Canadian Digital Infrastructure Development Lagging: CATA/Chamber of Commerce Survey: MediaCaster News Report
November 5, 2009

The lack of broadband access to rural regions in Canada and a public concern over online privacy and security have a significant impact on business and service innovations.

 

As well, the lack of “activity by government(s) to actively promote and encourage the use of IT & Telecom in their business processes” was cited as a major impediment to a dynamic digital economy.

 

Those are among the results from a recent survey conducted by CATAAlliance and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce indicate that Canada needs to significantly increase its knowledge based economy through the promotion and adoption of digital infrastructure development.

 

This survey was sent to all members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and CATA. CATA and the Canadian Chamber's stated objective in this study was to help ensure that Canadian companies have the opportunity to become world leaders in service innovation through knowledge sharing and access to needed tools and best practices.

"The survey indicates where Canadian companies stand in the area of business and services innovation. In order for Canada to compete globally, the Canadian government and Canadian companies need to strategize their business and service innovation as governments in the US, Europe, and Japan have already begun to do so," said Barry Gander, Executive Vice President, CATAAlliance.

One area in which most Canadian companies fair well is their online presence.

 

An online presence is necessary to compete in the global market to extend a company's reach beyond its regional borders. Nearly 94 per cent of survey respondents do have a website for their company. However, only 40 per cent of respondents actually use their company website to promote their products and services. With the onslaught and popularity of websites like Amazon and eBay, surprising results also include that only nine per cent use their website for on-line ordering and approximately 13 per cent include access for online payments.

"Without proper investment and dedication to ICT (information and communications technology), innovation and protecting intellectual property rights, Canada's productivity will be limited and other nations will continue to surpass us as a destination for both domestic and international business investment. Canada must take back its proper place as a world leader in innovation and invest in our future economic growth immediately," said Shirley Ann George, Senior Vice-President, Policy at the Canadian Chamber.

Despite respondent’s concern for their own online security and privacy, the majority of respondents acknowledged they fail to comply with the most basic measures to prevent data theft. Only 21 per cent of respondents use anti-malware software as an IT security measure, 21 per cent use firewalls, 19 per cent use off-site back-up information, 20 per cent use regular back-up of data critical to business operations, and only 18 per cent of respondents utilize secure servers.

CATAAlliance and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce say they will offer recommendations to Government and Canadian businesses to facilitate Canada's digital infrastructure development, based on the survey results.