Media Releases

Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress releases Eleventh Annual Report.

November 29, 2012

Ontario’s prosperity gap with peer jurisdictions persists. The time to push for the economic growth Ontario needs is now.

TORONTO, ON — As the reces­sion recedes, the Task Force on Com­pet­i­tive­ness, Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Eco­nom­ic Progress calls on all Ontar­i­ans to build on the province’s strengths and make the deci­sions and invest­ments need­ed to achieve the 2020 Pros­per­i­ty Agen­da. The Task Force sin­gles out the “dead cash” on the bal­ance sheets of Ontario busi­ness­es as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to enhance the province’s pros­per­i­ty. 

Toron­to – The Task Force is con­cerned that a new sta­tus quo of slow or stag­nant eco­nom­ic growth for Ontario’s econ­o­my is devel­op­ing. If eco­nom­ic growth lan­guish­es at less than 2 per­cent annu­al­ly, every­thing from gov­ern­ment fund­ing and pro­grams to pri­vate sec­tor com­pet­i­tive­ness and employ­ment will be impact­ed. The chal­lenge is to take advan­tage of Ontario’s rel­a­tive strength and sta­bil­i­ty now and push for the growth that can be achieved. This is the key con­clu­sion of the Eleventh Annu­al Report, A push for growth: The time is now, released today by the Task Force on Com­pet­i­tive­ness, Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Eco­nom­ic Progress.

In its Report, the Task Force reaf­firms that Ontario’s econ­o­my is one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful when com­pared to sim­i­lar regions out­side North Amer­i­ca. Ontario’s Gross Domes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) per capi­ta ranks 5th among a peer group of 13 pros­per­ous inter­na­tion­al regions. But among a set of 16 North Amer­i­can peer juris­dic­tions, Ontario con­tin­ues to lag. The Task Force reports that Ontario’s GDP per capi­ta ranked 14th among those peers and lagged the medi­an of the 16 North Amer­i­can peer juris­dic­tions by $7,500. When the Task Force began mea­sur­ing Ontario’s rank­ing in 2001, the province was 14th among the same peers. This con­tin­ued lag­ging per­for­mance medi­oc­rity rep­re­sents lost pros­per­i­ty, which neg­a­tive­ly affects Ontar­i­ans at all income lev­els, and needs to be addressed now.

Roger Mar­tin, Dean of the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment and Chair­man of the Task Force observed: “We have so many eco­nom­ic advan­tages in Ontario – a sound bank­ing sys­tem, a strong hous­ing mar­ket, a robust dol­lar, a tra­di­tion of build­ing great infra­struc­ture, and a tal­ent­ed and diverse work­force. But the gap in GDP per capi­ta with North Amer­i­can peers shows that Ontario needs to move now to push for more growth.” While we need to address our pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in all areas, the Report sin­gles out the “dead cash” on the bal­ance sheets of Ontario’s com­pa­nies as a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty. “That mon­ey can be used to invest in the phys­i­cal and human cap­i­tal we need to increase our pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and close the pros­per­i­ty gap,” said Mar­tin.

The Report com­mends Ontario’s cor­po­rate lead­ers for the sta­bil­i­ty they have pro­vid­ed through tur­bu­lent eco­nom­ic times. But now those same lead­ers need to invest in infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy (ICT), as well as in efforts to improve the skills of their work force. Com­pa­nies also need to improve their man­age­ment capa­bil­i­ty and find ways to scale up oper­a­tions in Ontario.

While gov­ern­ments of all lev­els have made great strides in areas of pub­lic pol­i­cy relat­ed to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, such as tax reform and post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion invest­ment, they must now con­cen­trate their efforts on tack­ling deficits in a bal­anced way, pro­vid­ing appro­pri­ate incen­tives for busi­ness to invest, and improv­ing the lit­er­a­cy and skills of the work force in a way that nur­tures long-term pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

Final­ly, the Task Force needs to push itself to find new and cre­ative ways of hav­ing its voice heard in Ontario. The time to push for growth is now.

Actions to achieve the 2020 Pros­per­i­ty Agen­da

For busi­ness…
• Con­sid­er alter­na­tives to hold­ing larg­er cash bal­ances and address the dead cash conun­drum.
• Encour­age pri­vate sec­tor invest­ment in ICT, skilled work­ers, and research and devel­op­ment.
• Scale up oper­a­tions in Ontario firms and invest the appro­pri­ate resources in R&D.
• Improve man­age­ment capa­bil­i­ty.
• Boost invest­ment in machin­ery and equip­ment when the Cana­di­an dol­lar is high to cap­i­tal­ize on the ben­e­fit of strong pur­chas­ing pow­er.

For gov­ern­ments…
• Main­tain invest­ments in edu­ca­tion in line with that of peer juris­dic­tions as efforts to bal­ance the bud­get are made.
• Con­cen­trate efforts to upgrade the skills and lit­er­a­cy of work­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly in ser­vice occu­pa­tions and high val­ue added man­u­fac­tur­ing.
• Remove bar­ri­ers that pre­vent robust trade with the glob­al econ­o­my.
• Rein­force Ontario’s struc­tures of spe­cial­ized sup­port and com­pet­i­tive pres­sure for busi­ness­es.
• Ensure that provin­cial and munic­i­pal gov­ern­ments are invest­ing ade­quate­ly in urban infra­struc­ture to facil­i­tate and sup­port the inevitable growth of urban pop­u­la­tions.

The com­plete report can be down­loaded direct­ly from:

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:
Jami­son Steeve, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Insti­tute for Com­pet­i­tive­ness & Pros­per­i­ty at 416–946-7585 or vis­it

The cre­ation of the Task Force on Com­pet­i­tive­ness, Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Eco­nom­ic Progress was announced in Ontario’s 2001 Speech from the Throne. Roger L. Mar­tin, Dean of the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, is the Chair­man. Its man­date is to mea­sure and mon­i­tor Ontario’s com­pet­i­tive­ness, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and eco­nom­ic progress com­pared to oth­er provinces and US states, and to report to the pub­lic on a reg­u­lar basis.

The Insti­tute for Com­pet­i­tive­ness & Pros­per­i­ty is an inde­pen­dent not-for-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion estab­lished in 2001 to serve as the research arm of Ontario’s Task Force on Com­pet­i­tive­ness, Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and Eco­nom­ic Progress. The Insti­tute and the Task Force are sup­port­ed through the Min­istry of Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment and Inno­va­tion.

Ontario’s 12 inter­na­tion­al peer juris­dic­tions out­side North Amer­i­ca:
• Baden-Würt­tem­berg (Ger­many)
• Bay­ern (Ger­many)
• Cataluña (Spain)
• Hes­sen (Ger­many)
• Kan­to (Japan)
• Kin­ki (Japan)
• Lom­bar­dia (Italy)
• New South Wales (Aus­tralia)
• Nor­drhein-West­falen (Ger­many)
• Rhône-Alpes (France)
• South East (UK)
• Vlaams-Gewest (Bel­gium)

Ontario’s 15 peer North Amer­i­can juris­dic­tions (14 US states and Que­bec):
• Cal­i­for­nia
• Flori­da
• Geor­gia
• Illi­nois
• Indi­ana
• Mass­a­chu­setts
• Michi­gan
• New Jer­sey
• New York
• North Car­oli­na
• Ohio
• Penn­syl­va­nia
• Que­bec
• Texas
• Vir­ginia

The Rot­man School of Man­age­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is redesign­ing busi­ness edu­ca­tion for the 21st cen­tu­ry with a cur­ricu­lum based on Inte­gra­tive Think­ing. Locat­ed in the world’s most diverse city, the Rot­man School fos­ters a new way to think that enables the design of cre­ative busi­ness solu­tions.  The School is cur­rent­ly rais­ing $200 mil­lion to ensure Cana­da has the world-class busi­ness school it deserves. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Ken McGuf­fin
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions
Rot­man School of Man­age­ment
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Voice 416.946.3818
Fol­low Rot­man on Twit­ter @rotmanschool
Watch Rot­man on You Tube