Made-In-Canada System Ecology: Towards a More Sustainable Garment Industry

Nourhan Hegazy, Prateeksha Singh, Christina Doyle and Caralyn Quan

The contemporary Made-In-Canada (MIC) local garment system is a vast departure from what Canada had in place 40 years ago. In the 1970’s, 70% of the Canadian consumer clothing demand was met with domestic production [Wyman, 2009]. At the time, both production capacity and labour skills existed inside of Canada, whereas in today’s market, these skills are significantly outsourced by Canadian businesses. This shift – driven in part by the capabilities available from globalization – has shrunk the domestic manufacturing sector in Canada, carrying with it many long-term economic, environmental and social implications. This paper examines the MIC system as it pertains to the garment industry; understanding how the current consumer market interest in fashion-forward timeliness and focus on price are impacting the garment system in Canada. This research also explores the dominant stakeholders influencing consumers’ ability to make informed choices about their garment purchases, particularly those which label themselves, Made-In-Canada. Three findings were revealed through the research process: a) Globalization is a critical driver in the system as deregulation made it difficult for local manufacturers to stay competitive; b) Consumer perceptions of value are driving demand for cheap prices as they are limited by what they see in the market; c) The MIC system in the garment industry is a ‘black box’ for consumers who are challenged to make an informed choice with a lack of access to information. As a result of this examination, the research identified emerging opportunities and interventions to assist consumers in making choices about their MIC garments in the future. Due to scope, the interventions identified in this paper initiate from the government, a key stakeholder, with a emphasis on possible policy interventions.

Posted Sep-2016

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