What has happened to manufacturing in Ontario?

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With ever expanding government workforces at municipal (aka County's) and provincial levels, it's time for manufacturing to return to Ontario. Not only are government work forces expanding but those same governments are entering private business categories and competing directly against private businesses- fueled with tax payers money and a vested interest network. CP

With ever expanding government workforces at municipal (aka County’s) and provincial levels, it’s time for manufacturing to return to Ontario. Not only are government work forces expanding but those same governments are entering private business categories and competing directly against private businesses- fueled with tax payers money and a vested interest network. CP

 

Ontario is in trouble. It took over 60 years for Detroit to lose 270,000 manufacturing jobs – Ontario has lost 300,000 in the last 10 years alone. As with the devastation in bankrupt Detroit, those lost factory jobs aren’t coming back. We have to work hard to create 300,000 new ones.

Closed plants, lost jobs and families struggling to survive are the inevitable outcome of runaway power costs, overregulation and a failure of government to understand what entrepreneurs need to succeed.

In the last few years, Ontario has lost its way. We have become a province of smaller dreams and bigger government. While our economy has limped along, government spending has raced ahead.

 

As governments grow and expand into new territories and endeavors, they infringe on private business growth. Case in point- publishing. In Ontario municipalities (aka County) are in the publishing business. Using tax payers money and government grants to publish guides and maps and then selling advertisements to private business- directly competing with private publishing companies. The government publication also benefits from a self-ruled network of community contacts. CP

As governments grow and expand into new territories and endeavors, they infringe on private business growth. Case in point- publishing. In Ontario municipalities (aka County) are in the publishing business. Using tax payers money and government grants to publish guides and maps and then selling advertisements to private business- directly competing with private publishing companies. The government publication also benefits from a self-ruled network of community contacts. CP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past decade Ontario has experienced extraordinary economic decline.

The facts speak for themselves: 600,000 people unemployed, rapidly escalating energy prices, historic deficits and a doubling of the provincial debt that will both stifle job creation and burden future generations.

Our province has had a higher unemployment rate than the national average for 69 consecutive months. The provincial credit rating has been downgraded. Once-mighty Ontario is now considered a have-not province and receives equalization payments from the federal government.

We as a province have been experiencing a net loss of leading global companies for a number of reasons.

Ontario can’t afford a future where money desperately needed to invest in productivity and job creation is spent instead on power bills that have become dramatically higher simply because of government decree.

Although Ontario has high unemployment, there are still good jobs going unfilled because of outdated apprenticeship rules. Current tax system is a complex net of arbitrary rules that discourage productivity-enhancing investments. government regulations have become growth industry in Ontario, one that creates jobs for bureaucrats, but not jobs in the private sector. The public sector is important, but it’s easy to forget that 8 out of 10 of all jobs are in the private sector.

 

Second only to Quebec, Ontario has a 'lion's share' of Equalization payments. It's a sign of economic turmoil. image: canoe.ca

Second only to Quebec, Ontario has a ‘lion’s share’ of Equalization payments. It’s a sign of economic turmoil. image: canoe.ca

 

Manufacturers can’t compete in the global market if they can’t get their products out the factory door in a timely way. Better roads and rapid transit are required across Ontario, but especially in the GTA and Hamilton.

 

Ontario’s manufacturers still face considerable barriers to trade within their own country.

For example, every province has its own rules and regulations for trucking.

 

The debate in Ontario should not be about whether we will or won’t have a manufacturing sector. We must have manufacturing. Ontarians need the good jobs manufacturing creates. These are real jobs that create demand for other real jobs throughout the economy because of manufacturing’s demand for goods, services and raw materials. That’s how you build an economy, not with subsidies to hire workers that businesses don’t need.

 

Getting manufacturing back on its feet in Ontario requires not just a single change, but a combination of policies working together – taxation policy, energy and labour policy and deregulation. We are the manufacturing heartland of this continent, and always will be.

 

Manufacturing is a business of the future, not the past. Anyone who thinks otherwise just hasn’t been paying attention to the world economy. We have to move more quickly to get a piece of that action. This is the opportunity Ontario must seize, but the world isn’t going to sit still and wait for us.   For the Silo, MPP Toby Barrett.

Supplemental– Economy Ontario-Have Not Province  http://www.mowatcentre.ca/opinions.php?opinionID=77

Ontario Ombudsman Office- No power over MASH sector including Municipalities http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Home.aspx

 

 

1 Comment to What has happened to manufacturing in Ontario?

  1. Toby Barrett

    There is hope to bring back – ‘Made in Ontario’

    A thriving manufacturing sector is vital to Ontario’s future. Advanced manufacturing is returning to North America, driven by rising transportation costs and increasing wages in other competing countries.

    Advanced manufacturing involves much more than assembling products. It creates jobs in design, advertising, customer service and global marketing. Combine these services with Ontario’s strong telecommunications and financial sectors, and you have a series of advantages that can’t be offset by the inexpensive labour of Asia and Latin America.

    But Ontario’s manufacturers require a government that will ensure power rates are competitive; that the provincial transportation system works well; that our schools and colleges educate people for the workplace of the twenty-first century, and that the regulations government imposes encourage competition, not deter it.

    In the United States, we are seeing major corporations bring home production from abroad because they need highly-skilled workers, and because they want to produce their goods closer to their customers. Even Chinese companies are starting to make their products in North America. Here in Ontario, we need a dedicated effort to seek out and to help facilitate companies to relocate and return home.

    Fortunately, things are looking up for North American manufacturing.

    A contributing factor is the rise of the global consuming class. Rapidly expanding economies in Asia and Latin America are not just competitors, they are customers.

    Another thing driving a rebirth in North American manufacturing is the discovery of large quantities of inexpensive natural gas. Shale gas is nothing short of a game changer for Ontario manufacturing because it not only provides lower-cost power and heating, but is also a feedstock vital to the production of pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and chemicals.

    In order to support competitive, high-quality businesses, government requires fair policies on trade, taxes, regulations, power costs, infrastructure, education and labour rules. Companies in Ontario are being held back due to red tape and paperwork, as they attempt to invest in new technologies, heavy machinery, factories and software applications. We must ensure rules and regulations to produce a publicly-useful outcome.

    We must aggressively push for more international and interprovincial free trade in order to open new opportunities for Ontario’s manufacturers and other businesses. As a start, Ontario should join the New West Partnership Agreement with Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

    The real debate is not about whether manufacturing has a future in Ontario – it’s about the steps we must take to seize the opportunities.

    Ontario has all the raw materials needed to forge a modern, dynamic economy. If we tackle our current economic problems with the full force of our abilities and ingenuity, Ontario will be the best place in the world to invest, work and start a business.

    We can rebuild our economy for the twenty-first century and create a strong, growing and confident middle class. In Ontario we are blessed with the greatest resource of all – people. We must harness the knowledge, ideas, hard work and ingenuity of Ontarians which will ultimately take us back to the top.

    Ontario does have the resources and the geographic location to succeed. The challenge is to turn all of this into jobs, and that won’t happen without a strong manufacturing sector.

    Manufacturing is destined for a bright future in North America. Ontario will always build things, make things, and fix things. Let’s bring back, “Made in Ontario”.
    MPP Toby Barrett Aug 2, 2013

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