While Canada has a thriving high-tech economy and is witnessing unparalleled levels of technological innovation, it is still lagging behind the United States in the high-tech race, according to a rece...
September 1, 2000
While Canada has a thriving high-tech economy and is witnessing unparalleled levels of technological innovation, it is still lagging behind the United States in the high-tech race, according to a recent study by Industry Canada.
The study, Catching up to the Jetsons, points out the United States is ahead of Canada in critical arenas such as the Internet, biotechnology, information technology and communications. It also points out that our overall investment and R&D rates lag behind those in the US, and that Canadian companies are slower than their American counterparts in adopting leading-edge methods and processes.
Citing some rather awesome statistics, the report points out that business revenues for the total Internet economy in the US are 15 times larger than in Canada. The biggest discrepancy is in the area of Internet applications (including web and software development) where US business revenues are 100 times larger than Canadian business revenues.
The report also notes that last year Canadians spent an average of US$291 online while Americans spent US$1,326. This is partially due to the fact that 26 per cent of Canada’s 200 largest retailers offered web-based shopping last year, compared with 50 per cent of equivalent retailers south of the border. This mean Canadians spent 63 per cent of their online dollars (excluding financial transactions and travel arrangements) at US web sites in 1999.
Offering up some potential solutions, the report points out that to compete, Canada will need more investment in R&D, a commitment to revitalize and rebuild both plants and equipment that facilitate the new technologies, and will have to make a significant investment in people. The latter will mean an investment “knowledge workers”, including architects, engineers and college-trained technologists for such fields as manufacturing, communications and information technology. It will also mean finding ways to help keep and attract the “best and brightest” in Canada.