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New era of co-operation needed: Xerox chairman calls for an overhaul of Canada's institutions.

Canada's institutions must be overhauled to meet growing competition from the global economy, says David McCamus, co-chairman of a private-sector task force working on the federal government's Prosperity Initiative.

Federal and provincial governments, management, unions and educators are too busy protecting their own turf and are failing to work together, charges the chairman of Xerox Canada, who will be a featured speaker this month at a Roundtable of Excellence business conference to be held in Sault Ste. Marie in conjunction with the annual Northern Ontario Business Awards dinner.

McCamus warns that this lack of co-operation is disastrous at a time when every nation is in fierce competition for high-paying, high-skilled jobs.

The task force has been challenged to devise a national competitiveness strategy aimed at restoring the nation's economic vitality.

It has two specific goals. The first is to tell Canadians that we must become more competitive in order to maintain our standard of living. The second is to develop an action plan for a full-scale overhaul of Canada's institutions.

"Canada is well positioned to be a player," says McCamus. "The question is: How do we maximize our potential? The action plan is aimed at what we are doing and determining whether it is the right thing."

While its report is not finalized, McCamus says the task force has identified three areas of focus which would help the country become more competitive. It wants to encourage innovation, fine-tune our education system and restructure Canada's social-assistance net.

McCamus would like to see the establishment of a permanent national education forum which would include teachers, parents, business and labor representatives.

The forum would ensure that school curricula around the country are up to date and capable of graduating students with the basic skills required to enter a technologically advanced workforce.

However, McCamus is concerned about a lack of research and development (R&D) being conducted by Canadian industry. He believes that R&D is vital to maintaining our standard of living.

"What is the point of having highly skilled people if you don't have jobs for them?" he asks.

"We don't think Canadians invest enough in their own country. It is equally, if not more, important for Canadians to invest in their future," he points out.

According to the federal report, the key growth areas for the future are knowledge-based industries such as micro-electronics, bio-technology, advanced industrial minerals, telecommunications, aerospace and computer software development.

The report also indicates that Canada's relatively small domestic market makes it crucial for the country to compete in global markets.

This is one of the underlying themes of the Roundtable of Excellence business conference to be held on Oct. 22 at Sault Ste. Marie's Ramada Inn.

For example, guest speaker Dr. Robert Baguley, deputy chief economist, economic and corporate affairs, for the Royal Bank of Canada, will discuss doing business on a global scale.

Dr. Hamid Noori, the director of the Research Centre for Management of Advanced Technology/Operations (REMAT) and a professor of operations management at the School of Business Administration at Wilfred Laurier University, will speak on mutual support systems, a way in which businesses can place products and services in foreign markets as well as source key components and technologies from foreign suppliers.

McCamus, meanwhile, will speak on total quality management, a program of processes which enables business people to measure themselves against their competition, then translate what they learn into action.

Panel discussions dealing with exporting, marketing and tourism will feature former Northern Ontario Business Award winners as well as other notable northern business leaders.

"This is a very timely conference for the Northern Ontario business community," says Leo Bernier, chairman of the FedNor board of directors.

"This conference will serve as a valuable tool in highlighting for our entrepreneurs the techniques being used to succeed in this challenging economic climate."

FedNor has joined the provincial Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation and Northern Ontario Business in sponsoring the business conference.

Tickets for the conference are $40 (including GST, two coffee breaks and lunch) per person.

Purchasers of tickets to the Northern Ontario Business Awards Dinner may attend the conference free of charge.

Tickets for the awards dinner are $80 (including GST). For more information call Suzie Burton at (705) 673-5705 or the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (705) 949-7152.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Xerox Canada Inc.; David McCamus
Author:Brown, Stewart
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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