Canada Attracts Global Tech Talent

In the period spanning from April 2022 to March 2023, a remarkable influx of over 32,000 tech industry professionals from around the world chose Canada as their destination for employment. This revelation emerges from a recent report jointly released by The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and Canada’s Tech Network (CTN). In this article, we delve deeper into the insights provided by this report, shedding light on the top destinations for tech workers across Canada and the evolving landscape of the tech industry within the nation.

Comprehending the TECNA and CTN Report: 

The report highlights that Canada’s allure for tech workers can be attributed predominantly to its immigration-friendly national policies and the favorable labor cost. It also scrutinizes the effects of globalisation on the migration patterns of tech professionals in North America, linking the rise of remote work to a tendency among tech talents to relocate from traditional tech hubs—a trend partly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically concerning Canada, the report emphasizes a sustained global net influx of tech talent, with primary source countries being India, Nigeria, and Brazil. Another significant factor contributing to the flourishing tech sector in Canada is increased investments from U.S.-based tech companies. These investments have been spurred, in part, by geographical proximity and the attractive compensation differential.

In 2022, Canada boasted more than 400,000 software developers, with growth extending beyond major metropolitan areas. Smaller provinces such as Saskatchewan Newfoundland and Labrador have experienced rapid tech workforce expansion, registering an impressive year-over-year growth rate of 16.3%.

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Furthermore, smaller rural Canadian cities, including Windsor, Ontario, have witnessed substantial growth in their tech workforce over the past year—a reflection of the broader shift toward remote work throughout North America. Notably, Windsor saw a remarkable 28% surge in its tech workforce over the same period.

The joint TECNA and CTN report also reveals the most sought-after tech skills in Canada, including Customer Experience, Microsoft Azure, Analytical Skills, Amazon Web Services, React.js, Jira, Data Science, GitHub, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Relationship Management. This information serves as a valuable resource for global tech professionals considering a move to Canada in the future.

Canada’s Premier Tech Hubs: 

The TECNA and CTN report spotlights Canada’s most attractive cities for top-tier tech talent, with two cities in Ontario (ON) and one in Quebec (QUE) ranking at the forefront.

  1. Waterloo stands as a dynamic tech hub, housing more than 1,570 tech-related businesses, including industry giants like BlackBerry and D2L. It ranks among the world’s top 20 startup ecosystems. The city benefits from a strong academic influence emanating from institutions such as the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College, nurturing a local pool of skilled tech professionals. Offering a high quality of life, Waterloo maintains an impressive survival rate for ICT startups, nearly double the global industry average. Additionally, it attracts substantial venture capital investments, solidifying its position as a burgeoning Canadian tech hub.
  2. Mississauga is home to nearly 1,000 IT companies, contributing to North America’s second-largest ICT cluster, with over 300,000 tech professionals in the region. Major IT corporations like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, and Cognizant have established operations in this city. Local government initiatives, such as the Mississauga Innovation and Technology Acceleration Program (MITAP), provide robust support for tech innovation. Notably, the region hosts growing tech firms like SOTI, Guidewire Software, HCL Technologies, and Infosys. With a projected population growth anticipating nearly one million residents by 2051, Mississauga promises a continuous supply of tech talent.
  3. Montreal boasts one of Canada’s most vibrant tech ecosystems, with a 31% growth from 2015 to 2020. It is a major hub for artificial intelligence (AI) and IT, housing global corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Meta, Samsung, and Intel. The city also hosts over 200 game development studios, including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and WB Games. Montreal fosters successful tech firms like CGI, Hopper, Element AI, Image, and Nuevo. The city actively supports startups through events like Startup fest and MTL Connect: Montreal Digital Week. Academic support is also strong, with nearly 18,000 students enrolled in tech programs across the city.

Canada’s Commitment to Attracting Global Tech Talent: 

Canada is proactively working to attract tech talent from around the world, as evidenced by the government’s Tech Talent Strategy and category-based Express Entry draws.

Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy: 

This government initiative aims to bolster Canada’s reputation as a global leader in tech talent recruitment. It includes measures such as developing an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP), promoting Canada as a destination for digital nomads, streamlining work permits for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders from the U.S., and improving existing programs tailored to high-skill tech occupations.

Category-Based Express Entry Draws for Tech Occupations: 

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has initiated category-based Express Entry draws, one of which is dedicated to immigration candidates with work experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. This aligns with Canada’s objective of attracting more global tech talent. IRCC recently invited 500 candidates with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 486 to apply for permanent residence in Canada during one such draw held on July 5th, 2023.

In conclusion, Canada’s tech industry is experiencing a surge in global talent influx, with certain cities like Waterloo, Mississauga, and Montreal emerging as prime destinations. These cities offer unique advantages and ecosystems that appeal to tech professionals. Furthermore, Canada’s concerted efforts, such as the Tech Talent Strategy and targeted immigration draws, signify the country’s commitment to fostering a thriving tech sector by attracting top talent from around the world.

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