As we enter the new year, we also enter a new technological era. An era catalyzed by global macroeconomic challenges and economic uncertainty driving Canadian organizations of all sizes and industries to go further and do more with technology.
Canada’s public service is no exception. As one of the most vital industries bracing our economy, the public sector faces a multitude of obstacles requiring innovation. As a result, Microsoft continues to make significant investments in communities and across all levels of governments to help address many of these challenges. That includes:
- Export Development Canada (EDC), which is managing its own ESG goals and helping Canadian companies adopt sustainable business practices and to compete globally, using Microsoft Azure.
- The City of Kitchener, which is using Microsoft Power Platform to help by-law officers manage snow removal notices in as little as 20 minutes, something that previously took several hours.
- Ontario Public Service (OPS), which hosts the annual OPS Microsoft Hackathon to tackle challenges with technology and help employees improve their technical skills. In 2022, more than 800 people attended the three-day hackathon.
Our latest Economic and Social Impact Report with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) demonstrates the impact of our work in Ontario – the province that’s home to our Canadian headquarters and where we opened our doors in 1985. For nearly four decades, Microsoft has been dedicated to driving innovation across every industry in Ontario and creating a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and trusted future for everyone.
This report highlights how we are strengthening Ontario’s future. Through the Microsoft Partner Network, our cloud ecosystem and ongoing work with the public sector to bring digital skills training to more Canadians, build resilient businesses with digital infrastructure and by enriching communities with accessible technology, equal opportunities and more.
Supporting inclusive economic growth
In 38 years of operation, we have helped fuel the prosperity of Ontario’s digital economy. Our 1,800+ full-time Ontario-based Microsoft and LinkedIn employees and more than 7,000 partners have helped generate or sustain $15.8 billion in GDP annually and support over 121,000 jobs. And through our collaborations with partners across academic, non-profit and government, we’re introducing new economic drivers, enabling social inclusion, advancing education, creating a more sustainable future, skilling Canadians, securing our data and more.
Canadian organizations of all types have been investing heavily in technology to overcome challenges in response to the pandemic with no signs of slowing down. This transition was perhaps most acutely felt in the public sector, which was sometimes slow to adopt new technology because of complex security and compliance needs. AI, machine learning and cloud have become essential tools to ensure success for government agencies. Whether it’s enabling employees to work remotely, migrating paper-based processes to the cloud, or scaling citizen services, technology adoption has resulted in greater efficiency and cost-savings for every level of government.
This rapid adoption of digital solutions has created unprecedented amounts of data – data that’s provides the key to future growth and innovation. To better help Ontario organizations harness the power of data and cloud and accelerate their digital transformation, we established the Data Innovation Centre of Excellence (DICE) in Toronto and Microsoft Government Innovation Centre in Ottawa.
We continue to use our resources and capabilities to bolster an inclusive talent pipeline and help equip Ontarians with the right skills to build livelihoods in the digital economy. Through our skilling initiatives and collaborations with organizations like Actua and NPower Canada, we have helped more than 10,000 Ontarians gain technical skills training and helped put hundreds of equity-deserving individuals on the path to meaningful employment. We have also reached and trained over 7100 Indigenous youth in the province in 2021 and this work continues.
Protecting fundamental rights
We are dedicated to fostering partnerships and solutions that will have lasting impact in solving societies’ greatest challenges like empowering social good and protecting democracy. Last year, Microsoft employees volunteered more than 4,000 hours and supported nearly 1,300 charitable organizations. We also launched the Democracy Forward program in partnership with Elections Ontario, to promote election integrity and safeguard Ontario’s democracy against cyber attacks.
Creating a sustainable future
We recognize climate change as one of the most pressing issues of our time which requires swift, collective action. This is why we’re collaborating with organizations across Ontario on sustainability initiatives. In September 2022, we announced a historic partnership with Ontario Power Generation on multiple sustainability project which include Microsoft leveraging OPG’s carbon-free energy supply to power our Ontario datacentres with carbon-free energy around the clock – a first for Microsoft globally.
Remote working, an explosion of online activity post-pandemic and evolving threats, including nation state threats, is driving a sea change for the security industry. Organizations across every industry and sector must adopt a holistic security approach that includes a zero-trust mindset, cloud-first posture and the investment in people and skills.
After recent ransomware attacks on multiple healthcare organizations across the province and the country, The Ottawa Hospital worked with Microsoft to help improve its security posture. The organization credits Microsoft Defender technology for endpoint and cloud for the quick containment of attacks and ability to share threat intelligence with partner institutions.
Altogether, the investments we’ve made to date have driven real impact in Ontario and beyond. We look forward to continuing to co-innovate with organizations of all shapes and sizes and accelerating Ontario’s success for decades to come.