Internet use is on the rise across the globe and Canada is one of the most connected nations in the world. Canadians can access reliable internet connections at home and on the move and use the internet for communication, reading the news, and keeping in touch with family and friends among many other things.

For anyone who works, for example, in the digital industry or marketing, knowing the penetration rate and how Canadians use the internet is vital information. It can help shape your strategies for engaging users and attracting new clients.

Continue reading to find out key information about the internet in Canada.

Internet Statistics for Canadians

  • Canada is one of the most connected countries in the world and its internet penetration is expected to reach 99% by the end of 2023 or in 2024 at the latest.
  • According to the latest available data, Alberta and British Columbia have the highest internet penetration rate in Canada.
  • Canadians spend on average six and a half hours per day online excluding time spent streaming or watching TV online.
  • 91% of Canadians use the internet to access social media.
  • com is the most visited web page in Canada,
  • Canada’s internet services are the fifth most expensive in the world.
  • Canada has one of the fastest internet networks in the world at 150 Mbps.
  • During COVID-19, Canadians used the internet more for online shopping, keeping in touch with family and friends, working from home, and accessing entertainment.
  • There are almost 5 billion internet users in the world.
  • Finding information is the most popular online activity among global internet users.

Internet Use in Canada

There is some variation in the rate of internet penetration in Canada, with Statista’s data showing it was 96.5% in 2022. However, other sources say there are 36.23 million internet users, and out of a population of 38.62 million, it would give us a penetration rate of 93.8%.

The reason for varying penetration rates between sources is the slightly different criteria they may use to determine internet users. Whichever is the truest figure, either of them puts Canada firmly among the most connected countries in the world.

In just over 20 years, Canada’s internet penetration has almost doubled from 51.3% at the start of the new millennium. By 2010, the penetration rate had climbed to 80.3%. It is predicted that the penetration rate will reach 99% either by the end of 2023 or at the latest in 2024.

Which Provinces Have The Highest Internet Penetration Rates?

There are differences in the internet penetration rate in Canada with Alberta and British Columbia having the highest rate at 94% based on the latest data available which is from 2018. Ontario had a penetration rate of 92%, Manitoba 91%, and Saskatchewan 89%. Newfoundland and Labrador at 86% has the lowest penetration rate. The data did not include information on the internet penetration of the territories.

Gaps in Internet Use in Canada

While Canada is a very well-connected country, there are some groups where access to the internet is lower than average. One of these groups is the elderly, more specifically people over 75 years of age. In 2020, only 62% of people in this group were connected to or had used the internet.

Other groups with lower than average access to the internet include people with a disability at 84%, unemployed Canadians at 85%, and Indigenous people at 88%. Family households are more likely to use the Internet at 98% compared to single-person households at 80%.

How Much Time Is Spent Online?

Canadians are spending a large part of their day online. According to data from 2021, the average Canadian spent six and a half hours per day online. In addition, online users watch TV either through streaming or via live broadcasts for over three hours per day.

What Are the Most Common Online Activities in Canada?

Surveys show that the most common online activity in Canada is sending and reading emails. In Match 2022, 85% of Canadians were going online to use email. Online banking, finding out information, accessing social media platforms, and staying in touch with family and friends were also popular activities.

How Many Canadians Use the Internet to Access Social Media?

There were over 33.1 million Canadians at the start of 2023 who had at least one social media account. The penetration rate of social media in Canada is 91%. Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Canada but TikTok is the fastest growing one.

In September 2022, the most popular social media download on Apple’s App Store was a platform called BeReal, a French social media platform promoting authenticity among its users. On Google Play, the most popular download was TikTok.

Google Gets 2.4 Billion Visits Per Month in Canada is by far the most visited website in Canada with around 2.4 billion visits every month. The second most popular website is YouTube, which gets 1.03 billion monthly visits. Facebook with 633 million visits, with 248, and with 213 million visits complete the top five of the most visited websites in Canada.

Canada Has One of the Most Expensive Internet Services in the World

According to Mobile Syrup, Canada is the fifth most expensive country for the internet. South Africa has the most expensive internet followed by Iceland, Norway, and Australia. In 2019, the average cost for 100 Mbps was $81.70 in Canada, $114.44 in South Africa, and Ukraine was the cheapest with $7.86 (all prices in CAD). The sheer size of Canada is partly why the internet costs so much as installing and maintaining an infrastructure at that scale is expensive.

Canada Has One of The Fastest Average Internet Speeds in the World

Canadians benefit from one the the fastest internet networks in the world, with an average speed of 150 Mbps. However, Canadians living in urban areas are more likely to have the fastest speeds than those living in rural areas. The median speed for fixed internet connections is 97.51 Mbps and for mobile internet connections 72.87 Mbps.

Cybercrime Costs Over $14 Billion Per Year for Canadian Businesses

With the increased use of the internet in Canada, issues with online safety have also increased. On an average year, cybercrime costs Canadian businesses over $14 billion and as a result, businesses are investing more in cybersecurity. In 2018, the average spent on cybersecurity by Canadian companies was $78,000 per year.

The sectors most commonly hit by cybersecurity breaches in Canada are pipeline transportation, education, and banking. Types of cybercrimes include stealing personal information and ransom, defacing a company, and stealing intellectual property and data.

The Impact of COVID on Canadians’ Internet Use

When the global pandemic forced people to stay at home and many physical stores and restaurants closed their doors, it had an impact on how Canadians used the internet. Most notably this was seen in the increase of online shopping and using the internet to work from home.

The Popularity of Online Shopping Peaked During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While online shopping is still popular in Canada, its popularity has stabilized following shops reopening and life returning to more normal after the pandemic. According to Statistics Canada, 82% of Canadians used online shopping in 2020 and online spending rose to $84.4 billion compared to $57.4 billion in 2018.

Canadians bought groceries online more frequently during the pandemic with 21% of online shoppers saying they had bought more food items online than before. 45% of Canadians also said they had shopped online more frequently for other goods. 13% of Canadians bought groceries online for the first time during the pandemic and for 9% it was their first time buying other physical goods online.

The Number of Canadians Using The Internet to Work From Home Grew

During the pandemic, many Canadians worked remotely from home. 15% of the Canadian workforce said that they used their internet at home for work purposes for the first time during the pandemic. 43% of Canadians aged between 18 and 65 said they used their home internet connection for work more than before the pandemic.

Canadians Used Messaging Apps More During the Pandemic

Quite naturally, since people were not able to see each other in person during the restrictions, more people used the Internet for communication. While 76% of Canadians used instant messaging apps, 71% also communicated through messaging options on social media platforms. During the pandemic, 64% of Canadians made video or online voice calls using the internet compared to 47% in 2018.

Canadians Used the Internet More for Entertainment

With spending so much more time at home during lockdown, Canadians looked online for entertainment. 83% of Canadians said they watched streamed content in 2020 with 38% saying they watched over ten hours of streamed content per week. 35% of internet users played online video games and 10% spent more than ten hours on games in a typical week.

Global Internet Statistics

It is useful to compare the internet statistics in Canada to the picture across the world. In 2022, there were approximately 4.95 billion internet users in the world, which represents a 192 million year-on-year increase. The global internet penetration rate is around 62.6%.

Europe Leads in Internet Penetration

Globally, Europe is the region with the highest internet penetration rate overall with Northern Europe at the forefront with 96%. Western Europe has a penetration rate of 83%, and Southern Europe 86%. In comparison, North America has an internet penetration rate of 90%.

Most Popular Online Activities

The most popular online activity is finding out information with almost 60% of internet users using the internet to find information. The second most popular activity is keeping in touch with family and friends at 54.2% followed by catching up with the news at 50.8%, and watching movies, TV shows, and videos at 49.8%.

Just Over Half of Global Internet Traffic is Through Mobile Phones

Out of 5.2 billion mobile phone owners, 4.28 billion use their phones to access the internet. This means that approximately 54.6% of the world population used their phones to access the internet in 2020. In total, 50.2% of all internet traffic was through mobile phones which is more than laptops and computers at 47.1% and tablets at 2.6% combined.

Internet Users Around the World Spend almost Seven Hours Per Day Online

The global average for time spent online is slightly higher than the Canadian average at 6 hours and 56 minutes compared to 6.5 hours. Social media takes out a big chunk of time spent on online activities with the average person spending 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media platforms. The majority of this time is spent on Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.


Since the first website was launched by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991, the internet has become a huge part of our everyday lives. The Internet user trends in Canada follow the global trends regarding the most popular online activities, websites, and social media platforms.

Canada has one of the fastest internet services in the world but also one of the most expensive. The internet penetration in Canada is one of the highest in the world but the average time spent online per day is slightly below the global average.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canada has one of the highest internet penetration rates in the world with 94%-96.5%. It is estimated that 99% of Canadians will be using the internet by the end of 2023 or in 2024 at the latest.

Canadians spend, on average, six and half hours of their day online. This does not include time spent watching or streaming TV online.

Northern Europe has the highest internet penetration followed by Western Europe.