Ottawa, August 27, 2020—The economic shocks of COVID-19 and the oil price drop have spiked unemployment levels in Canada to the highest levels since the Great depression, but employment in the Canadian digital economy has actually notched up to 11% of total employment between February and June 2020, from the previous 10%.

ICTC’s new study, The Digital-Led New Normal: Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022, is an update and addendum to ICTC’s flagship forecast report Digital Talent Outlook 2023, released in 2019. The revised forecast includes an analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 and other noteworthy events such as Brexit and the oil price collapse.

The digital economy is still expected to employ over 2 million people by the end of 2022, which is comparable to the ICTC forecast of over 2.1 million people by 2023.

The study also updates the six key innovation areas forecasts outlined in the pre-COVID Outlook:

· Cleantech

· Agri-foods and food tech

· Interactive digital media (IDM)

· Advanced manufacturing

· Clean resources

· Health and biotech

The wider general Canadian economy, however, faces a stark reality. ICTC currently forecasts 130,000 additional business insolvencies by the end of 2022 and a drop in GDP totalling -9.6% in 2020.

The report emphasizes the importance of digital adoption, especially for Canadian small businesses. Investments in critical digital infrastructure—such as cloud technology, fintech applications, eCommerce, intelligent supply chains, and automation—are becoming essential for operational efficiencies and resiliency in a post-COVID economy.

In-career digital upskilling, transitional employment pathways for displaced and underrepresented workers into digital occupations, and stronger youth engagement will also play major roles in the economic recovery.

“Preparing a digital-ready workforce will be paramount in fast-tracking Canada’s economic recovery post COVID-19. A heightened focus on the six innovation areas will enable expanded employment prospects for Canadians in a greener-based economy,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

For interviews with an ICTC subject experts and other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives program.

© 2023 Information and Communications Technology Council

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