January 27, 2011 10:00 ET

Digital Media and Cleantech Emerge as Bright Spots in OCRI's 2010 Knowledge-Based Industry Survey

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 27, 2011) - OCRI's annual Knowledge-based Industry Survey shows that as of December 31, 2010, the number of companies in Ottawa's knowledge-based sectors has increased by 4.7 per cent while the number of employees has decreased by 4.4 per cent. 

OCRI collects and verifies information provided by the companies to present the most complete picture of Ottawa's technology industry across 12 unique industry sectors. The most current data indicates an increase of 4.7 per cent in the total number of companies to 1,944 up from 1,857 last year. The largest growth was seen in small companies with one to nine employees (up 11.4 per cent) and those with 100 to 499 employees (up 10.1 per cent). Overall, the number of employees has decreased from 78,067 to 74,611 or down 4.4 per cent. The most significant changes in employment can be seen in large companies with more than 500 employees (down 14.3 per cent).

"It is encouraging to see growth in the number of small companies. While 2010 was a successful year in many regards it wasn't without significant challenges. Anchor companies in the knowledge-based sector look very different than they did a few short years ago," says Claude Haw, President and CEO, OCRI. "As we begin 2011, it is critically important that we continue to focus on these key areas – developing and supporting Ottawa's entrepreneurial culture, attracting investment, supporting the commercialization efforts of our emerging companies and aggressive promotion of Ottawa as a destination of choice for investors, entrepreneurs and multinationals."

The biggest winner in the region is the Digital Media sector posting a 54 per cent increase in the number of companies and 50.9 per cent increase in the number of employees. Well accepted as a trend to watch in 2011, digital media, which includes mobile apps, gaming and animation, is likely to see even more activity in 2011.

For the fourth year in a row, the cleantech sector demonstrated growth. The number of companies has grown from 114 companies to 138, an increase of 21.1 per cent while the number of employees grew 22.1 per cent, up from 2,567 to 3,135.

According to the survey, IBM (including IBM Software Lab and IBM Canada) is the region's largest knowledge-based industry employer with 4,000 employees followed closely by Bell Canada with 3,258 employees. The loss of Nortel, which posted 3,000 employees in last year's survey, did factor into the overall loss even though Ciena, Avaya, Ericsson and GenBand did acquire most of this staff. 

Visit http://ocri.ca/kbi2010 for graphs of the above data.

About OCRI:

Leading the way for Ottawa, OCRI is the city's economic development agency. OCRI is the rallying point to bring business, education, research and talent together to create the winning economic conditions that allow Ottawa's knowledge-based companies to thrive locally and compete globally. At OCRI we promote sustainable economic development to maintain our high quality of life. For more information on OCRI visit our website at www.ocri.ca and for more information on the Ottawa Region please visit www.ottawaregion.com. In 2010, Ottawa was named one of the world's top seven intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).


  • The live, Ottawa technology database can be viewed at www.ottawaregion.com
  • Each year, OCRI conducts the survey of local Ottawa knowledge-based sector businesses primarily to develop an online database of information about companies, products and service providers.
  • The survey data, reported directly from the companies, provides information to help identify trends within the region and calculate the total number of companies and employees.
  • 94 per cent of the companies operating in knowledge-based industries located in the Ottawa region responded to the survey in 2010.
  • Knowledge-based industries are defined as those which are intensive in their inputs of technology and human capital. Locally, this has been defined as those that classify as primarily operating within the following sectors tracked by OCRI: cleantech (including environmental), contact centre/customer centre, defence and security, eBusiness, life sciences (including medical technologies and health), knowledge-based support services, photonics, semiconductor, software, telecommunications, wireless and digital media. 
  • It should be noted that industry definitions and classifications vary widely by country and therefore do not allow for comparative, quantitative evaluation.
  • OCRI's Knowledge-based Industry Survey collects and verifies information provided by each company to provide the most complete picture of Ottawa's technology industry across 12 unique industry sectors.

Contact Information

  • OCRI
    Kim Cunningham
    Manager, External Communications
    613-828-6274 ext. 256
    Cell.: 613-851-0768