Perhaps until recently, the average Canadian didn’t put much thought into how many people or steps were necessary to get them the food, apparel, and other goods on which they rely. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact nearly every industry, the global supply chain seems to be a growing concern for policymakers and citizens alike. Experts from the Munk School’s Innovation Policy Lab (IPL) will discuss COVID-19’s impact on global supply chains at an online event on April 29.

“The COVID-19 crisis exposed the stark fact that almost everything North Americans use and need is no longer produced in North America,” says Dan Breznitz, and co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab. “One might think that the current crisis would lead us to re-shore production. But reshoring production networks to manufacture domestically is no easy matter.”

This and other considerations will be covered in Wednesday’s talk, which will be moderated by Murad Hemmadi, Ottawa Bureau Reporter at The Logic. Panelists will cover the pandemic’s disruption to global supply chains and how Canada can use the lessons of this crisis to build a more resilient future.

Breznitz, who will discuss how COVID-19 has exposed severe vulnerabilities in the West’s supply chain, will be joined by IPL’s Steven Denney, a post-doctoral fellow; and Shauna Brail, director and associate professor at Innis College and associate director, Partnership and Outreach at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities. While Denney will focus on technology ecosystems in Canada and how they are performing during the pandemic, Brail will discuss what is needed in order for Canada to build resilience and respond to global shifts in sourcing goods.

“Global production processes have been disrupted as a result of travel constraints, lockdowns and sometimes, government interference. Although Canada has not been immune to these challenges, there are also signs of hope,” says Brail. “Automotive firms are partnering with medical supply companies to produce ventilators. Garment manufacturers have pivoted to mask and gown production. Alcohol producers have shifted to making hand sanitizer. This pandemic will undoubtedly lead to debates about the extent to which we should further invest in and prioritize Canadian-based production as well as the role of international alliances.”

Register for our ‘How is COVID-19 Affecting Global Supply Chains?’ webinar.

April 28, 2020