31 January 2012

Re:Forming Canadian Innovation Policy

Stephen Harper's Davos speech has garnered a fair bit of press. Outlining his "fix for a generation" the Prime Minister has addressed the well-worn Canadian R&D and innovation problem and the lackluster return Canada gets on it investments in R&D. Some have noted that this is a foreshadowing of reforms to the SR&ED regime, one  of the recommendations made by the Jenkins Report late last year. It is certainly time to act on the many reports calling for change to our innovation policy. Modernizing our approach to Canadian R&D, supporting the continuum of public sector innovation supports (both "idea push and problem pull") and encouraging businesses to invest in R&D and innovation as matched to the training and support of highly qualified and skilled personnel will go a long way to fostering greater productivity and return on our innovation investments. The problem with making these kinds of policy shifts is that it is difficult to please everyone, and so there will undoubtedly be a clamour of dissent no matter the direction chosen in the next federal budget. Regardless, as a country we need to make the most of the situation, and work together to improve our overall approach to forming a Canadian innovation policy.

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