Ben Machine has become quite familiar with Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy. It was designed to achieve several ends, the most notable being to:
- Boost the nation’s defence manufacturing capabilities
- Foster advanced technologies throughout the country, like 5-axis CNC machining
- Increase research and development, including advanced machining techniques
- Support the growth of contractors and suppliers for both smaller and larger companies
- Raise export potential and identify needed skills and opportunities for industries like machining
ITB in a Nutshell
The government website explains that under ITB, companies that receive large contracts “must undertake business activity in Canada that is equivalent to the value of the contract”. If the contract is for something that has to be purchased outside of Canada, like computer processors or some rare earth metal, the company must offset that cost with an equivalent value investment in the nation. They may purchase Canadian-made products, invest in research and development, or engage in training. Advanced CNC machining facilities like Ben Machine are great places to achieve all three. No matter how it is achieved, the financial value of the contract needs to stay within the borders.
Ben Machine is in a Good Position
Our regular work in the defence industry subjects us to the ITB policy requirements quite often. Ben Machine is fortunate to be a Canadian-based company with deep roots in military and defence machining. Of course, all of our manufacturing is done in-house, from CNC machining to finishing, cleaning, and even assembly. Great relationships have been formed throughout our long history with local suppliers, distributors and service providers for our raw materials and outside processes that further support ITB requirements. And Ben Machine’s experience in the community started well before ITB came along, allowing us to foster youth education opportunities and training for needed skills in furtherance of the ITB objective.
The ITB policy has identified several Key Industrial Capabilities that contractors are expected to focus on as part of their ITB compliance. A partial list includes:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cyber Resilience
- Space Technology
- Advanced Materials
- Aerospace Systems and Components
- Defence Systems Integration
These are all areas where Ben Machine has extensive experience and remains highly involved. We help our customers comply with their obligations while providing high-quality custom-machined products at a price that is not only competitive with the rest of Canada but competitive with the world.
A Policy Ahead of its Time
It’s interesting to look at the implementation of the ITB policy. Launched in 2014, it has continued to evolve as the high-tech landscape has shifted. The addition of the KICs in 2018 (including those listed above) almost seems prescient in the wake of the COVID pandemic and resulting supply chain disruptions. You might smile and think that students entering high-tech fields like these won’t be manufacturing toilet paper. That may be true, but it misses the point.
The ITB policy is designed to keep and bring manufacturing home to Canada to avoid reliance on other countries. It affects companies that receive major defence contracts, and the military does indeed require toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies, all of the same products you use at home. So, we’re not just talking about manufacturing laser guidance systems; we’re talking about producing domestic commodities as well.
The ITB policy is designed for the long haul. It’s not changing the world overnight, but if compliance is maintained, over time the difference in the nation’s self-reliance and the caliber of new young workers will be remarkable. That’s the kind of future Ben Machine is proud to work towards.