Growing Stronger Together
2021 Annual Report
Throughout 2021, Canadians across the country rallied to protect their families, neighbours and communities. Canada’s leading employers were by their side, helping to fight COVID-19 and laying the foundation for economic recovery. In this video message, BCC Chair Don Lindsay and BCC President and CEO Goldy Hyder reflect on the integral role of the private sector in helping Canada succeed.
An economic growth plan for Canada
Canada must strive for success in the post-pandemic global economy. It’s time to embrace a bold and ambitious growth strategy that works for all – one that ensures well-paying jobs, attracts investment and promotes innovative solutions to social, environmental and economic challenges.
The Business Council of Canada has developed a roadmap to build on the country’s strengths, address its weaknesses, and reduce the risk of future disruptions. Our growth plan rests on four key pillars:
- People: We must cultivate and enhance Canada’s human capital, the foundation of our success.
- Capital: To build a stronger economy and create more high-value jobs, we must attract investment, nurture new ventures, and encourage existing businesses to expand.
- Ideas: Wealth creation is increasingly driven by knowledge and innovation. We must champion and harness made-in-Canada ideas.
- Sustainability: A strong partnership between governments and the private sector is essential to ensure Canada achieves its climate commitments.
- Powering a Strong Recovery: read our recommendations.
- Beyond COVID: powering a strong economic recovery. Watch our Canadian Club Toronto discussion with Mark Little of Suncor, Darryl White of BMO and Monique Leroux of the Industry Strategy Council
- We have the foundation to succeed. Our senior VP, policy Robert Asselin speaks with Goldy Hyder on the Speaking of Business podcast.
- What Canada’s leaders should focus on post-election: Anthony Viel, Deloitte
Developing Canadian talent
Building an agile and resilient workforce – one with the right mix of skills to meet the evolving needs of the global marketplace – requires continued focus and adaptation.
Canada’s leading employers are investing in the country’s human capital through a wide range of initiatives, including:
- targeted “micro-credentialling” programs that equip prospective employees with the skills they need to succeed in a modern, digital workplace
- professional development initiatives that enhance the capabilities of existing employees
- training programs aimed at under-represented groups
- work-integrated learning opportunities that help students transition successfully from school to the workplace.
Retraining displaced workers
Canada boasts a diverse and highly educated population, but as technology evolves our labour force must evolve as well. Palette Skills, a national non-profit, helps workers whose jobs have been affected by technological or other changes quickly transition into high-demand positions through rapid, targeted training programs. The Business Council of Canada is a founding partner of this important initiative.
- Learning new skills in a rapidly changing world: Sabrina Geremia, Google Canada
- Changing the world in a changing world: John Baker, D2L
- How we can upskill a workforce to face the climate change crisis: Claude Guay, IBM Canada
- Canada’s urgent need for digital skills: Shannon Leininger, Cisco Systems Canada
- Here’s what we need to do for workers: Goldy Hyder, Business Council of Canada
Championing diverse and inclusive workplaces
When individuals succeed, we all succeed.
Canada’s leading employers are committed to ensuring that their workplaces are open and welcoming to all, and to expanding opportunities for under-represented groups including women, racialized individuals and Indigenous peoples.
- economic partnerships between businesses and Indigenous groups;
- addressing systemic racism through pro-active hiring, mentorships, community education and resource programs, and programs to address unconscious bias;
- empowering women entrepreneurs.
- Corporate Canada needs to look more like Canada: Jaqui Parchment, Mercer Canada
- Improving inclusivity in the tech sector: Dax Dasilva, Lightspeed
- It’s time for Indigenous Peoples to be at the centre of Canada’s economy: David I. McKay, Royal Bank of Canada
- Pressing the reset button on capitalism: how to build a more inclusive society: Guy Cormier, Desjardins Group
- Driving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Roy Gori, Manulife Financial Corporation
To ensure a healthy, equitable and sustainable economic recovery, parents must have the ability to pursue meaningful careers while raising their children. The Business Council of Canada recognizes that high quality, affordable early learning and child care is an essential component of a healthy economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of psychologically safe and healthy workplaces and working arrangements. Physical health is equally a priority, which is why many employers set up vaccination clinics in their communities and piloted rapid screening programs to help keep employees safe.
Employers are also developing new work protocols suited to a post-pandemic world. This includes adopting hybrid work models and new technologies to keep people safe in the workplace – something we discussed with Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella.
- Canada should increase financial support for child care to help women return to the workforce: Brian Porter, Scotiabank
- Promoting safety means getting vaccinated: Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar Corporation
- Downtowns after lockdowns: how to revitalize Canada’s cities: John Love, KingSett Capital
- Investing in people will promote a stronger, healthier recovery and a better future: Goldy Hyder, Business Council of Canada
Helping Canada achieve its climate goals
Canada has the expertise, the resources and the know-how to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The country’s leading businesses are acting with purpose and ambition to meet those goals. They also are investing in innovative technologies that will enable other countries to reduce their carbon footprints.
The Business Council of Canada was one of the first business organizations in the world to recommend a price on carbon as a means of fighting climate change. Three years later, in 2010, we outlined how Canada could be a global leader in energy and environmental innovation. This year we published Clean Growth 3.0, which expanded on that work to address Canada’s pathway to net zero, emphasizing the need for partnerships in the energy transition and a commitment to sustainable economic growth.
Together, we can harness Canada’s natural and human resources to develop some of the most promising climate solutions, including renewable electricity, low-carbon fuels, hydrogen, and small modular nuclear reactors. In the transportation sector, Canada has existing strengths in auto manufacturing and untapped potential in many critical minerals -- both of which will be key to expanding the production of zero-emission vehicles.
By innovating, collaborating and embracing ambitious goals, Canadian businesses are leading the way. For example:
- Energy companies are working together to develop new solutions to address emissions.
- The private sector is developing new approaches to sequester carbon including in the agricultural sector and through carbon capture and storage.
- Employers are investing in clean energy solutions including hydrogen, nuclear energy and zero-emission aluminum.
- Leading companies are working with Indigenous partners on resource projects that create jobs and economic opportunities.
- Clean Growth 3.0: Read our recommendations in our report
- Moving Canada towards sustainable and inclusive growth: Victor G. Dodig, CIBC
- The business case for climate action: Goldy Hyder, Business Council of Canada
- Understanding the energy and economy transition: John Graham, CPP Investments
- How Canada can lead amid the global energy transition: Heather Chalmers, GE Canada
- Let’s manage climate risks, not disasters: Charles Brindamour, Intact Financial Corporation
Innovation for a better tomorrow
Through innovative research and development, Canadians have the ability to overcome a wide range of social, economic and environmental challenges.
From energy-efficient buildings to regenerative agriculture, Canadian companies are investing in cutting-edge innovations that will help the country and the world become smarter, cleaner healthier and more connected.
- Scaling up: why Canada needs a startup mindset: Mallorie Brodie, Bridgit
- Why we need an operation warp speed for agriculture: Karn Manhas, Terramerra Inc.
- Time to ditch the incremental approach to innovation and go big: Robert Asselin, Business Council of Canada
- Business leaders must be actively looking at ways to innovate: John E. Peller, Andrew Peller Limited
Leadership in action
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that we are stronger when we work together toward common goals. Collaboration is key to ensuring inclusive, sustainable economic growth.
The Business Council of Canada is proud to engage with partners across the country. For example:
- We spearheaded the launch of the POST Promise, a business-led initiative to keep customers and employees safe as Canada emerges from the pandemic.
- We were instrumental in the formation of the Coalition for a Better Future, which brings together a diverse group of citizens and organizations committed to pursuing a bold new economic and social vision for the country.
- Throughout the pandemic we have worked closely with Canada’s other leading national business organizations: Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, and Retail Council of Canada. Together, we have advocated for policies that protect the health and safety of Canadians while preserving jobs and helping communities.
- We founded the Business+Higher Education Roundtable, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that works with businesses and post-secondary institutions to boost career opportunities for young Canadians.
- We helped establish the Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange, a not-for-profit organization that helps to protect Canadians and Canadian institutions against cyber attacks.
From purpose to impact
Canada’s business leaders are committed to sharing their experiences and knowledge with others, working together to help the country rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through employee engagement, public speaking, community outreach and more, leading employers are living their values in their work.
- Resilient companies innovate because of their people: Geoff Smith, EllisDon Corporation
- How do you create corporate purpose in light of COVID-19?: Elio Luongo, KPMG LLP
- Having a positive impact on society: Michael McCain, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Who we are
The Business Council of Canada is composed of more than 170 chief executives of Canada’s leading enterprises.
Drawing on the experiences and expertise of our members, we provide thoughtful, informed advice and policy recommendations to build a better future for Canadians. Key areas of focus include:
- Economic strategy
- Resources and the environment
- Canada’s human capital
- Industry and innovation
- Canada’s place in the world
Member companies account for 50% of Canada’s total private sector GDP. They directly and indirectly support more than six million Canadian jobs and hundreds of thousands of small businesses.