An ICTC Study
The Digital-Led New Normal
Published by ICTC, August 2020
In March 2020, Canada entered the beginnings of a recession. The main cause of this recession was a health crisis (COVID-19) unmatched in severity since the Spanish Flu of 1918. Officially declared a global pandemic in mid-March, its rapid spread led to large-scale economic shutdowns and supply chain breakages spanning nations, including Canada. In releasing The Digital New Normal: Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022, ICTC contributes to the emerging analyses of these twin economic and health crises by updating previous forecasts conducted in the Outlook 2023 report.
Despite the stark realities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian digital economy remains remarkably resilient to the current crisis. Due to increased demand for digital services and the ability of many digital economy employees to work remotely, the COVID-19 crisis has actually led to an increase in the digital economy’s share of total employment. Between February and June 2020, employment in the Canadian digital economy jumped from 10% to 11% of total employment. Because of this resilience and expected growth in influence, ICTC forecasts that employment in the digital economy will continue to grow to over 2 million by the end of 2022. While slightly slower than was forecasted in Outlook 2023 (over 2.1 million by 2023), employment in the digital economy will grow at a significantly faster rate than the overall economy and many other sectors.
COVID-19 has caused ripples across the economy and impacted all businesses and activities. While no business has been completely spared, the pandemic has heightened the importance of digital technology, clarifying its role as the essential fabric of our future economy. A post-COVID future will be one where technology and digital adoption is viewed as essential. A successful and competitive post-COVID Canada will, by its very nature, be digital-first.
Researched and written by Maryna Ivus (Manager, Labour Market Research), Akshay Kotak (Senior Economist & Research Analyst), and Ryan McLaughlin (Senior Economist & Research Analyst), with generous support from Alexandra Cutean (Senior Director, Research & Policy), Rob Davidson (Director, Data Analytics), Chris Herron (Junior Research Analyst), and the ICTC Research & Policy team.