The Cisco Digital Readiness Index suggests that a continued focus and investment on connectivity, skills, and cybersecurity is crucial to ensuring the future of the digital economy. Currently, Canada ranks 17th out of 146 countries in this Index, which measures how prepared a country is to capture the opportunities that will be available. Province-wise, British Columbia ranks first in digital readiness, followed by Quebec and Ontario.
The Cisco Canada Digital Readiness Index, a comprehensive study that measures Canada’s ability to capture the opportunities that digital capabilities and investments create, found that Canada performed strongly on a global level. However, the Index did also find that there are significant discrepancies across provinces and territories.
The study measured data across seven components: Basic Needs, Human Capital, Business and Government Investment, Ease of Doing Business, Start-up Environment, Technology Adoption and Technology Infrastructure. British Columbia received the highest digital readiness score in Canada driven by its first place ranking on Ease of Doing Business, Start-Up Environment and Technology Adoption. Quebec (second) and Ontario (third) followed closely behind with top scores in Business and Government Investment (first and second, respectively), and strong scores in Technology Adoption and Technology Infrastructure.
Alberta (fourth), Prince Edward Island (fifth) and Yukon (sixth) all scored in the top five on Basic Needs and Ease of Doing Business. These regions also ranked in the top three for Human Capital due to strong labour force participation and a high youth population (AB and YK) and net migration (P.E.I. and YK).
Nova Scotia (seventh), Manitoba (eighth) and New Brunswick (ninth) fell just below the national average. NS and MB performed well in Ease of Doing Business due to low internal trade barriers, while NB ranked in the top five on Basic Needs due to positive housing affordability.
Northwest Territories (10th), Saskatchewan (11th) and Newfoundland and Labrador (12th) fell below the average digital readiness score. Business and Government Investment and Human Capital scores were close to average for N.W.T. and SK, while NFLD had above average scores in Basic Needs, Business and Government Investment and Start-up Environment.
Nunavut ranked the lowest in Canada, reinforcing the need for all levels of government to address Basic Needs of the population and build a solid and long-term foundation for digital readiness.
To maintain and secure Canada’s digital leadership and build a more digitally equitable and inclusive society, the Digital Readiness Index provides guidance on how Canada can improve overall readiness through continued investment in three key areas: improve connectivity to close opportunity gaps and ensure digital equity and inclusion; maximize Canada’s human capital advantage by investing in digital skills to build the most highly trained labour force; and close the cybersecurity readiness gap and improve Canada’s security resilience.
“The Digital Readiness Index looks beyond technology to help us understand Canada’s performance and get a holistic measure of our progress towards a digitally capable, equitable and inclusive society,” says Shannon Leininger, President, Cisco Canada. “Globally, Canada has a strong and consistent year-over-year performance, meaning that we are continuing to invest in areas that will help us advance and remain competitive. Together, the public and private sector should continue to work together to make digital readiness a priority and maximize the economic and social benefits for all Canadians.
“Digital readiness is not static,” she continues. “Canada’s path to digitization will require ongoing investment and focus to ensure the benefits of digital readiness are felt equally by all, especially those in Indigenous, rural and remote communities. If we do not address our domestic gaps, regions in Canada that perform at the lowest levels of digital readiness will fall further behind, decreasing Canada’s digital leadership position.”
To view the full Canada report and/or individual provincial and territorial reports, visit the Cisco Canada Digital Readiness Index webpage.
The Digital Readiness Index is a holistic model that looks at a total of 25 metrics across the seven components of digital readiness. Metric data are from reputable sources including Statistics Canada, CRTC, CMHC, and more. The model uses a “z-score” methodology, measuring how many standard deviations above or below the mean of a particular metric/score. If a score is below the mean, it is expressed as a negative number, and if above the mean, it will be a positive number.