Association part of a coalition that met with federal industry minister
The CKCA recently participated with a manufacturers’ advocacy group that pressed concerns about labour shortages in Canada with the federal government. In January, the CKCA executive director Sandra Wood took part in a video conference meeting with the federal industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who assured the group its concerns were recognized. CKCA is pivoting from this meeting to advance the labour concerns of the advanced wood manufacturing industry.
CKCA is one of 30 manufacturing trade associations that comprise the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition (CMC). The association became involved with this coalition as a result of its working relationship and alliance with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
In the meeting with minister Champagne, the CMC stressed the need for urgent government action on the triple threat of supply chain bottlenecks, labour shortages, and trade protectionism. The minister heard from a number of manufacturing industry leaders including automotive, steel, food, and pharmaceuticals. Dennis Darby, the president and CEO of CME and also the chair of the CMC emphasized that all manufacturing industries are facing the same problems. One of the points raised in the coalition’s presentations was the need for a formal federal strategy to support Canadian manufacturers.
Minister Champagne appeared receptive to the CMC’s presentations and stated he recognized the many issues challenging manufacturers. In retrospect, Darby thought the meeting was useful, “This is a good first step, but now we need to see concrete action by the government to start addressing these challenges… 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.”
The CMC, CKCA included, will continue to work with the minister’s office and government officials to address manufacturing concerns. It is imperative that manufacturers continue to dialogue with government and share data and news of how global and domestic events are impacting their industries.
The CKCA recognizes the immediate need to compile data on the advanced wood manufacturing industry. To advance its arguments for more responsive labour policies and government programs, the association must develop an informative picture of the current state of its labour shortage situation. It is working with the Canadian Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario (another member of the CMC) and other aligned organizations to gather data and develop the compelling arguments. The CKCA Advocacy Committee is contributing to this ongoing work that will eventually be part of the CMC presentation.
“This is important ground work that CKCA is undertaking to help our industry meet its labour shortage needs,” observes Sandra Wood. “We must leverage our alliances, as Canadian manufacturers of all kinds are experiencing the same problems and working towards similar resolutions. A reliable, skilled labour pool is a must for Canada’s economic growth.”