The Council of Canadian Innovators organized a letter from over 100 CEOs of Canadian technology companies to the four federal political party leaders, Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May, asking the parties to develop economic policies that would promote talent, growth capital and new customers in the Canadian technology sector.

The CEOs voiced concern that “Canada’s productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk,” asking the parties to address this matter during the election. The CEOs claimed that the current political parties’ platforms did not address innovation or wealth creation in Canada. Currently, approximately, one in four science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students leave to work in the US technology sector, according to a study from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

The letter highlights, as a particular positive example, the pilot program implemented two years ago called the Global Skills Strategy.  This program provided over 24,000 temporary work permits, in as quickly as two weeks, for work in the field of software engineering.  The parties were asked whether they will be keeping this program.  Only the Liberals confirmed that the program would be kept permanent if they were re-elected in 2019.  On the campaign trail, all four parties indicated that they intend to make “foreign tech giants” pay Canadian taxes, and asserted that this would level the playing field for businesses in the Canadian technology sector.

Summary By: Juliette Sakran


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