Pulse Check on Ottawa’s High Tech: Part 2 – Employment Trends in the Knowledge Intensive Industry


Employment data are a widely used for tracking economic change in industries and communities. Employment is especially important to communities where companies are located because job growth means new opportunities to earn income for younger workers and new immigrants / in-migrants or for existing workers looking for more rewarding jobs. Sustained investment in capital such as new office buildings or technology typically reflects a more resilient  and healthy local economy.

In this post, I will compare employment trends in the Professional, Scientific and Technical (PST) services sector between Ottawa and other selected metropolitan areas. As I noted in my previous introduction blog, Statistics Canada does provide employment data for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector but only for fee based special tabulations. Statistics Canada’s ICT sector includes both manufacturing (e.g. communications equipment, semi-conductor and other electronic components, computer and peripheral equipment) and service industries such as software publishers, data processing, computer systems design and telecommunications carriers.  Continue reading


Pulse Check on Silicon Valley North: Part 1 – Introduction

The 1980’s and 1990’s were exciting times in Ottawa’s economic scene. An article published in the New York Times  in 1981 observed that Ottawa’s reputation as a “staid, sleepy, inward-looking city with traditional ways” has faded with the region’s “emergence as the country’s biggest center for advanced technology research and manufacturing, particularly in telecommunications”. It looked like Ottawa was finally going to break away from the economic grip of the federal government with bullish predictions of a high-tech work force reaching 100,000 by 1990 and exceeding the number of civil servants. New home-grown companies started at dizzying levels around the flagship anchor company – Nortel Networks Corporation (formerly known as Northern Telecom Limited). The high technology sector was also booming in the 1990s with companies like Nortel, JDS Uniphase Inc. and Alcatel SA  hiring thousands of people. Although Ottawa’s high-tech sector never did quite reach the 100,000 employment mark, by the turn of the new millennium, Ottawa had emerged as one of North America’s prime high tech growth centres. Continue reading