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Premiers look at boosting innovation and productivity

DCN News Service
Premiers look at boosting innovation and productivity

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—The two-day Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers concluded its last day Friday, July 17.

On an agenda focusing on improving the country’s economic position they addressed several major issues affecting the provinces including productivity and innovation, internal and international trade barriers and infrastructure.

According to a release, as part of its economic plan, Premiers Paul Davis, Kathleen Wynne, Philippe Couillard, Wade MacLauchlan and Christy Clark were tasked to lead and create an Economic Productivity and Innovation Working Group which will be responsible for seizing opportunities to boost productivity and innovation within Canada.

Premiers also identified the challenges between provinces regarding trade and investment and are looking for ways to improve. One part of the strategy is to develop a provincial territorial protocol which includes granting apprentices more flexibility and mobility within the country to find work in their trades. The protocol once finalized will recognize credentials from other provinces in technical training, work experience and associated exams for apprentices looking to work in other provinces.

The premiers are committed to a plan to address barriers in Canada and complete a renewal of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) by March 2016. The AIT which is seen as out-of-date by the provinces will need to see added commitment from the federal government to help modernize its policies; reducing barriers and leveling the playing field for Canadians.

When it comes to being more competitive, especially at the global level, the premiers encouraged the federal government to continue to build on existing relationships, which include recent agreements with the European Union and South Korea. Although the provinces and territories want to play a bigger role in providing more input for future discussions and dealings.

And while the country’s competitors are landing free trade agreements in Asia, the premiers in response, are calling for the creation of a Canada-China panel which will be active in exploring ways to broaden and deepen its economic and trade relationships with China.

When it comes to infrastructure each of the premiers agreed that public transportation was a priority and recognized a need to build long-lasting successful partnerships with the federal government. They also said that a dedicated level of investment in public infrastructure should be maintained up to its proven capacity to drive economic growth, increase productivity and flow of goods to market and improve Canadian quality of life.

To do this the country would need to increase its investment in public infrastructure which currently stands at 3.6 per cent of GDP. Premiers are seeking increased funding to provinces and territories to support the construction or maintenance of key infrastructure which is key to economic development.

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