Canada’s Internet Factbook 2018 Canada’s source for
current internet data

Data privacy, cyberattacks and content piracy are headline-making issues in Canada. With most Canadians spending 3-4 hours online a day to work, learn, connect socially and shop, these are real concerns for average Canadians across the country. CIRA conducts research annually to learn more about Canada’s internet, as a first step to building a better online Canada.

Canada’s Internet Factbook 2018 displays data and trends on the state of Canada’s internet, as well as how Canadians use it and their perceptions of it.

Get your copy of Canada’s Internet Factbook: Infographic

How Canadians get online

86% of Canadians have a broadband internet connection at home.

Devices Canadians use most often to access the internet

2016 2017 2018
Desktop/laptop computer 67 59 55
Smartphone/Mobile 21 27 32
Tablet (iPad, etc.) 12 13 12
TV < 1 1 1
Voice-controlled “connected-home” device n/a n/a < 1

52% of Canadians have five or more internet-connected devices in their home.

Mobile devices are becoming a popular
choice for making online purchases.

Mobile purchases increased to 40% in 2018 from just 12% in 2014

Awareness of voice-controlled, connected-home devices

Connected-home devices, such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, are growing in popularity in Canada with more Canadians aware of what they are, though interest in purchasing a device remains steady.

Percentage of Canadians with knowledge of connected devices

  • 2017 55%
  • 2018 77%

What Canadians do online

74% of Canadians
spend at least
3-4 hours
online per day.

Canadians subscribe to a variety of online content, with Netflix in the lead.

Online media services Canadians subscribe to

Service Percentage of Canadians subscribed
Netflix 53%
Spotify 16%
Apple Music 12%
Amazon Prime Video 10%
Crave TV 9%
Newspaper 8%
Magazine 4%

Piracy

14% of Canadians admit to intentionally accessing/streaming pirated film/TV content.

This jumps to 27%
among 18-34 year olds.

70% of those who admitted to piracy say they are willing to pay for reasonably priced, readily available copyright-protected film or TV content online.

The majority of Canadian parents monitor
some or all of their children’s online activity

Amount of children's internet activity parents monitor

  • 8% monitor none.
  • 55% monitor some.
  • 37% all.

Shopping

62% of Canadians prefer making online purchases from Canadian businesses

Choose .CA & show your website visitors that you are Canadian!

Things Canadians fear about being online

77%
of Canadians are concerned about cyberattacks against organizations that may have access to their personal information.

81% of canadians are concerned about the security of personal information held by a government department if it experiences a cyberattack.

Cyberbullying

33%
of Canadians have experienced or witnessed cyberbullying when using the internet.

Men vs Women that experienced or witnessed cyberbullying

  • 24% of men said yes
  • 34% of women said yes

58% of 18-34 year olds have experienced or witnessed cyberbullying

25% of Canadian users indicate that they don’t feel safe from cyberbullying on Facebook and Twitter.

90%
of Canadian parents are concerned about cyberbullying.

74%
of Canadians are concerned about the spread of “fake news” online.

20% say they are very confident in their ability to recognize “fake news” online.

Section 2: State of Canada's Internet

Canada in the world

Canada’s place in the world, related to information and communications technology, is dropping. In 2016 Canada slipped two spots. In 2017, it’s fallen another three. The International Telecommunications Union’s ICT Development Index (IDI 2017 Rank) is based on internationally agreed information and communications technologies indicators including access, use and skills. Canada continues to rank below all but one of its G7 peers.

IDI 2017 Rank of G7 Nations

IDI rank G7 Nation
05 United Kingdom
10 Japan
12 Germany
15 France
16 United States
29 Canada
47 Italy

Source: International Telecommunications Union’s ICT Development Index (IDI 2017 Rank)

Internet in Canadian homes

Of those Canadians with a home internet connection, 93 per cent stated that having access to high-speed internet at home is important. Even more telling, 96 per cent noted that high quality internet access is important at home with 59 per cent stating this as critically important.

Three quarters of Canadians who currently have a home internet connection would be unlikely to purchase a home in an area that lacked access to high-speed internet.

  • Nearly 90% of Canadians use the internet. Source: ITU 2016

  • 86% of Canadians have a broadband internet connection at home.

Canadians with home internet access

While nearly 40 per cent of Canadians indicate that they have unlimited data in their home internet package, a quarter of Canadians do not know how much data their package includes.

  • 85% are satisfied with their home internet speed.

  • 81% are satisfied with the amount of data included in their home internet package.

How much data Canadians have
38% Unlimited
27% Don’t know
10% 200 or more GB
5% 150-199 GB
5% 100-149 GB
6% 50-99 GB
5% 20-49 GB
3% Less than 20 GB

Having a high-quality internet connection allows some Canadians to work from home.

  • 54% of Canadians with home internet at least occasionally work from home, with 20% saying they very often do.

  • 84% of those who work from home say that high-quality internet access is important, with 55% saying it is critically important.

Source: CIRA research, March 2018

Internet speed and quality

Internet performance varies widely across the country. This is no surprise as our population includes both high-density cities and remote/rural communities. It is in this landscape that the CRTC set a target for all Canadians to have access to broadband speeds of at least 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload by 2021.

Internet experience is not based on speed alone. In order for the internet to perform at its best, homeowners and businesses need both raw speed and high quality. This is especially true as the line between online and offline applications has blurred in the cloud world. Importantly, quality is not something that CIRA alone is focused on as the CRTC formed a working group to define what quality means and how to measure it – and this is very good news for Canadians.

Average Speeds in Canada

While the CRTC target of 50 Mbps refers to the speed that is available to each Canadian and not reflective of what they are paying for, it still provides a good base of comparison and a higher bar to see what Canadians are actually getting and not just what they can get. So how is Canada doing against it?

CIRA’s Internet Performance Test data shows an increase in average speeds in Canada from two years ago, but these speeds remain below the 50 Mbps target.

Avg. speeds

Avg. down Avg. up

20.5 Mbps

11.3 Mbps

Avg. download speed

Year Avg. down

2016

18.6 Mbps

2017

19.7 Mbps

2018

20.5 Mbps

Avg. upload speed

Year Avg. up

2016

7.3 Mbps

2017

10.0 Mbps

2018

11.3 Mbps

Underneath these numbers, there is a provincial experience that includes examples of the “internet rich” getting richer. New Brunswick, which was leading the way in Canada two years ago in terms of average download speeds, continues this trend two years later. Other provinces, including, Quebec have also made huge strides.

Notably, our test results are based on people across the country that found and voluntarily ran a test from CIRA’s platform, therefore there is variability based on who ran tests period-over-period.

Read CIRA’s 2016 report – Canada’s Internet Performance: National, Provincial and Municipal analysis, for full historical details.

Provincial download speed, 2016 vs 2017

2016 2017

New Brunswick

27 Mbps

39.6 Mbps

British Columbia

16.6 Mbps

34.5 Mbps

Quebec

15.9 Mbps

33.8 Mbps

Newfoundland and Labrador

19.7 Mbps

30.1 Mbps

Alberta

13.5 Mbps

26.2 Mbps

Prince Edward Island

14.6 Mbps

20 Mbps

Nova Scotia

21.7 Mbps

18.2 Mbps

Manitoba

12.6 Mbps

16.8 Mbps

Ontario

21.8 Mbps

15.2 Mbps

Saskatchewan

22.2 Mbps

15 Mbps

Note: Canadian territories are excluded due to insufficient data. Results are affected by the types of users that ran tests in each period (i.e. urban vs. rural).

Beyond Speed: Measuring quality

Latency
Represents the total time it takes for a single bit of data to travel to and from the user’s computer to CIRA’s testing server. Latency can be measured in one direction only but CIRA’s tests use bidirectional measurements sometimes referred to as round trip time.
Jitter
Typically reflects the variability of latency, and ideally, this measurement is made between successive data packets. CIRA’s tests use a higher view of jitter that examines the difference between the maximum and minimum latency values in a session.
Packet loss
Represents the number of transmitted packets that fail to arrive at the intended destination. CIRA presents packet loss as the percentage of total packets sent.
Latency
Latency (or specifically “ping”) is often used by heavy internet users like online gamers to establish what server they want to connect to for the best advantage. This only partially measures their experience as studies have shown that game play is tolerable at 150ms latency (the Canadian average is about 104.72ms) and that packet loss and jitter are more likely to affect a gamer’s play experience when above 0.25%. Based on this, the Canadian average is considerably worse than this proposed standard.

When we examine quality metrics by province, we find that Quebec and British Columbia are probably among the best provinces to play video games or have reliable Skype/FaceTime calls – basically anything that calls for real-time bi-directional communication.

Quality metrics per province

Variability (ms)

Latency (ms)

Packet loss (Percent loss)

Prince Edward Island

380.04

192.56

1.69

Newfoundland and Labrador

253.59

132.74

0.99

Saskatchewan

315.05

159.34

1.54

New Brunswick

368.74

169.25

0.88

Manitoba

244.84

112.86

1.26

Nova Scotia

480.18

224.66

1.84

Alberta

296.66

124.43

0.9

British Columbia

267.64

98.33

0.75

Quebec

278.62

102.82

0.84

Ontario

308.57

98.92

1

Note: Canadian territories are excluded due to insufficient data.

Rural vs Urban

Using the Statistics Canada definition of metro versus non-metro, CIRA’s Internet Performance Test data shows that the average tester who lives in an urban area enjoys a much faster and higher quality internet experience.

Rural
  • Download 11.15 Mbps

  • Upload 5.45 Mbps

  • Variability 383.88 ms

  • Latency 166.59 ms

Urban
  • Download 22.92 Mbps

  • Upload 12.4 Mbps

  • Variability 288.93 ms

  • Latency 95.15 ms

About the testing methodology

The CIRA Internet Performance Test uses test nodes located in datacenters that have Canadian Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in them. This is a form of “off-net” test that is neutral and unbiased. On-net tests measure your speed and quality from your computer to a testing server located in your ISPs backbone. While this is an important and legitimate measure of what you are paying for, in our opinion, the “off-net” test provides a result more closely aligned with your real-world internet experience. Notably, averages are skewed based on the types of users running tests during the measurement period and can be impacted by any significant event (such as a media story) that may result in higher tests in a specific region with higher or lower typical performance.

Source: CIRA Internet Performance Test, April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018.

Canadians want more investment in Canadian internet infrastructure.

Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of internet infrastructure and cloud services is growing year over year. Around half of Canadians know that some of Canada’s internet infrastructure runs through the U.S. and that many cloud services available in Canada store data on servers in the U.S. Yet, over half of Canadians remain unaware of this fact.

Awareness that some of Canada’s internet infrastructure runs through the U.S.
2018: 46%
2017: 31%
2016: 29%
Awareness that many Canadian cloud services store data on servers in the U.S.
2018: 47%
2017: 36%
2016: 33%

Data in motion

Canadian internet users continue to express concern about the security and privacy of their personal data when stored or routed through the U.S. As well, the vast majority want internet service providers and online companies in Canada to invest in building up internet infrastructure in Canada.

Once your data travels outside of Canada's borders it is open to the laws of the land. In the U.S., for example, Canadians have no right to privacy. We know that a portion of Canadian data travels south based on the nature of our internet's infrastructure and how we navigate the web.

Jacques Latour, Chief Technology Officer, CIRA.
  • 69% of Canadians are concerned about the security and privacy of their personal information and data on the internet if it is stored in or routed through the U.S.

  • 67% of Canadians would prefer to use cloud services whose servers are located in Canada.

  • 79% of Canadians want Canadian internet service providers/online service companies to invest in building up internet infrastructure inside Canada.

Around half of Canadians say they have used cloud services and 7 per cent of those Canadians have switched to providers whose servers are located in Canada.

  • 52% of Canadian internet users have used a cloud service.

  • 7% of Canadians who have used a cloud service have switched to a provider whose servers are located in Canada.

Source: CIRA research, March 2018

Canadian Internet Exchange Points: a made-in-Canada solution to data sovereignty

Data privacy is a concern for Canadians, particularly when data and information crosses the border or is stored outside of Canada. While not all data is meant to stay within Canada’s borders, there are many circumstances where it can and should. A Canadian internet exchange point (IXP) is one solution for Canadian data sovereignty.

Canada is building up its data sovereignty and this is a good thing. There are 11 IXPs nationwide, which ensure all those who are "plugged" into one, including internet service providers, content providers and businesses, can exchange data directly, keeping it in Canada. The more data sovereignty there is in Canada, the better-protected Canadians are by Canadian privacy laws and the less they rely on infrastructure outside our jurisdiction.

Canada's Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Map Legend
  • indicates an IXP in development
  • indicates an active IXP
  • Canadian Map
  • Calgary YYCIX

    Calgary YYCIX
  • Edmonton YEGIX

    Edmonton YEGIX
  • Halifax HFXIX

    Halifax HFXIX
  • Iqaluit IQIX (in development)

    Iqaluit IQIX
  • Manitoba MBIX

    Manitoba MBIX
  • Moncton MonctonIX

    Moncton MonctonIX
  • Montreal QIX

    Montreal QIX
  • National Capital Region NCIX

    National Capital Region NCIX
  • Ottawa OttIX

    Ottawa OTTIX
  • Prince Edward Island PEIIX (in development)

    Prince Edward Island PEIIX
  • Saskatoon YXEIX

    Saskatoon YXEIX
  • Toronto TORIX

    Toronto TORIX
  • Vancouver VANIX

    Vancouver VANIX
  • Windsor WEDIX (in development)

    Windsor WEDIX

Learn more about IXPs and data sovereignty from CIRA’s Chief Technology Officer, Jacques Latour on CIRA’s blog.

Section 3: Canadians’ online behaviour

How Canadians access the internet: Mobile is growing

While a computer remains the most popular way Canadians access the internet, using a smartphone or mobile device is on the rise with nearly three quarters of Canadians saying they typically access the internet this way. The use of a voice-controlled connected-home device is growing in Canada, though very slowly.

The use of a mobile device as the device used most often to access the internet has been steadily rising as well, while the use of a computer as the device used most often has steadily declined over the last three years.

  • 72% of Canadians use a mobile device to access the internet.

  • 51% of Canadians aged 18-34 say they use their smartphone/mobile device most often to access the internet.

How Canadians access the internet

2016 2017 2018

Desktop & laptop

92%

90%

88%

Smartphone & mobile

58%

67%

72%

Tablet (iPad, etc.)

44%

47%

46%

TV

10%

14%

17%

Voice & connected-home devices

n/a

2%

5%

Devices Canadians use most often to access the internet

2016 2017 2018

Desktop & laptop

67%

59%

55%

Smartphone & mobile

21%

27%

32%

Tablet (iPad, etc.)

12%

13%

12%

TV

< 1%

1%

1%

Voice & connected-home devices

n/a

n/a

< 1%

Gone are the days of a single, shared family computer. Over half of Canadians say they have five or more internet-connected devices in their homes. Smartphones, tablets, computers, Smart TVs and connected-home devices are becoming commonplace in Canadian homes.

In 2014, 38 per cent of Canadians had two or fewer devices in their homes. Now, only 18 per cent of Canadians can say the same.

  • 52% of Canadian households have five or more internet-connected devices.

Number of connected devices in Canadian homes

  • 52% 5 devices or more

  • 15% 4 devices

  • 14% 3 devices

  • 11% 2 devices

  • 6% 1 devices

  • 1% Zero

  • 1% Unsure

Connected-home devices, such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, are growing in popularity in Canada with more Canadians aware of what they are, though interest in purchasing a device remains steady.

Awareness of voice-controlled, connected-home devices

  • 55% 2017

  • 77% 2018

Interest in acquiring a voice-controlled, connected home device

  • 29% 2017

  • 32% 2018

How Canadians spend time online

Whether for work or play, most Canadians spend at least 3-4 hours online a day. In fact, one-in-seven Canadians spend more than eight hours online a day.

74% of Canadians spend at least 3-4 hours online per day.

Once they get online, they typically spend their time using email, banking, using social media, reading the news and shopping.

Ways Canadians spend time online

  • 89% check/respond to email

  • 73% do online banking

  • 61% engage on social media

  • 55% access the news/current events

  • 52% shop online

  • 39% watch movies/TV/videos

  • 32% listen to music/radio/podcasts

  • 24% participate in online gaming

Music, movies & TV

Most Canadians spend at least an hour a day watching TV, movies or videos online and just over 40 per cent spend at least an hour a day listening to music or radio online.

  • 66% of Canadians spend at least 1 hour online per day watching TV/movies/video.
  • 43% of Canadians spend at least 1 hour online per day listening to music or radio online.
  • 58% of Canadians at least occasionally seek out Canadian content and 14% often/always do.

Canadians subscribe to a variety of online content, with Netflix in the lead. Over half of Canadians with a home internet connection are Netflix subscribers.

Paid online content Canadians subscribe to
Netflix 53%
Spotify 16%
Apple Music 12%
Amazon Prime Video 10%
Crave TV 9%
Newspaper 8%
Magazine 4%

While cost and convenience are the main reasons people access pirated material, they also note a lack of availability in Canada or a delay in their region and the fact that content is not available without a cable package as reasons.

Reasons for accessing pirated content online
It's easier/more convenient 39%
I don't want to pay for it 33%
It’s too expensive 33%
It isn't available in my region 27%
It gets delayed in Canada 25%
It's not available without a cable subscription 25%
It's normal/everyone does it 25%
I can't afford it 24%

Of those who admitted to accessing pirated material, 70 per cent say they are willing to pay for reasonably priced, readily available copyright-protected film or TV content online.

Unplugging

Canadians are split when it comes to deliberately disconnecting from the internet. Half say they do, while the other half say they don’t. Of those who choose to unplug, about one-quarter do so every day. Canadians unplug for several reasons including relaxing and taking a digital break, participating in other hobbies offline, or due to travel and vacation time.

How often Canadians ‘unplug’

Percentage of Canadians

Every day

24%

Every week

25%

Every month

16%

Every 2-3 months

12%

Every 4-6 months

5%

Every 6-12 months

5%

Less than once per year

6%

Unsure

7%

The frequency of ‘unplugging’ changes within age groups. Around 30 per cent of Canadians 35+ indicate they intentionally unplug every day, while only 11 per cent of 18-34 year olds say the same.

How often Canadians ‘unplug’ by age group

18-34 35-54 55+

Every day

11%

27%

32%

Every week

26%

28%

19%

Every month

21%

13%

15%

Why Canadians unplug
29% unplug to unwind/relax/digital break
22% have other hobbies/things to do
11% unplug because they don’t need/like it
9% unplug while on vacation or travelling
9% unplug in order to have no distractions/freedom
7% unplug to avoid social media drama
6% unplug during family time/quality time with their kids

Fake news

Fake news refers to news stories that are fabricated, made up or grossly misrepresent actual events. The majority of Canadians have heard of fake news and have come across it online.

74% of Canadians are concerned about the spread of fake news.

Awareness of fake news
Yes: 88%
No: 9%
Unsure: 3%

54% of Canadas are somewhat confident in their ability to recognize fake news online and 20% are very confident.

Frequency of coming across fake news stories
Often 27%
Sometimes 51%
Hardly ever 10%
Never 2%
Don’t know 10%

Social media and online identity

An online identity is created through a digital presence. Most Canadians are concerned about their online identity, with only a minority of those surveyed (7 per cent) stating they were not. When it comes to blurring the lines between their personal and professional lives, 84 per cent of Canadians say they try to keep them separate online.

One of the ways an online identity is fostered is through social media. When it comes to social media, Facebook leads in popularity followed by LinkedIn and Instagram.

Social media platforms Canadians use
Facebook 77%
LinkedIn 35%
Instagram 35%
Twitter 26%
Snapchat 19%

For social media, age matters. While roughly equal numbers of 18-34 and 35+ year olds use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, younger users far outweigh their older counterparts on Instagram and Snapchat.

Instagram users

  • 59% of 18-34 year olds

  • 32% of 35-54 year olds

Snapchat

  • 46% of 18-34 year olds use

  • 11% of 35-54 year olds

Cyberbullying and online harassment

One-third of Canadians have experienced or witnessed cyberbullying when using the internet. This number jumps to 58 per cent for 18-34 year olds. As well, 3-in-10 Canadians say they have been reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion because of concerns about cyberbullying. Women are more likely than men to say this.

Have you ever been reluctant to use social media and/or participate in an online discussion because of concerns about cyberbullying or online harassment?

  • 24% of men said yes

  • 34% of women said yes

Some platforms rank higher than others in terms of whether Canadians feeling safe from online harassment, with LinkedIn ranking highest.

Just over one-quarter of Canadian users indicate that they don’t feel safe from cyberbullying on Facebook and Twitter.

Feeling safe from online harassment
LinkedIn: 84% feel safe
Snapchat: 75% feel safe
Instagram: 74% feel safe
Twitter: 67% feel safe
Facebook: 66% feel safe

While women and men have generally the same perceptions of safety for most social media platforms, Twitter shows an 8-point discrepancy.

Percentage who feel very/somewhat safe on Twitter

  • 71% Male

  • 63% Female

Parents in a digital world

While bullying on the school playground may be what parents remember from their childhood, today’s children experience bullying online and off. One-in-seven parents of children under 18 say their child has personally experienced cyberbullying or online harassment. Despite the fact that the majority of parents say their child has not personally experienced it, 90 per cent of parents are concerned about cyberbullying.

Just over one-quarter of parents have looked for resources and information aimed at parents and youth on how to deal with cyberbullying and 79 per cent say it was easy finding these resources. For those who haven’t looked, most (80 per cent) are confident they could find them if needed.

Sources where parents found cyberbullying resources
70% websites or online discussion groups
45% child’s school/teachers
29% organizations that specialize in cyberbullying (MediaSmarts, PREVNet, etc.)
26% law enforcement/police
23% government

Monitoring children’s online activity

Most parents monitor some or all of their children’s online activity and place limits on how much time their children spend online.

To what extent, if at all, do you monitor your child’s online activity?
None of it 8%
Some of it 55%
All of it 37%

Do you limit how much time your child spends online?

  • 76% Yes

  • 24% No

Source: CIRA research, March 2018

Section 4: E-commerce trends in Canada

How Canadians shop online

The following data shows trends on how and why Canadians shop online, providing valuable insight for Canadian online retailers.

  • 86% of Canadians have made an online purchase in the last 12 months

  • 59% of shoppers prefer making retail purchases from a traditional, ‘bricks and mortar’ store, down from 66% in 2016.

The use of a mobile phone to purchase goods online continues to grow, up from just 12% in 2014

Types of devices used to make online purchases in the last 12 months
Computer: 83%
Tablet: 26%
Mobile phone: 40%
TV: 3%
Percentage of Canadians who use a mobile phone to make an online purchase
2014: 12%
2015: 14%
2016: 26%
2017: 36%
2018: 40%
Most common items purchased online
Clothing/apparel: 57%
Flights/travel packages: 53%
Household goods: 40%
Books: 38%
Show/game tickets: 38%
Government services: 34%
Apps for computer/mobile phone: 28%
Purchasing food online is growing in popularity, jumping from 14 per cent in 2016 to 24 per cent in 2018.
2016: 14%
2017: 17%
2018: 24%

Approaches to online shopping

Whether researching an item online before purchasing at a store, or checking out products at a ‘bricks and mortar’ store before going online to buy, Canadians’ purchasing habits matter to Canadian businesses. How accessible items are to purchase, as well as how they are displayed online for research purposes can make the difference between a sale or not.

How often do you visit websites to research or compare products, but go to a store to make your purchase?
Always/Often 45%
Sometimes 39%
Rarely/Never 15%
Unsure < 1%
How often do you visit a store to browse or look at products, but make your purchase online?
Always/Often 17%
Sometimes 38%
Rarely/Never 44%
Unsure < 1%
How often do you purchase a product online and then pick it up in-store?
Always/Often 12%
Sometimes 31%
Rarely/Never 56%
Unsure < 1%

Browsing at a traditional retail store, then purchasing a product online is called showrooming. In 2018, 36 per cent of Canadians agree that they like showrooming in order to get the best deal. As well, most Canadians compare prices online before making a major purchase.

  • 36% agree that they like visiting stores to browse, then making their purchase online.

  • 80% agree that they almost always compare prices online before making a major purchase.

Factors Canadians consider when making a purchase online rather than in a store
Cost/savings 72%
Ease/convenience 63%
Availability of items 61%
Time savings 59%
Ability to compare products 53%
Ability to research/access information 49%
Availability of items 61%
Ability to return products 40%

Approaches to online shopping

With cybersecurity threats, data privacy concerns and a growing digital economy, Canadians are sharing their comfort levels with different types of online transactions.

Comfort levels with different types of online transactions

  • 74% are very/somewhat comfortable making a purchase/payment on a government website.

  • 74% are very/somewhat comfortable making a purchase on a Canadian retail website.

  • 55% are very/somewhat comfortable making a purchase on a U.S. retail website.

Comfort levels and trust in using a mobile payment/digital wallet service are on the rise, jumping 10 points since last year. More Canadians are using this as a method of payment than in previous years.

37% are very/somewhat comfortable using mobile payment or digital wallet service (paying with mobile phone).

Somewhat/very comfortable using a mobile payment/digital wallet service
2016: 23%
2017: 27%
2018: 37%
Made a purchase using mobile payment/digital wallet service
2016: 13%
2017: 20%
2018: 29%

The degree of trust in using a mobile payment/digital wallet service continues to grow each year.

I trust the security of the transaction
2016: 44%
2017: 48%
2018: 51%
I trust my ability to recover funds if a mistake occurs
2016: 35%
2017: 39%
2018: 41%
I trust my ability to contact someone/get answers if an issue occurs
2016: 36%
2017: 38%
2018: 41%

Canadians who haven’t used a mobile payment are divided over whether they would feel confident knowing how to use it.

Confidence in knowing how to use a mobile payment/digital wallet service
Confident: 52%
Not confident: 42%
Unsure: 6%

When they have the choice, Canadians continue to prefer shopping at retailers in Canada.

62% of Canadians prefer making online purchases from Canadian businesses/retailers

Main reasons for preferring Canadian businesses
32% say it benefits the Canadian economy/Buy Canadian/Support local.
22% say it’s because of the Canadian dollar/exchange rate.
22% say it’s to avoid customs taxes and charges
12% say it’s the cost of delivery/shipping
6% say it’s the faster delivery
Amount spent on Canadian retailer websites
15% less than $100
16% $100- $249
17% $250 - $499
39% Over $500
13% Unsure
Amount spent on U.S. retailer websites
42% less than $100
15% $100- $249
9% $250 - $499
15% Over $500
19% Unsure

Source: CIRA research, March 2018

Section 5: Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks and malware

Cybersecurity threats are becoming commonplace in Canada and around the globe and Canadians’ awareness of them is growing. Three quarters of Canadians are concerned about an actual or potential cyberattack.

Percentage of Canadians concerned about cyberattacks against organizations that may have access to personal information
2016: 67%
2017: 75%
2018: 77%
Percentage of Canadians concerned about malware
2016: N/A*
2017: 79%
2018: 77%

* Question not included in 2016 research survey.

Awareness of cyberattacks against organizations/companies
2016: 42%
2017: 57%
2018: 60%

Among those aware of cyberattacks, Equifax tops the list as the company most mentioned, though Canadians mention many targets

Awareness of organizations that suffered a cyberattack
Equifax: 25%
Yahoo: 13%
Government: 8%
Bell: 7%
Other: < 6%
  1. Includes: Sony, Target, Home Depot, Uber, Amazon, Ashley Madison, Walmart, Nissan, Google, Winners, Facebook, Tim Hortons, LinkedIn, U.S. Democratic Party, along with banks/financial institutions and hospitals/health care

Canadians continue to be most concerned about the security of personal information held by government.

How concerned would you be about the security of your personal information/data held by the following types of organizations after a cyberattack?

  • A government department: 81%
  • A business/retailer: 79%
  • A hospital/healthcare organization: 75%
  • A school/educational institution: 63%
  • A not-for-profit/charity: 63%

Interestingly, the percentage of Canadians who say they would no longer continue making purchases from an online business following a major cyberattack or donating to a charity after a cyberattack is dropping.

Percentage of Canadians who say they would be unlikely to continue making purchases from a business following a cyberattack
2016: 47%
2017: 44%
2018: 41%
Percentage of Canadians who say they would be unlikely to continue donating to a charity following a cyberattack
2016: 48%
2017: 45%
2018: 43%

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing network of physical objects with internet connectivity. This includes everything from connected security systems, internet-enabled thermostats and connected-home devices such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, as well as connected traffic lights, and electrical/hydro meters, to name a few. Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to a cyberattack, and IoT devices are no different.

71% of Canadians are concerned about the potential security threats related to the Internet of Things.

Connected-home devices, such as the Google Home or Amazon Echo are growing in popularity, and 6-in-10 Canadians have privacy or security concerns related to these devices.

Privacy/Security Concerns related to connected-home devices
Concerned: 62%
Not many/no concerns: 32%
Unsure: 6%

Source: CIRA research, March 2018

For more information about cybersecurity in Canada, read the 2018 Canadian Cybersecurity Survey.

Section 6: About our industry

Canada’s domain: .CA

.CA is Canada’s online domain identifier. A truly Canadian domain, .CA is only available to individuals and businesses in Canada.

65% of Canadian internet users agree that Canadian organizations should use a .CA domain.

Canadians internet users prefer .CA to .com in many areas.

When Canadians prefer .CA
  • Banking

  • News/current events

  • Shopping

  • Education

  • Product research

  • Travel research

  • School/work related research

  • Government services

  • Getting involved in community organizations

Preferences are about equal
  • General browsing

  • Entertainment

  • Downloading music, movies, games, etc.

  • Social media

  • Games

Source: CIRA research, March 2018.

The .CA domain is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD). See how it stacks up against industry growth.

.CA growth significantly outpaces industry growth trends

Source: Zook data and CIRA Note: For accuracy, industry growth rates shown exclude .cn and .tk due to a change in registration rules within .cn and a differing business and measurement model for .tk.

Global domain industry

The domain name industry spans the globe and includes a variety of top-level domains. This includes ccTLDs such as .CA as well as legacy generic top-level domains such as .com or .org. In 2015 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global body charged with managing the domain name system, approved more than 1,000 new gTLDs.

According to DomainWire, global TLD Stat Report (Q4 2017, edition 22), by the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR), there is an estimated 331 million domain names across all top-level domains globally.

Global top-level domain growth from 2010 to December 2017

Source: Zook data.

Note: For accuracy, industry growth rates shown exclude .cn and .tk due to a change in registration rules within .cn and a differing business and measurement model for .tk.

Top 10 new gTLDs

Rang gTLD
1 .load
2 .xyz
3 .top
4 .club
6 .vip
6 .online
7 .win
8 .wang
9 .shop
10 .men

Source: ntldstats.com (as of May 2018)

Internet users in Canada are divided on their comfort level with new or uncommon domains and whether they trust websites that use them.

Canadian’s comfort level with new or uncommon domains
Very comfortable: 8%
Somewhat comfortable: 33%
Not very comfortable: 38%
Not comfortable at all: 12%
Unsure: 10%
Do you trust websites with new or uncommon domains?
Agree: 50%
Disagree: 11%
Neither agree nor disagree: 39%

Canadians list .tv, .io and .me as the new TLDs they know best. It should be noted that .tv (Tuvalu), .io (British Indian Ocean Territory) and .me (Montenegro) are ccTLDs that are marketed as gTLDs.

Source: CIRA research, March 2018

Section 7: About this report

CIRA developed Canada’s Internet Factbook through an online survey conducted by The Strategic Counsel. The purpose of CIRA’s research is to identify trends in Canadian internet use. A total of n=1,203 adult Canadian internet users (18+) were surveyed in March 2018, and the sample is proportionate-to-population for age, region and gender. Additional data was taken from the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), M-Lab and global domain industry statistics from Zook, CENTR and ntldstats.com.

Section 8: About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a member-based not-for-profit organization, best known for managing the .CA internet domain on behalf of all Canadians, developing and implementing policies that support Canada’s internet community and representing the .CA registry internationally. We are building programs, products and services that leverage all the internet has to offer to help build a better online Canada, while providing a safe, secure and trusted online experience to all Canadians.