SURREY, BC – A strong and prosperous Canada depends on business growth, but businesses are grappling with the daunting challenges at home and abroad. To help them compete and grow, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Surrey Board of Trade have released 10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins today at the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2018 Economic Forecast lunch https://businessinsurrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/10Ways2018CCC-SurreyBOT.pdf. The initiative of ‘10 Ways’ provides businesses, decision-makers and government with a series of clear priorities and objectives that, if addressed, will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity and grow our economy.
“With volatile market activity, tax reform changes in both Canada and the USA, we need to collaborate and speak to government at all levels to ensure that Canada has the business investments and quality jobs for today and tomorrow. This really needs to be an ongoing, consistent task.” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“While the global economy remains risky, there are still tremendous opportunities for business growth, but we need to work together to create the conditions to support business growth and build a more prosperous economy for all Canadians,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “10 Ways identifies the ways in which business, government and others can work together to improve Canada’s public policy environment and create the conditions for businesses across the country to flourish.”
10 Ways touches on a range of key issues, including attracting business investment, supporting SMEs, providing opportunities for business development among Indigenous peoples, encouraging innovation and fixing Canada’s trade-enabling infrastructure.
This annual list by the chamber network is particularly important given the growing pressures on businesses faced with uncertainty around the ongoing NAFTA negotiations, additional layers of regulation, rapid technological change and low capital investment. 10 Ways not only frames the necessary public discourse around the best ways to enable Canadian businesses to grow, it provides the Canadian Chamber of Commerce with the strategic direction for its policy and advocacy efforts throughout 2018, supported by the government advocacy and project work by the Surrey Board of Trade. Surrey in itself will be the largest city in British Columbia very soon so all 10 initiatives are very important to city-building efforts.
10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins in 2018
1. Make Canada a Magnet for Business Investment
We need a policy environment in Canada that makes this country the preferred location for businesses to invest, employ, export from and grow.
2. Ensure a Globally Competitive North America
The growth potential of Canadian business depends not only rely on our domestic policy environment, but also on our access to business opportunities and capabilities across North America and around the world. We need to expand and streamline business access to resources as we eliminate barriers to trade.
3. Make Canada an Agri-food Powerhouse
Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector has a strong and well-earned reputation. In order to make Canada a global leader in high-value food production and exports, we need a national vision and clear objectives for an agri-food cluster development strategy, a supportive regulatory environment and an increased capacity to export. 1/3 of Surrey’s land base is agricultural.
4. Develop Agile Workforce Strategies
Agile workforce policies are vital in ensuring Canadian businesses can acquire the skill sets they need to compete and grow. To this end, Canadian businesses need easy access to comprehensive market information and to programs and policies that support diversity and labour mobility. Our workforce must also have access to formative and life-long learning opportunities in essential skills and basic science, technical, engineering and business education. Only then can we attract the best and brightest from all over the world.
5. Make all of Canada an Export Gateway
Trade is the linchpin of the Canadian economy. We can enhance the competitiveness and growth potential of Canadian businesses by building on the gateways and corridors modeled to make strategic, sustainable and long-term improvements in Canada’s trade infrastructure. It is time for us to create a single, unified and efficient trade-enabling network.
6. Improve Regulatory Efficiency, Achieve Regulatory Alignment, and Ensure the Unrestricted Movement of Goods and People across Canada
The elimination of trade barriers and unnecessary regulatory differences across Canada could add as much as $130 billion to Canada’s GDP by freeing trade and commerce within our own internal markets. Through incentives for regulators, we can concentrate on the big picture: nationally aligned standards and regulations that work for all, instead of a patchwork of regional rules.
7. Help SMEs Trade and Grow
Canada’s economic prospects depend in large part on the vitality and growth potential of small- and medium-sized enterprises. We can support our SMEs through tax policies that reward entrepreneurship, regulatory policies that take their reality into account and by giving them easier access to government contracts and international opportunities.
8. Provide Opportunities for Business Development to Support Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples
The economic and social benefits of encouraging greater and more inclusive participation by Indigenous peoples in employment and business development opportunities are shared by all Canadians. This includes a supportive tax and regulatory environment, access to new business opportunities, government programs that provide meaningful supports, and ready-access to education and training, leading to employment, apprenticeship and mentorship programs.
9. Make Canada a Global Innovator
Canada can retain its status as an advanced economy only if its businesses are world leaders in the development and application of new and advanced technologies. Canadian businesses need to be connected to the broadband infrastructure, research expertise and technology resources they require. Intellectual property and other regulatory regimes also have to be supportive and allow for easier R&D, development and, ultimately, commercialization.
10. Make Canada the World’s One-stop Shop for Green Resources and Technology
The application of new technologies and production processes is vital if Canada is to meet its goals for reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of its environment while at the same time sustaining economic growth. This requires support for resource-based technology business clusters and the incentives and support programs Canadian technology companies need to be able to do business with global resource companies and engineering and procurement firms.
In 2018, Canadian businesses are being challenged by economic, political and technological changes. Change is rapid and change is unsettling. As an independent voice of business the Surrey Board of Trade will continue to be leaders and highlight the way to new opportunities that are opening up around the world. Customers are no longer the people in our neighbourhood. They are now people in different time zones, people who use different currency and people who speak a different language. In these highly competitive times, the advantage will go to those businesses that can offer customers special and unique solutions they can both manage and afford. Business owners must find the best ways to compete and grow in domestic and international markets. But, governments and the public policy environment, in which businesses operate, are critical in setting the ground rules that lead to success.