News Release

Canada needs a focused digital strategy to help firms scale up and go global

January 24, 2019 Print

Montreal – Canada’s future economic growth and competitiveness are inextricably linked to our ability to seize the opportunities created by the rapidly developing digital economy, says a new publication from the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

According to David Wolfe, co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, businesses have been slow to recognize the extent of the digital transformation, invest in software and adopt new technologies. In his view, our ability to take full advantage of the digital revolution is also hampered by our small domestic market, and the shortage of Canadian-based patient capital and experienced managers capable of transforming startups into high-growth firms.

“Canada’s ability to position itself as a global leader in the digit­al economy will depend on how effectively governments and policy-mak­ers support firms in navigating these challenges and opportunities,” says Wolfe.

Although federal innovation initiatives implemented since 2016 bring a much needed update to our strategy on innovation, most have not focused directly on the digital economy and the challenges posed by new technologies.

He argues that Ottawa’s innovation agenda should be extended to pursue a broader digital strategy focused on three main goals:

  • Promoting the adoption of digital technologies across all sectors of the economy
  • Helping companies with a proven track record to scale up for global expansion
  • Supporting the creation of firms capable of bringing new, disrupt­ive products and services to global markets

Ultimately, he concludes, the most effective way for governments to respond to the digital revolution is through continuous innovation in their policy and regulatory frameworks.

A Digital Strategy for Canada: The Current Challenge, by David A. Wolfe, can be downloaded from the Institute’s website.


The Institute for Research on Public Policy is an independent, national, bilingual, not-for-profit organization based in Montreal. To receive updates from the IRPP, please subscribe to our e‑mail list.

Media contact:  Shirley Cardenas, tel. 514-594-6877  scardenas@nullirpp.org

A Digital Strategy for Canada

A Digital Strategy for Canada

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Media Contact

Shirley Cardenas
Communications Coordinator
Tel. 514-594-6877 • scardenas@irpp.org