BDC Offers Advice On Closing Skills Gap

The Vice President of GTA West for the Business Development Bank of Canada believes Windsor can make gains under a new trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico.

But Mary Ann Wenzler-Wiebe says those gains won't come without effort.

She says the vehicle content rules of the new USMCA present an opportunity, but companies need to be more competitive.

Speaking at an Economic Development Corporation luncheon, she says the BDC is positioned to give companies the help they need to grow.

"BDC is the only bank exclusively devoted to entrepreneurs, so that's all we do is work with businesses.  Our mission is to help Canadian companies be the most competitive here and in the world and we do that through financing, investing capital and advice."

Wenzler-Wiebe says all levels of business need to up their game.

"The small shops that are catering to the Tier 2's and 3's as well, but here's a reality.  They can't rest on their laurels, that alone won't make them competitive because they're going to be competing with US and Mexican based companies that are going to be doing the same."

She says companies have to be creative to overcome the skills gap the auto sector faces locally.

"Younger employees, female, immigration.  You know immigrants come over with some great talent and maybe it's not 100% of what we need but it's pretty significant.  And I'll come back to maybe we have to keep some of our workers in the workforce a little longer."

Wenzler-Wiebe says, while there is a collective sigh of relief around the renegotiated trade deal, there remain concerns over the tariffs on steel and aluminum.