Battered by the direst effects of the global oil shock, Canada’s manufacturing sector has clearly seen better days, losing thousands of full-time jobs over the past few years. However, in a recent keynote statement, CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said that better times are ahead for this segment, and for the country’s per capita purchasing power at large.
“Consumers in emerging markets like China want the high quality, brand name products that are produced in the United States and that's causing a rebirth in U.S. manufacturing,” he said in his speech, as quoted by the Toronto Sun
Tal noted that this development points at the possibility of a generous windfall for Ontario, one of the regions most affected by the slump in manufacturing and petroleum.
“Canada needs to integrate into this,” Tal said. “We need to stop studying and start acting.”
He suggested that the most feasible way to begin this turnaround would be improving the competitiveness of manufacturing firms by ensuring that a greater number of potential workers are sufficiently trained in the skilled trades.
“Canada is the most educated nation in the OECD but there are significant labour market mismatches with jobs without people and people without jobs. We need to do a better job of matching education to the job market,” Tal explained.
The economist added that closer collaboration between the industry and the academe would stimulate better participation in the job market.
“Similar to what's happening in Germany, we need joint programs to close the skills gap in a significant way,” he said.