CNC Laser cutting of metal, modern industrial technology.

Industrial manufacturing remains an important part of the Canadian economy, despite fierce competition from lower-cost manufacturers in developing economies. Ontario and Québec remain the key manufacturing provinces with respect to automotive and aerospace production while wood products, extraction equipment and agricultural machinery form the bulk of production in the Prairies and in the West.

Canadian manufacturers can establish and maintain their competitiveness through innovation, high value-add and efficiency. New technologies like artificial intelligence are reshaping the sector, increasing automation, agility and efficiency in and manufacturing processes. This transformation extends well beyond the shop floor; it impacts the IT infrastructure (along with the ever-growing use of data to drive better decision-making), company personnel and relationships with suppliers and customers. Many manufacturers chose to outsource certain processes to offshore partners, decreasing cost but introducing logistic and contractual challenges.

Those manufacturers that successfully overcome these challenges and deliver their product to the market often have to find their customers outside of Canada. Canada’s relatively small population makes exports necessary, but its traditional key trading partnership with the United States can also present fresh challenges. New regulations in the areas of taxation or financing can put additional pressure on your company while making firms south of the border more competitive. Trade disputes, including “buy local” campaigns, exacerbate uncertainty and create difficulty for export-oriented producers.

Many companies suffered shocks to their supply chain in recent years, curtailing their ability to source, produce and distribute product. Some, like chemical manufacturers, were able to leverage their core offerings to produce goods that spiked in demand. Others re-tooled their facilities to respond to changes in demand and general market volatility.

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Domtar in its $3 billion acquisition by Paper Excellence

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Industrial Products & Services continues to hover at the middle of the pack for representation of women on boards and as executive officers, according to our Diversity Disclosure Practices report.

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How we can help

Osler draws on our national platform of experts to help you navigate the many issues that impact the manufacturing sector, including the complexities of technological change, intellectual property, supply chain resilience, the labour market and industry-specific regulations. Our unique “one-firm” approach means clients can access advice pertaining to all aspects of their manufacturing business, leveraging our extensive experience in supply chain litigation and deep knowledge of labour and employment relations.

We have advised manufacturers of all sizes on their most business-critical business issues. Our interdisciplinary team has assisted them with complex transactions, restructuring, trade regulation and cross-border issues. We can help you realize your business objectives, from improving your internal operations and governance to helping you acquire desirable assets to grow your business.