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New Conference Board Economic Indicator

The Conference Board's newly launched Composite Leading Index shows that the Canadian economy will grow in the first half of 2014 — but only modestly. The Index rose 0.3 per cent in December matching the gains made in both October and November. This trend signifies that the economy is growing, but Canadian growth will not pick up the pace until later in the year. The Composite Leading Index sums up the performance of ten components that track the short-term course of the economy.


The Falling Loonie

The biggest economic story of the new year has been the fall of the Canadian dollar. The Conference Board's assessment is that the drop in the dollar, if sustained, would have a small positive impact on economic growth in the short term. Some exporters may stand to benefit, but a declining loonie will also hit all Canadians in the pocketbook. More important than the value of the loonie is the signal it sends about the Canadian economy.

Taxis: That other supply management system

Shopping for milk and hailing a cab are two everyday activities that do not seem to have much in common. Yet, they are more alike than they appear at first glance. Dairy products are managed by a complicated system under which the amount to be produced is predetermined. Taxis are organized much the same way. Taxicab service remains tightly controlled even during times of high demand, such as the holiday season.

Why a Canadian Food Strategy?

Food impacts our lives, our health, our jobs, and our economy. Since 2010, the Conference Board's Centre for Food in Canada has been bringing together stakeholders from different sectors to create a Canadian Food Strategy—one that will meet the country's need for a coordinated, long-term strategy on industry prosperity, healthy and safe food, household food security, and environmental sustainability. The strategy will be launched at the 3rd Canadian Food Summit 2014: From Strategy to Action on March 18–19 in Toronto.

Measuring and Managing Innovation

It is perhaps the worst-kept economic secret in the country. Canada does not take advantage of its innovation capabilities, and that is impeding its growth potential. Canadian firms can use metrics to improve their innovation activities and competitiveness. However, almost 40 per cent of Canadian companies don't measure the success of their innovation activities at all. Of those firms that do, most use the kinds of measures that don't actually link well to their organizations' bottom-line results.

Conference Board of Canada One of the National Capital Region's Top Employers

The Conference Board of Canada is proud to announce that it has again been recognized as one of the National Capital Region's Top Employers for 2014. This marks the fifth time in seven years that the Conference Board has been named to the list of top employers in the Ottawa region. A key to our success is our ability to attract and retain outstanding talent, and this recognition only strengthens our position as an employer of choice.

CBoC Highlights

Photo of the Hon. Jason T. Kenney Photo of Vijay Gill

Satyamoorthy Kabilan, Director, National Security and Strategic Foresight, delivered a presentation on security and intelligence at the Canadian International Council dinner that aired on CPAC on January 18.

Pedro Antunes, Director, National and Provincial Forecast, discussed Canada's December job losses and the economy on CBC's Power & Politics on January 10.

In This Issue

  • New Conference Board Economic Indicator
  • The Falling Loonie
  • Taxis: That other supply management system
  • Why a Canadian Food Strategy?
  • Measuring and Managing Innovation
  • Conference Board of Canada One of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers

Previous Issues


Leaders’ Guide to Safety Culture: Five actions you can take to improve
Oct 29 at 2:00 PM

Leveraging Patient Outcomes and Big Data to Personalize Medical Cannabis
Nov 05 at 12:30 PM

The 2019 Western Canadian Metro Areas Outlook: Economic Uncertainty Abounds
Nov 05 at 2:00 PM

Latest Blogs

Could the Toronto Van Attack Be Leveraged to Create a National Security Concern?

Apr 26, 2018
Satyamoorthy Kabilan
National Security and Strategic Foresight

On April 23, a van jumped the curb at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in Toronto, plowing into pedestrians, resulting in the deaths of 10 people and over a dozen injured. The widely lauded actions of a Toronto police officer culminated in the arrest of the van driver without a single shot being fired. The suspect has now been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and multiple counts of attempted murder, but the motivation for the attack is still unclear. A potential connection to a misogynistic group known as “incel” has emerged through a Facebook posting made by the suspect. Based on current evidence, there does not seem to be a national security connection to this incident. However, it is possible for incidents like this to be leveraged and used by others, including nation states, to generate societal friction and amplify divisions, thereby constituting a potential national security threat.

When a major incident occurs, social media comes to the fore, with postings across multiple platforms sharing information, articles, and opinions. One of the disturbing aspects of this particular incident is the speed at which conspiracy theories, particularly those involving anti-Muslim and anti-immigration sentiments, were shared on platforms like Twitter. These opinions were being shared and distributed well before any facts about the attack had been established. This is a not a new phenomenon and occurs on the back of almost every major mass casualty incident globally.

I regularly examine some of these postings, many of which are shared as comments on the back of major statements, usually by leaders or senior officials. When you dive into some of the accounts used to make these outrageous comments, you’ll find that a good number are new, have few followers, have specific grammatical inconsistencies, and only re-post or share material that supports their viewpoint. These are among the indicators that the accounts may have been created specifically to disseminate “fake news” and mis/disinformation—a tactic that has been employed by some nations like Russia.

In May 2017, The Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for National Security (CNS) held a closed-door event on new technology threats to national security. During that session, we explored the use of “fake news” by nation states to tap into emotional reactions, driving schisms between groups based on reactions to what they post on social media. While there is plenty of debate about the potential impact of these tactics, there is a growing recognition that they could significantly impact democratic processes, by discrediting candidates or polarizing an electorate, for example. Some of these issues were highlighted in a recent Communications Security Establishment report.

The spread of misinformation and disinformation is not limited to social media. Traditional media has also been leveraged to help drive and reinforce these narratives. Russia has been accused of supporting traditional media outlets for this purpose, with the coverage of the Skripal poisoning in the U.K. a prime example of how this works. On the back of the Toronto incident, I was approached for comment by one of these networks—not the first time—trying to get me to support their viewpoints and narrative. Of course, I refused.

For me, this paints a picture of a state actor that is attempting to leverage major incidents in Canada to drive their own narrative, potentially creating and supporting schisms within Canadian society. The challenge that this brings was highlighted recently in a Canadian Security and Intelligence Service publication on the security challenges of modern disinformation. While the Toronto van attack itself is not currently deemed to be a national security incident, how others use the incident to distribute and embed false narratives may well create a larger, secondary national security threat. As devastating as this attack is, we may be dealing with a more nefarious problem—one that is leveraging these incidents as a platform to attack Canadian society.

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