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May 11, 2020
Canada’s tech sector employs thousands of skilled foreign workers each year and it may be the key to economic recovery
Industry leaders in Canada’s tech sector are pointing to tech companies to drive Canada’s economic recovery post-coronavirus.
All sectors of the Canadian economy depend on technology companies to meet their needs in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data privacy, e-commerce, clean technology and advanced manufacturing. This is just one of the findings in a new white paper report titled: The Post-Viral Pivot: How Canada’s Tech Start-ups Can Drive the Recovery from COVID-19.
The report examines how Canadian tech start-ups are being affected by coronavirus, how they may lead Canada’s economic recovery, and what may result if they do not receive adequate support. It was published by a newly-established coalition of tech industry leaders called the Innovation Economy Council (IEC), who have been advocating for start-up ventures since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
The report found that tech companies are actually growing during the coronavirus pandemic. Just like the companies that thrived during the 2008 economic collapse, these companies were either already well-positioned to meet new market demands or they were able to pivot their operations in time to adapt to the changes triggered by COVID-19.
As a result, positions for highly-skilled talent are open and forthcoming in Canada. Here are some of the companies that are expected to grow during the coronavirus pandemic, and who are currently hiring.
Shopify headquarters are in Ottawa, Ontario, but they have locations all over Canada and the world. On May 8, their careers page had 77 open jobs in specialties such as engineering and development, trust and security, UX design, data science and engineering, among others.
The Canadian e-commerce company saw an increase of 47 per cent, or $470 million, in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter last year.
The number of new stores created on the Shopify platform grew 62 per cent between March 13 and April 24, compared to the prior six weeks. The company website attributes this gain to offering an extended 90-day free trial for all new standard plan sign-ups at a time when commerce was shifting to online. They also offered a number of other initiatives to support their merchants, and protect stakeholders.
This biotechnology company based out of Toronto, Ontario, has three open positions on its careers page, two computational scientist positions, and an intermediate software developer role.
Cyclica uses artificial intelligence and computational biophysics to speed up the development of new drugs. To sum up what they do in a nutshell, they are able to test existing drugs with proteins in the body to predict possible outcomes using AI. As the company’s CEO, NaheedKurji, said in the IEC report, the process is comparable to finding “the right key for the right lock.”
Recently they partnered with Mannin Research, also in Toronto, to help develop COVID-19 treatments.
Tealbook offers a massive database of suppliers for procurement teams to find the goods and services they need to do business. There are currently job openings on their webpage for senior developers and a product manager position at their Toronto headquarters, as well as a marketing manager position in the U.S.
When the coronavirus pandemic started disrupting supply chains, businesses needed to find new suppliers to meet their needs. Teal book swooped in offering free vendor reports for the month of April.
“During a crisis like this, acting quickly is the only way to maintain a healthy supply chain,” Stephany Lapierre, Teal book CEO, and founder, said in a media release. “We enable buyers to immediately access trusted supplier data at a time when speed is of the essence.”
Teal book is one of the companies expected to grow this year, according to the IEC report.
This Montreal-based company offers virtual healthcare that can be paid for by health insurance or an employer. They are currently hiring in a number of fields in addition to tech such as finance, legal, HR, sales, and medical.
Dialogue Technologies was already gaining recognition in the telehealth market before COVID-19. Once the crisis hit, they offered special COVID-19 resources including a free virtual tool, called Chloe, which addresses corona-virus related questions.
The IEC report says Dialogue Technologies expects to triple in the coming months to 600 employees.
Toronto-based Mind Beacon, which offers digital mental-health services, is hiring in health-related fields across Canada.
Demand for mental health services has been one of the consequences of COVID-19. Since physical distancing measures were first implemented Mind Beacon has seen a 15-fold increase in traffic to its services, a media release says.
They offer a free COVID-19 program, called Stronger Minds, that is available to all Canadians.
Based in Waterloo, Ontario, Opentext develops and sells enterprise information management software. They have a number of opportunities currently open on their careers page.
Since the crisis began Opentext has been working to help businesses adapt to the ways coronavirus has changed work.
“Our latest software and services provide cyber resilience, secure information platforms and allow customers to digitize business processes and work from anywhere,” CEO Mark J. Barrenechea said in a media release.
Labor shortages in Canada’s tech sector have been a longstanding issue, and as such many companies look abroad to get the skilled talent they need.
Some Canadian immigration initiatives have been created in response to the labour shortages in order to facilitate the process for companies hiring foreign workers in tech, and for foreign nationals who want to settle in Canada permanently.
The Global Talent Stream connects Canadian companies with skilled foreign workers, by offering a work permit processing standard of two weeks. Companies have reported hiring their candidates from abroad and bringing them to Canada within the same month. Since the program started in 2017, a total of 7,359 people has been brought to Canada through the GTS; the majority, 3,968, were brought in last year.
As biometric centres are currently closed, only U.S. citizens are able to come to Canada through the GTS at this time.
The Ontario Tech Pilot is for immigration candidates with work experience in six tech-related occupations. They must first have a profile in Canada’s Express Entry system. In January this year, Ontario invited 954 people to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.
B.C.’s Tech Pilot invites immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination practically every week. Eligible candidates have a job offer in one of 29 tech occupations. They may be invited under the Skills Immigration stream or the Express Entry BC stream.
People who receive provincial nominations through Express Entry-linked Provincial Nominee Programs are effectively guaranteed to be invited to apply for permanent residence in a federal Express Entry draw. This is because a provincial nomination automatically gives them an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points in addition to their original score.
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