Strategic Focus and Action Items
Expand our capacity for innovation and competitiveness
After a period of sustained growth between 2001 and 2009, in the past few
Gross domestic expenditures on research and development ($Millions) – New Brunswick
Natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities 2007 constant prices
Source: Statistics Canada CANSIM Table 358-0001
The focus needs to be on encouraging the private sector to invest in research and innovation.
The subject of innovation has been part of the economic development lexicon in New Brunswick for nearly two decades. There have been multiple plans and initiatives meant to boost our innovative capacity as a province and increase competitiveness. These have resulted in modest progress yet the Conference Board of Canada recently gave New Brunswick an overall D- for its innovation capacity. Of particular concern, the province was given a ‘D’ in labour productivity. According to Statistics Canada, labour productivity in the business sector rose by seven percent across Canada between 2007 and 2014 which is not a particularly good performance. New Brunswick actually witnessed a decline of two
This represents a serious challenge. The economy of the province faces greater global competition than at any time in its history. Investment, talent and ideas flow across borders like never before. Our firms, institutions and the public sector must take innovation and competitiveness more seriously or our economy and ultimately quality of life will suffer.
Government needs to be innovative and has an important role to play both as a source of innovation and an enabler of new ideas and creativity across the economy. But what is the right role for government to foster innovation and competitiveness and thus creating a positive environment for