Focus in Federal Budget Reflects Innovation Priority of Canadian Boards

Mar 22, 2017
The Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) welcomed the spotlight on innovation in the federal budget.  In particular, the ICD supports initiatives that would accelerate hiring times for global talent, support investment in high-growth potential companies and provide additional funding for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. 
“Encouraging Canada to be more innovative and accruing the social and economic benefits of innovation is a national priority,” said Rahul Bhardwaj, President and CEO of the ICD. “As a global leader in governance, Canada is well-positioned in an innovation economy and an innovative world.”
The link between innovation and strong governance is an area of focus for the ICD, which believes that Canada can leverage strong corporate and societal governance practices to develop into an innovation leader. 
In a recent ICD/Environics survey, Canada’s corporate directors highlighted that, among the reasons Canada is well positioned to advance business innovation are broad access to quality education (77%), high-value global expertise in specific industries (68%) and Canada’s system and tradition in the rule of law (61%).  Further, 56% believe that Canadian immigration policies are a benefit to an innovative economy. 
However, only 37% of directors pointed to Canada’s innovation culture as being an advantage while 41% responded that our lack of such a culture is a barrier to business innovation.  In addition, 41% of directors also viewed Canada’s uneven emphasis on STEM education as a further barrier to innovation.
“Canada has an ideal platform to be an innovation leader but, as recognized in this budget, we need to do more,” said Bhardwaj. “Specific measures that encourage new thinking and action are likely to help foster a national culture of innovation, which Canada’s directors believe is an important global advantage.”