Canada was the business world’s best-kept secret. Progress and innovation in Canada — especially in artificial intelligence, clean technology and health care — has been monumental for decades. Yet, we stayed humble through those years of innovation. That is, until the country embraced its position as a destination for commercial investment and a world leader in artificial intelligence. Now, Canada is empowering new companies to compete on the global stage, hosting massive technology industry events featuring the world’s best innovators and attracting international talent to work on world-changing innovations.
Over the past year, I have seen talent begin to flow strongly from south to north. More than half of the high-growth ventures we support in the MaRS ecosystem reported a significant rise in applicants from the United States last year.
The number of skilled foreign workers seeking employment in Canada has skyrocketed in recent years and the country’s stock rises further each time the Trump administration pushes its restrictive immigration agenda.
Scaling firms actively hiring from overseas include: Element AI, a tenant in the MaRS building that has created 250 new jobs in Canada’s artificial intelligence sector after raising $137.5 million in first-round of funding last year; Drop, a consumer rewards platform that MaRS provides free advisory services to, which had 10 employees at the end of 2017 and recently reached a headcount of 30 in the midst of an aggressive hiring spree following a $21 million Series A raise; and Eventmobi, another company MaRS provides free advisory service to which creates apps for events and last year grew to nearly 100 staff with plans to add another 45 positions this year.
It’s not just talent heading to startups. Students and scientists are also arriving in record numbers. Recently, 24 top academics from around the world were recruited by the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, which is spending $117 million on seven-year grants for leading researchers. They include Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, a professor at Brown University known for her work on fake news and Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a Harvard chemistry professor working on quantum computing and clean energy.