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Canada Must Speed Up its Innovation

Yesterday, we saw encouraging signs from Europe that the economic downturn was abating as countries started to reopen for business – manufacturing and services (with particular emphasis on saving the tourism season). However, warning signs persisted, and leading economists and bankers were quick to warn of the pressures ahead. Latin America has now become the epicenter of the virus and there is risk that it could migrate back into North America later this year.

At home, innovation specialists provided a stark warning about Canada’s ability to recover and grow economically in the long term. Dan Breznitz, innovation policy lab at the University of Toronto highlighted Canada’s shortcomings, specifically when it comes to Canada developing value-added products into the supply chain. Today, Canada is too reliant on providing raw materials and the forecast for this sector is weak. So, Canada’s ability to innovate will be essential.

There are examples of innovation, e.g. Shopify, which is moving into the grocery sector (this will take time to execute), however, it is clear that Canada is not scaling fast enough. In comparison, India is investing heavily in the medical sector to capture increasing demand from international buyers who want to diversify away from their over reliance on China.

One of the key drivers of innovation will be the availability of funding for this innovation, both in development and funding exports abroad. Additional support is needed.

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