The development of a highly-skilled labour market is key to success in the tech field. For that reason, Canadian entrepreneurs had cause to celebrate the CBRE’s annual Scoring Tech Talent Report, which ranked Toronto as the fastest-growing tech market in North America. CBRE Canada’s Executive Vice President Werner Dietl reported that from 2015 to 2106, Toronto added more tech jobs than New York and the San Francisco Bay area combined. The only Canadian city in the CBRE’s top 10, Toronto is now reported as the sixth best tech city in the world. According to Werner Dietl, the appeal of Toronto boils down to the fact that it’s a cost-effective place to do business – Toronto is cheap when compared to other major cities, but the high-quality talent pool means that the Toronto market can give tech firms a lot of value for less expense.
This is good news for small- and medium-sized tech companies, and the Canadian tech labour market is only set to improve. We’ve previously covered how the Toronto-based investment fund Extreme Venture Partners is encouraging labour mobility by focusing on immigrant entrepreneurs. The importance of fostering labour flow is also expected to be a new and crucial dimension of NAFTA renegotiations, which began this month in Washington.
Industry leaders are optimistic that “NAFTA 2.0” has the potential to reimagine the 23-year-old trade agreement to reflect the enormous technological changes of the past two decades. Currently, NAFTA doesn’t address labour mobility in the context of the tech economy, which means that rapidly-growing tech companies must often rely on overseas talent. The job title “programmer” isn’t even a recognized professional category in NAFTA. In her opening address, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that NAFTA must be updated to ensure that “we continue to have a vibrant and internationally competitive technology sector and that all sectors of our economy can reap the full benefits of the digital revolution.”
With both government policies and private companies focusing on increasing labour mobility in the tech field, innovators and entrepreneurs in Toronto are well-poised to take advantage of the city’s highly-skilled and rapidly-growing labour market.