Some of the Association representatives of the new Alliance for Manufacturing in BC were on hand at the reception put on by the Surrey Board of Trade to start of Manufacturing Month on October 2nd, 2014. From left: Fernando Borja, Society for Internationally Trained Engineers – BC; Marilynn Knoch, BCPIA; James Donaldson, BC Food Processors Association; Marcus Ewert-Johns, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters – BC and Amber Papou, Skills Canada – BC. Check out all members at http://manufacturingbc.com

A strong common voice to raise the profile of manufacturing in British Columbia is the goal of the founding members of the Alliance for Manufacturing in BC. The manufacturing associations have agreed to work together to address shared issues and will endeavor to provide a greater understanding of the role that manufacturing plays in the BC economy. Manufacturing is a significant contributor to BC’s economy, yet it is often overlooked in favor of the stereotypical image of the province’s economy – forestry, mining, film, digital media and tourism. Manufacturing provides greater economic volume than each of these other industry sectors.

With more than 12,000 companies, manufacturing, is BC’s third largest source of employment, directly providing more than 180,000 jobs and indirectly supporting 200,000 more jobs. Last year, manufacturing was the fourth largest contributor to provincial GDP (7.2%). Manufacturing contributes more than 42% of private sector research and development expenditure and represents more than 30% of business taxes paid to the provincial government. Value-added manufactured goods comprise more than 62% of the province’s exports. It is not natural resource commodities, as is commonly believed.

The Alliance for Manufacturing in BC creates a coalition of like-minded manufacturing industry associations with a common vision to promote a world-class manufacturing sector in British Columbia. Those with an interest in ensuring a strong manufacturing sector include businesses in the design, printing, supply, material handling, fabrication and logistics areas; people-based organizations that train and develop skilled workers for high-paying jobs and community-focused chambers of commerce and boards of trade that recognize the significant economic contribution their cities derive from manufacturing.

“Most everything we encounter on a daily basis – what we wear, use and consume – is made by a manufacturer.” stated Thomas Foreman, President of the Building Supply Industry Association of BC. “With upwards of 88,000 job openings expected by 2020 we need to work together to promote and encourage people to pursue careers in noble and honoured manufacturing professions.”

“If one looks at the great economies of the world, they are founded and thrive on a manufacturing base.” said Marcus Ewert-Johns, Vice-President of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. “Manufacturing represents 20% of the economy in devloped countries like Germany, Korea or Japan. BC needs more manufacturing and getting there requires a stronger partnership between industry and government, and a plan.” Call Marilynn Knoch, Executive Director, BCPIA for more information.