Responding to disruptive times: the view from Canada

Ahead of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) annual conference, Relocate Global caught up with CERC president, Stephen Cryne, to get his take on today’s disruption and what it means for global mobility.

Montreal's observation wheel at night
Relocate Global (RG): With the America First rhetoric to the south and Brexit to the east, Canada is arguably caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place as free trade agreements come under pressure. What impact are global trade policy changes eg US renegotiation of regional trade agreements, Brexit and the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), currently having on companies, GM teams and individuals?Stephen Cryne (SC): “As we are seeing, global trade is under attack. This is creating high levels of uncertainty in the business community. This is particularly the case in North America, where many firms are delaying investment decisions in Canada pending the outcome of the NAFTA discussions. “At both a GM team and personal level, the growing opposition to trade is making mobility more complex. Border crossings are getting thicker as a consequence, and companies need to make sure their personnel are well prepared and have the necessary documentation to enter into another territory.  “On a positive note, we remain optimistic that NAFTA will continue, and Canadian and US professionals will have clearance to work in either country. We are also optimistic that the CETA agreement will open more trade and therefore mobility between Canada and the EU. “With regard to Brexit, it remains unclear where this will end up. Canada and the UK have a strong relationship, and I think that regardless of the outcome, trade and mobility will grow between us.   RG: Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was elected with a promise to improve the country's immigration system. As Relocate reported last November, this has seen the government introduce a three-year plan to extend immigration, including a measure to increase the age of dependency to 22. What effect is this having on Canada’s economy?SC: “The immigration changes implemented over the past two years have had a positive overall impact. “Combined with the Express Entry system businesses have a number of options available to them in order to access international talent. This more open approach makes Canada a destination of choice.”RG: As well as keeping pace with demographic change, legislative and geopolitical uncertainty, global mobility and international HR experts are also having to negotiate a fast-changing environment and fast-evolving technology. What are the key issues up for discussion at CERC’s annual conference? SC: “Our theme – Mastering Mobility in a World of Disruption – will examine how our world is being reshaped, and highlight the need to rethink mobility management and strategies to more effectively deal with this new era of change. “Part of this disruption is how we connect and how we collaborate – critically important to getting the right talent, into the right place, at the right time. “In today’s world, we’re moving from hierarchical top down driven models to peer-to-peer networks that deliver innovative approaches and solutions.“These networks equip partners to dramatically expand the scope and substance of their relationships, opening up new forms of collaboration and leaving those who continue to follow practices of the past at an increasing disadvantage.“Businesses need to understand how our workplaces must adapt to these new realities in order to continue to attract, retain and develop top talent in a world of disruption. In a world driven by knowledge workers and talent, competitive advantage flows to the businesses that see and act on those shifts first.“The conference covers topics ranging from emergency preparedness, immigration, global compensation, modern families, cultural competency to data analytics and technology.”For related news and features, visit our mobility industry pages. 
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