On September 5, the World Economic Forum released the 2012-2013 edition of its Global Competitiveness Report. The Report uses financial and statistical data as well as executive opinion surveys to rank countries on a wide variety of metrics related to social and economic competitiveness. Canada was ranked 14th overall, down two places from its result in 2011-2012.
Of interest to businesses and competition counsel, Canada ranked 21st overall in the “effectiveness of anti-monopoly policy” category. Respondents to the executive opinion survey were asked to what extent they felt that anti-monopoly policy promoted competition in their respective countries, on a scale of one to seven (with a score of seven meaning that anti-monopoly policy “effectively promote[d] competition”). The mean score was 4.0. Canada scored 4.9, beneath countries such as the U.S. (also 4.9; 17th overall) and the U.K. (5.2; 10th overall), and even Qatar (5.3; 8th overall) and South Africa (5.3; 6th overall). The honour of ‘most effective anti-monopoly policy’ went to Norway, with a score of 5.7.
Survey respondents were also asked about the extent of market dominance in their countries, again on a seven-point scale (with 1.0 indicating that corporate activity was “dominated by a few business groups” and 7.0 indicating that it was “spread among many firms”). Canada ranked 13th, with a score of 5.0. Higher scorers included the U.S. (5.2; 9th overall and the U.K. (5.5; 6th overall). The top scorer in this category was Switzerland, with a score of 5.8. (Incidentally, Switzerland was the highest-ranked country on the overall competitiveness index.)
Although the use of survey data presents obvious limitations in assessing the true impact of Canada’s competition laws, the results may indicate a relative unhappiness among businesses with the effectiveness of the Canadian competition regime in promoting competition. The Report lists “inefficient government bureaucracy” as the number one most problematic factor for doing business in Canada.