Canada and Australia are two peas in a pod

Don your Kangol hat, crack open a Foster’s, and prepare to say “g’day mate,” because Australian leaders are coming to Canada.

Driving the news: Political and business big shots from Down Under will be Up North on Monday to discuss ways to deepen ties with Canada and compare economic policy. It’s all part of the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum happening in Toronto. 

Why it’s happening: Canada and Australia's economies are super similar, which means facing similar challenges, like overreliance on natural resources (causing underdevelopment in other sectors) and underinvestment in innovative technologies like drugs and computers.

  • Canada and Australia are leaders in natural resource wealth but lag behind other OECD nations in exporting what the World Bank defines as "high-tech" products. 

The Economist recently theorized that the two countries are so similar, they could even be merged into one (named Ozanada). Both nations are mostly English-speaking, sparsely populated, commonwealth countries that are resource-rich homes to commodities giants. 

  • Both also boast the largest infrastructure-investment managers (McQuarrie and Brookfield) and have highly concentrated grocery, telecoms, and banking sectors.  

Why it matters: As both deal with big issues like falling GDP per capita and flagging productivity, the two nations are at risk of falling behind in an evolving global economy if they don’t change. Perhaps by working together, they can figure out what exactly that change is.

What they’re saying: “Canada can learn a lot from Australia,” one speaker at the forum event told The Globe and Mail, “including how they addressed internal trade barriers among states [and] foreign credentials recognition to manage skills shortages.”

Zoom out: Foreign policy will also be high on the agenda, with a focus on the importance of the Indo-Pacific region. The topic has become a bit of a sore spot, though, after Canada was left out of the Australia-backed AUKUS security pact earlier this year.—QH