Challenges Facing Canadian Organizations

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Canada. They are the world’s largest producer of newsprint, nickel, and asbestos. Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver are rated some of the best cities in the world. There is also Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which bring us Canadians radio and television broadcasts the news, music, and entertainment. (Schwind, 2010, p. 3)

Even though Canada is a leader and a top competitor around the world in regards to business, resources, talent, and innovation, there are still many challenges facing Canadian organizations. In this paper I will discuss the many ways that Canada, from a business stand point and as whole, faces challenges and what we as a country are doing to rise and succeed through these challenges. There are five major challenges that are facing Canadian businesses; Economic, Technological, Demographic, Cultural, and Legal.

Economic challenges are broken down into three separate categories; surviving a recessionary cycle, facing the global trade challenge, and meeting the challenge of productivity improvement. All three of these are interrelated and I will briefly describe each section of the challenges. Surviving the recessionary cycle is a tough challenge especially for the Human Resource Managers, who are tasked with planning, coordinating and ultimately implementing layoffs. Recessions are a misfortune that affects everyone and every company, big or small. Job security and overall high morale of employees at a company are troubled as well in these hard times. The global trade industry is another issue that Canadians are facing. International trade has been critical to Canada's prosperity and growth. (Schwind, 2010, p. 5) Canada is ranked number nine in the world for exporting internationally, (Metcalfe, 2008), but per capita we export more than the United States or Japan. To face this challenge Canadian organizations are expanding abroad by opening new plants and increasing activity rates in foreign countries. This is to be closer to the customers and also for the lower labour costs. Being a multicultural nation has given Canada a competitive advantage in regards to trading with other countries. However, other countries have a lower-cost based trading system due to factors such as lower labour costs, has caused Canada to lose our market share in some industries such as pulp and paper, cotton yarn, and steel manufacturing. (Schwind, 2010, p. 6) Productivity is the third aspect of economic challenges we face. Technically, productivity is the ratio of output to input. It is a measure of how efficiently and effectively a business or an economy uses inputs such as labour and capital to produce outputs such as goods and services. Alan Greenspan, an ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States, was quoted as saying "Productivity - the goods and services produced from each hour of work - is the magic elixir of economic progress. It's why we live better than our grandparents did, without working longer hours." (Demos, 2011) Canada’s largest trading partner, the United States, has been improving their productivity faster than we have. We have to increase our productivity as a nation in order to continue to thrive and grow. A report conducted in 2000 stated that if the productivity gap between Canada and the U.S. were to continue, it would reduce Canada’s living standards from 61 percent of U.S. levels in 1999 to 52 percent in 2010. (McCallum, 2000) In order to maintain and improve its productivity, Canada must update its technology to increase its levels.

There are two technological changes and challenges face the Canadian businesses today, computerization and automation. Computers and their technology are rapidly growing and they affect all aspects of work. They produce large amounts of information in a timely matter, and have the ability to massively store and transfer the information. There is an increase in flexibility, such as being able to work at home, or even while on vacation, if need be,...
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