Canadian Manufacturing

Canada stagnant when it comes to global competitiveness: report

Report puts Canada well behind Germany and U.S., which placed fourth and fifth overall, respectively

OTTAWA—Canada is holding fast in the 14th spot in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, claiming the spot for the second year in a row.

The report puts Canada one spot ahead of Denmark, but well behind Germany and the Unites States, which placed fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

But the nation has more to worry about than how it compares in broad strokes to the rest of the world, according to a Conference Board of Canada study released the same day, which highlights Canada’s “underwhelming performance” in areas like business sophistication and innovation.

According to the think-tank’s Business Leaders’ Perspectives: Canada’s Competiveness and Innovation Doldrums, Canada dropped four spots in categories related to innovation and business sophistication.

“When it comes to business innovation, Canada is seriously underperforming … and that’s a real concern,” Conference Board vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning Michael Bloom said in a statement.

“As a developed country, Canada’s economic competitiveness is largely innovation-driven.”

Access to financing and an insufficient capacity to innovate are the biggest barriers for doing business in Canada, according to the Conference Board—a pair of major hindrances to a country that has highly-efficient goods, labour and financial markets.

But the country isn’t taking advantage of those apparent strengths, dropping three spots in the ranking of institutional strengths from 11th in 2012 to 14th this year, and another three places in its labour market efficiencies from fourth in 2012 to seventh this year.

In order to improve Canada’s competitiveness, the Conference Board recommends improvements to its innovation ecosystem through more firm-level spending on research and development, government purchasing and use of Canadian advanced technologies and improving university-industry collaboration when it comes to R&D.

The Conference Board is the Canadian partner institute for the WEF’s Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance.

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