Business Climate Survey 2020

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BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY

FOR SWEDISH COMPANIES IN CANADA 2020

A report from Team Sweden in Canada


TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION......................................................................................... 2 SUMMARY.................................................................................................... 3 ABOUT THE SURVEY ................................................................................... 4 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK................................................................................ 5 THE MARKET................................................................................................ 10 HOW SWEDISH COMPANIES SUCCEED IN CANADA................................ 16 SUCCESS CASES......................................................................................... 19 ACTING SUSTAINABLY............................................................................... 22 CONTACT US............................................................................................... 26

Published by: Business Sweden in Canada, Swedish-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Embassy of Sweden in Canada. © Team Sweden in Canada 2020, all rights reserved. This study may not be reproduced either in part or in full without prior written consent of Team Sweden in Canada. Graphic design: Victoria Wikström, SCCC. Photos: Unsplash, (page 1, 6, 10, 14, 16, 22, 26).


INTRODUCTION

W

ELCOME TO 2020 EDITION OF THE BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY FOR CANADA. 30 Swedish subsidiaries participated in this survey and the objective of the report is to provide a better understanding of the overall business climate and the general market trends in Canada. We hope you will find the results informative, whether your company is considering entering the Canadian market or if you are already established in the country. The survey also provides important guidance and direction to Team Sweden in Canada in order to provide better support to Swedish companies with operations here. Swedish companies have a long history in Canada, with strong engagement, entrepreneurialism and innovative thinking. Some of these companies have been present in Canada for more than a hundred years, helping to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and contributing to the prosperity of the Canadian economy. Companies will find Canada to be a stable, growing and competitive international market, open to trade, foreign companies and products. In addition, interesting opportunities are provided under the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. Looking ahead, as we recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and get ready to seize new opportunities, we see significant Canadian resources focusing on innovation in areas such as renewable energy and clean technology, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and life sciences. These ambitions align well with Swedish expertise and create opportunities for companies to enter the Canadian market in many different sectors.

CHRISTINA KEIGHREN Acting Country Manager at Business Sweden in Canada

URBAN AHLIN Ambassador of Sweden to Canada, Embassy of Sweden in Ottawa

Finally, we would like to thank the companies who participated in this survey. We encourage anyone interested in the Canadian market to reach out to Team Sweden for more information and support.

MARIE LARSSON Executive Director, Swedish-Canadian Chamber of Commerce

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SUMMARY

The survey shows that the Canadian market offers excellent expansion opportunities for Swedish companies. Canada is a stable, growing and competitive international market, open to trade, foreign companies and products. Canada is recovering well from the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic with highly engaged federal and provincial government bodies. Below are the key takeaways from this year’s survey.

KEY TAKEAWAYS Despite a majority of companies anticipating losses in 2020 the Canadian market remains interesting for most companies with only

37%

57%

The Swedish brand in Canada remained strong with

73%

decreasing investments

When compared globally to over

20

other markets selected for a business climate survey Canada and Singapore scored the highest for their attractiveness levels

2020 | BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY – 4

of companies surveyed, plan to maintain or increase investments in Canada despite 83% of respondents anticipating COVID-19 to have a negative impact on their business near term.

73%

of companies using it in some form in their marketing and sales ●

of respondents had profitable year in 2 019 and only 7% responded as operating a net loss during the year

A low or very low perception of human rights abuses and corruption were reported by Swedish companies at

87% 83% and

respectively


ABOUT THE SURVEY

THE REPORT The companies that participated in the survey are Swedish subsidiaries or companies selling Swedish goods and/or services. The companies' size ranges from large multinational corporations to small and medium-sized companies and covers most market sectors and industries. The survey was distributed to country managers and employees in leading positions at ninety-seven pre-qualified companies in April 2020. Thirty responses were obtained. The report is divided into four chapters: Economic Outlook, Market Outlook, How Swedish Companies Succeed in Canada, and Acting Sustainably. This report is the second Business Climate Survey to be conducted in Canada. It will be used together with the 2018 report to track growth, prospects and evaluate the potential for conducting business in Canada. In 2018, 36 companies participated in the study. . This survey was conducted during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although great care was taken in preparing this report, it is important to point out that it reflects a snap-shot of time during a pandemic. This report may therefore be limited in its outlook and forecast. Many companies were reluctant to dedicate time to reply to the survey due to the fluid situation of the pandemic and the uncertainty it gave. As the Canadian market adjusts to the disruption of COVID-19, Team Sweden will continue to monitor the business environment.

SURVEY RESPONDENTS COMPANY INFORMATION IN PERCENTAGES:

Company Size

Industry

30 20

Small

33

46

50

Medium

16

Large

Professional Services

Consumer

Industrial

Company Age Newcomer

16

Experienced

26

Mature

56 01

02

03

04

05

06

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BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY 2020

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

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ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

PROFITABILITY IN 2019 Most Swedish companies in Canada had a profitable 2019 as anticipated from the 2018 Business Climate Survey. In the previous survey, 9 out of 10 companies believed that the business climate would improve or stay the same over the next three years. This prediction is reflective of the profitability experience by Swedish firms in 2019. Only 7% of respondents reported losses for 2019. This might reflect some new companies in Canada, who are rarely profitable in the first few years. This figure can be compared to the predictions of revenue and performance of Swedish companies in 2020 on the following page.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY’S FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE IN CANADA IN 2019?

About 40% of businesses reported that they anticipate their sales will fully recover by next year or that their sales were not negatively affected by the pandemic. Bank of Canada, July 8, 2020

Per cent 80

73

70 60 50 40 30 17

20 10

7

0 Loss

Break-even

GDP RECOVERY In step with the Canadian economy’s recession, 57% of Swedish companies anticipated a decrease in annual turnover. Despite the shrinking economy, 37% of Swedish companies anticipated continued growth over the next 12 months, which is a very positive outlook. It is possible that Swedish companies active in Canada are less affected than local companies due to the specific industrial sectors they belong to. The most negatively affected industries in Canada include travel, hospitality and consumer services; sectors not widely participated in by Swedish companies.

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ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

COMPARED TO THE DEVELOPMENT IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE COMING 12 MONTHS FOR YOUR INDUSTRY IN CANADA REGARDING TURNOVER? Per cent 57

60 50

37

40 30 20

Laurence Boone, Chief Economist, OECD

7

10 0 slightly

Remain unchanged

Increase slightly or

12 INVESTMENT PLAN – RISK AVERSION In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swedish companies are taking various approaches to their levels of investment in Canada. The largest group of respondents, at 37%, plan to decrease their investment levels, followed closely by 30% planning to make no changes, and 27% planning to increase investment. This indicates that despite showing a decrease in turnover, 57% of the respondents still plan to maintain or increase investments. The data collected in 2020 greatly contrasts the 2018 survey, where 71% of survey respondents planned to increase their investments and 29% planned to leave their investment levels unchanged over the next three years. If the Canadian market recovers as currently forecasted, we could see a reverse to previous levels of investments in 2018. WHAT ARE YOUR COMPANY’S INVESTMENT PLANS FOR THE COMING 12 MONTHS IN CANADA, COMPARED TO THE PAST 12 MONTHS?

Per cent 40

37

35

30

30

27

25 20 15 10 5 0 or slightly reduced

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By the end of 2021, the loss of [global household] income will exceed that of any previous recession over the last 100 years outside wartime, with dire and long-lasting consequences for people, firms and governments.

Unchanged

increased


POSITIVE SIGNS FOR CANADA ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY.

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BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY 2020

THE MARKET

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THE MARKET

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE IN WHAT YEAR DID YOUR COMPANY ESTABLISH OPERATIONS IN CANADA? Per cent 60

57

50 40 30 20

17

13 77

10 0 -2000

20 001-2005

2006-2010

20 011-2015

2016-

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

A 57% majority of respondents are mature companies that have been established in Canada for over 20 years. 17% of companies have only been in this market for four years or less. In the 2018 survey, 32% of respondents were from companies established after 2011. The 2020 study has a slightly larger number of mature companies. WHAT IS YOUR COMPANY’S MAIN INDUSTRY IN CANADA?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

Swedish companies in Canada operate in a broad spectrum of market sectors, ranging from the mining, automotive, and ICT industries to retail and consumer goods. A large number of responding companies stating that they belong to “other” industries highlights the diversity of the Swedish footprint in Canada. The largest cluster of Swedish companies in Canada work with industrial goods, serving the ICT sector or with technology equipment and engineering products. Those active in industries related to healthcare and consumer goods also account for a large share of responses.

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THE MARKET

The sizes of companies responding to the survey were mainly in the “Small” category. These results are similar to the 2018 survey and might be reflective of small subsidiaries reporting to centralized operational headquarters in Sweden or the United States. SWEDISH FIRMS’ LOCAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN CANADA IN 2020

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

MIXED BUSINESS CLIMATE The results of the 2020 report are starkly different from those of 2018. The 2018 report found 8 out of 10 companies were satisfied or very satisfied with doing business in Canada, a broad consensus that the climate was positive. The 2020 results show an almost even division of the perception of the current business climate between positive, neutral and negative. When reviewing the survey as a whole, one can largely attribute this shift to the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic recession in 2020. Companies completing the study in early 2020 were faced with a great deal of uncertainty in the market as the Canadian state rolled out regional shelter in place orders and economic programs to support the slumping economy. Our research suggests that as the Canadian economy recovers, the perception of the business climate overall will improve. HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE CURRENT BUSINESS CLIMATE IN CANADA?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

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THE MARKET

COVID-19 An underlying market disruption evident throughout this entire report is the impact of the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. A total of 83% of Swedish companies anticipated that their sales would be negatively affected in the short-term. Only two respondents of the thirty surveyed predicted an increase in sales as an impact of the coronavirus. WITH REGARDS TO THE RECENT SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS, WE ASK YOU TO ESTIMATE THE EFFECTS OF YOUR COMPANY. DO YOU SEE ANY IMPACT WITH REGARDS TO: SHORT-TERM IMPACT ON YOUR COMPANY’S SALES?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

Another area of business affected during the COVID-19 pandemic globally was supply chains and operations. A majority of Swedish companies, 53%, indicated that their operations had been affected. The remaining 37% felt no impact on their ability to provide products and offer services. WITH REGARDS TO THE RECENT SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS, WE ASK YOU TO ESTIMATE THE EFFECTS ON YOUR COMPANY. DO YOU SEE ANY IMPACT WITH REGARDS TO: SHORTTERM IMPACT ON YOUR COMPANY’S ABILITY TO PRODUCE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

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THE MARKET

POSITIVE CONDITIONS IN CANADA Every category polled for conditions in Canada was marked favourably by Swedish companies. This very positive response indicates the stability of the market and the overall favourable market conditions. Personal safety, which scored the highest, likely reflects Canada’s relatively low crime rates and regulated labour industry. Access to specialists and key personnel scored the most moderately and similarly matches challenges experienced by domestic companies in the market who desire more specialized talent. HOW WELL DO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS MEET THE NEEDS OF YOUR COMPANY IN CANADA?

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THE MARKET

TRADE AGREEMENTS Canada has recently completed important trade negotiations with the European Union – the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), and with the United States and Mexico - CUSMA . The CUSMA agreement has had a limited effect on Swedish companies. During a trade study conducted by Business Sweden in 2019, few companies were concerned about the negotiations. Only those with direct ties to the steel and aluminium industry were impacted by tariffs imposed on companies operating in Canada by the United States. HAS THE CHANGE FROM NAFTA TO USMCA AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS IN CANADA?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

The CETA agreement has been used as a model internationally for what future trade agreements could be based upon since its implementation in 2017. Nonetheless, Swedish companies active in Canada have only seen limited changes in their business. The most considerable effect of CETA was for the consumer goods industry. More time might be needed before consumers and companies alike see the macroeconomic effects of this trade agreement. HOW HAS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2017 CETA CANADA-EU FREE TRADE AGREEMENT AFFECTED YOUR COMPANY IN CANADA?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

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BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY 2020

HOW SWEDISH COMPANIES SUCCEED IN CANADA

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HOW SWEDISH COMPANIES SUCCEED IN CANADA

DIVERSIFIED OPERATIONS OF SWEDISH FIRMS A clear majority of the survey respondents state their Canadian operations focus on marketing and sales. The Swedish presence and activities are however diversified. The operations carried out by Swedish companies in Canada vary from manufacturing, research and development to software/ IT-services and sourcing. These results match the findings obtained in 2018 where 78% of companies stated their operations were focused on marketings and sales. OPERATIONS OF SWEDISH FIRMS IN THE MARKET:

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

COMPETITIVENESS - QUALITATIVE FACTORS The most important competitive differentiator for Swedish companies in Canada is the competence of its staff. Sales skills rank the highest, followed by relationships with partners and clients. These results match similar questions posed in the 2018 report and are mirrored by many domestic companies that focus on the human element of business in the service-oriented Canadian economy.

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HOW SWEDISH COMPANIES SUCCEED IN CANADA

TO DATE, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING AREAS HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT IN MAINTAINING COMPETITIVENESS IN CANADA?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

A POSITIVE SWEDISH BRAND 73% of the companies are identifying or branding their companies as being Swedish, which has a positive or very positive impact for the majority of the companies. This amount is slightly lower than the 86% response in 2018. One reason for a more moderate response could be the attention and sometimes negative publicity the Swedish government received from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. However, the difference in response is minimal enough to still indicate that the Swedish brand is healthy and beneficial for companies to use in Canada. TO WHAT EXTENT WOULD YOU ESTIMATE THAT THE “SWEDISH BRAND” CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR BUSINESS IN CANADA?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

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SUCCESS CASE | ERICSSON

FOR NEARLY 70 YEARS, ERICSSON HAS BEEN A TRUSTED PARTNER TO SERVICE PROVIDERS, INDUSTRY AND ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS IN CANADA.

E

RICSSON IS COMMITTED TO DRIVING THE COUNTRY’S DIGITAL AGENDA THROUGH INNOVATION AND TURNING-POINT TECHNOLOGIES such as 5G, IoT and AI. As part of its commitment to serving Canadian customers, connecting Canadians everywhere and ensuring digital inclusion for all, the company has invested over $4 billion in R&D in Canada and employs more than 2,400 people across the country. Ericsson also collaborates with more than 18 of the country’s top universities and colleges and is a part of Canada’s collaborative 5G platform, ENCQOR. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is a global leader in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and a prime driver of 5G innovation. Recognized for their sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives across the globe, Ericsson is committed to bringing positive change to Canada and the world.

We are committed to making 5G a reality in Canada and enabling the country to be at the forefront of innovation. Ericsson’s diverse, talented workforce, and strong investment in R&D are key to our efforts in enabling Canadians to stay connected, today and well into the future. Graham Osborne, President of Ericsson Canada

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SUCCESS CASE | HULTDINS

HULTDINS INC. IS THE NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS FOR HULTDIN SYSTEM AB.

H

ULTDINS IS THE INDUSTRY LEADER IN GRAPPLES and saw units for forest machines that use the Scandinavian environmentally friendly and sustainable “Cut to Length” forest harvesting methods. Hultdins Inc. is also the distributor for Indexator Rotator Systems AB, another world leading Swedish company.

Although the U.S. market has recently dropped off due to mill closures, Covid, the impending U.S. election, and other factors, our Canadian business activity is very strong. The Canadian forest industry and in particular the Eastern region has benefitted through expanded international export markets including Europe. Hultdins continues to expand its product line to serve other heavy equipment industries beyond our traditional forestry business. New grapple models will serve the construction and rail industries and ensure future growth through a more diversified customer base.

The long term outlook for our business is very positive in both the forest industry and our expansion into other heavy equipment industries. Gerry Mallory, General Manager

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SUCCESS CASE | TIELMANS

TIELMAN – A FAMILY COMPANY WITH A LONG HISTORY.

Andre LeBlanc, President Tielman North America

A

S A FAMILY OF DETERMINED ENTREPRENEURS, TIELMANS CAN’T BE KEPT DOWN! They trust their intuition and conviction that their particular concept is going to bear fruit. And it has! The company’s roots go all the way back to 1930 when Bertil Tielman founded what is now Tielman Sweden AB that has continuously grown into the now known, Tielman group.

Tielman North America was launched in the fall of 2013 and started its operations in Toronto with a staff of 2 in production. Since then, they have now expanded to a team just shy of 50 and their plans for the next 5 years is to double that! Tielman is manufacturers of baking cups, however, in the Toronto plant they specialize in what it’s called the tulip cup or muffin wrap. If you have ever bought a muffin at either Tom Hortons or McDonald’s in the last five years, the paper around the muffin is from Tielman! The core values of the company are to be authentic, flexible and inventive. These values also permeate the entire operation, as confirmed by loyal, highly skilled employees and long term customers.

During these unprecedented times, we found a slow down for a few weeks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but today we are happy to say that we are back to full production and have turned the curve. Andre LeBlanc, President Tielman North America

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BUSINESS CLIMATE SURVEY 2020

ACTING SUSTAINABLY

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ACTING SUSTAINABLY

CORRUPTION – CLEAR MESSAGE Swedish companies have a low level of perceived corruption in the Canadian market. These findings match other international perception rates, such as Transparency International’s 2019 index, which places the Canadian market in a confidence range of 80-89%. Canada, similarly to Sweden, has one of the lowest levels of perceived corruption globally. This similarity is one of the many contributing factors to why companies understand Canada’s business culture. TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU PERCEIVE THAT CORRUPTION IN CANADA AFFECTS YOUR BUSINESS?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

Although perfection does not exist, it is good to see Swedish companies recognize the good position of Canada in this respect. CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX 2019

SOURCE: Transparency International.

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ACTING SUSTAINABLY

LOW PERCEPTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES Like the anti-corruption index, the risk of encountering human rights violations is perceived to be very low in Canada. The reason the risk is so low is likely due to strong government institutions in Canada. Similarly to Sweden, Canada has had a long-standing perception of low human rights abuses. HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE RISK OF ENCOUNTERING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND/OR LABOUR RIGHTS ABUSES WHEN CONDUCTING BUSINESS IN CANADA? Per cent 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

87

0 Very small or small

NeutralH

3 lHigh or very high

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT Overall, Canadian consumers consider the environmental aspects of products and services according to 87% of Swedish companies. However, only 50% let this consideration influence their purchasing decision. Being more environmentally conscious is on the rise in Canada and is reflected in the political shift for Canada to meet the Paris Agreement goals by 2030. The Swedish brand of environmental consciousness likely influenced the Canadian market during a country tour by climate activist Greta Thunberg in October, 2019. IN YOUR VIEW, TO WHAT EXTENT DO CUSTOMERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY IN CANADA CONSIDER ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF A PRODUCT OR SERVICE IN THEIR PURCHASING DECISION?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

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ACTING SUSTAINABLY

CYBER SECURITY – HIGH CONFIDENCE Swedish companies in Canada are widely comfortable with their overall positions on cybersecurity. Canada’s adaptation of cyber infrastructure is rapidly evolving as more domestic companies adjust to new operations with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IN YOUR ORGANISATION’S OVERALL CYBERSECURITY POSITION?

NOTE: The number of respondents for this question was 30. “Don’t know/Not applicable” responses are included but not shown in the figure. SOURCE: Business Climate Survey for Swedish Companies in Canada 2020.

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CONTACT BUSINESS SWEDEN CANADA Business Sweden – Swedish Trade and Invest Council 2 Bloor Street West, Suite 2120 Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3E2 Canada toronto@business-sweden.se

SWEDISH-CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2 Bloor Street West, Suite 2120 Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3E2 Canada info@sccc.ca, sccc.ca

EMBASSY OF SWEDEN IN CANADA 377 Dalhousie St. Suite 305 Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 9N8 Canada sweden.ottawa@gov.se swedishembassy.ca