Rights & Money

More and More Canadian Seniors Are Online

Internet use is up, and most Canadians do at least some shopping online these days

By Jennifer Hughes

Photo: iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz.

The proportion of older Canadians online jumped from 48% in 2012 to 71% in 2018, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Overall, the vast majority (91%) of Canadians 15 years or older were using the Internet in 2018; in 2012, that number was 83%.

The reasons for Internet use vary. While some Canadians are going online to purchase goods and services, others use it to stream their favourite TV shows, movies, or music, and the Statistics Canada report indicates that Canadians aren’t just spending more time online, they’re spending more money. In 2018, 84% of us shopped online, spending $57.4 billion, a huge increase over the $18.9 billion spent online in 2012. And almost a third of us are working online when we’re not at work: 30% of respondents reported that that their employers expect them to be online to stay connected outside of regular working hours.

Statistics Canada also discovered that Internet usage differs across the country. Internet use is highest in Alberta and British Columbia, at 94% in both provinces. The lowest proportion was in Newfoundland and Labrador, at 86%.

The report suggests that Canadians continue to worry about their security online. In 2018 alone, more than half of Canadian Internet users (57%) reported that they’d experienced a cyber security incident such as having their computer infected with a virus or being re-directed to a fraudulent site. Most users reported acting to improve their security—61% said they delete their browser history and 42% said they’d adjusted their privacy settings.