Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Lagging vaccination rate puts Canadian factories at competitive disadvantage

EconomyMar 14, 2021 09:31AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
5/5 © Reuters. Darryl Spector, president at Promation, wears a protective mask amid COVID-19 pandemic in Oakville 2/5

By Allison Lampert and Julie Gordon

(Reuters) - Canadian automation company Promation had been banking on a weaker currency to help it win a new U.S. contract, but a slower pace of vaccinations in Canada could erase that competitive edge, President Darryl Spector said.

Pandemic travel restrictions make it harder for Promation’s technicians to travel across the border to service and repair plant equipment, a drawback when competing against an increasingly vaccinated U.S. workforce.

"With a fully vaccinated U.S. supply base, why buy from Canada if you can't access the labor to support it?," said Spector.

To prevent spread of the coronavirus, the U.S.-Canadian border has been closed for nearly a year to crossings by all but essential workers and a handful of other exceptions. In Canada, manufacturers fear the slower vaccination rollout could delay an easing of those restrictions.

U.S. President Joe Biden told states on Thursday to make all adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by May 1. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set a September target for having all Canadian adults vaccinated.

In the United States, some manufacturing workers are already receiving inoculations, such as in Detroit-area auto plants. By contrast, general manufacturing workers like those at Spector's Ontario-based firm, are not eligible in Canada yet.

The lag handicaps Canadian firms, they said, and may threaten Canada's economic rebound in coming months.

While the recovery has picked up pace, the Bank of Canada warned on Wednesday the virus will continue posing a risk to the economy until the population is widely vaccinated.

U.S. health authorities have issued guidelines exempting asymptomatic vaccinated workers from strict COVID-19 protocols in case of exposure, but Canada has not yet considered similar action.

That leaves Canadian firms at greater risk of lost working hours or shutdown for COVID-19 tests and contact tracing if an employee tests positive.

"People can't work as easily together if they are looking over their shoulder in case someone has COVID," said Spector, who recently sent eight workers home and covered the costs of their test results when an employee's wife tested positive.

Matt Poirier, director of trade policy for Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, said his association has asked provincial governments to prioritize factory workers for vaccination to curb the impact of outbreaks on plants.

As of March 10, Canada had administered 7.20 COVID-19 vaccine doses per 100 people, compared with 29.67 in United States, according to University of Oxford data.

Canada's vaccination campaign has been hampered by its dependence on imports, but deliveries are expected to rise in the second quarter.


The uncertainty is holding back investment by Canadian companies, with 2021 capital intentions still 12% below pre-pandemic levels, according to Statistics Canada.

By comparison, capital expenditures for S&P 500 companies are forecast to rise by 11.8% in 2021 after dropping 13.7% in 2020, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

"Businesses ... might choose to put their capital where they'll have faster return on investment," said Trevin Stratton, chief economist at the Canada Chamber of Commerce. "The vaccination timeline certainly impacts that."

In Quebec and Ontario, the provinces hardest hit by COVID-19 and home to much of Canada's manufacturing sector, days of work lost jumped 13.9% and 12.0% respectively in 2020. Businesses there are hoping that higher vaccination rates could help reverse that trend.

($1 = 1.2548 Canadian dollars)

Lagging vaccination rate puts Canadian factories at competitive disadvantage

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (3)
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Mar 14, 2021 12:57PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Social distancing still dominates effectiveness over vaccines. - Dont waste readers' time with fake and sensationalized news!
Jose Maderno
Jose Maderno Mar 14, 2021 11:02AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Another garbage news article by a garbage news organization.  First, the Loonie isn't strong due to vaccination policy in Canda, but from rising commodity prices.  Second, essential workers are allowed to cross borders, and in the U.S. just about every industry is considered essential.  Especially in manufacturing.  However, in person sales calls are not common as office workers toil from home, but every U.S. company is operating with the same restrictions.  Don't get me wrong, Justin is absolutely terrible at governing and is more concerned with aligning with Hollywood liberals than delivering for Canadians, but that is what voters deserve when they elect people based on being pretty.  So, to recap, the author blames vaccination rates and having to import the medicine instead of blaming Justin.  Liberal propaganda at its finest.
Godwin Philip
Godwin Philip Mar 14, 2021 9:38AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How you
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email