Manufacturers lag in innovation, commercialization: CME

Detailed report looks at the problem, contributing factors and offer solutions.

March 1, 2017   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO — Canadian manufacturers are falling behind in innovation and the development and commercialization of new products, according to a report by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

“If Canada is going to grow its economy and manufacturing sector, if we are going to drive innovation, we must start focusing our efforts on product commercialization. Unfortunately there are fewer activities in these areas and Canadian manufacturers are falling behind,” said Mathew Wilson, CME’s senior vice-president.

The numbers are not encouraging. Statistics Canada reports companies with at least one innovation dropped from nearly 50% in 2007 to less than 44% by 2014, and those reporting no innovations more than doubled from less than 19% to nearly 39%.

CME notes frustration among companies that participated in the cross-Canada Industrie 2030 consultations. Their concerns ranged from problems with the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, to the poor linkages and support from post-secondary institutions, and a lack of government risk-sharing support in most sectors.

Fostering Innovation, Commercialization, and New Product Development, the third in a series of reports stemming from CME’s Industrie 2030 initiative, offers some recommendations directed at the federal government to ramp up innovation and commercialization:

• Strengthen and expand the SR&ED program;

• Implement a patent box system to reward product commercialization in Canada;

• Create a manufacturing commercialization investment fund to provide risk-sharing supports;

• Expand funding for industry-driven programs aimed at post-secondary partnerships; and

• Leverage government procurement to foster R&D.

CME’s Industrie 2030 initiative is aimed at doubling manufacturing output by 2030.

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