For Canadian manufacturers, the financial crisis was the culminating event of years of pain caused by the explosion of competition from China and other low-cost countries, the rise in the value of the dollar and soaring costs for raw materials.
Now, a Report on Business analysis of factory output data by Statistics Canada shows that Canada's manufacturing industry has two faces: one gloomy, the other hopeful. Among 20 industry subgroups, half showed sales declines from 2000-08, while sales in the other half are on the rise. The "expanding group" offers hope because it is made up of companies that are well positioned to exploit the growth areas in the world economy, such as petroleum, chemicals and food. The "contracting group" includes textiles, computers and electronics, and automobiles.
Does Canada need manufacturing for its economy to thrive? How can Canadian manufacturers adapt to a globalized world?
Mike Moffatt is a chemical industry consultant and a Lecturer in the Business, Economics and Public Policy (BEPP) group at the Richard Ivey School of Business. He answered questions on the future of manufacturing in Canada. To view a transcript of the discussion click on the Cover It Live box below.
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