The May reading on the RBC PMI was the first strong advance since February.
A reading above 50 on the RBC purchasing managers index signals expansion in Canada's manufacturing sector.
The index fell below 50.0 in March for the first time since the survey was created 2 1/2 years ago and improved only slightly to 50.1 in April.
RBC chief economist Craig Wright says the manufacturing sector showed renewed vitality in new orders and job creation in May.
New order growth was at an 11-month high in May while job creation hit a nine-month high, with additional staff hired at 22 per cent of the firms surveyed.
"As we navigate through the remainder of 2013, we expect the sector's performance to improve further, boosting Canadian growth," Wright said in a statement.
The RBC PMI is compiled by Markit, which does similar indexes in several countries, in co-operation with the bank and the Canadian Purchasing Management Association.