Taking Ontario Mobile: An Action Plan for Leadership in the Mobile Revolution

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 5:00am

OCAD University’s Landmark Research Shows How a Mobile Ontario Will Improve Productivity, Competitiveness and Public Services

“In today’s mobile economy, it is vital that Ontario continues to support research and technology development in telecommunications. We need to keep current with communication trends and OCAD U’s Mobile Action Plan will help us move our mobile spaces forward, giving Ontarians greater access to information, when they need it.” — Hon. Brad Duguid, MPP Minister of Economic Development and Innovation

(Toronto—January 16, 2013) To become a leading mobile jurisdiction, Ontario needs a forward-looking policy framework that will harness and catalyze the province’s considerable capacity and leadership across the mobile industries. Taking Ontario Mobile[i] lays out a five-year Mobile Action Plan, based on lessons learned in other jurisdictions and successful pilots at home, to bring significant increases in productivity and competitiveness, create and retain jobs in the knowledge industries, and enhance efficiency and access to services for Ontarians.

“The quality of life and economic well being of Ontarians can be radically transformed in the next decade with the possibilities that mobile technologies, networks and applications offer,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD U and co-principal investigator. “The Ontario residents and businesses we polled are eager to adopt mobile services in all dimensions of their lives – what’s more, they want to learn how mobile technologies can facilitate or replace common tasks.”

Explosive growth in the mobile sector is expected to accelerate exponentially: the research confirms that the more mobile services we have and experience, the more we want. Mobile marketing in Canada alone is projected to grow from less than $50 million last year to more than $1.5 billion cumulatively over the next five years.

Ontario has built significant infrastructure to take excel in the mobile revolution. Home to over 700 mobile companies, Ontario is a global leader in mobile patents. It houses world-leading institutions in mobile and wireless engineering and design, and is home to mobile companies that cross many verticals – entertainment, education, health, learning, gaming and productivity. Ontario is an ideal test bed for applications as it includes one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America, and remote, rural and Aboriginal communities. Ontario’s diverse user base possesses the attributes necessary to be a successful “mobile” market.

“The research shines a light on Ontario’s strong multidimensional capacity in the mobile space – from engineering to app development to educational programs,” said Vera Roberts, researcher at OCAD U’s Inclusive Design Research Centre and co-principal investigator. “To focus and deploy these assets, and ensure that all Ontarians share in the social and economic benefits of enhanced mobility, we need an Ontario Mobile Action Plan with a forward-looking policy framework.”

Taking Ontario Mobile Highlights:

Job Creation and Retention

  • The mobile industries are part of a strong economic sector that will continue to expand as mobility becomes even more ubiquitous. Demand in China, India and Brazil for mobile technologies, applications and content is strong.
  • M-commerce and other extended infrastructure will lead to new kinds of jobs in the knowledge economy across many industries. M-commerce can complement Ontario’s strong financial industries.
  • Provides new opportunities to build Ontario’s already powerful entertainment industries through adding multiple consumption channels and screen time, thus bringing new revenue streams and business models.

 Government Services:

  • Government services can be delivered in a more cost-effective manner, combined with efficient just-in-time service delivery.
  • Engaged citizens can monitor and report problems such as infrastructure breakdowns.
  • Government can make use of mobile interfaces that can be highly personalized and meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards of accessibility.
  • Mobility provides an open data resource that provides means for residents to engage with all manner of public information in order to affect decision-making.


  • The use of mobile devices and experiences can lead to increased flexibility and engagement in learning, and encourage high school completion by supporting experiential learning, mentorship and year-round and self-paced learning.
  • Mobile delivery outside of the bricks-and-mortar campus can lead to efficiencies in the use of capital resources in the PSE sector.
  • Location-based and context-aware educational opportunities developed with Aboriginal organizations can engage and retain learners in their own communities and ensure that they develop the skills needed for employment.
  • M-learning is a core tool to ensure that the Ontario workforce remains competitive, as it helps workers continually adapt to change, provides a valuable tool for reskilling and just-in-time learning, and allows employees to adjust to changing labour-force demands


  • Mobility can be an important lever to enable the movement of medical support from acute care to chronic care, home care and prevention.
  • Mobility can help to provide home services for the growing population of seniors through effective monitoring and mobile healthcare support.
  • Mobile applications can eliminate wait times ensuring that patients go the emergency services, clinics and labs with lower wait times
  • Ontario is home to successful developers of mobile applications and devices who reach international markets

Throughout our research a number of recurring themes emerged, such as:

  • The need to facilitate affordable access to mobile broadband and devices for Ontario residents.
  • The value of a comprehensive regional mobile policy, as exists in other jurisdictions.
  • The importance of industry and government action on secure services and privacy protection in a form that encourages mobile take up by creating confidence, and enables private-sector development while protecting residents.

Downloads (PDFs):

The companion report to Taking Ontario Mobile, Mobile Innovation: Ontario's Growing Mobile Content, Services, and Applications Industry, 2012, was published by the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre.

For more information visit www.takingontariomobile.ca.


[i] Full report title is Taking Ontario Mobile: Research-based recommendations for how mobile technologies are part of the financially responsible solution to providing better access to services for Ontarians.


OCAD University (OCAD U):
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s “university of imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

Download this release as a PDF document.

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 x327 (mobile x1327)