Canada Isn’t Fully Ready for a Digital World

Canada needs to do more to prepare for the future, according to a global index

By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/Fredex8.

Even though Canada is among the countries at the forefront of tech adoption, the country is still lagging behind in some areas, such as technology infrastructure and business and government investment. According to Cisco Systems’ 2019 Digital Readiness Index, which was released in January 2020, Canada ranks 17th among 141 countries, scoring 17.33 out of a possible 25 points.

The index looks at seven categories: basic needs, business and government investment, ease of doing business, human capital, start-up environment, technology adoption, and technology infrastructure. Though Canada came in second and sixth for technology adoption and human capital, respectively, it didn’t rank nearly as well for basic needs (17th), ease of doing business (18th), business and government investment (20th), and start-up environment (26th).

Canada has work to do if it wants to move up the list. Perhaps the most surprising ranking was that relating to basic needs, a category that includes life expectancy, mortality rate, and access to safe drinking water and electricity.

At 17th place, Canada sits between Japan (16th) and Austria (18th). The countries with the highest ranking included Singapore (1st), Luxembourg (2nd), and the United States (3rd). However, neither Luxembourg nor the United States made the top 10 for basic needs, with Luxemborg coming in 13th place and the US in 32nd.

The Digital Readiness Index is intended to measure a country’s digital readiness, which involves using technology to help countries become more sustainable financially, environmentally, and socially. Cisco says it believes that technology can be used to solve many of the world’s biggest problems and created the index to help the world become more aware of the opportunities and benefits of technology.

“It is our hope that these findings will provide guidance for helping nations create more digitally inclusive societies,” Cisco’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, Tae Yoo, wrote in a whitepaper.