Is Canada the New Tech Hub?
With growing fears of deportation and immigration in the United States, has Canada secretly become the new tech hub? Long has Seattle and Silicon Valley been the tech wizard’s dream, but Canada is creeping in to capitalize on the anxiety many feel during this Trump era. Canada could boast potential immigrants when Trump issued the travel ban and stirred up ideas of his radical immigration policies that could discourage international tech workers from making the move to America. And now with the threat of DACA repeal, many immigrants to America feel threatened by what their future status might be. Instead of forcing people out, the Canadian government made it easier for skilled tech workers to move there.
Places like Toronto have seen significant progress as home to expanding offices to the area from tech giants Facebook, Google and Uber. Following the election of Trump, many immigrants with technical experience wanted to leave the country and cross the northern border. According to startup Zoom.ai founder Roy Pereira, Toronto saw a 30 percent increase in Americans applying for engineering jobs.
While Trump continues to tighten immigration laws, the Canadian government has relaxed some of its immigration processes and streamlined the visa process so that international tech workers can get a work permit in just two weeks versus the process in America that can take an applicant months to finalize. The increase in American applicants to tech careers has been significant and noticeable. According to a report by Axios, 62 percent of fast-growing Canadian tech startups and companies said they’d seen “a notable recent increase” in job applications from people living in America.
Kyle Tkachuk, CEO of Ontario-based tech company Clickback, says that Canada has been steadily building a hub of tech entrepreneurs over the last several years. Tkachuk responded through email on how Canada is changing the tech industry, “I’m not sure about how it will change the entire industry, but it’s definitely growing and expanding the geographical landscape of where startups set up shop and operate their Tech ventures. There will always be a Silicon Valley but that does not mean that we can’t have a Silicon Valley of the North. (The U.S.’s political climate is) Not the only driver, there are many other reasons that Canada is attractive to foreign investors and more specifically tech companies due to the government stability, high quality education, strong monetary systems and vast natural resources,” Tkachuk said.
President Trump may have very well just given up some of our best tech people to the north and deterred any international talent from coming in and assisting the U.S. into becoming a bigger tech powerhouse. Overall the more restrictions we put on people trying to come into the country and better themselves and better our society, the more likely we are to encounter problems progressing. “Every company is in a global battle for talent,” says Alex Norman, the co-founder of TechToronto, an organization that hosts events every month for member and innovators of Toronto’s developing tech community. “And anything that takes the barrier away, and makes it easier for someone you want to recruit to come, is a huge win.”