Digital and data infrastructure are an important pillar to create an engine of innovation and wealth creation. COVID-19 has accelerated the transformation to digitization and highlighted the many benefits in a short period.
That’s why the Oakville Chamber is urging the Federal Government to commit to actions that promote the long-term growth of the digital economy and modernize policies to encourage investment and innovation throughout the internet ecosystem.
To build a stronger position in the near term, we can build on the COVID lessons turning around the negative impacts from the pandemic to fast track the use of technology and communication networks.
We have seen how fast people can adapt and how productive hundreds of millions of people ramped up the use of digital tools to remain connected, productive, and healthy.
Digital infrastructure allows us to connect people and places, improve productivity, increase economic growth, create healthy and safer communities through valuable insights gained from data analytics and new technologies. This will result in our ability to solve complex problems, improve the sustainability of our cities, build new businesses, create new jobs and create a step-change for competitiveness for our region.
Continuous access to information, commerce and communication has become a daily fact of life for billions and will soon become a reality for billions more. As the internet makes its full weight felt in more high-impact areas such as healthcare, education and government services, access to digital services will only become more essential for everyone in the years to come.
The digital economy is growing at more than 10% a year, significantly faster than the economy as a whole. In emerging markets, the internet economy is growing at 12-25% per year, and it is having a far-reaching social and political, as well as economic, impact. Around the world, it is an increasingly important source of growth and, frequently, jobs.
Governments, businesses, and other stakeholders including post secondary institutions should commit to near, mid and long-term actions that promote growth of digital services and the digital economy.
The COVID19 Pandemic has also accelerated businesses’ digital transformation. It also showed us how quickly work itself can change. Adaptability, flexibility, and a commitment to lifelong learning will be vital, especially as companies and entire industries reposition themselves in a highly digital, data-driven world and search for the talent that will help them succeed.
Additionally, for business and government, the way to remain competitive lies in upskilling to create a future-ready workforce; for individuals, it’s a way to keep their skills relevant and stay future-ready.
Here in Oakville, Sheridan College’s Centre for Mobile Innovation (CMI) is a technology research, commercialization, and knowledge dissemination hub focussed on mobile computing, with a strong emphasis on mobile health (mHealth). CMI was established to respond to industry and community needs, while fostering technical and entrepreneurial training of the next generation.
To that end, the Oakville Chamber is also urging the federal government to create funding mechanisms for post secondary institutions to establish digital literacy programs to ensure our workforce is future ready, as well as investing in research and digital skills training to meet the future labour demands.
The enhancement of digital connections and e-services amongst business, employees, citizens and government will create an attractive climate for business investment and job creation for economic growth.
As part of Canada’s economic recovery, we will urge our federal government to recognize the broader role that digital services can plan in economic development and growth.