As this pandemic has shown, our region is too dependent on critical supplies and equipment that can only be sourced outside of Nova Scotia and Canada.
The same can be said for most regions around the world.
This includes personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks, gowns, and ventilators, or medical supplies like cotton swabs and medicine. Perhaps even food.
As this pandemic has proven, relying on the global supply chain is risky.
The Government of Nova Scotia should make an immediate effort to encourage companies to establish manufacturing facilities for critical equipment and supplies in Nova Scotia.
This will create jobs in Nova Scotia and make us safer in an uncertain future.
Here’s how it can be done:
- Identify the most critical supplies and equipment needed to prepare for future challenges that can disrupt global supply chains, just as this pandemic has done.
- Identify how much of this equipment and how many of these supplies are used in Nova Scotia each year. Calculate how much of this money is spent outside of Nova Scotia.
- Use that money to guarantee sales to companies that are already in or willing to set up in Nova Scotia. But, with one condition — the Government of Nova Scotia gets the first option to purchase the products. Products not purchased by Nova Scotia can be exported to bring new money and more jobs into Nova Scotia. (We may also need some good lawyers to work around any free-trade agreement challenges).
It is likely that the cost of some products will be higher when manufactured here rather than overseas. But that’s ok because reasonable thresholds for price and quality can be set. And, buying products made here is an investment in our own people, not to mention that much of the money is returned in taxes.
Realistically, we won’t be able to manufacture everything we need, but the more we do, the safer we will be. All while creating economic activity in our own province. It’s a win-win.
I think most business people would agree that the Government of Nova Scotia (of all political parties) has historically done a poor job of sourcing products locally to help Nova Scotia companies. Here’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change that and help Nova Scotians today and in the future.
Perhaps even take it further, beyond just critical supplies.
Source as much as possible from Nova Scotia businesses starting right now. The most valuable incentive and support you can give a business is not a grant or subsidy — it’s a sale.