This COVID-19 pandemic and the energy downturn has hit the economy hard, including the manufacturing sector. Alberta’s manufacturers have global supply chains that have been disrupted, their customer bases have shrunk, and they have been working with their employees and their families to keep them safe.
The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that we must strengthen and support our manufacturing sector here at home, in Alberta. To do this we must raise the awareness of products made here in the province to give consumers the opportunity to choose Alberta-made goods and build brand loyalty.
Alberta manufacturers make so many world class products, it makes your head spin. From gourmet pet food and high fashion to world class metal products and electronics, you’d be surprised to learn how much we can purchase right here in Alberta.
Canadian Manufactures & Exporters (CME) has been running a program in Newfoundland and Labrador under the name “Manufactured Right Here” for decades. The CME Newfoundland and Labrador Manufactured Right Here program has been universally adopted across the province. Manufacturers of all sizes and sectors such as PepsiCo and Molson proudly display the Manufactured Right Here NL label.
CME has also partnered with the Ontario government to establish “Ontario Made” – a program that certifies products as local to that province and label them as such as well as providing an online portal that enables users to easily find local sources for a range of products. There are currently 2,500 manufacturers listed in the database.
In a recent poll by Leger, 69 per cent of Albertans currently try to purchase Canadian-made products often. Due to the pandemic, 54 per cent of Albertans will try more often to purchase Canadian-made products. The desire is there. Now we must help Albertans understand which products are made in Alberta.
It’s time to launch an “Alberta Made” campaign that would help manufacturers proudly label their products as locally made and connect them with buyers eager to bring their supply chains closer to home.
It appears the Alberta government is interested in something along these lines. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development is consulting with stakeholders on a campaign to promote Alberta-made food products. This is great, but they shouldn’t stop there. While food processing is a critical industry in Alberta and a great strength, there’s so much more we can do.
We should be connecting oil and gas companies and major utilities with local machine shops and equipment manufacturers so they can potentially reduce their reliance on sources in Asia or Europe. We should be promoting and celebrating local success stories like Argus Machine, Stream-Flo and Hoisting Overhead Cranes.
The model exists and Alberta should get working to help Albertans bring their supply chains home. Let’s support Alberta-made products.
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is the voice of Canadian manufacturing. CME represents more than 2,500 companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.