New Data & Infographic: “The Internet and Digital Technology” in Canada”

New from Statistics Canada:

Just over 90% of Canadians 15 years of age and older went online at least a few times a month in 2016, and it was not just young people checking out the Internet. Some 68% of those 65 years of age and older also used the Internet at least a few times a month.


The 2016 General Social Survey (GSS), Canadians at Work and Home, allows multi-faceted analyses of today’s issues in a manner not previously possible, providing new and current insights into the lifestyle behaviour of Canadians as they meet the challenges of a changing world. Providing information on diverse subjects such as Internet use, work-life balance, job satisfaction, leisure activities, and their potential interactions, this first analysis showcases a selection of the many topics examined in the 2016 survey.

Internet is no longer just for the young

Although previous surveys showed that the Internet was used predominantly by the young, the survey Canadians at Work and Home reveals that by 2016 the pattern had changed. Older age groups are making large inroads into the digital world.

According to the 2016 GSS, 91% of Canadians aged 15 and older used the Internet at least a few times during the month preceding the survey, up from 86% three years earlier in 2013. While people aged 15 to 44 had similarly high usage rates—generally well over 90% in both years—individuals aged 45 and older increased their Internet use substantially from 2013 to 2016. Most notably, among 65- to 74-year-olds, Internet use rose from 65% to 81%, while among those aged 75 and older usage rose from 35% to 50% over these three years.

Internet use varied across the provinces, ranging from 94% in Alberta to 88% in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016. In every province, Internet use was highest among the youngest age groups and lowest for those aged 75 and older.

The majority of Canadians own smart phones and use multiple devices

Although Internet access is becoming more and more pervasive, age differences still persist in the choice of device used to connect. Having a smart phone, for example, now appears to be a near-necessity for the young. The overwhelming majority of 15- to 34-year-olds (94%) reported owning one, compared with 69% of those aged 55 to 64 and 18% of Canadians 75 years and older. Overall, 76% of Canadians owned a smart phone in 2016.

Furthermore, the majority of people in Canada now seem to need, or want, more than one device. In all, 90% of Canadians owned two or more digital devices and 80% three or more in 2016. Overall, 71% Canadians aged 15 and older owned a laptop or netbook, 54% had a tablet or e-reader and half (50%) a desktop computer.

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