A View of Ontario: Ontario’s Clusters of Innovation

Released April 2002

Drawing on the analytical approach of Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter, the Institute released its first Working Paper on Ontario’s competitiveness, productivity, and economic progress, A View of Ontario: Ontario’s Clusters of Innovation.

The paper is the result of collaboration with Porter’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School, which for the first time has allowed Porter’s approach to be applied to Canadian data. Regional clusters of competing companies and associated institutions have been shown to innovate more rapidly, diffuse knowledge more quickly and sharpen global competitiveness through intense local rivalry. Clusters pressure individual competitors to perform at their best, but also give them support to compete globally.

The Working Paper shows Ontario has an above average share of its employment in traded clusters, lead by business services, financial services, and the automotive industry. It compares Ontario’s top-ten clusters with those of Alberta, Michigan, Illinois, and Massachusetts. The paper also profiles the entertainment, automotive, pharmaceuticals & biotechnology and financial services clusters. 

Building on research from Statistics Canada, the paper points to three possible causes for sluggish income growth – low productivity, not enough people working in high-productivity jobs, and a poor record of innovation and upgrading by industry. 

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Topics: Clusters