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Budget fails manufacturers … again

Budgeting is hard. As inflation rises and supply chains crack, it becomes even harder to play Nostradamus with your hard-earned money.

During the build up to a budget dropping, every industry sector and business type hopes for the kind of help only federal assistance can provide. Most recently, pandemic-related funding, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), were given priority. And rightly so.

But now it’s back to business-as-usual politicking. Pet projects, special interest groups, and flavours of the month like cleantech, semiconductors, and EVs all have their hands out while family-run manufacturers and other small and medium-sized shops stand quietly, hats in hand.

A lot of time, effort, and money is being peddled in this budget for “minerals.” Mineral rights, mineral supply chains, and mineral development are the stars of this budget. As China plays Pac-Man by gobbling up the world’s lithium mines, such as the recent acquisition of Canada-based Neo Lithium Corp. by China’s Zijin Mining Group, it’s definitely a priority.

But do priorities always have to come at the expense of something else?

According to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), Budget 2022 falls flat when it comes to the current labour shortage. The association said that this year’s budget did not offer any substantial measures to address ongoing and acute labour shortages in manufacturing, even though the sector is currently facing a record-high 81,000 job vacancies.

“The manufacturing sector faces two major challenges today that are hindering its ability to produce and sell products: supply chain disruptions and labour shortages,” said Dennis Darby, president/CEO of CME. “[The] budget offers important and helpful measures to stimulate innovation and implement and promote long-term economic growth and ease supply chain issues, but it fails to address labour shortages. This is a miss.”

Swing and a miss, says CME. Strong words from a trade association.

Labour issues aside, four positive measures came out of this budget for manufacturers:

  1. The government plans to cut taxes on small businesses.
  2. A review of the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program will occur.
  3. More than $84.2 million will be spent over four years on the Union Training and Innovation Program, which will help over 3,500 apprentices from underrepresented groups begin and progress in their skilled-trade careers.
  4. The Canada Growth Fund, given $15 billion over the next five years, is established to attract private sector investment in both new and traditional sectors, which obviously includes manufacturing.

After all, what’s more traditional than manufacturing? Agriculture, maybe, but that’s it.

“Now is the time for us to focus, with smart investments and a clarity of purpose, on growing our economy. That is what our government proposes to do. And this is how we propose to do it,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland.

I propose you don’t forget about manufacturing, a sector responsible for 10 per cent of the nation’s GDP.

Reposted from https://www.canadianmetalworking.com/canadianmetalworking/blog/management/budget-fails-manufacturers-again

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