Canada's Competitive Position as a Digital Nation Continues to Decline, New Study to be Released at Canada 3.0 2011 Reveals

Stratford Report 2011 Calls for Action to Bolster Innovation, Canadian Digital Content

WATERLOO, ON, May 3 /CNW/ - Canada's adoption and development of digital media technology and practices compared to other developed countries continues to slip as the conversation - but not sufficient action - continues, a new report prepared by The Stratford Institute reveals. The study, titled The Stratford Report 2011, will be unveiled tomorrow at the Canada 3.0 2011 forum, Canada's premier digital media event which has the goal of making Canada a digital nation by 2017.

"The old caution remains: vision without action is hallucination," said Ian Wilson, Executive Director of the Stratford Institute who will be presenting the report Wednesday afternoon. "A compilation of comparative statistics gleaned from authoritative sources, especially international studies, indicates that Canada continues to decline as a digital nation, contrary to the goals of all of us working hard to improve the country's competitive position."

Wilson said that while there have been consultations such as the one launched by Industry Minister Tony Clement at last year's Canada 3.0 forum, what is required is targeted action supported by unprecedented collaboration between all levels of government, universities and the private sector.

Government is not setting the example for Canada to achieve the Canada 3.0 forum goal of becoming a digital nation, given that Canada's ranking of government procurement of advanced technology products puts the country in 26th place compared to other developed nations. This means that government at all levels is not helping drive investment and innovation in the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Similarly, lack of private sector investment in ICT is limiting Canadian productivity, Wilson said.

"We've seen spending on bridges, sewers and other physical infrastructure, but a dismal lack of investment in the new digital economy. Investing in technology innovation and in our content will have returns outlasting buildings. An educated workforce, together with our accumulated intellectual resources, are the real capital in the competitive global knowledge economy of the 21st century," Wilson said.

The report also highlights a dichotomy between the amount of time Canadians spend on-line - 43.5 hours per month versus the worldwide average of 23.1 hours per month - and what we do with that time.

"Canadians are well connected - to foreign content. Studies show that Canada is one of the best connected countries, extending broadband connectivity to rural areas, but we're connecting to foreign content because only 1% of Canadian audio visual content and 13% of our print content is available on-line which is totally unacceptable," said Wilson.

Wilson praised the some 2,000 people who participated in the Canada 3.0 2011 forum this week for trying to make a difference to Canada's future.

"This is all about ensuring that as Canadians, we recognize that the future is digital and we need to inspire action to ensure productivity and prosperity for this country," said Wilson.

Canada 3.0 is organized annually by the Canadian Digital Media Network, and brings together industry, government, public sector and academic communities of interest with the common goal of advancing Canada's competitiveness in digital media. The forum focuses on a goal called the Moonshot by which anyone in Canada can do anything online by 2017, Canada's 150th birthday.

Follow Canada 3.0 2011 on Twitter @can3_0

About the Stratford Institute for digital media

The Stratford Institute for digital media is a forward looking digital media policy research centre. The Institute will conduct research, encourage debate, organize consultations and encourage initiatives at the local, regional, national and international levels related to Canada's future prospects as a digital nation. The think tank has been established through a partnership of the University of Waterloo, the City of Stratford, OpenText Corporation, the Canadian Digital Media Network and with support of the Government of Ontario.

SOURCE Stratford Institute

For further information:

Media Contacts:

Jodi Szimanski
University of Waterloo Stratford Campus 226-921-1079

Shelley Grandy
Canada 3.0 905-866-2656

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Stratford Institute

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