BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

February 16, 2012 06:00 ET

BMO Blue Book: Time for Canadian Businesses to Redouble Efforts to Lift Productivity

BMO offering support by making $10 billion available over next three years

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2012) - With Canada facing a lengthy period of relatively high commodity prices and a currency close to par, export-competing industries must prepare by redoubling efforts to lift productivity, according to comments by Doug Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets in the new edition of the BMO Blue Book.

The BMO Blue Book is published jointly twice a year by BMO Capital Markets Economics and BMO Commercial Banking. Much like the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book, it combines the expertise of BMO's economists with anecdotal information on current business conditions from BMO's commercial bankers. The BMO Blue Book features a report for Canada, each province and the Greater Toronto Area.

"While concerns over lacklustre productivity have been trumpeted over and over again in Canada in the past two decades, that doesn't make them any less relevant," said Mr. Porter. "Upgrading equipment is a step in the right direction, but it's also critical how efficiently we use the equipment and our labour supply."

Gail Cocker, Senior Vice-President, Commercial & Treasury Management, BMO Financial Group, echoed Mr. Porter's comments: "We strongly believe in the need for companies to continue innovating to remain competitive. We have an attractive marketplace, and it's important to keep that momentum going."

Ms. Cocker noted that with challenging times come opportunities. "With the strong dollar and low interest rates, we strongly support those customers who want to take this opportunity to make investments in their operations that will boost productivity. BMO recently announced that it is making $10 billion available to businesses across Canada over the next three years; we firmly believe this money will provide small and medium-sized businesses with more certainty of available credit. It's a clear example of our ongoing confidence in them, and in the Canadian economy."

The full BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at

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