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Archived - 1. Our Mandate and Approach

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On July 12, 2007, the Ministers of Industry and Finance announced the creation of the Competition Policy Review Panel. The Panel is chaired by L. R. Wilson, and includes N. Murray Edwards, Isabelle Hudon, P. Thomas Jenkins and Brian Levitt. We were mandated to review Canada's competition and foreign investment policies and to make recommendations to the Minister of Industry, on behalf of the Government of Canada, for making Canada more competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.1 The Panel was tasked with conducting research, holding consultations and producing a report by June 2008.

Panel members represent diverse regions and sectors of this country and a range of business and professional expertise. We bring our collective experience to this mission and our shared passion to make Canada more successful. All of us have a strong interest in better understanding the economic forces at work in Canada and the world as well as the implications for our economy and our quality of life. We believe that Canada can compete and will win, if the conditions are right and barriers are removed.

Our report is about one simple proposition: raising Canada's overall economic performance through greater competition will provide Canadians with a higher standard of living. Strong economic performance translates into more and better jobs and higher earnings, which in turn mean higher government revenues to support the services and programs that Canadians have come to expect. Our recommendations are meant to address the slow growth in personal earnings in Canada. Our goal is to create the conditions that will sustain a robust economic legacy for future generations of Canadians.

In this report, we put forward a national Competitiveness Agenda to meet this goal. Pursuing it will strengthen competitiveness across our economy and support the emergence of new Canadian global success stories. Our recommendations are designed to promote the two-way flow of talent, capital and innovation between Canadian markets and world markets. Our approach requires a strong commitment to openness and is underpinned by collaboration and effective harmonization between governments, businesses and educational institutions.

Competitiveness involves much more than government policy. There is a clear and key role for other stakeholders — including businesses, labour groups, educational institutions and all Canadians — in advancing Canada's competitiveness. We believe that the role of government is to provide the framework that sets the right conditions for competitiveness. This includes removing legal, regulatory and policy impediments to competition and providing the conditions to better enable Canadian companies to compete in global markets. The challenge for all Canadians is to be ambitious, show initiative, take risks, make investments and pursue the opportunities in the global economy for creating jobs and wealth for Canada.

In our deliberations and consultations, our Panel has journeyed widely to seek out the best ideas to better equip Canada to compete globally.

Our Consultation Paper, Sharpening Canada's Competitive Edge, released in October 2007, set out questions and invited submissions.2 In response, we received 155 submissions from businesses, law firms, governments, individuals, academics, unions, cultural and public interest organizations in Canada as well as interests based abroad. We have benefited greatly from the range and breadth of advice offered us.

We also reviewed international best practices with US and Australian officials, and with representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union. In addition, our Panel conducted a program of research to supplement its consultations and deliberations as well as research by other organizations. We commissioned more than 20 research studies on policy areas that affect both Canada's ability to attract capital and talent, and the international competitiveness of Canadian firms.

Between January and March 2008, we met across Canada with business groups and leaders, federal, provincial, territorial and civic leaders, public sector officials, unions, academics and policy experts, associations and public interest organizations. During 13 full-day sessions of consultations and round tables, our Panel heard from more than 150 individuals and organizations in a number of cities across Canada. We were impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment to improving Canadian competitiveness.

Our views and recommendations have been shaped by the submissions we received, by our deliberations, consultations and research, and by our experience.