The COVID-19 pandemic brought about swift changes to long-term digital transformation initiatives. Organizations rapidly adopted digital channels for customer interactions and embraced the use of advanced technologies in business decision-making.
The Canadian ICT sector is highly trade-dependent, importing US$43.2 billion in goods and exporting US$12.5 billion around the world in 2022. The United States is the second largest supplier of ICT goods to Canada; it is the top market for Canadian ICT exports, with US$8.1 billion being shipped to the United States in 2022. In 2022, total imports of ICT goods were led by the provinces of Ontario (US$31.7 billion), British Columbia (US$4.6 billion), Québec (US$4 billion), and Alberta (US$1.8 billion). The Canadian ICT market is expected to grow through 2025. The Government of Canada is the single largest purchaser of ICT goods and services in Canada at around $5 billion per year.
Canada has a very strong homegrown technology sector. There are over 43,200 companies in the Canadian ICT sector. The large majority are in 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 is approximately 100 firms, including subsidiaries of foreign multinational corporations.
Notable trends in the ICT sector in Canada for 2023 include:
- Cyber Security: The escalating global threat of cyberattacks is forcing companies to explore new defenses. Cybersecurity makes up half of most company IT budgets in 2023. In a Gartner report from April 2023, there are nine cyber trends predicted for this year into next, including threat exposure management, identity fabric immunity, cybersecurity validation, cybersecurity platform consolidation, security operating model transformation, composable security, human-centric security design, enhancing people management, and increasing board oversight.
- Cloud Services: Cloud computing is the new standard in Canada. Current trends include the rise of AI serverless cloud, hybrid cloud, IoT platform automation, secure access service edge (SASE), edge computing and cybersecurity mesh.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI will continue to be an important technology investment area in Canada in 2023. As the Government of Canada grapples with trying to legislate AI under Bill C-27, IDC reports that huge investments are being made in platforms and services to deliver AI and analytics at scale and businesses are using analytics and AI tools to get the edge on identifying things like market inefficiencies and acting on them before competitors.
- 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 five 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
- Big Data x AI Toronto Conference, Toronto, Ontario, October 18-19, 2023
- SECTOR, Toronto, Ontario, October 23-26, 2023
- InCyber Forum North America, Montréal, Québec, October 25-26, 2023
- The 21st Canadian Telecom Hybrid Summit, Toronto, Ontario, November 6-8, 2023
- Collision Conference 2023, Toronto, Ontario, June 17-20, 2024
- Cyber Future Summit, Ottawa, Ontario, September 2024
Strategies and Reports
- Canada’s Digital Ambition 2022
- 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.