Getting Data Strategy Right is the Key to Canada’s Digital Economy

New Report calls for immediate action and collaboration between government and ICT industry: Minister Bains Responds

OTTAWA, ON (July 23, 2018) –  The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) today launched a new report that addresses the immediate need for a collaborative, modern, national data-driven strategy, and highlights unique opportunity for Canada to be a global leader.

The Report, developed in consultation with the Canadian information, communications and technology (ITC) industry, calls on the federal government to develop a balanced framework to data governance, one that establishes a value framework for data, encourages sharing and collaboration, and incentivizes innovation. ITAC recommends a principles-based approach, to develop a data-driven digital economy that maximizes the value of data for organizations and identifies priority areas for development in unlocking data to meet current and future needs.

In the Report, ITAC provides considerations for Government in developing a national strategy, including: Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G networks, trans-border data flows, quantum computing, digital identities, data ownership; protectionism; and security and privacy.

“Over the coming decade, data will be a crucial resource that defines Canada’s collective economic opportunity; and, will enable technology companies to disrupt traditional industries in a way that modern economies have never seen,” explains Robert Watson, president and CEO, ITAC. “This means that the federal government – in collaboration with industry – must take an immediate and coordinated approach to data governance in a way that ensures privacy, unlocks data for economic prosperity, and breaks down jurisdictional silos.”

The Report also examines:  the role of the Canadian government; ways to build a value and intellectual property framework; current and future opportunities and challenges; and provides key considerations for government to contemplate in its effort to create a national, data-driven economic strategy.  Any strategy must recognize that Canada competes in a global digital marketplace and this data strategy can be leveraged to attract investment and allow Canadian firms to compete internationally.

“The Canadian ICT industry is rapidly outpacing government policies,” added Watson. “Many of these policies are outdated and based on principles not for a digital but a physical or industrial age environment. Meanwhile, recent data breaches and use of citizens’ data is also causing concern for individuals and businesses alike. So, what we should be asking ourselves, where is the balance, what is it that Canada can – and should do – to position our country globally as a data-driven digital economy?”

In response, The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said “Unlocking the economic opportunities from digital transformation will help Canada’s competitiveness, attract investment and create middle-class jobs from coast to coast to coast. I look forward to a national dialogue with ITAC and other organizations over the coming months as part of our National Consultation on Digital and Data Transformation where we will work with Canadians to ensure our success in a data-driven economy.”

About Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)

As Canada’s national ICT business association, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) champions the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada. A vital connection between business and government, we provide our members with the advocacy, networking and professional development services that help them to thrive nationally and compete globally.

A prominent advocate for the expansion of Canada’s innovative capacity, ITAC encourages technology adoption to capitalize on productivity and performance opportunities across all sectors. A member-driven not-for-profit, ITAC has served as the authoritative national voice of the $170 billion ICT industry for over 60 years. More than 36,000 Canadian ICT firms create and supply goods and services that contribute to a more productive, competitive, and innovative society. The ICT sector generates over one million jobs directly and indirectly and invests $4.9 billion annually in R&D, more than any other private sector performer.

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