Industry Canada Proprietary Questions on the Syndicated Study: Corporate Connection (Spring 2007)

Branch and Directorate

The Communications and Marketing Branch (CMB) ensures that the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada is consistently applied across Industry Canada. CMB offers many services to sectors, senior managers and the Deputy Ministers' and Minister's Offices. These services include communications planning, media relations, advisory services, marketing, public opinion research and more.


Ongoing research for and evaluation of programs and services is a requirement of the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.

On behalf of Industry Canada, CMB subscribes to Corporate Connection, a syndicated survey, undertaken twice yearly among CEOs and senior executives of small, medium and large Canadian firms.

This business survey is of special interest to Industry Canada as it encompasses businesses of all sizes and thus represents the entire business community, one of our key stakeholder groups.

The focus of the study is on topical, broad-based corporate issues, including policy and economic matters, with emphasis on business interaction with government.

Industry Canada's annual subscription agreement entitles the Department to five proprietary questions per year.

In the spring 2007, Industry Canada's proprietary questions focused on the level of research and development (R&D) undertaken by companies compared to five years ago and anticipated R&D levels in five years or so.

Corporate Connection is a syndicated study that is proprietary to the research firm. With the exception of Industry Canada's own proprietary questions and findings, the Department cannot publicly share the overall report without the express consent of the firm.

Anticipated Outcomes / Benefits

The research findings will help Industry Canada better understand the business community in Canada. The findings will feed into departmental briefings, communications plans and environmental analyses used in the development and tracking of departmental policies and programs relevant to business audiences.

Research Information

The survey consists of 30-minute telephone interviews, conducted twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.

In total, 400  interviews were conducted with a mix of small, medium and large firms between May 30 and July 3, 2007. The sample is proportionate to the distribution of the business population in Canada by sector and region, as reflected in Statistics Canada's Business Register. A sample of this size is accurate to within plus or minus 5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Respondents are Canadian CEOs, presidents, vice-presidents, business owners and other senior decision makers.

Research Firm: Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc.
Contract #: U1400-071264/001/CY
Contract issued by: PWGSC
Contract value: $26,500

Corporate Connection, Spring 2007

Corporate Connection—Report to Industry Canada

Contract No.: U1400-071624/001/CY
Contract Award Date: 2006-10-05
POR No.: POR 185-06

Communications and Marketing Branch
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen St. Ottawa ON K1A 0H5
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Telephone: 343-291-3578
Fax: 613-952-5162

Spring 2007

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Table of Contents


This report presents the results for two proprietary questions asked on behalf of Industry Canada that were included in the spring 2007 wave of Corporate Connection. Corporate Connection is a twice-yearly survey of CEOs and senior executives that focuses on current corporate and public affairs issues. For this wave of the study, 400 interviews were completed between May 30th and July 3rd, 2007. Over half of the sample (59%) consisted of CEOs, presidents and business owners. The results were weighted by size, sector and region to reflect the actual distribution of firms across Canada (according to Statistics Canada data). Based on a sample of this size, the findings can be considered to be accurate to within +/- 5%, 19 times out of 20.

This study was conducted by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives, a public opinion research firm that specializes in public affairs and special audience research, in particular business audiences. Following the substantive questions reported on in this summary report is a set of graphs that present the characteristics of survey participants and their businesses. Where the analysis focuses on the size of business, surveyed companies have been grouped into the following categories: small (less than 50 employees), medium-sized (50-99), and large (100 employees and more, with more than two-thirds of the large firms having 200 or more employees). The questions addressed in this report are appended.


Many Businesses Undertake More R&D Than Five Years Ago

Compared to five years ago, nearly half of executives (46%) say that their business now undertakes more R&D than it did before, with about one-quarter (26%) undertaking a lot more. Those who have not increased their R&D activities were much more likely to say this has not changed for their business (38%), rather than to report a decrease (8%).

Bar Chart of Change in Extent of R&D Activities

Larger businesses were much more likely than others to have increased their R&D over the last five years (57-60% vs. 43% of small firms).

Change in Volume of R&D by Firm Size
 SmallMedium Large
A lot more25%35%26%
A little more18%25%31%
Same amount39%34%37%
A little less6%-3%
A lot less3%2%-

Executives of firms in the west were at least twice as likely to think their company does a lot more R&D over the past five years (43% in the west vs. 20% in Atlantic Canada, 18% in Ontario, and 13% in Quebec). Those in Atlantic Canada (57%), followed by Ontario (46%), were the most likely to report no change (25-33% elsewhere). Ontario firms were also noticeably more likely to have decreased their R&D (16% vs. 5% or less elsewhere).

Change in Volume of R&D by Region
A lot more20%13%18%43%
A little more22%32%17%15%
Same amount57%25%46%33%
A little less--12%3%
A lot less-3%4%2%

Half Plan to Undertake More R&D in Next Five Years

Switching the focus to the future, 52% of business leaders expect their firm to undertake more R&D than they do currently. More than one-third do not expect the amount of R&D to change in five years (39%), while just 4% think it will decline. A further four percent did not know or gave no response.

Bar Chart of Predictions for Future R&D Activities

Larger firms were somewhat more likely to plan on increasing their R&D over the next five years (59% vs. 51% of small firms).

Predictions for Future R&D by Firm Size
 SmallMedium Large
A lot more23%21%27%
A little more28%38%32%
Same amount40%34%38%
A little less4%--
A lot less-3%-

Business leaders in Ontario were the most likely to think their firm will increase the amount of R&D over the next five years: 64% vs. 54% in the west, 46% in the Atlantic region, and 32% in Quebec. That said, their counterparts in the west were more likely to plan a large increase (34% vs. 29% in Atlantic Canada, 19% in Ontario, and 10% in Quebec).

Predictions for Future R&D by Region
A lot more29%10%19%34%
A little more17%22%45%20%
Same amount54%44%33%39%
A little less-6%-5%
A lot less-1%-1%

Characteristics of Survey Participants

The following graphs present the characteristics of survey participants by position of respondent, business size, region, and sector. Note that unweighted data is used to present the characteristics of survey participants.

Bar Chart of Position (unweighted data)

Bar Chart of Number of Full-Time Employees (unweighted data)

Bar Chart of Region (unweighted data)

Bar Chart of Sector (unweighted data)


Question Asked


  1. Compared to five years ago, would you say your business now undertakes a lot more R&D, a little more, the same amount, a little less or a lot less? If business is less than five years old, code as 'Not Applicable'
  2. Looking ahead five years or so, do you think your business will undertake a lot more R&D than it does now, a little more, the same amount, a little less or a lot less?


  1. Par rapport à il y a cinq ans, selon vous, est-ce que votre entreprise entreprend actuellement beaucoup plus, un peu plus., la même quantité, un peu moins ou beaucoup moins d'activités de R.-D.? Si l'entreprise a moins de cinq ans, inscrire le code « sans objet »
  2. Pour ce qui concerne votre entreprise dans à peu près cinq ans, pensez-vous qu'elle entreprendra à ce moment-là beaucoup plus, un peu plus, la même quantité, un peu moins ou beaucoup moins d'activités de R.-D. qu'elle ne le fait à l'heure actuelle?