Rideau Hall Foundation’s 2020 Canada’s Culture of Innovation Report sees decline in Canadian risk tolerance

June 15, 2020 – The Rideau Hall Foundation’s 2020 Canada’s Culture of Innovation Report reveals Canadians believe innovation can lead to healthier people, economic growth and a cleaner environment. But nearly all Canadian institutions are seen as lagging, including local communities, charities and non-profits, Canadian government, and healthcare and education systems. Only private business is believed to be innovative, according to 61 per cent of respondents.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian’s tolerance for risk  was declining – down three points this year from 76 to 73. According to the survey, 80 per cent of respondents see the value of investing time to make something work better, but Canadians do not place as much importance on taking risks that could reap large rewards (67 per cent).

“In times of uncertainty, innovative thinking is essential for solving large-scale problems,” said Teresa Marques, President and CEO, Rideau Hall Foundation. “Now more than ever, we need to be ambitious in the ways we innovate, embracing collaboration and diversity of thought, to help build a better tomorrow for all Canadians.”

The global COVID-19 crisis has pushed Canadians to innovate in the way they access everyday things, like groceries or medical care. One area of rapid innovation in Canada is education. As teachers and students at every level were forced to shift to distance learning, many educational institutions experimented with new ways to bring the classroom home.

This transformation sheds light on how critical digital tools are. Yet, according to the report, just over half of Canadians feel confident using them. Gen Z (50 per cent) and Millennials (52 per cent) are the most likely to say they have been taught how to be digitally literate, while only 1 in 4 Boomers would say the same.

When it comes to motivating young Canadians to embrace a culture of innovation, one important tool is the stories and successes of the innovators who came before them. These can provide both a source of inspiration and the foundational understanding of what is required for success.

Canadians agree that students today do not have enough exposure to innovators and inventions. Only one in five Canadians says they have learned about Canadian innovators at school. There is a large perception gap between male and female students, with male students reporting a higher likelihood of learning about these Canadian innovation leaders.

Nevertheless, students today are more likely to say their school has taught them the importance of making a positive contribution in their community – 51 per cent, compared to only 33 per cent of parents.

For full results visit rhf-frh.ca/innovation-index.


About the Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation is a registered national charity that brings together ideas, people and resources to enhance the impact of the Office of Governor General as a central institution of Canadian democracy. Working towards a better Canada, the RHF celebrates what is best about Canada while working with partners to meaningfully improve lives and foster the conditions for more Canadians to succeed and thrive. The RHF’s work spans four key programmatic areas and challenges for Canada, including: (1) learning initiatives that strive for excellence and promote equality of opportunity; (2) strengthening Canada’s culture of innovation, (3) widening the circle of giving and volunteering; and (4) investing in Canadian leaders with transformative potential.


About the 2020 Canada’s Culture of Innovation Report

Based on a literature review of more than 50 academic papers, government and think tank white papers, and other sources, six dimensions of culture were identified as being highly correlated to innovation: diversity, collaboration, risk taking, openness to technology, creativity, and curiosity. Maru/Blue administered an online survey in both French and English to a sample of more than 2,700 Canadians in February 2020, measuring their attitudes across these six dimensions.


For more information on 2020 Canada’s Culture of Innovation report:

Allison MacLachlan, Rideau Hall Foundation: allison.maclachlan@rhf-frh.ca or 613-316-3473

Reem Jazar, Edelman Canada: reem.jazar@edelman.com or 416-919-9347