Annual Canada’s Internet Factbook shows that most Canadians are finding difficulty with internet outages, cybersecurity and social media
OTTAWA, ON – JULY 12, 2023 – New polling data commissioned by CIRA suggests that internet outages caused by weather events impacted almost half of Canadians (44 per cent) who experienced a major service disruption (27 per cent) in 2022. From wildfires in British Columbia to the derecho in Ontario and Hurricane Fiona in the Maritimes, all Canadians felt the impacts of extreme weather in 2022–and vital internet connectivity was not immune to these effects. Seventy-six per cent of Maritimers who experienced an outage did so because of extreme weather. A majority (64 per cent) of Canadians who experienced major outages had one to four throughout the year. Internet service provider (ISP) outages impacted about three quarters (71 per cent) of Canadians who experienced an outage.
“As the country grapples with record wildfires, this data shows us that extreme weather events can have a serious impact on our connectivity – particularly when Canadians need access to online information and services most,” said Byron Holland, CIRA President and CEO. “It’s up to all of us—government, industry, and users—to do what we can to promote reliable, resilient internet access.”
While most Canadians (82 per cent) are somewhat or very satisfied with their home internet speed, the jury is still out on whether being online is a positive contributor to all facets of people’s lives. Half of Canadians spend more than five hours online per day, but this heavy use leaves some with mixed reviews. The proportion of Canadians who find social media beneficial has decreased over time to 18 per cent in 2023, down from 25 per cent in 2022 and the lockdown-era high of 35 per cent in 2020.
About three-in-ten (31 per cent) of Canadians are reluctant to use social media or participate in any online discussions due to fears of online harassment. Canada’s first generation of netizens, those aged 18 to 34, are much more likely (38 per cent) to have witnessed online harassment than those 35 to 54 (26 per cent) and 55+ (14 per cent). Three-quarters of Canadians are concerned about malware and about one-fifth (19 per cent) have been the victim of a successful cyber attack. Only about one-third (34 per cent) report using tools or services to increase their privacy and security, but about two-thirds (67 per cent) say they are confident in their ability to detect fraud/scams online.
This year’s polling suggests that Canadians’ online habits picked up during lockdowns and remote work are levelling out. People are more likely to have taken at least a one-day break from the internet during the survey period (54 per cent) compared to the year prior (41 per cent). Netflix remains the most dominant subscriber-based online content provider but reported subscriptions have fallen 10 percentage points from 2022 (61 per cent) to 2023 (51 per cent). More Canadians prefer shopping in-person in 2023 (72 per cent) compared to 2022 (62 per cent), pointing to a trend of more in-person activities as the pandemic becomes increasingly in the rearview mirror.
The findings and more are outlined in CIRA’s 2023 Canada’s Internet Factbook and draw from The Strategic Counsel’s poll. The results will be released in a four-part blog series.
- About one quarter (27 per cent) of Canadians experienced at least one major internet service disruption in 2022. Of those, about half (44 per cent) of Canadians experienced outages because of weather events and about three quarters (71 per cent) experienced an ISP outage.
- The proportion of Canadians who find social media beneficial has decreased over time to 18 per cent in 2023, down from 25 per cent in 2022 and the lockdown-era high of 35 per cent in 2020. Facebook remains the most toxic and addictive platform.
- Three-quarters of Canadians are concerned about malware and about one-fifth (19 per cent) have been the victim of a successful cyber attack.
- The most common way of accessing news online is by visiting specific news/media sites (30 per cent), followed by Google searches about news events (19 per cent).
- People are more likely to have taken at least a one-day break from the internet in the last 12 months (54 per cent) compared to 2022 (41 per cent). The top cited reasons to disconnect are to avoid wasting time (48 per cent) and to relax (41 per cent).
About Canada’s Internet Factbook
Canada’s Internet Factbook 2023 was developed by CIRA through an online survey conducted by the Strategic Counsel. A total of two thousand Canadian internet users (18+) were surveyed via an online panel in March 2023. Every year CIRA produces Canada’s Internet Factbook through research that aims to identify trends in Canadian internet use. This year CIRA will post a four-part blog series of the most salient findings from its annual survey. The full research results showcasing the latest Canadian internet trends and online user habits can be found here.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a member-based not-for-profit organization best known for managing Canada’s .CA top-level domain. CIRA’s mission is to build a trusted internet for all Canadians. The organization offers a variety of programs, products and services that include CIRA’s Net Good program, DNS Firewall and one of the world’s most advanced back-end registry solutions. Finally, CIRA is a proud champion of the internet that continually strives to find new ways to increase online safety and support internet security standards around the world.