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Saskatchewan manufacturers outline action plan to make the province a “preferred destination”


November 28, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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A new, five-point action plan released by the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council — a group of more than 35 industry executives — outlines a comprehensive strategy to “nurture the province as a preferred destination for manufacturers to locate, invest, export from, employ and grow.”

According to information released by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the plan — tabled during Saskatchewan Manufacturing Week — calls for new supports to boost productivity performance amid a growing skills gap, enhance the image of manufacturing, better align public investment with the needs of business, ensure a balanced approach to infrastructure renewal, and improve the climate for the sector’s overall competitiveness.

In 2012, manufacturing employed roughly 27,000 Saskatchewan residents, generating more than $14 billion in sales and close to $45 billion in total economic activity, the council said.

“These are more than just numbers; they tell a story of a sector at the forefront of global competition, innovation and technological change,” Derek Lothian, executive director of the council — an initiative launched earlier this year by the CME — said in a statement on the CME website. “The companies within it, however, are also competing with the world’s best. And to succeed, they require a business climate that is equally world-class.”

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One of the council’s 18 recommendations is the creation of a Saskatchewan Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, which aims to help companies capitalize on an estimated $1 billion in lost sales due to workforce deficiencies, and encourage more youth and First Nations to explore career opportunities in manufacturing. Other recommendations include: commit to a minimum required industry-related education curriculum for all students in grade six through grade 10, with an emphasis on providing innovative hands-on learning opportunities; provide incentives for manufacturers to better leverage public R&D in product or process commercialization efforts; and create 500 new apprenticeship spots by 2015. To see the full list of recommendations, download a copy of A Manufacturing Action Plan for Saskatchewan here