May 19, 2020

City Focus: Halifax

Nova Scotia
Laura Mullan
4 min
City Focus: Halifax

Home to a bustling waterfront, historic heritage buildings as well as a thriving arts, cultural and culinary scene, Halifax is by all means a capital on the rise. In the early days, the maritime city made its mark on the world as an Atlantic trading hub and it has delighted visitors with its unique charm ever since. American travel website TripAdvisor seems to agree; in its 2018 Travelers' Choice Awards, Halifax was named as one of the Top 10 global destinations on the rise. Yet, whilst the Nova Scotian capital is set to become a promising travel destination, that’s not all it has to offer. With local businesses leading the way in areas such as marine defence, fisheries and data analytics, Halifax has also proved to be a burgeoning business hub. Halifax has reams to offer businesses that are looking to get a foothold in the Canadian market with its strategic geographic location meaning the city is near both the European and US markets; it boasts a highly skilled and educated workforce; and on top of this, businesses can be sure of competitive business costs and generous R&D tax incentives. To find out more, Business Chief examines three of the city’s most prosperous industries to dig deeper into Canada’s so-called ‘Ocean City’.

Mastering the oceans

Not only has Nova Scotia’s coastline been shaped by the ocean, it’s people and businesses have too. Nova Scotia Business Inc. says that a massive one-in-five jobs in the province are connected to the ocean, with the ocean industry employing almost 35,000 local people. As well as this, Nova Scotia also boasts one of the highest concentrations of ocean-related PhDs in the world. The ocean economy is a vital one for the region: it provides a key source of food, energy, minerals, health, leisure and transport which hundreds of millions of people depend upon. It also carries financial heft too: including spin-offs, ocean-related industries generate approximately $4.5bn or 12.2% of Nova Scotia’s GDP. With this ocean clout in mind, it’s no wonder that Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada were chosen as the epicenter of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster - a federally supported initiative that aims to nurture ocean start-ups.

Lots of notable ocean companies call Halifax home but the city’s aptitude is perhaps best encapsulated by the Port of Halifax, a major economic driver for both the city and the province. Indeed, the latest economic impact report produced by Chris Lowe Planning and Management Group, found that the Port of Halifax’s operations provides almost $2bn in economic output every year. Speaking to the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT), Karen Oldfield, President and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority said that this “reflects the incredible hard work and dedication of the many organizations that make up the Port of Halifax.”


A mecca for seafood lovers

Nova Scotia is often touted as Canada’s top seafood export leader. In 2018, the region recorded more than $2bn in exports to over 75 countries. From Atlantic halibut to herring or tuna, the region is home to 178 processing companies that offer access to more than 50 species of high-quality fish and seafood. Leading seafood exporters in Halifax include Biscay Seafoods Canada, Breakers Fish Co., Fisherman’s Market International Incorporated and Merex Incorporated.

A digitally-savvy capital

Like many cities across the globe, Halifax has worked hard to keep up with the blistering pace of innovation and is now reaping the benefits. Indeed, some of the biggest titans in the technology space are based in Halifax, including IBM, Capgemini, CGI, Citco and DHX Media. “Halifax is simply a great place to establish a business. Building a business here makes sense,” Cal Gosse, Senior Location Executive of IBM Canada told Halifax Partnership. Jay MacIsaac, Senior VP, Atlantic Canada for CGI, also attested to the region’s IT prowess. Speaking to Halifax Partnership he said: “For CGI, Nova Scotia has proven to be a very sound decision regarding the location of our Atlantic Global Delivery Centre, serving the business needs of our clients from around the world.” But why have these technology powerhouses found Halifax to be such an inviting location? It may be partially due to the regions highly educated workforce: Nova Scotia’s universities have 22% more students enrolled, per capita, in ICT related field than the Canadian average and more than two-thirds of Halifax’s working age population has a trade, college, or university designation. On the other hand, it may also be due to the city’s competitive costs: Halifax has the 6th lowest operating cost for digital industries among competing jurisdictions. Elsewhere, businesses may be wooed by Canada’s compatible data laws: the country’s data privacy laws are compliant with Europe’s meaning international companies can easily store data securely in North America. With all this in mind, Halifax is quickly proving to be the perfect location for any global technology operation.

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Jun 10, 2021

G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve

3 min
Business Chief delves into what the G7 is and represents and what its 2021 summit hopes to achieve

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration. 


Who are the G7?

The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like. 

The merry band comprises:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.


Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda. 


When was the ‘G’ formed?

Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s. 


Why does the G7 exist?

At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted. 


The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability. 


It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations. 


Where is the 2021 G7 summit?

This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall. 

What will be discussed this year? 

After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”


The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values. 


According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.” 


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