Trading Partner Portal: Canada
Geographically, Canada is the second largest country in the world, with a population of 37.05 million and a GDP of $1.7 trillion (World Bank). The United States and Canada enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. In 2019, two way trade in goods between Canada and the United States topped $612 billion. Exports to Canada were $292 billion, making it the largest export destination for the U.S. According to the most recent figures, U.S. companies invested approximately $401.8 billion into Canada and foreign direct investment from Canada into the U.S. was nearly $588.39 billion in 2018 (Bureau of Economic Analysis). This makes Canada the second largest source of FDI in the U.S. in 2018. FDI from Canada directly supports 726,900 jobs in the U.S. Canada invested $1 billion in research and development and $15 billion towards expanding U.S. exports. The top US industry sectors that Canada FDI goes to are: software and IT services, financial services, business services, industrial machinery, real estate, and textiles (SelectUSA).
Canada has remained California’s second largest export market since 2006, with a total value of over $16.6 billion in 2019 (9.6 percent of all California exports), as well as exporting $9.2 billion in services to Canada. California imports $26.8 billion from Canada.
Computers and electronic products remained California’s largest exports, accounting for 28.6 percent of all California exports to Canada. Exports of agricultural products and transportation equipment from California to Canada totaled $2.47 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively. Food manufactures totaled $1.35 billion. California imports from Canada were composed of transportation equipment, food manufactures, chemicals, and reimports.
According to the Canadian government, nearly $2 billion worth of goods and services crosses the Canada-U.S. border daily, which is the equivalent of over $1 million traded every minute. Two-way trade with Canada supports an estimated 1,166,100 jobs in California. Nearly 1.8 million people visit California from Canada, spending nearly $2 billion.
- Canada is the top export destination for 35 states
- 41,200 Californians are employed by Canadian-owned businesses
- More than 8 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada
- Canada is the United States’ largest and most secure supplier of energy: oil, natural gas, electricity and nuclear fuel
- 400,000 people cross the Canada–U.S. border daily
In California, the number four country for FDI through foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs) is Canada. Canadian FOEs in California provide over 61,841 jobs through 1,583 firms amounting to $5.9 billion in wages. The top jobs by sector are: manufacturing, professional/business services, financial activities, wholesale trade and retail trade (World Trade Center Los Angeles FDI Report, May 2020).
• There are 784 Canadian-owned businesses, employing roughly 72,069 people throughout the state.
Because of NAFTA, California has seen new businesses form, new job openings posted, and a more vibrant economy. We must ensure that NAFTA is modernized for the future—so that its benefits are more widely shared, and, importantly, so that California’s economy continues to prosper.
The Canadian Embassy in DC has put together a video that talks about why NAFTA is integral to continued growth of the American economy, and also why it’s so important that NAFTA be modernized so that its benefits are more widely shared.
Hemispheric Partners: Trade, Technology, and Innovation Ties Between the Bay Area and Canada
Bay Area Council, April 17, 2019
On Monday June 4, 2018, the council met to discuss regulatory cooperation between our countries and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming the principles and commitments of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). Through the elimination of unnecessary regulatory differences, this MOU promotes economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.
“As the President and Prime Minister reiterated last year, regulatory relations between the United States and Canada remain a priority with the Trump Administration. We have uniquely connected economies that together generate billions of dollars a day. An open dialogue on regulatory policy is necessary for our continued economic success,” said OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.
The MOU follows through on a commitment issued by President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau in their joint statement on February 13, 2017, which said that our two countries “will continue our dialogue on regulatory issues and pursue shared regulatory outcomes that are business-friendly, reduce costs, and increase economic efficiency without compromising health, safety, and environmental standards.”
“This Memorandum of Understanding with our friends from Canada highlights the importance of regulatory cooperation. Reducing regulatory burdens promotes more effective, limited government, which contributes to economic growth and stimulates innovation. Identifying and eliminating unnecessary or duplicative regulations can help businesses and consumers on both sides of the border,” said OIRA Administrator Neomi Rao.
EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
European Commission, 2017
CETA in Your Town
European Commission, 2017
Canada-United States: Friends, Partners, Allies
Government of Canada, 2017
Growing Together Canada and Los Angeles County
LAEDC Kyser Center for Economic Research
Characteristics of travelers from Canada to California – 2012
Per the Canadian Consul General’s San Francisco office in Feb 2012 — At last count, there were almost 133,000 Canadians living in California – the most Canadian ex-pats in any state!
Human Resources: A Vital Driver of Canadian International Trade Capacity and Capability
2011 FITT (Forum for International Trade Training) Study
Border Improvement and Immigration Act
(December 19, 2013) Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President of the United States, Barack Obama, today welcomed the release of the second annual Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report.
Over the past year, significant progress has been made across all areas of work under the Action Plan. Benefits are emerging for citizens, travelers and businesses in both countries as we work together on this joint approach to perimeter security and economic competitiveness.
We remain committed to continued transparency and accountability around the initiative. Over the coming year we will establish a process for more regular and extensive consultations and updates will continue to be made available through face-to-face engagement, press releases, newsletters and regular updates to the website.
The Report, today’s news release and additional backgrounders and information are available at www.actionplan.gc.ca/border.
In 2011, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and Beyond the Border (BTB) initiatives. In recognition of our $1 trillion annual trade and investment relationship, the RCC and BTB will foster formal cooperation between the U.S. and Canada to promote economic growth, job creation, perimeter security and other benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination
United States and Canada Announce the 2016 Annual Work Plans
Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council, July 2016
The Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council is inviting stakeholders, Canadians and Americans alike, to contribute their views on how to reinforce, institutionalize, and expand efforts at regulatory cooperation between Canada and the U.S.
Since its inception, consultations with the public have been of paramount importance to the work of the RCC. An initial round of input was summarized in the August 2011 release of the RCC’s consultation summary report, entitled “What Canadians told us: A report on consultations on regulatory cooperation between Canada and the United States”. These findings helped guide the development of the RCC’s initial Joint Action Plan, which was released in December 2011.
Since the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was created in February 2011, Canada and the United States have made significant progress toward reducing barriers to trade and moving goods across our shared border with fewer delays and less paperwork. The goal of the RCC is to better align Canadian and U.S. regulatory systems to benefit producers, manufacturers and consumers. Lack of alignment between regulations creates duplication of effort for manufacturers, which results in higher costs and delays in moving goods across the border.
See the U.S. Federal Register and www.regulations.gov (type keyword “Regulatory Cooperation Council” or Docket ID# OMB-2013-0004). These highlight a number of key areas where the RCC is seeking input until October 11, 2013
Beyond the Border October 2014 Newsletter
Canada-United States Beyond the Border Action Plan, November 4, 2014
Council Seeks Input on Boosting U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation
CalChamber Alert, September 27, 2013
The RCC is an initiative between the U.S. and Canadian governments to align a number of regulations to increase trade, decrease costs to businesses and improve choice for consumers.
Governor Brown Issues Statement on Province of Ontario’s Cap-and-Trade Announcement
(April 13, 2015) SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement after the province of Ontario announced that it intends to limit greenhouse gas pollution by establishing a cap-and-trade system:
“This is a bold move from the province of Ontario – and the challenge we face demands further action from other states and provinces around the world,” said Governor Brown. “There’s a human cost to the billions of tons of carbon spewing into our atmosphere and there must be a price on it.”
Governor Brown has signed accords with leaders from Mexico, China, Canada, Japan, Israel and Peru to fight climate change, strengthen California’s economic ties and expand cooperation on promising research. California and the province of Québec have worked together to fully harmonize their cap-and-trade programs and on January 1, 2014, the California Cap-and-Trade Program and Québec Cap-and-Trade System officially linked. In his January inaugural address, Governor Brown announced that within the next 15 years, California will increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources; reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; and double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner. Governor’s Office, April 13, 2015
In a Sept 4, 2011 editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Canadian Consul General Cassie Doyle said:
“Canada has an enviable supply of hydropower, natural gas, oil, uranium and wind power, and our energy exports are largely flowing south. We’re the third-largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, and almost all the electricity that the United States imports comes from Canada. Canada holds the third-largest reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela at 174 billion barrels. Some 80% of the world’s known oil reserves are state controlled or managed by national oil companies. However, Canada’s government does not run our oil sector. We are not members of OPEC. And of the 20% of the world’s oil supply that is openly accessible to market-based development, 60 percent comes from Canada’s oil sands.
Canada helps power the California economy. Canada supplied close to 7% of California’s crude-oil imports in 2010. California’s largest sources of foreign oil, however, are Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Iraq. In 2010, Canada provided about 19% of California’s natural gas, with a value of $2.8 billion, and exported $110.4 million of electricity to California – all of which was produced in British Columbia. ”
On August 30, 2011, Consul General Cassie Doyle further discussed the Canada-U.S. energy partnership by participating as a panelist on the Commonwealth Club’s Climate One Speaker Series entitled, “Canada’s Oil Sands: Energy Security or Energy Disaster.”
Canada’s Consul General Speaks on Importance of New Oil Pipeline
(November 10, 2011) Canada’s Consul General in Northern California Cassie J. Doyle discussed the importance of a U.S.-Canadian energy partnership at a World Affairs Council of Northern California event co-sponsored by the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, the McGeorge International Law Society and the California Chamber of Commerce on November 8.
Canadian Pipeline to Texas on Hold Until 2013
The Washington Times, November 11, 2011
Keystone re-route will cost TransCanada
Toronto Star – Canada, November 15, 2011
California – Canada Trade Information
Embassy of Canada, April 2011
Quebec Key Projects
The first one, the Cap & Trade, is being developed closely with California (the CARB). The objective is to link the systems together in a regional North American carbon market. For more information please refer to www.westernclimateinitiative.org/news-and-updates/139-quebec-adopts-cap-and-trade-regulation
The other project is called the «Plan Nord» (North Plan) : « The Plan Nord is the project of a generation. It first offered a perspective of sustainable development in Québec and is now one of the biggest economic, social and environmental projects in our time. The Plan Nord will be carried out over a period of 25 years. It will lead to over $80 billion in investments during that time and create or consolidate, on average, 20 000 jobs a year, equivalent to 500 000 man-years. Northern Québec is fascinating because of its immense territory and the scale of its potential. Today, the context lends itself to its rediscovery.
For more information please visit www.plannord.gouv.qc.ca/
Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement
TPP: Doing Business in Canada
**ITA Blog, June 2, 2016
CalChamber’s Comments in Support of Canada
January 5, 2012
USMCA / NAFTA
Canada OK of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Pact Could Lead to June Implementation Date
CalChamber, March 20, 2020
Mexico Chief Negotiator Provides Insight on USMCA at CalChamber Lunch
CalChamber, January 30, 2020
President Trump Signs USMCA Trade Pact
CalChamber, January 29, 2020
USMCA Passes Senate, Awaits President Trump’s Signature
CalChamber, January 16, 2020
CalChamber Welcomes House of Representatives Vote to Approve USMCA
CalChamber, December 20, 2019
CalChamber Reiterates Support for U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement
CalChamber, May 14, 2019
In May 2019, the US and Canada reached an agreement to remove Section 232 tariffs and subsequent retaliatory measures, clearing the way for USMCA ratification in Canada.
U.S., Mexico, Canada Sign New Trade Agreement
CalChamber, December 3, 2018
On November 30, President Donald J. Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). President Trump called the new USMCA the “most modern, up-to-date, and balanced trade agreement in the history of our country.”
At the signing, at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, President Trump personally thanked outgoing Mexican President Peña Nieto, who then concluded the ceremony celebrating the close relationship between Mexico, Canada, and the United States, saying, “We’re ready to begin a new chapter in our shared history.”
California Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce Join Forces in Support of NAFTA
CalChamber & Ontario Chamber, March 6, 2018
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) encourage California state leaders, and in particular the California Congressional Delegation, and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in actively supporting the renewal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the current renegotiation process.
The CalChamber actively supported the creation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Canada and Mexico, comprising 480 million people with combined annual U.S. trade in goods of over $1.1 trillion.
NAFTA and the Americas Trade
2007 Trade Mission
Canada Trip Touts Trade and Tourism
On May 29, 2007, California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, members of the press and a diverse business delegation departed today for a three-day trade mission to Canada to promote California products, services and tourist destinations.
“Canada is now the second largest customer for California’s exports, with a total dollar value of $14.2 billion in 2006. Two-way trade with Canada supports an estimated 832,000 jobs in California,” said Susanne Stirling, CalChamber vice president of international affairs. “With a population and economy larger than Canada, California is unquestionably a major market for Canadian manufactured goods, energy, forest and agri-food products and a wide range of services.”
(February 26, 2020) Representatives of the Canadian Consulate General from San Francisco and Los Angeles visited the California Chamber of Commerce yesterday in celebration of Canada Day in Sacramento, affirming that the updated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) underscores a renewed understanding among the countries on the importance of mutual trading relationships.
On Tuesday, Sarkar wrote a commentary on the Future of Work, highlighting the ways in which Canada is approaching workforce development to ensure Canadians are prepared to take on the jobs of the future. Canada’s approach, Sarkar said, includes three elements to upgrade the workforce for tomorrow: advance training, lifelong learning and modernized labor standards.
(February 21, 2019) The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) underscores a renewed understating among the USMCA parties on the importance of our mutual trading relationships, everyone agreed yesterday at an international luncheon at the California Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Canada Day in Sacramento.
With the support of the Consulates General of Canada of San Francisco and Los Angeles and the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, experts convened at the CalChamber for a thorough update and discussion on the agreement with more than 100 attendees.
On February 22, 2018 the California-Canada economic partnership, ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trade talks and what changes in the agreement could mean for agriculture in California were all discussed at a luncheon co-hosted by the California Chamber of Commerce.
With the support of the Consulates General of Canada of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the California Farm Bureau Federation, experts convened at the Sutter Club in Sacramento for a thoughtful reflection and discussion. The discussion featured the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay; California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, Karen Ross; as well as a panel discussion with Jamie Johansson, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation, and Jane Proctor, Vice President of Policy and Issue Management for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Top Story.
CalChamber Hosts Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
On February 21, 2018 the CalChamber hosted the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, The Honorable Lawrence MacAulay. He was accompanied by a delegation from Canada, as well as the Canadian Consul General of San Francisco, Rana Sarkar.
Allan Zaremberg, CEO of the CalChamber, and Susanne Stirling, VP of International Affairs, reiterated their support for ongoing NAFTA negotiations and discussed the bilateral relationship between California and Canada’s agricultural industries.
The visit preceded the Consulate General of Canada’s annual Canada Advocacy Day events in Sacramento. Read more about the 2018 events here.
Susanne Stirling, CalChamber’s Vice President of International Affairs was was invited by the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco to participate in a tour of the Canadian border for three days to Vancouver and Prince Rupert, both in British Columbia. The group of about 15 from all around the U.S. together with about 15 Canadian officials, all sharing an interest in U.S.- Canada relations. Participants represented both the private and public sector from a number of states, and the federal government.
In her three-day trip blog, she outlines how it was an excellent opportunity to learn about border security, supply chain logistics, and free trade, and how she gained a deeper understanding of the different ports of entry into Canada (vehicle border check points, seaports, rail stations, airports) and how each functioned. This was a tour which was first established after 9/11 and has grown in size and scope.
2017 NAFTA Negotiations
On June 12, 2017 the California Chamber of Commerce submitted comments on “Negotiating Objectives Regarding Modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico” to the U.S. Trade Representative – with a copy to the California Congressional Delegation. The full text of the CalChamber’s submission can be found here.
CalChamber Partner in Governor’s Lunch for Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs
CalChamber, September 12, 2017NAFTA Central to U.S. Global Economic Competitiveness, Security
International Breakfast – CalChamber, Friday, September 8, 2017 with Michael C. Camuñez, Monarch Global Strategies.
Visit Reaffirms California-Canada Relationship
(April 4, 2017) The Standing Committee on International Trade of the Canadian House of Commons visited the California Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 to reaffirm the importance of the long-standing and important California-Canada trade and investment relationship. The 12-member delegation representing different provinces and political parties met with Susanne Stirling, CalChamber vice president for international affairs.
Geographically, Canada is the second largest country in the world, with a population of 35.85 million and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.55 trillion (World Bank). The United States and Canada enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. In 2016, two–way trade in goods between Canada and the United States topped $544 billion, down from $575.2 billion in 2015. Exports to Canada were $265.9 billion, making it the largest export destination for the U.S. According to the most recent figures, U.S. companies invested approximately $353 billion into Canada and foreign direct investment from Canada into the U.S. was nearly $269 billion. Read More
North America Trade Policy: Opportunities Abound with California Neighbor
(March 8, 2017) While there are areas that can be improved, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) serves the employment, trading and environmental interests of California, the United States, Canada and Mexico, and is beneficial to the business community and society as a whole, panelists concluded at a discussion co-hosted by the California Chamber of Commerce.
CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg served as moderator of the gathering with more than 100 luncheon attendees. Speakers included: Brandon A. Lee, consul general of Canada; Pedro Noyola, Ph.D., former undersecretary of trade and foreign investment and undersecretary of finance of Mexico, and representative of Mexico in various trade negotiations; and Andrew Grant, president and CEO, Northern California World Trade Center.
The objectives of the CalChamber-supported agreement are to eliminate barriers to trade, promote conditions of fair competition, increase investment opportunities, provide adequate protection of intellectual property rights, establish effective procedures for implementing and applying the agreements and resolving disputes, and to further trilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation. Top Story
Canada: Top U.S. Trade Partner Also No. 1 Market for California Services
(September 5, 2014) A fact-filled look at the many connections between Canada, the United States and California was the focus of a recent breakfast gathering hosted by the California Chamber of Commerce Council for International Trade.
Consul General Cassie Doyle, Canada’s senior representative for Northern California, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam, emphasized that bilateral trade between Canada and the United States is the largest in the world, with more than $2 billion in goods and services crossing the border each day for a total of $735 billion in 2013.
CalChamber Hosts Canadian Roundtable
International Roundtable Offers Update on Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan
(August 1, 2013) Caron Wilson, policy adviser with Canada’s Privy Council Office, shared details on the Beyond the Border Action Plan between the United States and Canada during an International Roundtable at the California Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
The United States and Canada enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world ($1.2 trillion). Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services surpassed $742.8 billion in 2012, with $2 billion worth of goods and services crossing the Canada-U.S. border daily. This is the equivalent of $1.4 million traded every minute.
On December 7, 2011, after consulting with stakeholders, chambers of commerce, industry and interest groups, President Obama and Prime Minster Harper released the Beyond the Border Action Plan , which seeks to deepen the Canadian partnership with the United States and enhance mutual security, prosperity and economic competitiveness while respecting each country’s sovereignty and privacy regimes.
CalChamber Hosts Consulates General of Canada in California for Canada Day
(March 13, 2013) The California Chamber of Commerce hosted Consulates General of Canada, Consul General Cassie Doyle of San Francisco and Consul General David Fransen of Los Angeles, on March 13, for the 7th annual celebration of Canada Day at the State Capitol.
In addition, an interactive business panel discussion held at the CalChamber office explored why Canada matters to California’s future prosperity and economic growth. The panel moderator was Toni E. Symonds, chief consultant to the California State Assembly Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy Committee. Panelists included: Erin McGillis, Achievers; Graham Ray, DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LLC;, and Jonathan Allen, Avison Young.
Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer at Capitol for Canada Day
(March 12, 2012) Allan Zaremberg, CalChamber president and CEO, reiterates support to Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer for Canada’s interest in joining the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. Ambassador Doer was in Sacramento Monday, March 12 for “Canada Day.” He stopped by the CalChamber offices to speak with Zaremberg about the Trans Pacific Partnership, energy issues and the California-Canada trade relationship.
CalChamber Hosts Meeting to Catalyze Canada-California Collaboration
(March 13, 2009) The California Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a meeting of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP), a catalyst for collaborative research, development and delivery between two innovation-intensive jurisdictions: California, one of the most dynamic innovation engines on earth; and Canada, a leading country in university research intensity.
Pictured (left to right) Front Row: Susanne Stirling, Vice President, International Affairs, CalChamber; Henri Rothschild, President and CEO, ISTPCanada; Yolanda Benson, Government Strategies Inc.; Sonya Shorey, Communications Strategiest; Kathleen Erwin, Director, Research Program Application & Review Center; Lou Witkin, HP Labs Open Innovation Office; Thierry Weissenburger, Sr. Trade Commisioner, Canadian Consulate General.
Pictured (left to right) Back Row: Eric Holdrinet, Technology Officer, Canadian Consulate General; Barry Klein, Vice Chancellor, UC Davis; – John Hepburn, Vice President of Research, Univ. of British Colombia; Steven Beckwith, Vice President of Research, UC; Nigel Lloyd, Exec VP, Nat’l Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada; Denis Therien, VP of research & international relations, McGill Univeristy; Gretchen Kalonji, Director of Int’l Strategy, UC; Dominic Jean, Secretary, CCSIP; Marc LePage, Consul General, Canadian Consulate General, SF; Roberto Peccei, Vice Chancellor for Research, UCLA.
CalChamber Hosts Canadian Ambassador
(December 13, 2007) The Honorable Michael Wilson, Canadian ambassador to the United States, highlights the prosperity California has gained through international trade with Canada at a December 13 International Luncheon Forum at the California Chamber of Commerce. Seated are Susan Corrales-Diaz, chair of the CalChamber Council for International Trade, and Marc LePage, consul general of Canada.
CalChamber Hosts New Canadian Consul General
(September 18, 2009) Trade, health care, water and energy issues were among the topics of discussion when the CalChamber hosted a meeting with the new consul general of Canada. Pictured: Stewart Beck (left), Consul General of Canada, Allan Zaremberg (right), CalChamber President and CEO.
We are living in a time of economic upheaval and transformation, largely due to forces of globalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Dynamics of this new industrial change–such as automation and artificial intelligence, and the rise of the “gig” economy–are dramatically altering how Californians, Canadians and citizens around the world live and work. Many technological developments originate in Silicon Valley, yet governments worldwide and at all levels must grapple with how these developments affect their citizens.
As Canada’s Consul General to Northern California, I am fortunate to be able to share Canada’s approach to the future of work at public forums throughout the state. Canada faces similar labor challenges to those in California: income inequality and ensuring that a rising tide does in fact lift all boats. To address these challenges, Canada has adopted a balanced approach to ensure that the Canadian labor force is prepared to take on the jobs of the future. Our approach includes three elements – advanced training, lifelong learning and modernized labor standards – to upgrade our workforce for tomorrow.
- Advanced training: Canada is implementing workforce development policies that ensure the next generation of workers is prepared for the future. Through its Future Skills Program, Canada is investing in advanced workforce training in automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, and clean tech. The Future Skills Program creates an expansive employment network to enhance access to in-demand training and skills. The program focuses on those not fully participating in Canada’s prosperity. The under and unemployed, women, youth, indigenous people, newcomers, racialized people, people with disabilities, veterans, and those from rural and remote communities can all benefit from this program.
- Lifelong learning: Through Canada’s Skills Boost, the government is providing support to adults who want to return to work and upgrade their skills. The Skills Boost program creates life-long learning accounts to ensure` Canadian workers can have access to highly skilled, good paying jobs. It allows those recently laid off and returning to school to continue to collect unemployment and provides training grants for low- and middle-income adults with children. Adults who have been out of school for ten years or more also can qualify for post-secondary education grants.
- Modernized labor standards: Third, Canada is working to modernize labor standards in order to address workforce changes brought about by globalization, changes in technology, socio demographic shifts, and the explosion of the gig-economy. Through legislation and policy implementation, Canada is creating more flexibility around a worker’s schedule and benefits, providing greater labor protections for non-standard (i.e., gig-economy) workers, and allowing workers the fundamental “right to disconnect” from work-related communications outside of work.
Further, the thrust and values of these strategies are reflected across government from our approach to trade agreements, including the USMCA, to attracting and integrating new Canadians and economic policy making.
With these strategies, the Canadian government is taking steps that address the future of work for all of its citizens. As we collectively face the urgent challenges of the post-digital workforce, government at all levels, in close partnership with other sectors, need to take urgent, agile and often experimental action to ensure a successful transition into this new era. We are still in the early days of this effort. Openness, good will and trust and the ability to work inclusively across organizational and generational boundaries are key to success. We believe Canada is on the right path and hope to learn from our friends and allies in California, and around the world, as we do even more to support our future workers.
Rana Sarkar is Consul General of Canada, Northern California. This guest commentary was prepared in February 2020.
Key Country Contacts
- U.S. Commercial Service in Canada
- AmCham Canada
- Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
- Invest in Canada
- Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters
- British Columbia – Trade and Invest
- Invest in Ontario
- Quebec Government Office
- Surrey Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce)
- Canada and the US – Business
- Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council