Toronto, ON (January 6, 2022) – The Public Policy Forum has released a new report that calls on Canadian policymakers to take immediate action on implementing policies that invest in and support domestic breakthrough inventions to ensure the economy stays competitive and prosperous in the future. Specifically, the report sets out an institutional and policy blueprint for the future Canada Advanced Research Projects Agency (CARPA).
Written by Robert Asselin and Sean Speer, the report outlines that the recent evaluation of Canada’s prosperity has relied too heavily on deficit spending, booming real estate and debt-financed household consumption, and that Canada is not producing enough innovative ideas and technologies for it to be a competitive global economy in the years ahead.
One of the key recommendations is that Canada needs to up its game in applied industrial research, so that our firms can grow and lead in advanced industries where productivity is the highest.
In their 2021 electoral platforms, both the Liberal and Conservative parties promised to create CARPA “to help unleash bold new research and ideas, protect Canada’s competitive advantage, and help Canadian companies grow and create highly skilled jobs.” Although key details for CARPA are yet to be determined, the federal government recently referenced it in the mandate letter addressed to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
“Building a bridge between our intellectual capital and our firms is paramount,” says Robert Asselin, Senior Vice-President of Policy at the Business Council of Canada and PPF Fellow. “We must create the right public-private partnership that will incentivize our firms to invent and innovate, generate world-leading technologies and capture global markets. The ARPA model works, and we need to embrace it.”
“Canadian policymakers must think bigger to prioritize breakthrough innovations over incrementalism,” says Sean Speer, PPF Scotiabank Fellow in Strategic Competitiveness. “For the future of this country, Canada needs an institutional capacity to catalyze breakthrough ideas and technologies including towards the ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. If well-designed, CARPA can have an immense impact on augmenting Canada’s innovation ecosystem.”
The report states that CARPA has the potential to continuously replenish Canada’s innovation pipeline over the coming decades.