This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
The pandemic has brought about swift changes to long-term digital transformation initiatives. Organizations are rapidly adopting digital channels for customer interactions and embracing the use of advanced technologies in business decision-making. In 2022, IDC expects the Canadian Information and Communications Technology sector to grow at a 4% rate.
The Canadian ICT sector is highly trade-dependent, importing US$37.5 billion in goods and exporting US$7.7 billion around the world in 2021. The United States is the second largest supplier of ICT goods to Canada after China; it is the top market for Canadian ICT exports, with US$5.1 billion being shipped to the United States in 2020. In 2021, total imports of ICT goods were led by the provinces of Ontario (US$28.1 billion), British Columbia (US$4.1 billion), Québec (US$3.2 billion), and Alberta (US$1.2 billion). The Canadian ICT market is expected to grow through 2025.
Canada has a very strong homegrown technology sector. There are over 43,200 companies in the Canadian Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector. The large majority fall within the software and computer services industries. The sector consists mainly of small companies, with approximately 35,500 employing fewer than 10 people. The number of large companies employing over 500 individuals accounts for approximately 100 firms, including subsidiaries of foreign multinational corporations.
Notable trends in the ICT sector in Canada for 2022 include:
- Cyber Security: The escalating global threat of cyberattacks is forcing companies to explore new defenses because their existing software and staff cannot keep up. In a Gartner report from June 7, 2022, 7 cyber trends are predicted for this year into next, including attack surface expansion, identity system defense, digital supply chain risk, vendor consolidation, cybersecurity mesh, distributed decisions, and beyond awareness.
- Cloud Services: Cloud computing is no longer an innovation, it’s the new standard. The pandemic has caused a boost in digitization and that trend will continue into 2022. Main cloud trends in 2022 include Function-as-a-service (FaaS), Cloud-native applications, Sustainability and cybersecurity mesh.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI will continue to be an important technology investment area in Canada in 2022. Following the release of the federal budget in April 2021, it was announced that Canada would give C$185 million (approximately US$143.68 million) to support the commercialization of AI research. This investment is alongside plans to increase funding for the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to C$443.8 million (approximately US$344.88 million) over 10 years.
- Robotics: As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a huge shift toward automation across many industries. This includes Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Robotics as a Service (RaaS), Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and multi-purpose robots & cobots.
- AR/VR: AR/VR technology is transforming nearly every sector, especially the business one, creating improved shopping experiences, advancing education and training tools and offering solutions to remote workers.
Cyber Security: According to a global threat research project by Carbon Black, cyber security threats are intensifying in Canada, with a large majority of organizations saying they have been the victim of cyber-attacks in the past 12 months. Thus, cyber security is one of the top concerns in government and enterprise organizations. Canada is now operating under the National Cyber Security Strategy. Released in 2018, National Cyber Security Action Plan (2019-2024) (NCSAP) provides funding for cyber security and outlines its implementation. Funding commenced in 2018 with US$382.6 million over 5 years and US$82 million ongoing. This strategy comes as a response to the increase of cyber-attacks on government agencies and private corporations in Canada. New investments will allow Canadians to benefit from digital connections in a way that protects them and Canada’s digital infrastructure from cybercrime. These investments could also lead to significant purchases by the government.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – While Artificial Intelligence has been trending for the last decade, the use of AI combined with the real-time response and hyper-connectivity of 5G, is reinvigorating the possibilities for AI. AI is currently being implemented in a variety of industries to better predict demand, resource utilization and behavioral patterns. As AI gets closer to real-time data analysis, personalized needs will be met faster.
Major Events and Trade Shows in Canada
- SECTOR, Toronto, Ontario, October 5-6, 2022
- Big Data x AI Toronto Conference, Toronto, Ontario, October 6-7, 2022
- The 21st Canadian Telecom Hybrid Summit, Toronto, Ontario, November 21-23, 2022
- Collision Conference 2023, Toronto, Ontario, June 26-29, 2023
Strategies and Reports
- Canada’s Digital Government Strategy
- Policy on Service and Digital
- Directive on Services and Digital
- National Cyber Security Action Plan (2019-2024)
- Information and Communication Technology Council
Commercial Service Contacts
For additional information on this sector, please contact Commercial Specialist Tracey Ford at Tracey.Ford@trade.gov or by phone at (613) 688-5406.