Many Canadians still face barriers to participating in the digital world. Based on original research, including a survey of Canadians and interviews conducted with industry and government leaders, Digital Equity: Focusing on every Canadian’s digital future is the second digital equity report released by Deloitte’s Future of Canada Centre.
Despite the progress that has been made, the report shows Canada is falling behind on digital equity with growing gaps in access to digital technology and skills development, as well as an increased threat to online privacy and well-being. The report reveals that age, ethnicity, income and geographic location are among the foremost factors influencing digital equity for Canadians, impacting Canada’s ability to compete globally.
“The ability to use and access technology is now a requirement to fully participate in our society, yet many Canadians are being left behind in the wake of digital advancement,” said Anthony Viel, CEO, Deloitte Canada. “Whether it is the student who did not have a computer to use when their school went online, the senior who is not comfortable using digital technology or the employer struggling to find talent – digital inequity affects us all. To overcome these challenges, public and private sectors must work collectively to improve digital skills training and lifelong learning, expand access and bolster participation for all Canadians.”
Deloitte’s new report examines challenges to connectivity, digital literacy and online safety. These challenges disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples, people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, racialised communities, recent immigrants, people with disabilities, lower-income households, seniors and women.
Some of the survey findings include:
- Over half (58%) of households surveyed report speeds above the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) minimum. By comparison, only 39% of households earning less than CA$40,000 per year met this threshold.
- Households earning less than CA$40,000 per year were twice as likely to cite the cost of devices as a barrier compared to those earning over CA$150,000 per year.
- Only 44% of respondents under the age of 35 feel their education prepared them to succeed in a digital economy.
- Roughly three in five respondents over the age of 75 express some level of frustration trying to use new technology.
- Nearly half (47%) of respondents say they did not know where to go to gain digital skills.
“The report makes clear, actionable recommendations to increase collaboration between governments, communities and business leaders to ensure every Canadian has access to the tools and digital training needed to participate fully and safely online,” said Georgina Black, Managing Partner, Government and Public Services at Deloitte Canada. “The recommendations in the report can be implemented today to build a more digitally equitable Canada now and into the future.”Click below to share this article