Canada could lose its status as one of the best places in the world to live, warns Deloitte

By: Dominic Licorish on June 15, 2017
Article image

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, Deloitte, one of the world’s oldest and largest consulting firms, has warned that the high standard of living enjoyed here may decline in the next 25 years unless “bold” action is taken.

Deloitte released a study Thursday morning titled Bold Bets for our country: It's time for deliberate action. The report is one in a series that looks forward 25 years into Canada’s future. In it, the company points to key moments in Canada’s history that came to define the country as it is today and why more bold decisions are now necessary. The report points to a modest GDP growth rate of 1.4% and low productivity growth as signs that the future of the country is at risk.

The report makes three key recommendations for areas in which bold bets could secure Canada’s continued success as a global leader.

  1. Focused investment in Canada’s strongest areas of competitive advantage — Canada’s natural resources have traditionally been one of the country’s greatest assets, but now it is time to invest in the future. Deloitte identifies artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and fintech as emerging assets Canada could leverage to accelerate productivity. The company recommends that more money, time, and attention must be focused on removing barriers and innovating in areas we want to become global champions of, instead of spreading our resources across various fronts.

  2. Canada needs to increase its global engagement — Canada is well known for having “nice” people, cultural openness, and diversity. The report recommends the country uses these strengths to play a more assertive role in the “global flow of ideas, goods, and talent.”

  3. Overhaul education to equip Canadians for the incoming wave of technological disruption — It’s impossible to tell just how much emerging and future technology will change life in the next 25 years, but it’s safe to say that it will be significant. Deloitte suggests the country invest not only in supporting higher education, but encouraging workers to continue growing and developing skills throughout their career.

“Unless we make bold decisions and have the public and private sectors more tightly collaborating, the competitiveness of our economy and our standard of living will be seriously threatened,” says Duncan Sinclair, vice chair of Deloitte in Canada.

How accurate is his claim? It’s hard to say. Canada’s economy has been performing very well over the last nine months and the general outlook by economists is that economic growth will remain strong this year.

But Canada has struggled to compete on a global scale, especially in regards to productivity and innovation, with the rest of the G8 nations. Meanwhile, other countries like China are rapidly taking the lead on this front. The future is never clear, but the suggestions in the report will help support industry growth, creating more jobs, higher wages, allow Canada to take the lead on social issues, and keeping Canadian talent in Canada.