COVID-19 takes toll on Canadian equipment manufacturing


Canadian equipment manufacturers are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

AEM conducted the survey from June 22 to August 5. The 24 respondents weighed in on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the industry, their companies, the supply chain and manufacturing operations, financial expectations, as well as the challenges they continue to face and specific ways the federal government can keep equipment manufacturing strong and ensure the nation’s economic resilience.

The survey found that about 47 per cent of Canadian equipment manufacturers said it will take a year or more for their organizations to recover to pre-COVID business levels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly impacted equipment manufacturers and the communities we proudly serve across Canada,” said Alexander Russ, director of government affairs for AEM. “From new orders drying up to supply chain disruptions, this unprecedented crisis has caused many companies to reduce their immediate financial outlook. AEM continues to help our industry navigate these challenging times to come back stronger and fuel Canada’s economic recovery.” 

 In Canada, equipment manufacturers, suppliers and distributors have largely remained open and continue to supply the equipment necessary to keep the country moving forward and help lead the recovery and renewal of the economy. 

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The survey also found that more than 75 per cent of equipment manufacturers in Canada identified a decrease in new orders as the primary impact of COVID-19 on their business and manufacturing operations. As well, four out of 10 respondents identified supply chain issues as a major impact.

About half of Canadian equipment manufacturers say they have used or intend to use Canada’s federal COVID-19 assistance programs to help their business, with the other 50 per cent saying they haven’t or will not.

Accessing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is simple, according to 55 per cent of manufacturers accessing the funding, while 22 per cent said it was “relatively easy.” Another 22 per cent of manufacturers surveyed said it was “moderately difficult.”

Additional COVID-19 assistance

The top additional policies equipment manufacturers believe the Government of Canada should undertake to help their businesses through the COVID-19 crisis include:

  • Recognizing the critical importance of Canadian manufacturing capacity.
  • Implement measures to increase the competitiveness of the sector, and reward innovative Canadian manufacturers.
  • Invest more federal money in infrastructure projects, including increasing the federal portion of funding for provincial and municipal projects.
  • Create a program to replace older equipment with new, lower emission equipment through tax credits or government grants and loans. 

AEM continues to lead the industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and works closely with Canadian officials to keep the equipment manufacturing industry in Canada strong and ensure the nation’s economic resilience.

AEM is also calling for bold action by the Canadian government to incentivize the further development of the equipment manufacturing industry in Canada, and to provide additional economic assistance to businesses of all sizes.