NEW YORK – Canada is aiming to lure technology companies to move north of the border.
Brian Tobin, the country’s Minister of Industry, said at a conference hosted by the Committee for Economic Development that Canada now offers a highly educated workforce, plentiful electrical power, strong tax incentives, a favorable rate of exchange and an attractive lifestyle.
“There’s a revolution in Canada,” Tobin said. “The country has become entrepreneurial.” He acknowledged that Canada in the past has not been seen as friendly to business, but said the country is now out to emulate the success of Ireland and other nations in luring high-tech companies that bring well-paying jobs.
Canada has “strong economic fundamentals,” including low inflation, substantial tax cuts and budget surpluses, he said. Canada is reducing taxes paid by business, and in four years the average corporate tax rate will be five percentage points below the U.S. rate. The short-term capital gains rate is now 23%, compared to 40% in the United States.
The nation also has a skilled labor pool. A recent study ranked it first among 59 nations studied in terms of per capita availability of knowledge workers.
Almost half of the top 40 electrical engineering programs in North America are offered by Canadian universities. All schools and libraries in Canada have been connected to the Internet for more than two years, and broadband Internet access is in use by 5% of Canada’s population, compared to 2% in the United States.
A study by the World Bank and Harvard University found that entrepreneurs encounter less red tape when starting a new business in Canada than in any other industrialized country; the United States ranked fourth.