Tackling weak productivity won't be easy: BMO economist

OTTAWA - The federal Liberals are hoping to solve an economic mystery that has perplexed previous governments for decades -- boosting Canada's lacklustre productivity.

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Statistics Canada's latest numbers on labour productivity, released today, show it contracted by 0.2 per cent in 2015 -- by far its weakest result in three years.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has repeatedly vowed to address the country's productivity challenge and has tasked a new economic advisory council with finding solutions.

Morneau says improving productivity will allow Canadians to continue enjoying their highest-possible standard of living, even as the population ages.

BMO chief economist Doug Porter says it won't be easy for anyone to improve productivity in a country that has averaged roughly one per cent annual growth for several decades and has lagged behind the U.S.

Porter says past efforts by federal governments to raise Canada's productivity have been unsuccessful.



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