Canada - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
Last published date:

While U.S. exporters will find opportunities across best prospect sectors outlined in this guide, U.S. businesses are finding new business opportunities in several of Canada’s key industrial, government, and consumer sectors.

Canada is one of the world’s largest aerospace markets with US$17 billion in revenues in 2020 supporting 207,000 jobs. Canada ranks first worldwide for civil flight simulator production, fourth in civil aircraft production, and third in civil engine production. Montréal, Québec, is the world’s third largest aerospace hub after Seattle, Washington, and Toulouse, France.

Canada is the largest destination for U.S. exports of high-value agricultural products, with a 23% market share in 2021 and a value of US$18 billion. Consumer-oriented agricultural products are foods typically sold directly in supermarkets and used in restaurants. These high-value exports support over 130,000 jobs in the United States, and many of the suppliers are small and medium-sized businesses.

Canada is the second-largest automotive market in North America, highly integrated with the United States and Mexico through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Imports represent approximately three quarters of the new vehicles market. Most global vehicle manufacturers are present in Canada including five of them with local assembling lines: Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, and Honda. In addition to auto sales, the automotive aftermarket annual retail value was relatively stable in 2021 and is estimated by the industry at over US$19 billion.

The Canadian defense industry contributed close to US$7.12 billion in GDP and 78,000 jobs across Canada’s economy in 2020.  Of the economic contribution reported, US$5.26 billion is directly attributed to the defense industry and value chain. In general, the total economic contribution by the sector to Canada’s economy between 2018 and 2020 increased by close to US$1.7 billion in GDP and 13,900 jobs.

Canada is a global leader in utilization of renewable energy: hydro, wind, solar, and biomass, along with significant developments in geothermal and marine energy. Renewable energy represented approximately 66% of total electricity generation in 2021. Canada ranks as the United States’ second-leading renewable energy market — after China – and second-leading market for overall clean technology exports – after Canada. Learn more about opportunities exporting Clean Technology to Canada in the International Trade Administration’s Clean Tech Top Export Market Ranking.

Canada has a very strong homegrown technology sector that is expected to grow through 2025. The Canadian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is highly trade dependent, importing US$37.5 billion in goods and exporting US$17.7 billion around the world in 2021. The United States is the second-largest supplier of ICT goods to Canada.

Public-Private Partnership opportunities exist within Canada’s public infrastructure and government projects. In 2016, the Government of Canada unveiled the Investing in Canada Plan to invest over US$139 billion in key infrastructure sectors through 2028. This plan is underway and investments in infrastructure projects are expected to support the growth of Canada’s construction industry. As of mid-2021, over 73,000 projects, with combined investments of over US$76 billion, have been approved for communities across the country.

To support these strong sector opportunities, Canada also presents a leading opportunity for U.S.-based consulting firms. Its proximity to the United States, English language operations (with a few exceptions), cultural similarities, and familiarity with U.S. companies enhance the attractiveness of U.S. consulting firms to Canadian clients. Dig deeper into the consulting services market in Canada in our Consulting Services Top Export Market Ranking.

In consumer product sectors, Canada’s wide ethnic diversity and high level of consumer disposable income provide broad food and consumer goods selling opportunities. eCommerce represents a large opportunity for U.S. exporters seeking access to the Canadian market across all the country’s industrial, government, and consumer buying channels. For example, in 2021 there were over 27 million eCommerce users in Canada, and it is estimated that retail eCommerce sales will total US$40.3 billion by 2025.

Mechanisms for facilitating trade at the U.S.–Canada border include pre-inspections and associated technological advances that streamline regulatory processing, making “just-in-time” delivery of goods and services more efficient and strengthening cross-border supply chains. This provides enhanced opportunities for U.S. firms seeking to enter the Canadian aerospace and automotive sector supply chains.