Minister Morneau at Public Policy Forum: Building a Strong Middle Class for a More Competitive Canada

News release

April 12, 2018 – Toronto, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Canada's long-term economic success rests on a strong and growing middle class. That means making sure that all Canadians—including Canada's talented, ambitious and hard-working women—have an opportunity to work, and to earn a good living from that work.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau spoke today at the Public Policy Forum's Canada Growth Summit 3: Going the Distance, on the importance of equality and shared growth as a way to strengthen and grow the middle class, and ensure Canada's competitiveness long-term.

In a free-ranging question-and-answer session, the Minister touched on measures in Budget 2018 aimed at delivering greater opportunities for Canadian women, including greater support for women entrepreneurs and new benefits designed to make it easier for women to return to work. These measures—along with the historic investments in science and innovation in Budget 2018—will continue to deliver real change for Canadians, and position Canada as a leader in an increasingly competitive world.

The conversation also included a discussion of other factors that make Canada an attractive place to invest, create jobs and do business including openness to international trade; a workforce that is diverse, innovative, highly skilled and well-educated; a wealth of natural resources; low energy costs; liveable cities; and a stable, well-regulated financial system, among others.

The Minister reiterated his commitment to making business competitiveness a top priority for the Government of Canada. In the coming weeks and months, the Minister will meet with Canadians—particularly business leaders—to hear their perspectives on the current business environment, and to discuss opportunities and challenges related to global trade. This outreach is in addition to an ongoing review of Canada's competitive environment by Department of Finance Canada officials.


"Our country is poised for success because we let evidence guide our decisions—and the evidence shows that Canada is a great place to invest and do business. Our Government's focus on shared middle class growth—which includes equal opportunities for women—has led to the creation of over 600,000 jobs since November 2015. Working with the business community, we will build on this success and make sure Canada remains competitive in the economy of tomorrow."

Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • Over the last 40 years, the rising number of women in the workforce has accounted for about a third of Canada's real gross domestic product per capita growth.

  • Even though Canadian women are among the best educated in the world, they are less likely to participate in the labour market than men, and more likely to work part-time. And, despite their high level of educational attainment, Canadian women working full-time earn, on average, just 88 cents for every dollar men working full-time earn.

  • Consumer confidence rose 4.5% in March 2018 and remains 19.1% above its average since 2010.

  • Business investment started to pick up in 2017, growing at about 2% in 2017 after declining in the previous two years.

  • According to the Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey, business investment intentions sit near their highest point since the recovery from the Great Recession.

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Media may contact:

Chloé Luciani-Girouard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance 

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

General Enquiries

Phone: 613-369-3710
Facsimile: 613-369-4065
TTY: 613-369-3230

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