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Manufacturing Matters to Canada, so do Partnerships South of our Border

 Martin Lavoie








By Martin Lavoie
Director, Manufacturing Policy
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Did you know that the US is Canada’s largest export partner by a significant stretch? With more than 76% of total exports in 2014, shipments to the US were valued at more than $403 billion. By comparison, the next-closest export destination for Canada is China, at $19.4 billion. The close relationship and interdependence between Canada and the US may surprise many in the manufacturing marketplace, but the examples illustrate how both countries enjoy mutual success.

As Canada looks to improve its productivity on the global stage, there are some key tactics that will help speed this process. Take these three steps as an example:

First, manufacturers must work together. One voice has little impact, but the voice of an entire country’s sector speaking together can really make things happen. Finding and understanding common ground is crucial to this process, and building partnerships is key to being successful.
Manufacturing Matters to Canada
Second, we must understand what Canadian manufacturers can bring to global markets. Building partnerships with the various sectors of the economy, such as business, academia or government and trade associations offers different expertise that can help build the understanding needed to compete internationally.

Third, working cooperatively with other countries, we discover how and where advantageous partnerships can exist, creating a healthy and competitive manufacturing sector right here in Canada.

Incorporating the abovementioned process is how a partnership was created between CME and SME. Here are some results born of this partnership and how it’s had a positive influence on the Canadian manufacturing sector.
CME knows that Canadian manufacturers’ capabilities are often unrecognized for their exceptional contributions and global leadership in using advanced manufacturing processes. As such, CME and SME partnered to deliver the Advanced Manufacturing Canada event, held in Montreal this past November, to help share awareness of this crucial sector.

Advanced Manufacturing Canada, which returns in the fall of 2016 in Toronto, offers the Canadian manufacturing community a focused, two-day conference and exhibition on advanced manufacturing technologies, including automation and robotics, additive manufacturing/3D printing, materials and software. CME and SME are working together to deliver these types of events that showcase the contributions and knowhow of Canadian manufacturers all in one place. By demonstrating what Canada is capable of, we can build the much-needed momentum to compete globally.

In achieving our second stage, the third becomes about relationships. An example of this is trade missions to other countries. By making our products, skills and developments available throughout the globe, Canada can redefine its role on an international level.

Currently, Canada Makes, a CME initiative, is working with SME to offer its Additive Manufacturing Certificate Program. This type of certification will help Canadian industry recognize a workers’ proficiency in delivering products using additive manufacturing. Canada Makes and Mohawk College are in partnership to develop training that will allow participants to receive this certification in Canada.

To stay successful through tumultuous economic times, measures taken by industry must ensure that the world recognizes the value of investing in Canada. With the Canadian dollar at its lowest rate in many years, plenty of opportunities exist for Canadian manufacturers. Exporting should be rife for expansion, especially in the US market. As the global markets begin to consider Canadian imports, exporters need to be knocking on their doors showcasing their world-class products.


SME’s co-sponsored FABTECH Canada event will once again take place in Toronto at the Toronto Congress Centre, March 22–24. Attendees at Canada’s largest fabricating, welding, metal forming and finishing event can expect:
An opening keynote from Ret. Major-General David Fraser, COO of INKAS Armored Vehicle Manufacturing. In his keynote speech, “Leadership, Strategy and Innovation in the Manufacturing Business,” Fraser will cover the impact of factors pertaining to the Canadian market, including its size, oil price and Canadian dollar, relationship between the West (resources) and East (manufacturing base).

A new education program with 20+ targeted technical, operational, economic and managerial sessions, and workshops on cutting, finishing, forming and fabricating, management, job-shop solutions, stamping, welding, and tube and pipe.

Additional details, cost to attend and registration are available at

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This article was first published in the March 2016 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Read "Manufacturing Matters to Canada, so do Partnerships South of the Border" as a PDF.

Published Date : 3/1/2016

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