Toronto, January 24, 2017— In its 2017 Crystal Ball Report, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce concludes that the year ahead will represent a time of economic uncertainty for Canadian business, a direct result of global trends and the ambiguity surrounding the Canada-U.S. trade relation. Natural resources are poised to rebound, however, giving the Canadian economy an opportunity at leading the pack on economic growth.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from the Canadian business community that it has concerns about the global economy, particularly with regard to Canada-U.S. relations, the renegotiation of NAFTA and the future of other trade agreements,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The Canadian economy will see limited growth, but we can still leverage positive sentiment into a leadership role in global affairs. We can be the change factor in 2017, with the right moves.”
In this report, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce examines the most significant economic, political and technological issues facing Canadian business in the years ahead, allowing members to leverage uncertainty into opportunity. This report is the culmination of extensive research from the Canadian Chamber’s own policy staff, input from businesses across Canada on the trends in their sectors and insights from global experts.
“Throughout the last year, we hosted a series of thought leadership roundtables with Canadian business in order to talk about the big issues, from the backlash against trade to energy and commodity prices, to the digital economy and the risks Canada will have to contend with in 2017 and beyond,” said Mr. Beatty. “We’ve heard from businesses in all sectors that they are surprised by anti-trade sentiment and are concerned about a retreat from globalization in the years ahead. The consensus was that the rise of anti-trade, anti-immigration political parties is a global phenomenon and could be an important risk factor for Canada.”
Three worldwide trends are driving this. A global slowdown is resulting in most G7 countries being stuck in a low-growth trap. Simultaneously, technology is transforming our societies and our workforces, leading to the creation of high-paying, highly-skilled jobs, but allowing robotics and artificial intelligence to automate many of the low-skilled jobs the working class used to depend on. These first two factors combined mean that at a time when global income gains have declined, wages are stagnant and income inequality is rising. This has produced widespread popular anger, where large parts of the working class feel they have been left behind.
“Canada is in a unique position, remaining focused on trade and open to the world. We can capitalize on these strengths to influence trends and show other countries that globalization can unite economic and social objectives,” said Mr. Beatty.
The Canadian Chamber’s Crystal Ball Report is available for download here.
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.
Guillaum W. Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce