Tabled five-point plan tailored to growing industry through both industry-, government-led initiatives
REGINA—Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) is pushing for “a comprehensive strategy to nurture” Saskatchewan as a place manufacturers want to do business—and the association has some ideas to make that happen.
Released by its Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council, CME released a five-point action plan tailored to growing the industry in the province through both industry- and government-led initiatives.
The plan, tabled during Saskatchewan Manufacturing Week, calls for new supports to boost productivity performance amid a growing skills gap, enhance the image of manufacturing, better align public investment with the needs of business, ensure a balanced approach to infrastructure renewal and improve the climate for the sector’s overall competitiveness.
In 2012, according to CME, manufacturing employed roughly 27,000 Saskatchewan residents, generating more than $14-billion in sales and close to $45-billion in total economic activity.
“These are more than just numbers; they tell a story of a sector at the forefront of global competition, innovation and technological change,” council executive director Derek Lothian said in a statement. “The companies within it however are also competing with the world’s best. And to succeed, they require a business climate that is equally world-class.”
In A Manufacturing Action Plan for Saskatchewan: Five Steps to Drive Investment, Improve Competitiveness and Create Jobs, the council and CME outline 18 recommendations, including the creation of a centre of manufacturing excellence—something Premier Brad Wall announced last month.
The proposed centre aims to help companies capitalize on an estimated $1-billion in lost sales due to workforce deficiencies and encourage more youth and First Nations to explore career opportunities in manufacturing.
Other recommendations from the council and CME contained in its plan are:
“The reality is that other jurisdictions are moving aggressively to develop their value-added manufacturing base and create high-paying jobs,” Lothian said, pointing out that the sector pays wages, on average, 15 per cent higher than the provincial average.
“These are the types of jobs driving our communities—both urban and rural. Saskatchewan manufacturers have the products, the ingenuity and the passion to the lead the world; our job is to ensure they have to tools they need to make that happen.”