How Canada performs on innovation

Learn about innovation performance for Canada and 15 other countries. The Conference Board of Canada report card measures how well Canada is meeting the goal of creating a high, sustainable quality of life for Canadians.

The Conference Board of Canada report provides information on Canada’s performance on innovation in comparison with 15 other countries.

Key findings:

  • Despite a decade or so of innovation agendas and prosperity reports, Canada remains near the bottom of its peer group on innovation, ranking 13th among the 16 peer countries.
  • Canada performs poorly on most indicators, scoring 13 Ds, 2 Cs, 6 Bs, and no As. The D grades underline Canada’s relative weakness in all three categories of the innovation process — creation, diffusion and transformation.
  • This does not mean that Canadian inventions are themselves inferior. Canada actually produces some great inventions and inventors. The country’s low relative ranking means that, as a proportion of its overall economic activity, Canada does not rely on innovation as much as some of its peers.
  • Countries that are more innovative are passing Canada on measures such as income per capita, productivity and the quality of social programs.
  • Presently there are no conclusive answers or solutions to Canada’s poor innovation ranking. A major roadblock for business and government is the lack of comprehensive data and information for diagnosing the problem. Once that evidence is obtained, the next steps will be to create firm-level strategies and reinvigorate the policy environment to encourage firms to innovate.