Wednesday
Feb242016

What's holding us back? The Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness

What are the issues and policies that are preventing Canadian businesses from realizing their full potential?  

For the fifth year in a row, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has identified the Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness.  The 2016 version is a list of key impediments that are preventing Canadian businesses from reaching their goals and, in turn, Canada from improving its productivity and economic prosperity.

As the Canadian Chamber stated in a recent press release, “in a fiercely competitive world, business needs more than its own skills to win—it also needs a supportive environment and public policies to encourage competitiveness. This annual list of barriers points to economic hurdles of our own making, self-imposed limits on the growth of Canadian businesses. Through this initiative, the Canadian Chamber is bringing these barriers to the forefront and is urging all stakeholders to act more swiftly to improve our country’s ability to compete globally.”

“Although the policies involved may have started with positive goals, they now hinder business success, and many of the issues on our list were repeated from previous years,” says the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “We need to act now. We’ve identified a series of improvements that can be put in place rapidly. We ask the government to remove these obstacles before conditions worsen.”

Top 10 Barriers

 

  1. Public policies block small companies from becoming bigger To grow Canada’s companies, the government needs to change the corporate tax rates and breaks that penalize growth.
  2. Canada is vulnerable to cyber crime Canada loses $3.12 billion to cyber crime per year, and nearly half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyber attack because they are less equipped to handle attacks.
  3. Canada’s trade agenda – new agreements are just the start Canada needs to help businesses scale up internationally. Canada also needs to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, get new deals done with China and India, and cooperate on regulations with its trade partners.
  4. Canadian resources cannot get to world markets Governments need to support pipelines and other infrastructure that will allow Canadians to trade with the world.  The Energy East Pipeline project would create 250 high paying jobs at GE Peterborough. 
  5. Poor literacy numeracy and digital skills are limiting productivity in segments of Canada’s workforce Canada needs a plan to make sure people have the skills for tomorrow’s jobs.
  6. Canada needs a more aggressive and effective innovation strategy Canada needs to reinvest in an innovation ecosystem that supports the capability of business to rapidly respond to change.
  7. Canada is not ready for climate change Canada needs clear federal policy on carbon regulation and a climate adaptation strategy.
  8. Internal barriers to trade cost Canadians billions and restrict investment To get free trade within Canada, the federal government should apply pressure on the provinces and expand the right of private parties to seek redress.
  9. Lack of clarity regarding businesses’ responsibilities to Aboriginal peoples constrains investmentCanada needs meaningful reconciliation with its Aboriginal peoples; however, it is not clear to businesses what reconciliation means and what they need to do to do their part in achieving it. The federal government, as the primary interlocutor between Aboriginal peoples and other constituencies, needs to lead the way.
  10. Canada’s brand does not support business competitiveness The world sees Canada as a great place to live but not to do business, and Canada has not been doing a good job at changing those perceptions. The government must increase its efforts to improve its business brand through tourism and investment promotion.

 

“These barriers are of our own making. They are the result of acting wrongly or failing to act at all, but we can eliminate them if we have the will to do so,” says Mr. Beatty. “Government can provide the leadership to remove these hurdles. This is the opportunity to take another step towards a Canada that wins.”

Read the full report at peterboroughchamber.ca/policypublications 

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