Innovation & Technology

The Conference Board of Canada facilitates innovation—from inspiration to implementation—through impactful peer-to-peer learning and research. Our goal is to increase Canada’s global competitiveness by improving private and public sector innovation performance and technology creation and adoption. We achieve this by fostering Canada’s innovation ecosystem and studying the impact of technology on society.

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Recent releases

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Surveying Automation Trends in Canada Major Forces 2022

Major forces are the trends that shape our world. They push our societies, businesses, and governments to recalibrate their decisions and pursue the opportunities they provide. For example, major forces such as climate change force businesses to become more sustainable, and an aging workforce requires governments to find creative solutions to social safety net challenges.

Issue briefing  |  22-min read
May 3, 2022

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How Do We Future-Proof the Canadian Economy?

One in five Canadian employees is working a job that is at considerable risk of automation. And for these 3.5 million people, there are few or no options to transition into lower-risk occupations without undergoing significant retraining. This isn’t to say that these workers will lose their jobs and have to find new ones, rather, their roles will likely undergo major changes in the coming years. In this sense, transition also means transformation.

OP-ED  |  4-min read
March 30, 2022

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Lessons From the Nordic Innovation Study Tour

Innovation is important at the firm level, as organizations that innovate successfully enhance their competitiveness and position themselves for growth. Canada exhibits relatively weak innovation performance, while Nordic countries are recognized as global innovation leaders. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway all outperform Canada on The Conference Board of Canada’s Innovation Report Card, which examines various indicators of innovation capacity, activity, and results. This has been the case for several years.

Impact paper  |  30-min read
March 28, 2022

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Strengthening Canada’s Digital Defences

The cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, with Canadian organizations getting attacked every single day. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have accelerated their digital transformation. However, the perimeters of Canada’s organizations have changed drastically, thereby increasing their risk profiles. For this reason, cybersecurity must not become an afterthought.

Impact paper  |  34-min read
March 23, 2022

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How Ontario Universities Benefit Regional Economies

The purpose of this study is to quantify the collective economic impacts of Ontario universities in the various regions of the province. Universities create economic and social value for their host communities through a multitude of channels. First, universities support economic activity via spending related to their activities.

Impact paper  |  30-min read
December 9, 2021

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Technology, Talent, and the Future Workplace: Canadian CIO Outlook 2021

Technology proved vital in helping businesses adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. Information technology (IT) infrastructure and collaboration tools were essential to help employees work together and engage with customers in the new virtual paradigm. Organizations need to determine how the bold actions taken to survive the pandemic fit into future operational strategies, rather than adopting a business-as-usual attitude.

Issue briefing  |  13-min read
December 7, 2021

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Cyber and Privacy Review 2021: How the Pandemic Changed Our Tech Use

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about rapid changes to the workplace. Leadership needed to be agile in responding to remote work and new security challenges, both on and offline. With many more people working remotely during the pandemic, organizations suddenly faced cybersecurity challenges and privacy concerns associated with a decentralized workforce and rapid technology adoption.

Impact paper  |  17-min read
December 7, 2021

Innovation Report Card 2021

Innovation is important, but Canada continues to exhibit relatively weak innovation performance. Volatile resource prices, changing demographics, and increasing economic protectionism are exposing Canada’s business innovation weakness and generating pressure to become more innovative in the coming years.

Online experience  | 11-min read
June 28, 2021

A Better Yardstick: A Capability-Centred Innovation Framework for Measuring Innovation

The importance of innovation is well-understood. Aside from its direct benefits of improved productivity, economic growth, and job creation, innovation allows governments to spend more resources on support for policy priorities, such as education, health, and infrastructure. Another key outcome is the increased income resulting from successful innovation, which leads to a better standard of living.

Impact paper  | 30-min read
September 28, 2021

Responding to Automation: Building a Cleaner Future

Could the clean economy offer brighter futures for workers at risk of automation? In a previous study, we identified 92 occupations at a high risk of automation with few desirable opportunities to transition into lower-risk ones. These high-risk, low-mobility (HRLM) occupations account for one in five employees in Canada. Is your industry vulnerable to automation?

Online experience  |  8-min read
June 3, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Tech Checkup: Strategic Risk and Emergency Management

COVID-19 fundamentally changed how businesses operate. And with new operations comes new technological risks—especially for a remote workforce. How are organizations switching up their strategic roles in light of the pandemic? To find out, The Conference Board of Canada surveyed 97 risk and emergency management leaders and practitioners. This is what we learned.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 11, 2021

Directing the COVID Recovery

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada lost over 3 million jobs and the unemployment rate rose to a record high. As of early September, only 1.9 million of those jobs had been recovered. Some industries, however, could see permanent changes to their workforce and how they do business. Also, some industries may take longer to recover than others.

Executive summary  |  3-min read
April 9, 2021

Directing the COVID Recovery: Assessing the Impacts of Potential Stimulus Policies in British Columbia

Canada suffered its worst recession in post-war history last year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the country lost over 3 million jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, the highest on record. As of early September, only 1.9 million jobs had been recovered. There could be significant permanent structural changes in affected industries, such as retail, tourism, transportation, and hospitality. In addition, some industries will be slower to recover than others..

Impact paper  |  15-min read
April 9, 2021

Automation in Canada

Our leaders need to be ready. Automation-enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics will cause swift changes in the skills many industries need. In Canada, nearly one in five employees are already in an occupation at high risk of automation, where transitioning into a lower-risk occupation would require significant retraining.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 8, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Preparing Canada’s Economies for Automation

Employment declines in occupations that involve routine tasks have been under way for decades. However, it is unclear how advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will impact local economies. As some occupations and industries are more vulnerable to automation than others, and regional economies have different occupational and industry mixes, regions may experience the impact of automation differently.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
March 15, 2021

Leverage societal shifts to make Canada a global leader

Canadians are innovating and adapting as health emergencies, global warming and automation change our way of life. The COVID pandemic, for example, has accelerated technology adoption as people have sought to remain connected.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
February 22, 2021

Responding to Automation: Technology Adoption in Canadian Industries

Canadian industries have experienced rapid technological change with the advent of several transformative innovations over the past decade. Different technologies pose different re-skilling and occupational transition challenges across industries. Business leaders need to be mindful of which technology they adopt.

Impact paper  |  20-min read
January 28, 2021
Partner—Future Skills Centre

Tech Checkup: Mitigating In-Person Risks

Organizations have changed how they do business. To adhere to social distancing measures and mitigate the risks of COVID-19, they have adopted new technologies and adapted their business models, services, and processes. These changes have allowed key Canadian industries to stay connected with their clients and continue meeting their needs.

Online experience  |  8-min read
January 11, 2021

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Darren Gresch

Darren Gresch

Senior Research Associate

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