Tag Archives: tech jobs

3 Reasons Why Toronto Tech Scene is Thriving

Toronto has been in the news a lot due to its growth when it comes to technology businesses. American and Canadian companies have been investing heavily into Toronto, for example just in one month alone, September 2018, more than $1.4 billion dollars was invested into the city.

So what drives companies to come and invest into the City of Toronto?

Tech Talent is Abound

Toronto tech scene employs over 240,000 workers. When it comes to cost and quality of tech workers in North America, Toronto comes in the lead.

Toronto is so HOT that it had more tech job growth than the US cities of San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. combined.

Immigration has been a big success as well, with over 51% of Toronto population born somewhere else. And unlike other places, Toronto nurtures and appreciates its immigrants.

Ontario and Canada has Toronto’s back

Federal and provincial governments have provided various investment into tech hubs as well as developing programs to make it easier for immigrants with the right background to come to Toronto for tech jobs as well as allows international students to stay in Canada and work right away on open work permit.

Toronto is Cheap

CBRE recently posted a study which suggests that renting office space in Toronto is a lot cheaper / pretty much half than renting the same space in New York or San Francisco.

After NYC Loses Amazon’s HQ2 – Toronto Tries Again

As you probably have already heard NYC lost its Amazon HQ2 due to much publicized debate in New York City about why a city should subsidize a company with billions of dollars in profits when they can put money to better use to address issues such as shortage of housing and poverty.

Amazon decided to pull out of New York on Thursday last week due to tremendous pressure put by local government. Amazon was supposed to invest billions of dollars and hire 50,000 high-paying mainly tech jobs.

“A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.”

Amazon Inc.

This development might help Donald Trump to get reelected in few years as Republicans can paint Democrats as anti-business and not open for business.

Some local companies were not happy with this announcement.

“I’m really upset because I don’t think they realized what they did. And they’re proud of it? They think they did something lovely? They wanted the political gain, they should have done it in a different way. They get put into office for us, not to work for themselves.”

Gianna Cerbone, Restaurant Owner in interview with New York Times

Within hours of Amazon’s announcement that they are pulling out of the city, Toronto Mayor was quick to try to entice them to come to Toronto again.

I remain so proud of the Toronto Region's Amazon HQ2 bid and the opportunities I'm confident it has opened up for our…

Posted by John Tory on Thursday, February 14, 2019

Amazon said in a statement that it did “not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” Even if they would even consider Toronto, some Toronto residents like John Tokatlidis were not so happy about this idea.

“Never mind Amazon. How are you improving our public transit?For one, why is Dundas West Station and the Up Express/Go Station not connected? It’s also not accessible for some citizens. We need you to prioritize and fix the issues. Homelessness on the rise. You are pushing runaway development to make this your Mega city that you have forgotten your election promises. Get to work Mr Tory, do the job you were elected to do! “

John Tokatlidis, Toronto’s resident in Facebook comment

Is Ubisoft Hurting Canadian Tech Businesses?

National Post, a Canadian newspaper, as well as La Press, Montreal based French newspaper, recently published an op-ed piece about why they think Ubisoft is taking away talent from other tech firms across Canada. Here is a short summary.

Ubisoft has generated over $2.6 billion dollars in revenues last year, and is currently employing over 4,000 in the province of Quebec. It has also promised to invest further $9 billion dollars over the next 8 years into the province of Quebec.

But now, as pointed out by National Post in English and La Presse, Ubisoft became so successful it has started to hurt local tech companies because they can not attract and hire talent like Ubisoft can.

Quebec subsides gaming industry by providing the tax credit — between 26.25 and 37.5 % of total salaries paid to employees developing video games and other related multimedia products.

It made sense to subsidize the industry 10-15 years ago when Quebec’s economy was in a recession and dying for companies to come there, but now with shortage of IT staff in thousands, it might be the time to end the subsidy according to few local tech companies.

Eric Boyko, the CEO of Stingray Digital Group, a company headofficed in Quebec with about 250 staff in Montreal and another 200 in other places, criticized Quebec’s government decision to keep the subsidy:

“Every CEO I speak to in Montreal and in Quebec, their No. 1 challenge is attracting young employees and technology employees.” Boyko says it is outrageous that gaming companies can get the same employees as they hire at Stingray at up to 37.5% discount.

Eric Boyko, the CEO of Stingray Digital Group

Boyko also said that Ubisoft drives up the competition for software developers and therefore ups the salaries by up to 20 to 30 per cent, to around $80,000 to $120,000.

Dax Dasilva, CEO of Lightspeed, another decently sized software company in Quebec, said in his interview to the Globe and Mail:

Despite the sizable contribution domestic technology companies make toward Quebec’s economic prosperity, government policies regarding innovation have featured incentivizing for the expansion of foreign branch plants in Quebec over the growth and success of homegrown companies locally and around the world. This has had a negative effect on Quebec’s ability to scale domestic companies into global giants.

Canada is already facing a high-skills talent creation and retention problem, particularly in the digital industries. A recent study from the Information and Communications Technology Council states there will be nearly 220,000 unfilled tech jobs across Canada by 2020. In Quebec’s tech sector, we have been at full employment for a decade.


Despite this, government officials in Quebec and across Canada have been investing considerable amounts of time, energy and political capital into attracting multinational technology companies to Canada without any studies on the effect they have on the domestic tech ecosystem and our economy as a whole.


More concerning, these large companies pay little to no taxes to the governments underpinning their growth, as the profits they earn are realized at their foreign headquarters – not in Quebec. Local wealth creation is important because the taxes domestic companies pay on their revenues are reinvested by governments into the important social and infrastructure programs all businesses use and Quebeckers care about. The same goes for the capital gains reinvested by local investors and funds such as Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and others.

Boyko continued saying that the foreign company that gets subsidies to come to Quebec does not create 300 jobs, but it instead steals 300 jobs from local companies.

Yannis Mallat, who runs Quebec’s Ubisoft office does not agree with Dasilva and Boyoko saying that:

“This program is helping to make Quebec and Quebecers richer. We are contributing to net growth in terms of the economy. When you [make] such a big investment, of course you want some guarantees.”

The Institut du Quebec recently published a new study that states that Quebec about 100,000 jobs are un-filled right now. South Ontario and Vancouver are in very similar positions even though their subsidies are not as generous.

What we need to do in Canada now with this historically low unemployment rate is to grow our wealth, not just create jobs.

Maybe instead of trying to import success we can give local tech companies a chance to grow. The new study, Narwhals Top 40 List, pointed out that Canada has failed to produce even one billion dollar business in the last 3 years while US for example had over 19 companies that grew to be valued at over $1b in the same period of time.

While tax subsidies might have been a good idea in 1995 when it was first created – now they make no sense according to La Presse – as we have now very mature market with a well established industry. If we would eliminate the tax credits, the jobs will not be lost, but rather transferred to other companies that are starving for some good talent.

Toronto loses Amazon HQ2, but gains 600 tech jobs

Amazon said it will be looking to hire 600 technology professionals over the coming years. This is on top of 800 they already employ in Ontario’s capital.

This news comes to addition of many other tech companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Shopify opening new offices and hiring thousands of new employees combined. Toronto can not build office towers fast enough.

Amazon is hoping to hire professionals in software development, machine learning and cloud computing fields.

Toronto office is one of the 18 tech hubs Amazon has around North America. Toronto was shortlisted down to Top 20 to be on Amazon HQ2 list but unfortunately (or fortunately) lost out to the City of New York and Arglington, Virginia.

Toronto Mayor said he was happy that hundreds of jobs are being created.

Another big tech office opening in Toronto, to hire 800

Toronto tech scene just keeps on growing. The new company among many other companies like Microsoft, Pinterest and others, is Accenture – a leading global professional services company.

Accenture announced that they will be building a Technology Innovation Hub in the City of Toronto and will bring 800 jobs with it by 2020 (about 500 in Toronto, others spread out across Canada). This will help them compete and transform in the digital economy.

The jobs they will be hiring for will be mainly data scientists, designers, engineers, and roles in analytics.

Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith, front left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory hold Accenture’s industrial asset inspection drone as (L-R) Accenture’s Canada President Bill Morris, incoming President Jeffrey Russell, and CMHC CEO Evan Siddall look on at the launch of Accenture’s Canada Innovation Hub in Toronto, Ont. on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
The Canadian Press Images PHOTO/Accenture

Julie Sweet, Accenture’s chief executive officer — North America said:

“Our experience working with global clients across more than 40 industries has shown that continuous innovation is an imperative to succeed in the fast-changing digital economy.

With our network of innovation hubs, we are bringing innovation to our clients’ doorsteps, enabling them to harness the power of emerging technologies to transform their businesses.”

This is a great addition to an already amazing city and will bring the best of innovation talent together to be the city of disrupters.

Pinterest Opens Toronto Office, Led by Former Facebook Exec

Just announced that Pinterest will be opening an office in Toronto. Good news for tech scene in Toronto kept on coming this month with companies like Microsoft, Google and Etsy opening offices here as well.

While other Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Montreal have their small successes when it came to attracting tech companies, nobody can argue that Toronto is a center of the universe when it comes to Canadian tech scene. Just last year it was announced that Toronto is the most rapid growth city when it came to IT hiring growth in North America.

This will be the one and only office in Canada for San Francisco based Pinterest . Office will be opening on October 1st this year.

Canadians save more than 4.5m ideas on Pinterest on daily basis.

Former Facebook veteran leader exec Erin Elofson will run the show for Pinterest in Canada.

Elofson said in an interview to Fortune Magazine:

“Pinterest is already deeply embedded in our culture and Canadians love Pinterest because they want to discover and try new things. They are relentlessly seeking inspiration to enhance their own lives.

Canadian businesses have the opportunity to offer the right products and services to Pinners to help them realize those aspirations and I’m looking forward to working with these businesses.”

Pinterest promised to Canadian advertisers  that they should be able to target French speaking customers by the end of the year.

Interesting fact about Canadian Pinners – top searches on Pinterest in Canada are “Tartan plaid” and “cabbage lasagna.”

Stay Classy Canada!

 

 

Microsoft is Opening Toronto Headoffice, 60,000 New Jobs Projected

Big news for Toronto today, Microsoft has announced that it will be opening a huge office downtown Toronto.

Microsoft is committed to Toronto, so much so, it will be investing $570 million dollars into the city and the province of Ontario. At first they want to hire 500 employees as well as 500 students, but they have also announced that with this new office they can see an estimated 60,000 new jobs to be created around the “Microsoft ecosystem. by the time they open at the end of 2020.  Right now Microsoft employs 2,300 employees across Canada.

Microsoft’s new office will be at 81 Bay Street taking over  CIBC Tower 132,000 sq. ft. with opening date in 2020.

Now that Microsoft has made this big decision, Amazon needs to make up their mind as well, and choose Toronto as well for their HQ2.

Some were dissatisfied with the announcement:

Microsoft also has offices in Vancouver where they they have development centre and Montreal where they have AI research lab. In a recent announcement they said in Vancouver they will be adding 50 employees, and 75 more employees in Montreal.