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The big picture

only 15 percent report being off the grid for a week or more in the last year
1 in 5 Canadians

say they haven’t gone more than eight hours without getting their online fix.

Canadians admit to logging on to the net while watching TV.

46% and illustration of toilet paper

admit to using their phone while using the washroom.

Nearly 3-in-4 Canadians spend at least 3 to 4 hours online each day.

How Canadians get online

(55+) are surfing the web using mobile devices.

57% in 2019 vs 24% in 2015.

The internet changing lives

46% made a purchase from their mobile devices.

87% made an online purchase last year.

mobile usage increases over the past 5 years

*Data only available for past 4 years.

64% of Canadians prefer making online purchases from a Canadian retailer.

75% are comfortable making purchases on a Canadian retail or government site vs only 55% on a U.S. site. 

80% image of laptop with skull and crossbones

of users are concerned about malware.

45 % provide informal tech support 

Nearly 30% think their mobile device definitely or probably listens to them via the microphone, without their permission.

Executive summary

Canadians are spending more time online in 2019 – shopping, interacting with governments, logging onto social networks, reaching out to family and friends, and searching for jobs and soulmates.

Almost one-in-five say they haven’t gone more than eight hours without getting their online fix and only 15% report being off the grid for a week or more in the last year.

More than half of all Canadians (51%) are still using desktops and laptops when they head online, but the use of mobile is growing across all age categories, with 48% using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to access the internet.

Even more boomers (55+) are surfing the web using from mobile devices - 57% this year versus 44% in 2017 and only 24% in 2015.

The most common online activities include email, banking, accessing social media, catching up on news/current events and shopping, but the time Canadians spend instant messaging has increased.

 

More and more Canadians are using the internet for instant messaging:

32%

in 2016

47%

in 2019

The landscape around how we are getting our news is also changing. While more than half of internet users still visit news and media sites, four out of five Canadians say they’re keeping up to date with current events through social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Websites matter to Canadians. In 2019, 67% say they’re more likely to do business with a company that has a website and almost half (49%) say they’re more inclined to donate to a not-for-profit organization with an online presence.

As consumers become savvier and websites more sophisticated, online purchases of household goods are increasing. In 2019, 51% of Canadians made an online purchase for their home, compared to just 26% in 2014. Notably, purchases of food or food delivery jumped from 14% in 2016 to 31% in 2019.

Almost half of those surveyed (46%) said they purchased a product or service online using their mobile device – up from just 12% in 2014.

In general, internet users are more at ease doing their online business with Canadian retailers or governments than U.S sites. Three-quarters report they are comfortable making a purchase on a Canadian retail website, whereas only 55% say they are comfortable making a purchase on a U.S. retail website.

The vast majority of people are familiar with mobile payment or digital wallet services, and their comfort with using them is higher in 2019 (32%) than in 2016 (23%), but down slightly from 37% in 2018.

Almost half of Alberta residents (49%) say that they know how to use a digital wallet service, whereas not even one-third of Manitobans (31% say they do.

When it comes to accessing government services, most people (68%) prefer to do so online, though more than one-third of residents in Saskatchewan (38%) and PEI (36%) say they still want to connect with public sector services in person, via phone or mail.

Canadians are increasingly comfortable with smart home technology. Bluetooth speakers are becoming more popular with 42% of Canadians – and more than half of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan residents – reporting they have one in their homes. One in five Canadians say they have a voice-activated assistant like the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple’s HomePod, compared to just 13% of Quebec residents.  Albertans are most likely to have a connected home security/surveillance camera (26% versus 15% overall).

Just 13% of internet users admit to intentionally accessing or streaming pirated film or TV programs online and of those who have, most (71%) say they would pay for reasonably priced, readily available content.

Introduction

As the internet evolves its impact on the lives of Canadians expands, changing the way we work, connect with friends and family and consume products and services.

Though much of the effect is positive, concerns around data privacy and security are becoming increasingly important as Canadians spend more of their waking hours online.

Every year, CIRA conducts research to learn more about Canada’s internet, as a first step to addressing these concerns and building a better online experience for Canadians.

Canada’s Internet Factbook 2019 displays data and trends on the state of Canada’s internet, as well as how Canadians use it and their perceptions of it. 

State of Canada's internet

Internet at home

Of those Canadians with a home internet connection, 92 per cent have consistently said in recent years that having access to high-speed internet at home is important. More revealing, though, is that 95 per cent noted that high-quality internet access that enables them to easily and reliably download information, load web pages and use applications is important to them.

There is a slight dip in satisfaction with home internet speed. 

85%

in 2018

81%

in 2019

7 in 10 internet users say they would be unlikely to purchase a home in an area that didn’t have high-speed internet. More than half (52%) say they would be ‘very’ unlikely to buy a home in such areas.

No limits at home

The number of Canadians with unlimited data packages at home is growing. Bandwidth-intensive applications like video calling and movie, TV and music streaming mean the demand for unlimited data is stronger than ever. More than half of Ontario and Nova Scotia residents have unlimited data at home.

More than 40 per cent of Canadians report having unlimited data in their home internet package, up from 29 per cent in 2016.

How much data Canadians have
3% Less than 20 GB
5% 20-49 GB
6% 50-99 GB
6% 100-149 GB
4% 150-199 GB
9% 200 or more GB
41% Unlimited
26% Don't know

Satisfaction with the amount of data included in home internet packages has increased in the past five years:

42%

who were very satisfied in 2014

56%

who were very satisfied in 2019

Internet speed and quality

While internet performance is improving across the country, the digital divide persists and depends primarily mostly on whether Canadians access service from urban or rural locales. Those living in highly populated urban areas tend to have better internet performance across the board than those living in remote and rural communities.

Overall, provinces are edging closer to the target set by the CRTC for all Canadians to have broadband speeds of at least 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload by 2021, though some are getting there faster than others.

Speed is just one component that goes into creating a seamless internet experience. In order for the internet to perform at its optimum, homeowners and businesses need both raw speed and high quality, which is measured in latency, jitter and packet loss.

Average speeds in Canada

This year’s test results show a dramatic increase in the average Canadian download speed – from 20.5 Mbps in 2018 to 42.4 Mbps in 2019.

New Brunswick has been ousted from its top placement in the last two years by both British Columbia with an average of 52.28 Mbps and Alberta at 52.14 Mbps.  New Brunswick only managed 50.41 Mbps.

Upload speeds, which are important to homeowners and business using services such as video calling and cloud applications are also rising, though not as radically – from an average of 11.3 Mbps in 2018 to 18.1 Mbps in 2019

Canadians living in British Columbia, Alberta and New Brunswick enjoy the fastest download speeds in the country while the speediest uploads occur in British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick.

 Avg. speeds 2019

Avg. down Avg. up

41.2 Mbps

17.5 Mbps

 

 Avg. download speed

Year Avg. down

2017

19.7 Mbps

2018

20.5 Mbps

2019

41.2 Mbps

 Avg. upload speed

Year Avg. up

2017

10.0 Mbps

2018

11.3 Mbps

2019

17.5 Mbps

Beyond speed: Measuring quality

Latency

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.

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 performance. 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.

Jitter

Variability (or jitter) reflects the fluctuations in 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

Packet loss is the number of transmitted packets that fail to arrive at the intended destination. CIRA presents packet loss as the percentage of total packets sent.

Quality metrics per province

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

Quality metrics per province/territory

 

Variability (ms)

Latency (ms)

Packet loss (Percent loss)

Prince Edward Island

506.36

238.01

1.28

Newfoundland and Labrador

301.16

151.25

1.75

Saskatchewan

255.41

125.47

1.03

New Brunswick

467.64

217.26

1.22

Manitoba

234.29

88.91

1.04

Nova Scotia

483.11

235.58

1.95

Alberta

266.63

99.33

0.71

British Columbia

280.05

82.72

0.63

Quebec

289.93

89.8

0.84

Ontario

364.03

119.76

1

Nunavut 225.54 141.55 3.8
Yukon 315.87 135.56 0.93
Northwest Territories 366.79 184.24 3.23

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.

However, performance is also improving for rural Canadians – download speeds increased from 11 Mbps in 2018 to 19.5 Mbps in 2019 while upload speeds inched up from 5.45 Mbps in 2018 to 7.62 in 2019.

Rural

  • Download: 19.52 Mbps
  • Upload: 7.62 Mbps
  •  Variability: 479.09 ms
  • Latency: 212.64 ms
  • Packet loss: 1.91 ms

Urban

  • Download: 51.8 Mbps
  • Upload: 22.33 Mbps
  •  Variability: 312.53 ms
  • Latency: 104.4 ms
  • Packet loss: 0.83 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, 2018 – March 31, 2019.

 

Canadian Internet Exchange Points: strengthening Canada’s internet fabric

Many Canadian Internet service providers currently employ north-to-south transit pipes to transmit data, relying on hubs in the United States. It’s great that data can move across international borders unencumbered when it needs to, but when data is moving between two Canadian points, this can be costly and inefficient. Internet Exchange Points strengthen Canada’s internet infrastructure and improve the data sovereignty of Canadian internet traffic.

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.

Contact your local IXP to find out how to get connected.

Canada's Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Canadians' online behaviour

How Canadians access the internet: Growth of mobile continues

While desktops and laptops remain the most popular devices Canadians use to access the internet, smartphones and other mobile devices are steadily growing as the device of choice. Almost half of all Internet users use a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to access the internet.

While only a small percentage of Canadians use voice-controlled connected-home devices such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomePod to go online, their popularity is rising – their use jumped 60 per cent in the last year.

All the ways Canadians access the internet

2019 Desktop /laptop Smartphone /mobile Tablet TV Voice-controlled device

2019

87 %

Desktop /laptop

75 %

Smartphone /mobile

45 %

Tablet

19 %

TV

8 %

Voice-controlled device

2018

88 %

Desktop /laptop

72 %

Smartphone /mobile

46 %

Tablet

17 %

TV

8 %

Voice-controlled device

2017

90 %

Desktop /laptop

67 %

Smartphone /mobile

47 %

Tablet

14 %

TV

2 %

Voice-controlled device

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).

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

Devices Canadians use to access the internet most often

2019 Desktop /laptop Smartphone /mobile Tablet TV Voice-controlled device

2019

51 %

Desktop /laptop

34 %

Smartphone /mobile

14 %

Tablet

1 %

TV

<1 %

Voice-controlled device

2018

55 %

Desktop /laptop

32 %

Smartphone /mobile

12 %

Tablet

1 %

TV

<1 %

Voice-controlled device

2017

59 %

Desktop /laptop

27 %

Smartphone /mobile

13 %

Tablet

1 %

TV

n/a %

Voice-controlled device

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).

Even more boomers (55+) are surfing the web with a mobile device:

57% this year versus 44% in 2017 and only 24% in 2015.

How Canadians spend their time online

Most Canadians spend at least 3-4 hours online every day – shopping, using social media, emailing, banking and catching up on news and current events. One-in-eight Canadians spend more than eight hours a day online.

73% of Canadians spend at least 3-4 hours online per day.

The most common online activities include email, banking, accessing social media, catching up on news/current events and shopping, but the time Canadian spend instant messaging has increased – from 32% in 2016 to 47% in 2019.

Ways Canadians spend time online

  • 90% check/respond to email

  • 71% do online banking

  • 60% engage on social media

  • 58% access news/current events

  • 50% shop online

  • 48% browse/surf

  • 47% instant message

  • 45% conduct travel research

  • 44% research products

  • 40% watch movies/TV/videos

Music, movies & TV

66% of Canadians who say they watch TV/movies online spend at least one hour a day doing so.

41% of Canadians spend at least one hour a day listening to music or radio online.

61% of Canadians at least occasionally seek out Canadian content and 13% often/always do

Got to have it

Almost one-in-five say they haven’t gone more than eight hours without getting their online fix and only 15% report being off the grid for a week or more in the last year.

 

The medium is the message – what Canadians do online

Canadians are spending time online watching TV and movies, listening to music and catching up on current events. Two-thirds of those surveyed are spending at least one hour a day watching TV/movies online (same as last year). 

Netflix continues to be the most dominant subscriber-based online content provider, but Amazon Prime is picking up steam: twice as many Canadians say they’ve signed up in 2019 compared to in 2018, and slightly more women than men are subscribers. Fewer Canadians are paying for a subscription to Apple Music this year compared to last, and online subscriptions to magazines and newspapers have also dropped.  

Subscriptions to online content providers
58% Netflix
20% Amazon Prime
16% Spotify
12% Crave TV
9% Apple Music
7% Newspapers
2% Magazine

The great Canadian content search

Most internet users who watch TV, movies or video online at least occasionally seek out Canadian content. Perhaps given the dominance of French-speaking Canadians in Quebec, its residents are most likely to hunt down content specifically made by and for Canadians while almost 40 per cent of British Columbians hardly ever do.

Quebec residents (22%)

are most likely to say they often or always seek out Canadian content 

British Columbia residents (39%)

are most likely to say they never or almost never seeks out Canadian content online versus the average of 32%. 

Most internet users who watch TV/movies/video online

at least occasionally seek out Canadian content (61%). One-in-eight (13%) often or always do.

Illegal entry: accessing pirated material

True to their reputation as upstanding citizens, or loath to admit they do anything illegal, Canadians don’t appear to be flagrantly downloading illegal content. Only 13% admit to intentionally accessing or streaming pirated film or TV content online. Those in the 18-34 age demographic are most likely to say they have, and those aged 55 and over are least likely.

Convenience and cost are the top reasons Canadians access pirated film or TV content, but there’s a slight uptick this year in people who say they download illegally because the content isn’t available in their region. 

The vast majority of Canadians who have accessed pirated content say they are willing to pay for reasonably priced, readily available copyright-protected film or TV content online.

Only 13% admit to intentionally accessing or streaming pirated film or TV content online.

Younger people (18-34 year-olds) are most likely to say they have (24%) versus 4% for those aged 55+. 

 

Top reasons for accessing pirated content online: 

36%

It is easier/more convenient

32%

It’s too expensive

31%

It isn’t available in my region

71% are willing to pay for copyright-protected content.

How Canadians consume news content online

When Canadians are looking for news online, they mainly visit specific news and media sites, conduct Google searches on news events or check out Facebook. Newfoundland residents are more likely than the rest of the country to log onto a news site, while more than one-quarter of Nova Scotians say they usually catch up via Facebook.

The top methods for accessing news online are:

61%

visiting specific sites

50%

Google searches

39%

Facebook

Canadians most often access news online via:

41%

News/media sites

20%

Google news searches

16%

Facebook

9%

Digital newspaper subscriptions

Cable still king in Canadian homes

Despite a plethora of online streaming options for TV and movies, the majority of Canadian households still have a cable TV subscription. Almost one-third say they watch TV/movie content by using the video-streaming apps of individuals TV networks. 

Just over 6 in 10 (62%) say their household has a cable TV subscription.

Cable subscription by province

Province British Columbia Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba Ontario Quebec New Brunswick Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Newfoundland

64 %

British Columbia

71 %

Alberta

67 %

Saskatchewan

61 %

Manitoba

54 %

Ontario

68 %

Quebec

73 %

New Brunswick

67 %

Nova Scotia

52 %

Prince Edward Island

76 %

Newfoundland

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).

31% say they watch TV/movie content by using the video-streaming apps of individual TV networks.

E-Commerce Trends in Canada

How Canadians shop online

Around the world, online shopping is a popular way for people to purchase goods and services, and Canada is no exception to this trend – most Canadians have made an online purchase in the last 12 months, either from computers, mobile phones or tablets.

87%

of internet users have made an online purchase in the last 12 months. 

60%

of shoppers prefer making retail purchases from traditional bricks and mortar stores, and PEI residents are most likely (77%) to prefer that option.

The single most important factor when making a purchase online instead of at a traditional store is cost/savings (33%), but convenience (15%) and time savings (10%) also rank.

What are we buying?

Almost without exception, online purchases of all goods and services have increased in the last five years.  Purchases of household goods have almost doubled in the past five years.

While the majority of people who ordered food online did so from a restaurant’s website or app, food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes are becoming more popular.

The purchase of clothing and apparel has increased from 42% in 2014 and household goods has also increased from 26% in 2014.

Most common items purchased online:

Most common items purchased online:
58% Clothing and apparel
52% Flights or travel packages
51% Household goods
38% Show or game tickets
38% Electronics
37% Books
34% Government services
31% Food or food delivery services

Among people who ordered food or food delivery:

59%

ordered takeout directly from a restaurant’s web site or app.

48%

used a food delivery service like Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes.

Device used to make online purchases:

78%

Computer

46%

Mobile phone

25%

Tablet

In the past five years there’s been a steady increase in the rate at which mobile phones are used to purchase products and services. Almost half of all Canadians said they used their mobile phone to make an online purchase in the past 12 months.

Use of mobile phone to make online purchases

Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

12 %

2014

14 %

2015

26 %

2016

36 %

2017

40 %

2018

46 %

2019

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).

Saskatchewan residents lead the pack among Canadians, with more than half saying they bought something online from their mobile phone in the last 12 months.

Approaches to online shopping

Canadians are careful shoppers who often do research online before going to a store to make a purchase. The reverse, however, is not true: few online shoppers visit a retail store to browse and then make their purchase online, a practice referred to as showrooming.

Almost half (46%) of online shoppers say they rarely or never visit a store to browse but then make their purchase online.

When making a major purchase, most agree that they almost always compare prices online before buying (80% in 2019, up from 69% in 2014).

Almost 4 in 10 (38%) agree that they prefer shopping online more than in retail stores, up from 28% in 2014.

Three-quarters of people are comfortable using a mobile payment of digital wallet service.

Buy Canadian

When given a choice, Canadians overwhelmingly prefer to buy online from Canadian businesses and retailers. More than half of those who made an online purchase in the last 12 months intentionally bought Canadian goods and services.  Newfoundland and New Brunswick residents lead the pack in their “buy Canadian” attitudes.

Almost 2/3 (64%) prefer making online purchases from Canadian retailers when they have a choice. 

Top reasons for preferring online purchases from Canadian retailers:

43%

It benefits the Canadian economy

19%

Canadian dollar/exchange rate

18%

To avoid custom taxes/duty

57% say they have purposefully made an online purchase from a Canadian retailer instead of a company in the U.S. or beyond North American borders in the last 12 months.

Accessing services

Government 2.0 – digital service delivery

In recent years, all levels of government in Canada have embraced digital delivery as they strive to provide better solutions and more streamlined services to citizens. Most people indicate that it’s important that governments provide online service delivery options in addition to offering offline choices.

In the past year, almost three-quarters of Canadians have accessed a government program or service online, and most people state they prefer this option to in-person, over the phone or by mail. The majority of Canadians are also confident that governments are properly protecting the personal information they share while accessing services. 

72%

of Canadians say they have accessed a government service or program online in the last 12 months. 

88%

of Newfoundland residents say they have accessed a government service or program over the internet, while just 60% of Manitoba residents have.

Almost 75%

of Canadians say they’re confident their personal information is properly protected when accessing government services online.

Online communications with organizations

Canadians most often communicate online with banks, government, utility companies, insurance providers and their workplaces.

Three-quarters of Canadians say they are most likely to communicate with their bank online.

56% say they go online to communicate with the government.

Canadians don’t frequently use online communications for interactions with their child’s school (12%), doctors (17%) or dentists (22%).

Internet users are confident that communications with their bank (89%), government (86%) and workplace (84%) are properly protected.

Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks and malware

Cyberattacks have become an omnipresent threat in the online world. As news stories that detail corporate data breaches and cyberattacks become the norm, Canadians are concerned about security as they go about their online business. Almost one-third say they have been the victim of a successful cyberattack, and most people are concerned about security issues when they go online.

80% of internet users are concerned about malware when using the internet. 

32% of Canadians say they have been the victim of a cyberattack. Notably, 15% say they don’t know if they have or have not.

Informal IT support

Almost half of all Canadians help out family or friends with limited digital skills by providing informal tech support. Most who do say they’re concerned about the possibility of their loved ones being a victim of a bad online actor. 

45%

of people say they provide informal tech support to family and friends.

79%

of those who do provide support are confident in their ability to help friends/family resolve their issues.

81%

of those who provide informal tech support are concerned about the vulnerability of their family/friends to cyberattacks

Smart devices

Technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated over the last decade, but are the smart devices we rely on for convenience and efficiency also threatening our privacy? Almost one-third of Canadians are convinced their mobile device is listening to them through its microphone without their permission and more than half believe their mobile device is tracking and recording their movements via its GPS locator. 

About 3 in 10 (29%) believe their mobile device “definitely” or “probably” listens to them via the microphone without their permission. Almost one-third (32%) don’t know. 

Of those who believe their device listens without permission, 82% are concerned about it

How concerned Canadians are about whether or not their mobile device is listening varies across the country:

MOST CONCERNED

Newfoundland 96%

Prince Edward Island 92% 

LEAST CONCERNED

Saskatchewan 64%

More than half (55%) believe their mobile device tracks and records their movements via its GPS locator.  About one-fifth either don’t know (18%) or say their device is “probably not” (13%) or “definitely not” (7%) is tracking their movements.

Social media use and online harassment

One-quarter of all Canadians have experienced or witnessed cyberbullying or harassment when using the internet. Not surprisingly more youth report harassment and cyberbullying than older people.

Almost one-third of people are hesitant about using social media or taking part in an online discussion due to harassment concerns. Notably, the number of men who express reticence in using social media for this reason is on the rise. 

Canadians feel most vulnerable to online harassment while using Facebook and Twitter and less so on LinkedIn, a social media site geared to professionals.

Despite that, Facebook continues to dominate as Canadians’ favorite and most-used social media site, but at least one-third use LinkedIn, Instagram and WhatsApp. The number of people who use Twitter and Snapchat dropped slightly in 2019, with Twitter falling from 26% in 2018 to 23% in 2019, and Snapchat dropping from 19% in 2018 to 14% in 2019.

The number of Canadians who feel safe from online intimidation when using Facebook dropped five percentage points in 2019.

Percentage of Canadians who feel safe from online harassment when using the following social media sites or apps.

2019 LinkedIn What's App Snapchat Facebook Messenger Instagram Twitter Facebook

2019

84 %

LinkedIn

83 %

What's App

76 %

Snapchat

76 %

Facebook Messenger

73 %

Instagram

64 %

Twitter

61 %

Facebook

2018

84 %

LinkedIn

n/a %

What's App

75 %

Snapchat

n/a %

Facebook Messenger

74 %

Instagram

67 %

Twitter

66 %

Facebook

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).

32%

of people are reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion over concerns about cyberbullying and online harassment.

31%

of men said they’re reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion over concerns about cyberbullying and online harassment, up from 21% in 2017.

25% 

have experienced or witnessed harassment when using the internet.

Percentage of 18-34 year-olds who have experienced or witnessed harassment when using the internet.

2019: 39% 

2018: 58%

2017: 51%

Privacy concerns

At least half of all Canadians are concerned about potential privacy violations while using social media sites.

Three-quarters are aware of reports that social media companies may store and share users’ personal information without their knowledge or consent, and it’s having an impact on how they interact with such sites: 43% changed their privacy settings after learning that some companies store and share personal information and 32% reduced their use of social media.

73% of Canadians says they’re concerned about potential privacy violations from using Facebook.

Upon learning that some social media companies store and share users’ personal information without their knowledge or consent, 

43%

say they changed their privacy settings 

32%

took no action

32%

reduced their use of social media

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 with a connection to Canada.

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

 

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

When Canadians prefer .CA

  • Accessing government services
  • Banking
  • Shopping
  • Getting involved in community organizations
  • Product Research
  • News/current events
  • Travel research
  • School or work-related research
  • Online education

Preferences are about equal

  • General browsing/surfing
  • Social media
  • Entertainment
  • Games
  • Downloading music/movies/games/etc.

Source: CIRA research, April 2019 

Canadian internet users are divided on their comfort level with new or uncommon domains and whether they trust websites that use them. Few say they are “very” comfortable using sites with new or uncommon domain names. 

Canadians’ comfort level with new or uncommon domains

Canadians’ comfort level with new or uncommon domains Very comfortable Somewhat comfortable Not very comfortable Not comfortable at all Unsure

8 %

Very comfortable

32 %

Somewhat comfortable

39 %

Not very comfortable

12 %

Not comfortable at all

10 %

Unsure

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).

Almost half of Canadian internet users don’t trust websites with top-level domains (TLDs) that are new or uncommon, a finding that has remained relatively stable since 2017.

Do you trust websites with new or uncommon domains?

48%

Agree

11%

Disagree

42%

Neither agree nor disagree

Canada’s domain: .CA

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
ccTLD (without .cn, .tk and .tw) Growth Rates 2013 - 2018

Source: Zook data and CIRA
Note: For accuracy, industry growth rates shown exclude .cn, .tw and .tk due to a change in registration rules within .cn, a differing business and measurement model for .tk and drastic variability for .tw in 2018.

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.

Global TLD (without .cn and .tk) Growth Rates Q1 FY 2010 - Q3 FY 2019

Source: Zook data
Note: For accuracy, industry growth rates shown exclude .cn and .tk due to a change in registration rules within .cn, a differing business and measurement model for .tk, and drastic variability for .tw in 2018.

Top 10 new gTLDs

  1. .top

  2. .xyz

  3. .loan

  4. .club

  5. .online

  6. .site

  7. .vip

  8. .icu

  9. .work

  10. .shop

Source: ntldstats.com (as of April 2019)


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=2,050 adult Canadian internet users (18+) were surveyed in March 2019, and the sample is proportionate-to-population for age, province and gender. Additional data was taken from the M-Lab and global domain industry statistics from Zook, CENTR and ntldstats.com.