The economic shocks of COVID-19 and the oil price drop have spiked unemployment in Canada to the highest levels since the Great Depression, but employment in the Canadian digital economy has actually notched up to 11% of total employment between February and June 2020, from the previous rate of 10%. ICTC’s new study, The Digital-Led New Normal: Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022, is an update and addendum to ICTC’s flagship forecast report Digital Talent Outlook 2023, released in 2019. The revised forecast includes an analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 and other noteworthy events such as Brexit and the oil price collapse.
The digital economy is still expected to employ over 2 million people by the end of 2022, which is comparable to the ICTC forecast of over 2.1 million people by 2023.
“Preparing a digital-ready workforce will be paramount in fast-tracking Canada’s economic recovery post COVID-19. A heightened focus on the six innovation areas will enable expanded employment prospects for Canadians in a greener-based economy.” - Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO
The report emphasizes the importance of digital adoption, especially for Canadian small businesses. Investments in critical digital infrastructure—such as cloud technology, fintech applications, eCommerce, intelligent supply chains, and automation—are becoming essential for operational efficiencies and resiliency in a post-COVID economy.
The study also updates the six key innovation areas forecasts outlined in the pre-COVID Outlook:
- Agri-foods and food tech
- Interactive digital media (IDM)
- Advanced manufacturing
- Clean resources
- Health and biotech