At the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E), we have already sought to explore the disruptive potential of technology on the Canadian workforce. However, we feel it is equally important to identify and demonstrate the incredible potential of the tech sector in improving Canada’s capacity for innovation, and in turn, economic growth. As Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said in launching the national discussion about Canada’s new innovation agenda, our objective should be “creating good-paying jobs for the middle class, driving growth across all industries and improving the lives of all Canadians.”
Our latest report, The State of Canada’s Tech Sector, 2016 shows that the tech sector is a cornerstone of Canada’s knowledge economy. It is a massive contributor to the country’s current and future economic success and is one of the fundamental drivers of Canadian innovation. Any efforts from the federal government to improve innovation in the country should certainly consider the needs of Canada’s tech sector.
Let’s call it like we see it
The State of Canada’s Tech Sector, 2016 was inspired by a need to strengthen the way economists, academics and policymakers have traditionally thought about the tech sector – as one industry among many, often referred to as the “information and communications technology sector”. We felt that this traditional definition of the sector, within a single vertical, understated the impact of the tech sector, since many of the tools, techniques and skills that we associate with “high-tech” are in fact used across a much broader section of the economy. And we’re not the only ones that thought so. We applied a methodology employed by Nesta, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Brookings Institution to determine which of Canada’s industries employ enough tech professionals to be considered members of the tech sector.