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Global tech workers are flocking to Canada: 32,000 arrivals in a single year

Global tech workers are flocking to Canada: 32,000 arrivals in a year

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Global tech workers: A new study from The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and Canada’s Tech Network (CTN) says that more than 32,000 tech workers from around the world came to Canada to work between April 2022 and March 2023.

In what comes next, we’ll talk more about the report from TECNA and CTN, which shows some of the best places in Canada for tech workers to work and a lot more about the tech business there.

How to understand the TECNA and CTN report

This study says that a large number of tech workers have moved to Canada “largely” because of the country’s “immigration-friendly national policy and… labour cost advantage.”

In order to find out how globalization has changed the movement of tech jobs in North America, TECNA and CTN think that the rise of remote work has caused tech talent to move away from traditional tech hubs more often. The study says that COVID-19 is partly to blame for this.

In terms of Canada, the study says that India, Nigeria, and Brazil continue to send the most tech workers to Canada from around the world. But another reason for the growth of the tech business in this country is that more U.S. tech companies are investing there. Some of these investments have grown because they are close together in space and pay isn’t the same everywhere.

In 2022, there were more than 400,000 software developers in Canada, and the growth of the country’s tech industry wasn’t just in the larger cities. In fact, smaller regions like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have seen their tech workforces grow by 16.3% from one year to the next.

Smaller rural towns in Canada, like Windsor, Ontario, have also seen the most growth in tech workers over the past year. This shift to rural areas is partly due to the rise of remote work across North America.

Over the past year, the number of tech workers in Windsor has grown by 28%.

Lastly, the study from TECNA and CTN shows that Customer Experience, Microsoft Azure, Analytical Skills, Amazon Web Services, React.js, Jira, Data Science, GitHub, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Relationship Management are the most sought-after tech skills in Canada. This knowledge can help talented tech workers from other countries who want to move to Canada in the future.

Where are the “most attractive” tech hubs in Canada?

The TECNA/CTN study also talked about some of Canada’s best cities for attracting top tech talent. Two cities in Ontario (ON) and one city in Quebec (QUE) were in the top three of this list.

The report put Mississauga, Ontario, first, then Montreal, Quebec, and Waterloo, Ontario. In the next section, we’ll talk more about what makes each of these towns a good place for people to move to if they want to work in tech.

The city of Mississauga

Mississauga is North America’s second-largest information and communication technology (ICT) cluster, with more than 300,000 tech workers in the area. It is home to nearly 1,000 companies in the information technology (IT) field alone. 

This area is home to the offices of well-known IT companies like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, and Cognizant. Strong local government programs like the Mississauga growth and Technology Acceleration Program (MITAP) also help drive tech growth in this area.

MITAP is a technology sector program that “provides funding, mentorship, and resources to local start-ups” in the area.

Mississauga is also home to many tech companies that are growing, such as SOTI, Guidewire Software, HCL Technologies, and Infosys. The number of people living in Mississauga is expected to grow to 995,000 by 2051, which is a 33% increase from 2016. This area of Canada is expected to create a steady stream of tech talent in the near and far future.

The city of Montreal

One of Canada’s strongest tech communities is in the city of Montreal, which has grown by about 31% from 2015 to 2020. This city has the second biggest tech market in Canada and is known as a major hub for artificial intelligence (AI) and IT. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Meta, Samsung, and Intel choose to do business here.

More than 200 game creation studios, like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and WB Games, are also based in Montreal, Canada.

Many famous tech companies, like CGI, Hopper, Element AI, Imagia, and Nuvei, are thought to have started in this city. Also, the city of Montreal has a number of important events for startups, such as Startupfest and MTL Connect: Montreal Digital Week. 

Academically, Quebec also helps the tech business in a big way. Almost 18,000 students are enrolled in tech programs all over the city.


Waterloo is one of the top 20 start-up environments in the world. It is a bustling tech hub with over 1,570 tech-related businesses, including big names like BlackBerry and D2L.

Looking to the future, this city has a strong academic impact from the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College, which helps create and develop a bright tech workforce in the area. 

Waterloo also has a high quality of life, which helps the city draw and keep top talent. This is one reason why Waterloo has almost double the average survival rate for ICT start-ups around the world. Waterloo is also a place that gets a lot of venture capital investment, which shows how important it is as a growing tech hub in Canada.

Canada is trying to get tech workers from all over the world to come work there.

To understand the TECNA/CTN report described above, you need to know that Canada is also making a lot of effort to draw tech talent from around the world.

This is done by the government’s new Tech Talent Strategy and category-based Express Entry draws. Both of these will help this sector grow across Canada by bringing in more skilled workers in tech jobs from all over the country.

Canada’s plan for tech talent: The goal of this program from the Canadian government is to keep building on Canada’s progress toward becoming “a leader in global tech talent recruitment” by:

  • Innovation Stream Development for the IMP (International Mobility Program).
  • Trying to get digital nomads to come to Canada
  • Making it easier for people with an H-1B speciality trade visa in the US to apply for a work permit in Canada (so they can move there) will make it easier for people to move jobs in North America.
  • Improving services that help people who work in high-skilled tech jobs

Express Entry Draws for Tech Jobs Based on Category

On June 28, 2023, Immigrant, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) started holding Express Entry draws for federal immigrant candidates who meet Canada’s top economic and demographic needs. One of the six categories picked for 2023 is for people who want to immigrate and have worked in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field. This fits with Canada’s stated goal of getting more tech ability from around the world to come to this country.

As of this writing, the IRCC has only done one category-based draw for this group, and that was on July 5, 2023. IRCC asked 500 people with a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 486 to apply for permanent residence in this country during this draw.


  1. Canada attracts global tech talent.
  2. Remote work drives migration.
  3. Top source countries: India, Nigeria, Brazil.
  4. US tech companies invest in Canada.
  5. Tech growth in smaller regions.
  6. Attractive tech hubs: Mississauga, Montreal, Waterloo.
  7. Montreal’s AI and gaming prominence.
  8. Waterloo’s academic and VC influence.

FAQs About Global tech workers

1. Why are so many tech workers moving to Canada? 

Tech workers are attracted to Canada due to its immigration-friendly policies, lower labor costs, and the rise of remote work opportunities. These factors have made the country an appealing destination for global tech talent.

2. What role did COVID-19 play in tech worker migration? 

The study suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend of tech workers moving away from traditional tech hubs, as remote work became more prevalent. This shift contributed to the movement of tech talent to Canada.

3. Which countries send the most tech workers to Canada? 

India, Nigeria, and Brazil are among the top source countries for tech workers coming to Canada. These countries have been consistently sending a significant number of tech professionals to contribute to Canada’s tech industry.

4. Why is Canada’s tech industry growing in smaller regions? 

Smaller regions like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have experienced a growth of 16.3% in their tech workforces. This expansion is partially attributed to the rise of remote work, which allows tech professionals to work from various locations.

5. Which tech skills are in high demand in Canada? 

According to the study, the most sought-after tech skills in Canada include Customer Experience, Microsoft Azure, Analytical Skills, Amazon Web Services, React.js, Jira, Data Science, GitHub, Customer Satisfaction, and Customer Relationship Management.

6. Which cities are considered attractive tech hubs in Canada?

The study highlights Mississauga, Montreal, and Waterloo as some of the most attractive tech hubs in Canada. These cities offer a conducive environment for tech professionals and companies, leading to significant tech growth.

7. What makes Mississauga a notable tech hub? 

Mississauga boasts a large ICT cluster with over 300,000 tech workers and hosts renowned IT companies like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, and Cognizant. Local government programs like MITAP support tech growth by providing funding and mentorship to startups.

8. Why is Montreal known for tech and AI? 

Montreal has a strong tech community with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI). It houses major tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Meta, along with over 200 game creation studios. The city’s events and academic programs contribute to its tech prominence.

9. What sets Waterloo apart as a tech hub? 

Waterloo is recognized as a top startup environment globally, supported by institutions like the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. The city’s high quality of life and venture capital investment contribute to its success in attracting and retaining tech talent.

10. How is Canada attracting tech talent worldwide? 

Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy and Express Entry draws play key roles. The strategy focuses on creating favorable conditions for tech workers, including digital nomads and those with H-1B visas, to work and contribute to Canada’s tech sector.

11. What is the goal of Express Entry draws for tech jobs? 

The Express Entry draws aim to bring in skilled tech workers from around the world. A specific category targets those with STEM backgrounds, aligning with Canada’s goal to become a leader in global tech talent recruitment.

12. How does Express Entry for tech jobs work? 

The Immigrants, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) holds Express Entry draws for candidates meeting Canada’s economic needs. One of the categories focuses on individuals with STEM experience. Selected candidates can apply for permanent residence in Canada.

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