Entrepreneurial and creative society
- Streamline temporary and permanent immigration programs to allow easier and faster access to human resources to help with innovation. Recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are a step in the right direction in helping employers deal with labour shortages, and we hope the government’s review of the program will result in effective changes to the program;
- Ensure that the number of economic migrants allowed into Canada is not reduced so that employers can continue to access the skilled workers they require.
* For full list of recommendations, see attached CFIB report on SMEs and innovation, Beyond the Big Idea: Redefining and Rethinking the Innovation Agenda
Numerous studies have shown the positive relationship between immigration and innovation. Immigrants bring with them specialized skills and experience, diverse perspectives, international relationships and networks, and an entrepreneurial spirit. With an aging population and low birth rates, Canada will increasingly rely on immigration to ensure our labour market needs are met in the future. CPA Canada’s own internal occupational demand analysis shows this to be true for our profession.
We face competition for the best and the brightest. If we are to be competitive as a destination of choice, we must do a better job of attracting talent, smoothing the integration of newcomers into the workforce and providing them with the best opportunity to succeed. We must also do a better job of processing applications with speed and certainty.
CPA Canada has provided more specific input to this matter in our submission to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s recent online consultation, a National Conversation on Immigration. Several key points are worth expanding upon in the context of Canada’s innovation agenda.
The Express Entry system of managing the economic class immigration streams would benefit from further refinement. Three reforms in particular are worth consideration: a re-examination of the emphasis on youth; replacing Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs); and supporting the role of international students in meeting labour market needs.
Age is one of the criteria for awarding points in the comprehensive ranking system for Express Entry applications. Generally, it makes sense to award a greater number of points for youth – as the point structure does – because younger immigrants have more years to contribute to Canada’s labour market. However, some highly specialized skills or executive-level experience can only be acquired through experience over time. The point system as currently structured unintentionally penalizes senior business executives and specialists for their wealth of experience. It also penalizes Canadian employers who need to fill particular niche roles for which suitable candidates are scarce.
This is particularly important when it comes to one of Canada’s biggest innovation challenges: our struggles to grow firms to a larger scale. A 2016 study by the Lazaridis Institute examined the barriers faced by high-growth Canadian technology firms and concluded that the biggest challenge was a lack of experienced management and executive talent. In particular, respondents indicated a shortfall of executives with first-hand experience scaling up technology firms. Canadian firms need access to a deeper talent pool than the country’s labour supply is able to provide. Age should not preclude skilled managerial talent from consideration.
A central purpose behind Express Entry was to make Canada’s economic class immigration streams more responsive to labour market needs by enabling employer demand to directly impact the selection of immigrants. As such, the offer of employment from a Canadian employer is a significant component of the Express Entry point structure. But as a report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce illustrated, by making that offer of employment contingent on a positive LMIA, the demand-driven thrust of Express Entry has been negated by what is essentially a protectionist labour market test.
The Chamber makes a well-reasoned argument to replace the LMIA, to which we will just add that the LMIA requirement adds further time, administrative compliance and uncertainty to the Express Entry application process. The resulting delays and uncertainty are felt by both Canadian employers and prospective immigrants. The most sought-after international talent has options, and delays and uncertainty in the application process make Canada less competitive.
International students enrich the learning environment in Canada’s education institutions and make a substantial contribution to our economy in the process. There are sound economic reasons why Canada should position itself as the destination of choice for international students. Similarly, there are good reasons why we should look to these international students as potential future Canadians. No immigrants are better poised for success in Canada’s labour market than those who already possess a Canadian education, a comfort with Canadian society, and perhaps Canadian work experience.
But once again, Express Entry has minimized the opportunities for this talent pool, or at least created more uncertainty than before the system was introduced. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) had been a convenient and successful pathway for international students to pursue immigration to Canada. In fact, in recent years, the Canadian government had set ambitious targets for CEC in order to maximize the number of international students who chose to stay. Since CEC is one of the economic class immigration programs subject to Express Entry, international students must now be ranked based on the Express Entry point system and compete with other potential immigrants. Their Canadian education and experience does not necessarily have any additional value under the point system.
Express Entry’s impact on CEC may make Canada a less desirable destination for international students in the first place. There should not be any guarantees of permanent residency offered to international students who come to Canada. However, at the same time, students should be able to realistically assess their chances of staying should they want to do so. Express Entry’s point system presents a rather cloudy view, and if other international students are less successful in pursuing immigration (as early Express Entry results suggest), then Canada may appear a less attractive choice for their studies. Once again, it is a matter of competition. The best and brightest international students will choose to go to the countries that offer the best educational opportunities along with the best long-term career prospects.
- Re-evaluate the points awarded for age under Express Entry to ensure that Canadian employers are not denied access to international talent with highly valued skills and experience.
- Consider replacing the Labour Market Impact Assessment under Express Entry. If it is necessary to have a labour market test or validation of a legitimate job offer, ensure that the process is fast, efficient and clear.
- If the Canadian Experience Class must be subject to the Express Entry points system, ensure that a Canadian education and experience is valued as it is in the Canadian marketplace.
How do we work together to better equip our young people with the right skill sets for the economy of the future?
Much emphasis is placed on the need for Canada to graduate more students from the so-called STEM fields of study – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Certainly these fields are critical for an innovation-driven economy. But just as important is the need for business graduates that have a sophisticated understanding of how to grow businesses through each stage of development, how to pursue opportunities in Canada and abroad, and how to anticipate and adapt to change.
An expert panel struck by the Council of Canadian Academies noted that STEM skills are not sufficient on their own to ensure improvements in innovation, productivity or growth. “Other skills such as leadership, creativity, adaptability, and entrepreneurial ability may be required to maximize the impact of STEM skills,” their report stated.
The Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity measured the specific shortfall in business skills finding that, when compared to the United States, Canada has a significant gap in the number of business degree holders. “More alarming is the lower educational attainment of those in management occupations, irrespective of field of study. Just over a third of our managers have a university degree, compared to half in the United States,” the institute warned.
The OECD has also noted that Canada lags its peers in the development of business and entrepreneurial skills. In addition, it identified another reason to emphasize the importance of management talent – Canadians’ perceived aversion to risk and the contribution that makes to the country’s commercialization gap. It suggests that more management training and higher education in general would help to address that problem:
The best way to stimulate willingness to take risk may be to boost competitive pressures and openness … and to complement this by enhanced attention to management training and diversity at all educational levels. More tertiary education in general is also needed … Canada still lags in attainment of university degrees, whereas highly educated persons are much more likely to be owners of high-growth innovative firms.
In addition to developing managerial talent, we need to do a better job of instilling basic business skills in graduates of all fields. The STEM graduates who may create the products, processes and services of the future, would benefit greatly from a fundamental understanding of how to commercialize their ideas and take them successfully to market. Yet interdisciplinary studies are often discouraged or even prevented. In some cases, spaces in business classes are reserved for students in business programs, making them unavailable to students in science faculties. On the other hand, students in STEM fields may believe that focusing their studies as narrowly as possible gives them greater expertise and enhances their employability.
The OECD recommends that post-secondary education institutions include training in entrepreneurship and business skills in their science-based programs, a recommendation we endorse. Greater awareness also needs to be generated regarding the business training resources that exist beyond post-secondary institutions, such as those provided by the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT).
Business-oriented financial literacy programs can also improve basic awareness of business skills. In fact, CPA Canada and thousands of CPA volunteers deliver a range of financial literacy programs to Canadians each year. Some of those programs are targeted to entrepreneurs or operators of SMEs to provide some of the essential knowledge and skills for operating a business.
By promoting a general understanding of business and removing barriers to interdisciplinary studies, we would develop a more entrepreneurial, adaptable and innovative workforce. The possession of specialized knowledge or skills along with an understanding of how to apply them in a business environment is a combination that should be encouraged.
- Ensure that Canada’s business schools are producing the sophisticated business managers needed to start, lead and grow firms into successful global players.
- Encourage more interdisciplinary study in post-secondary education to enable innovators and inventors to also have a fundamental understanding of business, finance and entrepreneurialism.
 To be available on CPA Canada’s website at cpacanada.ca.
 Lazaridis Institute, Scaling Success: Tackling the Management Gap in Canada’s Technology Sector, Wilfred Laurier University, March 2016.
 Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent is at Risk, January 2016.
 Council of Canadian Academies, 2015, Some Assembly Required: STEM Skills and Canada’s Economic Productivity, Ottawa: The Expert Panel on STEM Skills for the Future, Council of Canadian Academies.
 Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, Canada’s Innovation Imperative: Report on Canada 2011.
 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2012), OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2012, OECD Publishing.
With an aging population, Canada’s innovation performance will depend heavily on the country’s ability to attract and retain talented people from around the world. Universities across Canada, and particularly Memorial University, are a gateway to Canada for many bright, talented young people, and it will be imperative that many of these international students are encouraged to stay in Canada to live and work following graduation.
Canada should adopt immigration policies that make Canada a destination of choice for top talent from around the world, and include pathways to permanent residency and citizenship for top students and researchers.
Great talent is typically attracted to great work. To attract the best and brightest talent in the world, the Government needs to attract the best innovation projects and most innovative companies to anchor their operations in Canada. Ensuring our corporate tax rate remains competitive while also offering financial credits and incentives that support innovation and a strong talent pool are essential to attracting foreign companies to Canada. Moreover, attracting anchor companies in provinces that can supply talent and meet their demands will be key to long-term success. These companies need not be global headquarters to achieve this goal, as we have seen with companies like Ubisoft and EA, who respectively employ approximately half of the FTEs in the Canadian videogame industry.
To lead in innovation, we encourage the government to invest in creating and propelling forward a framework that can be applied to all policies, funding incentives, laws, and programs with the primary goal of developing the best, Canadian talent pool. This includes both 1) an immediate resolution to bring in highly skilled talent from around the world into Canada to transfer and share knowledge and skills; and 2) a longer term strategy to address digital skills gaps.
To start, current policies and legislative frameworks should be evaluated for their effectiveness and ability to meet the goal of developing the best talent pool in the short and long term. To the extent that relevant policies, practices and laws do not work to achieve this goal then they must be revised to meet current needs and ensure Canada remains competitive globally.
i. Attracting High-Skilled Talent
With almost 1,400 job vacancies expected in the next 2 years, Canada’s video game industry is facing challenges recruiting foreign workers.
While technical and creative educational programs across the country produce well-trained workers for entry level positions (98% of junior roles in the industry are filled by Canadians), there is a shortage of available talent at the intermediate, senior and expert levels in various disciplines. Programmers, data analysts, game designers, artists and art directors are in highest demand. The capacity to hire, support and train junior employees depends on a solid and experienced core team. Foreign workers can help continuously “upskill” current Canadian talent through mentoring and by importing best practices in innovation. The inability to efficiently hire experienced talent is a critical barrier to growth for Canadian studios.
There is no question that the industry prefers to hire domestically, but the dearth of available labour, combined with the unique nature of an industry that is continually innovating and continually improving on games to be exported around the globe, requires the industry to have access to the best and brightest workers from around the world. Competition for this talent is fierce, both within the video game industry and within the technology sectors more broadly.
Consequently, the ability to quickly bring in temporary foreign workers (TFWs) is extremely important to the video game industry. However, changes by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have erected barriers that are causing significant staffing problems. Specifically, in 2011 HRSDC eliminated the federal IT Worker Program, which permitted companies to bypass obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA for seven specified categories of IT workers.
The TFW program is ill-equipped for our industry’s needs. Although changes were made, it continues to make insufficient differentiation between low-wage, low-skill streams and high-wage, high-skill streams. Program officers’ inconsistent application of the regulations and their inability to understand the particularities of the new jobs created for a new economy makes it cumbersome to administer and frustrating for companies looking to quickly advance projects. The requirement for a Transition Plan is ill-suited to companies selectively hiring top global innovators, and negates the government’s own critical role in developing the skills needed for the economy of the future. A “trusted employer” approach or a return to sectoral exemptions as existed under the IT Workers Program could greatly help a growing video game industry in Canada. Sectors such as the video game industry, which are specialized and require specific skills that are in demand globally, should not be required to obtain LMIA’s as there is a shortage of professionals in this area in Canada. Hiring high-tech workers with specialized skills is not displacing Canadians. In fact, it is adding to Canada’s talent pool and innovative brain-trust.
Short of this solution, the program could be fixed if a number of changes were made:
- NOC Codes do not accurately represent our industry or jobs
ESDC makes determinations about labour shortages based on outdated national occupation codes (NOC). The department should work with the industry to remove the requirement for NOC Codes and/or create the ability for new NOC Codes to be introduced annually to meet new and evolving roles and jobs of the future. In 2013, video game companies were consulted on the 10 different positions and job definitions with the hope that eventually new NOC Codes would be created for them. This information is already with ESDC and has been for two years now; however, the NOC codes have never been updated, which has had a negative impact on our companies in Canada.
2. Inconsistency in Service Canada Processing
Across the country, Service Canada officers process TFW applications using different interpretations of the regulations. An application in Vancouver might be approved quickly, while the exact same type of application in Toronto could be held up and/or declined for one of many reasons as determined by individual officers. If Service Canada is to be empowered to make determinations on eligibility, officers should have a thorough understanding of our industry and the particularities of technical job titles and descriptions which are continually evolving and changing based on the evolution of technology. ESAC has already offered to work with ESDC and Service Canada to hold information sessions about our industry in order to educate staff on the particularities of hiring in our industry. This would help Service Canada officers to streamline and standardize the service standards for our industry’s TFW applications.
3. Processing Times for LMIA Applications
Processing times at Service Canada offices have not noticeably improved, even with the total elimination of the low-skill stream and with a hefty application fee. There are no service standards and companies have no confidence in making a hire and expecting the LMIA to be approved in a certain time-frame. The government of Canada could introduce service standards that accompany the application fee so that companies can plan and make decisions based on a reasonable expected time-frame for processing applications.
Ideally, growth sectors paying above average wages like the video game industry should be allowed to hire TFWs without Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), similar to the former Facilitated Processing for IT Workers Program that was discontinued in 2011.
- Transition Plans
With the introduction of the Transition Plans, applicants must now include a detailed plan on how the company will transition from hiring foreign workers to Canadians with every single LMIA application. This requirement is ill-suited to our industry which will always require access to the best talent and innovators to add to Canada’s overall productivity and resourcefulness. Ideally, the requirement for transition plans should be removed from Canada’s immigration requirements. Not only is this part of the program ill-suited to the modern innovation economy, which is global and will always need external talent, but it is also cumbersome for companies and creates unnecessary liability.
If it is impossible to remove this piece of the program than a better way forward would be to allow companies to submit one company-wide Transition Plan each year, which would encompass all of their LMIA applications and could help ease the administrative burden on companies and show government the overarching approach a company is taking to transition to a Canadian workforce. This would be beneficial for both sides and would reduce administration on the company and Service Canada officers.
5. Salary Disclosure in LMIA Advertisements
As part of the advertisement requirement for LMIA applications, ESDC requires companies to post and disclose starting salaries. In a competitive industry, this is sensitive information which can compromise a job offer through when companies are vying for highly sought after talent. Allowing companies to omit the salary disclosure portion from the ad, or allowing a generous range in salary, would help protect the competitive advantages of companies.
ii. Developing Digital Skills
In the long term, we encourage the Federal Government to lead by example and build a country that celebrates and prioritizes educational opportunities, at all levels, to support an inclusive and innovative economy. One way that the Federal government could demonstrate this commitment would be to provide cutting edge education in aboriginal communities, to create access to digital skills education opportunities. There are numerous international programs to provide inspiration of what is possible regarding the design and delivery of this type of education, and we encourage the Government to engage, learn and adopt best practices regarding skills education from K-12, and beyond. Moreover, it is also possible for the Government to re-think the manner in which it defines the education space. Increasingly, Canadians are seeking alternative venues for education opportunities like coding dojos, virtual classrooms, “open-source” learning like Khan Academy, Udacity and even classes on You Tube. To re-think education is a challenge, but the current gap in skills and talent required to innovate, and most importantly, lead demands out of the box policies, incentives and programs to help Canada play catch up to its international counter-parts. Some examples of innovative approaches to education include, The UKs Digital Schoolhouse (http://www.digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/) and the US-based Alt School (https://www.altschool.com/about). Considering ways to incent innovative companies to contribute to the education of Canadians is also important to ensure Canadians are job-ready to meet current vacancies and those careers we have yet to imagine. The Government could consider tax or financial incentives for companies that offer in-office training to students and current employees. This extends past co-op and internship opportunities, which are important but only address new employees and not the current workforce that also needs constant training to keep up to date and innovate forward. Education in companies is expensive and takes employees away from projects. There is a cost to companies to invest in the education of their workforce and the government should consider ways to encourage more employers to invest in educating their talent. For these reasons, we recommend the above and that the Government:
- Create a comprehensive national computing and digital skills strategy for Canada that includes a coordinated effort to immediately address the digital skills gap in Canada. The strategy should be holistic, reflecting industry and educational needs in Canada, and developed by a multi-stakeholder task force comprising industry leaders, policy makers and educators who establish clear objectives and milestones to put Canadians’ digital skills back on track with international competitors.
- Develop policies and programs that support and incent industry stakeholders to be active participants in digital skills education and curricula development for Canadians in K-12, post-secondary and in the workforce.
- Establish a strong working partnership with the provinces to support the introduction of computing and digital skills into elementary and secondary school curricula across Canada. The federal government can provide the resources and support required to define national objectives in relation to computer science and digital skills in a manner that ensures inclusivity, diversity and ultimately creates more opportunities for all to participate more fully in Canada’s digital economy - including teaching staff, local and provincial policy makers and students in levels K-12.
For Canada to be a global innovation nation, we need young Canadians to understand other countries and other cultures. Open minds mean open borders for trade, immigration and ideas. Yet only three per cent of Canadian university students (approximately 25,000) go abroad in any given year, despite 97 per cent of universities offering international experiences. Canada’s universities aspire to enable all Canadian university students to develop greater risk-taking, adaptability, flexibility, language and intercultural skills, as well as knowledge of global markets before they graduate.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th, Universities Canada recommends that we invest in our next generation of leaders by increasing the outbound mobility of university students to 50,000 students abroad per year by 2022. Doing so, particularly by exposing our students to cross-border learning opportunities in emerging economic powers and strategic partners, will sharpen Canada’s competitive edge.
At the same time, Canada needs smart immigration policies and best-in-class processes to support the attraction and retention of international talent. As the government looks to substantially increase the levels of immigration into Canada, universities in communities across the country are important hubs for attracting and integrating top talent. Universities play a critical role in drawing top researchers to our communities, directly boosting our innovative potential and strengthening our international research connections. Universities also draw some of the best and brightest international students, who contribute well over $10 billion to the Canadian economy each year. Many of these students would like to remain after their studies, transitioning into productive members of the Canadian labour force with valuable people-to-people ties that assist in trade linkages, foreign direct investment and private sector partnerships. Our immigration policies must position Canada as a global magnet for this top talent. Universities Canada recommends the following:
- Facilitate the flow of international talent to Canada’s universities through a simplified process for temporary work permits under the International Mobility Program.
- Given that a large portion of foreign academics are already Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt under the International Mobility Program, we recommend extending this exemption to all hiring by universities for positions that support the academic enterprise, including faculty, researchers, research associates, academic physicians and senior university administrators.
- Eliminate the LMIA requirement in the Express Entry points system and/or lower the value of points awarded for the LMIA-supported job offer and allow for greater value to be placed on the human capital criteria to adequately recognize Permanent Resident candidates such as foreign university faculty and international graduates of Canada’s universities.
- Allocate resources to ensure that study permit processing times are globally competitive in order to position Canada as the destination of choice for top talent.
Pour que le Canada soit une nation d’innovation, il faut que les jeunes Canadiens comprennent les autres pays et les autres cultures, car les esprits ouverts favorisent l’ouverture des frontières aux échanges commerciaux, à l’immigration et aux idées. Toutefois, seulement trois pour cent des étudiants universitaires canadiens (environ 25 000) bénéficient d’une expérience à l’étranger chaque année, en dépit du fait que 97 pour cent des universités offrent de telles expériences. Les universités canadiennes aspirent à permettre à tous les étudiants du pays de renforcer leur capacité à prendre des risques, à s’adapter et à faire preuve de souplesse, de parfaire leurs compétences linguistiques et interculturelles et d’acquérir des connaissances sur les marchés mondiaux.
Pour souligner son 150e anniversaire de la Confédération, le Canada doit investir dans la prochaine génération de leaders en portant à 50 000 le nombre d’étudiants universitaires qui effectuent chaque année un séjour d’études à l’étranger d’ici 2022. Ces expériences internationales, notamment les possibilités d’apprentissage dans des pays émergents et d’autres qui sont des partenaires stratégiques, viendront accroître l’avantage concurrentiel du Canada.
Parallèlement, le Canada doit se doter de politiques réfléchies en matière d’immigration et de processus optimisés pour attirer et retenir les talents étrangers. Le gouvernement fédéral cherche à hausser considérablement les taux d’immigration, et les universités dans les collectivités de l’ensemble du pays jouent un rôle important pour attirer et intégrer les talents étrangers. Elles favorisent l’établissement des meilleurs chercheurs dans les collectivités canadiennes, ce qui a directement pour effet de stimuler le potentiel d’innovation du pays et de renforcer ses réseaux de recherche internationaux. Les universités attirent également certains des étudiants étrangers les plus brillants, ce qui entraîne des retombées économiques annuelles largement supérieures à 10 milliards de dollars pour l’économie canadienne. Bon nombre d’entre eux souhaitent demeurer au pays après leurs études et effectuer une transition sans heurts vers le marché du travail, où ils participeront à la productivité nationale. Leurs précieux réseaux favoriseront les liens commerciaux, les investissements étrangers et les partenariats dans le secteur privé. Les politiques d’immigration du Canada doivent faire du pays une destination de choix pour les étudiants et les chercheurs étrangers les plus brillants. Universités Canada recommande ce qui suit :
- Faciliter la venue de talents étrangers dans les universités canadiennes en simplifiant le processus d’obtention de permis de travail temporaire dans le cadre du Programme de mobilité internationale (PMI).
- Comme les offres de poste d’une grande majorité des universitaires étrangers sont déjà exemptées d’une Étude d’impact sur le marché du travail (EIMT) dans le cadre du PMI, Universités Canada recommande que cette exemption soit élargie à toutes les embauches à des postes contribuant à l’entreprise universitaire, dont les professeurs, les chercheurs, les agrégés de recherche, les médecins universitaires et les administrateurs de haut rang des universités.
- Éliminer le critère du système de points d’Entrée express exigeant une offre d’emploi ayant fait l’objet d’une EIMT ou réduire le nombre de points accordés pour une offre d’emploi ayant fait l’objet d’une EIMT et permettre d’accorder une plus grande valeur au critère de capital humain afin d’évaluer adéquatement les demandes des candidats à la résidence permanente, notamment celles des professeurs étrangers et des étudiants étrangers diplômés des universités canadiennes.
- Allouer des ressources afin que les délais de traitement des demandes de permis d’études soient concurrentiels à l’échelle mondiale, pour faire du Canada la destination de choix des étudiants les plus brillants.
“Canada needs a robust national access-to-talent strategy. We should increase immigration. By 2025, 30 per cent of our population will be 60 and older - to mitigate this imbalance, Canada would need to increase immigration for each of the next five years to one million people. If we focus this intake on skilled newcomers between the ages of 20 and 39, it would shift our overall proportion of that band from 25 per cent to 32 per cent of the population.
Without such a strategy, Canada may face stark choices: tax increases, greater national debt or scaled-back social programs.”
“We must move from a passive intake system to one where we actively recruit more people who can succeed and help increase our capacity for innovation and productivity. This includes new science grads, skilled tradespeople and investors with capital.
“We could look at opportunities to fast-track visas for foreign workers, particularly for highly skilled jobs in the innovation sector.”
“We could fast-track foreign students educated in Canada for permanent residency, and target students at leading foreign educational institutions. For some industries, it may also be appropriate to look at reinstituting the temporary foreign worker visa.”
“We can also look at doing more within the North American freetrade agreement framework.”
John Ruffolo, Innovation and talent acquisition can solve our growth dilemma. Globe and Mail. August 18 2016
The talent pool is seen as neither wide nor deep.
While talent is less of an issue with MNEs, experienced and networked talent is seen as lacking in Canada and a number of CEOs talked about the value to an MNE of people who have worked in a number of countries, have exposure to new and different ways of thinking and doing things (Reference is from OBIO’s latest report “How Canada Should be Engaging in a $9 Trillion Dollar Health Economy” www.obio.ca)
SMEs reported more challenges with finding and retaining the human resources they need. Barriers that were mentioned include Canadian immigration policies, competition from jurisdictions with better financing, less risky companies, lack of incentives and security for employees to join and stay in the industry and lack of support for companies to create jobs and build an experienced workforce.
The report recommends, talent attraction and retention policies or programs to eliminate barriers to immigration and provide direct funding or tax relief for companies to competitively develop experienced personnel.
Summary of Discussion Paper:
Canada has done a good job investing and
nurturing the social and cultural conditions
(the Canadian multicultural brand) that make
it an attractive “place” to live and work. We
need to further leverage this advantage to retain
and attract talent - key to our ability to drive
and grow our digital economy, especially in
Information Communication and Technology
and other creative-class sectors.
We have the talent and multicultural base to
develop global content for billions of people and,
as such, create a multitude of revenue streams
from technology, platforms and content. We
need government and industry to align behind
a unified, national digital innovation strategy to
support Canada’s digital transformation. Such a
strategy must recognize the need to do much
more to support entrepreneurs, innovators, creators
and risk takers.
Achieving this ambitious but necessary goal will require
wide-scope collaboration among government, the
private sector and academia.
This discussion paper is intended to continue the
broad conversation as we move toward a national,
digital innovation strategy. My comments and perspective
are constrained to areas of interest and knowledge
as a professional who has been immersed in the
digital world from a strategic planning, marketing,
technology and content perspective for more than
20 years. In short, I propose seven achievable steps
that the federal government, in collaboration with
others, can take now to realize our collective digital
Canada is very good at immigration but a lot of people got degrees at their home country and can't afford to get that degree again but what if you built a facility where people who have trained outside of Canada get the remaining information they need and can step right into the job they had this will add extra techniques specific to other countries and reduce the hardship of immigration and the economy would improve- Gurchain Malhi