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Canada, like all nations, took a hit from the pandemic. GDP declined by 5.4 per cent in 2020 and the unemployment rate rose to above 8.6 per cent in December 2020. But with millions of Canadians expected to have been vaccinated by the end of June, financial pundits are forecasting that strong consumer spending, major government investment, and a rebound in exports will create enough momentum to cause the Canadian economy to come roaring back to life. In fact, the Bank of Canada is forecasting growth of around 4 per cent this year and 5 per cent in 2022. The picture is just as rosy south of the border. The OECD increased its growth forecast for the US economy in 2021 to 6.5 per cent from 3.2 per cent in December, as a result of the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by the House on March 10, 2021. In short, the economic future for Canada and the United States is a bright blue sky with enormous potential, which makes it the perfect time to position your company for maximum gain and access to new markets.

If you own a business in the United States or elsewhere, below are just a few reasons why you should consider opening a branch or subsidiary office in Canada or starting a brand new business in Canada.

• Canada is ranked 1st in the G20 and only 3rd in the world for best business environment to do business
• The OECD ranks Canada as the most attractive country for entrepreneurs, out of 35 countries
• Canada has competitive corporate income tax rates (26.8% vs 25.9% in the USA)
• Canada has a strong and growing Tech sector and Tech infrastructure, spread among its major cities
• Canada has the Tech talent needed to allow your company to scale, second in numbers only to France and India
• The Government of Canada is investing heavily (close to $1 billion) to develop Supercluster tech hubs across the country
• Canada has generous funding and tax credit schemes for SMEs in technology and other sectors
• Canada has a specific immigrant program that ties entrepreneurs to angel investors or venture capitalist funds
• Canada has 14 free trade agreements (FTAs) and preferred market access to 51 foreign countries and around 60 per cent of the world’s GDP
• Canada attracts large amounts of Foreign Direct Investment ($973 billion in 2019) and is an excellent place to live and raise kids
• Canada’s economy is forecast to grow by 4% in 2021
• With almost 40 million people, Canada is itself a fantastic market for any company to build on.

The economic factors above are not the only reason you should think about expanding your business into Canada or starting a brand-new business. Canada is immigration friendly and offers multiple visa pathways into the country. There is the International Mobility Program, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Global Sills Strategy and the Start-up Visa Program (for details on how each of these programs operate, contact one of the lawyers at Borders Law Firm).

In addition, tax filings in Canada are simpler than in the United States, which requires a separate filing for each State you are doing business with. Canadian dividends received in the United States are also 100 per cent deductible, meaning there is no additional US income tax to the US company on the Canadian dividend income.

As mentioned, Canada has 14 FTAs which drive costs down and grant access to lucrative markets. Major FTAs include agreements with the European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Korea, and emerging Latin American markets (Chile, Peru, Columbia and Costa Rica). For products, FTAs offer reductions in tariff rates when you export from Canada. Canadian service providers also have protections under FTAs to ensure they are treated in the same manner as local businesses. And from a cross-border access perspective, FTAs ensure that business travelers can enter FTA partner countries with minimal hassle. Specifically, Canada’s FTAs have provisions to facilitate cross-border entry of business visitors, intra-company transferees, skilled professionals and investors. Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) offers direct support for Canadian entities looking to expand into FTA markets. The TCS has a presence in 160 cities around the world.

Finally, another benefit of opening Canadian operations in Canada is access to government funding programs such as CanExport, which provides up to $50,000 in direct financial assistance to diversify into new markets.

If you are the owner of an existing business overseas, please contact the partners of Borders Law Firm to discuss corporate immigration strategies such as opening a subsidiary office in Canada, tying up with an Angel investor, or benefitting from one of several provincially run investment immigration programs.

[1] The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

[2] OECD Indicators of Talent Attractiveness – May 2019

[3] BDC 2021 economic outlook