Commentary
October 8, 2020

Buying local matters—here's why

Buying local matters—here's why
A Canadian Forces Sea King helicopter makes a late evening training flight.
By 
Françoise Gagnon

The Defence & Security sector generates $10 billion in annual revenues, employing some 60,000 Canadians in high-wage, R&D intensive, high-skill jobs. Canadian owned companies such as ADGA can make important contributions in supporting what the government called in its recent throne speech a “resilience agenda”—investments in policy that can make us all safer, healthier and more economically secure in the long run.

Resilience speaks directly to what we do at ADGA; from cyber and physical security to enterprise computing to our work in Space and Defence, resilience is precisely what we build into our clients’ operations and critical infrastructure at a time when our private, government, and military partners face an ever-changing threat landscape. The sudden shift to remote work scenarios only heightens the risks more so.

Canada doesn't make XX or we need outside expertise is a line I frequently hear. Well, in March only .2% of PPE was made domestically. Minister Bains announced this week that our domestic industry is supplying half of Canada’s requirements for PPE. It’s a perfect example that Canada has the skills and innovation required to produce locally and lessen our reliance on international markets.

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) recently issued a report called “Partners in Economic Restart” that puts forward key recommendations for government, all of which are fiscally neutral and require no new allocations in spending. One of these is that spending favour Canadian SMEs and supply chains. Our Defence and Security ought to be a matter of national and domestic interest.

If the goal is to galvanize a Canadian economic recovery, then the priority should be on supporting Canadian companies, whose revenues and profits will be reinvested back into the country, further stimulating domestic innovation and R&D. While many companies incorporate in Canada and deem themselves “Canadian”, there is an important distinction in Canadian-owned. Studies show that local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar as they create locally owned supply chains and invest in their employees. Put simply, Canadian-owned companies strengthen the Canadian economy. While we are encouraged to buy local, it should extend beyond produce to our defence and security posture.

We must seize the opportunity at this crucial moment to strengthen what is clearly a critical strategic industry, enhancing domestic expertise and capabilities in those fields essential to our collective security.  It is more urgent than ever that made-in-Canada professional services and solutions are utilized where Canadian skills and capabilities exist.

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