Do Canada’s Digital Strategies Lag Behind Competitors?

Numerous research studies have proven that Canadians are among the most digitally tapped in consumers in the world. But does our country have the digital economy strategy to match?

In November, Industry Minister Christian Paradis launched Canada’s Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program. The program will provide $80 million to small and medium businesses to integrate digital technologies. Christian said the program is an important component of the government’s digital economy strategy.

But Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, harbours doubts. He notes that, while the program “may create some useful incentives for technology adoption,” Canada’s digital economy strategy has thus far produced “few tangible results.”

Most of Canada’s trading partners have had digital economy strategies in place for years. […] Canada has lagged behind with no real policy direction. In May 2010, then-industry minister Tony Clement conducted a national consultation on the issue, yet, 18 months later, there is still no strategy in sight. […] As Canada dithers, other countries move ahead with a broad range of initiatives. Countries such as Japan, Germany, and Australia have all established ambitious targets for broadband connectivity.

Michael’s point, in essence, is that Canada has been all talk and no walk. It’s one thing to discuss or even create a strategy, but it’s another to actually implement it. And that is where we have faltered, Michael believes.