Building on the success of PPF’s April 2019 report A New North Star, PPF is embarking on the next phase of our groundbreaking work on Canadian economic competitiveness.

This new research project will see Sean Speer and Robert Asselin reprise their roles as authors, synthesizers, and translators. CIBC Senior Economist Royce Mendes will join the authorship team to lend analytical expertise to the project. The team will solicit input from key thinkers and doers across the country through a series of closed roundtable discussions, with a report to launch in spring 2020. The conversation will continue at PPF’s annual Canada Growth Summit on October 15, 2020.

Their research will focus on how the trend towards an intangibles economy will require new and re-imagined policy responses – both in terms of our industrial policy, including trade, investment, competition, and adjustment policies at home, as well as in terms of our role on the international stage – with the two-sided goal not only of maintaining our economic competitiveness globally, but ensuring that economic growth is inclusive across the country. 

Roundtables took place in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver during the fall and winter 2019-2020, with the report to be launched this spring.

For more information on the project, contact Andrée Loucks at


About the Authors

  • Sean Speer served as senior economic adviser to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He was an Associate Fellow at the R Street Institute, and is currently Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He has been cited by The Hill Times as one of the most influential people in government and by Embassy Magazine as one of the top 80 people influencing Canadian foreign policy. His articles have appeared in publications in Canada and the U.S., including The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review Online.‎ Sean is currently Fellow in Residence and Prime Ministers of Canada Fellow at the Public Policy Forum.
  • Robert Asselin joined BlackBerry in 2017 as Senior Global Director, Public Policy. In 2017, he was appointed Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and Fellow at the Public Policy Forum. From 2015 to 2017, he served as Policy and Budget Director to Canada’s Finance Minister.  From 2007 to 2015, Mr. Asselin was the Associate Director of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. In 2014, he was a Visiting Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Mr. Asselin was a Policy Advisor to Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau.
  • Royce Mendes is Executive Director and Senior Economist at CIBC Capital Markets, where he leads the group’s efforts in monitoring and forecasting the Canadian economy, a team judged to be the most accurate by both Reuters Consensus Economics in 2018. Prior to joining CIBC, he held roles at the Bank of Canada as Portfolio Manager for Canada’s foreign reserves, Associate Editor for the Financial System Review publication and Principal Researcher in the Financial Markets Department.

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