Top reasons why Canada is becoming Silicon Valley North

Canada’s tech sector and tech talent workforce have been attracting attention and headlines from around the world this year. With investments into the nation’s talent pouring in – Canada has been emerging with a reputation as a major hub for the industry.

While still considerably smaller in size Canada’s tech workforce has been outpacing the US in growth over the past 12 months according to LinkedIn data.

With several national and international companies looking to expand and hire aggressively in the market – Canada’s tech workforce grew by 1.6% in the past year, compared to a 1.1% growth rate in the US.

Here are some of the reasons why Canada is emerging as Silicon Valley North and as a top competitor in the tech industry.

Record level of investment

In 2021, Canadian venture capital investments increased 215% to $14.2 billion according to the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. The Information, Communications and Technology sector pulled in more than $9 billion of that total.

British Columbia’s tech start-ups reached new heights in venture funding with $3.96 billion over 140 deals, in 2021. BC’s tech sector saw an increase in investment of 316% from 2020 which was the second-largest investment increase in Canada for the year, behind Toronto.

The record level of investment is increasing the demand for talent from tech companies that are looking to grow rapidly across Canada according to business leaders and recruiters.

Cybersecurity provider 1Password, which is based in Toronto, closed the largest investment round in Canadian history in January and is looking to build on three years of expansion and double its workforce in 2022.

Other tech companies like Wealthsimple have followed the industry doubling their full-time employees since March 2020. Apart from the IT industry, according to LinkedIn data, the telecommunications and banking sectors were home to the most tech jobs in Canada.

Canadian cities becoming major tech hubs

More than in Silicon Valley, tech jobs are a bigger share of the local workforce in Ottawa – and Toronto has more tech workers than the home of Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle.

Canadian cities are outpacing US cities in growth rate and many cities are becoming major tech hubs. Walmart Canada announced that it would build one of its two global tech hubs in Toronto and is looking to hire 5,000 tech workers in 2022. Meta also shared plans for a Canadian engineering hub in Toronto that will create 2,500 jobs.

The Greater Toronto Area is home to the most tech talent with a growth rate of 2% over the past year and was recently nicknamed “the quietly booming tech town,” by The New York Times. Calgary’s growth rose to 2.2% and Vancouver’s grew to 2.1% with both cities joining Toronto as the top three fastest-growing cities for tech workers in Canada beating out the top three US cities, Seattle (1.7%), San Francisco Bay Area (1.5%) and New York City (1.5%).

Commercial Real Estate Services ranked Vancouver as the third-fastest growing tech hub among major cities in October, with Toronto placing first.

Fastest-growing tech jobs in Canada

Due to a record level of investment in Canada’s tech sector and major Canadian cities becoming global tech hubs – the industry has been booming and tech jobs have been growing at a fast pace.

The fastest-growing tech jobs over a one-year growth rate in Canada are Data Engineers at 19.7% growth, Back End Developers with 14.1% and Software Engineering Managers with 10.5%.

Alongside the tech jobs, the fastest-growing skills were largely cloud-computing related, like Microsoft Azure which was up 36% over a year, user interface library React.js up 33% and Amazon Web Services up 26%.

According to, Vancouver ranks as the No. 7 tech city in the world for educated workers with 21 start-ups per 100,000 people. The median annual salary for IT workers in Vancouver is US$101,293 which is higher than the US$92,500 an IT worker makes in Seattle, home to global tech giants Microsoft and Amazon.

A global leader in artificial intelligence (AI)

Canada is a leader in the global AI landscape, recognized internationally for the quality of its research, skilled talent pool and contributions to AI innovation.

Government, universities, large companies and start-ups have all doubled down on AI as an emerging technology. The Government of Canada’s Scale AI Supercluster initiative anticipates that it will add more than $16 billion to the Canadian economy and create more than 16,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

Canada’s AI ecosystem includes more than 800 AI companies and 670 AI start-ups. Ontario has the largest number of pure-play AI firms with 361 companies, compared with 131 in Quebec and 103 in British Columbia.

Toronto-based AI research hub Vector Institute has attracted $80 million in investments from public and private partners. Many companies have launched research and development labs, including Uber for its self-driving car technology and Nvidia, a multinational tech company is the world’s 12th most valuable company by market cap as of May 2022. Nvidia has a lab in Montréal and Montréal is home to the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms.

In 2017, Canada became the first country in the world to release a national AI strategy: The Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The federal government commissioned $125 million over five years to advance research and innovation in the AI field, develop a skilled talent pool and enhance thought leadership.

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