The Economist’s Business Environment Ranking report declared Canada as the fourth most investor-friendly country in the world for the 2014-18 period. Within the G7 countries, Canada is positioned as the most lucrative investment destination. While more than one million immigrants in Canada are of Indian origin, Indian entrepreneurs, industrialists and investors are yet to fully exploit Canada’s market potential.
While Canada ranks 27th in foreign direct investment in India (most Canadian investment is concentrated in the development sector), Indian FDI in Canada until 2009 was only $570 million – implying that Canada ranks 20th among Indian investment destinations. Indian investors have historically given preference to Europe and the UK or Middle East. However, Canada is increasingly being perceived as an emerging investment destination, and for good reason.
Canada offers rewarding market opportunities due to its high per capita GDP levels, robust trade flows, a stable currency, natural abundance, and – importantly – access to the USA through a safe border. Foreign exchange and trade controls are also liberal, while tight regulations and balanced lending policies maintain the stability of the banking sector. There have also been efforts to diversify the export market. While the tax system may be complex, it does not take away from the relative ease of doing business in Canada.
The province of Ontario is worth exploring as a hub for Indian businesses looking to expand their business activities to North America. The world-class infrastructure, liberal laws, and tax benefits are attractive for investors. In addition, the climate is mild and farmlands are fertile. Ontario is the automotive industry hub, and a centre of support services for car manufacturing giants.
Southwest Ontario is particularly ideal for access to the USA and South America. While Ottawa and Toronto are well-known IT hubs, British Columbia also has a burgeoning technology industry. Each province and territory offers unique and profitable investment options. Licensed consultants can help investors or businesspersons identify these options and pursue feasible immigration pathways.
It is ideal to focus on long-term strategic investments, similar to how the USA has traditionally invested in Canada. Mining, minerals, forestry, gold, diamond, energy and oil are particularly beneficial for investors looking to leverage the country’s natural resources. The higher education system is also excellent, and considered at par with that of the United States. Since Indian investors are typically cautious, Canada’s economic strength and political stability makes it an ideal investment destination. Making a significant investment further makes one eligible for permanent residence, which assures social security and lifestyle benefits.
In recent times, Indians have set precedents for investment in Canada, specifically Ontario – the Essar Group’s investment in energy and steel, Mahindra Satyam as well as Wipro’s investment in IT being prime examples. Still, Indians can take inspiration from China’s significant investments in oil, energy, forestry, wind and solar power generation in Canada. India’s geo-political landscape will further aid investment activities in Canada, thus allowing Indian businesses and investors to fulfil global aspirations.