- Increase investment in ICT as a percentage of GDP to 3% by 2025, making Canada competitive with international leaders
The rapid pace of change in today's digital and data-driven economy is creating enormous opportunities for economic prosperity and societal progress. Digital technology is changing our economy and our society—the way we access information, work, and connect with each other. Data is now a resource that companies use to be more productive and to develop better products and services, unleashing a digital revolution around the world. Canada's information and communication technology (ICT) sector is a growing segment of the overall economy (ISED, 2017), but falling ICT investment is causing Canadian firms to adopt new ICT technologies more slowly (ISED, 2017). ICT investment as a share of GDP has been decreasing since the early 2000s in Canada – from 3.1% in 2000 to 2.04% as percentage of GDP in 2017 (Figure 8.1) placing Canada at 16th out of 32 OECD countries in 20151.
In 2014, ICT investment per worker in Canada's private sector was 56% of ICT investment per worker in the U.S. Investment in computer software and databases on a per job basis in Canada was also half that of the U.S. equivalent in 2014 (CSLS, 2018).
According to the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), Canada's ICT sector invests more in research and development than any other sector (ITAC, 2014). In 2017, the ICT sector accounted for 34% of all business R&D expenditures in Canada. The ICT sector's R&D expenditures totaled $6.1 billion in 2017, falling 0.7% from the previous year (ISED, 2017). This performance places Canada among the top OECD countriesFootnote 1.
Canada's ICT sector is also a large exporter, with about 77% of ICT products manufactured in Canada exported in 2017. Overall, Canadian exports of ICT goods and services grew by 1.2% annually from 2012 to 2017 to reach $23.7 billion. (Figure 8.2). According to the World Bank, Canada ranks in the top 20 of OECD countries in terms of high-technology exports expressed as a percentage of manufactured exports (13%) in 2017 (World Bank, 2018).