to Canadian International
Business Management
updated 2015 May 11 2008 Oct 27th, Prof. Richardson created a 9 minute video which summarizes the main points of this webpage. 

Students are encouraged to view the video first, then scroll down the webpage to read the summary in more detail.

All Business is International Business

The reason we say that "All Business" is "Int'l Business" is that we mean all business, even domestic companies that do not directly exporting or import, are effected by international circumstances which can positively and negatively effect their business performance.
is International Business


We can find many examples of "All Business" is "Int'l Business"  but for the sake of humour & hunger, we will use the example of Harvey's Hamburgers - a Canadian hamburger chain that was founded the same year as when the professor of this course was born.
Harveys is part of a corporate group that is owned by Cara Operations Ltd.

Cara also owns Swiss Chalet, Second Cup, Kelsey's, Montana's, Milestones and Outback Steakhouses

When Cara held its AGM July 24th, 2003 it noted that profit dropped 50%. One of Cara's biggest business is supplying the in-flight meals of Air Canada. The airline industry, worldwide, has been very bad since Sept 11 and was also effected by SARS in mid-2003. Add to this the American ban on Canadian beef because of the "one case" of mad cow disease in Alberta, and these factors all have effected Cara's seven restaurant chains.
is International Business


As reported in The Toronto Star
"sales at Harvey's fared badly as the fast-food burger concept coped with the mad cow scare and increased  competitive pressures. System sales fell 4.2 per cent to $62 million, while same restaurant sales fell 3.4 per cent. Six  restaurants closed in the quarter. The company ended the quarter with 339 Harvey's."
. What can you do to help this great Canadian company? - before coming to class, go to Harveys - or, better yet, bring Harveys to class and share ;-).


An important part of a course on international business management is looking at "what is" international business for Canadians

Canada's major international export products/commodities
   o forest products
           o dimension lumber (2x4, 2x6 etc.)
           o wood pulp for making newsprint and cardboard
           o paper in giant rolls for cutting and processing
           o processed wood, like plywood, fiberboard, mouldings, shingles, etc.
   o grains and oilseeds (wheat, canola) click on the screen capture to view a short clip, posted to YouTube, made by Prof. Richardson about the state of farming in Canada in fall 2008

   o marine products (frozen fish, roe, crustaceans)
   o mining and minerals
           o ore and ore concentrates
           o coal (metallurgical and thermal)
           o processed metal products (sheets of aluminium, steel. copper)
           o precious metals such as gold and silver
           o potash
   o agricultural products (cheese, beef, maple syrup, etc.)
   o automobiles, automotive parts
           o GM from Oshawa
           o Ford from Oakville
           o Honda in Alliston
           o Toyota in Cambridge

Canada's major international import products/commodities
   o consumer products (VCR's, computers, cell phones)
   o processed food products
   o automobiles, automotive parts
   o clothing
           o Canada used to have a strong garment industry in Quebec
                   but competition from Asia shut that down in the late 1990's

Now that we know have a bit of a short intro to "what is" international business, let us keep in mind the title of this course, it is "International Business Management" - meaning understanding management (or, being the boss of other people) in the context of international business.

International Business Management requires us to not only have a grounding in what the key sectors are, but we must also know some of the players.

So, Who is big business in Canada? - Do you really know the company names?
If you wanted to get a good job in "international business" in Canada, do you know the playaz ?


The reason we discuss these big companies, in the first class, is because this list gives some indication of just how big, or small we are in the total world community of international business - which may help us appreciate the competitiveness of our various industries and companies within those sectors. It is also interesting to look at how some Canadian companies rose, or fell as a consequence of the influencing environments (competition, technology, economics, social-cultural etc.)
The biggest areas of Canadian International Business 
re: Physical and Environmental Forces
In order for you, as a Canadian student of International Business, to be successful in finding a job in international business in Canada, it is very helpful for you to have an appreciation for what types of business most large and medium sized Canadian companies are involved in. The geographical size of Canada, and the "gifts" of our natural resources means that Canadians companies are doing international business on a large scale, are mostly involved in the following
  • Forest products
  • Grain exports
  • Marine and Fish products
  • Mining
Key Points  It is important to acknowledge, and understand the effect of the environmental forces on international business because business does not happen in a vacuum - there is always things - which you can do nothing about - which will effect your success or failure. Being aware of these environments, and dealing with them, will allow you to survive and thrive.


. There are a number of Physical and Environmental Forces influencing and effecting Int'l business in Canada.
  • geographical size and east-west spread of Canada
  • topographical and climatic challenges
  • the "gifts" of our natural resources
Physical and Environmental Forces influencing and effecting Int'l business in Canada? Geographical size and east-west spread of Canada
Physical and Environmental Forces influencing and effecting Int'l business in Canada? Topographical, "Latitude" and climatic challenges
    • many areas of Canada not suitable to living all year round
    • weather effects growing seasons for food
    • cost of food effects health and lifestyles
    • mountains act as barriers to transportation, communication, and limit habitable land space
    • global warming DOES NOT necessarily mean we will be able to farm farther north
Physical and Environmental Forces influencing and effecting Int'l business in Canada? The "gifts" of our land based and ocean based natural resources
    • endowed us with timber for logging, lumber, paper
    • from 

    • rich soil for agriculture - but limited to a small %'age of the country


    • coastline for fishing many species of marine life
    • minerals to mine, gold, silver, coal, copper, nickel, uranium, etc.
permission to link to  "Atlas of Canada" online  communicated 2008 Sept 02 from Research Geographer Peter Morton, Natural Resources Canada, copies of emails kept in the Permission Binder
. There is a difference between what exists as Canada's leading sectors of international business, and what the government wants to promote as Canada's sectors.

To the left is a screen capture (Sept 2008) from the Canadian federal government website which is a portal to general info about doing business in/with Canada. It is interesting to note that some of the "Sectors" the government is promoting are not necessarily the ones in which we are actual world leaders.

The sectors listed by the government in Sept 2008 are
 o Aerospace
 o Agri-food
 o Biotechnology
 o Electric Power
 o Environmental Industries
 o Information and Communications
 o Medical Devices
 o Oil & Gas

interestingly, (2008) no mention of
Automotive, or

Ontario is North America's biggest location for automotive production, assembly and auto parts - bigger than

  • California
  • New York State
  • or even Michigan

The business sectors and industries in Canada 



Software and Wireless

UTSC Student Valerie A. (who also served as the Co-president of the Management Co-op Students Assoc.)  in early May emailed to comment on the government list.

Valeria said 
"I was looking at the Canadian government’s industry sectors and it has been
updated again> (as of
October 2010) to include Renewable Energy, Software, Wireless, Biotech to
name a few. The additions include areas where Canada not necessarily the top
producer (e.g. the Ernst & Young All Renewables Index>
(February 2011) lists China, USA, India, Germany before Canada, which came
in 9th), but rather industries where the government wants to focus on
growing and attracting investment (e.g. in the list they describe the
low-costs and tax credits for Software and Wireless)."

WTGR replies
Thanks Val, your update is appreciated. So what this means to Canadian exporters is, if you contact (for example) the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo and express interest in exporting some renewable energy device, they will probably be interested in assisting you.

Government can be a big help in facilitating situations for exporters - and it makes a big difference if you are from a sector that is of strategic interest to the government - which means it makes sense to know the sectors on these lists and make sure you are up-to-date.

Canada's leading sectors of international business

Auto in
Tourism still out

UTSC Student Danni Z. in June 2010 emailed to comment on the government list.

Danni said 
"As I was studying today, I found that the Canadian government's industry sectors listing on the "Introduction" page of the website has been updated. It now includes many more sectors, one of which is 'Automotive' which you specifically pointed out was not included in the 2008 version. Though, Tourism seems to still be missing. I think it might be because Tourism can encompass so many different products and services (food, attractions, hotels, transportation, souvenirs) that it is harder to classify under one category. 

It is also interesting to note that in the short period of 2 years, the listing has added two entries of services (Business Services; Financial Services), when in 2008, there was none. I think people are realizing / acknowledging (and taking advantage of) the booming industry of services. Since one of the most sought after thing is a service in one form or another (Accountants, Doctors, Teachers/Professors, Sales, Customer Services, etc...). 

WTGR replies
Thanks Danni for the update, maybe another reason for the absence of Tourism as an identified priority could be that the tourism industry associations are able to handle all the issues, and also this sector may not (in the opinion of the Harper government) need help compared to the other sectors. This may explain the scarcity of federal funding for Caribana , Gay Pride, and other cultural festivals.

Sometimes in the 1st or 2nd lecture of this course we will have a short discussion about
Why you need International Experience.
These are some of the key points from that discussion, 
  • globalization means all business is international business
  • living and working in Toronto is a form of international business given the large amounts of people in different cultures
  • a high proportion of Canadian companies are involved in international business - getting some experience in this area will make you a competitive candidate to hire
useful sources of information  
Canadexport is a publication from the federal government.
This publication is free and it contains much much information relevant to international business development. You can be on the mailing list "for free" and it will allow you to learn a lot about Canada's business with many countries + provide you with helpful Canadian government contacts at embassies and consulates overseas.

The archives section allows you to search the many previous documents they have on specific countries or specific types of international business

It was suggested to students in class that they could contact canadexport and be put on the mailing list.