Hockey isn’t the only thing our northern neighbors do well. Canada – Ontario in particular – knows innovation.
While the U.S. has struggled in recent years to find ways to maintain its leadership position in medical innovation – Ontario has its own strategy that seems to be working out quite well for the Canadian province. More than $13.9 billion in industrial and university-based R&D is performed in Ontario every year.
So, what’s their secret? Ontario offers all the key ingredients for attracting life sciences companies: the right people, the right cost, and a healthy research environment.
Let’s start with the people part of the equation. Ontario has more than 100,000 researchers in its talent pool. Thousands of young researchers and technicians graduate from the province’s 44 universities and colleges every year. Ontario attracts top scientists from around the world with generous funding programs, top-notch lab facilities and the opportunity to work on leading-edge projects in a collaborative environment.
The next ingredient – cost – is particularly impressive, given the troubles U.S. medical device companies are facing with the recent medical device tax. Canada’s R&D tax incentive program is one of the most generous in the world. The after-tax cost of $100 R&D expenditure can be reduced to roughly $56 or even less than $37 for small businesses. A survey of international business costs last year showed that Canada offers the lowest R&D costs among the G7. That same survey reported that the country’s overall business costs were the lowest in the G7 for R&D intensive sectors – including medical devices.
Finally, Ontario encourages business and economic growth by creating the right environment for innovation. The province has partnered with the private sector to invest nearly $3 billion over an eight-year period to support research and commercialization at its universities, hospitals and research institutes. In addition to the generous federal R&D tax program mentioned above, Ontario tops that up with additional tax incentives such as its Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit, the Ontario Innovation Tax Credit, and the Ontario Business-Research Institute tax credit.
As part of the media tour I’ll be participating in today, organized by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, I will be getting a first-hand look at some of the incredible medical technology being developed here. Check back tomorrow to find out how it went!