Increasing Innovation and Productivity

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Productivity growth and innovation are the sine qua non for economic prosperity. Canada’s productivity growth record over the past two decades has been dismal. How do we address this challenge? What role can the federal government play and what policy remedies are required to turn the situation around?

and issues

Opinion: Excellence and Equity in Skills and Higher Education in Canada

Canada has been a strong performer in post-secondary education and skills development for many years. On key measures we are at or near the top of international rankings and highly skilled Canadians contribute to economic prosperity, social innovation, and political and community well-being. But there are signs that Canada’s performance may be deteriorating and, despite a commitment to equality, opportunities and achievement in skills and higher education have been poorly distributed across regions and groups.

Opinion: Industrial policy is back — except in Ontario

Countries with robust industrial policies — especially in Asia and other emerging markets — have seen superior growth performance post-recession.

Canada 2020′s Eugene Lang looks at the sad-state of affairs in Ontario’s, Canada’s former manufacturing heartland and the things governments can do to promote investment, industrial development and economic growth.

Our 2013 Speaker Series kicks off in front of a packed house

This year’s The Canada We Want in 2020 Speaker Series kicked off last night in Ottawa, with a spirited, insightful and provocative conversation about why competition matters to Canadian productivity and innovation.

Issues: Competition Matters – or does it?

It is our contention that if we are to have a more innovative, productive Canada by 2020, the business environment in this country needs to become more competitive. This is by no means the whole solution, and it may not even be the main solution, but it does appear to be part of the answer.

Opinion: Barriers to competition must fall if productivity is to gain

Canada’s lacklustre productivity growth has become a preoccupation of policy makers, and a prime suspect is the lack of competition faced by Canadian firms.

Opinion: The New Deal for Skills-Based Graduates

By George Burton
Canadore College President
Unemployment rates remain high and the latest data shows an uptick. Why is this, when so …

Opinion: What Canada should take from the WEF Competitiveness Report

This year, Canada slipped from 12 to 14 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Rankings, having dropped two places …

Opinion: International education the missing piece of Canada’s innovation agenda

When asked why they would want to study abroad, most Canadian university or college students give a variation on the …

Opinion: There is no cure for Dutch Disease

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the federal New Democratic Party, says Canada has Dutch Disease. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has implied …

Opinion: Can a Small Change Budget Transform Canada’s Economy?

The federal Budget thus far seems to be known most for eliminating the penny, a small change initiative if there …

Opinion: Peter Nicholson calls for more public sector innovation

The Drummond report on Ontario’s fiscal woes came mixed with a visionary challenge to make Ontario “a province that provides …

Standing room only as panelists debate innovation and productivity

Ottawa – Productivity is down, innovation is lagging, and staying the course does not bode well for Canada’s future.
Over 300 …

Opinion: Lawson Hunter discusses the need to reset the regulatory agenda

Independent body needed to review rules
In February, Ottawa will almost certainly reveal long-awaited cuts across government departments. It will also …

Opinion: The free-market hasn’t delivered on productivity, writes Jim Stanford

In the initial postwar decades, Canada’s economy experienced a historic leap forward, qualitatively and quantitatively. Strong business investment, rapid industrialization, …

Opinion: Canada lags badly in innovation and productivity, writes Kevin Lynch

At the recent Davos World Economic Forum gathering, the Harvard Business School trumpeted a multi-year project on U.S. competitiveness, itself …

Opinion: Skilled trades deficit colliding with energy boom

For many years we have been told Canada faces an acute “skills mismatch,” where the economy has lots of great …

Issues: Productivity and Innovation

Productivity growth is essential to maintaining, or increasing, our standard of living. It is especially critical at the present time, …

Needed: Innovative Thinking on Innovation

The facts about poor Canadian productivity and innovation performance are easy to rhyme off. The discussion about how to address …


January 21, 2014

Leveraging the Military Buy: From Opportunity to Reality

Speakers: David Perry, Don Newman, Ray Castelli, Sahir Khan

Competition Matters panel
January 30, 2013

The Canada We Want in 2020 Speaker Series: Competition matters

Speakers: Don Newman, Glenn Ives, Hon. John Manley, P.C., Marcel Côté, Melanie Aitken

Innovation Feb 23
February 23, 2012

The Canada We Want in 2020: Increasing Innovation and Productivity

Speakers: Jim Stanford, Kevin G. Lynch, Lawson Hunter, Peter Nicholson

November 23, 2010

Foreign Ownership of Canadian Natural Resources: Canada 2020 Panel Discussion

Speakers: Hon. Roy Romanow, Michael Bryant, Professor Michael Hart

June 11, 2009

CanadaCast: Interview with Paul Lavoie

Speakers: Paul Lavoie

March 9, 2011

Speakers Series: Brad DeLong & David Dodge

Speakers: David Dodge

May 6, 2010

Telecom in Canada: A New Owner’s Manual

Speakers: Konrad von Finckenstein, Robert Rabinovitch

Featured Links

Does Canada need to change its tax system to allow all (not just smaller) firms to grow?

Does Canada need to change its tax system to allow all (not just smaller) firms to grow? Read the new …

McKenna: Ottawa takes another stab at solving the innovation conundrum

The Globe & Mail’s Barrie McKenna details new efforts by the federal government to jumpstart Canada’s innovation agenda. Read about …

Jeff Simpson: A long line of procurement failures

The Globe & Mail’s Jeff Simpson details Canada’s recent history of procurement failures: read it here.

Productivity crisis haunts global economy

Productivity growth on a steady decline according to the Conference Board. Read analysis in the Financial Times here.

Are we handling the ship building project right?

New research from the University of British Columbia suggests the federal government has “lost control” of the $105-billion ship building …

Interprovincial barriers to trade need to go

Colin Robertson says interprovincial trade barriers need to go, but the Premiers – meeting this week for the annual Council …

Who is the most innovative nation on Earth?

Hint: it’s not Canada. The INSEAD / WIPO / Cornell University collaboration rankings are out and Switzerland retains its number …

The future of productivity 2013

Deloitte Canada has a ‘wake-up call’ for Canadian policymakers and business leaders in its newly released report, The future of …

Higher productivity and greater equality

What we can learn from Norway and the role that education and childcare play in that country’s success, from the …

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: Canada’s crumbling cities and roads must be fixed

From the Globe’s Report on Business: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has co-authored a report on how to transform Canadian cities …

A lack of competition is to blame for the US/Canada price gap

Barrie McKenna argues that the recent Senate report misses the real culprit in price differentials and that the Harper government …

Canada West Foundation calls for greater investment in infrastructure

Infrastructure investment is a major driver of economic productivity according to a new report.

Time to begin increasing competition in Canada’s agriculture sector

Barrie McKenna argues against extending the scope of supply management.

General Electric releases its global innovation barometer

In GE’s annual survey, 87% of Canadian respondents report innovation to be a strategic priority for their businesses, but they …

An interesting take on public sector productivity

Donald Savoie cautions against the belief that government can be run just like a business.

Are we doing better than we had thought?

New study shows Canadian productivity growth to be significantly better than previously reported.

Barrie McKenna: Why training workers in Canada beats importing them from abroad

The Globe & Mail’s Barrie McKenna looks at the long-run necessity to train more skilled-tradespeople in Canada. Our own Eugene …

Globe in Pictures: Top 10 reasons Canadian firms can’t compete

The Globe & Mail’s Top 10 reasons Canadian companies cannot compete. Canada 2020′s ‘Competition Matters’ panel is happening in January …

Canada in a changing world

Canada 2020 author, Kevin Lynch, analyzes what Canada needs to do to prosper in the future and the role that …

Lack of competition pushes Canadians to use US airlines

Andrew Coyne traces Canadians’ propensity to drive to US airports to the protection of our domestic airline industry.

R&D tax credit changes under fire

Canada’s biggest research spenders say Ottawa made a huge mistake by revamping its flagship R&D tax credit program – changes …

Government designed for new times

McKinsey’s new Centre for Government analyses ways in which governments can (and must) do better.

Canadians even less productive than thought over past 30 years

The Globe & Mail’s Barrie McKenna reports that studies show Canadians have actually been less productive than initially thought over …

Government efficiency (not size) is what matters

Chrystia Freeland discusses the importance of efficiency in government but recognizes that there will always be political decisions to make …

Canada slips in competitiveness rankings: WEF

Canada has once again slid in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings. Read the Globe & Mail’s report here, …

Flaherty weighs in on private sector’s responsibility

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty echoed Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney’s concerns over risk-averse Canadian companies stockpiling cash.

Carney’s challenge to corporate Canada

Daniel Veniez digs deeper into Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney’s challenge to corporate Canada.

The micro solutions to Canada’s productivity woes

Former StatsCan chief Munir Sheikh on the micro-level innovations that can help solve Canada’s macro-level productivity problem.

Weak venture capital market constrains innovation in Canada

Problems with access to finance are holding back entrepreneurs, according to the Globe and Mail.

Competition for international students is fierce

Encouraging the best international students to come to Canada and sending our best to study overseas is essential for our …

OECD calls for increased Canadian productivity

Barrie McKenna in the Globe’s Report on Business on why the OECD thinks Canada needs to rely less on its …

Canadian company size and what it means for productivity

Roger Marton and Jim Milway argue that supporting small and medium sized companies is not the route to Canadian prosperity.

Public sector innovation needed

Chrystia Freeland argues in favour of updating public services to provide an environment in which private entrepreneurs can flourish.

The middle class, inequality and economic strength

A new report by the Centre for American Progress analyzes the importance of a strong middle class for economic success …

Does Canada suffer from Dutch disease? Not really, according to a new IRPP study

Debate about the impact of the natural resources economy on Canada’s manufacturers is raging. This timely report analyses the facts.

Public sector productivity: the hidden challenge

Echoing Peter Nicholson’s paper in The Canada We Want in 2020, Neil Reynolds argues for more attention to be paid …

New report blames `culture of comfort’ for poor innovation performance

Secor’s, Marcel Côté and Roger Miller analyze why current innovation policies are not working.

Innovation and the budget

Peter Nicholson is a guest on CBC’s The Current, talking about the importance of public sector innovation.

Manufacturing unleashes productivity and innovation

The Director of Obama’s Economic Council (and former Canada 2020 speaker) Gene Sperling, argues that manufacturing holds the key to …

Canadian companies tend to sell out early, rather than becoming major global players

Eric Reguly sees in the Viterra deal another example of Canadian short-sightedness

Jeffrey Simpson: Can Ottawa spark innovation?

Jeff Simpson writes in the Globe and Mail about federal efforts to promote innovation and productivity and questions whether these …

Shawn McCarthy: Labour shortage looms in NL

McCarthy reports on the enormous labour supply challenges facing NL and other provinces. Canada 2020′s Eugene Lang is featured in …

Eugene Lang: Shipbuilding Response — Canada changed for the better

Canada 2020′s Eugene Lang has an op-ed in iPolitics, arguing that the recent shipbuilding decision suggests Canada has changed for the …

FT: Memo to UK’s top civil servant: strategy please

James Purnell, a former cabinet minister, has some pointed advice to Britain’s new top mandarin: “strategy please!”

Bremmer: On the Economy, Be Careful What You Wish For

Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and author of The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States …

STIC Report: Canada slips further in innovation rankings

Barrie McKenna, who was on Canada 2020′s 2011 pre-budget panel, examines Canada’s continuing decline in innovation rankings in the Globe and Mail. The …

G&M’s Eric Reguly: Why doesn’t Canada have more top companies?

The Globe and Mail’s Eric Reguly looks at “why doesn’t Canada have more top companies?”

Premier of Alberta’s Council for Economic Strategy Released

On May 5, 2011, the Premier of Alberta’s Council for Economic Strategy released its report, Shaping Alberta’s Future (pdf).
The report is a …

Toronto Board of Trade: Toronto 8th in prosperity report

The Toronto Board of Trade launched its third edition of Scorecard On Prosperity 2011 (PDF).It benchmarks Toronto against 23 other metropolitan areas  on issues related …

Barber & Lang: The age-old debate on foreign takeovers continues

Canada 2020 Co-Founders Tim Barber and Eugene Lang examine the age-old debate on foreign takeovers on iPolitics.

Lang: Why Canada shouldn’t strut on the global stage

Canada 2020′s Eugene Lang has an article in today’s Globe and Mail on “why Canada shouldn’t strut on the global …

The Mark: 14 Ideas to Save Canada

The Mark features 14 Ideas to Save Canada. As part of it, Canada2020′s Gene Lang warns that Canada’s political class has no plan …

Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson

While Harper an Flaherty boast about the strength of Canada’s banks, Alberta has gone from boom to bust (again). Across …

Gwyn Morgan: R&D as good as it gets?

Morgan, in a Globe op-ed online, notes that while “businesses are engaged in a Darwinian struggle that will see the …

Will Canada miss the next wireless revolution?

Sara Diamond, president of the Ontario College of Art and Design, has a great op-ed in the Globe on how …

Harvey Weingarten: Canada’s R&D machine needs direction

Harvey Weingarten, President and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary and a  member of the Science, Technology and Innovation Council …

Car Manufacturing: A Failed Policy Running on Fumes?

Konrad Yakabusky, over at the Globe, has a daring piece of analysis about the future of the car sector in …

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