Canada’s Health IT talent pool is highly educated. Its robust educational infrastructure boasts many leading programs in IT and offers several programs targeted specifically to Health IT at the Masters, Bachelors and college levels (*1).
Canada has 32,540 workers trained in Health Informatics and Health Information Systems.(COACHCanada) Canada is among the top ten places in the world with respect to people and skills availability,*1 with an ICT workforce that is educated, multilingual, dedicated to client needs, and relatively young. Moreover, Canada’s progressive immigration policies attract and facilitate entry into Canada for foreign business people and technology workers.(*2)
Favourable Tax Regime and Business Environment
Canada’s corporate tax structure is very attractive to companies looking to generate revenues in Canada or repatriate profits into or out of Canada.
Canada is ranked the best place in the G8 with regards to corporate income tax rates. (Canada Broadcasting Corporation).
In 2013 the average combined Federal and Provincial tax rate was 26.1% (as compared to the US, where the combined tax rate was 46.7%) (*3).
Canada’s technical R&D tax credit regime is amongst the most advantageous amongst all G8 countries. In 2012, Canada provided more than $3.6 billion in SR&ED investment tax credits to over 23,000 businesses performing R&D (*4) , second only to France.
Health IT Clusters
Over the years, the following locations have evolved into key Health IT clusters:
The solutions provided by Canadian Health IT vendors cover several technology areas including Picture Archiving and Communication Systems, Drug Information Systems, Digital Imaging, Electronic Medical Records, Wireless/ Communications, Laboratory Systems, Clinical Information Systems, and Administrative and Financial Systems.
The Top 10 Canadian Health IT companies generated over CAD $9 billion dollars
in revenue in 2012 (*5). These include CGI, Telus Health Solutions, xwave (Bell), Logibec Groupe Informatique, MediSolution, TECSYS, Klick Communications, Nightingale Informatix Corporation, Imaging Dynamics Company, and Clinicare.
Leading multinationals located in Canada include Microsoft, Agfa, GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, IBM Canada Healthcare, Canon Canada, Cerner, Siemens, and McKesson.
A Culture of Innovation
Extensive collaboration between industry and government research institutions and non- profit industry associations is helping to bring cutting edge technology to the market.
Leading edge technology is currently being researched, developed or implemented in biosensors, system on chip (SOC), information security and service delivery platforms.
Further, Canada is home to several research-oriented universities and vibrant industry associations that support Health IT innovation. Examples of these include MaRS with its vibrant Digital Health practice, JOLT accelerator and Utest incubator, the University of Waterloo (The Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research – WIHIR), McGill University, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation (Toronto General Hospital and University of Toronto), Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Electronic Health Information Laboratory, and Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) and Health Technology Exchange (HTX.ca). McMaster University, which together with Hamilton Health Sciences developed OSCAR, an open source EMR and patient engagement platform.
(1)AT Kearney. “Building the Optimal Global Footprint”, AT Kearney Global Service Location Index.
(2) Information and Communications Technology Council.
(3) KPMG. Tax Facts, 2012-13.
(4) Department of Finance Canada.Government Tax Expenditures and Evaluations 2012, Ottawa 2013.
(5)Branham Group. Listing of Top 300 Canadian Technology Companies, 2013