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Manufacturing--The Wayne Gretzky of Canada's Economy

Sarah A. Webster

By Sarah A. Webster
Editor in Chief


Manufacturing is “the Wayne Gretzky” of Canada’s economy, and policy makers should be doing a better job protecting it.

That was the message from Sandra Pupatello, director of business and global markets at PwC, who gave the opening keynote at the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show today.

The show, being held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, is slated to run through Thursday, Oct. 3.

Pupatello, a native of Windsor, which is a leading manufacturing center in Ontario, previously served as the Minister of Economic Development and Trade. She also leads the economic development agency for Windsor-Essex.

“It’s striking to see how strong we are,” when it comes to manufacturing, Pupatello told a crowd this morning. “We took a hit for sure but we’re also coming back strong.”

And while Canada has been focused economically on developing mining in Ontario, Pupatello put that development in perspective, saying mining in Alberta was worth $71 billion CDN, versus $79 billion CDN in Ontario for manufacturing.

“We need a little respect,” she said, calling manufacturing “the dominant player” in Canada’s economy. “We are the Wayne Gretzky of the economy, and don’t let anyone forget that. You protect your best player.”

She also shared results of several recent surveys that showed:

The most pressing challenges companies face:

  • Maintaining market share, 56%
  • Canadian dollar strength, 47%
  • Attract retail labor, 46%
  • Global economic conditions, 41%

The most important factor in making investment decisions:

  • Strength of local markets, 45%
  • Availability of skilled labor, 35%
  • Labor costs, 33%

“We can do better,” Pupatello said, pointing out the fact Canada has lagged in securing international trade agreements relative to other countries, such as the United States, on which Canada’s manufacturing is highly dependent.

To that end, she called the new International Bridge being developed between Windsor and Ontario a major infrastructure improvement that will enhance the business case for Canadian manufacturing.

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Published Date : 9/30/2013

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