Canada - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

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

Last published date: 2020-08-03

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 $22.4 billion in revenues in 2017 supporting 190,000 jobs. Canada ranks first worldwide for civil flight simulator production, third in civil aircraft production and third in civil engine production. Montréal is the world’s third largest aerospace hub after Seattle, Washington and Toulouse, France. 
Canada is the number one export destination for U.S. farm and food products. Last year, the U.S. was the top supplier of agricultural products to Canada, with a 58% share of the country’s agricultural import market. More than 75% of U.S. exports were high-value, consumer-oriented products, including prepared foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Canada is the second largest automotive market in North America, highly integrated with the U.S. and Mexico through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Imports represent approximately three quarters of the 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. 
In 2019, Canada was the 14th largest military spender worldwide. Within NATO, Canada contributed an estimated US$22,485 billion, accounting for an estimated 1.31% of Canada’s GDP.  Total exports of U.S. defense products to Canada increased from US$638 million in 2018 to US$679 million in 2019.

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 65% of total electricity generation in 2019. Canada ranks as the United States’ second leading renewable energy market, after Mexico. 
Canada’s technology sector is a major economic driver and is outperforming much of the rest of the country’s economy. In 2018, the sector grew by 3.7%. The Canadian ICT sector is highly trade dependent, importing US$41 billion in goods and exporting US$13.8 billion around the world in 2019. 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-2019, over 48,000 projects, with combined investments of over US$32B, 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, Canadian SMEs are shifting rapidly to the Internet for business purchases with approximately 34% of office supplies online.

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.