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Google commissioned independent consultancy Public First to explore how Google products are helping Canadian workers, businesses, nonprofits and content creators.

As part of our research, we used a range of different methods to help quantify the impact of Google’s products and services in Canada:

  • Building on the precedent of previous Google impact reports from markets including Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, we used traditional economic modelling built upon third-party estimates of Google’s CA market size and standard returns on investment (ROI) to measure the economic activity driven by Google’s core products, including Google Search, Google Ads, AdSense, Android and Google Cloud.
  • Working with independent providers Dynata and Maru/Blue, we conducted extensive polling of a representative sample of over 7,000 individuals representing every province and territory in Canada.
  • At the same time, we polled 1,000 senior business leaders from small, medium and large businesses, representing a range of different industries.
  • We interviewed companies and individuals from across Canada to better understand how they made use of Google’s products.
  • The best methodology to accurately estimate the benefits created by free internet services is still a matter of intense debate amongst economists. For the purposes of this project, we experimented with a range of different methodologies, exploring how this affects the range of possible estimates for the value created by Google in Canada.

In this short report, we focus on four key ways that Google supports the Canadian economy:

  1. Direct investment. Google is a major direct investor in the Canadian economy, employing approximately 1,500 people in Canada.1
  2. Reaching new customers. Google Search and Ads are helping businesses of all sizes connect with new customers both within Canada, and across the world.
  3. Increasing business productivity. Businesses are increasingly relying on tools like Search, G Suite or Google Cloud to find information faster, collaborate better and improve the efficiency of their underlying infrastructure.
  4. Enabling new business. Google platforms such as AdSense, Android and YouTube are making it possible for Canadian publishers, developers and Creators to reach audiences around the world.
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Key Facts

  1. In 2019, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide an estimated $16-$23 billion in economic activity for over 500,000 businesses in Canada.2

  2. The total economic impact of Google products and services in Canada is equivalent to 1.1% of total GDP, or supporting 240,000 jobs.3 That's more than aviation or forestry.4

  3. Google Search and Ads are supporting $1.7 billion in exports for the Canadian economy.5

  4. 75% of Canadian businesses agreed that online search was an important way that customers or clients found them.6

  5. 64% of Canadians agreed that Google Search was important to them for finding a business, and 72% agreed that it was important for researching a big purchase.7

  6. By reducing IT costs and improving efficiency, Canadian businesses using Google Cloud benefited from up to $860 million a year in estimated productivity gains.8

  7. By helping them find information faster and collaborate easier, Google Search and G Suite are saving Canadian workers over 300 million hours a year.9

  8. The Android App Economy generates $650 million in revenue for Canadian developers,10 and 199,000 jobs across Canada.11

  9. Canada is home to over 160,000 YouTube creators, supporting nearly 28,000 jobs.12
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Google is a major investor in the Canadian economy

  • As a company, Google employs around 1,500 Canadians across three primary offices in Waterloo, Montreal and Toronto. Over the next 24 months, it plans to open three new offices, that will accommodate a workforce of 5,000 Google employees by 2022.13
  • Google is also heavily invested in Canada’s AI landscape. The company has investments of over $10 million in world-class research facilities such as the Vector Institute and MILA, and research partnerships across AI clusters in Toronto, Waterloo, Edmonton and Montreal.14
  • Over the past five years, has invested nearly $17 million in Canadian nonprofits, supporting digital skills training across the country.15

In 2011, Article’s founders saw an opportunity in the furniture market. They knew consumers were eager for high-quality, modern pieces at affordable prices and didn’t want to wait months for delivery. Article closed the gap by selling their furniture online, with delivery in two weeks or less. Their direct-to-consumer model allows them to pass savings of up to 30% to the customer.

Without traditional showrooms, Article must not only find specific types of shoppers online, but reach them in the moments that matter — when they’re actively searching for big-ticket furniture. Additionally, they need to quickly show what makes their products stand out and why customers can trust them.

Article uses the power of Google Shopping to build their pipeline. As one of Article’s leading sources of website traffic, Google Shopping allows them to make an instant impression by showcasing vivid product photos, review ratings, and great prices on high-quality furniture.

“Google Shopping helps us get our products in front of people with intent to purchase. Being able to show in-market shoppers compelling product images supported by verified customer feedback is huge for us,” said Duncan Blair, Article’s Director of Marketing.

Unlike other direct-to-consumer startups, Article achieved profitability two years after the website launched in 2013 and surpassed $100 million in gross annual sales in 2018. The company was also named Canada’s Fastest-Growing Company on the Growth 500 list for the past two years.

“As a predominantly self-funded business, we’ve leaned heavily on Google's suite of ads tools to help fuel growth. For us, maintaining profitability is not only important, but essential and Google has helped drive profitable growth in the business.” said Blair.

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Google connects businesses with new customers and markets

Last year, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide an estimated $16 to $23 billion in economic activity for over 500,000 businesses in Canada.16 Over the last five years, this economic impact has grown on average by 11% a year.

Online search is now a major source of customers for businesses of all sizes. In our polling we found that:

On average, for every $1 a business spends on Google Ads, it receives $8 back in profit from Google Search and Ads. This is based on two conservative assumptions:

  1. First, we assume that businesses generally make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads.
  2. Our second assumption is that businesses overall receive an average of five clicks on their organic search results for every one click on their ads.

To be conservative, we estimate that search clicks are about 70% as valuable as ad clicks, resulting in a net profit for advertisers of 8X what they spend on Google Ads. A more detailed explanation of this approach is available in the methodology section of the report, and at

Google Search and Ads also help to make it easier for Canadian businesses to export goods and services to customers across the world. Our polling found 75% of businesses agreed online search engines have made it easier for global customers and clients to find their business.17 In total, we estimate that Google Search and Ads are supporting $1.7 billion in exports for the Canadian economy.18


In 2014, Montreal-based post-production service LANDR disrupted the music recording industry by using AI technology to make studio-quality sound more accessible for musicians. They simplified music creation, production and distribution by using machine learning to analyze 2 million songs and replicate the processes professional engineers make while mastering tracks.

It worked, and the company has since grown to more than 3 million users in 160 countries. Being able to reach musicians and musicologists across the world, with targeted messaging, has been essential to their marketing strategy (and growth).

To do this, LANDR devotes the majority of its ad spend to Google products. CEO Pascal Pilon says Google products have been the most cost-effective way of finding new customers online, and educating them about AI-powered music software. YouTube in particular has been a powerful channel for LANDR to find and engage new customers. Their channel now has over 3.1M views, with videos that teach their audience everything from how to make a trap beat to songwriting tips.

“YouTube has been an amazing tool for educating customers and getting exposure and buy-in,” Pascal says. “Our video strategy helped us find power users and turn those customers into subscribers to the platform. It also helps our customers to become brand ambassadors and contribute videos to our YouTube channel, so we’re telling our stories together.”

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Google helps workers and businesses be more productive

Google services like Search, Maps, and Google Cloud help businesses work more productively by making it easier for workers to find information, collaborate, and automate their underlying infrastructure.

A 2018 report by Deloitte found that businesses have seen an average net return of up to $2.5 for every $1 invested in cloud services such as Google Cloud Platform. Some of the most successful Google Cloud users saw returns of up to $10 for every $1 invested.19 By replacing the need for traditional IT infrastructure, Google Cloud can generate significant costs savings while improving efficiency, reliability and scalability. In total, we estimate Google Cloud is increasing productivity for Canadian businesses by $860 million a year.20

Over half (58%) of Canadians find Google Search to be important at work, and around a quarter say G Suite is important (29%).21 A 2015 Forrester Consulting study estimated that the deployment of G Suite including tools like Docs, Sheets and Slides had the potential to save employees between 15 minutes to two hours per week in more efficient collaboration.22 Based upon this, and other work on the time saved by Google Search,23 we estimate that in a given year, Google services could be saving workers over 300 million hours and producing a $22 billion improvement in productivity for the Canadian economy.24


One of the biggest challenges in retail is accurately forecasting demand for each of the products held on shelves. Getting this wrong can lead to running out of stock (and missed sales), or massive inventory costs. A grocery store chain may have thousands of locations, each carrying tens of thousands of items, which can make managing this inventory a daunting challenge.

There are endless opportunities for innovation and automation throughout the retail supply chain. Enter Rubikloud, a Toronto-based company that uses cloud-based AI and machine learning to help retailers make smarter supply chain decisions, and operate in more efficient ways.

Rubikloud demonstrates how cloud technology can transform traditional industries and improve efficiencies, inventory management, forecast accuracy, and more. Rubikloud works with companies with revenues between $1 billion and $45 billion. Since 2013, it’s raised over $40 million and now employs around 100 people.

Google Cloud has been central to Rubikloud’s growth and success. Rubikloud doesn't own their own server, and probably never will, but Google Cloud allows them to work with a new generation of bottom-up tech leaders around the world. While retailers operating with physical servers and traditional systems must adapt to new market rules, Google Cloud’s infrastructure allows Rubikloud to automatically stay up-to-date, and work with global customers as they do North American ones.

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Google helps generate new revenue streams for publishers and content creators

Google platforms have enabled entirely new business models. For the first time, it is possible for writers, developers and video creators to easily distribute their work across the world, creating a new long tail of diverse, innovative content to fill every niche.

For writers and publishers, Google’s display advertising platform makes it easy to monetize their work. Through a piece of code pasted to their website, AdSense gives creators access to millions of advertisers, and manages the sales process on their behalf so that they can focus on building their content and audiences. We estimate that AdSense generated $340 million in total for Canadian content creators in 2019.25 Meanwhile, the Google News Initiative has pledged $300 million USD to “help journalism thrive in the digital age,” funding news projects across North America.26

For developers, Android has provided access to over 2 billion monthly active users across 190 countries worldwide. In total, we estimate the Android App Economy generates $650 million in revenue for Canadian developers,27 while independent estimates suggest the Android developer ecosystem is supporting 199,000 jobs right across Canada.28

Canada is home to over 160,000 YouTube creators, with about 40,000 of those monetizing their channels, resulting in nearly 28,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs for themselves and others. Around 15% of Canadian YouTube channels generate more than $50,000 annually in gross revenue for their creators.29

YouTube Creators in Canada

How to Cake It

461 million views, 4.2 million subscribers

In 2015, Toronto baker Yolanda Gampp and TV producers Connie Contardi and Jocelyn Mercer were bouncing back from the cancellation of their cable TV baking show. They had faith that Yolanda’s big personality and realistic, over-the-top novelty cakes (ranging from giant tacos to Cabbage Patch Kids) would be a hit with bakers of all skill levels.

Instead of giving up, the trio decided to try their idea on a different platform. They launched the YouTube channel How to Cake It, and almost instantly, Yolanda became an internet sensation. How to Cake It is now one of YouTube’s most successful food channels, with more than 4 million subscribers and 461 million video views. Their growing, passionate community tunes in every Tuesday for new videos, and even bakes along with Yolanda during special livestreams.

“YouTube has helped us to connect with baking audiences around the world, Yolanda says. “Being able to connect with fellow bakers and knowing that our cakes are making so many people happy, means the world to us.”

In the past few years, How to Cake It has grown from a YouTube channel to a baking empire. They now sell their own line of baking tools, have a “monthly sprinkle service” where they deliver edible cake decorations to subscribers, and a 2017 cookbook called How to Cake It: A Cakebook.  

Northern Farmer

8.3 million views, 28 thousand subscribers

Farm life on Canada’s vast Alberta prairies has turned Tyson Kucheruk into an unlikely internet star — and a support to other farmers battling snow, drought and storms to feed the world.

In 2006, Tyson began filming and editing videos for his YouTube diary Northern Farmer,

chronicling day-to-day life as a farmer in High Prairie, Alta. Back then, high-speed internet was still a distant dream for himself and others in rural communities.

But as the years went by, Tyson’s internet access got better — and Northern Farmer’s audience grew. At first, it was mostly fellow farmers living in places similar to his 2,000-acre farm where he raises beef cattle and grows a mixture of grains and oil seed. Now, much of his audience lives in gentler climates. Some are farmers, but many have never visited a farm. Tyson, a second-generation farmer, sees his videos as educational.

“YouTube has connected me with a community of farmers. It’s become a way for me to help other farmers around the world, while teaching the non-farming community about what it takes to feed the world,” he says.

Northern Farmer now has more than 28,000 subscribers and 8.3 million views. Tyson often creates new videos based on viewer feedback and comments. He says heavy machinery and classic equipment videos are big draws, like his most popular video, which deals with the difficulty of starting a bulldozer in sub-zero temperatures. There are also plenty of videos where his livestock are the stars, like his video about delivering six calves in temperatures below -25 Celsius.

While Tyson enjoys the regular revenue he receives from advertisements on his YouTube videos, he says it’s about much more than the money.

“If I can represent the agriculture industry in a positive light, and make a little bit of money too — it’s all good.”


13 billion views, 21.8 million subscribers

Montreal-based WatchMojo is one the most successful YouTube channels (often ranked in the top 50) with more than 13 billion views and more than 21 million subscribers. Since 2006, the Canadian channel has published more than 10,000 “top ten” and “listicle” style videos around all things pop culture - from celebrities to superheroes to politics - and in numerous languages.

WatchMojo is not just an entertainment channel — it’s a content machine. It’s grown to employ more than 50 full-time and 100 freelance writers and video editors. The channel now averages 5 million views per day, helping it operate a profitable, stand-alone business while reinvesting in new products and creating jobs. Additionally, WatchMojo licenses its content to other media companies ranging from Verizon to NCM, and in 2017, further expanded by launching dozens of spinoff YouTube channels.

In 2016, Ernst & Young awarded WatchMojo founder Ashkan Karbasfrooshan with the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Media and Entertainment category for the Quebec region, following in the footsteps of Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberte, a previous recipient.

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How we calculate Google’s economic impact

Google Ads

Following the precedent of past Google impact reports, we use third-party data to estimate the total size of the Canadian Google Ads market, averaging two types of estimates:

  • A top-down estimate combining PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook data on the total Canadian paid search market with other estimates of Google’s market share.
  • A bottom-up estimate combining estimates of the average number of Google Search Ads seen by Canadians based on our polling, with third-party data on average Cost Per Click (CPC) and Click Through Rates (CTR) drawn from WordStream (2018)

Following the methodology of the U.S.Google Economic Impact Report, we then scale this revenue by an assumed Return on Investment (ROI) factor of 8, from:

  • Varian (2009) estimates that businesses make on average $2 for every $1 they spend on Google Search Ads.
  • Jansen and Spink (2009) estimate that businesses receive five clicks on their search results for every one click on their ads.
  • Google estimates that search clicks are about 70% as valuable as ad clicks.
  • Total ROI is then 2 * spend + 70% * 5 * 2 * spend – spend = 8 (spend).

More information on this methodology is available at

We convert this into an estimate of total Gross Value Added (GVA) impact by combining the estimate of total economic activity with whole economy output and GVA multipliers, drawn from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) input-output tables.

In order to estimate the total number of jobs supported by Google, we divide the total GVA supported by the average GVA per job for the Canadian economy, again taken from the OECD.

In order to estimate the total number of businesses impacted by Google Ads, we multiply the proportion of businesses in our business poll reporting they use the product with official estimates of the total number of businesses in Canada.30

Finally, in order to estimate the export revenue supported, we combine our estimate of total economic activity with data drawn from our polled businesses on the average proportion of search advertising targeting international customers.


In order to estimate total Canadian AdSense revenues, we scale Google’s 2018 global Traffic Acquisition Costs to network members by Canada’s share of global display spending, derived from PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook data.

In addition, when looking at the economic impact for Canada as a whole, we also include the estimated returns to advertisers, drawing on the estimated ROI of display advertising from Kireyev et al (2013).

Google Cloud

In order to estimate the total productivity impact of Google Cloud Platform in Canada we combine:

  • Statista’s forecast of total public cloud computing spend in Canada in 2019;
  • Google Cloud Platform’s share of the cloud market, drawn from our business poll;
  • Deloitte’s estimate of the average international ROI from investment in Google Cloud.

Business Time Savings

We create an estimate of the value of business time savings from Google Search by:

  • Following the proportions in our consumer poll who said each tool was important at work, we assume 58% of Canadians use Google Search at work and 29% use G Suite.
  • Following Forrester Consulting, we assume each user of G Suite saves between 15 minutes and 2 hours each per week.
  • For Google Search, we conservatively assume that workers research one question per week, and that this saves them 15 minutes following Varian (2013).

We take the total number of hours and convert into a monetary equivalent by dividing by average Canadian output per hour.31


In order to estimate total Canadian revenues to Canadian creators, we again average two estimates:

  • A top-down estimate which scales PWC Global Entertainment & Media Outlook data on Canadian video advertising revenue by Sandvine data on YouTube’s 2017 Americas share of video bandwidth and YouTube’s standard revenue sharing split.
  • A bottom-up estimate which combines estimates of the average number of YouTube videos watched by Canadians, the proportion with ads, and average CPC and CTR.32 We assume relative CPC for YouTube advertising between the US and Canada is in line with the relative CPC for Google Ads.

In addition, when looking at the economic impact for Canada as a whole, we also include the estimated returns to advertisers.


In order to estimate revenue for Android developers, we scale Sensor Tower (2019) data on worldwide Google Play spend by Caribou Digital (2016)’s estimate of the Canadian share of total app store value captured, an estimated developer share of revenue and a multiplier to take account of associated consultancy jobs derived from Gigaom Research (2014).

For data on app economy jobs, we draw on existing data from Long (2019).

Public First is a global strategic consultancy that works to help organizations better understand public opinion, analyze economic trends and craft new policy proposals. While Google commissioned this report from Public First, all economic estimates are derived from official, third party and Public First’s proprietary information.

Google internal data was provided for investments, Google Ad Grants donations, and local AI research facility investments. All other information in this report is derived or estimated by Public First analysis using both proprietary and publicly available information. Google has not supplied any additional data, nor does it endorse any estimates made in the report. Where information has been obtained from third party sources and proprietary research, this is clearly referenced in the footnotes.

  1. Data provided by Google
  2. Public First modelling
  3. Public First modelling
  4. Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0434-06 Gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices, by industry, annual average, industry detail (x 1,000,000)
  5. Public First modelling
  6. Public First polling
  7. Public First polling
  8. Public First modelling
  9. Public First modelling
  10. Public First modelling
  11. The App Economy in Canada, Elliot Long, 2019, Progressive Policy Institute
  12. Watchtime Canada: How YouTube Connects Creators and Consumers, Ryerson University, 2019
  13. Data provided by Google
  14. Google's Economic Impact | Canada, Deloitte, 2017
  15. Data provided by Google
  16. Public First modelling built upon estimates of Google’s revenue in Canada, and the average ROI below. (A more detailed methodology is given in the appendix.)
  17. Public First polling
  18. Public First modelling built upon our estimate of total economic activity driven by Google in Canada, and self-reported polling data on share of ad spend targeting international customers.
  19. Economic and social impacts of Google Cloud, Deloitte, September 2018
  20. Public First modelling built upon Deloitte (2018)
  21. Public First polling
  22. The Total Economic Impact of Google Apps for Work, Forrester Consulting, 2015
  23. Economic Value of Google, Hal Varian, 2011
  24. Public First estimate built upon Forrester Consulting (2015) and Varian (2011).
  25. Public First modelling built upon third party estimates of Canada’ share of display advertising, and Google’s publicly reported traffic acquisition costs.
  26. Google News Initiative Building a stronger future for journalism
  27. Public First modelling built upon App Annie (2019) 2018 data on worldwide app store consumer spend and Android revenue share by Caribou Digital (2016).
  28. The App Economy in Canada, Elliot Long, 2019, Progressive Policy Institute
  29. Watchtime Canada: How YouTube Connects Creators and Consumers, Ryerson University, 2019
  30. Government of Canada Key Small Business Statistics - January 2019
  31. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  32. Paid Media Benchmark Report - ADSTAGE (2018)