Operating Context

Invest in Canada is a new departmental corporation created to coordinate and strengthen federal, provincial, territorial and municipal government efforts. Invest in Canada will attract large investments to Canada by promoting our country as a top investment destination to the world. To do this, Invest in Canada will work to provide single-window services that make investing in Canada simpler and more attractive to foreign investors, and brand Canada as a premier investment destination. As a new organization operating in a complex global environment, there are external and internal factors that could impact Invest in Canada’s ability to meet its planned results.

External

To address government priorities to enhance prosperity and grow the middle-class, Canada must be on the leading edge of innovation and foreign direct investment (FDI) is a key driver of technological change and innovative advances. Rapidly expanding economies are attracting an increasing share of international investment, and competition to attract FDI is fierce. The sheer number of foreign investment promotion agencies around the globe proactively seeking FDI, often supported by generous incentives, has increased by 50% over the past 10 years. Canada stands to gain immensely by attracting more FDI – a targeted FDI strategy that aligns with the government’s emerging growth strategy and emphasizes Canada’s strong economic advantages will be key.

Canada will continue to play a leadership role in promoting progressive approaches to trade and international collaboration in line with the priorities to support inclusive economic growth and maintain support for trade. Invest in Canada will remain aware and mindful of these challenges and opportunities, and will adjust its value proposition, strategies and priorities as necessary.

Internal

As a new departmental corporation organizational capacity must be built and essential operating frameworks, infrastructure and systems put in place. To achieve corporate excellence and the highest standards of efficiency and effectiveness, strong operating policies and effective control frameworks is needed. Core to its business, a highly skilled, high performing team is needed to provide world-class services, as are exceptional abilities in coordinating and collaborating with federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and the industry. A detailed understanding of the complex ecosystem of players, interests, policies and other variables that will influence both the direction and success of delivering a long-term approach to foreign investment attraction in Canada is also necessary.

The Government of Canada is committed to instilling a culture of measurement, evaluation and innovation in program and policy design and delivery. The government is also committed to advancing gender parity; working toward a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples; and improved partnerships with all levels of government. It is expected that progress on commitments and the effectiveness of programs will be tracked and reported on. Coupled with accountability and transparency, these commitments must be considered when developing programs, policies and strategies.

Key risks

As a new departmental corporation operating in a complex and rapidly changing world, there are some high stake risks that could impact the achievement of Invest in Canada goals.

Startup / organizational capacity risks

As a startup organization, there are risks in getting Invest in Canada off the ground. Core to Invest in Canada’s business is a highly skilled, high performing team to target, support, and facilitate FDI attraction and provide world-class investor services. A key challenge will be the organization’s ability to attract and retain this highly skilled work force on a timely basis. Strong operating policies, processes, and systems are needed as the organization builds its capacity and develops its programs that will ensure both the highest standard of accountability and service to clients. If Invest in Canada were to fall short in these areas and not meet client expectations, its reputation could be at risk.

To mitigate these risks, a transition team was put in place to help lay the foundation and help facilitate start-up. Compensation will be benchmarked against relevant data markers including the private sector to ensure competiveness with pay and benefits, with flexible offerings to attract the talent needed. A collaborative approach to developing programs and systems will be taken and strong relationships established with key players to ensure alignment and to leverage existing systems and networks. A specialized recruiting firm could be retained to assist in identifying and recruiting the talent needed for the leadership team, and other core positions.

Financial risks

There is a risk that cost estimates and the actual costs associated with establishing Invest in Canada differ, resulting in funding shortfalls that impact the organization’s ability to deliver on its goals. Various factors could influence this, including salaries to attract private sector positions being higher than anticipated. There is also a risk that funds will lapse in the early years, as building capacity for the corporation could take time more time than anticipated.

To reduce the impacts of these risks, Invest in Canada will monitor its financial situation closely and adjust its expenditure plans as needed. Funding profiles have been established that include a gradual scaling up of operations to account for the time needed for set-up and recruitment.

Global market risks

Operating in an environment that is highly competitive and where the complexity and uncertainties related to trade and investment are intensified, there is a risk that, as a start-up, Invest in Canada cannot adapt quickly enough to the changing environment to adjust investor services or effectively brand Canada. Invest in Canada will consult and work closely with partners and the industry with respect to investor services and on the promotion of Canada’s value proposition. It will also inform the policy-making decision process to help ensure Canada’s investment attraction remains at the leading edge. A departmental results / performance management framework will be put in place that will include frequent benchmarking to ensure FDI efforts are adjusted based on changes in the global economy. Invest in Canada’s ability to be nimble and adapt its value proposition to investors is critical.

Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments and any government‑wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)
Startup / Organizational capacity risks
There is a risk that Invest in Canada will not be able to recruit and retain a highly skilled and high-impact workforce on a timely basis.
  • A specialized firm has been contracted to develop the classification system, and compensation will be benchmarked against relevant data markers including the private sector to ensure competiveness with pay and benefits, and overall offerings.
  • A specialized recruiting firm could be engaged to identify and recruit the leadership team and other core positions.
All Mandate Letter
Financial Risks
There is a risk that cost estimates and the actual costs associated with establishing Invest in Canada differ, resulting in funding shortfalls and pressures.
There is also a risk that funds will lapse in the early years of operations as putting capacity in place could take more time than anticipated.
  • Invest in Canada will monitor its financial situation closely and adjust its expenditure plans as needed.
  • Funding profiles have been established that include a gradual scaling up of operations to account for the time needed for set-up and recruitment.
All Mandate Letter
Global market risk
Operating in an environment where the complexity and uncertainties related to trade are intensified, there is a risk that Invest in Canada does not adapt quickly enough to changes, and will miss important opportunities to attract foreign direct investment.
  • A nimble and responsive organization will be a core value in building Invest in Canada.  It will also adapt strategies and priorities to respond to the evolving external context.
  • It will work continuously with partners, stakeholders, as well as clients to ensure:
    1. a clear understanding of the investment environment and trends; and
    2. needed data is available for taking action. 
  • Information will be provided to the federal government policy making process in real-time.  
  • A departmental results / performance management framework will be put in place which will include frequent benchmarking to ensure FDI efforts are adjusted based on changes in the global economy.
Partnership and Strategy Development

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