Alberta has entrepreneurial spirit but manages only "C" grade on innovation report card


  • Alberta earns a "C" grade on innovation and ranks 15th among 26 jurisdictions.
  • The province places first among all 26 regions and scores an "A+" for entrepreneurial ambition. It also has the highest enterprise entry rate among the provinces.
  • Alberta earns a "D" on public R&D and ranks 25th among the 26 jurisdictions, ahead of only Ireland.


OTTAWA, Sept. 3, 2015 /CNW/ - The first Conference Board of Canada How Canada Performs: Innovation report card to include provinces in the international ranking reveals that Alberta gets an overall "C" grade on its innovation performance. This places Alberta 15th among 26 comparator jurisdictions (10 provinces and 16 advanced countries), behind Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and the national average.

"The view of Alberta as a province of self-starting entrepreneurs is reinforced in our innovation report, as it ranks first among the provinces on both entrepreneurial ambition and enterprise entries," said Daniel Muzyka, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada. "But low rankings on a number of indicators, including venture capital investment, public R&D and business enterprise R&D leave Alberta in the middle-of-the-pack on innovation performance overall."

Eleven indicators were used to measure the provinces' innovation performance. This includes indicators in three categories:

  • innovation capacity—i.e., investments and resources that provide a foundation for research, idea-generation, and insight-sharing (including public R&D, researchers engaged in R&D, connectivity, and scientific articles);
  • innovation activity—i.e., entrepreneurial ambition, investments in ICT and venture capital, and business R&D activity that help to transform ideas into commercialized products, services and processes; and
  • innovation results—i.e., evidence of the impact of research, innovation and commercialization as captured in patents, new ventures, and overall labour productivity.


With 18 per cent of Albertans reporting some kind of early-stage entrepreneurial activity, the province places first among all 26 regions and earns an "A+" on entrepreneurial ambition. It also earns an "A" and ranks first among the provinces on enterprise entries. 

The province earns "B" grades on scientific articles, measured as the number of peer-reviewed scientific articles produced in natural sciences and engineering per million population, and connectivity. Alberta also scores a "B" on labour productivity and ranks third overall. However, its grade on labour productivity is likely more the result of its resource-intensive economy (with resource riches contributing to its higher GDP per hour worked) than its innovation performance.

Alberta earns a "C" on information and communications technology investment, and receives "D"s on three other indicators used to assess innovation performance—patents, venture capital investment, and public R&D. With public R&D of only 0.47 per cent of GDP, Alberta ranks 25th among the 26 jurisdictions, ahead of only Ireland.

Alberta gets "D–" grades on researchers engaged in R&D (including researchers employed in business, higher education and government) and business enterprise R&D (BERD). With BERD at 0.62 per cent of GDP, Alberta ranks fourth among the provinces but fares worse than all the peer countries.

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada's socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.

Released today, and building on previous How Canada Performs analyses, the Innovation report card is the fourth of six to be produced on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. To date, the Economy, Education and Skills, and Health report cards have been published. The remaining report cards will follow over the year.

This is the first year that provincial rankings are included in the report cards. Further details, including information on data sources and the methodology behind the rankings, can be found on the How Canada Performs website.

Explore the results of the innovation report card in depth during a live webinar, An Innovation Report Card for the Provinces: Global Leaders & Late Adopters, on September 25, 2015.

View video commentary by Daniel Muzyka, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada.

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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information: Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 221, E-mail:; or Juline Ranger, Associate Director of Communications, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 431, E-mail:

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