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Helping Advanced Manufacturing Companies Grow in the Bay of Quinte Region

May 25, 2018

Quinte Economic Development Commission, May 25, 2018

Located in the Bay of Quinte region, Domtech Inc. manufactures electrical wire and cable products for diverse markets and applications.

Domtech credits the Quinte Manufacturers Association (QMA) with keeping them aware of industry issues and empowering them to advocate for changes that will benefit not only their company, but all advanced manufacturing companies in Canada.

QMA helps local manufacturing leaders in the Greater Bay of Quinte region improve their capabilities, competitiveness and sustainability and often functions as an established local voice to bring forward issues to politicians.

Membership to the QMA is free, as funding and support for QMA is provided by the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC).

3 Ways QMA Helps Local Advanced Manufacturing Companies

Networking & Industry Updates

QMA hosts advanced manufacturing events in the Bay of Quinte region, where local manufacturers can network with each other and share information about industry issues. Manufacturing professionals have the opportunity to learn from the expertise and best practices of industry colleagues, either in person, at organized events, or electronically, at their convenience.

“It’s really neat to have QMA, an organization where we manufacturers can come together and be made aware of issues that affect us and then influence them.” – Scott Roodvoets, VP Operations, Domtech Inc.

Funding Opportunities

Using the QMA as a vehicle to coordinate manufacturers requirements, the economic development partners at QEDC have successfully accessed grants and funding from various sources to support the QMA members. QEDC’s office helped Domtech acquire training grants. The combined services of QEDC and QMA have been crucial in getting applications together and making sure Domtech receives rebates for funding.

Domtech and other Bay of Quinte region manufacturers also have access to provincial and regional support. The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) is another source of local support and funding for advanced manufacturing businesses in eastern Ontario.

“If we reach out for support we know we get it, locally in particular.” – Mike Aziz, Marketing Manager, Domtech Inc.

Influencing Manufacturing Regulations

With a relatively low national population, even small advanced manufacturing companies in Canada, like Domtech, can make noise and get the attention of the Prime Minister’s (PM’s) office to initiate change. Domtech credits past advocacy from the Bay of Quinte region local federal MP and QMA with changes achieved to the foreign worker laws, as they affect advanced manufacturing companies in Canada.

“We have influenced government policy, with no harm to anyone in Canada, to help local businesses be more successful at what they’re trying to do for the local economy.” – Scott Roodvoets, VP Operations, Domtech Inc.

Changes to Hiring Foreign Worker Laws re: Service Technicians for Specialized Equipment

Domtech shares this example: Previously, if a piece of advanced manufacturing equipment was out of warranty, the Canadian Border Service Agency prevented service technicians from the US or other countries from entering Canada to perform repairs. Several companies in Canada were experiencing machine downtime or poor machine performance because foreign service technicians were refused entry at the border.

“Compare our situation to the government telling a Tesla owner that if they have maintenance issues, they should take their Tesla to a local GM dealership for servicing. That GM dealership has no idea what’s under the hood of a Tesla. A Tesla technician is needed, because the company that made the machinery knows how best to maintain and service it,” explains Scott Roodvoets, VP of Operations at Domtech Inc.

With the previous interpretation of the foreign worker laws, the government was applying hiring foreign worker rules to the category of service technician, which was extremely detrimental to advanced manufacturing companies in Canada. “It was not harming people in Canada who worked in the service technician industry at all; but it was hurting our business,” adds Mike Aziz, Marketing Manager at Domtech Inc.

Thanks to the advocacy of QMA member companies and Domtech three years ago, the federal government moved the service technician designation to a different category, which allows advanced manufacturing companies in Canada to receive expert maintenance and servicing from qualified technicians for the specialized equipment, which is essential to their business success.

Both Roodvoets and Aziz are proud to point out that, as a local Bay of Quinte region advanced manufacturing company, they received overwhelming support from QMA to make noise and get the government to change the way they did something.

Changes to Hiring Foreign Worker Laws re: Professional Engineering Exemption

Another way that Domtech has experienced the support of the QMA is regarding the professional engineering exemption. Roodvoets explains, “Essentially, about three to four years ago, the Province wanted to remove an industrial exemption from the regulations requiring a professional engineering approval on any modification made to production equipment. This would be like having to get a pharmacist’s approval for every purchase of an over-the-counter drug.”

Domtech became aware of this issue at a QMA event. Domtech made their voice heard, and with the help of QMA’s advocacy, the Province maintained the professional engineering exemption.

“The power of the QMA here in this region is amazing.” – Mike Aziz, Marketing Manager, Domtech Inc.

For more information about how your advanced manufacturing business can get support, contact the QEDC.