05 April 2010

Productivity, and why it matters

I was remiss in commenting a week or so ago when Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney commented on the sorry state of Canadian productivity. Needless to say, it's sobering to learn that Canada's productivity continues to plummet. Carney's comments that business needs to do more were met by protestations from some in industry. Regardless, the need to increase Canadian productivity is real. Today's Report on Business has a good op-ed from Gwyn Morgan on Why productivity gains should matter to Canadians.  A short while ago I referenced Kevin Lynch's article on our innovation deficit, and here is another piece he has written on Canada's Productivity Trap. Both Lynch and Morgan are aligned on the need to encourage education and innovation as ways to escape this productivity trap. Ontario's recent budget has a very strong and necessary focus on education, and perhaps most importantly in this area, better articulation of credit transfer among Ontario post-secondary institutions. We can liken the coming seismic post-secondary education sector changes in Ontario to moving from a feudal to a federated system. This evolution to an integrated innovation/education system will ensure our population has the education and skills to compete in the innovation economy.

Morgan closes his column with a definition of productivity from "the website of the National Trade Union Congress of Mauritius:"

"Productivity is a process of continuous improvement in the production/supply of quality output/service through efficient, effective use of inputs; with the emphasis on teamwork for the betterment of all."

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