By Karna Gupta, President & CEO, ITAC
As we continue to await the federal government’s strategy for Canada’s digital economy, it is worthwhile reviewing some cornerstone facts about our ICT sector.
Today, the importance of ICT to Canada’s prosperity is critical—accounting for $168 billion in annual revenue (five percent of GDP), more than 750,000 jobs, and 35 percent of the private-sector R&D spending in the country.
But our investment in the ICT sector is lagging behind that of the United States, and there remains a labour productivity gap of 10-20 percent between us and our southern neighbour. By 2016, there will be an estimated 160,000 ICT jobs that need to be filled in Canada, and we continue to face an overall lack of risk capital to build, develop, and scale the technology sector here.
When ITAC met with Industry Canada Minister James Moore in 2013, we laid out some clear steps that both the ICT sector and the Government must take to achieve the goal of being a world-leading digital economy.
Our vision for building a smart, competitive nation for the 21st century begins now. It is vital for Canada to set and measure specific benchmarks, as part of our digital nation building strategy. With leadership on a digital economy strategy now, Canada can be a leading digital nation by 2017, celebrating 150 years as a nation, as well as greater growth and prosperity.
As we told Minister Moore, a comprehensive ICT strategy addressing all sectors horizontally is urgent and vital to build Canada’s digital economy and overall competitiveness. We cannot afford anything less.