Flexible, versatile, strong, long-lasting, and inexpensive—plastics are found everywhere, from packaging to automotive components to construction products. Possibilities for their use continue to grow.
The Canadian plastics industry consists of manufacturers of plastic products; manufacturers of plastics processing machinery, moulds and extrusion dies; and synthetic resin converters and compounders (companies that make or blend plastic resins that are used in other products).
In response to international competition and the fluctuating costs of energy and raw materials, the industry is shifting to the use of new inputs and processes, and to the manufacture of new, customized products.
Working in the Plastics Industry
The industry has many opportunities for professional development and career advancement. Skills developed on the job can be applied in other occupations in the plastics industry as well as in other industries.
Working conditions are safe. Salaries vary depending on the job requirements, employer, location, and employee experience.
The industry has occupations in:
- Resin compounding: materials handlers, materials engineers, chemical engineers
- Design: plastic parts designers, mould designers, engineering techicians, mechanical engineers
- Custom and captive processing: machine operators, set-up and maintenance technicians, plastic part assembers
- Process engineering: process and manufacturing engineers
- Machinery, dies and moulds manufacturing: mould makers, plastic engineering technicians, machine operators, set-up and maintenance technicians
- Administration: plastic process trainers, health and safety inspectors, quality assurance inspectors
- Marketing: marketing and sales representatives.
Skills & Training
There are work opportunities for a wide range of educational backgrounds and experience levels. Many employers provide on-the-job training, and equipment manufacturers often offer short courses in the use of new machineries and techniques.
Post-secondary training in mechanical, industrial and chemical engineering is available at community colleges and universities across the country. Some programs provide practical training experiences. Certification as a professional engineer, technician or technologist is required or recommended for some occupations. Apprenticeships are available for many occupations.
Voluntary certification as a plastics practitioner (Cert.PP) is available in 24 occupations.