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Liberals’ ‘supercluster’ program falling short of promised jobs, economic growth

OTTAWA — The parliamentary spending watchdog says a government program to fuse public and private money to promote innovation appears to be well shy of its promise.

The Liberals created their “supercluster” program in 2018, putting in $918 million over five years to bring business, academic institutions and other non-profits together for research projects that could have economic benefits.

The federal spending was supposed to create 50,000 jobs and boost the country’s gross domestic product by $50 billion over a decade, through advances in everything from supply-chain management to fisheries.

But the parliamentary budget officer says spending has lagged and it’s not clear how many jobs have actually been created.

Yves Giroux’s latest report says it is unlikely that the government will meet its economic growth expectations for the programs.

Giroux also says the department overseeing the program couldn’t provide specific ways to measure the boosts in innovation that the spending is to provide.

The report is based on information collected before the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada, and Giroux suggests parliamentarians may want to get more details about how the pandemic has affected the supercluster program.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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