When it comes to products made in Canada, some people are inclined to believe that the country has something to prove to people who doubt its ability to keep up with global competition. After all, its market share in garments and outerwear is bigger than that of any other country in the world, even the United States. And yet sometimes those assumptions prove to be in favor. Take for instance Dani Reiss, the chief executive of Canada Goose, who when on a tradeshow in Germany in his early years there where he realized that Europeans tended to trust Canadian-made outerwear more than they did US-made. Today, Reiss is busy convincing Europeans that it’s time for them to embrace Canada’s fashion offerings as the case is with other countries.
In fact, Can Canadian manufacturers really deliver what they claim? Earlier this year, I had a chance to sit down with the head of Global, one of the biggest clothing manufacturers in Canada, Robert Rabbitt, to discuss our clothing products and the possibility of an American move towards more manufacturing in our country. At the time, I’d written to several Canadian manufacturers asking them if their statements about having production in Canada were accurate. The responses I got from several of them varied, but in the end, not all of them could convincingly say that there are significant grounds for considering an American move towards manufacturing in Canada.
Some Canadian manufacturing companies do have some production facilities in the United States. But they are spread across the country, and it takes them a lot of effort and resources to set up a facility in each state to handle manufacturing operations. For the same reason, it would take too long for such products made in Canada to penetrate the American market, which is why some American manufacturers choose to make their products in another country. Now let’s look at what Robert Rabbitt told reporters in a recent Globe story about our country’s manufacturing sector.
“Our manufacturing sector isn’t quite as strong as it was 10 years ago. There’s a lot of competition in the manufacturing sector here in Canada right now. In particular, there are a lot of companies that are moving manufacturing into India and into other parts of the world. India has lots of inexpensive labor, and it has a lower cost of production. It’s much more competitive in the labour market and it’s gaining a lot of market share for itself. So, in that respect, yes, there are a lot of jobs being created in Canada.”
Okay, so, let’s look at that for a moment shall we? The reality is that the current state of the Canadian economy is such that the jobs being created today will not be around for 35 years. Another point that must be considered here is that the people that are being laid off in manufacturing companies are not all leaving the company because they are going to Canada to live. Some of them may be able to continue working somewhere else, but eventually they are going to have to make a decision as to where they want to live. The point being that this is not part of the Canadian-made home improvement products directory.
Is it possible to get any of these products made in Canada? Yes, it is. Most of the items that you will find are not actually part of the Canadian-made home improvement products directory, but some of them might be. I recently saw a home remodeling show on television that featured a table that is made in Canada from a recycled metal fabrication company called Gold Star. That company does exist, and they do make table legs from reclaimed and recycled sources that are then sold and marketed by them.
The other thing that we have discussed when we buy Canadian, we have mentioned that when we buy Canadian products made in Canada we are not buying a cheap knock off version. This is true. The materials used do not come from overseas; instead it is more of an imitation of the materials used in the United States and Europe. This is not to say that the materials used in the United States and Europe are not high quality or that they are of poor quality. There are many differences. However, the bottom line is that when we buy Canadian, we are buying a product that is made in Canada.
We are buying products made in Canada so that we can save money. This is not to say that the materials we use for these products were better made somewhere else. The difference is that when we buy Canadian, we are buying a product made in Canada. As a bonus to the people of Canada, when we buy these products we can take home a little bit of that country. It is kind of like getting free vacations in a foreign country!