Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing (NAICS 332): Ontario, 2023–2025


HIGHLIGHTS


  • Ontario is a hub for the fabricated metal product manufacturing industry in Canada, accounting for 42.7% of the national workforce.
  • In 2022, the fabricated metal product manufacturing industry employed 68,043 workers in Ontario, about 1.0% of total provincial employment.
  • Sales in fabricated metal product manufacturing increased by 18.5% annually in 2022.
  • Moderate growth in the industry is expected due to large investments in automotive and non-residential construction sectors.

ABOUT THE SECTOR


Composition and importance of the sector

The fabricated metal product (FMP) industry in Ontario is integral to the province’s industrial base as it supplies materials for construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and oil and gas extraction, and other sectors.

Ontario is the hub of Canada’s FMP manufacturing industry. The province employed 68,043 workers in FMP manufacturing in 2022, accounting for 42.7% of the national employment in the industry. Employment in the FMP manufacturing industry grew by 2.3% (+1,507) in 2022, but has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 (70,171).

Employment in the FMP manufacturing industry in Ontario is largely dependent on demand for machinery and tools. Large investments in the province’s public transit, mining, infrastructure, and transportation manufacturing industries drive the demand for machinery.

Graph 1. Employment Share by Subsector

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Table

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Employment Share by Subsector

Subsector
Employment Share
Architectural and structural metals manufacturing
33.7%
Machine shops, turned product, and screw, nut and bolt manufacturing
21.1%
Other fabricated metal product manufacturing
16.5%
Other subsectors
14.6%
Coating, engraving, cold and heat treating and allied activities
7.7%
Boiler, tank and shipping container manufacturing
6.4%

Geographical distribution of employment

Ontario’s FMP manufacturing is concentrated in southern Ontario. FMP plants tend to be in close proximity to transportation, machinery, and primary metal manufacturers for ease of product transport.

In 2022, 36.8% of FMP manufacturing employment was in the Toronto Economic Region. Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula and Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie Economic Regions represented 18.9% and 18.6% of provincial FMP manufacturing employment in 2022, respectively.

Table 1. Employment by Economic Region

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Table

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Employment by Economic Region

Economic Region
Employed 2022
Sector Share (%)
Ottawa
1,700
2.8%
Kingston–Pembroke
383
0.6%
Muskoka–Kawarthas
n/a
n/a
Toronto
22,500
36.8%
Kitchener–Waterloo–Barrie
11,392
18.6%
Hamilton–Niagara Peninsula
11,558
18.9%
London
3,108
5.1%
Windsor–Sarnia
4,433
7.2%
Stratford–Bruce Peninsula
2,342
3.8%
Northeast
1,808
3.0%
Northwest
n/a
n/a


WORKFORCE


Workforce characteristics

  • The average hourly wage for FMP manufacturing in 2022 was $29.65, slightly higher than the average manufacturing hourly wage of $29.20 and higher than the provincial average hourly wage of $28.10.
  • The industry is male dominated, with men representing almost 4 in 5 workers in FMP manufacturing Ontario in 2022. In comparison, males accounted for about half of provincial employment in 2022.
  • Workers in the FMP manufacturing industry tend to be older. In 2022, workers aged 55 years and above made up almost a third of employment in the industry in Ontario, while only accounting for 22.3% of total provincial employment.

Table 2. Top 5 Occupations

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Tables

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Employment by National Occupational Classification

National Occupational Classification
Employed 2022
Sector Share (%)
72106 Welders and related machine operators
4,745
8.7%
72100 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
4,515
8.3%
90010 Manufacturing managers
2,915
5.4%
95109 Other labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities
2,140
3.9%
95101 Labourers in metal fabrication
1,865
3.4%


RECENT HISTORY


The FMP manufacturing industry usually follows the general trends in economic activity, as it is closely linked to sectors like construction, motor vehicle manufacturing, and natural resources. Following a decline caused by the pandemic, FMP manufacturing experienced significant sales growth; fabricated metal products manufacturing sales increased by 18.5% annually in 2022. Across Canada, FMP manufacturing sales and new orders have also been on an upward trend since 2020, with new orders increasing by 17.9% annually in 2022.

In 2022, employment in the FMP manufacturing industry grew by 2.3% (+1,507); however, employment has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels (70,171 in 2019 vs. 68,043 in 2022). Over the past year, demand for the sector has been driven by increased construction activity, strong economic growth, and reshoring. Construction activity on large projects in the province's infrastructure, commercial and institutional sectors, along with home building activity, were major contributors to FMP's recovery post-COVID. Notable projects, such as the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project in Windsor, large nuclear power plant refurbishment projects at Bruce Power and Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, and transit expansion initiatives have supported FMP manufacturing's growth.

Several large FMP manufacturers in Ontario announced expansion plans in recent months. For example, The Steelcon Group of Companies expanded its manufacturing plant in Welland, NWI Precision Tube ULC (NWI) received federal government funding for capacity expansion, and Uni-Fab Inc in Leamington received $5 million in federal government funding, creating 50 jobs.

Graph 2. Sector Employment, Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing Sales, and Sector Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Tables

*Data are expressed as index where year 2012 = 100%

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Employment and Capital Expenditure by Year

Year
Sector Employment
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing Sales
Sector Real GDP
2012
100.00
100.00
100.00
2013
98.96
99.12
100.58
2014
95.33
100.65
99.02
2015
95.37
102.12
96.71
2016
94.68
99.45
96.29
2017
94.43
101.12
97.80
2018
96.42
113.39
101.65
2019
101.59
116.66
105.92
2020
93.19
106.59
92.64
2021
96.32
124.24
95.67
2022
98.50
147.26
98.40


EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOKS


The FMP manufacturing is expected to see moderately favourable labour market conditions in Ontario over the 2023 to 2025 period.

Companies in FMP manufacturing are increasingly requiring higher-skilled labour to meet the shift towards advanced manufacturing. Manufacturers in FMP manufacturing rely more on computer-controlled machinery than in traditional manufacturing. Workers often require knowledge of numerical tools, robotics, and manufacturing software, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). Beyond the high skill requirements affecting labour availability, the industry’s workforce is also aging, further reducing the current labour force. Increased investment to train key skilled trades in Ontario’s manufacturing sector will address the current labour shortage and provide a technologically adept workforce that aligns with the industry’s near-term needs.

Large industrial investments, particularly in automotive vehicle and parts manufacturing by Volkswagen, Stellantis, Honda Canada Inc. and General Motors of Canada Company, among others, to produce electric vehicles and their parts will provide stimulus for FMP manufacturing products. Investments in aerospace manufacturing, public transit expansion, infrastructure construction, and mining projects in Northern Ontario will also provide a boost to employment in the sector. Investments in the province’s public transit projects will continue to drive the demand for fabricated metal goods like concrete reinforcement bars, structural and sheet metal, framed windows and doors, fasteners and hand tools.

Furthermore, the FMP manufacturing industry is evolving; 3D printing of metal parts has made manufacturing more cost-effective, improving the sector’s overall output. As well, 3D printing allows for the production of precise parts, meaning the industry can support a wider range of products. Fabricated metal producers may find opportunities to develop goods in opto-mechanics, biomedicine, information technology, and clean technology.

Table 3. Employment Change in Fabricated Metal Manufacturing: August 2019 vs. August 2023

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Table

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Employment Change in Ontario Regions

Region
Employment Change
Ontario
↑ (+8,700; +15.1%)
Ottawa
Kingston–Pembroke
Muskoka–Kawarthas
Toronto
Kitchener–Waterloo–Barrie
Hamilton–Niagara Peninsula
London
Windsor–Sarnia
Stratford–Bruce Peninsula
Northeast
Northwest

Key trends affecting the outlook of fabricated metal manufacturing sector

  • Large investments in sectors like automotive vehicle and parts manufacturing, aerospace manufacturing, and non-residential construction across the province
  • Projections of low provincial economic growth and a softened residential construction outlook may weaken employment prospects in the industry
  • Changes in technology will support FMP production into new industries

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


Note: In preparing this document, the authors have taken care to provide clients with labour market information that is timely and accurate at the time of publication. Since labour market conditions are dynamic, some of the information presented here may have changed since this document was published. Users are encouraged to also refer to other sources for additional information on the local economy and labour market. Information contained in this document does not necessarily reflect official policies of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Prepared by: Labour Market and Socio–economic Information Directorate, Service Canada, Ontario Region

For further information, please contact LMSID at: Contact: Labour Market Information – Canada.ca (services.gc.ca)


APPENDIX


Table A1. Geographical Distribution of the Sector

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Table

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Share of Employment in Ontario by Region

Share of Employment in Ontario (%)
Sector Share of Employment (%)
2020–2022 Average
2020–2022 Average
Ontario
100.0%
0.7%
Ottawa
3.8%
0.3%
Kingston–Pembroke
1.1%
0.3%
Muskoka–Kawarthas
1.8%
0.6%
Toronto
31.6%
0.5%
Kitchener–Waterloo–Barrie
19.9%
1.4%
Hamilton–Niagara Peninsula
19.9%
1.4%
London
4.9%
0.7%
Windsor–Sarnia
6.0%
1.1%
Stratford–Bruce Peninsula
6.0%
2.0%
Northeast
0.5%
0.1%
Northwest
n/a
n/a

Table A2. Characteristics of Employed Persons

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, Custom Table

*Average annual growth rate for last ten years available data

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Sector Employment Statistics

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing All Sectors
Employment, 2022 Share of Total (%) AAGR (%)* Share of Total (%) AAGR (%)*
Employment 61,100 0.8% 1.7% 100.0% 1.0%
Male 49,300 80.7% -0.5% 52.7% 1.2%
Female 11,800 19.3% 10.3% 47.3% 0.9%
15–24 years old 5,600 9.2% 0.9% 13.2% 0.6%
25–54 years old 35,900 58.8% -0.6% 65.0% 0.5%
55 years and older 19,600 32.1% 3.6% 21.8% 3.0%
Worked full-time 58,500 95.7% 0.5% 82.4% 1.2%
Worked part-time 2,500 4.1% 1.9% 17.6% 0.2%
Self-employed 4,200 6.9% 1.1% 14.2% 0.7%
Employees 56,900 93.1% 0.4% 85.8% 1.1%
Permanent job n/a n/a n/a 76.6% 1.3%
Temporary job n/a n/a n/a 9.9% 0.1%
Less than high school 3,900 6.4% -1.9% 6.4% -1.9%
High school graduate 21,900 35.8% 1.4% 22.5% -0.4%
Postsecondary cert. or diploma 25,500 41.7% 0.9% 32.2% 1.1%
University degree 20,000 32.7% 12.2% 38.9% 4.1%

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