Canada Goose has always celebrated its Canadian roots, such as through its support of Inuit sewers, and now it’s digging deeper into its Made in Canada commitment to keep production of its core down-filled jackets within its home country.
By the end of March, the luxury performance outerwear company will have opened its second factory in Québec. The facility is a 115,000 square-foot factory, employing more than 100 in the Chabanel area in Montréal, Québec. The company said it expects to reach full capacity with 650 new positions by the end of 2020.
The Chabanel site will be equipped with the latest in wireless manufacturing technology to drive increased real-time efficiency, and each sewer will have a tablet for digital guidance on operational execution. It will produce a full-range of the Canada Goose collection.
The company’s other production facility in Boisbriand, Québec, which opened in 2017, is now home to more than 500 new employees. The latest site in Chabanel also represents the company’s eighth wholly-owned manufacturing facility in Canada. The other six locations include three sites in Winnipeg and three in the Greater Toronto area. The company employs roughly 20 percent of the cut and sew labor force across the country.
“We are not just opening offices or putting up a masthead–we are helping to rebuild the cut and sew industry here by creating meaningful new careers for hundreds of people,” Dani Reiss, president and chief executive officer of Canada Goose, said of the new facility. “We are incredibly proud to be making this investment in the community and continuing to grow our in-house capacity.”
In a recent conference call to Wall Street analysts, when the company posted third-quarter results, Reiss said, “We are creating a pipeline of skilled labor that we need to support growth…Montréal Chabanel District was once a central part of apparel manufacturing in Canada, but this has been eroded by a shift offshore in pursuit of margin. Well, some brands only have their headquarters in the city. They’re missing the great history and potential that this area has. This is the perfect opportunity for us to rebuild and revitalize the cut-and-sew industry there and have a lasting impact on the community.”
Canada Goose is working in cooperation with Montréal International, the economic development and promotion agency for the Greater Toronto region. Through the partnership, Canada Goose will expand the agency’s national sewing training school program at the new facility for prospective new hires. Upon successful completion of the program, they will move directly into full-time employment opportunities at the outerwear firm. So far, more than 800 employees across the country have completed the program and gone on into production roles that include sewing machine operators, line supervisors and production mangers.
Last month, Canada Goose commissioned 14 seamstresses representing nine communities across four Inuit regions–Inuvialuit, Nunatsiavut, Nunavut and Nunavik–to create one-of-a-kind parkas using the brand’s materials and their own design talent. The Canadian brand, best known for its pricey $1,000-plus parkas, has long been a supporter of Inuit craftsmanship. The Inuit crafters were the original parka makers, according to Canada Goose.
Called Project Atigi, the program also celebrated the launch of Canada Goose’s social entrepreneurship program. All proceeds from the sale of the special collection, many incorporating artistic embellishments crafted from patterns handed down from generation to generation, will go to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the organization that works to improve the well-being of the Inuit indigenous communities in Northern Canada. The collection will be showcased in Canada Goose stores around the world and be available for purchase on canadagoose.com.
For more than 10 years, Canada Goose has donated upward of two million meters of excess materials to the Northern communities across the Artic. Materials that would have otherwise been waste are instead transported to Inuit sewers by First Air via cargo planes already headed to the area with shipments of food and other deliveries, further helping with sustainability efforts.
Canada Goose was founded in 1957 in a small warehouse in Toronto. The company completed its initial public offering on March 16, 2017. Last year it acquired winter-boot maker Baffin to enter the footwear market.