The value of data in Canada: Experimental estimates

Statistics Canada: “As data and information take on a far more prominent role in Canada and, indeed, all over the world, data, databases and data science have become a staple of modern life. When the electricity goes out, Canadians are as much in search of their data feed as they are food and heat. Consumers are using more and more data that is embodied in the products they buy, whether those products are music, reading material, cars and other appliances, or a wide range of other goods and services. Manufacturers, merchants and other businesses depend increasingly on the collection, processing and analysis of data to make their production processes more efficient and to drive their marketing strategies.

The increasing use of and investment in all things data is driving economic growth, changing the employment landscape and reshaping how and from where we buy and sell goods. Yet the rapid rise in the use and importance of data is not well measured in the existing statistical system. Given the ‘lack of data on data’, Statistics Canada has initiated new research to produce a first set of estimates of the value of data, databases and data science. The development of these estimates benefited from collaboration with the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the United States and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In 2018, Canadian investment in data, databases and data science was estimated to be as high as $40 billion. This was greater than the annual investment in industrial machinery, transportation equipment, and research and development and represented approximately 12% of total non-residential investment in 2018….

Statistics Canada recently released a conceptual framework outlining how one might measure the economic value of data, databases and data science. Thanks to this new framework, the growing role of data in Canada can be measured through time. This framework is described in a paper that was released in The Daily on June 24, 2019 entitled “Measuring investments in data, databases and data science: Conceptual framework.” That paper describes the concept of an ‘information chain’ in which data are derived from everyday observations, databases are constructed from data, and data science creates new knowledge by analyzing the contents of databases….(More)”.