Canadian ICT Sector Profile

October 2014

The ICT Sector consists mainly of small companies…

  • About 37,000 companies comprise the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector, of which 87.6% are in the software and computer services industries and 5.6% in the wholesaling industry.
  • The number of large companies in the ICT sector is relatively small. In 2013, there were about 80 companies with more than 500 employees in Canada, compared to 32,000 companies with less than 10 employees, accounting for 86.0% of all the companies in the sector.
  • Manufacturing stands out as the subsector with larger companies. In 2013, 14.1% of the manufacturing companies had more than 50 employees while for the whole ICT sector, this share was only 3.1%.
Figure 1: Companies by ICT Sub-sector,
2013
Pie chart of companies by ICT sub-sector for 2013

Description of Figure 1

Companies by ICT Sub-sector, 2013
Sub-sector Percentage
ICT Wholesaling 5.6%
ICT Manufacturing 3.0%
Communications Services 3.8%
Software & Computer Services 87.6%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview
Figure 2: Companies by Employee Size for Total ICT Sector, 2013
Pie chart of companies by employee size for total ICT Sector in the year 2013

Description of Figure 2

Companies by Employee Size for Total ICT Sector, 2013
No. of employees Percentage
1-9 Employees 86.0%
10-49 Employees 10.9%
50-100 Employees 1.6%
100+ Employees 1.5%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview

…and generates $159.9 billion in revenues.

  • Revenues in the ICT sector increased by 2.7% in 2013, led by the software and computer services sub-sector (5.6%). The wholesaling and communications services sub-sectors posted growth rates of 2.9% and 2.6%, respectively, while the manufacturing industries declined by 12.5%.
  • From 2007 to 2013, ICT sector revenues increased from $133.4 to $159.9 billion, a 19.8% increase. During this period, the ICT manufacturing industries declined by 46.1%. On the other hand, all the services sub-sectors posted gains: the software and computer services, wholesaling, and the communications services sub-sectors increased by 35.8%, 25.9%, and 25.2% respectively.
  • Over the period, the share of the manufacturing industries in the total ICT sector revenues dropped from 12.0% to 5.4%.
Figure 3: ICT Sub-sector Revenues, 2007–2013
(Billions of dollars)
Bar chart of the ICT sub-sector revenues, for the period 2007–2013 (in billions of dollars)

Description of Figure 3

ICT Sub-sector Revenues, 2007–2013 ($Billions)
ICT Sub-Sectors 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Manufacturing 16.1 13.5 11.6 12.0 11.5 9.9 8.7
Software and Computer Services  38.1 40.9 42.7 43.3 46.7 49.1 51.8
Communications Services 47.2 50.5 52.3 54.2 56.1 57.6 59.1
Wholesaling  32.0 33.4 32.2 34.4 36.0 39.2 40.3
Total ICT Sector 133.4 138.3 138.9 143.8 150.3 155.7 159.9
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview
Figure 4: Revenues by ICT Sub-sector, 2013
(Total: $159.9 Billion)
Pie chart of the revenues by ICT sub-sector for 2013 (Total: $159.9 Billion)

Description of Figure 4

Revenues by ICT Sub-sector, 2013
(Total: $159.9 Billion)
Sub-sector Percentage
ICT Wholesaling 25.2%
Communications Services 37.0%
Software & Computer Services 32.4%
ICT Manufacturing 5.4%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview

Information and Communications Technologies SectorFootnote 1

ICT Manufacturing

  • Computer and Peripheral Equipment
  • Communications Equipment
  • Electronic Components
  • Audio and Video Equipment
  • Magnetic and Optical Media

ICT Wholesaling

Software and Computer Services

  • Software publishers
  • Computer systems design
  • Data processing
  • Electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance

Communications Services

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Return to footnote 1 referrer

The ICT Sector makes a substantial contribution to the Canadian GDP…

  • The ICT sector contributed $69.5 billion to the Canadian GDP (in 2007 constant dollars) in 2013, accounting for 4.4% of Canadian GDP.
  • The ICT sector growth fell behind that of the overall economy in 2013. The sector increased by 1.4% during 2013 compared to 1.9% for the total Canadian economy. However, ICT sector growth had a better performance in annualized growth since 2007 in comparison with the total economy. On average, annual growth in this sector has been 1.6% since 2007, compared to 1.1% for the overall economy. The ICT industries have accounted for 5.7% of the Canadian GDP growth since 2007.
  • The software and computer services industries accounted for the highest growth in GDP in 2013, up 4.7%. The ICT wholesaling and communication services sub-sectors also increased by 3.3% and 0.9%, respectively. Meanwhile, the manufacturing industries GDP decreased by 15.3% in 2013.
Figure 5: ICT Sector GDP, 2007–2013
(2007 Constant Billions of Dollars)
Bar chart of the ICT sector GDP, for the period 2007–2013 (2007 constant billions of dollars)

Description of Figure 5

ICT Sector GDP, 2007–2013 (2007 Constant Billions of Dollars)
Year ICT Sector GDP
2007 63.0
2008 64.1
2009 63.7
2010 66.1
2011 68.4
2012 68.5
2013 69.5
Source: Industrie Canada, Profil statistique des TIC au Canada
Figure 6: GDP by ICT Sub-sector, 2013
(Total: $69.5 Billion)
Pie chart of the GDP by ICT sub-sector, for the year 2013 (Total: $69.5 Billion)

Description of Figure 6

GDP by ICT Sub-sector, 2013 (Total: $69.5 Billion)
ICT Sub-sector Percentage of Total GDP
ICT Wholesaling 8.1%
ICT Manufacturing 5.7%
Telecom. Services 46.8%
Software & Computer Services 39.4%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview

…and is a major source of jobs.

  • The ICT sector accounts for 3.0% of national employment. Employment in the ICT sector increased 0.9% in 2013, amounting to 530,957.
  • Employment decreased in three ICT sub-sectors in 2013. Employment in the manufacturing, wholesaling, and communications services sub-sectors declined by 9.0%, 6.2%, and 2.4%, respectively. Meanwhile, employment in software and computer services industries increased by 4.7%.
  • Reflecting structural changes that are happening in the ICT sector, the share of the manufacturing industries in total ICT sector employment declined from 11.9% in 2007 to 6.9% in 2013, while the share of the software and computer services industries increased from 54.1% to 61.7% over the same period.
Figure 7: ICT Sector Employment, 2007–2013
Bar chart of the ICT Sector Employment, for the period 2007–2013

Description of Figure 7

ICT Sector Employment, 2007–2013
Year ICT Employment level  ICT share of Canadian Employment
2007 521.3 310.2%
2008 523.3 306.3%
2009 518.0 308.1%
2010 531.6 312.0%
2011 521.2 301.1%
2012 526.2 300.6%
2013 531.0 299.4%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview
Figure 8: Employment by ICT Sub-sector, 2013
(Total: 530,957 Workers)
Pie chart of Employment by ICT sub-sector, for the year 2013 (Total: 530,957 workers)

Description of Figure 8

Employment by ICT Sub-sector, 2013
(Total: 530,957 Workers)
ICT Sub-sector Percentage of Total Employment
ICT Wholesaling 10.0%
ICT Manufacturing 6.9%
Communications Services 21.4%
Software & Computer Services 61.7%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview

ICT industries are the largest performers of private sector R&D…

  • ICT sector R&D expenditures totalled $5.0 billion in 2013, falling by 2.8% from the previous year. R&D spending increased in the communications services sub-sector (8.3%) but fell in all other sub-sectors: manufacturing (−5.8%), wholesaling (−5.8%), and software and computer services (−2.6%). The ICT sector continues to be the largest performer of R&D, accounting for 31.8% of all private sector R&D expenditures in Canada.
  • At the industry level, declines in the communications equipment manufacturing (−$142 million) and computer systems design (−$58 million) industries contributed the most to the overall decrease in ICT sector R&D in 2013.
  • From 2007 to 2013, R&D spending in the ICT industries fell by 8.5%. While spending increased in the wholesaling industry (132%), it decreased in the communication services (−30.7%), manufacturing (−19.3%) and software and computer services (−2.6%) industries.
Figure 9: R&D Expenditures by ICT Industry, 2013
(Total: $5.0 Billion)
Pie chart of R&D Expenditures by ICT Industry, 2013 (Total: $5.0 Billion)

Description of Figure 9

R&D Expenditures by ICT Industry, 2013
(Total: $5.0 Billion)
ICT Industry Percentage
Wholesaling 10.0%
Communications Equipment Mfg 28.2%
Electronic Components Mfg 10.3%
Other ICT Mfg 1.7%
Communications Services 9.8%
Software & Computer Services 40.0%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview

…and have a knowledge-intensive workforce…

  • ICT sector employment is characterized by a highly educated workforce. In fact, 47.2% of workers had a university degree in 2013, compared to a national average of 27.4%.
  • The industries that employ the largest share of university educated personnel are communications equipment (55.8%), and software and computer services (53.9%).
Figure 10: Percentage of Workers with a University Degree
by Major ICT Industry, 2013
Bar chart of the percentage of workers with a university degree by major ICT industry for 2013

Description of Figure 10

Percentage of Workers with a University Degree by Major ICT Industry, 2013
Major ICT Industry Percentage
All Canadian Industries 27.4%
Communications Services 32.6%
Electronic Component Mfg 37.4%
Total ICT Sector 47.2%
Computer Equipment Mfg 48.5%
Software & Computer Services 53.9%
Communications Equipment Mfg 55.8%
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey (LFS)

…that earns above-average wages.

  • Employees in the ICT sector are also well compensated. These workers earned on average $69,876 in 2013, or 48% more than the economy-wide average of $47,354.
  • The highest earners in the sector work in the software and computer services industries. Average earnings in these industries were $75,425 in 2013. Despite being the lowest paid workers ($51,993) in the ICT sector, employees in the electronic components industry still earned 9.8% more than the national average in 2013.
Figure 11: Average Annual Earnings
by Major ICT Industry, 2013
Bar chart of average annual earnings by major ICT Industry, for 2013

Description of Figure 11

Average Annual Earnings by Major ICT Industry, 2013
Major ICT Industry Average Annual Earnings
All Canadian Industries $47,354
Electronic Component Mfg $51,933
Communications Services $58,519
Total ICT Sector $69,876
Communications Eqpt Mfg $74,436
Software & Computer Services $75,425
Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH)

ICT manufacturing industries are export-oriented

  • The Canadian ICT manufacturing sub-sector relies on the export market. About 81% of ICT products manufactured in Canada were exported in 2013.
  • Canadian exports of ICT goods decreased by 4.4% in 2013 to $10.2 billion. Decreases in exports of wired communications equipment ($272 million) contributed the most to this decline.
  • Exports of ICT goods dropped by 39.1% between 2007 and 2013. Since 2007, exports of wired communications equipment (−61.8%) fell the most while exports of audio and video equipment (38.5%) were the only to increase. Over this period, the share of wired communications equipment in total ICT goods exports dropped from 29.1% to 18.2%.
  • Exports of ICT goods to the United States decreased by 4.5% in 2013 to $6.8 billion, accounting for 66.4% of Canadian ICT goods exports. Shipments to the US have dropped since 2007, when they were totalling $11.2 billion, and representing 67.0% of Canadian ICT goods exports. Shipments to the Asia-Pacific region decreased by 3.3% in 2013, totalling $1.1 billion or 10.9% of Canada's ICT goods exports. Exports to the European Union decreased by 16.5% in 2013 to a total of $1.08 billion or 10.6% of Canada's ICT exports. Since 2007, the share of shipments to the European Union has decreased by 3.3 percentage points. Exports to all other countries accounted for $1.2 billion, or 12.2% of Canadian ICT goods exports in 2013, up 4.6 percentage points since 2007.
Figure 12: Exports of ICT Goods by Product Group, 2013
(Total: $10.2 Billion)
Pie chart of exports of ICT goods by product group, for 2013 (Total: $10.2 Billion)

Description of Figure 12

Exports of ICT Goods by Product Group, 2013
(Total: $10.2 Billion)
Product Group Percentage
Other ICT Goods 15.7%
Electronic Components 22.7%
Wireless Communications Eqpt 18.1%
Wired Communications Eqpt 18.2%
Computer Eqpt 25.3%
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview
Figure 13: Exports of ICT Goods by Region, 2013
2013 Share of Total (2007 shares in brackets)
Pie chart of exports of ICT goods by region for 2013, 2013 share of total (2007 shares in brackets)

Description of Figure 13

Exports of ICT Goods by Region, 2013
2013 Share of Total (2007 shares in brackets)
Region 2007 2013
Asia-Pacific 11.4% 10.9%
European Union 13.9% 10.6%
Other 7.6% 12.2%
United States 67.0% 66.4%
Source: Industry Canada, Trade Data Online

…while ICT services industries are more domestically oriented

  • Exports of communications services experienced an increase of 3.9% in 2013, totalling $2.3 billion. However, software and computer services declined by 0.9% to $9.3 billion.
  • Although ICT services industries are less export oriented than ICT manufacturing industries, exports of ICT services have been catching up with exports of ICT goods. From 2007 to 2013, exports of software and computer services grew by 30.8% while exports of communications services increased by 29.4%. However, the increase in exports of ICT services was not large enough to offset the decline in exports of ICT goods. Total exports of ICT goods and services decreased by 14.8% during the period.
Figure 14: Exports of ICT Goods and Services
2007–2013 ($Billions)
Line chart of exports of ICT goods and services, for the period 2007–2013

Description of Figure 14

Exports of ICT Goods and Services, 2007-2013 ($Billions)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Goods 16.7 15.4 12.8 11.2 11.1 10.6 10.2
Software and Computer Services 7.2 7.8 8.2 7.7 8.9 9.5 9.0
Telecommunications Services 1.8 2.1 1.8 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.0
Total 25.6 25.2 22.7 20.6 22.0 22.3 21.8
Source: Industry Canada, Canadian ICT Statistical Overview