Beyond the Big Idea: Redefining and rethinking the innovation agenda

Supporting innovation in small- and medium-sized businesses

October 2016

Louis-Martin Parent, Director
Emilie Poitevin, Policy Analyst

The report, based on survey results of more than 6,000 small business owners, shows that innovation takes many forms for small firms and is not the exclusive domain of high-tech start-ups or cluster hubs.

Given that small businesses make up the vast majority of Canada’s economy, it only makes sense that they take a central role in the Canadian innovation agenda. Rather than picking winners by focusing on specific sectors or industries, governments can positively shape conditions for innovation through:

  • Improvements in tax policies
  • Using an innovation lens on regulation and government priorities
  • Facilitating access to skilled workers

Most common SME innovations in the past five years

  • Improving existing services
  • Improving existing processes
  • Created new internal business processes
  • Created new services

Top Barriers to innovation

  • Shortage of skilled labour
  • Government Red Tape
  • Costs of innovative projects
  • Access to government programs, grants and subsidies

CFIB is recommending that government create an environment conducive to innovation and investment by creating an innovation deduction, allowing businesses to claim up to $100,000 per year on new technology, lowering taxes, and reducing the regulatory burden.