5G — or 5th generation — technology is often described as the next generation of connectivity and Internet. However, 5G is much more than just that. With estimated data transmission speeds that are nearly 20 times faster than current 4G-LTE connections, 5G will allow the avid Netflixer to download a movie within a matter of seconds. However, it will also enable the development of technologies and applications that can change the provision of basic services like healthcare.

While some impacts of 5G will reveal themselves more clearly once its enhanced network capabilities are fully in place, 5G is quickly becoming the new global standard of connectivity. As a result, some of its by-products are already being felt, even prior to deployment. These include an accelerated demand for skilled talent, but also the advancement of discourse on key topics that 5G’s capabilities will touch and enable. Examples include the use of AR/VR for real-time healthcare solutions such as remote surgeries; or the deployment of 5G-enabled crop monitoring in the agricultural sector. This report explores the impact of 5G on Canada’s digital economy and labour market if it follows an expected rollout trajectory in the early 2020s.