Skip to content

Picking up Speed:

Digital Maturity in Canadian SMEs and Why Increasing it Matters

June 2021


Thomas Goldsmith

Thomas Goldsmith



Executive Summary

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian businesses have turned to digital technologies to help keep them working and selling. Technology has been a key lifeline amid a rapidly shifting business and public health environment. The most digitally-intensive businesses have been more resilient than the economy at large, suffering smaller drops in revenue and employment than less digitally intensive sectors.

However, not all Canadian businesses were able to take advantage of digital technologies. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular suffer from lower levels of digital maturity than their larger peers. This is not a new story and the pandemic has simply exposed a divergence long in the making.

SMEs employ the majority of the private workforce, and they will have a crucial role to play in ensuring the post-pandemic recovery is a just, equitable, and sustainable one. The importance of digital maturity is reflected in the federal budget’s $4 billion commitment towards a Canada Digital Adoption Program. This report sets out to contextualize the state of digital maturity in Canadian SMEs to help inform the rollout of future programs and feed into Canada’s long-term prosperity.