Change Since the beginning of 2019, Canadian CEOs and business leaders have been speaking out about the urgent need to make smart decisions today so that Canada continues to thrive socially and economically for many years to come. Check out our Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future to learn more
Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada Inc., wrote an op-ed which was recently published in The Globe and Mail. He outlines the importance of companies and institutions adapting to changes in demand and taking their operations online during COVID-19, and stresses the need for Canadians to prepare for a major shift in the world of work.
Louis Vachon, le président et chef de la direction de la Banque Nationale du Canada et Frédérick Gagnon, titulaire de la chaire Raoul Dandurand en études stratégiques et diplomatiques à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, dans un article à La Presse, décrivent l’importance des géopolitiques pour l’économie canadienne. Ils suggèrent quelques étapes que le gouvernement et les entreprises peuvent suivre pour minimiser l’impact de ce nouveau phénomène.
Louis Vachon, President and CEO of National Bank of Canada, wrote an op-ed with Frédérick Gagnon, holder of the Raoul Dandurand chair of strategic and diplomatic studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal, which was recently published in The Globe and Mail. They raise the issue of the growing importance of geopolitics on the Canadian economy, and put forward suggestions to government and companies alike to mitigate the impact of this phenomenon.
Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC, and Joe Natale, President and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc., published an op-ed outlining the opportunity Canada’s businesses have for embracing a digital future.
“We have the potential to create the world’s most virtually advanced business sector – a resilient and self-reliant economy backed by “made in Canada” tech infrastructure and assets.”
Brad Shaw, Executive Chair and CEO of Shaw Communications Inc, published an op-ed in the Financial Post discussing the need for continuous investment in building and maintaining internet services.
“We know tomorrow’s networks will require even more power, speed and resilience. And the real-life example of the past three months has confirmed that continuous network investment is required to prepare not just for future demands, but for unforeseen crises.”
Dax Dasilva, Founder and CEO of Lightspeed POS Inc, shared his perspective with The Globe and Mail on challenges facing people of colour in the workplace and what needs to be done to make a positive change.
“Company culture comes from the top. People throughout the company will use you as a model of behaviour for how they treat one another. The CEO has to be quite involved in order to really move the needle.”
Mark Little, President and CEO of Suncor Energy Inc., published an op-ed with Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates, addressing the need and drive for oilsands to transition to greener and cleaner energy.
“Now is the time to take a big step forward. As the history of the oil sands reveals, disruption and transformation are nothing new for Albertans and we’re optimistic that the Canadian energy industry is up to the challenge and best positioned to invest in and lead energy transformation.”
Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., joined Dennis Darby (President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters) and host Anthony Germain on The Current to discuss the open letter signed by more than 120 CEOs.
“There is absolutely no room for complacency – none – and whether it’s the government leaders or business leaders, we all have to set the tone here to deal with this public health crisis. It’s absolutely critical that we act with pace, with urgency, and act now.”
Listen here (23:00 – 32:50).
More than 120 CEOS wrote an open letter encouraging all business and government leaders to concentrate their energies on stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“Today we stand united in a shared battle against COVID-19. We urge every leader in the country to immediately shift focus to the singular objective of slowing the pace of transmission of this coronavirus. International experience demonstrates that social distancing is the only effective method, and is in the best interests of our employees, their families and our communities. While this will have significant economic impact on our businesses in the short term, it is critical to weathering this storm and will hasten the recovery.”
Edward Sims, President and CEO of WestJet, published an opinion piece on his company’s blog announcing their commitment to gender parity.
“My goal is to create a diverse and inspiring workforce that will encourage aspiring young girls and women to pursue careers in aviation.
As WestJet continues to grow, there is one thing I know to be true – diversity is our strength. We can no longer be complacent in striving for equal gender representation throughout our organization.”
Darren Entwistle, President and CEO of TELUS Communications Inc., published an op-ed addressing Canada’s switch to a 5G network.
“So take pride Canada: we lead the world in fast networks and rank amongst the best in the world for affordability and value. Our country’s global leadership in network innovation is an inspiring accomplishment for us all. Now, let’s work together to build upon the leadership we worked so hard to achieve, and continue to enable the positive outcomes that Canadians need to thrive in our increasingly digital world.”
Alex Pourbaix, President and CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc., published an op-ed describing the need for corporate leaders to tackle the issue of indigenous housing.
“Housing for Indigenous communities is a complex issue, which is why corporations tend to avoid playing a role. There are different housing models on First Nations and Métis lands, and there is varying involvement and responsibility of federal and municipal governments. It would be easy to view the problem as too insurmountable to tackle. But that was not an option for us.”
Mark Little, President and CEO of Suncor Energy Inc., and Dave McKay, President and CEO of RBC, published an op-ed with Eric Martel, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, outlining the path forward for Canada’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
“We believe there is a way to reduce GHG emissions, grow our economy and create wealth.”
Darryl White, CEO of BMO Financial Group, published an op-ed on the need for events like WEF and how bringing people together will facilitate the changes our society needs.
“An individual business on its own can make only a small difference, but businesses can amplify our efforts by pushing each other, and our governments, to meet a higher standard and co-operate to deliver results. Instead of waiting for governments to impose higher standards, it is long past time for business to show social leadership and set an even higher bar for themselves.”
Marcelo Lu, President of BASF Canada Inc. published an op-ed with Sean Drygas, President of Bullfrog Power, a Spark Power company, on the automotive industry’s shift to electric vehicles and the opportunity Canada has to take on a leading role in their production.
“From our natural resources to our highly skilled workforce, Canada is poised to create a sustainable value chain for battery materials and become a world leader in EV battery manufacturing – but has it done enough to plant an early stake in this burgeoning market?”
On the tenth anniversary of #BellLetsTalk day, Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, published an op-ed reflecting on what the initiative has achieved to date and what now needs to be done to make Canada a place where everyone can get the mental health care they need.
“We have often spoken of building a stigma-free Canada, and we’ve all made a lot of progress on that front. Now, let’s focus on making Canada a place where everyone can get the mental health care they need.”
Darren Entwistle, President and CEO of TELUS Communications Inc., published an op-ed with Ann Cavoukian, Executive Director of the Global Privacy and Security by Design Centre, about the importance of privacy in the new age of data and doing business in the digital world.
“It is critical to address both the privacy rights of citizens, along with data utility for businesses – namely the ability of businesses to leverage the data collected – when determining the best way forward.”
Brian Porter, President and CEO of Scotiabank, published an op-ed in The National Post on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and what the global community must do to help Venezuelans.
“Millions of Venezuelans, many of them students, have taken to the streets in opposition to the regime. Far too many have paid with their lives. The West did not hesitate to support the Solidarity movement in Poland, and Venezuela’s democratic movement is the modern-day descendant of Solidarity. Venezuela’s legitimate president, Juan Guaidó, has shown tremendous courage and recently told the world “we cannot do this alone.” Now we must heed that call and stand with the Venezuelan people.”
John Baker, President and CEO of D2L, published an op-ed in Forbes Magazine on the benefits of work-integrated learning.
“Having seen firsthand the benefits that WBL brings to businesses and schools alike, I remain more convinced than ever that what was rare 20 years ago will be commonplace in the future of education and of work — and that chief learning officers and others responsible for workplaces of the future will need to get on board or risk being left behind.”
Stephen Liptrap, President and CEO of Morneau Shepell, published an op-ed in The Globe and Mail outlining some common problems of employee well-being strategies and offering ways to overcome them.
“Your well-being strategy needs buy-in from top leaders who directly shape how people function in your culture. If your leaders preach the merits of self-care and stress reduction, but create working conditions that achieve the opposite, you’ll soon have a credibility gap hard to overcome in promoting your well-being strategies.”
John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry, published this op-ed in The Hill Times proposing five broad policy priorities to help propel Canada as a leader in the global innovation economy.
“I believe Canada can become a global player on innovation, but it needs to adopt a bold and decisive approach.”
Craig Kielburger, co-founder of the WE Movement, published an op-ed in the Postmedia chain of media outlets on the importance of increasing Canada’s international assistance.
“The world still needs more Canada. It’s time for our country to walk the talk, taking leadership in building a better world.”
In a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, Doug Murphy, president and CEO of Corus Entertainment, shares his vision of building a Canadian media industry for the future:
“Our regulations are out of date. The world isn’t stopping to accommodate the way we used to work. You cannot drive a car looking in the rear view mirror.”
Don Lindsay, President CEO of Teck Resources Ltd., addressed the Canadian Club of Toronto on the topic of building a strong future for Canadians.
“We need to move beyond division and put our country, our communities and our children first.”
Michael Crothers, President of Shell Canada, published an op-ed in The Globe and Mail on how Canada can provide energy for citizens, harness our natural resources and do its part to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
“The complex reality is that climate change is real, and some portion of oil and gas will be needed through the decades-long energy transition. Canadian energy is among the most responsibly produced in the world and is well-positioned to supply Canadian and global customers, so long as we continue to reduce the environmental impact of our energy products.”
Victor Dodig, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC, published an op-ed in The Globe and Mail on the need to strengthen Canada’s global leadership in responsible energy development.
“Our country cannot shy away from its strengths. Instead, we can and should lead the world in responsible resource production and the innovative development of technology that will lower emissions from current production and drive next-generation renewables.”
In an op-ed in the The Globe and Mail, Sandra Stuart, president and CEO of HSBC Bank Canada, highlighted her company’s strong track record in ensuring gender equality and offered advice on how to improve diversity in the workplace.
“As a leader, when you walk into a room, take a moment to think about how it feels for that lone woman at the table. To have a room full of men stop talking about last night’s game just because she walked in. To have brought her intelligence, skills, experiences and grit to bear to help your organization succeed and still have people wonder whether she’s committed. Be an advocate for her.”
Victor Dodig, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC, addressed the Economic Club of Canada on the topic of the importance of Canada’s sector at a special event in Calgary.
“We have a bounty of natural resources – and an economy that relies on their development and sale. We have an expertise at developing these resources responsibly. We do it better than anyone.”
In his address to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto , Mac Van Wielingen, founding partner of ARC Financial, highlighted Canada’s opportunity in energy leadership:
“We need a complete about-face in the narrative from our politicians and senior government officials that is nevertheless consistent with a vision to reduce global emissions and climate risk, and which supports a long-term transition to a low-carbon world. This vision is consistent with our climate strategy goals and with preserving our national unity.”
In an op-ed in the The Globe and Mail, Elio Luongo, senior partner and CEO of KPMG Canada, shares his personal view as the child of newcomers to Canada on the continued importance of immigration to the Canadian economy and society:
“Canada’s strength as a country – present, past and future – is directly tied to attracting and embracing newcomers. Immigration powers our economy and makes our society one of the most desired in the world. With a rapidly aging population, immigration is more important than ever.”
In an op-ed in the Toronto Star, Rola Dagher, president and CEO of Cisco Canada, shares her own story about coming to Canada and highlights the importance of newcomers in strengthening our economy and society. She also highlights the importance of greater collaboration between government and the private sector to address employment and other barriers that immigrants face:
“All of us have a role to play in helping newcomers unlock and leverage the skills and experience they bring to our country. But it starts with business leaders realizing that diversity and immigration is crucial to our success.”
In an op-ed in The Globe and Mail, Mary Ann Yule, president and CEO of HP Canada, offers her perspective on the changing role of mentorship in the workplace:
“A cohesive multi-generational work force can seem unattainable; in reality, it offers unprecedented advantages for employers with the vision and values necessary to extract the benefits inherent to this unique form of diversity. Mentoring toward individual strengths is the key to success.”
In an op-ed in the Calgary Herald, Mac Van Wielingen, founding partner of ARC Financial, shares this perspective:
“The opportunity is to advance the development of a clean, ethical Canadian energy brand based on innovation and a long-term commitment to a low carbon future. Canada is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in both ethical, responsible energy development and environmental stewardship.”
In an op-ed in the Financial Post, Doug Murphy, president and CEO of Corus Entertainment, shares his ideas for ensuring the future of media and broadcasting in Canada:
“Canadian broadcasting policy was written for an era of closed borders, one where television and radio broadcasters had a relative monopoly over audiences, and governments had a role to play as gatekeepers. That era is over. The policies that once supported and protected Canadian voices now risk restraining them, and need to change. If they do not, the future of Canadian media is in peril.”
Dave McKay, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC, shared his perspective on the connection between Canadian prosperity and global competitiveness:
“Canada’s prosperity comes from our global competitiveness and we have to constantly challenge ourselves to say how competitive are we with our policies, tax structure, sufficient investment, ambition of our businesses, and there’s work to do.”
In his address to the Calgary Petroleum Club, Mac Van Wielingen, founding partner of ARC Financial, offered his perspective on the critical link between Canada’s global competitiveness and the future outlook of Canada’s energy sector:
“The loss of Canada’s competitiveness is largely a product of ‘made in Canada’ failed political, legal and regulatory process.”
In an op-ed in The Globe and Mail published on National Indigenous Peoples Day, Al Monaco, President and CEO of Enbridge, shares this perspective on whether business has done enough and what else could we do to truly reconcile our past and move forward together with Indigenous people:
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action #92 also directs companies to redouble efforts to ensure Indigenous people have access to jobs, training and education while gaining long-term benefits from projects. To us, it is much more than that. It is important to build relationships with communities for the long haul – through the life cycle of projects – not just when we want to build a project.”
Victor Dodig, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC, addressed graduates of Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management and shared his advice for bringing new leadership to Canada:
“With the opportunity you’ve earned today, it’s your responsibility to become the leading voices on how Canada shapes industry and commerce in the next century — or how we fund and improve on our public education system — or how we keep health care strong to meet the needs of an aging population. Keeping Canada strong means keeping us on the leading edge of commerce in new fields such as AI and innovation — but equally it means keeping Canada inclusive, vibrant, and fair.”
Dave McKay, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC, addressed graduates of Western University’s Ivey Business School and shared his principles for success:
“You have an unprecedented opportunity to create change, to reinvent, to challenge, to work in more agile and collaborative ways, and to have impacts on large and small organizations much earlier in your career. I know you have the foundation to thrive in this new world.”
In an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Greg Bonnell, Alex Pourbaix, President and CEO of Conovus, shares this perspective on Bill C-69:
“We’re putting a lot of effort into this. I think we have some workable coming out of the Senate Standing Committee, now it is up to the Senate and the Government ultimately. But we have something that industry can live with and still respects the legislative intent of the government.”
In an op-ed in The Globe and Mail, Mac Van Wielingen, founding partner of ARC Financial, shares this perspective:
“We can contain, curtail, and dismantle our leading industry. Or we can consider the facts, and pursue a future for our oil-and-gas sector that is both moral and smart, demonstrating a commitment to long-term energy leadership in all facets of the industry, including the environment.”
At Enbridge’s Annual Meeting of shareholders, Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer shared the following:
“There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be able to pursue energy exports and global emission reduction at the same time. Yet, we are squandering this opportunity, there’s no doubt about that, while our largest trading partner across the border capitalizes on the same advantages that I just took you through. Right now they are aggressively executing an industrial and export strategy driven by their energy advantage. Canadians, I think, have been pretty patient through the peace year, but it’s time to get our act together, frankly, to seize the energy advantage that we have.”
At National Bank of Canada’s Annual Meeting of shareholders, Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer shared the following:
“We cannot take for granted this favourable situation. We cannot rest on our laurels. It’s not going to be here forever, which is why I’ve agreed to co-chair the Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future – organized by the Business Council of Canada – whose aim is to trigger public discussion and ensure we have the right strategies in place to ensure the brightest economic future for future generations.”
In media interviews following his company’s AGM, Joe Natale, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rogers, shares this perspective:
“The next 12 or 24 months will define and dictate the future of digital evolution in Canada. We have an opportunity to lead in that area. More than ever, it’s a critical time for us to step up and create the environment.”
In his address at the Public Policy Forum’s Growth Summit in Toronto, Victor Dodig, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC, shares this perspective:
“Today, we can rightly be proud of where we are as a country, but we have an opportunity to think ambitiously and nationally in three key areas to ensure our future prosperity.”
In Edward Greenspon’s interview of Dawn Farrell, President and Chief Executive Officer of TransAlta, at the Public Policy Forum’s Growth Summit in Toronto, she shared this perspective:
“Canadians are very slow. We like to talk. We take years to do what others do in months. Australia is fast. They feel the heat of China.”
In an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang, Bharat Masrani, President and Chief Executive Officer of TD, shared this perspective:
“We’ve lost a bit of our brand value over the past few years
At one point we were the darling of the world, this was where everyone wanted to invest. So, we’ve lost a bit of that. But these things go in cycles. We’re a developed economy, this morning we had the bank’s annual meeting and I talked about problems, real problems that need to be fixed.”
Dave McKay, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC, shared this perspective with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce:
“Our capacity to grow and advance our economy is stalling. It’s impacting our ability to compete globally.
And yet, we know what our country looks like when Canada is at its best. As the world around us is rapidly changing, this is the time to pull together and not pull apart.”
In address by Brian Porter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Scotiabank, to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, shared this perspective:
“Desperately needed pipelines, processing and export facilities are consistently bogged down by excessive regulation, misinformation and indecision.
As Canadians, we must not fool ourselves.
As investment dollar shift to other jurisdictions, and Canadian competitiveness lags, we all pay the price.”
Chuck Magro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nutrien, shared this perspective to the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce:
“But when you step back and look at what’s happening around the world, that theme of change is powerful and we should ask ourselves: Is there more we should be doing to ensure that Canada and Saskatchewan are the preferred places to do business?
Because investment brings jobs. Investment is what pays for the important social services that Canadians are rightfully proud of. It brings improved quality of life for all of us.
I see no reason why Canada shouldn’t be the best place in the world to invest.”
Dave McKay, President and Chief Executive Officer of RBC, and Al Monaco, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enbridge, shared this perspective with the Canadian Club of Toronto:
“We’ve got all these pieces,” Monaco said. “We’ve got to put them together, so we can actually develop an energy strategy here that utilizes this great competitive advantage we have.”
“We risk ceding that dividend to others instead of taking control of it and building the world around us that we envision, not letting others do that,” McKay said.
Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada, in his address to the Canadian Club of Montreal, shared this perspective:
“Before closing, in this election year, I do need to say a few words about Canada’s competitiveness and economic growth prospects. Last week, I attended a meeting of the Business Council of Canada, where CEOs of Canada’s leading companies are members. This group of 150 companies employs about two million Canadians – and like our team at Air Canada, all are committed to building a future of good jobs, strong communities and a higher quality of life for Canadians – in effect, increased prosperity.”