“You had me at Canada.”
On June 12, the federal government released its widely anticipated Global Skills Strategy, which promised to break open the bureaucratic log-jam impeding the ability of high-growth firms to hire skilled foreign talent. The new strategy came at a favourable time, with Canada uniquely poised to welcome the world.
Innovative Canadian firms have welcomed the new strategy, which was designed to replace a program that was widely considered to be arduous. The new strategy facilitates the hiring process, with a turnaround time of 10 days for processing both Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) and work-permit applications.
At MaRS, the need for foreign talent is especially high among companies that are transitioning from startup to full commercial operation, companies that often increase their employee count in the order of 20% a year. This is particularly true for companies in our key sectors of Health, Energy & Environment, Finance & Commerce, and Work & Learning, where senior talent is required in specialty areas—for example, a biomedical company where a candidate needs to be able to understand the local market, tap into existing networks and understand the regulatory environment.
Canada is increasingly becoming a talent magnet. We’re experiencing a significant uptick in global talent looking to our country, and we’re also seeing an increase in the number of companies considering Canada as an alternative talent pool. The strategy’s Global Talent Stream is a critical part of the solution to the long-term shortages in tech talent and will also bring experienced specialty and business talent into our ecosystem.
MaRS Talent Services supports high-growth companies in leveraging the Global Talent Stream. We see the Global Skills Strategy as a crucial part of leveraging a global talent pool, but it’s not the full solution. We also continue to assist companies in positioning themselves as attractive choices for global talent and in providing competitive packages. The total solution needs to include all of these aspects in order to both attract and retain top global talent.
MaRS has collaborated with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to become one of the designated partners for referring companies to the Global Talent Stream (under Category A), as well as to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s dedicated service channel. As part of our day-to-day activities, MaRS leverages existing knowledge from our MaRS-supported ventures in order to evaluate whether they meet ESDC’s criteria for the program.
Since the introduction of the Global Skills Strategy we have supported three MaRS-backed ventures in hiring through the Global Talent Stream: EventMobi, Platterz and Sheba Microsystems. Join us at our breakfast event on October 2 to learn more about their experiences.
Over the three months since the Global Skills Strategy program launched, MaRS has formally consulted with over 15 ventures and corporations, and has also had many informal conversations. We’re expecting an upsurge in the number of companies reaching out to us requesting program information and willing to consider global hiring as an alternative.
Together, we’re focusing on attracting skilled foreign talent to equip Canadian companies to scale, grow and be successful. The feedback we’ve received from the ventures that have successfully gone through the program has been highly positive.
“This program has been a very positive experience for us so far—much better than going through the conventional LMIA process, which took six to nine months. Also, a dedicated case officer was assigned to us, who made the entire process move very aggressively, more like a commercial customer service, not typical of government bureaucracy.” —David Asgeirsson, vice-president of operations at Sheba Microsystems
“The person coming in is going to be transferring skills and knowledge to Canadians, so Canada, in turn, gets an advantage, knowledge is transferred, and Canadian citizens and permanent residents benefit.” —Shaida Gani, senior operations manager at EventMobi
“When we started, we had someone from the government call us every day to walk us through the process. I never would have expected that kind of attention.” —Eran Henig, co-founder and CEO of Platterz, who hired three software engineers from Israel, Singapore and Utah
If you are part of a high-growth startup and want to understand the practical details involved in hiring talent from overseas, as well as meet startups that have had success, register now for our free info session on October 2.
If you want to hire business talent with scale-up experience or unique and specialized talent, reach out to us to learn more. We’ll walk you through the process and timelines, and assess whether it makes sense for you to consider the Global Talent Stream.