Janice Stein, Founding Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and the opening speaker for the 2022 Making Waves Online Learning Event put on by COPA & the CHPTA, offered attendees on January 13 insight into major factors that will impact the Canadian economy and public policy over the next few years with a particular focus on the role the U.S. will play.  

The key issues that Ms. Stein addressed during her interactive talk started with the COVID pandemic and the impact it is having on businesses and the Canadian health system. Some big decisions are awaiting politicians and governments across Canada on where, and how much, investment will be made in order to improve health care results.  

The focus of the presentation then shifted towards a discussion on the U.S., the deepening political polarization that is taking place down south and the problems and threats it poses for Canada. Areas of concern covered included: “Buy & Made in the U.S.A.” policies, protections for Canadian businesses, Canadian trade lobbying efforts, the new NAFTA deal, and how there will be increasing competition for Canadian businesses.

We have entered into a new era of “protectionism” (and not only in the U.S.).  Canada needs to look at ways to continue to diversify its economy and expand trade with other parts of the world. Canada’s economy is still highly dependent and vulnerable to trade with the U.S. (70% of Canada’s exports are to the U.S.). This is also going to require more government intervention and huge decisions on where to invest in the economy and particular industry sectors.  

Due to the COVID pandemic and the Supply Chain Crisis, many governments, including Canada’s, have been getting involved in procuring items and setting up domestic manufacturing for certain products like PPE materials or the vital tech/communication sector which has national security implications.   

Ms. Stein also discussed the need to address climate change and the move towards clean energy. New technology like electric cars will have a big impact over the coming years and Canada’s energy sector is now in transition. Again, important government leadership and investment decisions will be needed.  

Another important area for Canada to continue to focus on is attracting talent. The U.S. political unrest during the Trump administration was actually a boost for attracting top tech sector talent from across the world to Canada. Canadian governments must make it easy for these type of talent individuals to be able to move and settle into Canada.  

Finally, Ms. Stein quickly touched upon U.S. – China relations and the impact that is and will have for Canada. She said this subject could take another 45 minutes to cover so she mentioned that she will have to come back and present again on that topic! We will try to arrange that.

Once again, we would like to thank Ms. Stein for her time in talking to our members and the expertise and insights she is able to pass on. She is definitely one of our favourite presenters and if you have not had the opportunity to hear Janice speak, we hope you will have that chance in the future.