MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — More than half of Canadians believe the opening of borders and the shrinking of the world into a global village has positively supported the Canadian economy, according to a recent UPS study. In addition, the study found that more than half of respondents believe Canada has reciprocated by being a major contributor to the global market.
The study, commissioned by UPS but conducted by Angus Reid Strategies, shows two-thirds of Canadians believe the fast-paced communication, open borders and international cooperation associated with globalization have been of benefit to the Canadian economy, while only one quarter disagree and 17% remain unsure.
The numbers are supported by additional data showing 55% of Canadians believe Canada is a major contributor to the global economy.
“It’s really encouraging to see Canadians taking a non-protectionist position when it comes to globalization, particularly with the recent influx of business competition from abroad,” says UPS president Mike Tierney. “However, our perspective on just how involved Canada is in the global economy is slightly exaggerated in that we think we’re doing a lot more than we do.”
According to the UPS-commissioned 2007 Canada Business Monitor, only 17% of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are currently engaged in global trade; a sharp contrast from the level of trade being conducted by emerging markets such as India and China. The study also showed 37% of Canadian SMBs believe they have enough business in Canada and therefore need not look abroad for growth opportunities.
“There seems to be a disparity between how Canadians see our role in global commerce and our actual level of activity,” notes Tierney. “Recent reports, such as those from the Conference Board of Canada, show Canadian entrepreneurs aren’t quite as keen as some of their international counterparts to engage in global trade, but this new study shows many Canadians don’t realize this.”
Prairie residents are the most likely to see Canada as having a major role in the global economy compared with Atlantic Canadians, who are the least likely to view Canada’s participation in global commerce as particularly active.
Interestingly, those with higher education were more likely to suggest Canada’s role in the global economy is minimal compared with those less educated.
Also, 39% of survey respondents identified Canada’s booming agriculture industry and 37% identified the energy sector as playing minor roles in the global economy. Meanwhile, almost one third of respondents believe Canada’s technology industry plays a significant role on a global scale.
The Angus Reid Strategies poll was conducted between Aug. 27 and 28. The study surveyed 1,012 people and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.