Following the March 21 Before the Bell edition on Canada’s Investment Climate hosted by Catherine Clark, Sixth Estate editors asked Ian McKay (IM) president and CEO of Invest in Canada and Goldy Hyder (GH), president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada to respond to some unanswered audience questions from the show. Here are their responses.
Q. Asides from our taxation policies, on a global scale, is Canada looked at as a safe and healthy marketplace to invest in?
A. (IM) Canada’s banking system, widely recognized as the soundest in the world, and our G7 best debt -to- GDP ratio, are key factors that have led the OECD to declare that Canada has the best macro economic stability among its members. Investors who take the long view on investments view this as a key determinant when deciding where to deploy capital. Further, Canada is ranked by the OECD as having the highest educated workforce in the world, an open and aggressive immigration policy, and the only country in the world with free trade with every G7 nation.
A. (GH) Yes and no. Yes compared to many others but no to those we most compete with like (the) US, Europe. (The) issue is not taxes as much as it is regulations. We have dropped in the World Economic Forum rankings for ease of doing business from 4th globally n 2006 to 22nd today.
Q. Global Skills Strategy – celebrated by local + FDI companies has created a strong foundation for biz growth. If you were the PM, what new programs would you introduce?
A. (IM) Canada should continue to focus on generating world class research to meet 21st century needs, producing and recruiting the best minds here and around the world, and building upon the world’s most aggressive and open trade and investment network.
A. (GH) We like what came out of the budget, it is a good start. We can assess as we go on what more might be necessary. At some point we do need to give our education and post secondary a hard look to modernize curriculum.
Q. Canada’s green regulatory regime: impediment or catalyst for FDI?
A. (IM) Forward thinking, aggressive policy on the green economy, on pricing pollution, on building codes at the provincial and municipal level are keys to driving innovation and attracting capital to Canada. It is no accident that Canada has 16 of the top 100 clean technology companies in the world, and that British Columbia – which has had a price on pollution since 2008 – has led the nation’s economy for much of the past decade.
A. (GH) It is an asset if it is properly communicated.
Q. What is driving the tech sector in Canada? It seems there is a spike in activity?
A. (IM) For the first time ever, since 2017 the cities of Toronto and Vancouver have attracted more global tech talent than San Francisco and Seattle. This is a significant shift. The reasons are plentiful, but sound public policy over decades on creating world class research institutions in Canada, an immigration framework that recognizes the need for global talent, and a quality of life that is conducive to growing tech ecosystems all over the country have all had a large part to play.
A. (GH) The superclusters have helped as has business investment in innovation, business, academia and government working together is good.
Q. If you were in front of a company, how would you pitch Canada as a place to invest?
A. (IM) In a world increasingly consumed by chaos, disruption and protectionism, Canada is an oasis of stability for global business. By investing in Canada you can increase profits, reduce risk and grow your business with ease. The lowest marginal effective tax rates in the G7, an unmatched global trade footprint that provides access to 1.6 billion consumers, and an ever expanding pool of local and global talent to grow your business – these are all reasons to choose Canada first.
A. (GH) Canada is a reliable platform, rule of law, a place where one can establish a hub and do business with North America, Europe and CPTPP countries where we currently enjoy early mover advantage over (the) U.S.
Watch the full edition of Canada’s Investment Climate on Before the Bell with hosts Catherine Clark and special guest co-host David Akin below.
Chasing Answers is a new feature from Sixth Estate that allows guests appearing on the show to respond to questions submitted by the audience.