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Navigating the 2020s

How Canada can thrive in a decade of change

Greener, Greyer, Smarter, Slower

The 2010s was a decade of recovery and restructuring. Post-crisis, the global economy struggled to generate sustained growth, while the emergence of new technologies—cloud computing, smart phones, artificial intelligence—began to disrupt every sector. The 2020s could see equally profound change, as those economic and technological trends collide with the growing forces of climate change and demographic disruption.

By 2030, Canada’s economy could look significantly different. A country whose economic identity has long been bound to natural resource extraction will accelerate its transformation into a services economy. Aging will present challenges to governments facing rising healthcare costs and a big tab for elderly benefits. For cities and for builders, we may need a rethink of housing policies—and indeed how we develop cities and towns—to ensure the growing inter-generational tensions over housing affordability are resolved.

That won’t be easy in a world that may not see robust global growth any time soon. The slowing down of major economies—notably the US, Europe and China—will continue to test monetary authorities and lead governments to apply fiscal levers.

The challenges appear daunting, but Canada has a number of strengths to apply, led by an educated, immigrant-rich and diverse population. Keeping our doors open to the world’s best and brightest, diversifying our trading partners, and reducing internal barriers to trade will be essential steps to maintaining and potentially boosting our standard of living in the 2020s. So will policies—enhancing education and skills training—to help our human capital innovate and thrive. And we’ll need to keep working on closing wage gaps—for women and for immigrants—if we are to fully realize our collective potential.

Our latest report, Navigating the 2020s, explores some of the challenges ahead, as well as opportunities for Canada to thrive in a decade of change, when ideas and ambition will matter more than ever.

-RBC Economics 


Navigating the 2020s

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