The Agenda for Growth in Canada

The Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) published three policy playbooks as the Agenda for Growth in Canada. The Agenda for Growth outlines how Canada can be a main player on the global stage.

The Agenda for Growth to Influence Economic Policy

As a coast-to-coast coalition of nine of Canada’s largest urban Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, the Canadian Global Cities Council is committed to advocating for policies that will create good jobs and bolster economic growth. At the time that the policy recommendations were released the organizations joined forces as the CGCC to advocate for business priorities of the major city centres among the federal election candidates.

There are eight of us that came together to represent business in the largest municipalities of Canada and we identified that those were the top three things that we hear from our businesses that we know that the business community is saying are tremendous challenges

In 2019, urban living was greatly sought after. Canadian cities were the best places to live, work, own a business and invest. The population of our city centres make up one of the largest voting demographics in Canada. As a voice for this group, the CGCC published a series of policy playbooks with clear recommendations for the campaigning federal parties to consider and called on every political party to review and support the Agenda for Growth.

What IS The Agenda For Growth In Canada?

The documents are a play by play on how the Canadian federal government can positively shape business opportunities and jobs. The CGCC warns that to shift our focus away from innovation and trade risks Canada’s future prosperity. The Canadian Global Cities Council released the first of the three “policy playbooks” — an Agenda for Growth — to coincide with the launch of the 2019 federal election. The following three weeks in September of 2019 the CGCC released the remaining Agenda for Growth policy playbooks.

The Agenda for Growth Policy Playbooks

The Agenda for Growth is to be adopted by the federal government and included in national policy as solutions to issues that matter to businesses in Canada’s large metro regions. The Agenda for Growth includes three policy playbooks:

1. Trade & Innovation Policy
2. Infrastructure Policy
3. Talent Policy

Trade & Innovation Policies

The policy recommendations from the Trade & Innovation Policy Playbook are summarized below: To ensure a level playing field and clear rules exist for businesses, and that Canadians’ privacy and data are protected, Canada must build enabling frameworks for the innovation economy. This can be achieved in three ways:

To help strengthen and grow business confidence in the current global trade environment, the next federal government should diversify trade by:

To spur job creation the next government should support business growth by:

Infrastructure Policies

The Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) called on the campaigning federal parties to support the development of a National Urban Strategy.

The CGCC’s National Urban Strategy recommends:

According to Peter O’Sullivan of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Strategy aims to help cities build the infrastructure they need to reinforce Canada’s economic competitiveness.

Policy recommendations for infrastructure also included the need to improve goods movement efficiency by prioritizing trade-enabling, freight infrastructure investments – roads, airports, ports, technology, transportation corridors and borders. Check out our summary on the advocacy efforts on improved airport infrastructure.

Talent Policies

In this policy playbook, the CGCC calls on all Canadian political parties and politicians to create conditions to enable Canada’s businesses to not only cope with the swift pace of change, but also thrive in the new global economy.

The CGCC proposes greater planning and funding by governments for educational programs that are aligned with the needs of the private sector. This shift will effectively increase the amount of trained professionals entering the workforce and allow businesses to stay competitive by securing the right talent.

The Importance of the Agenda for Growth in the Future

The goal of the Agenda for Growth was to create a new framework to allow Canada’s businesses to be able to adapt to fast-moving changes.

In the wake of COVID-19 and a pandemic that shut down businesses for months,  and for some even years, policies and regulations that allow for adaptability, innovation, and for businesses to evolve are more important than ever.

For example, red tape reduction and regulatory changes continues to be an inexpensive way the governments can support business recovery and stimulate economic growth. As provincial and federal leaders continue to discuss measures to boost Canada’s economy in the “new normal”, the Canadian Global Cities Council continues to advocate for business.

Quotes from Canada’s Chambers and Boards of Trade about the Agenda for Growth

While Canada ranks as the fifth most digitally connected country in the G20, we are held back by a lack of a national data framework that should build off and align with international best practice, establish common rules across the country, and help create the conditions for Canadian companies to commercialize their innovations, here, as first movers.

Thriving businesses create jobs, give back to our communities and contribute to the fabric of Canadian society. By taking bold steps to boost market access and trade both within Canada and beyond our borders, the federal government can ensure Canadian businesses have access to the customers and suppliers they need to grow, compete and succeed.