Manufacturers meet with industry minister on supply chain

by Emily Atkins

The Canadian Manufacturing Coalition (CMC) met with industry minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne on Friday, stressing the need for urgent government action on the triple threat of supply chain bottlenecks, labour shortages and trade protectionism.

In addition, the CMC asked Minister Champagne to start immediately working with the U.S. to reverse the vaccine mandate for cross border truckers, which is already causing major disruptions to integrated North American manufacturing.

The CMC represents over 30 manufacturing trade associations and is chaired by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

“We thank Minister Champagne for sitting down with manufacturers to talk about the supply chain problems that are plaguing Canadian manufacturers and already affecting the availability of food and goods for Canadians across the country,” said CMC chairman Dennis Darby, president and CEO of CME.

“This is a good first step, but now we need to see concrete action by the government to start addressing these challenges, starting with reversing the trucker vaccine mandate.”

Darby emphasized to the minister that Canadian consumers and manufacturers are facing the same problem.

“We can’t get the goods we need because of the supply chain bottlenecks made worse by the trucker vaccine mandate. Our manufacturers can’t operate, and Canadians are seeing empty shelves, added Darby.

The CMC also discussed the ongoing labour shortage, which is becoming more dire by the absenteeism caused by the Omicron variant.

“Between supply chain problems, labour shortages, and trade protectionism from our biggest trade partner, the US, our sector is being hit on multiple fronts. We need government to help relieve pressure by avoiding policies that make the situation worse and to help us get the workers we need,” said Darby.

Canadian manufacturers will keep working with the government to address these challenges as the pandemic has shown the importance of manufacturing to Canada.

“We want to strengthen our sector and see it grow so it can continue to drive our economy. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with government to achieve that goal,” Darby said.