Potential of On-Reserve Manufacturing for the Post Pandemic Economy



COVID-19 has devasted the world economy and countries are beginning to re-think economic base. Over the past 20 years Canada has offshored manufacturing of goods to other countries which had the net effect of a decline in manufacturing GDP from nearly 20% in 1986 to 10% 2018. Offshoring also included strategic products such as PPE and medical equipment. Although globalization has produced cheaper products for the consumer, it also exposed the risks as countries struggle meet the demand for PPE. Countries that manufactured PPE and medical supplies focused on meeting their internal demand first before exporting. It was made clear that offshoring produced inherited shortages in the strategic supply chain. This resulted in Canada making a calls for companies to pivot the production and make PPE and other medical equipment to meet high demand.

The lesson learned was made clear; Canada needs a strong domestic manufacturing sector to produce what it needs especially with respect to strategic goods. Canada also needs to re-think its reliance on cheaper labor for short term gains but consider revitalizing its manufacturing sector to compete globally and create necessary jobs as part of post pandemic recovery.

 Indigenous communities are in very unique position to contribute Canada’s economic recovery because of its land and youth. 60% of Indigenous communities or local near major urban centers and some communities have sectioned parts of their land for economic development as retail and industry space. In the recent budget Canada has reconfirmed it commitment to continue with 5% contract spend in purchasing goods and services. Industry Trade benefits, Indigenous Participation Components, and Indigenous Benefits Plans can provide an opportunity creation of Indigenous manufacturing at 3rd and 4th tier level and bring into the global supply chain. Finally, the PPF points out a lot the material require natural resources to make components for products. Many materials are located within Indigenous territories and can potentially bring down the cost transportation if raw components can be produced locally and using clean energy. This panel discussion explores the potential role EDOs play in the economic recovery and how they can support Canada’s economic reconciliation journey with Indigenous people in post pandemic economy.


  • David Acco, Acosys Consulting
  • Matthew Owl, First Nations Procurement Inc.
  • John Johnstone, PSPC