Ontario in the global top five on conference board of Canada's innovation report card

Province earns a "B" grade for innovation performance

OTTAWA, Sept. 3, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Ontario is the top-ranked province, earning a "B" overall on The Conference Board of Canada's How Canada Performs: Innovation report card—the first to compare the Canadian provinces against advanced countries. Ontario places fifth place among 26 regions (10 provinces and 16 countries), just after Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the United States.

"Ontario is among the top performers in the world when it comes to innovation, doing better than Canada as a whole," said Daniel Muzyka, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board of Canada. "The province does very well on public R&D and entrepreneurial activity—two important elements of innovation performance. However, Ontario's weak grades on business R&D, patents, and labour productivity suggest that the province has challenges with commercialization and reaping the larger benefits of innovation."


  • Ontario earns a "B" grade overall on innovation and ranks fifth among 26 jurisdictions, after Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the United States.
  • The province scores "A"s on public R&D and entrepreneurial ambition and "B" grades on five other innovation indicators.
  • With public R&D spending of 1.02 per cent as a share of GDP, Ontario is among the highest spenders in the world.

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.

Ontario receives two "A", five "B", one "C" and three "D" grades.

Ontario receives an "A" on public R&D. With  spending of 1.02 per cent as a share of GDP, Ontario is among the top-ranked in the world, behind only Nova Scotia and Denmark.

Ontario also earns an "A" for entrepreneurial ambition (the percentage of the working age population who report being engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity). With 13 per cent of Ontarians reporting some kind of early-stage entrepreneurial activity, the province places 8th overall—behind four provinces and three countries (including Canada).

Ontario receives "B"s on connectivity, scientific articles, measured as the number of peer-reviewed scientific articles produced in natural sciences and engineering per million population, venture capital investment, information and communications technology (ICT) investment and enterprise entry. Ontario's average venture capital investment as a share of GDP is lower than only two provinces—B.C. and Quebec—and the United States. On ICT investment, Ontario is one of the top-ranking provinces, but trails 10 of the 16 international peers. The province places 5th out of 26 jurisdictions on researchers engaged in R&D (including researchers employed in business, higher education and government) but only gets a "C" grade relative to top-ranked Finland.

Like most provinces, Ontario gets poor grades on business enterprise research and development (BERD), patents, and labour productivity. While it ranks second among the provinces on BERD, Ontario trails 13 of the 16 comparator countries and earns only a "D" on this indicator. Likewise, on the patents indicator, Ontario is the top-ranked province but achieves only a "D" relative to international peers. On labour productivity, Ontario earns a "D" and ranks 20th among the 26 jurisdictions.

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: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca; or, Juline Ranger, Associate Director of Communications, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 431, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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