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Competitiveness: Canada lags behind in the digital ranks

Canadian companies have been too slow in adopting digital technologies. The consequence: according to the Internet Association, the country’s competitiveness in this field is being questioned and they are urging the Canadian government and companies to respond.

 

Canada used to be among the leaders in adoption of and access to the Internet. But over the past few years, the country has fallen behind other industrialized countries in the digital rankings. The Internet Association, which recently released a whitepaper on the topic, concludes that Canadian companies under-utilize digital technologies and are missing out on contributions that this sector can bring to employment, GDP growth and competitiveness.

 

A population already on the right track

 

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It wouldn’t take that much for Canada to become competitive again since the report highlighted the fact that Canadians are heavy internet users. They rank first in the number of web pages visited per month and are second only to the United States in average amount of time spent online. There is a high demand for access to products and services online.

 

However, companies that could benefit from these new consumer habits are not necessarily doing so. The Internet Association’s report also reveals that 3% of the Canadian retail sector’s economy is online, compared to 23% in the United Kingdom and 7% in the United States. Other important data: 45.5% of Canadian companies have a website. Competition is fierce in this globalized market, to the point where Canada is rapidly losing its market share to other countries that are more dynamic in the digital economy.

 

Implementing a tax credit

 

This is probably the reason why the government has recently unveiled a new digital strategy called Digital Canada 150. It is designed to ensure that the country takes full advantage of the opportunities offered  in this sector. Still, the Internet Association’s report calls on the political world as well as the business world to act urgently. In order to offer a solution, it provides a number of recommendations such as the introduction of a tax credit to encourage companies to venture further into the digital world, a modernization of online governmental services to demonstrate the leadership of the Canadian government, more training in information sciences to ensure that Canadians have the proper skills in order to be competitive in the job market and a more business-friendly approach to internet privacy laws.

 

*Members of the Internet Association include major companies in the digital sector such as Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, Groupon and Expedia.

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