Business Planning in the Face of a Trade War

By |2017-09-15T23:36:23-04:00September 15th, 2017|Doing Business in Canada|

Canada, and more acutely, the Province of Ontario, is poised to enter a trade-war with the United States over the extent of Buy American policies and the threat of their imposition. At a time when the foundational trade agreement outlining cross border business in North America is being renegotiated, Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have been exchanging threats while assuring all who’ll listen that nobody wants a trade war between Canada and the United States. The stakes are high for Ontario, as they are for many American states. Believe it or not, Ontario runs a trade deficit with the US. We import more from America than we send down. Last year alone, Ontario exported over $166,178,161,000 worth of goods to the United States while we imported goods worth total of $189,068,119,000. That left Ontario with an approximately $22 billion trade deficit. If measured simply dollar […]

What does “Buy American” Mean?

By |2017-09-01T22:49:12-04:00September 1st, 2017|Doing Business in Canada|

The phrase, “buy American” has sent Canadian business people into bouts of the night terrors for over a century. With a relatively small population strung out 200km deep along a 4500km long sea to sea strip, Canada is, at the same time, both too big and too small to sustain a domestic consumer market capable of creating and maintaining middle class incomes. Without free and unfettered access to the vastly larger American market, we will wither much faster than we care to contemplate. North of the 49th parallel, the phrase Buy America is oft heard as “Don’t buy from Canada”. After the terrorist attacks on Manhattan and Washington DC in September 2001, and more recently after the election of Donald Trump as President in November 2016, the phrase Buy American was used as a psychic tourniquet, a means of saying something simple that sounded meaningful and important.  The question left […]

The Start-Up Visa Programs – Manufacturing Canada’s Gain

By |2017-07-20T21:21:40-04:00July 20th, 2017|Doing Business in Canada|

Shortly after the November 2016 election of US President Donald Trump a realization spread around the globe that things really were going to change. For nearly two and a half centuries the United States had been the land of opportunity for innovators, inventors, academics and entrepreneurs but suddenly everything was going to be different. That realization, as chilling as it was, didn’t stop those who wanted to be innovators or inventors or academics or entrepreneurs from trying to get to get into the States.  The number of visa applications for foreigners trying to make something of themselves and their ideas in the United States rose in 2016, even as the mood of the electorate swayed dangerously away from common sense and reason. It wasn’t until early March, a few short weeks after he was sworn in that the Trump administration tried to introduce its first immigration ban, the one that […]

Canada is Open to STEM Growth

By |2017-07-13T19:20:00-04:00July 13th, 2017|Doing Business in Canada|

In the coming years, Canadians are going to hear a lot about attaining STEM educations and fostering STEM businesses. STEM is an acronym standing for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; the fastest growing areas of entrepreneurialism in the world. Due to a number of factors, including the volatile political situation in the United States, Canada is poised on the precipice of the greatest advances in advanced technology development this country has ever seen. Canada has been known as a stable and reliable developer of advanced technologies for much of its 150 year existence. With excellent schools and few religious or ethical barriers to research, Canadians have invented or innovated on some of the greatest tools humans have ever developed. For a relatively small country of only 36million, Canada has some of the best tech infrastructure on the planet including world-leading universities, research and development centres, high-speed Internet access in virtually […]

Interest and Canadian Confidence

By |2017-06-29T18:13:36-04:00June 29th, 2017|Business Community, Doing Business in Canada, Entrepreneurship|

Monetary policy might seem a dull subject heading into a gloriously free Canada Day long weekend but given yesterday’s extraordinary statement by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, it is worth taking a few minutes to peer into a near future hinted at by the Governor and his deputies over the past few weeks. “It does look as though those cuts have done their job,” Mr. Poloz said reflecting on the dramatic interest rate cuts made after the oil crash in 2014. Those cuts were piled on top of previous cuts made after the global economic meltdown of 2008. As of this moment, Canada’s central bank’s benchmark loan rate is a staggeringly low 0.5% leaving very little room for Mr. Poloz to go lower without flirting with the negative rate interest policy he mused about just over a year ago. Are you done yawning yet? Ok, let’s move forward. Both […]

Canadian Dollar Bouncing Higher

By |2017-06-15T17:08:15-04:00June 15th, 2017|Doing Business in Canada|

Caught between a rocking economy and continued global uncertainty over oil prices, the Canadian dollar has been fluctuating madly for the last several months. Hovering between $0.70 and $0.75 US, the disparities in the value of the dollar are starting to cause headaches and worry for Canada’s already beleaguered exporters. This is especially true in Ontario where a slowly rebuilding manufacturing sector was just starting to catch its footing. For Canadian exporters, a lower loonie is good for business as it makes the cost of Canadian goods less expensive than those produced south of the borders. At the same time, a high Canadian dollar is seen as beneficial to the oil sector which relies on importing equipment using Canadian dollars but sells its product on a market dictated by costs in American dollars. This dichotomy has been in place since the middle years of the last decade when the Stephen […]

The Business of a New World Order

By |2017-06-08T16:59:13-04:00June 8th, 2017|Business Community, Doing Business in Canada, Entrepreneurship|

The saying goes, “The only things in life you can rely on are death and taxes.” That might be true but between tax time and the time of any individual’s eventual demise, a lot of change is bound to take place. This is such a time. Social, political, and economic forces have merged in a perfect storm of a toxic soup to make a steady but still shaky recovery feel more volatile than any other period in many people’s living memories. Great change is upon us, but what does that mean for Canadian businesses? This might seem counter-intuitive but great change often creates great conditions for business to thrive in. Nature abhors a vacuum and when several things shift, the forces of nature move to fill in gaps and close all seams. Businesses ready to take advantage of changing circumstances and conditions can find niches to thrive in while businesses […]

How to Become a Non-Resident Importer

By |2017-06-06T19:07:02-04:00June 6th, 2017|Doing Business in Canada|

A Non-Resident Importer is a US or foreign based company that imports into Canada under their own name and business number without a permanent presence in Canada. A fact that is often overlooked by non-resident businesses providing goods and services into Canada is that they are subject to GST/HST taxes on sales into Canada. GST/HST management is responsible for longer delays at border crossings. Another bigger issue is that if GST/HST is not managed before entry into Canada the customer must pay the value added tax. GST/HST can be managed by becoming a Non-Resident Importer. A Non-Resident Importer could see the following benefits: Sell within Canada using a domestic pricing plan Manage landed costs without involvement of a Canadian intermediary Make border crossings seamless Increase market share in Canada The following are some challenges that a foreign based company should consider before choosing this business format: Must first obtain a […]

Small business and start-up growth tips

By |2017-03-31T00:45:37-04:00March 31st, 2017|Doing Business in Canada, seminar rooms, small business advice, Training rooms|

Start-ups and small and medium-sized business owners are always looking for new ways to make sure they stay ahead of their competitors – and growth is the way that most experts see as the best answer. They want to stay competitive with other small business, but they also want to stay competitive with larger global brands. Growth can come in many forms, but the top ones currently are: Expansion into new markets Building your online presence Automating the processes within your company Do not just attend networking events or training seminars – create your own Expansion into new markets. Canadian companies should look outside their borders for new markets, but not before tapping into good growth markets at home. Once those Canadian growth markets are exhausted, then they need to explore U.S. markets that closely resemble the make up their best Canadian markets. They need to look at the demographics […]

Tips on hiring and managing employees

By |2016-08-25T01:03:42-04:00August 25th, 2016|Doing Business in Canada, Hiring and managing employees, Office Space, small business advice|

As you get your small business off the ground, you will at some point need to hire employees to take care of the day-to-day functioning of your business. Before you start to look for employees, you need to define their job descriptions and what qualifications they should have to fill that position. You want to recruit the best and brightest, and create a workplace environment that they want to be a part of – and one that will retain them, so they do not get lost to your competitors. You also want a workplace environment that stimulates creativity and productivity at the same time. Just look at what Google, Bing, Apple and Yahoo have done. Yes, those are extreme examples, but there are many things they do that you can scale down to fit your own workplace. Happy and healthy employees are productive and will keep your business going strong. […]