January 15, 2024

Canada is the favorite destination for Global tech workers : 32,000 newcomers in one year

Canada has emerged as the preferred choice for global tech professionals, attracting more than 32,000 newcomers in just one year, between April 2022 and March 2023. This remarkable influx of tech talent comes as a result of numerous factors, as highlighted in a recent report by The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and Canada's Tech Network (CTN). In this article, we delve deep into the report, explore Canada's thriving tech scene, and uncover the nation's initiatives to welcome tech talent from around the world.

Deciphering the TECNA and CTN Report

The TECNA and CTN report attributes Canada's appeal to tech workers to its immigration-friendly policies and competitive labor market. The rise of remote work, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, has encouraged tech professionals to venture beyond traditional tech hubs, further boosting Canada's attractiveness. The report notes that Canada continues to experience a strong net in-migration of tech talent, primarily from countries like India, Nigeria, and Brazil. Additionally, investments from U.S.-based tech companies have surged, driven by geographic proximity and favorable compensation structures.

As of 2022, Canada boasts a thriving tech sector with over 400,000 software developers. Importantly, this growth isn't confined to major urban centers alone. Smaller provinces, such as Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, have witnessed tech workforce growth rates of 16.3% year-over-year. The trend extends to smaller Canadian cities, including Windsor, Ontario, which has seen an impressive 28% increase in its tech workforce over the past year, aligning with the broader shift towards remote work across North America.

Canada's Most Alluring Tech Hubs

The TECNA and CTN report highlights several Canadian cities as magnets for tech talent. The top three cities include two in Ontario (ON) and one in Quebec (QUE).

Mississauga: Ontario's Tech Powerhouse

Mississauga reigns supreme as the top choice for tech professionals. It is home to nearly 1,000 IT companies and forms part of North America's second-largest ICT cluster. The city hosts globally recognized IT giants such as Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, and Cognizant. Mississauga's tech innovation thrives with support from local government initiatives like the Mississauga Innovation and Technology Acceleration Program (MITAP), which provides funding and mentorship to local startups. The city's promising population growth projections anticipate almost a million residents by 2051, promising a continuous stream of tech talent.

Montreal: Quebec's Tech Hub

Montreal boasts one of Canada's most robust tech ecosystems, with a remarkable growth rate of approximately 31% from 2015 to 2020. The city is a major hub for artificial intelligence (AI) and IT, attracting global giants like Google, Microsoft, Meta, Samsung, and Intel. More than 200 game development studios, including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and WB Games, have found their Canadian home in Montreal. The city also nurtures successful tech firms such as CGI, Hopper, Element AI, Imagia, and Nuvei. Montreal is further enriched by startup-focused events like Startupfest and MTL Connect: Montreal Digital Week, alongside robust academic support with nearly 18,000 tech students.

Waterloo: Ontario's Tech Gem

Waterloo is a dynamic tech hub housing over 1,570 tech-related businesses, including industry giants like BlackBerry and D2L. It ranks among the top 20 startup ecosystems globally. The city benefits from academic excellence due to institutions like the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College, nurturing a talented local tech workforce. With a high quality of life and substantial venture capital investment, Waterloo has nearly double the global industry average survival rate for ICT startups, cementing its status as a burgeoning Canadian tech hub.

Canada's Endeavors to Attract Global Tech Talent

Canada is actively working to draw tech talent from around the world through various initiatives, including the Tech Talent Strategy and category-based Express Entry draws.

Canada's Tech Talent Strategy

The Government of Canada's Tech Talent Strategy aims to position the country as a global leader in tech talent recruitment. The strategy includes the development of an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP), promoting Canada as a destination for digital nomads, streamlining work permits for H-1B visa holders in the U.S., and enhancing existing programs for high-skill tech professionals. These efforts are set to further bolster Canada's tech sector on the international stage.

Category-Based Express Entry Draws for Tech Occupations

Starting from June 28, 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) initiated category-based Express Entry draws targeting federal immigration candidates with work experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This aligns perfectly with Canada's goal of attracting more global tech talent. As of the time of writing, IRCC has conducted one category-based draw, inviting 500 candidates with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 486 to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Canada's tech industry is thriving, and its appeal to global tech professionals is stronger than ever. With attractive cities, a flourishing tech ecosystem, and government initiatives in place, Canada remains the top destination for tech enthusiasts worldwide.

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