Some risks are always top of mind. Others are evolving over time. In this report, we explore the Top 10 economic, social and political risks Canadian businesses face.



Global protectionism

1. Global protectionism

In recent years, as economic anxieties have grown, there’s been a distinct shift toward populism. This movement reached a new level in 2016, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU), followed soon thereafter by the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

Fortress America

2. Fortress America

While global protectionism and the potential for broader changes to the global-trading system are massive concerns, the primary international focus for many Canadian companies is our neighbour to the south.



Global recession

3. Global recession

It’s almost been a decade since the last global recession tore through company balance sheets and sent employment spiralling downward. In the years since the end of that downturn, the global economy has slowly expanded, lessening the chance of an imminent economic correction.


4. Brexit

Britain is scheduled to formally leave the 28-country European Union in March 2019. How the U.K. relates to the EU will depend on the results of the exit negotiations and how much can be preserved of the existing trade relationship. 



U.S. isolationism

5. U.S. isolationism

It has become increasingly evident that though the U.S. perch as the world’s superpower was already changing, the current administration has itself sped up that move by seeking to reduce its international commitments. 

Sovereign emerging-market defaults

6. Sovereign emerging market defaults

After the era of quantitative easing following the Great Recession, the world is on the cusp of a reversal, as central banks begin withdrawing all the extra cash they pushed out into the world.



China’s credit/financial crisis

7. China’s credit/financial crisis

China’s aims for strong economic growth have been a key feature in the country’s policy plans for decades. Goals set out in 2010, for example, included the elimination of extreme poverty and doubling the size of the Chinese economy before 2020.

Cyber-attack against Canada

8. Cyber-attack against Canada

The threat posed by cyber-attacks is increasing due to their growing sophistication and the shortage of professionals in the cybersecurity field. 



Inter-state war

9. Inter-state war

Although inter-state wars today seem like a relic of past times, the probability of one occurring is growing. At the geopolitical level, the decision by the U.S. to withdraw from its role as global policeman is opening the potential for challengers to the current system. 

EU fragmentation

10. EU fragmentation

Fuelled by strengthening populism, which has ushered in U.S. isolationism and Brexit, the EU is facing a pivotal juncture as traditional heavyweights are mired in an array of other distractions.

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