For the past fifteen years, Ipsos Reid has been monitoring the Canadian Internet user on a monthly basis and this week the firm reported on some the biggest changes since 1995.

Researchers say the biggest differences between 1995 and the present is the percentage of Canadians who have access to the internet from their home and how people are accessing the internet.

Back in 1995, only 6% of Canadians had Internet access at home compared to 2010 where the vast majority of Canadians (82%) have access to the Internet at home. The percentage of Canadians with internet access from home is now coming close to matching the percentage of those with landline telephone access.

Another interesting note is that even as little as ten years ago, 95% of Canadians were accessing the Internet through dial-up while 5% were on high-speed. Today those figures are reversed, with dial-up nearly dead and mobile showing early nascent indications of being the next big thing.

While high speed internet access is nearly complete in Canada, Ipsos Reid researchers say that doesn't mean the Canadian Internet landscape is almost complete.

“The trends in the report tell us that the future is digital, mobile, and ‘always on’,” says Mark Laver, Associate Vice President with Ipsos Reid and author of the study. “We are seeing more people living online, getting their Internet fix through portable devices, such as smart phones, and using the Internet in ways we hadn’t even imagined 15 years ago. The digital world has already replaced many of the so-called ‘old ways’ and we’re seeing the repercussions of that in nearly every sector of the economy. This poses big opportunities, challenges and risks for businesses and organizations across the country and around the world. In my opinion, there is no doubting that the economy of the future is digital and that future is happening right now.”

“One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in recent years is the emergence and embracing of social media,” continues Laver. “Social media is causing a major shift in the way people connect and engage with each other and the social and economic implications will potentially be big, really big. They are evolving and unfolding every day.”