Canada has strengths but shows no improvement in network readiness: Report

Canada ranked 11th in the annual 2023 Network Readiness Index (NRI), the same position as last year, outdistanced by the U.S.,  Singapore, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and other high-income countries.

The NRI aims to assess the impact of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) on society and the development of nations. It evaluates 134 economies across four pillars of digital readiness – technology, people, governance and impact.

The report shows that Canada’s main strength is related to the technology pillar, for which it landed the 7th spot out of all the countries evaluated. This pillar looks at things like ICT accessibility for individuals, communication infrastructure, and local deployable content/applications, as well as a country’s readiness to implement new technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and more.

The U.S. remained number one in the technology pillar, backed by a strong performance in sub-pillars like high-quality digital content and stable investments in future technologies.

“The United States, Canada, and Brazil headline the Americas’ network readiness. The United States emerges as the global leader for the second consecutive year, while Canada’s technological and governance strengths remain notable,” said Soumitra Dutta, co-editor of the NRI.

Other indicators that saw Canada excel include publication and use of open data, e-commerce and legislation, computer software spending, annual investment in telecommunications services, prevalence of a gig economy, and women’s economic opportunity.

However, Canada requires the greatest amount of improvement for the people pillar, in which it ranked 17th. This means that individuals, businesses and the government are lacking in proficiency, inclusivity, and adeptness in harnessing technological assets. 

Further indicators that saw Canada falter include ICT regulatory environment (53rd), population covered by at least a 3G mobile network (46th), mobile broadband internet traffic within the country (38th) , socioeconomic gap in use of digital payments (19th), and secure internet services (17th).

Strikingly, Canada ranked 116th out of 134 in the affordable and clean energy sub-pillar. This area is a clear priority for the government, as it announced several measures and funding initiatives related to clean technology in the 2023 budget, so improvement could be under way.

Co-editor of NRI Bruno Lanvin explained that data provided by the NRI helps inform the choices made by businesses, government and civil society, adding, “you cannot improve what you cannot measure.”

He continued, “As our digital world continues to evolve and shape before us, policy makers, investors, analysts, academics and ordinary citizens are often expected to make fast decisions and articulate sound assessments about rapidly changing trends and practices. The need for fact-based and quantifiable descriptions of our network societies has never been so urgent.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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