Archived — Government of Canada Launches National Consultations on a Digital Economy Strategy

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Speech:
Canada 3.0 Conference

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Photo of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry

Ottawa, May 10, 2010—The Government of Canada today unveiled a national consultation aimed at building consensus among governments, the private sector, academia and the Canadian public in developing a digital economy strategy for Canada. The commitment to developing the strategy was outlined in both the government's Speech from the Throne and Budget 2010 and is aimed at positioning Canada for leadership in the global digital economy.

The announcement was made jointly by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

“Canada can and should be a leader in the global digital economy,” said Minister Clement. “Now is the time for the private sector to step up and contribute their ideas for a digital strategy and, when that strategy is in place, to implement the plan.”

“Our government is committed to ensuring that creators, inventors and entrepreneurs have the incentives to innovate, the confidence to take risks and the tools to succeed,” said Minister Moore. “We recognize the important role the digital media and content sector plays in the digital economy, and we intend to develop a long-term plan that will stand the test of time.”

“Our government wants Canadians to have the skills that will make them leaders in this rapidly developing and globally competitive industry,” said Minister Finley. “Through these consultations, we will work with industry and other partners to identify areas where we need to develop our workforce of the future.”

The consultations, which begin today and close on July 9, 2010, will be hosted online (www.digitaleconomy.gc.ca). A discussion paper posted on the consultation site provides details on the key themes being considered:

  • Capacity to Innovate Using Digital Technologies;
  • Building a World-Class Digital Infrastructure;
  • Growing the Information and Communications Technology Industry;
  • Digital Media: Creating Canada's Digital Content Advantage; and
  • Building Digital Skills for Tomorrow.

The consultation seeks feedback from all interested parties on priorities and targets as Canada moves toward improving innovation and creativity, adopting new technologies and achieving the shared goal of making Canada a global leader in the digital economy.

A strategy for Canada's digital economy will recognize that success will not come through a particular government program or combination of government programs, but from a concerted effort—combining government vision and the resolve of individual businesses to be global leaders in their fields.

Once the consultation process has closed in July 2010, the government will review the information and use it to inform the development of a national digital economy strategy.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502

Matthew Deacon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
819-997-7788
matthew.deacon@pch.gc.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
media@pch.gc.ca

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
819-994-5559


Backgrounder
Consultations on Canada's Strategy for the Digital Economy

The March 2010 Speech from the Throne and Budget 2010 both established the Government of Canada's objective to develop a digital economy strategy for Canada. The strategy will enable the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to create new products and services, accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and contribute to improved cyber security practices by industry and consumers. It ensures that creators have the incentives to innovate, the confidence to take risks and the tools to succeed.

Canada's ICT and digital media sectors create high-skilled, high-paying jobs in Canada, and the adoption of ICTs helps to raise business productivity. However, Canadian businesses currently lag their international competitors in the development, adoption and use of innovative ICTs.

For Canada to improve its position and take its place at the forefront of the global digital economy, some key questions need to be addressed. How can we improve the adoption and use of digital technologies in all sectors of Canada's economy? What kind of digital infrastructure will we need for the 21st century? And what will grow the ICT industry while we try to reduce our deficit?

Canada was one of the first countries to take advantage of the digital economy. It was the first country to connect all of our schools and libraries to the Internet, and led Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries in the deployment and uptake of broadband. Canadians were early adopters of ICTs. Canada was one of the first countries to implement policies and programs that enabled the creation of digital media and content. Other countries have followed Canada's lead, and some have overtaken us in a number of areas, prompting us to look at how to regain our advantage.

The June 2009 Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford, Ontario, focused on the direction of digital media and the importance of this sector to the economy. That set the tone for the Forum on Canada's Digital Economy in Ottawa later that month, where the key elements for a strategy began to take shape. There is broad agreement that the digital economy is a strong driver of innovation, which is essential to future growth across the entire Canadian economy.

The consultations over the next two months are aimed at identifying areas of collaboration, priority issues to be addressed and opportunities for realigning existing federal policies and programs. It is clear from previous and ongoing discussions that government can play a key role in providing the legislative and investment framework so that individual businesses can be global leaders in their fields. However, it is the private sector that has the talent, technology and entrepreneurial spirit to take the initiative in securing Canada's position of leadership in the global digital economy.

These consultations will help to clearly define roles and responsibilities among industry, academia, content developers, technical experts, researchers and government, and build consensus on how to work together to develop a Canadian strategy for the digital economy.

Elements of the Consultations

Online

The Government of Canada is seeking the views of Canadians on the priorities and proposals for a digital economy strategy. Online submissions will be reviewed and considered as the strategy develops. All online submissions will be made public. For information on the consultation process and how to participate, please visit www.digitaleconomy.gc.ca.

Roundtable meetings

A number of roundtable meetings will be held in support of the consultations, in conjunction with already-planned stakeholder conferences. Stakeholders from the private sector and academia and others will be invited to focus on specific aspects of a digital economy strategy. Where feasible, transcripts of these meetings will be made available through the consultation website.

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