We have been reporting on the numerous US tech companies setting up permanent headquarters on this side of the border – including Netflix, Reddit, and DoorDash – due to an increase in Canadian demand during the pandemic, and an increase in supply of local tech talent.
The list of companies moving north of the border in recent years also includes heavyweights such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Pinterest; fuelling the demand for local professionals. Canadian tech giants such as Shopify and Wattpad are experiencing the same phenomenal growth and are now also competing for Canadian talent.
Uncertain politics and immigration policies in the US; higher wages and costs of living in tech hubs like San Francisco; as well as general market saturation may be driving companies to seek expansion to the Great White North. Meanwhile, Canada’s friendlier relations with countries globally (such as India and China) is also prompting US companies to set up satellite offices here, to hedge against potential trade wars and political feuds.
This growth will hopefully reverse the brain drain that is typical of Canada; particularly in the case of new graduates and young professionals who have been emigrating to US for many years. In fact, the opposite may now be true: as Canada sets ambitious targets to increase immigration, it is attracting talented professionals from countries such as the US, India, and Brazil.
Negative human and social sustainability issues
An unwanted consequence of this increase in demand for professionals is the potential harm to local businesses and startups, who are now competing for the same talent pool, as reported by the Canadian Press. This will decrease long-term innovation unless government officials intervene, or big tech creates opportunities for strategic partnership.
And although this bodes well for a city like Toronto – ensuring its position amongst the world’s top tech hubs – foreign investment continues to drive house prices up and makes affordability a key social issue for local residents and politicians to tackle.