How to tell the difference between the two types of Canadian-made products
A couple of weeks ago, the CBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Canadian journalist Brian Toby, who is one of the world’s foremost experts on the production of imported goods, and who has spent years working on the issues that drive his passion.
He’s been involved in the production and sale of products made by companies in countries like the United States and China, but in Canada he says he’s noticed a distinct difference in the way products are packaged.
“If you go into any of the supermarkets, I think you’ll find that there are no labels on the products that you buy,” he says.
“So it’s really like a product that’s been made by somebody who has never touched it before.”
When the CBC visited the manufacturing facility where Toby’s research takes place, they were shocked to see products made in the United Kingdom, which has been accused of producing counterfeit goods and using poor quality labour to meet global demand.
The BBC visited the factory and spoke to the workers and suppliers who work there, including the owner, who said the company was making products for other companies.
“This factory has a history of producing goods for others,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to take it away from anybody.
But we’re not going to take that away from anyone.”
When Toby visited the plant last month, he noticed that the factory was full of plastic bags filled with goods that had been made with different kinds of plastic.
He says he saw products with labels on them that were made with the same kind of plastic as the ones being sold at Costco.
“So it seemed to me that, well, you know, it’s not necessarily a product made by a Canadian company, it just seems like it’s made by someone who has been making it for a long time.”
A couple of days later, Toby spoke to a factory worker at a warehouse in Toronto, who told him that it was common practice for some of the products they make to be made in China, and that it’s difficult to distinguish between the Chinese and American-made versions.
“It’s just a bit of a mystery to me,” Toby says.
“When you’re looking at the product you buy, and you know what’s on it, and the price you’re paying, what are you paying for?”
As for the quality of the goods being made, Tober says it is a mystery, too.
“There are a lot of companies out there that are making products that are really high-end,” he adds.
“They’re not actually making quality goods.”
Toby Toby with the products he’s been working on over the years.
(Chris Hayes)As for what he wants to do next, Tobe is thinking about getting more involved with the production industry in Canada.
He wants to expand his research and write a book about his experiences.
But he says it will take more than just a couple of hours of research.
“What I really want to do is to be able to tell people, if you’re going to come to Canada, that there’s nothing out there you’re not willing to try, that it doesn’t matter what kind of products you’re buying, that you’re just going to get the goods from the United Nations, that all the things that are made in Canada are made by Canadian companies.”