Ontario’s tech sector is about to get a boost, as employers in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Waterloo will be able to bring in more foreign tech talent through a new, dedicated stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
The announcement of an imminent Ontario tech stream was one of four immigration-related points contained in the Ontario 2019 budget, which was unveiled on April 11 in Toronto.
Under the heading ‘Helping Employers Attract Skilled Workers,’ the relevant portion of the Ontario budget states:
The Province is responding to the needs of Ontario’s employers by attracting the skilled workers they need through enhancements to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). The OINP allows Ontario to nominate for permanent residence people who have the professional and educational skills needed to contribute to the province’s economy. Through the modernization of the OINP, and in tandem with its other initiatives, the government will continue to ensure that Ontario’s workforce remains among the most highly skilled for the modern economy.
The four immigration-related measures are as follows:
- To better reflect employer and labour market needs, the government will seek to expand the occupations eligible for the Employer Job Offer: In‐Demand Skills Stream to include transport truck drivers and personal support workers.
- To spread the benefits of immigration to smaller communities, the government will begin a pilot initiative with select communities to explore innovative approaches to bring highly skilled immigrants to smaller communities.
- The government will create a dedicated stream to help Ontario’s technology sector attract highly skilled employees.
- To expand the prospective base of the OINP’s Entrepreneur Stream, the government will recalibrate investment and net worth thresholds to make Ontario competitive with other provinces.
Though the Ontario budget was big on immigration ideas, it was thin on details. As of the time of writing, no additional information has been provided. Moving2Canada will publish those details as and when they are available.
Ontario tech sector
The words ‘Ontario tech sector’ are invariably followed by ‘boom’, which in turn is often followed by ‘can it last?’
The technology industry in the Greater Toronto Area, home to nearly half of Ontario’s 14.8 million people, has grown by more than 50 per cent in the past five years. And according to a recent report from BMO Capital Markets, there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. Indeed, there are currently 241,000 tech workers in the GTA, making this the fourth-largest tech hub in North America. The Toronto tech scene is so hot that there are now more jobs by the shores of Lake Ontario than there are around the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Silicon Valley.
Once dubbed Hollywood North, Toronto is adding Silicon Valley North to its list of epithets.
But then of course, you can’t have Toronto gobbling up all the tech talent, leaving none for employers and communities elsewhere in Ontario. That would be most un-Canadian.
Fortunately for newcomers, Ontario is also home to Waterloo, with thousands of tech workers coming to work in this thriving hub, many of them having previously attended the tech-minded University of Waterloo. (And if you want to study anything technology-related in Canada, please head over to our study section to learn more and get started.)
Ottawa isn’t left behind either, with Canada’s capital city being one of the fastest-growing tech markets in North America.
Recruitment giant Randstad recently noted: ‘With a shortage of home-grown talent, tech companies of all sizes will look to foreign-trained specialists to fill the gaps; in most cases, these companies, with the support of federal and provincial governments, will need to develop bridging programs that train and provide Canadian work experience in order to allow newcomer job seekers to find work that is commensurate with their skills and qualifications.’
Lo and behold, it looks like more provinces are joining the federal government in heeding that advice. The BC PNP Tech Pilot has been operating for a couple of years now, and tech occupations have made it onto eligible occupations lists for immigration criteria in other Canadian provinces. The Ontario tech stream is not so much late to the party, but it wasn’t first to show up either. In any event, employers and foreign tech workers will be glad to see the Ontario tech stream added to the Canadian immigration landscape.
Ontario tech stream: How to keep up to date
With few details about the Ontario tech stream known at this time, we understand that many tech worker readers may be eager to be among the first to know more about the Ontario tech stream as and when more information is revealed.
Here’s how you can do just that:
- Create a Moving2Canada account.
- Once you’re account is created, be sure to complete the profile section. When asked which location(s) in Canada you’d consider living in, include at least one location in Ontario (ON); and when asked about your employment sector, select ‘IT & Software Professional’.
- When we learn more about the Ontario tech stream, we will send you a personalized email newsletter containing as much relevant detail as possible.
In the meantime, be sure to follow our PNP Live Tracker for all provincial immigration updates from across Canada.