Canada Towards 2030 Project
Canada Towards 2030 Project
The Canada Towards 2030 Project (C2030) is a non-partisan and non-prescriptive foresight research initiative with multiple events and features. It includes gatherings in several Canadian and overseas cities (from Vancouver to Halifax, to Europe and Asia) and this website that is dedicated to sharing long-term research and thinking about Canada’s future. C2030 About
Uncertainties should not frighten or paralyze us; they should help us anticipate and prepare. Avoiding or minimizing a risk — as well as finding and maximizing a new opportunity — require imagination and leadership.
Instead of plants, mines, or labs closing due to foreign competition or high exchange rate, could they instead be forced to shut down because of labour shortage? Will birthrates, immigration levels, education attainment, and training be high enough to avoid labour scarcity? Or will the speed of business innovation have to slow down?
Will the cost of ageing on public finances and productivity — possibly combined with reduced labor force participation, fewer entrepreneurs, costly pension liabilities and more “snowbirders” deserting their hometowns in January or February — affect Canada’s long term GDP potential? Could we see a decrease from a 3% growth rate to 2% or less?
“A super-cycle of demand is not always a super-cycle of prices. Companies, investors and governments should be cautious about the risk of oil and commodities price collapse and the side effects on the dollar and public finance.”
Eric Noël, October 2011
With increased oil production and new reserves in Canada (including the Arctic), the US and elsewhere; with a surge in synthetic fuels and biofuels (from non-food crops); and with less oil intensity per capita — will we be talking about peak oil demand instead of peak supply? Will Canadian oil companies be able to compete in terms of costs and pipeline capacity?
Being subjected to strong, complex and multiple forces of change will be demanding for our elected officials and public service. Will Canadians be able to simplify their governance and public administration? Upset with the side-effects of corruption, polarisation or disinformation, will the “all-connected-society” and e-government of the future enable citizens to directly drive public policy innovation, help bureaucrats with its execution, and enhance public services delivery and supervision?
There are few barriers to interprovincial labour mobility in Canada. Will more or fewer domestic migrants return to their native provinces as they age? With citizens emigrating without their share of local debt, will mobility worsen the risk of municipal insolvency? Can we be mobile and fiscally responsible at the same time, or will we see increased inter-provincial arbitrage?
With some American states and cities suffering from drought and empty water reservoirs in 2030, will Canada consent to export water to the United States? Will we shift from a Keystone to a “Waterstone” pipeline debate? How about water supply in exchange for some “USS Polar Arctic” defence?
Will the pace of technological development pose challenges to governments’ research, assessment, and decision-making apparatuses? From regulation, safety, and ethical issues to affordability concerns, will advances in life extension, genetic modification, brain implants and brain boosters or synthetic bio bring NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) or ATANA (available-to-all-or-not-at-all) debates to the field of health technology?
With an additional 1.3 billion people on the earth by 2030 and maybe 1 billion new middle class consumers, demand for calories will surge, notably for meat and milk. Environmental shocks to farming overseas could also limit foreign production of basic food (cereals and rice). Will Canada witness a new economic success story and an agricultural export boom? How will we treat “agri-take-overs” and investments from foreign state-own enterprises?
With rich middle-income earners not saving enough to maintain their lifestyles in retirement, will a first group of poorer retirees emerge? Will they downsize and sell their houses and cottages, move to cheaper mid-size cities, and share a house, a car or the services of homecare personnel? Will pension stress and healthier citizens prolong employment amongst those +60-years old, delaying the average retirement age to 68, and increasing youth unemployment?