The Textile Industry
Though textile production is one of the oldest manufacturing sectors in Canada, today’s industry is technology-intensive and globally competitive. More than 150 years ago, the Canadian textile industry manufactured of yarns and fabrics from natural fibres. Today, companies use natural, artificial and man-made fibres and filaments, supplying value-added products to more than 150 sectors in Canada and around the world. Textile products are used to create garments, but are also commonly used by the transportation, health, agriculture, civil engineering, packaging, protection and construction sectors.
Textile processes generally encompass:
Spinning of staple fibres into industrial and commercial yarns
Texturing or throwing of chemical-based filament yarns (artificial and synthetic)
Manufacturing of thread for crafts, embroidery, sewing
Finishing or dressing, and coating of fabrics and textiles
Coating of fabrics (laminating, coating, bonding, etc.)
Protective clothing and footwear
In 2011, the Canadian textile industry manufactured some $3.67 billion worth of textile products, more than half of which (52%) was exported. It is estimated there are 1,970 textile firms in operation in Canada.
Textile production relies on a supply chain that includes producers of natural and synthetic fibres (chemical, agricultural, mineral) and provides inputs for products such as clothing, upholstered furniture, household items, floor coverings and industrial applications.
Economic pressures and global competition have caused the Canadian textile industry to make substantial changes in their operations. Though the industry is smaller today than in the past, companies have moved toward value-added production in niche markets where they can take advantage of strong research and development capabilities, quick turnaround on orders, high-quality and excellent customer service.