Finding its own way: Ontario needs to take a new tack
In its Thirteenth Annual Report, Finding its own way: Ontario needs to take a new tack, the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress highlights four fundamental issues that have played a role in contributing to, and could form a base for a solution for, Ontario’s subpar economic performance: shifts in industrial composition; under performance in key education indicators; lagging business growth; and inadequate levels of innovation. Without substantial change in these areas, Ontario will fail to close the prosperity gap and will continue to trail the competition.
To confront the issues holding Ontario back, the Task Force recommends that Ontario:
- Ensure quality education that emphasizes quantitative and technical ability. New curriculum or adjustments to teacher training in the maths and sciences must be examined.
- Facilitate business growth by speeding up licence, permit, and contract processing; reducing costs associated with international trade; encouraging competition by opening up industries to trade; and amending tax policy to incentivize growth.
- Foster a competitive innovation ecosystem by re-orienting R&D policies toward direct forms of funding; improving intellectual property protection laws, introducing a patent box, and protecting patents abroad; creating better benchmark data on innovation; teaching innovation in secondary school; and establishing a Productivity Ontario initiative modeled after Productivity Alberta.
Professor Roger L. Martin, Chairman of the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress states that “It is our hope that economic leaders, in both the private and public sectors, draw on the findings and recommendations in this Annual Report to chart a unique course that gets Ontario to the finish line from a different angle, but ahead of our competition.”