Why Buy Canadian First?
It used to be that, as consumers, we didn’t think twice about the long-term effects of our shopping habits on the communities we live in. We became addicted to low-cost products made abroad and got hooked on accumulating quantity over quality. Products that used to be built to last are now built to be disposed of, making them seem “cheaper” at first glance. This is known as planned obsolescence (you can learn about it on The Story of Stuff).
Then, something worrisome started to happen: Canadian manufacturing jobs started disappearing at an alarming rate. Between 2003 and the Spring of 2008 for example, Canada lost 350,000 manufacturing jobs. And sadly, things have not improved much since then. But the silver lining is that in the past couple of years, our country has seen the emergence of a grassroots movement towards buying more locally-made products. It seems the pendulum has gone as far as it can in the outsourcing direction, and companies are striving for more balance and better quality control all over again.
The top 6 reasons why we should be buying Canadian:
When we buy Canadian, we directly impact our economy in positive ways. Every dollar we spend in Canada has a ripple effect that far exceeds that of simple profits made by the businesses who take our money in exchange for goods or services. Regardless of what sectors and industries we work in, we are all part of this cycle. We are securing jobs, helping to create new ones and let’s not forget, when Canadian businesses are successful, they are in a position to give back to the communities they serve by supporting local charities, cultural associations, etc. Successfully employed Canadians and successful businesses also mean larger tax revenues towards government programs. Buying products made in Canada makes sense!
Health & Safety
When we buy Canadian, we know that the products have met this country’s health & safety standards. The manufacturing industry in Canada is highly regulated, from the factories’ environmental emissions, to the quality assurance practices, to the materials used and beyond. These safety measures sometimes mean an increase in the retail price, but all things considered, isn’t it a small price to pay for peace of mind? Buying products made in Canada keeps us safer!
When we buy Canadian, we are reducing our carbon footprint, as products made closer to home require much less transportation. For example, did you know that a piece of clothing designed, manufactured and sold in Montreal requires 25 times less transportation than a similar product made in the far East? Buying products made in Canada makes our planet greener!
When we buy Canadian, we can rest assured that the people who make the products are treated fairly, working in safe & sanitary conditions. We’ve all heard the horror stories of sweatshops in foreign countries, using children and adults as disposable labour (most recently the factory collapse in Bengladesh). Many consumers are now deciding not to support those practices and demonstrate their principles by not buying products made in the countries that have such track records. Buying products made in Canada makes us feel good and keeps us enployed!
When we buy Canadian, we are contributing to the enrichment of our communities. It systematically makes us a part of something greater than ourselves and our immediate (material) needs. That one purchase we just made may contribute to the survival of a struggling local family business. Furthermore, as the gap that once existed between the consumer, the manufacturer and the retailer continues to decrease (thanks in large part to direct lines of communication that the Internet affords us), never before have consumers been able to give feedback in real time and develop and never-seen-before dialogue with these companies. Buying products made in Canada supports our communities!
Historically, Canadian’s have always been quietly patriotic. If there’s one thing the world noticed during the Vancouver Olympics is that we’re a proud bunch and perhaps now (post record-breaking-Olympics) we won’t be so quiet anymore. Love of Country shouldn’t stop at flying a flag or wearing red and white. We have every reason to be proud of our country, including the wonderful products we make here. Some consumers buy Canadian over foreign-made as a matter of principle alone. We see a “Made in Canada” label as a badge of honour; one we’re proud to contribute to and want others to know about. Buying products made in Canada makes us proud!
The idea is not to buy Canadian only (it’s impossible to do so anyway), but to consider Canadian-made products over foreign-made first and buy these as often as we can.