Tech innovations might not be the first thing you think of when someone says Canada, but it might be in the future. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened the country’s doors to tech giants in 2017, his aim was clear: make Canada a hub of innovation. Although a lofty goal at the time, particularly with the US next door, his efforts are starting to pay off.
Lever was one of the first major tech companies to cross the North American border and set up a second office in Canada. With the human resources software company needing a second home, CEO Sarah Nahm went on a scouting mission to all the usual US tech spots. New York, Boston, and Atlanta were all on the list. However, in the end, she opted for Toronto. With a CBRE Group study reporting that Toronto was the fastest-growing technology market in the world, Nahm made the move.
Canada’s Diversifying the Tech Community
The decision was a wise one on many levels. Nahm has since remarked on the “incredibly compelling” diversity of the region and Lever has thrived in its second home. With revenue growing to more than $20 million per year, it’s been held up as a success story for those looking for a new home. Given the close-knit nature of Silicon Valley, it’s hardly surprising that other tech companies have followed Lever to Canada. From social media giants like Twitter, to Amazon and Google, Canada has welcomed many of Silicon Valley’s finest to its largest cities.
Where the “big boys and girls” go, others follow, and that’s certainly the case with online gaming companies. Canada’s casino culture is actually well-established. Unlike the US, where regulations have ebbed and flowed, Canada has offered a semblance of stability for developers and gaming operators. Regulatory bodies such as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission have licensed casino sites inside and outside of Canada for more than a decade. In tandem with this, names like Amaya and the Stars Group have a base within the country. These seeds have developed into a veritable garden of prosperity in recent years.
Although not as prosperous as the UK or other countries in Europe, Canada’s online gambling scene is growing, and that’s thanks to Trudeau’s tech push. The fruits of Trudeau’s labours are most obvious in the live gaming scene. For example, inside Royal Panda’s live casino suite, table games such as blackjack, roulette, and sic bo have been given a twist. Unlike their digital counterparts, live games use webcams and RFID sensors to connect players with real dealers. The experience is altogether more immersive and, more importantly, an example of what’s possible with the latest gaming technology.
If You Build it, They Will Come
The same is true in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector. The University of Toronto is a world leader in AI research, while Clay Kellogg, CEO of Terminal, says Montreal has more expertise in the field than anywhere in the US. The rise of Canada’s tech scene is clear for all to see. The question is, why has it become a hub of innovation? Trudeau’s call to arms is a big reason. Knowing the country wants to help tech companies thrive is a huge incentive. In tandem with this, Vancouver is close to Seattle and San Francisco, so forging cross-border links is easy. Then, of course, there’s no language barrier between the US and Canada and trade tariffs aren’t a huge issue.
Finally, Trudeau has made it easier for talent to relocate. The Global Talent Stream application system makes it easier for tech experts to get a Canadian visa. For those in fields such as computer engineering, the application process has been reduced from 10 months to two weeks. The policy change means US companies can send employees across the border with fewer issues. It also makes recruiting global talent a lot easier. When a company can bring in the best talent, it’s better for everyone. It’s certainly better for Canada and that’s why it’s fast becoming one of the most attractive tech hubs in the world.