While technology companies are often hailed as the future of the economy, that future may have already arrived in Toronto. A new report from TechToronto , an organization supporting the city’s technology community, produced in collaboration with PwC, the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and CareerBuilder identifies that over 400,000 jobs in 2016 were related to technology.
The report, How Technology is Changing Toronto Employment, found that:
- The Toronto tech ecosystem has a total of 401,000 jobs, making up 15% of all Toronto employment
- Over the last 5 years, Toronto has grown tech-related jobs by 14.6%, which is 2x faster than the rest of the country
- Tech-related jobs earned $24 billion in salaries in 2015, making it one of the highest hourly wage sectors in the city
- Toronto’s tech ecosystem is projected to add an additional 20,000 jobs by 2020
“I believe that Toronto is in an exciting transition from a startup hub to a globally competitive centre of innovation, where companies are born and can scale effectively,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “We are the keystone of Canada’s knowledge economy, and have the right ingredients for success including exceptional talent, access to capital, and support services.”
Ben Zifkin, CEO of Hubba , a B2B product information network for retailers, is confident in Toronto’s innovative capacity. “This report corroborates what we already know and what the rest of the world is learning – that Toronto excels in technology and that we can develop
globally disruptive companies.” said Zifkin. “What we can work on is developing an even more supportive innovation community, so that technology companies and jobs can flourish.”
Technology growth demonstrates clear benefits to the city. As companies grow, they pay more taxes and attract highly skilled global talent. Technology companies also yield benefits for urban development, as evident through trends such as ‘smart cities’ that improve infrastructure efficiency and value.
The report also identified that, while Toronto and Canada are effective places for the growth of technology companies, different levels of government can take action to improve their success.
Mike Katchen, founder and CEO of Wealthsimple , a fast-growing automated investment service, believes that government can take steps to improve how startups can scale. “Regulators wanting to further support innovation should set industry-specific standards that facilitate experimentation as well as open opportunities for Canadian companies to pilot in other countries,” says Katchen.
The report made public policy recommendations including the following:
- Make the Toronto-Waterloo corridor world-renowned for fintech and machine learning.
- Introduce fast track immigration visa for tech talents.
- Increase enrollment and diversity in post secondary STEM programs.
- Re-distribute government funds from incumbents to scale-ups and start-ups.
- Solve civic problems and strengthen local tech companies via procurement.
Andy Yang, Founder and CEO at 500px , a photography community and photography on-demand platform, believes that the region’s talent is a clear indicator of its unique value. “The talent coming out of Toronto and Waterloo is second to none around the world today,” says Yang. “There are incredibly strong startups coming out of Canada and a high demand
for our talent from the rest of the world.”
Download the full report, How Technology is Changing Toronto Employment.