On a number of fronts, Canadian CEOs appear quite positive about the role of government and regulation - far more so than their global counterparts.
Here in Canada, for example, 81% of CEOs believe the government has been effective at ensuring financial sector stability and access to affordable capital. By contrast, just 46% of CEOs globally believe their government has been effective in this regard. No doubt Canada’s performance through the recent economic crisis is partly responsible for this positive view.
Somewhat of a surprise, however, was the relatively positive view of Canadian CEOs on regulatory efforts by the government. 81% of Canadian CEOs, compared to 51% globally, believe regulation has improved their production and/or service delivery quality standards, while over 60% (compared to 35% globally) feel regulation has helped them pursue market opportunities. This suggests government regulatory efforts have had real, positive impact on Canadian companies.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant challenges when it comes to government priorities and regulation. From a government priorities perspective, only 19% of Canadian CEOs believe the government has been effective at creating jobs for young people (16-24 years olds). This is very concerning, given the high importance CEOs place on developing a skilled workforce.
On the regulatory side, 69% of Canadian CEOs say that their operating costs have increased, while 52% say it’s been harder to find and attract talent, and 46% say they weren’t able to innovate effectively as a result of innovation.
So while regulations have their place and can have a positive impact on companies, it is very important for governments to consider the balance between the desired objective and the relative cost to Canadian organizations. Canadian CEOs suggested there is a lot governments could do to improve the regulatory environment, including making sure regulations are clear and designed for the long term, and focusing on outcomes rather than process.