This page offers responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the digital economy, the consultation paper and about how to take part in this online consultation.
- About the Digital Economy
- Canada's Digital Economy Strategy
- About the Consultation Paper
- About the Canadian Heritage and Digital Media Content
- About Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Digital Skills
- Idea forum
- Submissions area
What is the digital economy and why is it important to me?
Digital economy is the term used to describe the network of suppliers and users of digital technologies that enable everyday life. Digital technologies are ubiquitous and critical to almost every activity in our economy and society — common examples include e–commerce, social media, wireless data networks, as well as many others. These technologies enable businesses to be innovative and productive; help governments to provide services; and allow citizens to interact and to transmit and share information and knowledge.
Digital technologies are critical to almost every business and social activity. A strong digital economy will be the backbone of Canada's future prosperity and success. Consequently, we all have a role to play in shaping the future of this key part of our economy and our lives.
Why is there a need at this time for consultations on a strategy for Canada's digital economy?
In June 2009, the Canada 3.0 conference in Stratford, Ontario, focused on the direction of digital media and its importance to the digital economy. Later that month, the forum on Canada's Digital Economy in Ottawa started to consider the elements of a digital action plan for Canada.
Now we are seeking a broader discussion from a wider range of stakeholders to identify areas of collaboration, the priority issues that need to be addressed and opportunities for realigning existing federal policies and programs.
Government will continue its dialogue with the industry and invite the views and suggestions of all stakeholders, including provinces, territories, associations, research institutes and the general public on the key challenges, what has been done to date and what needs to be done for Canada to regain leadership in the digital economy.
Following these consultations, the government will develop a strategy for Canada's digital economy, to solidify a consensus on the right approach for Canada to once again be a world leader in this area.
What will the government do with the results of the consultations?
At the end of these consultations, the government will review the submissions and input that Canadians have provided through the website and in meetings. All this input will be carefully considered by the government and will help inform the development of Canada's digital economy strategy.
Will there be a need for new legislation to enable the strategy?
It is the private sector that has the talent, technology and entrepreneurial spirit to secure Canada's position of leadership in the global digital economy. But it is clear from previous and ongoing discussions that government plays a key role in providing, for example, the legislative and investment framework for a digital economy. The proposed digital economy strategy may identify that further government action is required.
How does Canada's approach to the digital economy compare with that of other countries?
Canada took an early lead in the global digital economy. We were the first country to connect all our schools and libraries to the Internet, we led the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co–operation and Development in deployment and uptake of broadband, and we were early adopters of information and communications technologies. Other countries followed Canada's lead, and some have overtaken us in a number of areas. Some countries have developed a digital economy strategy. Some even have a government department and minister dedicated to the digital economy.
That is why we are developing a strategy to restore Canada to its leadership position in the global digital economy. Canada's approach will be developed as a result of these consultations. Countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom have taken a similar approach.top of page
Why are digital technologies being identified as essential to Canada's capacity to be innovative?
Without sound investments in digital technologies and strategies, Canadian companies risk falling behind those of other countries where there is proportionately more investment in information and communications technology (ICT). It is difficult to be innovative today in any sector of the economy without investment in ICT.
ICT companies account for approximately 5% of Canada's gross domestic product. But ICT products and services help drive the competitiveness of the other 95%. Those other sectors of the economy need to become more innovative, productive and competitive through the smart use of digital technologies. A digital advantage will be critical in closing the productivity gap with the United States and other countries.
To encourage increased ICT adoption, we will work to strengthen Canadians' trust in the online marketplace for goods and services by putting in place appropriate legislation and regulations.
How important is a world–class digital infrastructure for Canada to be a leader in the global digital economy? How can we know when we have the right elements of that infrastructure in place?
For Canada to lead in the global digital economy, it will require an efficient, cost–effective and state–of–the–art digital infrastructure of wired and wireless networks. Policy makers must ensure competition and choice among digital infrastructure services, while also encouraging continued network investment. This means providing timely access to spectrum, providing more services to rural and remote areas, and being able to measure our progress through data collection.
How can we ensure Canada's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry is positioned for growth?
The increasing world demand for digital products and services underlines why Canada needs to build on its strengths and take a lead in the global digital economy. Canada's ICT sector is our main provider of digital products and services, but we need a strategy to grow the sector and address the lag in innovation and in research and development spending. We also need to provide companies in the ICT sector with greater access to venture capital and early stage financing as well as to qualified and skilled workers. Government can also play a key role in supporting the ICT industry through its procurement policies and practices.
How does digital media content contribute to Canada's position as a leader in the global digital economy?
Digital media and content are essential to attracting continued investment and talent, improving productivity, and promoting prosperity in a digital economy. They also drive the adoption and use of digital infrastructure and devices. Making innovative digital media content is necessary to capitalize on our investments in these areas. Digital media creators are at the centre of all creative industries, producing information, entertainment, services and applications using digital technology. Within the right framework, these Canadian entrepreneurs could combine their vision and boldness to produce cutting–edge digital content, a key ingredient to achieving success in a digital environment.
Isn't the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage also studying emerging and digital technologies?
In late March 2010, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage began meeting with witnesses as part of its study entitled Emerging and Digital Media: Opportunities and Challenges. As part of its study, the Committee will explore developments in emerging and digital media, how they are affecting Canadian cultural industries, what federal institutions could do to assist Canadians and how Canadian cultural industries benefit from these developments. The findings of the Committee will be key inputs in the consultation process.
Why are digital skills important to the digital economy?
Technology is pervasive in today's world and intertwined in a range of everyday activities. For Canada to build a world–class digital economy, it is essential that all Canadians have the skill sets to be able to access, use and interpret a growing and increasingly complex range of digital information. As the rapid development and adoption of technology continues, effective participation in the labour market and society will be increasingly dependent on digital skills.
Supporting digital skills development is important to our economic success. Governments, employers and educational institutions all have a role to play in addressing the unique skills challenges of the digital economy.top of page
Why have you created the idea forum as part of this online consultation?
The Government of Canada created the forum as an innovative and engaging tool for participants to work together to identify and rate ideas for our digital economy strategy. At the end of the online consultation, the tool will allow the government to see and consider the principal ideas of interest to Canadians.
How do I share an idea?
There is a separate idea forum page for each of the five themes. Near the top of each of these pages, there is an "Add an idea" button. By clicking this button, participants will be taken to a new page where they can enter their idea.
Why can't I see the idea I posted to the site?
Each of the five idea forums focuses on a specific theme. If you post an idea that does not fit the selected theme or any of the other themes, it may be moved to the off–topic area. This is necessary to facilitate the online conversation.
How do I rate an idea?
Each idea post can be rated by participants. Each participant can rate an idea up or down by clicking on the thumb images within each idea post. But, each user can only rate each idea once!
How do I comment on ideas?
By clicking the "Comment" link on each idea post, participants can enter text and respond. This response will be public and available for all participants to view.
What does the "total votes" for an idea mean?
The "total votes" is the total number of times participants have clicked to rate each specific idea, either up or down.
What does "idea status" mean?
An idea's status is the net score, combining all of the times an idea has been rated up or down. For example, if an idea had 10 "up" votes and 2 "down" votes, its status would be 8. This allows participants to see which ideas are most popular with the broader participation community.
How can I view the list of idea posts differently?
It is possible to reorganize the listing of idea posts. Using the tabs at the top of the list, users can view the lists by most popular, by most recent and by language (either English or French).
What if I see idea posts that contain inappropriate language?
Why can't I vote? Why does voting not seem to work?