As Agriculture and Agri-Food ministers across the country prepare to meet in Guelph, Ont., to discuss key issues facing the industry, Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada (AMC) calls on federal minister Marie-Claude Bibeau to prioritize support for the agricultural manufacturing workforce and address supply chain and innovation issues.
“The continued success of Canada’s agricultural equipment manufacturing sector depends on its workforce — from engineering, finance and high-tech workers to those developing innovative IP and the skilled workers manufacturing products that help to reduce carbon and feed the world,” says AMC president Donna Boyd. “Our members have identified the urgent need to attract and retain talent in the agricultural equipment manufacturing sector as a top priority that will allow these small and medium-sized businesses to continue growing.”
Minister Bibeau recently acknowledged that “the labor shortage is essentially a big, big issue.” As such, AMC strongly urges the the federal government to work with industry and other levels of government to address serious labor shortages in the agricultural equipment manufacturing sector by expanding the Step Up to the Plate initiative to include agricultural manufacturers; prioritizing the work of the recently established agricultural sector skills development table; and fast-tracking immigration applications that help address labor shortages in the sector.
Additionally, resilient and stable supply chains are critical to maintaining Canada’s competitiveness. Two key barriers that need to be addressed are disruptions in international supply chains and infrastructure issues that prevent getting goods to new markets. Canadian manufacturers require predictable supply chains and fair prices for essential commodities to build the products that strengthen our economic fabric. A strong infrastructure network also allows our high-quality Canadian-made goods and products to move quickly across the world.
“North American manufacturers are facing critical supply chain disruptions — including shortages and soaring prices — that threaten their ability to get cost-effective products to market and secure well-paying jobs,” said AMC member Cor Lodder, a director at Walinga Inc, headquartered in Guelph, Ont. “Our sector produces the highest quality and most sought-out equipment in the world. Canada’s agricultural equipment manufacturing sector is a key contributor to economic recovery and growth.”
Canadian agricultural manufacturers, the majority of which are SMEs, export more than $2.4 billion a year in agricultural implements to 149 countries. Innovation in the sector is crucial to addressing many of the challenges Canadians face, especially in a post-pandemic economy — from climate change to food production. In order to foster more Canadian innovation in the agricultural manufacturing sector, AMC recommends the following:
- Extend the Capital Cost Allowance deduction on manufacturing equipment;
- Update the Copyright Act to reflect today’s technology; and
- Improve the portion of carbon tax revenues being rebated to SMEs in provinces where the federal carbon tax regime applies.
“Our members are ready and capable of strengthening and expanding Canada’s innovative economic capacity as we recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” says Boyd. “We look forward to working with the federal government on tackling the challenges the agricultural manufacturing sector faces and ensuring that we continue to bring Canadian innovation to the world.”