Someone counter-intuitively, the report ranks us number 2 in education, but mediocre in practically everything else. Perhaps that says good things about our future, at least, though it cautions that Canada trails in PhD graduates, who can be expected to be the drivers of innovation.
And innovation is where they really nail us, 13 out of 17. Since our economy is largely resource based, even moreso now with the reliance on Alberta's oil industry, there is less incentive to develop new technologies and new industries that could be competitive all over the world. That is a problem going forward, evidenced by our falling productivity. Mediocre productivity and economic growth cascades into our lower rankings on social and health policy:
The report links Canada's lack of innovation to flagging economic performance,
which means there is less money to spend on services such as health and
"Canada's deteriorating transportation infrastructure, its longer
hospital wait times, and the collective sense of urgency about the affordability
of social programs are all directly linked to Canada's lagging productivity,
which in turn is linked to its innovation problem," the report said.
All this is certainly cause for concern, but there are ways to reverse these trends. Our government is not short of funds; targeted tax cuts and incentives could help boost productivity and promote innovation, and improving public infrastructure and transportation is essential as we leave the era of cheap oil. Broad reform of health care could eliminate hospital wait times and lessen the financial burden of Medicare in the future.
I would not characterize our challenges as fundamental as those facing the US, but they are there, nonetheless.