Annual Public Meeting Transcript 2020
Mach 5. 2020
Mr. Doug Harrison: Hello. Welcome to the Canadian Commercial Corporation’s Annual Public Meeting for 2018-2019.
My name is Douglas Harrison and I am the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).
It’s my pleasure to be with you and I want to thank you for joining us. With me today is Carl Marcotte, President and CEO of CCC.
Annual public meetings give Crown corporations like CCC the opportunity to share information about the vital work we do and the value we deliver for Canada.
We have decided again this year to present our meeting online to reach the greatest number of Canadians from all parts of our country.
Our main objectives today are to review our accomplishments and present the results we achieved during the 2018-2019 fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019.
I was honoured when the Minister appointed me to Chair CCC’s Board of Directors in 2018. This is my second Annual Public Meeting for CCC. I am once again delighted to be here to share our results and important updates with you.
As Chair, I would like to begin by thanking the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade for her ongoing support.
CCC reports to Parliament through Minister Ng. She is, and will continue to be, an important partner and ally for our organization as we continue to deliver on our ambitious strategic plan to help even more Canadian companies – whether they are small, medium or large – to grow their export business.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of my Board member colleagues for their leadership and guidance throughout the year, we are very fortunate to have a very committed and talented Board.
I was grateful for the support of Andrew Saxton and Dwayne Lucas, both of whom completed their terms on the Board in 2018-19. At that time, I welcomed Dyanne Carenza and Robert Kwon, and was delighted that Claude Robillard, Nicole Verkindt and Martin Gagné were all reappointed.
I know I can speak for all Board members when I say that we were so pleased this past year to announce that three other new Board members were appointed to our Board of Directors — Mora Johnson, Christa Wessel and Mike Johnson.
As our Minister noted at the time, “These appointments underscore the government’s ongoing work to strengthen accountability, increase responsible business conduct, and diversify and grow Canadian exports.” I could not agree more.
All of the Directors on CCC’s Board have invaluable experience and perspectives. I very much look forward to working with them as we continue our transformative initiatives with CCC to help grow Canada’s trade and drive economic growth, innovation and prosperity for our country.
CCC’s Board of Directors is composed of 3 committees: the Audit Committee, the Governance and Human Resource Committee and the Operations Committee.
We are responsible not only for the stewardship of the Corporation but also for providing oversight and strategic guidance to CCC’s senior management team. We also ensure that the long-term strategic focus of the Corporation is aligned with the broader government agenda.
We have a robust corporate governance structure to maintain the confidence and trust of our stakeholders, including the exporters we serve, our employees, and our shareholder, the Government of Canada.
The board remains highly confident in CCC, and in its continued ability to effectively and efficiently fulfill its mandate. I am proud of CCC’s accomplishments to date and the successes that were achieved over the last reporting period.
The organization is truly positioned to continue supporting all Canadian exporters from small to large, across diverse industry sectors to help facilitate their sales to foreign governments.
In fact, CCC’s enhanced focus on helping SMEs has been increased in several ways including the creation of a new and dedicated role to focus specifically on this growing area.
We will remain the government of Canada’s key partner for other important priorities as well, like managing 10 Canadian Trade Offices in China and supporting the government’s critical sourcing requirements. In fact, CCC is instrumental in helping the government in this regard. From disaster relief or urgent emergency response, to supporting signature international events or even enabling Canadian experts to share their knowledge and expertise with other countries, CCC is ready and able to get the job done.
Going forward, all of our work will remain clearly on delivering value to Canada by growing exports and creating jobs. During the year, CCC created a new strategy focused on supporting even more exporters and broadening its industry segments along with a more wholesome focus on SMEs.
We will do this with an enhanced focus on risk management. CCC’s new Contract Risk Management Framework will help ensure early stage risk management and mitigation.
In this regard, I’m delighted to report that a highlight for CCC in 2018–19 was the positive results from the Auditor General of Canada’s Special Examination. This Examination concluded that CCC’s risk and operational practices were in good form with no major deficiencies being found in the audit. In all, this demonstrated that the organization’s efforts in enhancing risk management were well placed.
Equally as important during the reporting period, CCC also strengthened its focus on responsible business conduct. We ensured that best practices were incorporated into the governance and oversight responsibilities within the Board’s Committees, as well as by the full Board of Directors.
More specifically, I was asked by our Minister to undertake a thorough review of CCC’s ongoing risk assessments and transaction due diligence to ensure that human rights, transparency, and responsible business conduct are core guiding principles for CCC.
I am very pleased and proud to say that CCC made great strides in these areas during the 2018-19 fiscal year, with the launch of its enhanced Responsible Business Conduct Framework. This includes a revised Code of Conduct and Business Ethics, and a new Human Rights Policy. Governance, Environmental Stewardship and Employee Engagement represent the other very important pillars of the Framework and which will be an area of focus for the Corporation over the next 5 years.
Our work in this area is not only essential, but it is also simply the right thing to do.
It ensures that CCC’s activities reflect Canada’s international commitments, including those set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. These measures were also designed to ensure that CCC’s transactions are consistent with the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty.
In essence, our commitment ensures that CCC plays the role it can in ensuring that CCC, and the companies we work with, operate in an environmentally, socially and ethically responsible manner in Canada, and abroad. And we are extremely proud of our significant accomplishments in ensuring these important considerations are core guiding principles for CCC.
I greatly appreciate that CCC’s efforts and hard work in this area were recognized by the government. And I recognize that our work is never completely done in this regard. I appreciate and understand that CCC, and the exporters we work with, must sustain this momentum and look to continually reassess and strengthen our corporate social responsibility frameworks as we move toward the future.
I know I speak for all of the Board when I say that we are excited by the potential to do even more for Canada through our new corporate strategy and the increased impact CCC will have for Canadian companies, particularly when it comes to continuing our valuable work to help SMEs.
I want to congratulate and thank everyone who contributed to CCC’s successful year in 2018-19 – including the important government and industry partners CCC works with to help exporters succeed and grow their businesses.
I would also like to thank CCC’s dedicated and hardworking employees and team members. It was through their commitment and dedication that the organization was able to achieve its objectives during the reporting period.
And thank you again to my colleagues on the Board of Directors as well as to the senior management team at CCC for their support, their drive and their tremendous diligence.
As I conclude, and as many of you may know, the 2018-2019 fiscal year was the last full fiscal year under the direction of our former CEO, Martin Zablocki. I want to personally thank Marty very much for his significant contributions to CCC and for his work to ensure the organization was well placed for a successful leadership transition.
In September 2019, Carl Marcotte was appointed Interim President and CEO of the corporation. Prior to that appointment, he had been CCC’s Vice-President of Operations & Head of the Defence Sector since July 2017. Carl joined the organization earlier that year to lead the development of a new strategic operating model for the corporation to grow and diversity the business and expand the number of Canadian exporters we served.
On that note, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to Carl Marcotte, our new President and CEO who was appointed through an Order in Council in December 2019. I will now turn things over to him. Thank you.
Mr. Carl Marcotte, President and CEO: Thank you, Doug, and hello everyone.
As Doug mentioned, my name is Carl Marcotte and I’m the President and CEO of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).
I am delighted to have this opportunity to provide you with an overview of CCC. I will share our results and accomplishments of the 2018-19 fiscal year and present highlights of our strategy going forward.
As many of you may know, CCC is the Government of Canada’s international government-to-government contracting organization. Throughout our nearly 75-year history, we have been helping Canadian exporters do business in complex government procurement markets that might otherwise be beyond their reach.
In fact, our vision is to remain a vital player that works as a trusted partner in supporting Canada’s progressive and inclusive trade agenda and that enables our exporting customers to do business in increasingly challenging global markets.
We achieve our mandate through excellence in risk assessment and mitigation, and project management. And we measure our success by the economic value we facilitate.
To provide some background, CCC is a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada and we facilitate and promote international trade between Canada and other countries.
We were established in 1946 and, as Doug mentioned, we report to Parliament through the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the Honourable Mary Ng.
CCC is an essential part of the government’s progressive trade and investment agenda that is focused on diversifying Canada’s trade.
Trade diversification is about helping secure more opportunities for Canadian exporters and investors so they can compete and succeed in thriving and fast-growing international markets and sectors.
That’s exactly what CCC does – we help Canadian exporters succeed around the world.
This is critical for Canada because our country depends on trade. When we increase exports, we drive economic growth and this helps create jobs for Canadians.
We work closely with our government partners, such as the Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. We also work directly with Canada’s Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Canadian Forces Defence Attachés abroad.
We have worked hard to increase our profile and partnerships with government and industry leaders and other stakeholders who promote Canadian capabilities and expertise in global markets. This means we can extend our reach to help even more Canadian companies.
The work we do is instrumental in delivering results for Canada. A principal goal of the Government of Canada is ensuring that Canadian businesses have the support they need to succeed in our highly competitive global marketplace.
CCC’s government-to-government contracting model allows us to help Canadian exporters significantly reduce risk and access new export opportunities throughout the world.
Our business model is unique in that we are able to sign contracts with other governments on behalf of the Government of Canada.
This means we can provide a government buyer with a guarantee from the Government of Canada that the terms and conditions of the contract signed with CCC will be met. This significantly reduces risks for government buyers and encourages them to meet their procurement needs by working with Canadian businesses.
Our guarantee carries the weight and credibility of Canada’s brand – and Canada’s values – that are recognized and appreciated around the world.
Further, CCC’s approach to Responsible Business Conduct, which Doug outlined previously, means that we operate in an environmentally, socially and ethically responsible
manner, consistent with Canada’s international commitments.
As Doug noted, 2018-19 was a very successful year for CCC.
I’m pleased to share with you the successes we achieved with an overview of our performance highlights and financials.
In 2018-19, we signed new export contracts valued at 1.3 billion dollars, all while continuing to strengthen and streamline our contracting procedures.
Over the course of the year, we delivered 3.4 billion dollars in goods and services abroad, an increase of approximately 1.1 billion dollars over the previous fiscal year.
Our focus on diversification has also led to new business opportunities for Canadian exporters across a wider range of industry sectors than in past years.
These are tremendous accomplishments for an organization like CCC, and they speak to the value we deliver for Canada.
More specifically, to achieve these results during the 2018-19 fiscal period, CCC worked directly with 162 Canadian exporters, 34% of which were SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
I’m proud of the fact that the government recognized CCC’s efforts to increase the number of transactions with SMEs during the fiscal year, as well as our work to develop strategies to make our services even more accessible to all Canadian companies.
It’s important to note that while we work directly with SMEs to help them grow their business, many other SMEs also benefit greatly from our large international contracts through subcontracts and supply chains. In fact, our data shows that these contracts have a significant downstream impact and value for more than 1,400 SMEs in Canada, who are sub-suppliers to our Canadian exporter customers.
And when we talk about the impact of the contracts CCC signed during the reporting period, we supported more than 14,000 value-added jobs for Canadians, many of which are in fields related to advanced manufacturing, engineering and innovation or technology.
Overall, CCC recorded net earnings of 4.1 million dollars. I’m very pleased with our results as this is an increase of 11.6 million dollars from the previous year. These results were due to a combination of higher revenues and lower expenses when compared to the prior year.
As in the previous fiscal year, CCC did not incur any contract remediation expenses in 2018–19. It’s important to mention this fact because it provides a clear indication of how effective and robust the Corporation’s contract management and Enterprise Risk Management practices truly are.
Once again this year, we could not have achieved this level of success without our team at CCC. I am always so impressed by their commitment and dedication. They are essential to CCC’s success.
We continue to invest in our people, and the processes and systems they need. During the 2018-19 fiscal year, we embarked on significant continuous improvement initiatives, including bringing in new skill sets and training programs, reducing processing times and eliminating redundant activities that helped to improve the services we provide to Canadian companies.
Through these initiatives and the efficiencies they generated, we continued to invest in and grow the work we do for SMEs.
I am proud of the commitment to excellence that our employees show in their day-to-day interactions with exporters, international buyers and stakeholders and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work during the reporting period.
Now that I’ve provided an overview of CCC and our performance results for the reporting period, I’d like to share a few more detailed examples that help illustrate the important work we did for Canadian companies in 2018-19.
For instance, through CCC’s Cuba Contracting Program, we identified the need for a reliable supplier of specialized paint that could stand up to the heat, sun and salt water in Cuba.
CCC worked with Micca Paints to help meet this demand and secure this Quebec-based manufacturer’s first export contract to Cuba – valued at more than 2 million dollars. This was a significant opportunity for Micca – a family-owned SME. We’re now exploring other opportunities to help the company diversify, access new opportunities and grow its business even more in the region.
Another example highlights our work in facilitating large-scale government infrastructure projects – particularly for countries that may not have easy access to the skills and expertise they need.
While CCC has been active in the infrastructure sector for several years, we grew this area of our business in 2018–19 and helped mitigate risk on a number of complex projects.
CCC’s contract to redevelop Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport is the second major infrastructure project that CCC has worked on with Aecon Group Inc., following the successful project to build Quito’s international airport in Ecuador.
In 2018–19, the Bermuda airport project reached several important milestones, including the local tradition of a roof wetting ceremony. We expect final completion of this project in 2020.
Aecon noted that this work would not have been possible without CCC’s support.
For Bermuda, having world-class terminals and associated infrastructure will contribute significantly to the country’s important trade and tourism priorities.
A final and more recent example shows how we can help Canadian exporters address emergency requirements.
CCC recently worked with Coulson Aircrane Ltd. to supply a crew and three helicopters to assist the Government of Bolivia with its firefighting efforts in Chiquitania, a region of tropical savannahs close to the Bolivian Amazon rainforest.
BC-based Coulson is a global aviation company and world leader in aerial firefighting.
Our unique government-to-government contract – which we put were able to negotiate and finalize in less than a week – enabled Coulson to mitigate its business risks, respond to this urgent environmental and humanitarian need, and build on the company’s existing business relationship with Bolivia.
Coulson was instrumental in helping Bolivia with its significant efforts to safeguard citizens and protect important ecosystems.
I also want to highlight the important work we do through the Defence Production Sharing Agreement, also known as the DPSA.
This treaty has been in effect between Canada and the U.S. for nearly 65 years. It supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to maintaining a constructive bilateral trade relationship with the United States. Under the Agreement, Canadian companies are allowed to compete for prime and subcontracts on a level playing field with U.S. companies.
As custodian of the DPSA, CCC fulfills this essential public policy role on behalf of the Government of Canada. Under the DPSA in 2018-19, we signed contracts worth 816 million dollars – helping drive growth for Canadian companies and our nation’s economy.
Enabling access to the U.S. defence market through the DPSA represents significant value for Canadian exporters, particularly SMEs. In fact, during the reporting period, 30% of companies who exported under the Agreement were SMEs.
The diversity of Canadian companies we’ve helped under this agreement is really quite incredible, as is the range of products they sell. This can be everything from military equipment to supplies for troops at home or in the field, as well as medical devices.
A great example of the latter is Thornhill Medical.
Thornhill Medical is a science-based, Canadian medical technology company, leading the charge in mobile medical devices for the military and first responders, all around the world.
Their mobile ICU and portable anesthesia device are both designed specifically for military and disaster relief scenarios.
Compact, rugged and battery operated, both are designed to function in challenging conditions, including helicopters and field hospitals.
With CCC’s knowledge and experience in navigating the complexities of U.S. acquisition requirements, Thornhill Medical is now successfully partnered with the U.S. Military for casualty care during transport – both ground and air – as well as in field hospitals and forward surgical suites. We want to build on our working relationships with these exporters even more. We can help them leverage their export experience to the U.S. to expand into new markets, to scale up and to help diversify Canada’s trade.
CCC’s plan is to remain keenly focused on growing our business to help even more Canadian companies export their products and services through sales to governments around the world.
Building on our fundamental work last year to diversify into new sectors, CCC will continue to broaden both the number of sectors the Corporation operates in and the number of Canadian companies we work with. We will continue to focus, in particular, on developing new programming and products that are specific to small business.
Our goal is to enhance CCC’s relevance and impact for Canadian exporters and to ensure we remain responsive to their evolving needs in the highly competitive global trade environment.
Our plan is based on a number of key priorities.
We will remain focused in our efforts to continue growing the number of SME customers served. We are developing and promoting new products and services tailored to their needs. We know that SMEs constitute 99 per cent of all businesses in Canada, yet less than 12 per cent of them export. CCC will continue to assist SMEs to scale up through trade in order to maximize Canada’s economic growth and expand the middle class.
We will continue to build on past successes and grow the number of customers CCC supports through sector diversification. CCC is committed to help more Canadian exporters from more sectors secure a wider variety of international procurement contracts and to take advantage of opportunities in markets made more accessible by Canada’s new free-trade agreements.
Another priority is to continue our efforts to further strengthen and build partnerships and profile with both government and industry to expand CCC’s reach. In particular, we want to collaborate more closely with our existing partners, particularly the Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada and Sustainable Development Technology Canada. We also want to create broader relationships with financial institutions to bring more financing options for deals to serve even more customers. To further raise our profile, we are also working hard to strategically refocus our marketing and communications efforts.
To achieve and deliver operational excellence in the digital age, CCC will ensure that its organizational processes and tools leverage the use of digital technologies. For example, we are working to digitize contract management processes and enhance data management to improve the end-to-end customer experience. This will not only allow us to be more efficient, but it will also reduce operational risk. These remain top priorities for us.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to continue helping Canadian exporters succeed, we will invest in our people even more and undertake initiatives to drive greater employee engagement. We will develop learning plans to fill any gaps in our skills and capabilities and ensure we are fully aligned and responsive to the needs of Canadian exporters.
At this time, our ambitious plans are at different stages of development and implementation. However, with the continued guidance and strategic direction of our Board, as well as by Minister Ng, I am confident that our plans will be successful.
The Corporate Strategy I’ve just outlined will help ensure that CCC continues to do even more for Canadian exporters as we approach our 75th anniversary in 2021.
With this in mind, CCC is currently completing a comprehensive review of its mandate and operations. This is a common practice in government and occurs periodically to ensure federal Crown corporations such as CCC consistently deliver value to Canada.
We welcome the review and the significant opportunity it represents to help improve our current practices and guide our future direction. Our goal, ultimately, is to become even more relevant to Canadian exporters by helping them expand their business through sales to governments around the world while remaining highly efficient in the delivery of our international contracting services.
In closing, I am excited by the opportunities CCC has before it. I want to again thank our employees, as well as our Board of Directors, for all of their work during the reporting period.
It is through your hard work, and the focused collaboration with our partners, that we have been able to again achieve our objectives and help bring more of Canada’s innovative products and services to the world by enabling Canadian exporters.
We have already seen positive results from our diversification efforts, and with our ever-increasing focus on SMEs, I’m confident that CCC will be able to support even more Canadian exporters.
Doug, thank you very much for your leadership of the Board and for the strategic guidance you have provided to me and to all of the senior executive team at CCC.
This now concludes the Canadian Commercial Corporation’s Annual Public Meeting. On behalf of everyone at CCC, and on behalf of our Board, thank you for joining us.
I encourage you to learn more about CCC by visiting our website and reading our Annual Report. I also invite you to submit any questions you have about today’s presentations, or at any other time during the year. Simply email them to communications@CCC.ca.
We appreciate your interest in CCC and in the important work we do to help Canadian exporters.
Thank you, Doug, and thank you again to everyone online for joining us today.