Innovation Report Card 2021

The Conference Board of Canada, June 28, 2021
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Interested in Canadian innovation performance? This year’s Innovation Report Card provides an update from 2018. Canada ranks 10th of 16 peer countries—up two positions—and earns a C on innovation.

Document Highlights

Innovation is the process through which economic or social value is extracted from knowledge—by creating, diffusing, and transforming ideas—to produce new or improved products, services, and processes.

Unfortunately, Canada continues to exhibit relatively weak innovation performance. In this year’s Innovation Report Card, Ontario remains the top-ranked province; however, it loses its B grade and slides two positions into ninth overall—Quebec also falls two spots into 11th. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba remain the lowest-ranked provinces, receiving D– grades. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador reclaim their D grades in this report card. Canada ranks 10th of 16 peer countries—up two positions—and earns a C on innovation.

A low-innovation, high standard of living equilibrium is ultimately unsustainable. This year’s Innovation Report Card proposes five measures that decision-makers could focus on to put Canada back on track.

Table of Contents


Assessing Canada’s Innovation:


  • Public R&D
  • Scientific articles
  • Automation vulnerability


  • Entrepreneurial ambition
  • Venture capital
  • Business R&D


  • Patents
  • Enterprise entry
  • Labour productivity

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