Toronto named high tech hub of Canada

Posted by Andrea Wahbe

Logo from Toronto ReportA few months ago, I wrote a blog about why I think Toronto is a technology innovation leader in Canada. It seems that I am not the only Torontonian to think this way. Yesterday, the City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture department issued a press release announcing that 30 per cent of Canada’s ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) industry is based in Toronto. 

According to a report called "Canada's High Tech Hub: Toronto," the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is Canada’s centre for ICT research and development, and continues to see growth and high employment.

The report says that 11,522 companies make up Toronto’s ICT sector and generate $52.2 billion annually. Small to medium-sized companies, 97.7 per cent of which have fewer than 100 employees, dominate the sector. Over 161,000 workers are employed in ICT in Toronto. This represents 56.4 per cent of all ICT workers in Ontario and 30 per cent of all ICT workers in Canada. 

Toronto's ICT sector has an impressive 95.9 per cent employment rate and an average annual income of $64,725. Toronto ICT workers are young (over 60 per cent are under the age of 45) and well educated, with 96.8 per cent holding a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree. That's much higher compared with 88.9 per cent for the city's total labour force.

Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of Toronto's Economic Development Committee says "we see Toronto as an increasingly important global ICT centre. Encouraging and supporting public, private and academic collaboration will accelerate growth and raise our international profile. The better we collaborate, the more successful we will be in energizing our economy and attracting new companies and new talent to our city." 

According to the report, research and development activity in Toronto is greater than that in any other single jurisdiction in Canada, accounting for approximately 30 per cent of total activity nationwide. This puts Toronto on the leading edge of innovation.

The report is being presented today at Toronto's Economic Development Committee meeting as part of a broader look at the city's ICT and Interactive Digital Media (IDM) sectors. Leading representatives of Toronto's ICT and IDM related businesses, institutions and programs will also present to the committtee. Some of the speakers include:

• Michael Gregory - Senior Economist and Head of Canadian Rates Strategy, BMO
• John Davies, President, Humber College
• Shane Schick, Editor In Chief, IT World Canada 
• Sergio Mateus, President, Sapphire Technologies
• Nabil Harfoush, CIO, EVP Corporate Development, Helpcaster Technologies Inc. 
• Valerie Fox, Director - Digital Media Zone, Ryerson University

You can get a copy of the "Canada's High Tech Hub: Toronto" report at www.toronto.ca/business_publications/pdf/ICT-Report_March2011.pdf 

I know that there are other amazing cities in Canada who are also leading the charge in terms of technology innovation. It would be interesting to see similar reports from their Economic Development Committees to understand the bigger picture.

Please share your thoughts about this announcement.

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Andrea Wahbe

Andrea Wahbe

Andrea Wahbe is a freelance B2B marketing strategist and corporate storyteller who has contributed to the growth of online media businesses in Canada, such as AOL and Google. By day, Andrea writes about digital media and marketing trends and tips for Canadian startups and SMEs. By night, she’s an analog book reader, master swimmer and experimental chef.  more



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