Prospectus: Are we in danger of losing our luster for entrepreneurs?

ottawa

In each issue of the OBJ newsmagazine, publisher Michael Curran gives his prospectus on the city's local economy. In the April edition, he looks at the danger of losing Canada's reputation as a destination for international talent.

Attendees to the Mayor’s Breakfast are accustomed to an early wakeup call. They likely didn’t expect the alarm, figuratively speaking, to blare at 8:20 a.m. as the guest speaker took the podium in City Council chambers last week.

The newly appointed head of the Business Council of Canada, the affable Goldy Hyder, was doing all he could to shake the assembled business leaders from their slumber.

Canada has been lulled into a sense of complacency, he vehemently argued. We, as Canadians, have an elevated sense of ourselves as we mockingly look down at the U.S. president, even as the country he leads reaches near-record lows of unemployment, cuts red tape and achieves a level of GDP growth that soon might be the envy of Canada.

Even our vaunted status as a prime destination for highly skilled immigrants is at risk, suggested Hyder, with marginal tax rates in Ontario topping 50 per cent before consumption taxes. Immigrants are doing their homework these days and the shine of Canada could be wearing off, he warned.

His most haunting question was this: Will this generation be the first to hand over a country in worse shape than it was before we assumed the mantle of leadership?

Fear not, good reader.

Hyder believes that many of our problems, such as the logjam around pipelines, are self-made. And if that’s the case, we must surely have the means to untangle this mess, specifically on issues such as lagging productivity, lack of innovation, stalling economic growth and soaring deficits.

The same sentiments were echoed the following day as OBJ and the Board of Trade gathered business leaders and experts to discuss the latest federal budget.

There is a rising chorus of concern around Ottawa’s and Canada’s ability to compete in an increasingly global economy.

CEOs, who are accustomed to action and results, need to engage with political leaders to share their worries and request an immediate change of course.

Ottawa’s hotel industry is raising the bar

The latest issue of OBJ’s newsmagazine includes a deep analysis of the capital’s hotel industry.

Local hotels are facing more competition than ever as the number of properties in the city continues to grow and new home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb grab an increasing share of the market. OBJ newsmagazine editor David Sali takes a closer look at what the local hospitality industry is doing to meet these and other challenges.

Also in this issue, we spotlight the nominees for this year's WBN Businesswoman of the Year Awards, and Techopia editor Craig Lord finds out how Ottawa developers are making the case for ethical artificial intelligence.