Manufacturers' Survey Reveals Heavy Industry Loss Due to Ongoing Border Restrictions

Border restrictions barring non-essential travel between Canada and U.S. have caused lost business for more than two-thirds of manufacturers. Associations ask for clearer guidelines.


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It was reported on Jan. 28 that the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association (CTMA, Ontario, Canada), in partnership with the Canadian Association of Moldmakers, (CAMM), Automate Canada and the Niagara Industrial Association (NIA), conducted a survey to measure the effects of border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic within the manufacturing industry. Border restrictions barring non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. have been in place since Mar. 21, 2020.

According to the results, more than two-thirds of manufacturers have lost business amounting to tens of millions of dollars due to issues at the Canada/U.S. border. Of the 39 participants, 80% revealed they require their U.S.-based customers or suppliers to visit their facility for project inspections, sign offs or technical support or service.

“Manufacturing is essential. Manufacturers produce food, pharmaceutical goods and common products so important to our daily lives,” says Shelley Fellows, chair, Automate Canada. “The tool and die, moldmaking and industrial automation sectors are vital pillars of support for manufacturing, as they provide equipment, software, services and tools to keep manufacturing running.”

The chain of support necessary to get food to our tables and goods to store shelves is complicated; underpinning it are the machinists, engineers, programmers and specialists who keep manufacturing facilities running. These are the faces behind our industrial automation, moldmaking and tool and die companies who are dealing with challenges serving their Canadian and U.S. customers.

The survey revealed that 65% of respondents have experienced moderate to substantial effects on their businesses. Almost three quarters of companies reported they have or will have a negative financial impact specifically due to border crossing issues. More than a third of respondents reported that the magnitude is $1 million or more.

The Associations recommend government officials provide a clearer definition of “essential workers” to help Canada Border Services Agency personnel better understand the guidelines; provide more detail on documentation requirements; and implement rapid testing at ports of entry to reduce quarantine periods for individuals traveling across the border to
perform essential services.

“To be clear, our associations are not asking for the border to open, but rather a process to keep everyone safe and at the same time be able to continue to operate essential services,” says Robert Cattle, executive director, CTMA.

Find the detailed report here.