Posted February 10, 2010
According to the Honourable Tony Clement, there are three things we need to understand about ICT.
First, every sector of our economy needs to realize that while ICT only represents about 5 per cent of Canada’s GDP, it drives the other 95 per cent, by providing the digital infrastructure needed to remain competitive in this global economy – and a digital advantage is becoming increasingly important to all nations worldwide. Minister Clement noted that Canada’s adoption of ICT in business is, relatively speaking, “fair to middling,” and that we lag behind our American neighbours by nearly 40 per cent in terms of ICT investment per worker.
Second, Canada needs to invest in digital infrastructure – namely, broadband. A crucial aspect to a digital advantage is the availability of data everywhere, at a cheap price. With transmission speeds rising around the world, Canada needs to invest to keep up and to lead.
Finally, Canada needs to elevate the 5 per cent of GDP generated by the ICT sector. The Minister quoted a variety of other countries for whom ICT is a much greater part of the economy (Finland – 14.8 per cent, Korea – 13.7 per cent, Ireland – 12.1 per cent). The Minister argued that Canada can strive to grow significantly in ICT, building on low corporate taxes and a highly-educated workforce.
To all these ends, Mr. Clement declared that it must be a combination of government vision and corporate resolve – government guidelines, and corporate decision making and actions – that will help Canada achieve its economic targets. ITAC and its members have long been advocating for the establishment of a National Digital Economy Strategy, and Minister Clement said he is committed to having such a strategy in place.