“Canadian citizens are leaders in the global economy,” said Phillippe Ouellette, the report’s lead author. “We will only reach our potential as a country when we invite all of our citizens, including those living abroad, to help build our economy.”
“Canada has a long history of successful diplomacy and trade promotion, but we currently build social networks, not business networks, when we connect to Canadians abroad,” added Task Force Co-Chair François Vincent. “What Canada needs now is a comprehensive global business network of Canada’s leading expatriates.”
“A global business network of Canadians would identify and recruit several hundred ‘Global Canadians,’ to make connections, create business opportunities, and offer advice to Canadian businesses and governments,” said Task Force Co-Chair Mark Podlasly. “We cannot afford to wait.”
In its report, entitled “Where in the world is Canada? Building a global network of Canadians abroad,” the Action Canada Task Force on Expatriate Engagement makes two key policy recommendations to the federal government:
- Identify Canadians living abroad. Canada lags behind other countries in tracking what our expatriates are doing abroad, and what types of social and economic links they maintain to Canada. The Task Force recommends that the Government of Canada fund and publish, through Statistics Canada, a full-scale survey of Canadian expatriates.
- Build a global business network of Canadians. Many other countries have built global business networks, which have helped to grow their economies. In Scotland, for instance, the GlobalScot network has an annual budget of £300,000, yet added more than £28 million to the Scottish economy in two years, between 2004 and 2006. The Task Force recommends that the Government of Canada develop and fund a public-private partnership to create a global business network of Canadians.
“Canada’s next big business opportunity is found within our own population,” concluded Task Force Co-Chair Mark Podlasly. “A Canadian global business network will connect our economy to our largest untapped resource – talented Canadians abroad.”
Action Canada is Canada’s leading public policy fellowship. For more information, visit www.actioncanada.ca.