07/10/2013 12:36 EDT | Updated 09/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Canadian Executives' Biggest Obstacle? Government Inefficiency

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A survey of leading Canadian executives puts government inefficiency far ahead of high taxes as the top impediment to doing business in this country.

The survey, conducted for the 2012 World Economic Forum, showed that Canadian executives no longer regarded high taxes as a major problem, as they had several years earlier.

The Conference Board, which issued the report, says that finding shows Canadian executives are aware that recent cuts to tax rates by both federal and provincial governments have increased Canada's competitive advantage.

By contrast, executives in seven of 11 other countries participating in the survey continued to list high taxes as the biggest problem they face.

Other impediment factors cited by the Canadian executives include insufficient capacity to innovate, access to financing and an inadequately trained workforce.

However, not one of the individual factors was seen as an obstacle by a majority of businesses. For instance, only 16.4 per cent cited government inefficiency, which was the top concern overall.

Still, that was the highest percentage of executives citing that factor of any country other than Italy.

Canadian executives also topped the global sampling in naming insufficient capacity to innovate, with 15.1 per cent citing it as a factor.

Meanwhile, only 9.4 per cent of the 103 Canadian executives who participated in the survey named high taxes as the most problematic factor.

The Conference Board says the responses shed some light into why business leaders believe Canada's standing in the forum's global competitiveness index has been falling in recent years, from 10th place in 2010 to 14th in 2012.

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