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The economic fallout from COVID-19 has brought into focus the need to strengthen supply chain resiliency. Work by Statistics Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce through the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions found widespread COVID-19 disruptions to supply chains. A key finding was that only 16.8% of companies reported no disruption to their supply chains, while just over half of business reported an inability to move goods due to disrupted supply chains.

However, supply chain resiliency cannot take a monolithic approach. The needs for each sector of the Canadian economy are different. The principle of advancing national interests should be what guides the federal and provincial government’s approach to supply chains in the context of our market-oriented economy, where government does not control supply chains but instead incentivizes private sector behaviour.

Those national interests include the need to have a sufficient base in critical industries, ensure a reliable flow of consumer products and business inputs, and the ability to be involved in global supply chains. Additionally, our approach to supply chains needs to include services alongside the traditional focus on physical goods. The role of services includes not only R&D and engineering, but also after-sales servicing and enablers such as financing and transportation.

Taking tangible steps also requires government to think holistically about domestic and international policy measures to increase supply chain resiliency and ensure our country can weather economic disturbances in order to remain competitive.

Click here to read our recommendations to the federal government on what needs to be undertaken as a matter of urgency to bolster our economic security.

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