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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s top mandate leading into this fall’s federal election is simple: to make it easier for Canadian businesses to compete on the world stage. After all, if Canadian businesses can get the edge on their competitors, they will not only create new jobs and generate greater prosperity for communities across the country, but they’ll enable Canada to bounce back from its economic slowdown.

With a laser-like focus on competitiveness, we have established the four areas that are critical to the success of Canadian businesses as well as the innovative ideas that need to be implemented to bring businesses to the next level.

Access to a powerful workforce

More than ever, businesses need skilled people—but finding those properly-trained employees is a challenge. With technology evolving rapidly, the needs of businesses are constantly shifting and their employees must possess the skills and knowledge to evolve with them. We are working to ensure the next government’s top focus is on skills development and expanding the workforce.

Access to capital

Canada is full of great, innovative and fast-growing small companies. Unfortunately, they have a real problem getting access to the growth funding they desperately need to make it to the next stage of their development. In 2014 , we consulted with small business owners from across the country and one message they repeated was that Canada needs better tax incentives to attract more angel investors. The government must also change existing regulations so as to encourage insurance companies and pension funds to invest in venture capital.

Access to technology and innovation

Technology is evolving and changing more rapidly than ever—and businesses that can’t keep up will inevitably fall by the wayside. That’s why it’s essential to provide Canadian businesses with the tools they need to integrate cutting-edge production processes and communications into their operations.

Improving access to research and development—and making sure the results get commercialized into the products of tomorrow—is also a necessity for Canada to regain our front runner status.. Stronger links to publicly-funded research labs and investments in research clusters will allow Canadian businesses to build off of the ideas of one another, creating a more collaborative environment and leading to a stronger overall economy.

Access to markets

Many businesses across Canada rely heavily on international trade. To make sure there’s a consistent demand for Canadian exports, two things need to happen: trade agreements must be strengthened and expanded to open up international markets, and infrastructure must be improved so that it’s more efficient and sustainable to manufacture products and transport them to their overseas destinations.

There are a lot of challenges ahead, but we are optimistic. At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, we will keep repeating our message that a competitive business sector is the key to economic prosperity for all of us and for building a winning Canada.

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