R&D intensity in Canada declined from 2.1% of GDP in 2004 to 1.8% in 2008. This value is in line with the OECD (1.9%) but below the G7 average (2.2%).
Government financing of business R&D (2.3%) is low compared to the OECD average (6.7%). The rate of R&D tax subsidies is higher, especially for SMEs which benefit from a rate 45% higher than large firms.
>> Download all the charts and data in Excel (figures from 2005 - 2008)
Targeting New Growth Areas
Canada has a low number of patents (21 per million inhabitants in 2005-07) compared to the OECD (33) and the G7 average (48). Patents reveal a strong research specialization in environment, health and biotechnology.
Above 10% of Canadian patent portfolio in 2005-07 were dedicated to biotechnology. Biotechnology R&D accounts for above 11% of all business sector R&D in Canada, the third largest share after Ireland (22%) and Belgium (13%).
The share of broadband subscribers (29% in 2008) is the highest among G7 countries.
Competing in the World Economy
In 2007 Canada registered one of the largest trade deficits in high and medium-high technology goods among OECD countries. The same is true for the ICT manufacturing trade balance.
FDI inflows to Canada dropped by 97% in the first quarter of 2009, the largest decrease among G7 countries.
Over 65% of Canadian businesses purchased goods or services over the Internet in 2007, the highest share among G7 countries. On the contrary, the share of Canadian firms selling over the Internet (13%) was below the OECD average (17%). Over 90% of Canadian businesses had a broadband connection in 2008 against an OECD average of 83%.
In 1998-2008, the rate of labour productivity growth in Canada (1.3%) was below the OECD average (2.2%).
Connecting to Global Research
The degree of international cooperation in innovation in Canada seems in line with the OECD area. International co-patenting – two or more inventors from different countries - and cross-border patents – the “owner” and the inventor from different countries – are close to the OECD average. R&D funds from abroad accounted for over 15% of total business enterprise R&D funding in Canada in 2007.
Foreign students accounted for almost 40% of all doctoral students in Canada, one of the highest rates in the OECD.
Investing in the Knowledge Economy
University graduation rates for women (44% in 2007) are higher than the OECD average (42%) but male rates (26%) are lower (29%).
Graduation rates in science and engineering are lower the OECD average both at the university and the doctoral level.
Tertiary-level education increased by 2.7% a year over 1998 and 2007. Science and technology occupations accounted for about 36% of total employment in Canada in 2008.
In Canada, a worker with a bachelor degree and above earns 1.8 times more than a worker with primary education and below. This is lower than the average wage premium from tertiary education among G7 (2.1) and OECD countries (2.0).