We’ve recently written about the importance of Canada’s mobility policy to the pace of innovation and the competitiveness of the startup sector.

An important new plank in this policy is the Global Skills Strategy. This initiative will:

  • Establish an ambitious two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for low-risk, high-skill talent for companies in Canada;
  • Create a dedicated service channel (tentatively titled the “Invest in Canada Hub”) for companies looking to make large, job-creating investments in Canada; and
  • Drop the work permit requirement for very short-term work (for instance, 30 days or less) in low-risk fields. Brief academic stays would also be eligible.

The exact mechanics of the strategy have not been rolled out yet. At a media event celebrating the project’s launch, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum suggested that he remains open to feedback from the business community, although no details have emerged on how or when such feedback might be provided as of yet.

By all accounts, voices from Canada’s innovation community were instrumental in the design and development of the Global Skills Strategy. As a result, this initiative should be seen not only as a welcome development for the business community, but also as an example of the increasingly important role that the voices of the Canadian startup sector are playing in the future of the Canadian economy.

We hope that Canadian startups will enthusiastically take the government up on its invitation to provide commentary on mobility policy. At least one industry organization has done just that: the Entertainment Software Association of Canada is stressing the fact that the Global Skills Strategy is somewhat incomplete without further exemptions to the Labour Market Impact Assessment requirements. In their view, processing an application is only one piece of the puzzle – preparation time is also an important consideration, and these exemptions would help ensure that applications can be ready as soon as the relevant talent is.