Minister-led Roundtable: Trade Corridors to Global Markets (1st Session) - Table Setter


May 24, 2016, 9:30AM to 11:30AM | Toronto, ON

Table Setter

Discussion Purpose

To hear perspectives on the longer-term agenda for transportation in Canada that supports the Government's objectives for economic growth, a cleaner economy, and a country that remains well-positioned to compete globally.

Roundtable Objectives

Gain insight into priorities for infrastructure investments aimed at increasing inclusive economic growth by addressing inefficiencies or bottlenecks in trade-related transportation systems to connect Canadian industries with global markets.

Consider whether new partnerships or mechanisms are required to strengthen engagement with public and private sector stakeholders in order to identify and prioritize critical needs in Canada's trade corridors.

Consider what information and data requirements are needed by governments, industry and other stakeholders to inform investment decisions and track performance of national supply chains.

Discuss key policy and regulatory issues that will impact the efficiency, sustainability and use of Canada's strategic gateways and trade corridors (e.g., the application of new technologies, innovation, skills and labour supply, marketing, outreach and engagement).

Ultimately, the roundtable is geared toward discussing what is required to build on the success of Canada's strategic gateways and trade corridors, and how best to align and coordinate partner investments and activities in a way that provides incremental economic benefit for all Canadians.


  • Shifting trade and production patterns highlight the importance of efficient and adaptable transportation corridors to access global markets.
  • Forecast growth and demographics in emerging markets over the long term are expected to lead to increased demand for key commodities.
  • Supply chain competitiveness remains key to attracting investment, by influencing investor decision-making on where to set up production and distribution facilities and which markets to target. Countries around the world are recognizing the importance of transportation system performance to securing trade partnerships and performance. Both efficiency and reliability are crucial.
  • Individual transportation modes perform well, but issues persist in the intermodal context (e.g., pressures at ports where marine vessels, terminals, railways, and trucks intersect).
  • Pressures to control costs and maximize capacity utilization are growing. Buffers that were previously available in transportation systems are being reduced as industry seeks new sources of productivity improvements and economies of scale. This places a greater premium on well-synchronized hand-offs between transportation modes and logistics activities.
  • Heightened public awareness and scrutiny of the social, environmental, and safety and security impacts of transportation developments/projects reinforce the importance of early and strong engagement with implicated parties – from Indigenous groups, to provinces, territories, and municipalities, to citizens – in transportation planning. Similarly, supply chain partners expect access, engagement and consultation with the responsible government jurisdictions on major policy and regulatory issues affecting their performance.

Defining Objectives for the Future

A successful strategy for the future will be based on effective partnerships among the public, private and academic sectors. It will foster the development of a transportation system that can adapt quickly to changing domestic and global market conditions and that will make the best use of all modes of transportation at the lowest total cost. Setting achievable short, medium and long-term goals must be based on evidence-based priority setting.

Key Index Question

How do we maximize the economic value of Canada's key trade corridors and global supply chain to reap full benefit from trade opportunities in global markets?

Roundtable Discussion Questions

  1. What are the key strategic priorities for transportation infrastructure and policy in Canada to enable efficient and reliable connections to global markets?
  2. How can the Government of Canada best engage with our partners and stakeholders to develop a national outlook on trade-related transportation infrastructure priorities?
  3. What is your view of the partnership model that was used over the past decade to support multimodal transportation infrastructure and policy investments? How can this approach be improved? Is a new model required?
  4. What kind of information and data on transportation is needed to provide a good evidence base that will allow for analysis to inform investments in trade-related transportation infrastructure?