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OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2012

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2012

OECD's 2012 survey of the Canadian economy examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects, and takes a special look at business innovation and tertiary education.

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Unleashing business innovation

This chapter discusses how to improve Canada’s business innovation in order to boost labour productivity and output growth. Many general framework conditions are highly favourable to business risk-taking and innovation, including macro stability, openness, strong human capital, low corporate tax rates, low barriers to firm entry and flexible labour markets. However, they can be improved further by reduced external and interprovincial barriers in network and professional service sectors, more efficient capital markets, fewer capital tax distortions and improved patent protection. A second focus should be on ensuring that incentives arising from government subsidies are targeted on actual market failures. The very high level of support to business R&D via the federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit and provincial top-ups may weaken the incentives of small firms to grow and should be redesigned. A plethora of small, fragmented granting programmes, mainly geared to SMEs, should be streamlined for better academic-business collaboration. The large public share in venture capital should be wound down, as it may crowd out more productive private finance. A final focus should be on boosting manager and worker skills that are intrinsic to all forms of innovation, by filling gaps in training, mentoring and education.

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