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Industrial policy may have part of the answer to Canada’s productivity problem – Policy Options

April 24, 2024

If Canada’s low productivity is becoming an emergency, the government must use every tool to turn it around. Industrial policy should be among them.

The Trudeau government’s latest budget contained a number of splashy items, ranging from housing policy to national defence. In the midst of a national housing crisis and with mounting geopolitical threats, it’s no surprise that these policy areas are getting attention.

Another issue that the government sought to address in the budget is Canada’s lagging productivity. It’s perhaps less well understood, but one that will determine Canada’s ability to fund solutions to our most pressing national challenges. Dusting off the industrial policy playbook may be part of the solution.

Canada’s productivity challenges aren’t new, and aren’t news. Economic commentators have been raising flags about them for years. A recent speech by Carolyn Rogers, senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, injected some urgency into the discussion.

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