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Ontario budget reflects economic challenges, highlights need for manufacturing strategy: CME

Published by Derek Lothian on March 27, 2012

Major cuts to public spending announced in today’s provincial budget are necessary to reflect ongoing challenges handcuffing economic growth, but fiscal restraint alone will not revitalize Ontario's manufacturing sector, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

While the minority government held the line on its plan to slash the $16 billion deficit, CME expressed concern in the general decline of business support programs, and encouraged policymakers to work closely with industry to implement legislation that minimizes barriers to success.

“The future of a vibrant Ontario economy hinges on manufacturing as the foundation for both job and wealth creation,” says Ian Howcroft, vice president, CME Ontario. “The province has many of the elements already in place for a comprehensive manufacturing strategy; now we need a concerted action plan to connect the dots.”

CME commended the government on its pledge to crackdown on counterfeit tobacco products and to address the private pension hardships companies are facing in light of poor market conditions.  

By offering temporary relief from pension solvency payments and allowing some use of financial mechanisms to cover deficiencies, employers can help ensure these plans remain sustainable.  

“We must ensure manufacturing is the key to unlocking this province’s growth,” says Howcroft.  “We will need all Ontarians – business leaders, unions, government and citizens – to join us as we chart our roadmap to prosperity.”

Manufacturing currently employs roughly 800,000 Ontario workers – or 12 per cent of the total labour force. In 2011, manufacturing sales climbed to $258 billion, up six per cent between January 2011 and January 2012 – one percentage point higher than the Canadian average. 

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