Darby and Fedeli: The Importance of Celebrating Ontario Made

October 29, 2020

For generations, Ontario’s strong manufacturing sector has secured our role as the economic engine of Canada and provided well-paying jobs and a high quality of life for workers and their families. It has put our province at the forefront of innovation and presented endless opportunities for our continued growth and prosperity.

While much of Canada’s economic activity stopped at the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, most Ontario manufacturers continued to operate. They stepped up to the plate to meet the need for essential supplies when we needed it most.

Many manufacturers ramped up or shifted production in response to the crisis to make more food, personal protective equipment, and other health-care products.

Now, rather than asking what is made in Ontario, the question has become: Why are more things not made in Ontario? Our manufacturers are clearly the key to our economic recovery and our preparedness for future challenges.

Consider these numbers — they tell quite a story.

In 2019, the manufacturing sector in Ontario directly accounted for over 12% of the province’s economy, with over $300 billion in annual shipments, and nearly $200 billion in exports.

More importantly, the sector represents over 750,000 workers and supports their families and communities through stable, high-skill, and high-wage jobs.

Just look at how manufacturing contributed to the Ontario economy. In September alone, manufacturing jobs increased by 51,700 jobs, meaning that 17,000 more people now work in manufacturing than pre-COVID. The Ontario government’s vision of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the province is working, even in the midst of a pandemic.

The government’s support of CME’s Ontario Made program sends a strong message to the people of Ontario that manufacturing matters once again to this province. Manufactured goods, parts, components, ingredients, and materials are what we sell to the world with pride.

By working together to promote Ontario-made products, we can generate billions for the provincial economy, support good-paying domestic jobs, and ensure Ontario is ready for the future.

Now is the time for action. It’s time for us to stand up and celebrate Ontario manufacturers, Ontario workers, and Ontario-made products. It is also time for us to work together — across the country — to continue to build the framework to emerge from this crisis in a strong position to build a foundation for growth and prosperity.

— Dennis Darby is President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and Vic Fedeli is Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

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