As competition for global investment intensifies, it is essential to understand how multinational enterprises (MNEs) decide where to locate high-value business functions that drive innovation. It is also important to understand the role governments, the research community and others play in helping Canadian operations compete for and win global and regional mandates.

In an effort to better understand how this country might respond to these issues, Canada’s Public Policy Forum began to examine how MNEs award global mandates that drive investment and innovation in Canada across a range of industries, including information and communications technologies (ICT), aerospace, chemicals and auto parts. We also explored how governments might facilitate and support the efforts of Canadian operations to win mandates and attract strategic investment by conducting interviews across a range of sectors.

Our synthesis report, Attracting Global Mandates and Investment in Canada, is the final result of this analysis which draws on previous PPF work on innovation, and four sector-specific studies supported by Industry Canada which were conducted by Cheminfo Services (chemical), Strathmere Associates (ICT), DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. (auto parts) and AeroInsight (aerospace). In total, this report represents insight from more than 40 companies operating in Canada.

To explore and expand on the findings of our synthesis report, this fall we convened stakeholders from some of Canada’s leading firms to discuss how multi-national firms award regional and global mandates and how governments might help support the efforts of Canadian operations to win mandates and attract strategic investment in Canada.

The Innovation, Investment, and Global Mandates roundtable session provided an opportunity to share and discuss recent research on how firms make investment and mandate decisions, how Canada fairs on key decision drivers and the roles governments could play in helping attract more mandates to Canada. The roundtable brought together approximately 35 senior leaders from government, business, the research community, and business associations for a deliberative session that:

  • Provided insight on factors influencing the location-based investment of main business functions
  • Developed a shared understanding of the conditions needed to attract global mandates in Canada
  • Explored strategic policies being used by other countries
  • Identified priorities for next steps, including further research and collaboration as well as identify unique regional challenges
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