responds directly to the priority issues of Canada’s manufacturing sector championed by CME, most notably an extension of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance through 2015, investing in the aerospace and automotive sectors, supporting advanced manufacturing projects in southern Ontario and measures to close the skills gap. “The federal budget sends an important signal,” says CME president and CEO Jayson Myers. “It positions manufacturing and exporting at the heart of Canada’s Economic Action Plan by focusing on practical steps that will enhance competitiveness, productivity, innovation, and business growth.” Canada’s manufacturers and exporters can expect to realize more than $4.5 billion in direct benefits over the next four years as a result of targeted measures in the budget, CME estimates. Some of these benefits come in the form of $1.4 billion in tax relief for a two-year extension of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance, $200 million over five years for a new Advanced Manufacturing Fund in Ontario, $1.8 billion over six years for direct grants to employers for workforce training, $92 million over two years for forestry innovation, and $1 billion over five years for aerospace development. What may the future of manufacturing in Canada look like with renewed support? “These investments in advancing technology and workforce development, coupled with tax relief and accelerated depreciation will equip manufacturers with the tools they need to be globally competitive,” reiterates Debbie Holton, director of industry strategy and events with the SME. “Canadian manufacturers are innovative, resourceful and productive—this government support should help them respond to global pressures and emerge as world leaders in industry. Ideally, more manufacturing businesses will be created, manufacturing output and GDP will increase and many more rewarding and lucrative careers begun, as Canada’s best and brightest choose ‘making things’ as their field.” “This is very good news for companies creating jobs in Canada, investing in our communities, and developing and selling world-class products and services around the world,” Myers notes. “The budget recognizes the importance of manufacturing and exporting for each and every Canadian, as an anchor of high-value, high-paying jobs in all parts of the country and across all sectors of the economy.” Attracting young people to careers in manufacturing is important. “Manufacturing is a knowledge industry where creativity is valued and future generations have new ideas that should be explored,” Holton says. “They will be the innovators of tomorrow and it’s important to utilize that ingenuity in the industrial base. Manufacturing jobs are lucrative with workers earning higher salaries in manufacturing careers—and with baby boomers retiring, there will be a definite need for young people to support manufacturing output and innovation in the years to come.” The SME says the 2013 Economic Action plan supports this in two ways: 1) The Job Grant of $1.8 billion will provide workforce-training opportunities for young people and, consequently, career growth. 2) The Advanced Manufacturing Fund will promote innovation and technology research. These discoveries will reveal the true nature of advanced manufacturing as a technologically intensive industry with advanced processes and digital/IT influences that will attract future minds to the field. More than 1.8 million Canadians are currently employed in our manufacturing sector generating 14 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). Every dollar in manufacturing output drives $3.50 in overall economic activity. “Canada’s manufacturers and exporters are at the forefront of global competition and innovation,” says Myers. “The business is rapidly changing with new customers, new competitors, new technologies, and new skills requirements. This budget will make a real difference in helping our manufacturers and exporters compete and win in global markets.”

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