TELUS: Connectivity is Crucial to Canada’s Productivity and Economic Recovery

The Canadian Business Resilience Network brings together a vast network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 100 of Canada’s leading business and industry associations, from all regions and sectors of the economy. This network represents diverse viewpoints, and the CBRN blog provides a platform to share ideas with other members of the business community and the federal government. The opinions expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of CBRN or the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

This thought leadership piece from TELUS provides insight into how Canada’s telecommunications networks play a role in the country’s economic recovery.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way Canadians work and how businesses operate. While the effects of the shutdown have devastated a number of sectors, many businesses were able to quickly adapt by enabling their employees to work remotely from the safety of their homes. In-person meetings, business travel and large scale conferences now seem like a distant memory, and conference calls, video chats and even virtual AGMs are the new normal.

At TELUS, we know that reliable internet access is more critical than ever, and we are committed to supporting businesses big and small with our world-leading network, now, and through the economic recovery on the horizon.

Telecommunications networks are the railroad of the 21st century, connecting families and businesses across our vast and sparsely populated country. Through substantial investments, and the ingenuity and innovation of our engineers, technicians and support teams, we have built out world-leading networks that are powering Canada’s economy through COVID-19.

The proof is in the pudding: a recent report by Aternity found that between February and the end of March, Canada bucked international trends and boasted a 25% increase in workforce productivity, even as lockdown measures were imposed. This stands in stark contrast to our peers in the U.S. and Europe, who saw declines of close to 10% in productivity over the same period. 

Our nation’s ability to keep working is a direct consequence of our ability to connect – but there is more to do to close the remaining connectivity gaps.

As Canada begins its economic recovery, it is critical that we continue to invest and expand the reach of the infrastructure that got us through the crisis. A recent memo by the CD Howe Institute’s Crisis Working Group identified “the importance of continued investment in robust telecommunications infrastructure to meet the current surge in demand.” In fact, the memo also noted: “Looking ahead, the roll-out of next generation networks will be essential for helping Canadians to adjust in a “new normal” (e.g., sustained “work from home”) for Canada’s economy post-crisis.”

Canada’s tradition of facilities-based competition has fostered a strong investment climate leading to sustained investments in our networks, which are now the envy of the world. Both government and industry must continue this tradition and grow our connectivity infrastructure in the post-COVID-19 era to ensure our economy and business community can come back stronger than ever and weather whatever storms may lay ahead.