Canadian innovation funding hits another snag

Canada is a land of innovation. Look no further than the pizza dip roller or ketchup chips! Unfortunately, innovation funding continues to be a serious challenge.  

What happened: The Canada Innovation Corp. (CIC) — a new innovation funding body that was supposed to launch this year and receive $2.6 billion over four years to invest in businesses looking to innovate — will now be delayed by as much as three years. 

  • This vague timeline puts the CIC’s existence in jeopardy as a federal election is set for 2025. If a new party gains power before it launches, it could be scrapped entirely. 

Why it matters: This is the latest in a line of federal innovation letdowns, like the multi-billion dollar “supercluster” program criticized for delivering no results or the federal green-tech subsidies body, which has had its funding frozen amid allegations of mismanagement.

  • Canada’s innovation output has been slipping for some time. Though it still places high in the global innovation rankings — in 15th place overall —  that’s 8 spots lower than where it was 15 years ago and lower than every other G7 nation besides Italy. 

Big picture: More innovation leads to higher productivity, and right now Canada needs a boost to productivity like a fish needs water. Productivity has fallen in 12 of the last 13 quarters since 2016, and if this trend doesn’t reverse, Canada will fulfill the embarrassing prophecy of being the worst-performing advanced economy over the next 40 years.—QH