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Video: John Manley at Alberta’s Inspiring Education symposium

The Honourable John Manley, President and CEO, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, delivered a keynote address titled “Jobs, skills and opportunities: strengthening Canada’s human capital advantage” at the Inspiring Education Symposium on February 19, 2014 in Calgary. The event brought together more than 1,100 stakeholders from across Alberta to learn more about the transformation underway in Alberta’s education system.  

 

 … Read more »

Opportunities for Canada in India

A country with a massive and growing population, India presents great opportunities for those countries ready to engage. Canada’s partnership with India is gaining in strength, but our trading relationship has yet to reach its full potential. Trade between India and Canada stands at $5.8 billion today, a long way from the goal set in 2009 by Prime Minister Harper and his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh to expand bilateral merchandise trade to $15 billion by 2015.

“The barriers to expanding commercial ties with India are high,” says Ailish Campbell, Vice President, International and Fiscal Policy, Canadian Council of Chief Executives. “What are the interests that might bring our countries together? And how will Canada adapt to the opportunities India offers?”

Dr. Campbell, who travelled last week to India with a Canadian delegation, highlights five possible areas of cooperation: education, public service, innovation, infrastructure and energy. Read more about her insights into the Canada-India relationship here.… Read more »

Report on teacher evaluation ‘highlights universal challenges’

A recent report on teacher recruitment, hiring and compensation practices “highlights universal challenges” that are relevant to a wide range of employers, Claudine Kapel writes in Canadian HR Reporter, which covers the latest trends and insights in human resources management. The report, which was commissioned by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives as part of a multi-year effort to improve the quality of education and skills training in Canada, raises “important questions that every organization should ask as part of its strategy for optimizing performance,” says Kapel, a Toronto-based human resources and communications consultant. “Many organizations say they seek to identify and reward their top talent as ways of driving higher levels of business performance,” she adds. “But in reality, this is easier said than done, especially since some organizations don’t have the foundational elements required to build and sustain a high-performing culture. These include effective means for both evaluating employee performance and creating links between performance and pay.”… Read more »

Date January 24, 2014 Related Issues

Canada’s trade deficit: understanding the big picture

By Ailish Campbell

There has been some concern expressed lately about the Canadian trade deficit.  Canada posted a trade deficit of $940 million ($879 million) in November, the 23rd in a row. 

The key thing to remember is, as a single number, a trade deficit or surplus doesn’t deliver good or bad news.  And you certainly cannot judge the health of the economy based on one month’s data.  Simply put, there is not enough information in this number alone to carry any meaningful message.

Looking at monthly numbers can indicate temporary imbalances caused by one large shipment or purchase of, say, airplanes. Monthly variations can also reflect particular country circumstances such as seasonally related imports, one-time economic transactions or short-lived accidents.

While persistent trade deficits over a number of years may spell trouble in certain circumstances, Canada is very far from being in that situation. 

It is also important to note that the offset to the current account in Canada’s balance of payments is positive and significant capital inflows, which feed the long-term growth of the Canadian economy.

It’s not an easy story to follow, but it boils down to this:  watching monthly stats of the current account deficit is Read more »

Investor-state dispute settlement: Let’s look at outcomes

By Ailish Campbell

A few weeks ago Barrie McKenna of The Globe and Mail wrote an interesting piece on the investor-state dispute settlement provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His thesis was that “companies are cleverly stretching the bounds of what they consider an investment” and that “Chapter 11 has become a way for companies either to bypass domestic courts and regulatory agencies, or to get restitution denied through normal channels.”   

For those who don’t sleep with a copy of the NAFTA text under their pillows, Chapter 11 is the investment component of NAFTA, which came into force in 1994. Its purpose is to establish “a framework of rules and disciplines that provides investors from NAFTA countries with a predictable, rules-based investment climate, as well as dispute-settlement procedures which are designed to provide timely recourse to an impartial tribunal.”  

The article suggested that such dispute settlement is costly (it certainly can be), and further that such provisions are leading to an “ever-widening scope of what claimants consider investments and expropriation.”

In light of Mr. McKenna’s article, and the important questions it raised about the power of investors to make claims against the Canadian state, I decided to … Read more »

Date December 10, 2013 Related Issues

Trends in telecommunications policy

By Eric Miller

On December 3-4, the International Institute of Communications held its annual Telecom and Media Summit in Washington, DC. The agenda focused on many of the key technology and policy developments in North America and Europe. Some of the key themes to emerge were as follows:

  • Over-The Top Competitors: The rise of Netflix and other over-the-top providers is changing the content landscape. These firms are no longer just distributors of audiovisual content; they are creating their own original works. Netflix now sees HBO as its competitor, so they financed House of Cards to grab eyeballs from Game of Thrones. The consumer is benefitting from new sources of ever-higher quality programming. From a Canadian regulatory point of view, over-the-top services represent a significant challenge to the long-established media regime. Netflix, for example, is not considered a broadcaster. It therefore is not subject to Canadian content requirements and does not have to contribute to the Canada Media Fund. The CRTC is assessing the implications of the rise of over-the-top services in its ongoing review of the television system. More broadly, technological change is pushing us to re-think how we fund Canadian content and better promote it around the
  • Read more »

Canada-China relations: keeping up the momentum

By Ailish Campbell

The CCCE, in partnership with Canada 2020, held an event titled “Canada-China Relations, Keeping up the Momentum”. At the event,Wendy Dobson of Rotman presented her book, Partners and Rivals:  The uneasy future of China’s relationship with the United States. She exhorted Canadians to anticipate the future, when China will move up the value chain in sectors such as rail, advanced manufacturing and clean tech and look for innovation partners. Canada can play in this space. Dr. Dobson noted Canada is seen positively but not strategically in China. 

Thoughtful views from Ralph Lutes of Teck, and Bruce Simpson of McKinsey, brought out the key business opportunities and importance of China to Canada’s economy. Mr. Simpson challenged Canada to think about helping China get its cities right – we have three of the best cities in the world in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. If current trends hold, by 2025 China will have 221 cities with one million–plus inhabitants, says McKinsey. Canada has the expertise to help China get its cities right. 

Premier Brad Wall set out his vision for Saskatchewan’s engagement with China, driven in large part by agriculture and energy products.  Given the huge … Read more »

Date October 21, 2013 Related Issues

John Manley travels to China with Governor General Johnston

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, made a State visit to China last week. Watch John Manley, President and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and a member of the accompanying delegation, discuss the official welcoming ceremony of the State visit. … Read more »

Thinking the Unthinkable: What Canadian Business Needs to Know about a Possible U.S. Default

By Eric Miller

On October 17, the U.S. Government will have just $30 billion cash on hand. Best estimates of outstanding revenue and liabilities suggest that without an increase in its Debt Ceiling, America may, within a fortnight, be unable to meet all of its financial obligations. Given that the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency and, thus, underpins the global financial system, the consequences of a U.S. default would be profound. Concurrently, much of the U.S. Government has been shut down since October 1 due to a lack of agreement on the budget. Some 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, which is costing the economy an estimated 0.1% to 0.4% of GDP per week. Given the importance of the United States to Canada and its firms, the following note provides a guide to the present state of affairs and key deadlines.

What is the Debt Ceiling?

The debt ceiling is the legislatively determined limit up to which the U.S. Government may borrow funds. Article I of the U.S. Constitution establishes that all government spending must be authorized through an appropriation passed by Congress. In executing this power, the legislative branch has always imposed limits on federal borrowing. The … Read more »

Obama’s new climate action plan

by John Dillon

President Barack Obama committed his Administration to a “new national climate action plan” in a  speech earlier this summer, and indicated that he was “directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants”.

The EPA revealed some of those details in mid-September.  It actually sets a standard that is somewhat more lenient than that adopted by Canada’s federal government. As well, at this point it only clarifies the standard that will apply to new coal-fired plants and those built to use natural gas.  The standards applying to some 1,000 existing coal-fired facilities have yet to be worked out and will require delicate and perhaps lengthy negotiations with individual states, some of which are still highly reliant on coal for the bulk of their electricity. 

As recently as five years ago, coal made up 50 percent of the electricity mix in the United States but that has since dropped to less than 40 percent.  There are a number of reasons, including aging plants that were no longer efficient, and the improving economics of renewable power … Read more »

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