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New Centre of Excellence will provide ‘home field advantage’ for Saskatchewan manufacturers: CME

Published by CME Staff on March 19, 2014

The funding framework for the new Saskatchewan Manufacturing Centre of Excellence, announced by Finance Minister Ken Krawetz in today’s budget, will help companies throughout the province retain and create high paying jobs, close the growing skills gap, and capitalize on new market opportunities both here at home and around the world, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) — Canada’s largest trade and industry association.

The funding will lead to tangible new supports in the areas of productivity improvement, workforce development and innovation. Delivered through CME, the centre will focus on training and best practices sharing, as well as stakeholder engagement, with a special concentration on strengthening the participation of underemployed and underrepresented groups.

“Success in today’s competitive manufacturing arena is a lot like success in football — it requires a skilful and well-coached team, a good game plan, and near-flawless execution,” explains Derek Lothian, executive director of the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council — a CME-led initiative comprised of 40 of the province’s leading industry executives. “Saskatchewan manufacturers already have a reputation for quality and reliability, but the competition is stiffer now than ever before. This centre will grant us home field advantage when we need it most.” 

Manufacturing remains one of Saskatchewan’s most important sectors, employing roughly 28,400 workers, recording more than $15.2 billion in annual sales, and generating close to $50 billion in total economic activity each year.   Half of all companies, however, still face labour and skills shortages, despite productivity levels soaring 60 per cent higher than those charted in 2007.  

“There is no ‘perfect play’ that will overcome the challenges facing the sector,” says Lothian. “Manufacturers must continue doing more with what they have, and we must continue to work alongside our partners in industry and in government to not only attract more workers from abroad, but — more importantly — develop them from within.”

About CME

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada’s largest and longest standing trade and industry association. Founded in 1871, CME is the only organization of its kind to be formed by an Act of Parliament, and has representatives in every province across the country, as well as in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

As the voice for manufacturing and global business in Canada, CME works to promote the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and the success of Canada’s goods and services exporters in markets around the world. Its core focuses are advocacy, intelligence, business opportunities, best practices and networking.

CME’s membership network accounts for an estimated 82 per cent of the country’s total manufacturing production and 90 per cent of all exports. For more information, visit

About the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council

Established in January 2013, the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council is a CME-led initiative that brings together more than 40 leading industry executives to speak with one voice on priority issues impacting manufacturing in the province. 

The council is currently chaired by Tom Kishchuk, president and CEO, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. For more information, including a full list of members, visit

For more information, contact:

Derek Lothian
Executive Director, Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Tel: 306-713-3765

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