February 2, 2016 – Canada’s competitive situation will be under pressure in 2016, thanks to both short term issues and long term trends, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in its Crystal Ball Report: Canada in a Volatile World, which was released in January.
The Crystal Ball Report sums up the opinions of business leaders from across the country, as well as the predictions of leading economists, to produce a sense of where we are headed and provide an economic outlook for the coming year, and beyond.
“Our short-term challenges are well known. Canadian consumers are among the most highly indebted in the world and the housing market is overvalued in many communities. Consumer spending, that powered our economy over the past decade, is curtailed,” says the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Meanwhile, our traditional strength in natural resources is significantly diminished. “
But the Canadian Chamber also identified longer-term trends, such as poor productivity, low rates of innovation and shortages of skilled workers, as factors that endanger our competitiveness.
To create this report, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce gathered information from multiple sources. It hosted thought leadership roundtables across Canada with businesses from every sector of the economy. Interviews were conducted with leading economists like Peter Hall, Vice President and Chief Economist of Export Development Canada, Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, and Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and of Political Science at the University of California Berkeley. The Canadian Chamber also hosted its Crystal Ball Symposium, inviting global thought leaders to talk about the future of work in an era of rapid technological progress and the future of the world in the face of political instability and terrorism.
“Competitiveness was a theme we heard over and over. To continue to grow and to improve our standard of living, the Canadian economy must succeed in exporting, in creating new businesses and in commercializing the technologies of tomorrow. Our number one priority has to be the improvement of Canadian productivity and innovation. No stimulus can deliver sustainable growth if Canada’s productivity challenges are not addressed,” says Mr. Beatty. “We hope this report can be more of a warning than a prediction. With the right efforts, we can still strengthen our economy.”
Watch a short video of the report by its author, Hendrik Brakel, Senior Director, Economic, Financial and Tax Policy, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. Follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.