TORONTO - Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has some blunt advice for Canadian companies sitting on piles of cash — give it back to shareholders.

The country's top central banker says while companies might be holding on to cash because of global economic instability, those funds amount to "dead money" for the economy.

Earlier at HuffPost: Tax Breaks Causing Canadian Companies To Hoard Cash, Not Hire, CLC Says

PHOTOS: CANADA'S TOP 10 CORPORATE CASH HOARDERS

Speaking in Toronto, Carney says if companies can't think of what to do with that cash they should "give it back to shareholders and they'll figure out what to do with it."

The bank governor was responding to a question about a previously released Canadian Labour Congress study that suggests Canadian businesses are sitting on some $500 billion in cash assets.

And Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, on a global scale, there is "money sitting on the sidelines" that can revive the world economy.

In July, the Bank of Canada kept its benchmark interest rate at one per cent until at least the next policy meeting in September.

The bank says business investment and consumer spending, supported by super-low interest rates, remain the chief support systems for the recovery.

But business investment is expected to be less robust than previously thought due to concerns about the global economy.

"The point we make to Canadian business is having the best financial system in the world is only really a value if it's also there in the tough times — we expect it to be there if there are tough times," Carney said Wednesday following a speech to the Canadian Auto Workers' union.

"So the level of caution could be viewed as excessive."

CANADA'S TOP 10 CORPORATE CASH HOARDERS

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  • 10. Talisman Energy Inc. - $1.77 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: The Canadian Press Images/Larry MacDougal)

  • 9. Magna International Inc. - $1.77 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: The Canadian Press / Stephen C. Host)

  • 8. Cameco Corporation - $1.88 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: CP PHOTO/Geoff Howe)

  • 7. Lundin Mining - $1.97 Billion

    Pictured: Karl Axel Waplan, forme president and CEO of Lundin Mining. Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

  • 6. Kinross Gold - $2.17 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: Deborah Baic The Globe and Mail)

  • 5. Air Canada - $2.2 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: The Canadian Press Images/Bayne Stanley)

  • 4. Research In Motion - $2.87 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 3. Barrick Gold - $4.55 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

  • 2. Potash Corporation - $5.35 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: Canadian Press Images/Stephen C. Host)

  • 1. George Weston Limited - $5.56 Billion

    Source: <a href="http://www.canadianlabour.ca/news-room/publications/what-did-corporate-tax-cuts-deliver" target="_hplink">Canadian Labour Congress</a> (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)