Scientific research and development is not a luxury for modern, industrialized countries such as Canada. It’s a necessity that we ignore at our peril. Without it, innovation and new discoveries suffer – and we risk being left behind in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Canada is criticized routinely on this measure, and for good reason. According to the most recent data from the OECD (from 2011), Canada falls well behind most other wealthy nations on total spending on research and development. At 1.74 per cent of GDP, we lag behind countries including the U.S. (2.77 per cent), Sweden (3.37 per cent) and Finland (3.78 per cent). Israel, a powerhouse in innovation and creative design, tops the list at 4.38 per cent.