Tech growth in Canada
Tech is booming in Canada. Here's why.
As tech booms around the world, with burgeoning growth in regions like Latin America and Asia Pacific, Canada is becoming one of the key locations to watch. The country’s technological landscape is quickly evolving into the site of extremely significant tech growth in North America.
Canada’s tech market outstrips the U.S.
According to CBRE, eight Canadian cities featured in the top 50 North American tech markets in their Scoring Tech Talent report (released over the summer) – which, alongside ranking North American tech markets, also covers market trends and economic shifts.
Toronto came fifth, Vancouver came eighth, Ottawa held strong at 11th, and Montreal at 12th, with Waterloo Region, Calgary, and Quebec City also ranking further down the list.
The report noted that Canada's tech talent workforce grew 15.7%, with over 150,000 jobs between 2020 to 2022. This growth rate puts Canada 11.4% ahead of the United States (U.S.). Meanwhile, Toronto and Montréal reported the most tech jobs between 2017 and 2022.
Global tech workers are flocking to Canada
According to a recent study conducted by The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and Canada’s Tech Network (CTN), Canada’s robust tech sector attracts 32,000 tech workers from around the world each year.
The report highlights that a staggering 400,000 software engineers were reported to be working in Canada in 2022, and that even smaller jurisdictions like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador reported a year-on-year increase of 16.3% in their tech workforce.
New immigration measures encourage tech specialist immigration
According to the Financial Times, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s tightening of immigration policy during his presidency, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government enacted measures to make it easier for companies to hire skilled workers from around the world. Between 2019 and 2022, 88,900 tech jobs in Toronto were filled by foreign workers.
In June of 2023, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that those holding a United States H-1B specialty occupation visa may apply to live and work in Canada, which encouraged a wave of 10,000 new applications; further boosting the numbers of tech workers operating in the country.
While U.S. visa holders often encounters challenges retaining their visas or sourcing pathways to permanent residencies, Canada’s new policy now offers work and study permits for spouses and family members, as well as the potential for permanent residency.
Canada has always provided clearer, more viable options for dedicated workers to seek permanent residency. It’s an area which often garners the U.S. criticism, which may be another reason tech workers are attracted to Canada.
Increased investment from U.S. tech companies
An increase in investments from U.S. tech companies also contributes significantly to the current boom in Canada. A number of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Meta, Google, and Amazon, have offices in Toronto and Ontario’s tech hub city Waterloo, home of the University of Waterloo, now said to be a ‘breeding ground’ for top tech talent.
Tech companies from the United States often choose Canada as a base, due to comparatively cheaper salaries, as well as the fact that it is easier to hire global talent in Canada than in the U.S.
So, while the concept of the ‘tech boom’ may be more commonly associated with the likes of Silicon Valley and India, Canada is holding its own as a leader and innovator in the global tech market.
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