The Toronto chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) must be congratulated for their efforts to stop the bleeding of manufacturing jobs and, in fact, bring back many of those jobs that were moved off-shore to places like China. Their Take Back Manufacturing (TBM) initiative is long overdue, and hopefully not too late to save what is left of Ontario’s manufacturing sector. The SME must also be congratulated for having the courage to step forward and shine a light on a difficult subject that is highly politicised. But, having said that, can they really accomplish this extremely challenging objective? Yes they can, but what are the difficulties that must be overcome?To encourage the re-shoring of manufacturing jobs the SME have joined with other stakeholders to make the financial case by demonstrating that the economics of off-shoring may not work for many companies.
The numbers presented by SME certainly point to there being a strong economic case to bring back lost manufacturing jobs but there are massive roadblocks that must be overcome. Unfortunately these roadblocks are not ones that can be discussed, rationalized, and negotiated. They are not technical that can be easily put into a formula and the answer comes out. These are roadblocks that have been put in place by our political system and as such have very little chance of being overcome.
The major problems for manufacturers in Ontario, as has been discussed in this forum previously, are:
1) An ineffective Apprenticeship Program that is of little help to aspiring apprentices and to the many small manufacturers who would hire an apprentice but can’t.
2) The recent and planned increases to the cost of electricity at the rate of about 10% for the next few years, after which time our cost of electricity will have risen about 50% over a five year period.
3) Financially debilitating taxes such as WSIB (yes, this is a tax), EHT, and Source Deductions. These taxes are imposed on businesses whether they make any profit or not and can easily result in the acceleration of the destruction of a business.
Because these problems were created by Government it will be nearly impossible to have them corrected. The current Liberal government has not solved, and in fact worsened, these problems so it’s not reasonable to assume that they will be a part of the solution. None of the three major parties in Ontario have plans or strategies to adequately repair these problems because their platforms desperately depend on the revenue generated by them.
This is one of the major reasons why The Parkdale Party was created. A Party that has no ties or obligations to any influential organization. A Party that has the ability to collect the best ideas to use in attacking the problems without having to stay within existing party ideologies. A Party that recognizes that you can’t assume that businesses will stay in the Province if they are subjected to continuous interference and bad policies that are made for the sole purpose of getting re-elected.
The Parkdale Party supports and encourages the TBM initiative and will help in any way possible.