Susan Harper, Consul General of Canada in Miami, United States
Canada and Florida have worked together to create a number of partnerships in recent years, and it has been a pleasure strengthening those partnerships, and developing new ones. I enjoy representing Canada in Florida, and I look forward to working with all of you in the years to come.
When I meet with people in Florida, most of them refer to the number of Canadians who either live or visit here. That’s not really a surprise when you look at the numbers. Canada is overwhelming the top international source of tourists coming to Florida, with 3.5 million annual visits, and spending almost $5 billion – nearly 40% of all spending by foreign tourists in Florida. Canadians are also top foreign purchasers of residential real estate in Florida. We estimate the residential property portfolio to be around $50 billion, which would mean that Canadians contribute almost $600 million annually in property taxes. Our consular section helps many of the millions of Canadian visitors and snowbirds who come to Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands each year, including by issuing emergency passports and other travel documents; providing certain notarial and certification services; sharing information on voting abroad, old age security and the Canadian Pension Plan; and responding to emergencies such as medical distress cases, arrests/detentions, deaths abroad, and natural disasters.
However, many people in Florida are surprised to learn that, if you combine the tourism element, with our $8B in two-way trade, and Canada’s investment in Florida – almost 500 Canadian-owned companies -- Canada is Florida’s most important economic partner. Over 620,000 jobs depend directly or indirectly on that economic relationship! An increasing number of Canadian companies are expanding their presence and establishing new relationships in Florida, especially in innovative and high-potential sectors including clean technology, aerospace and life sciences. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, a key part of our Consulate, is pleased to work with those companies, and others who we believe can help us grow the Canada-Florida commercial relationship by increasing two-way trade; facilitating R&D partnering, commercialization and sourcing of technology; and attracting investment to Canada.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service team at the Consulate endeavours to help Canadian organizations successfully export to Florida, establish a presence in this market, tackle market access issues, pursue joint-ventures or other strategic alliances, participate in global value chains, and seek technology and R&D partners. They do this by providing on-the-ground intelligence and practical advice on the market, as well as by providing Canadian companies with qualified business and public sector contacts. Their priority sectors are linked to Florida’s new economic drivers – like “clean tech” environmental technologies, medical and life sciences, and information and communication technologies. Our trade commissioners also actively seek out foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities for firms wishing to invest in Canada.
While jobs and the economy are important to both of our countries, our partnership goes far beyond that. We work with universities and colleges, non-governmental organizations, sports organizations, and cultural organizations -- and we are glad to see that this collaboration is also growing. Our Canadian Forces personnel serve together with US military at four bases across the state, protecting our shared continent, fighting against terrorism and patrolling international waters in the Caribbean and elsewhere. 10% of all Canadian armed forces in the USA are in Florida. The Canada Border Services Agency works with its counterparts in the United States, and other law enforcement and international border management partners in the region to secure the border, while facilitating the legitimate flow of goods and people. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) working in the region in partnership with international law enforcement agencies, foreign governments and Canadian embassies, maintain a link between Canadian law enforcement and US law enforcement agencies in support of the RCMP's mandate to fight transnational crime.
I am pleased to work with our committed and capable consulate team, to provide excellent service to our Canadian community, and to promote this vibrant and diversified partnership with Florida, Puerto Rice and the US Virgin Islands. It is clear that Canada matters to the region, and that the region matters to Canada.
Susan Harper (Master of Business Administration, Ivey School of Business, Western University; Bachelor of Arts with Honours [Math, English] Queen’s University).
Prior to moving to Miami, Ms. Harper held two consecutive positions in Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa: Director General and Senior Arctic Official (2013-2016) and Director General, Trade Controls and Technical Barriers (2009-2013). In 2004, she had been posted to the Embassy of Canada in Washington DC, where she became Minister (Economic) in 2008. She had previously been Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay (2001-2004), after having held trade positions in Yaoundé, Paris and Buenos Aires. Before joining the Government of Canada, Ms. Harper taught at both Cambrian College in Sudbury, and George Brown College in Toronto.
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