The recent notice of a limited strike by the longshoremen’s union, including no work at all on weekends, is devastating not only to Canada’s economic competitiveness, but also to its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement today regarding the release of the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Competitive Report.
“Today, the world’s leading competiveness index shows that Canada has dropped in the rankings for the second year in a row, proving what Canada’s business leaders have expressed over and over and over again: this country’s business and investment environment is weakening. It is inconceivable that Canada’s competitiveness is not a central issue in this election.
As a trade-dependent nation, Canada’s ability to compete is critical to our economic well-being and the financial security of every Canadian. Despite all of the geographical and resource advantages that Canada has, we will squander these remarkable assets if we continue to ignore the limiting and sometimes harmful policy climate that erodes our ability to compete.
Many might look at the headline ranking, 14th in the world, and believe that Canada is doing well overall. But other countries are leapfrogging us as they remain focused on growth and competitiveness. Only two short years ago we were in the top ten.
The World Economic Forum’s report notes that Canada’s “less favourable economic environment has been reflected in somewhat more negative business leaders’ views across several dimensions.” A cursory look at where and why our ranking is sinking like a stone demonstrates some trends that Canada’s federal parties do not appear intent on addressing:
· Canada’s regulatory regime is burdensome (ranking 38th in the world) and businesses find it difficult to challenge regulations through the legal system (24th)
· Canada’s tax system, with boutique tax credits handed out like candy for political gain, creates distortions (45th) in our competitive landscape
· The efficiency, connectivity, and quality of Canada’s transportation infrastructure (32nd) leaves much to be desired
· Canada is uncompetitive when it comes to our ability to hire foreign labour (62nd) and labour mobility within our own country (54th)
· Government has not provided the proper incentives to promote R&D expenditures (23rd) or trademark applications (39th), key success factors in an increasingly intangible economy
Perhaps the most discouraging rankings comes from Canada’s performance in the future orientation of government category. Canadian business leaders do not believe the government is creating a stable policy environment for doing business (26th). They do not believe the government is responding effectively to technological changes, societal and demographic trends, and economic challenges (37th). And they do not believe the government has a long-term vision in place (38th).
Which is why it is so concerning that federal politicians have paid scant attention to competitiveness and productivity this election. Without leadership from Canada’s political parties on these critical issues, our ability to compete will continue to falter, and ultimately impact the standard of living of every Canadian. At the current rate of Canada’s decline, everyday Canadians who are feeling the pinch this election will continue to feel their quality of life decline over the coming years.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will continue to work together with political leaders to ensure that Canada addresses these ongoing and approaching economic challenges. The Canadian business community hopes to see competitiveness front and centre in the economic vision of whomever forms the next government.”
The Voice of Canadian Business
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most representative business association, which speaks with one unified voice on behalf of nearly a quarter million businesses. The Chamber’s job is to help Canadian businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions grow their business. We do this by helping them connect to each other, new opportunities, providing essential business services, and influencing government policy on their behalf. For more information visit www.Chamber.ca or follow us @CdnChamberofCom.
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