Government of Canada highlights cross-border tourism and trade at Great Lakes Economic Forum

News release

Minister Chagger meets with officials from Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Region in Montréal

May 4, 2018, Montréal, Quebec

Canada trades with many nations around the world, but the United States of America is by far our most important trading partner. The links between Canada and the United States in the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Region are particularly important.

To promote this special relationship, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, participated in this year’s Great Lakes Economic Forum in Montréal, Quebec, an event that aims to improve the competitiveness of Canada and U.S. states in this region.

In her remarks, Minister Chagger emphasized the importance of NAFTA and highlighted its benefits for small businesses on both sides of the border. She stressed that the integrated economies and supply chains supported by NAFTA are critical for both our countries and that many smaller companies on both sides of the border rely on these supply chains for their success. She also addressed the need to grow cross-border tourism and highlighted the tourism sector’s contributions to success and economic growth in the region.

The tourism industry in both Canada and the United States benefits from our common border—and the people-to-people ties that transcend it. Tourism is Canada’s number one service export. In 2015 alone, more than 12.7 million U.S. citizens visited Canada as tourists and spent $7.8 billion.

While in Montréal, Minister Chagger met with business leaders, state officials and trade association representatives. She also participated in a Q&A discussion with Bloomberg News journalist Sandrine Rastello, where she reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s support for free trade and its commitment to developing a progressive trade agenda that will ensure the benefits of free trade are widely and fairly shared.


“Trade between our two countries is rapidly changing the way Canadians live and work and is bringing greater economic opportunities for the middle class. Our government strongly believes that cross-border trade and investments will mean economic growth and prosperity for both Canada and the United States. That’s why we are committed to working closely with our American partners to ensure that the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence region is competitive and prosperous for generations to come.”

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Quick facts

  • The Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Region is a binational region that includes the states of New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

  • In 2017, 75 percent of Canada’s trade was with the United States, according to Statistics Canada.

  • Canada is the number one customer for all eight Great Lakes states and the top trading partner for most U.S. states in general.

  • In 2017, bilateral trade between Canada and the Great Lakes states totalled more than $250 billion.

  • More than 735,000 Canadian jobs were directly supported by tourism in 2017.

  • More than 12.7 million U.S. citizens visited Canada as tourists in 2015, spending a total of $7.8 billion in Canada.

Associated links


Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Follow Minister Chagger on social media.
Twitter: @MinofSBT
Instagram: minofsbt

Sandra Aubé
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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