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Capital tops for innovation

<p>Ottawa-Gatineau leads the pack in terms of innovation and education, but falls behind other large Canadian cities when it comes to healthcare.</p><p></p>

‘Livability’ survey finds region leads in tech, but lags in healthcare

Ottawa-Gatineau leads the pack in terms of innovation and education, but falls behind other large Canadian cities when it comes to healthcare.

That’s according to a first-time Conference Board of Canada study released yesterday that says the capital’s “triple-A rating overwhelms the rest” in some areas, but that it has ground to make up in others.

The report — entitled City Magnets: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of Canada’s CMAs — analyzes the ‘livability’ of 27 Canadian cities and judges their attractiveness to skilled workers and mobile populations based on seven main categories: economy, health, society, housing, environment, innovation and education.

When all categories are considered, Ottawa-Gatineau ranks as the sixth-most attractive city in which to live, after Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Victoria, respectively.

“Ottawa is an attractive city to people,” said Mario Lefebvre, director of the conference board’s Centre for Municipal Studies. “It may not have the hottest economy in the land, but it has a stable, reliable, ‘steady-as-she-goes’ economy, and it does well in many other indicators of attractiveness to people.”

Ottawa’s reputation as a hotbed of research and centre for government activity are main reasons why the capital led Canada in the “study’s innovation” department. Calgary ended a distant second to Ottawa, with a ‘B’ grade in the category.

“The federal government and associated institutions such as the National Research Council no doubt account for Ottawa-Gatineau’s striking results,” the report stated.

Ottawa-Gatineau also dominated the education category with its high level of undergraduate and advanced degrees. Toronto ranked 10th, Montreal, 13th and Edmonton, 16th. Cities directly behind Ottawa in education were Kingston and Halifax.


Health woes

  • Access to healthcare remains a concern. Even with its large hospitals, specialized medical care and relatively healthy lifestyles, Ottawa scored a “B” in the category, behind Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg and Montreal.

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