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Canada faces no shortage of challenges in the global arena, obstacles that require innovative technologies to overcome. Chief among these digital tools is blockchain technology, which can provide the agility and connectivity to expand market opportunities, link to global supply chains, and gain a competitive edge. In order to reap the full benefits of blockchain, however, the Canadian government needs to be as vested in the new technology (if not more so) than other governments around the world who are already actively pursuing blockchain innovation.

Blockchain can help organizations of any size cut through the complexities of global business. By uniting partners on an open, peer-to-peer digital ledger, organizations have the power to track the movement and condition of goods among every manufacturer and distributor in their supply chain with greater accuracy, ease, and security than ever before.

As with all digital technologies, the key is integration. With the ability to integrate trade financing on a blockchain, for example, companies have access to financing based on real-time inventory and/or receivables. This can potentially remove or minimize requirements, and free up much-needed capital to significantly improve cash flows. Similarly, adding insurance to the 'chain' grants insurance companies the ability to track goods throughout their journey, generating rates based on real-time conditions.

Blockchain can also provide Canada with a competitive advantage. In combination with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and self-reporting devices, organizations can verify the provenance of every material and product in their chain, verifying to consumers if they are ethically-sourced, safe, and 'made in Canada'. Moreover, in the case of lost or damaged goods, entities can use those same resources to trace defective products back to their specific source, nullifying the need for expensive mass recalls and preventing future issues, including safety of Canadians.

No doubt, the power to track and record every aspect of a product's journey can offer unprecedented advantages. Herein, there is an immediate need for the government to drive blockchain-based supply chains by supporting blockchain infrastructure (e.g. 5G), creating a blockchain-based customs platform that can accelerate customs approvals, and supporting innovations in IoT, artificial intelligence, and other related digital technologies – all with the end-goal of helping organizations break through the barriers to both domestic and global success.