19 April 2024

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Canada’s Unproductive Economy

As I sit down to reflect on the state of Canada’s failing economy, it’s impossible to ignore the urgency in the air. A senior Bank of Canada official recently sounded the alarm, highlighting the pressing need to boost our nation’s productivity. And let me tell you, it’s probably far worse than many might think.

You see, the need to enhance productivity isn’t just a matter of economic growth; it’s become nothing short of an emergency. In her recent speech, senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers didn’t mince words at all when she emphasized that our economy’s sluggish productivity poses a significant threat. As she eloquently put it, an economy shackled by low productivity can only limp along for so long before inflation swoops in like an unwelcome guest. The BOC may not be able to address it through interest rate manipulation alone. Presuming that they don’t just want to handle high inflation, but also balance out employment and wage growth.

canada unproductive economy

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Canada’s recent track record on productivity leaves much to be desired. Comparing ourselves to our global counterparts reveals a stark reality: we’re lagging behind, particularly when it comes to investing in critical areas like machinery, equipment, and intellectual property. It’s a sobering realization, one that demands the immediate attention of policy makers, who are much to blame themselves.

But here’s the thing: I firmly believe that we have the power to turn this around. Rogers hit the nail on the head when she stressed the importance of aligning our education and training systems with the skills demanded by the modern economy. It’s not enough to simply go through the motions; we need to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Moreover, creating a more conducive environment for businesses to innovate and thrive is paramount. A competitive business landscape fosters innovation and efficiency, propelling us toward a future where economic prosperity is within reach. And trust me when I say that attracting entrepreneurs and investors should be at the top of our priority list.

Which brings me to a crucial point: the Trudeau administration’s policies have, regrettably, sent the absolutely wrong signals to entrepreneurs and investors alike. While perhaps efforts to address various societal issues may have been done in good spirit, there’s no denying that a cloud of uncertainty looms over the business community. Investors crave stability and predictability, qualities that have been somewhat lacking in recent years. Canada has become significantly over regulated and over taxed. Starting a business is harder than ever, and foreign direct investments are almost impossible to get. Many businesses and big projects have been chronically underfunded. Meanwhile the public sector has become the only booming business left in the country.

As we look ahead to the Bank of Canada’s upcoming interest rate decision and monetary policy report, it’s clear that decisive action is needed from both and Federal and Provincial governments. We can’t afford to kick the can down the road any longer. It’s time to actually get something done, confront the productivity challenge head-on, and chart a course toward a brighter economic future.

Let me reiterate: the urgency of the situation cannot be overstated. It’s up to each and every one of us to rise to the occasion, put pressure on officials, to embrace innovation, and to reignite Canada’s economic engine. The road ahead isn’t short, but I remain otherwise optimistic that with determination and resolve, we can overcome any obstacle that stands in our way of national economic development.

Link to Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Rogers speaking to the Halifax Partnership and full speech:
https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2024/03/productivity-problem/