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Canadian Internet Use Survey

Released: 2019-10-29

In 2018, the share of Canadians aged 15 and older who used the Internet was 91%, with more seniors reporting Internet use (71%). Results from the previous survey cycle indicated that 83% of Canadians had used the Internet in 2012, with the proportion of seniors online at 48%.

Alberta and British Columbia (both 94%) recorded the highest proportion of Internet users, while Newfoundland and Labrador (86%) posted the lowest proportion.

Overall, 94% of Canadians had home Internet access. Among those who did not have home Internet access, reasons included the cost of Internet service (28%) and equipment (19%), and the unavailability of Internet service (8%).

Nearly 84% of Internet users bought goods or services online in 2018, spending $57.4 billion, up from $18.9 billion in 2012.

Almost half of Canadians who used the Internet (46%) reported spending more than 10 hours per week online in 2018, excluding time spent streaming content and using video gaming services.

In 2018, 69% of Internet users reported paying for or using an online video streaming subscription service, 9% of whom reported spending 20 hours or more per week streaming content through these services. In addition, online music streaming subscription services were used by 49% of all Canadian Internet users.

At the same time, 23% of Internet users chose to take a break from or decrease time spent on the Internet in the 12 months preceding the survey, and 10% of Internet users reported feeling like a victim of incidents online.

Most Internet users took some steps to protect their privacy in 2018: 61% reported deleting their browser history, 60% blocked emails (junk mail and spam), and 42% changed the privacy settings on accounts or apps to limit their profile or personal information.

In 2018, 57% of Canadian Internet users reported a cyber security incident, including being redirected to fraudulent websites that asked for personal information (19%) or getting a virus or other computer infection (11%).

More than half (53%) of Internet users had an Internet-connected smart home device in their home, such as a smart television (41%) or smart speaker (15%). Other smart home devices that Canadian Internet users had in their homes were smart thermostats (9%), video cameras connected to the Internet (9%) and smart plugs or lights (5%). In addition, 88% of Internet users reported having a smartphone for personal use, with many using it to conduct online banking activities (63%) or to purchase (54%) or sell (16%) goods and services in the 12 months preceding the survey.

In the 12 months preceding the survey, 30% of employed Canadian Internet users reported that their employer expected them to use the Internet to stay connected outside of their regular work hours, and almost one-quarter (23%) of employed Canadians reported that they had done some telework.

Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action to address urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The Canadian Internet Use Survey is an example of how Statistics Canada supports reporting on the global sustainable development goals. This release will be used to help measure the following goals:

  Note to readers

The 2018 Canadian Internet Use Survey, sponsored by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, was conducted from November 2018 to March 2019.

The survey collected information on the adoption and use of digital technologies by Canadians, including Internet use, household Internet access, demand for online activities and interactions online. The survey examines the use of online government services; use of social networking websites or apps; use of smartphones; digital skills; e-commerce; online work; and issues of online security, privacy and trust.

The survey population included individuals aged 15 years and older living in the 10 provinces of Canada. It excludes full-time (residing for more than six months) residents of institutions.

"Internet users" include individuals who used the Internet for personal use, excluding business- and school-related use, from any location in the three months preceding the survey.

"Seniors" include individuals aged 65 years and older.

The Canadian Internet Use Survey was redesigned in 2018. Comparisons with previous iterations should be made with caution since the survey methodology has changed. Refer to the Canadian Internet Use Survey Integrated Metadatabase page for survey information and questionnaires.

Products

The infographics "How are Canadians staying connected?" and "How are Canadians spending online?"—part of Statistics Canada - Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M)—and a data visualization product "Canadian Internet Use Survey Data Visualization Tool"—part of Statistics Canada – Data Visualization Products (Catalogue number71-607-X)—are now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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