Canada - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-08-20

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, governmental, and consumer sectors.

Canada is the world’s fifth largest aerospace market with US$24 billion in 2019 supporting 213,000 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 number two export destination for U.S. farm and food products, however Canada is the largest destination for U.S. exports of high-value agricultural products, such as 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, FCA, Toyota, and Honda. In addition to auto sales, the automotive aftermarket annual retail value is estimated by the industry at over US$19 billion.

The Canadian defense industry is valued at approximately US$2.39 billion, supporting 27,000 direct jobs, and contributing close to US$4.9 billion to Canada’s GDP. The Department of National Defence’s (DND) main budget estimates for the year 2021-22 is US$19.3 billion, with US$4.5 billion allocated under capital equipment spending.

Canada is one of the leading countries globally utilizing renewable energy: hydro, wind, solar, biomass, along with significant developments in geothermal and marine energy. Renewable energy represented approximately 66% of total electricity generation in 20120. Canada ranks as the United States’ second leading renewable energy market, after Mexico.

Canada’s technology sector has grown twice as fast as the rest of the economy in the last decade and now makes up 5% of Canada’s entire GDP. The Canadian ICT sector is highly trade dependent, importing US$33.7 billion in goods and exporting US$10 billion around the world in 2020. 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$139B 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$76B, have been approved for communities across the country.

In consumer product sectors, Canada’s wide ethnic diversity and high level of consumer disposable income provide broad food and consumer goods selling opportunities. Bridging all the country’s industrial, governmental, and consumer buying channels is eCommerce, a large opportunity for U.S. exporters who seek to access the Canadian market. 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.