Weak Productivity Growth: Achilles Heel of the Canadian Economy

    OTTAWA, April 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Productivity growth is the Achilles heel
of the Canadian economy, as revealed by the following statistics:

    - Since 1973 total economy output per hour growth in Canada, at 1.2 per
      cent per year, has been the third lowest among OECD countries. Canada
      has fallen from 5th to 18th place in terms of our level of GDP per hour
      worked between 1973 and 2006.
    - Since 2000, business sector output per hour in Canada has advanced at a
      meager 1.1 per cent per year, one third of the US rate.
    - In manufacturing, output per hour in Canada has advanced at a rate of
      0.65 per cent per year over the 2000-2006 period. That is just 1/8 of
      the 5.32 per cent average annual rate in the U.S. This has resulted in
      a significant loss in Canada's cost competitiveness.

    The Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) today
released the Spring 2007 issue of its flagship publication, the International
Productivity Monitor, with an article by Dr. Andrew Sharpe, CSLS Executive
Director, that addresses Canada's productivity quagmire. The article is an
abridged version of a report prepared for Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada.
    Dr. Sharpe examines the productivity success of six OECD countries - the
United States, the United Kingdom. Australia, Ireland, Sweden, and Finland - 
and draws lessons for Canada.

    - Competitive markets are essential for productivity advance. Governments
      should ensure that product markets, labour markets, and capital markets
      are as competitive as possible.
    - Human capital is the foundation of productivity growth. Government
      support for education -- both research and teaching - likely represents
      the most effective means by which public resources can be used to
      promote productivity growth.
    - Productivity growth is driven by the adoption of best-practice
      techniques. Governments can support private sector productivity growth
      by promoting best-practice technologies.
    - Institutional rigidities impede productivity growth. Governments can
      help by encouraging institutional flexibility conducive to productivity

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview with Dr. Sharpe: Martha
Plaine, (613) 728-4754,  mlplaine@yahoo.ca; Dr. Sharpe, (613) 233-8891; Read
the article at http://csls.ca/ipm/ipm14.asp

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