Invest: Miami speaks with Louise Leger, Consul-General of Canada in Miami

The bilateral economic relationship between Canada and the U.S. is the largest in the world, valued at $759 billion per year. Florida’s share of that is roughly $8 billion. When we look at industries like tourism and real estate, we see that the impact is not insignificant. Each year, 4 million Canadians visit Florida. Considering Canada’s population of 35 million, that means that one in nine Canadians visit Florida annually. These visitors don’t just come for a long weekend; they stay for months at a time and spend $4.4 billion annually in the state. Canadians are also big real estate investors in Florida. Currently, there are between 500,000 to 600,000 Canadian homeowners in the state, a portfolio that is worth roughly $60 billion.

In addition to the attractive lifestyle that Florida offers to Canadians, there are growing business opportunities present in this market. One top-of-mind issue for South Florida is climate change, and Canada has much expertise in issues related to the environment and energy. Around 45 percent of the oil the U.S. imports comes from Canada, and equally important, Canada exports a great deal of electricity, much of which is renewable, whether it is hydro, wind or solar. Canada is also advanced in the treatment of water and wastewater. Moreover, as South Florida looks to build new infra- structure or replace aging infrastructure, it can bene t from Canadian expertise in the area of public-private partnerships (PPP). Not only does Canada have experience with utilizing PPPs to create roads and bridges, it also has much knowledge of using them for cultural infrastructure—schools, libraries, courthouses—which have different revenue-generation models.

This expertise has attracted the attention of companies active in Florida. NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power and Light (FPL), has been making serious investments in Canada. In November 2015, the Everglades Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian province of Ontario to launch a multi-year effort to design cost-effective technology for the removal of excess phosphorus from freshwater bodies. As Miami continues to develop itself as a hub for technology and innovation, there will be even more opportunities for Canadian investments