Canada’s economy continues to undergo structural transformation brought upon by innovative technologies, evolving trade dynamics, environmental trends, and labour market shifts that are changing the nature of work.
Global markets are also increasingly being reshaped by the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), the gig economy, and the growing demand for the instantaneous and unfettered exchange of value that is anchored in speed and trust. In the next number of years, several billion smart devices will be detecting, transmitting, and sharing intelligence on everything from consumer markets and financial services to health care. Turning this data into monetary gains is where the Internet of Value (IoV) will play a big part. Empowered by the dawn of Artificial Intelligence (A.I), Big Data, Application Program Interface (APIs), and Blockchain, the IoV is expected to rapidly transform the competitive landscape of our industries and empower everyday entrepreneurs to innovate and unleash new consumer applications and services. Asserting Canada’s place in a global data economy in the coming years while creating a favourable investment climate will be central to stimulating economic activities, and job creation.
Last year, Canada’s digital economy continued its strong ascent, contributing 4.5% of Canada’s GDP and employing over 1.7 million Canadians. The in-demand digital job growth also surged by 9% compared to 1.2% for the rest of the economy despite looming interest rate hikes, global financial market corrections, and other geopolitical inflections. And while the markings of Canada’s digital economy are strong, as we sprint further into this skilled-based labour market we must also ensure that we are collectively working towards a digital future that will benefit all Canadians. This will be increasingly critical given the changing composition of employment and the heightened need for Canadians to continually reskill and remain marketable in tomorrow’s economy.
In 2018, ICTC continued to inspire a forward-looking digital agenda for Canada by delivering pioneering research, evidence-based policy advice, and creative capacity building programs. We participated in a variety of wide-ranging forums and speaking engagements at over 26 leading national and international events. We also delivered and launched key talent programs that included: TheDigital DASH initiative that prepares Canada’s middle and secondary school youth for digital careers; the Women in Technology Connect Initiative aimed at increasing gender equity and representation through research and action; theCyberTitan youth cybersecurity education initiative targeting middle and secondary school students; the WIL Digital Student Work Placement program, a critical program providing 1160 post-secondary education (PSE) students across Canada with classroom learning and hands-on industry experiences in high growth sectors of the Canadian economy; GO Talent that connects international ICT talent with Canadian businesses; the Ontario Career Connectwage subsidy program that enables young graduates to earn on-the-job experience and potential full-time employment; and the launch of the Digital Literacy and Skills Roadmap to better prepare Canadians for tomorrow’s digital jobs.
On the research and policy front, we significantly intensified our reach by tackling important themes relevant to the growing digital economy, including the release of key publications that included among others: The Autonomous Vehicles & The Future of Work, 5G Mobile: Jumpstarting our Digital Future; Shifting Foreign Direct Investment to High-Growth Sectors in Canada; Paving The Way for the Future of Work; Mapping Calgary’s Digital Future – Tech Employment Opportunities for Displaced Workers; EnABling Change: Removing Barriers and Supporting Meaningful Employment of Ontarians with Disabilities in ICT. We also provide strategic guidance on a Data Economy Strategy; the Government of Canada’s Digital Policy; as well as providing input to the Federal Government 2019 Pre-Budget Consultations where we underscored the importance of stimulating digital adoption coupled with short duration training to help Canada’s Micro and SMEs compete in a global context.
2018 also marked a year of rapid organizational growth for ICTC that expanded our presence in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
I would like to conclude by extending a special thank you to all of our partners and stakeholders for their valuable support and trust in our mandate, to the Board members for their guidance, and to our very talented staff for their remarkable creativity and efforts in advancing important goals for Canada.
Going forward, we will continue to heighten the national discourse on key research and policy matters for the digital economy while shaping critical capacity building programs that favour a shared digital future for Canada.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2019 and look forward to an exciting year ahead.
President & CEO