Institute Releases Second Working Paper

Released August 21st, 2002

Toronto — Ontario’s GDP per person is almost 14 per cent lower than the median of 16 comparable North American jurisdictions. This performance gap equates to nearly $6,000 for every person in Ontario. This was a conclusion of the second Working Paper released today by the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity. The Working Paper demonstrates that while Ontario’s economy performs extremely well globally, it trails many of the U.S. states in its peer group.

This Working Paper follows the Institute’s first Working Paper, released in late April, with an analysis of the elements that drive GDP per person and a proposed measurement system for tracking Ontario’s economic performance against North American jurisdictions with population greater than six million.

“Ontario’s economy is one of the strongest in the world,” said Roger Martin, Dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Chairman of the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity. “But when we compare it to a peer group of U.S. states and Quebec, we rank 14th out of 16. The Working Paper asks how high Ontarians want to aspire. I sincerely doubt Ontarians are satisfied with a 14th out of 16 – the question is how far and how fast do we want to move up in rank?”

The Working Paper identified productivity as the primary source of Ontario’s performance gap. Martin said, “Improving productivity isn’t getting us to work harder – in fact a more productive economy provides more leisure time, if that’s how people choose to benefit from it. Productivity comes from innovation and upgrading our products and processes and we believe this is a function of our attitudes, investments and motivations.” He was referring to the elements of the Institute’s economic indicators that are proposed in the second Working Paper. These enable the Institute to identify the most significant factors behind Ontario’s economic growth.

The Working Paper also noted the importance of cities. Said Martin, “Our work has shown the positive effect of urbanization on productivity and economic progress. We need to ensure our cities continue to be vibrant places where Ontarians want to live and work.”

Following today’s release, the Institute is continuing its research work as well as engaging business leaders, academics, regional development agencies and the public in a consultation process. But the primary audience for the Working Paper is the Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress – a task force of industry and academic leaders appointed by former Premier Harris and chaired by Roger Martin.

The Institute is supported through the Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation. The Task Force will issue its first annual report to the people of Ontario in the fall.

The complete paper can be downloaded directly from:

For more information contact James Milway, Executive Director of the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity at 416.920.1921 ext. 222.

About the Institute
The Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity is an independent not-for-profit organization established in 2001 to serve as the research arm of Ontario’s Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress.

Working Papers published by the Institute are primarily intended to inform the work of the Task Force. In addition, they are designed to raise public awareness and stimulate debate on a range of issues related to competitiveness and prosperity.

About the Task Force
The creation of the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress was announced in Ontario’s April 2001 Speech from the Throne. Roger L. Martin, Dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, is the Chairman.

The mandate of the Task Force is to measure and monitor Ontario’s competitiveness, productivity and economic progress compared to other provinces and U.S. states, and to report to the public on a regular basis. Members of the Task Force were announced by Premier Harris on October 17, 2001 and details can be found at

It is the aspiration of the Task Force to have a significant influence in increasing Ontario’s competitiveness, productivity and capacity for innovation. This, they believe, will help ensure continued success in the creation of good jobs, increased prosperity and a high quality of life for all Ontarians. The Task Force intends to seek breakthrough findings from their research and to propose significant innovations in public policy in order to stimulate businesses, governments and educational institutions to take action.