No turning back: Canada must change course from its pre-pandemic path to forge ahead, Deloitte Canada
Immediate action by governments, business and Canadians necessary to achieve a thriving Canada by 2030
Toronto, September 29, 2020 – The Canadian way of life is at risk if the country reverts to its pre-pandemic path, according to a new report released today by Deloitte Canada. In line with the federal government’s own projections, the report paints an alarming picture of the country’s future: an aging population, poor productivity growth, and low investment that will lead to stagnating standards of living and stalled progress on national priorities and growth in an increasingly competitive global economy.i
But the report, Catalyst: A vision for a thriving Canada in 2030, provides a different path: if governments, businesses, and Canadians take action now – action that is within reach – Canada can be a thriving nation by the year 2030. Deloitte believes that Canada is still the best place in the world to live and work, and that our future is definitely still in our hands.
“Even before the pandemic, our country was on a path that threatened our standard of living,” said Anthony Viel, Managing Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte Canada. “Our economic modelling confirms that inaction—or a status quo approach—on the big issues facing our country will result in a less than desirable outcome in the not-so-distant future. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. We must set our differences aside and take action with both the same urgency and collective spirit as we did, and continue to do, in response to COVID-19. We have the experience and responsibility today to be courageous and make the bold decisions for a higher purpose.”
Canada’s future can be brighter – but we must act now
Deloitte’s analysis illustrates that with the right action and long-term vision, Canada can lead the G7 in economic growth and job creation, making it more attractive for both business and global talent. Canada’s annual GDP growth rate could rise to 2.7 per cent, representing an increase of more than $350 billion in 2030. Per capita, this would mean an increase of $4,900 in annual income (nearly $20,000 for a family of four) and an improvement in quality of life.
However, without concerted action, GDP growth would slow to just 1.7 percent per year, which is significantly lower than the average annual growth of 2.2 percent over the past decade – much of which would be driven by insufficient workers, capital investment, and innovation to drive growth.
Viel explained that Canada can chart a higher growth path in the post-COVID-19 decade and beyond by focusing on improving resilience in three areas: people, industries, and systems that support society. “Canada’s future can be brighter, if we take action now,” said Viel. “We can build a nation where our people and labour force are prepared for a fast-changing economy, where our businesses have global, world-leading ambitions, and where our society is inclusive, healthy, and more resilient to future challenges.”
Deloitte’s research comes at a pivotal time as Canada’s collective recovery begins, and governments and businesses make decisions that will echo for generations. The firm believes that the opportunity to design and drive change is at our fingertips now – and we mustn’t let that slip away.
Canadians, governments, and business leaders must unite to focus on the long game
“Although we are all unsure of what the next 10 years will bring, we must set our sights on the big picture — facing up to the challenges now, not turning away, and most importantly, working in lockstep for the desired outcomes,” said Georgina Black, Managing Partner, Government & Public Services, Deloitte Canada. “To meet the challenge, this report offers clear solutions and recommendations to set Canada on a promising path forward.”
Key recommendations outlined in Catalyst: A vision for a thriving Canada in 2030 include:
- Enable a diverse and future-ready workforce by taking targeted action to address labour market barriers for underrepresented groups; provide access to affordable childcare to drive gender equity; and better align education systems with labour market realities.
- Create the conditions for the emergence of globally competitive companies by accelerating investment in digital and physical infrastructure; improve commercialization of Canadian innovation; and invest in sectors where Canada can realistically lead.
- Invest in a much-needed transformation of societal systems by building a much more flexible social safety net; close the health data gap; develop a national strategy for seniors and aging; and chart a course to decarbonization.
Deloitte’s report is a challenge, a path forward and a call for action – to Canadian governments, business leaders, and citizens to work together in new ways and take a long-term view, divorced from election cycles and micro differences. Deloitte believes government and business leaders must look for new partnerships to fund and deliver services and find ways to spend money differently, which means shifting strategies, priorities, and funds from nice-to-haves to must-haves for a thriving future.
“The harsh truth is that we have a very clear choice: will we take this opportunity to alter course, or will we stand by as our quality of life slips away and our influence on the world stage wanes?” added Black. “As we have done throughout this pandemic, all of us must continue to work together, respect and trust each other. The sheer scale of the challenge requires government, business, and all Canadians to do their part – this opportunity to take charge and drive change is too important to miss.”
i ”PBO and Finance Canada Long-term Projection Comparison,” Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, January 17, 2019, https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/web/default/files/Documents/Reports/2018/LTP%20Comparison/LTP_comparison_EN.pdf
About the study
This report used a mixed-methods approach to conduct, collect, and analyze primary research. It consisted of economic forecast modelling, a business survey, a youth symposium, and in-depth interviews with Canadian business leaders and Deloitte subject-matter specialists.
Catalyst: A vision for a thriving Canada in 2030 is produced by Deloitte’s Future of Canada Centre, which explores new ideas, viewpoints, and insights about our country’s most important national issues.
The full report and additional resources related to these findings are available here.
Deloitte provides audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights, and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/ca/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.
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