OTTAWA—Canada has slipped to 12th place in global competitiveness falling behind the U.K. and Hong Kong, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.
The report, which ranked Switzerland first, says Canada needs to improve its innovation and develop other lucrative value-added products, services and markets.
The Conference Board of Canada said the country’s ranking this year reinforces how global competitors continue to gain ground.
“Canada should not be satisfied with its 12th place ranking,” Michael Bloom, vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning at the Conference Board.
“Businesses continue to underperform in using our peoples’ skills and knowledge to generate new or improved products, processes or services.”
Canada has fallen three places in the global rankings since 2009, despite achieving almost identical overall competitiveness scores over the past three years.
The Conference Board of Canada performed a survey for the World Economic Forum to gather corporate perceptions of the business climate. The overall rankings were calculated from both publicly available data and the survey, including more than 14,000 business leaders in 142 economies, including 82 in Canada.
The report also found several emerging economies and developing nations – particularly Asian economies – are closing the gap between the traditional “rich” and “poor” countries. The results show competitiveness in advanced economies has stagnated over the past seven years while improving in many emerging markets.
Singapore overtook Sweden to claim second spot and Finland jumped three positions to fourth, dropping the U.S. to fifth. Since losing first place to Switzerland in 2009, the U.S. has continued to slip in the rankings due to weak economic fundamentals and increasing concerns about the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. institutions and leaders.
German was ranked sixth, the Netherlands seventh, and Denmark was eighth. Japan was ranked ninth.
The report has repeatedly demonstrated that Canada is not a leader when it comes to innovation despite an efficient labour market, top results in primary and secondary education, an effective post-secondary education system and openness to immigration, the Conference Board said.
Canada earned top scores in both inflation and country credit rating, but those strengths were offset by ranking 80th in terms of gross national savings as a percentage of gross domestic product and a ranking of 129th in overall government debt levels as a percentage of GDP.