Putting Canadians to Work in the Digital Economy

By many measures, the digital economy – including the information and communication technology sector; digitally-driven business, financial, professional and retail services; and the application, content, creative, design and media sectors – has created the lion’s share of new employment in Canada so far this century.  According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 65% of kids today will do jobs that have not been invented yet.  To continue Canada’s digital success, we need to be agile, focused and plan for a future of digital literacy and opportunity for all Canadians.


The next phase of the digital economy will affect us all, in every sector.  While Canadian students continue to perform well and levels of higher education continue to rise in Canada, many growing companies in this new digital economy still face acute skills shortages.  While Canadians are avid participants in all spheres of the internet economy, we have been relatively slow to create new platforms with global impact.  Finally, e-government in Canada is not yet a reality in many fields, which places us at a competitive disadvantage.


As Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister of Canada I would champion five cross-cutting priorities to make Canada the world’s digital leader:


(i)             lead a national collaboration to align the private sector, educators, creators and other levels of government behind a national digital strategy to streamline regulation, stimulate new business formation and growth, and promote next-generation networks, digital literacy, e-business, digital innovation, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and robotics;


(ii)           focus existing National Centres of Excellence (NCEs) and Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECRs) on this strategy, while empowering a super network of private sector and research leaders to deliver a digital transformation of the Canadian economy by 2030, including private-sector-led integrated digital infrastructure for research, innovation and education;


(iii)          scale up federal support for art, design and technological research and innovation, including animation, cultural industries, digital arts, digital media content, engineering, graphics and studio-laboratory convergence;


(iv)          deliver a “digital first” government, covering all fields from immigration to taxation, by bringing accelerators, incubators, innovation labs and venture capital principles into the federal public service to renew and reinvent its core function for a new era of service to Canadians; and


(v)           promote digital trust by championing open government and data, civic-focused public space and digital solutions that bring Canadians together, deliver more effective service, and make life better for all of us.

Alexandra Day