Toronto – Countries around the world are recognizing the need for a National Digital Strategy, but Canada has not yet embarked on this process. Digital technologies are bringing about transformative change in society; and, according to a new issues discussion paper released today from Nordicity, Canada must develop our own strategy to remain competitive.
“Without a national digital strategy, there will be no overall vision to guide such a social and economic transformation in the interest of all Canadians,” says Peter Lyman, Senior Partner at Nordicity. “Rather, debate will be mired in the arcane and fragmented languages of broadcasting regulation, copyright revision, technological innovation, cultural subsidies, and broadband infrastructure.”
According to the issues discussion paper, Towards a National Digital Strategy, a unified vision of Canada’s digital future is crucial. To make sure the debate is not fragmented, policymakers will need to shift their perception to a more constructive, collaborative and holistic one. Otherwise, solutions will continue to be piecemeal, and decisions will continue to be reactive and narrowly defined.
The paper attempts to sort out the different issues, and identify what a national digital strategy should address. The paper groups the relevant issues in three parts:
1. An overarching societal need for digital literacy and skills in the modern world.
2. The need for a transformation of our support for the creation and distribution of cultural content.
3. The need for appropriate investment in our broadband and communications infrastructure to provide Canadians access to broadband services.
Lyman continues, “Canada is in need of a coherent and holistic approach to creating a national digital strategy. Canada can ill-afford to languish on its aging digital laurels. We have the opportunity to draw upon suggestions already made in other jurisdictions and improve upon them. We suggest the creation of a national digital panel that will report directly to a special cabinet committee over the course of 12 to 18 months in order to establish and implement a coherent digital strategy.”
In order for this process to be effective it must be backed at the political level and by senior officials with clearly delineated tasks assigned to various departments and agencies. “There have already been significant calls to action from key policy players and further delay on this process will only lead to continued fractional efforts that address limited areas of concern,” comments Lyman.