In the makings for consumers

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Canadians coast-to-coast-to-coast lament the loss of jobs when it happens. Many complain about being unable to find products made in this country when shopping. That opens the question: is there something that can be done about it?

Thankfully, that’s something the federal government is looking into. In this year’s federal budget is a measure promising a private-sector steering committee will be struck to make recommendations about a formal Made in Canada system.

Preferably, the system would provide something readily identifiable and easy to spot. In fact, an inspiration and model for this is the ‘Australia Made’ campaign with its little green logo featuring a kangaroo, in place in that country for 30 years letting buyers know when they’re looking at a domestic product.

A side note, the intent here is not another level of bureaucracy. Although getting such a program in place is being kick-started by government – with marketing experts and industry people on the panel – the cost for identifying and appropriately labelling domestic products would be borne by the private sector.

In addition to product identification for consumers would be measures to ensure a product is genuinely Canadian. Competition Bureau rules already in place, for example, say a ‘Made in Canada’ product must have its last transformation in this country, and 51 per cent of production costs incurred here. ‘Product of Canada’ ups that production cost factor to 98 per cent.

We live in an era of increasing free trade – and that’s a good thing in general. This kind of branding in no way is intended to counter that trend; it is in no way a restriction.

But a good number of Canadians would – if quality is on par – go out of their way to buy a domestic product. Some would even be willing to pay a bit more. If it means helping to maintain a manufacturing presence in this country, adding job numbers and boosting revenues, it’s more than a point of pride, it benefits us all.

Organizations: Competition Bureau

Geographic location: Canada

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