hat is very important in Canada is the access and availability of talent,” says President and CEO Faisal Kazi of Siemens Canada. “And [it] is of course extremely important for us to tap into this educated talent pool.” Kazi is referencing the high degree of education in Canada. The programs and curriculum are considered among the best in the world.
Around two-thirds of all 25-to-34-year-olds in Canada have post-secondary education, including college degrees and vocational certifications. That is the second highest percentage in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Around 51% of all 55-to-64-year-olds in Canada have post-secondary education — the highest percentage in the world. This totals 13 million highly educated people.
Siemens has faith in its Canadian operations, as it employs more than 2,500 people across 24 offices. With access to workforce being the top determinant in site selection processes, according to a survey just conducted by Site Selection magazine, Canada is equipped to dominate in this area.
U.S. News and World Report ranked Canada fourth globally in education in 2022 — a ranking that helped push the nation to the No. 3 spot in the same publication’s Best Countries 2022 list. The focus on education and training is reflected in the industries that require a high degree of expertise, such as the technology sector and other STEM-dependent industries like clean energy and life sciences.
Raven Industries is an agriculture technology company that makes precision agricultural products. The company is a pioneer in autonomous farming, which pairs with Raven’s digital farm management systems that focus on the science of agriculture. The firm is based out of South Dakota, but in 2020 Raven announced plans to significantly increase its Canadian presence.
The company’s new headquarters in Regina, Saskatchewan, is in the middle of Canada and only about 100 miles from the U.S. border. The facility has significant capacity for machine production, five acres for testing, and a central campus that anchors the company in Western Canada. The province is home to some of Raven’s principal partners, since Saskatchewan is home to 40% of Canada’s farmland.
Marco Coppola, business development manager for Raven Industries, cited the technically skilled workforce as a prime factor in the location decision. About 50% of Raven employees are STEM workers.
“That makes Canada a great place to attract and retain talent and, because of the inventiveness and ingenuity of the workforce, you see a lot of other innovative companies in Canada, and Saskatchewan in particular,” says Coppola. “The proximity to those partners is just as important as proximity to our customers.”
In the past two years, Conway Data, which publishes Site Selection magazine, recorded 157 information technology and communications projects in Canada, making it the second-most-active sector in the country behind food and beverage.
Since the beginning of 2022, Canada has seen huge technology projects from coast to coast, including a new Toronto office from Meta Platforms that will create 2,500 jobs, a new headquarters in Toronto from tech company Adaptavist to create as many as 800 jobs, and an investment from IBM in downtown Toronto. IBM is merging four existing offices downtown to accommodate its growth of new employees and interns.
In Western Canada, major investments from Ubisoft mark developments in technology and media, with Ubisoft expanding its Winnipeg office. The $110 million investment from Ubisoft brings the video game development studio’s total investment in the province up to $209 million since 2018.
Managing Director of Ubisoft Winnipeg Michael Henderson credits the strong techno-creative talent in the area. “We’re here in Winnipeg because the talent’s here in Winnipeg, and Ubisoft goes where the talent is,” says Henderson. “We made the right decision to be here.”
On the CBRE Scoring Tech Talent report ranking the top 50 tech centers in the U.S. and Canada, Toronto was ranked third overall, with Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal ranking in the top 15. CBRE reported Toronto employs nearly 300,000 tech workers with an expected 44.3% five-year average growth. Vancouver has about half of the number of employed tech workers, but with a five-year growth of 62.7%. Both cities were majority employed in core high-tech specialties like computer software and services and computer product manufacturing.
The Roche production lab. Roche’s statement says it plans to hire recent graduates of Ontario’s esteemed STEM institutions for up to 500 full-time roles.
Photo courtesy of Roche
Much of this growth is fueled by the universities across Canada. Wrnch was the leading computer vision platform for measuring human motion and was headed by Canadian AI technologist Dr. Paul Kruszewski. The company raised over $10 million in funding before being acquired by Hinge Health in 2021 to aid in leading in their digital physical therapy efforts.
Dr. Kruszewski is a graduate of the University of Alberta and McGill University, and still draws from the area’s graduates for his talent. “Canada is home to some of the top universities in the world and produces talented graduates in technology and AI,” says Kruszewski, “Montreal, particularly, is a hub for AI and has one of the largest deep learning science communities.”
Canada is already a leading research hub for AI, with a plethora of schools to study at from ocean to ocean. The industry is expected to create 34,000 new jobs in the next 10 years, and the country will supply a steady stream of masters and doctoral graduates during that time.
Canada is well sought after for life science companies and has seen 83 new investments since 2020, with announcements from OmniaBio, Sanofi and Hoffman-La Roche Limited topping the list in job creation and investment.
French-based healthcare company Sanofi is investing nearly $1 billion into a new manufacturing plant in Toronto to produce its differentiated influenza vaccines. The new facility will anchor Sanofi in the region and aid in public health efforts. The facility is expected to create over 1,200 new jobs.
To meet the demand for life sciences workers, Canada is answering the call with increased workforce training efforts. Pan-Canadian organization adMare BioInnovations and the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL) have joined forces on adMare’s training center, the adMare Academy.
The academy supports four different training programs that fully flesh out the life sciences industry. Their Executive Institute is exclusive to mid-career professionals who have been nominated by their employers has having c-suite potential or are already in c-suite roles. The program serves 20 participants per year and focuses on expanding leadership capacity in life sciences professionals.
Other adMare Academy programs include their BioInnovation Scientist Program, for those already with a bachelor’s in science, fellowship and undergraduate programs and BioManufacturing Training Programs, part of their partnership with CASTL.
CASTL is the exclusive Canadian provider of training curriculum licensed by the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training, a world class program for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. CASTL offers more than 20 upskilling training paths for current industry employees, and partners with universities and colleges to provide specialized courses.
The adMare Academy has already trained over 500 alumni, with 95% working to build the life sciences industry. Their programs are available at no cost despite a high market value.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffman-La Roche Limited has invested in Canada twice in the past two decades. The company first developed the Mississauga site in 2011 with $190 million, and in 2020 committed another $500 million to the Canadian headquarters. The campus is expected to be completed in 2023 and houses the Canadian commercial unit, product development and pharma informatics.
In 2021 Roche Diagnostics, a division of Hoffman-La Roche Limited, completed an expansion to its Canadian head office that includes a new software development hub. Damian Siggins, global head of transformation for Hoffman-La Roche Limited, said, “We went through a really competitive process evaluating different locations. All of the assumptions we found about talent, about the ability to attract real talent into your environment, which I think is the cornerstone to any operation, it’s here.”
In 2020 Canada’s clean energy sector already employed over 430,000 people. Clean Energy Canada projects that number to grow to 639,000+ in the next seven years. Canada is an established oil influencer, but clean energy grows in even the most oil-rich regions. In the oil and gas heartland, Alberta, clean energy jobs are expected to increase by 164% over the next decade — the greatest of any Canadian province. Saskatchewan will see clean energy jobs double.
The Canadian government is leveraging private partnerships by funding eligible employers to hire, train and mental youth in the natural resources sector. Through the Science and Technology Internship Program, sectors including energy, forestry, mining, earth science and clean technology are eligible to receive funds for offering youth full time work.
“The ability to attract real talent into your environment, which I think is the cornerstone to any operation, it’s here.”
– Damien Siggins, Global Head of Transformation, Hoffman-La Roche Limited
The program already has nine employer partners promoting the growth and training of green jobs. The fastest growing green jobs sectors are electric vehicles and hydrogen consumption technology. There is an expected 26-fold increase in electric vehicle jobs between 2020 and 2030 at companies like GM, Lion Electric, Ford and Fiat.
Vice President of Corporate and Environmental Affairs for GM Canada David Paterson says, “Over the next decade, we’re going to see an enormous change, we will see incredible opportunities for people in software, and in technology development.” Those positions will be met head on by the rapid supply of graduates.
Chemical Engineering, GeoSciences and Software Engineering consistently rank among the top 10 most popular college majors in Canada, partly due to Canadian ascendancy in these fields, and because they have a lucrative reputation. In 2020 Canada graduated over 18,000 engineering students, with environmental and geological disciplines seeing growth from 2019 to 2020.
In 2021, Air Products Canada, the country’s leading hydrogen supplier, announced plans to work with the Canadian government and the Province of Alberta on a multi-billion-dollar hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, north of Calgary. The net-zero hydrogen production and liquidation facility is expected to be onstream by 2024. The facility will produce liquid hydrogen for emission-free transportation fuel.
Air Products is a fan of the results it’s seen in the area since this will be the company’s third hydrogen production facility in Alberta. Vice President Rachel Smith of Air Products Canada is confident in the clean energy workforce of the province, even with its historical oil dependence.
“We chose Edmonton region for a few reasons,” says Smith. “Proximity to our customers, access to carbon dioxide infrastructure and viable geology for sequestration, and lastly, we know that Edmonton has a highly skilled workforce to both construct and operate this facility.”
This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of Invest in Canada, Canada’s global investment attraction and promotion agency. Contact Invest in Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Reuter joined Conway Data as an Assistant Editor in 2022. She previously worked in public and mental health before putting her English degree to use writing for Conway Data's Custom Content Division and Site Selection magazine. She is a born-and-raised Atlantan from a family of writers and planners and has a natural excitement for all things sustainability, public transportation and food.