Canada’s Tech Sector: An Economic Goliath

July 25, 2016 | By: Carolyn Goard

A new report by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship illustrates the impact and contribution of Canada’s impressive tech sector on the economy and workforce.

Canada’s tech sector has no doubt become a major driver of innovation and a dependable source of economic growth for the foreseeable future. In fact, new research from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) at Ryerson University released today (July 25th), titled The State of Canada’s Tech Sector, 2016, provides a comprehensive overview of the tech sector in Canada, detailing how pervasive of an impact technology (and tech related jobs) has on the size of Canada’s economy and its impressive contribution to the country’s workforce.

The report states that the value of Canada’s tech sector has grown steadily, and that the sector itself is broader in scope than previous assessments, ranging from digital technologies, to aerospace and pharmaceuticals. It is a diverse, highly innovative sector that is also a significant economic driver. In 2015, the technology sector was directly responsible for $117 billion or 7.1 per cent of Canada’s economic output. The tech sector also has the key attribute of being a more dependable, less volatile, source of growth than the real estate, manufacturing, extractive industries and construction, which are currently Canada’s largest economic contributors.

“The key to future economic growth and stability is understanding where Canada’s strengths lie,” says Sean Mullin, Executive Director, Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. “This benchmark study demonstrates a vibrant and diverse tech sector, and its potential as a driver of innovation and economic growth.”

Report Key Findings (based on 2015 figures):

  • The tech sector was directly responsible for $117 billion or 7.1 percent of Canada’s economic output, greater than that of the finance and insurance industry.
  • 864,000 Canadians were employed in the tech sector, which made up 5.6 percent of Canada’s total employment.
  • At over $9.1 billion spent, the tech sector was by far the largest private investor in research and development.
  • The tech sector was also comprised of nearly 71,000 firms, representing 6.1 percent of all Canadian businesses.
  • Tech sector employees earned approximately $67,000 a year, compared to the national average of nearly $48,000.
  • Over 50 percent of tech sector employees had a university education, compared to 29 percent across Canada’s labour force.

This new report comes recently after the release of BIIE’s highly-cited study of the impact of automation on future employment in Canada, titled The Talented Mr. Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada’s Workforce. The State of Canada’s Tech Sector, 2016 is designed to shift our understanding of technology beyond disruption towards its broad economic impact. Also included as part of the report are regional breakdowns and a downloadable infographic, visually demonstrating the report’s key findings.


The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) is a new, independent and nonpartisan institute, housed within Ryerson University, that is dedicated to making Canada the best country in the world to be an innovator or an entrepreneur. BII+E supports this mission in three ways: insightful research and analysis; testing, piloting and prototyping projects; which informs BII+E’s leadership and advocacy on behalf of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. For more information, visit brookfieldinstitute.ca.