Read about the economic history of Canada and find out more about its investment potential today.
Learn more about some of the most significant countries investing in Canada.
Economic History in Brief
Located in the northern part of North America, Canada consists of three territories and ten provinces. It is the second largest country in the world by area and covers 9.98 million square kilometers. With a highly urbanized population, Canada is sporadically populated with only around 35.15 million people living in medium and large cities which are surrounded by dense forests and tundra.
Canada’s economy is mixed and highly developed. It has the 10th biggest nominal GDP and 17th biggest PPP GDP in the world. The country’s economic history started with hunting, farming, and trading by its indigenous inhabitants. After Europeans arrived in the 16th century, the Canadian economy underwent massive shifts that included the early Atlantic fishery and the global fur trade. While a great variety of industries came and went, the Canadian economy continues to rely on natural resources like fur, timber, oil, and minerals. These commodities are exported to the United States and continue to support the economy.
While the Canadian economy is now largely dominated by the service industry, it is also considered an energy superpower because of its massive concentration of natural resources in comparison to its relatively small population. It is the fourth largest petroleum exporter and the fourth largest natural gas exporter in the world. In addition to its status in the energy sector, Canada has a significant manufacturing sector, with aircraft and automobile manufacturing being particularly important. The country also has one of the biggest seafood and commercial fishing industries, is one of the largest suppliers of agricultural products in the world, and is an international leader in the entertainment software sector.
Service Industry – Around 75% of Canadians are employed in the service industry which accounts for around 70% of the country’s GDP. Of this industry, around 12% is concentrated on retail with a range of chain stores concentrated in shopping malls.
Energy – With oil and gas being the two most important energy exports, Canada is one of the few energy exporters that are developed nations.
Manufacturing – Although it was adversely affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, Canada continues to host major American and Japanese automobile manufacturing plants and factories like Linamar Corporation and Magna International.
Agriculture – Mainly exporting wheat and other grains to the US and Asia, Canada has free trade agreements in force with several countries around the world.
Companies Investing in Canada
With airlines, mining and resources, transportation, and aerospace being some of the main industries that investment is focused on in Canada, here are some of the top investment companies in the country.
Air Canada is the largest airline in Canada and the flag carrier of the country. Despite it running at a loss for several years, Air Canada has been profitable since 2012. The company has several subsidiaries including Air Canada Cargo, the freight carrying division that offers over 150 shipping destinations, Air Canada Vacations, a tour operator that offers travel packages that include tours, cruises, excursions, and car rentals, Air Canada Express, a regional feeder service operated by independent carriers like Sky Regional Airlines, Jazz Aviation, Exploits, Valley Air Services, and Sky Regional Airlines. Through the years, many investments into Air Canada have been made, including an investment of US$650 million by Trinity Time Investments.
Rio Tinto Alcan is an aluminum mining and production company known as one of the foremost companies of its kind in the world. The company was founded in 1902 as a subsidiary of Alcoa and has since risen to produce revenue estimated as being in excess of US$23.6 billion. Rio Tinto Alcan produces aluminum sheet, rod and remelt ingot, cable, packaging, alloys, and extrusion billet.
Teck Resources is a mining and metals company, and the largest diversified resources company in Canada. The main products produced by Teck Resources are gold, silver, lead, germanium, cadmium, and indium. As in 2016, the company’s revenue was estimated at US$7.1 billion. A stake of 17% in Teck was bought by China Investment Corporation in 2009.
Bombardier Inc. is a multinational transportation and aerospace company. In the early 1940s Bombardier Inc. was started as a snowmobile manufacturer, but it has since grown to become a large-scale manufacturer of airliners, business jets, and mass transportation equipment. The initial funding was done by a mechanic called Joseph-Armand Bombardier, and the company now has a net income of US$553 million.
Investors with Interests in Canada
CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., Prem Watsa, CEO of Telus Corp., Darren Entwistle, and Chairman of Canadian Natural Resources, Murray Edwards, are known as some of Canada’s most significant names in business and investors. Despite his strong stance taken on dwindling BlackBerry stock, Prem Watsa is known for his investor influence in Canada and for his stakes in Prime Restaurants (holding company of Casey’s and East Side Mario’s), Thomas Cook India and William Ashley. Darren Entwistle of Telus is not only known for his role as CEO of Canada’s telecommunication company with the biggest voice, he was also featured in the media for taking the government to court with the goal of achieving clarity on the country’s wireless policies. Murray Edwards of Canadian Natural Resources is highly influential in the shaping of the quickly drafted foreign ownership rules for natural resources companies, in response to a US$15 million bid for Nexen in 2012.
Because of its strength geographically and in sectoral clusters like automotive, agriculture, and aerospace, Canada is an ideal investment destination. Canada has one of the most stable and well-developed banking systems in the world and is home to a population of diverse, creative, and confident people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses can also enjoy low statutory and marginal effective tax rates. Several attractive incentive measures and funding programs are available to companies interested in investing in Canada where vibrant industry clusters are ideal to help companies thrive.
Redpoint Ventures, an American investment firm that invests in local industry giants as well as a variety of companies in South America, particularly in Brazil and Colombia.
Founders Fund is a leading VC firm that has been involved in the early stages of some of the most important fintech developments of the past two decades.
WIND Ventures is a Corporate Capital Venture focusing on start-ups and scale-ups in new mobility, eco energy, and retail, to boost their growth in Latin America.
GP Investments is a Brazilian alternative investment company with a focus on technology investments. Learn about the company’s history and find out about its most significant investments.
Socialatom Ventures is a seed capital firm founded by entrepreneur and investor Andrés Barreto. The company invests in global tech startups located across the Americas and are pioneers in the recent entrepreneurial ecosystem development in Latin America.
Benchmark, a top Silicon Valley investment firm that has been making waves with investments in France. Discover how the boom in investment in French technology companies has spurred on top investment firms like Benchmark.
XponentialWorks is a venture capital firm based in California. Read about the company’s history and investments.
SoftBank Capital, a top US-based investment company involved in all investment stages, with focus on technology, mobile telecommunications, and SaaS.
Avalon Ventures is an early stage venture capital fund particularly focused on making investments in information technology, biotechnology, healthcare, pharmaceutical, venture capital and life sciences.
Investors in the Americas
Carlos Slim is an award-winning Mexican investor, entrepreneur, engineer, and philanthropist. Between 2010 and 2013, the business magnate was ranked by Forbes as the wealthiest person in the world.
Arya Bolurfrushan is an angel investor, focused mainly on seed stage investments. Based in New York, in the United States, Bolurfrushan is the Chief Executive Officer and member of the board at Bolurfrushan International, a global investment and insurance brokerage and philanthropic organization.
Reid Hoffman is an American Internet entrepreneur and investor, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn. He is also a Partner at Greylock Partners, a venture capital company.
Christine Tsai, a Guam business executive who co-founded and heads 500 Startups, a global company on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is a billionaire entrepreneur, and a well-known television and media personality, with an ever-growing portfolio in small businesses.
Patrick Chung is Managing General Partner of Xfund. Prior to Xfund, Patrick was a partner at NEA and led the firm’s consumer and seed investment practices. He is a director of 23andMe and Philo, and led investments in Guideline, Halo Neuro, IFTTT, Landit, Nebula Genomics, NewtonX, Rock Health, ThirdLove, and Zumper. Past investments include Segment (acquired by Twilio), Kensho (acquired by S&P Global), Plaid (almost acquired by Visa), Pulse (acquired by LinkedIn), Loopt (acquired by Green Dot), GoodGuide (acquired by Underwriters Laboratories), Ravel Law (acquired by Lexis-Nexis), Xfire (acquired by Viacom), and Xoom (NASDAQ: XOOM).
Andrés Barreto, a Colombian-American entrepreneur who is involved with several investments that tie the US to Latin America.
Val Babajov is a US-based serial angel investor and entrepreneur. He is the founder and managing partner of VoiVoda Ventures and the founder and president of SoftAvail, Inc. and an angel investor with Band of Angels, one of the original groups of angel investors in Silicon Valley.
Carl Icahn is a high profile American business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is listed as number 27 on Forbes’ ‘World’s Billionaires’ list (2017)
More Countries from the Americas
The United States is the leading global military power and a formidable force politically, culturally and academically. US economy is fueled by natural resources and a high level of productivity.
Mexico is the 15th largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world and is known as one of the emerging countries most open to FDI. Mexico is the 11th largest economy in the world and has an exceptionally skilled and highly stable labor force.
Brazil is active in several industries including mining, agriculture, services and manufacturing and has been expanding its presence in the global commodities markets. Brazil is one of the major exporting countries in the world with major exports including electrical goods, coffee, orange juice, soya beans, corned beef, aircraft, footwear, textile items, iron and steel.
Argentina’s emerging markets are growing and as overall market conditions are improving, the sovereign risk is falling. Impact investment, which was vehemently opposed by the previous government, is being embraced, and conditions favourable to these investments are being fashioned. I