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Canada’s immigration pathways for tech talent – Canada Immigration News



There are 100 economic immigration pathways to Canada

There are 100 economic immigration pathways to Canada

Canada’s tech sector is booming, and industry growth is expected to continue outpacing the number of skilled tech workers in the Canadian labour force. This growth comes from a mix of startups and large companies, such as Google and Amazon, investing more money and growing their businesses in Canada. This investment is a core piece of Canada’s economy and as a result there are over 250,000 tech workers in Toronto alone.

In response to the high demand for skilled tech workers, the federal and provincial governments offer many permanent residence and work permit options to hire workers from overseas. This article will explain some prominent options, whether you are an employer or tech worker yourself.

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Temporary Work Permits

An employer considering hiring talent from abroad has several temporary work permit pathways to choose from. When there is a shortage of skilled Canadian tech workers, these programs aim to allow employers to quickly hire the tech talent they require for their business.

Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a prominent option in the tech sector. It was created to facilitate the growth of Canada’s tech industry and aims to achieve a processing standard of two weeks once the final application is submitted by the potential employee. This pathway acts as a temporary work permit and can be used as a steppingstone for employees who wish to be eligible for permanent residence.

It is considered part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and before hiring, employers must first obtain a neutral or positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to be eligible. ESDC evaluates if hiring workers from outside Canada will have a positive, neutral, or negative impact on Canada’s labour market.

Additionally, to be eligible to hire under this program, employers must meet the criteria in one of the following two categories:

Category A: This category is for companies that approach EDSC though a referral partner. Referral partners are typically governmental, local or government affiliated agencies or business that have a mandate to support local economies. The employees hired under this category are highly specialized in a specific part of the tech sector. If the candidate’s occupation is already on the Global Talent Occupations List, the employer must apply under category B.

Category B: This is for employers who require employees who are employed in occupations that are already on the Global Talent Occupations list, such as software engineers, designers, or information systems analysts. These occupations are considered in-demand and the government has recognized a shortage of these skills in the Canadian labour force.

Labour Market Benefit Plan

Employers must also submit a Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP) to EDSC that outlines how they will commit to benefitting Canada’s labour market in the long term. The focus is different depending on the category.

A category A plan must outline how hiring through the GTS will benefit job creation for Canadian and permanent residents.

Category B LMBPs need to show how they are going to increase their investment in training Canadians and permanent residents to learn in-demand tech skills.

In both categories, there are conditions relating to how skilled workers are paid. Anyone hired through the Global Talent Stream must be paid at the prevailing wage or higher.

The prevailing wage is the highest of either:

  • the median wage for the occupation on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank;
  • the wage within the range an employer pays current employees in the same position at the same location, with the same skills and experience; or
  • the minimum wage floor as defined in the Global Talent occupations list (if applicable).

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm


If an employer is hiring tech talent from elsewhere in North America, they may be eligible for the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Like the GTS, it is a temporary work permit.

This agreement can facilitate the mobility of talent between the countries. The agreement is further broken down into two categories that are relevant to tech workers.

Professionals: There are 63 occupations that qualify for CUSMA under the professionals category. Prominent tech occupations such as systems analysts and software engineers may be eligible.

Intra-Company transfers (ICTs): ICTs occur when employees of multinational companies move to the company’s Canadian branch. The transferee is often someone in a management position or has other specialized knowledge.


Multinational companies eligible for ICT’s do not necessarily need to be located in Mexico or the United States. If any company has an established branch Canada, it may be possible for employees from other countries to transfer to Canada without an employer needing to obtain an LMIA.

Pathways to permanent residency in Canada

Tech talent may prefer to move to Canada as a permanent resident. The most common pathway for skilled tech workers to obtain permanent residence is through an immigration program that falls under the Express Entry application management system or a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Express Entry

Express Entry is the Canadian government’s largest entry stream for skilled immigrants.

Candidates with tech backgrounds are the leading recipients of permanent residence invitations under Express Entry.

Express Entry is designed to expedite applications for skilled workers. The most popular Express Entry option is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). This program is for those with at least one year of work experience that falls under National Occupational Codes 0, A or B, as most tech sector jobs do.

Alternatively, candidates who have completed one year of work experience in Canada in the past three years may be eligible for Express Entry through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.

Express Entry is a two step process:

  • Candidates must self-assess if they are eligible for the program they wish to apply for.
  • If they are eligible, they must upload a profile to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. IRCC will assign a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on work experience, education, language abilities and other human capital factors in their profile. The higher the score, the more likely it is that a candidate will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

IRCC holds draws approximately every two weeks. If a candidate receives an ITA, they have 60 days to submit their final application to IRCC.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

Provincial nomination tech talent streams
Canada offers over 100 economic immigration pathways and many of them are part of a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). All Canadian provinces, except Quebec and Nunavut, have PNPs that work in alignment with IRCC. These programs allow provincial governments to select candidates that they feel will be a good fit in the province. Several Canadian provinces have immigration streams designed to attract tech talent.

Here is a brief list of provincial tech talent streams:

BC Tech Stream: For this stream, candidates must be eligible for one of BC’s immigration programs and have a job offer of at least one year.

OINP Tech Draw: Under this Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program candidates need to be eligible for either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class.

Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway: Eligible candidates must have an employer specific SINP (Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program) Job Approval Letter for an eligible technology sector occupation. They need at least one year of work experience in that occupation within the past five years,

Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway: Candidates need to meet the eligibility criteria for the Alberta Express Entry Stream. They need to either be currently working in Alberta or have a job offer in one of 23 eligible occupations.


Quebec offers its own program called the Quebec Immigration Program for Workers in Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, and Visual Effects Sectors.

There are two tech categories under this program:

AI (Artificial Intelligence): There are two ways to eligible for this stream. If a candidate graduated from a Quebec college or university, they must have job experience and a job offer. If the candidate was trained abroad, they may not require a job offer but must demonstrate an education equivalent to a Quebec bachelor’s degree.

IT and Visual Effects streams: Candidates must have two years of work experience in one of 10 eligible occupations, out of the past five years. They must also have a job offer in that field and the equivalent of a Quebec technical studies diploma or a bachelor’s degree.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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Bill Graham, ex-interim Liberal leader and post-9/11 foreign affairs minister, dies



OTTAWA — Condolences from Canadian politicians past and present poured out Monday as they learned about the death of Bill Graham, who served as foreign affairs minister when the country decided against joining the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“Mr. Graham will be remembered as a master negotiator and a skilled statesman who shared his love for Canada with the world,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Monday evening.

Former Liberal MP John English told The Canadian Press that Graham died Sunday, according to a member of his family who shared the news with him earlier Monday.

English said Graham had cancer and died peacefully after being in poor health for some time.

“He was a fun guy. I went out with him for drinks just three or four weeks ago. He wasn’t drinking … He enjoyed a good glass of wine but he couldn’t join us,” he recalled.

“He’s such a wonderful presence. So positive, so optimistic. He’s a person to be taken seriously, but he never took himself seriously. He was full of laughter. He laughed very easily.”

Graham, 83, was serving as chancellor of Trinity College at the University of Toronto. Both he and his wife, Catherine, were students there and married in the chapel. They had two children: Katy and Patrick.

Graham was first elected as a Liberal member of Parliament for the riding then known as Toronto Centre-Rosedale in 1993, after two unsuccessful runs.

Former colleagues eulogized Graham as a skilled MP, having spent time on the backbenches before entering cabinet, and someone who demonstrated a deep passion about helping those in his community.

George Smitherman, who represented the same downtown Toronto area for the Liberals provincially as Graham had federally, said Graham had a remarkable way of connecting with people, no matter their background.

Smitherman, who is gay, said he first arrived in what is now known as Toronto Centre as a kid finding comfort with his sexuality and at the time Graham and the local Liberals had embedded AIDS activism in their politics.

“That, to me, was one of the most defining attributes of the way political parties ought to operate,” Smitherman said.

“It was really a huge impact on me in my life.”

Longtime Liberal MP John McKay said Graham was a “complete politician.”

“A good constituency person, a good national person and a good international person. Not many people can say that,” said McKay, who represents the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Guildwood.

“He was (an) immensely smart, decent, classy man,” he added.

In January 2002, months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks shook the world, Graham was appointed to serve in cabinet as foreign affairs minister by then-prime minister Jean Chrétien.

At that time, Canada had to decide whether to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and then navigate its relationship with its closest ally when it opted against doing so.

Graham was roundly praised for not only assisting in that decision, but his overall handling of the role at a turbulent time in international relations.

“He was an outstanding minister of foreign affairs and a skilled parliamentarian,” tweeted John Baird, who served as foreign affairs minister under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

After his time in foreign affairs, Graham was moved to the defence portfolio.

Eugene Lang was his chief of staff at the time and said Graham, who was well travelled before entering politics, was well liked by most everyone, including MPs of different political stripes and public servants.

“He treated everybody with a huge amount of respect. There was no arrogance in Bill.”

Lang said while Graham was only in the role of national defence minister for less than two years, he had many accomplishments, including securing a funding boostand also recommending the appointment of Rick Hillier as chief of defence staff.

Former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin released a statement after learning of Graham’s death, saying he “helped our government and the country navigate a challenging period of history as we deployed into Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.”

“His loss will be felt by all who knew or worked with him.”

After the Liberals lost government to the Conservatives in 2006 and Martin resigned, Graham stepped into the role of the party’s interim leader.

“The Liberal party owes him a huge debt of gratitude,” said McKay, who said he was an obvious choice for many.

Harper said Graham was the first official Opposition leader he faced after winning government.

“Bill was always a gentleman,” he tweeted.

“He always kept the best interests of the country in mind.”

Former Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale, who was Opposition House leader when Graham was interim Liberal leader, called his former colleague “wise and thoughtful, especially in matters of foreign policy and defence.”

“In an era of deep polarization and extremist populism, Bill’s sense of moderation, propriety and balance is sorely missed. Our love and respect surround his family, friends and colleagues,” Goodale said in a statement.

Longtime Liberal cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett said she remembers Graham as someone who was comfortable around everyone and a generous listener in conversation.

“There’s no one else you’d rather have dinner with. And I think that’s what a lot of us feel,” she said Monday.

“He just was so special. It’s just really hard to believe he’s gone,” Bennett said, her voice breaking.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.

— With files from Allison Jones and Jordan Omstead in Toronto


Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly referred to Liberal MP John McKay, who represents the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Guildwood, as a former MP.

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Canadian warships missing from NATO naval forces for first time since 2014



OTTAWA — For the first time in eight years, Canadian warships are not involved in either of two NATO naval task forces charged with patrolling European waters and defending against Russian threats.

The revelation has cast a spotlight on what experts say are the growing trade-offs that Canada is having to make with its navy, which is struggling with a shrinking fleet of aging ships and a lack of trained sailors.

Canada had been a consistent presence in the Standing NATO Maritime Groups since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, deploying at least one Halifax-class frigate to the North Atlantic or Mediterranean on a rotational basis.

The federal Liberal government made a point of deploying a second frigate in March as part of its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That ship had been planned for a months-long deployment in the Indian Ocean and Middle East.

But Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says Canada does not have any frigates attached to either of the NATO naval groups since HMCS Montreal and HMCS Halifax returned to their home port last month.

“With the return home of HMCS Montreal and Halifax on July 15, the CAF does not currently have a ship tasked to either Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 or 2,” Lamirande said in an email. “This is the first time this has occurred since 2014.”

Lamirande linked the decision not to send any new frigates to Europe to the deployment of two such vessels to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the Halifax-class fleet’s maintenance and training requirements.

Canada has instead deployed two smaller Kingston-class coastal defence vessels to work with a different NATO naval force that is focused on finding and clearing enemy mines.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre said that will help Canadian sailors gain experience in an important area of naval warfare while still showing Canada’s commitment to European security.

But he conceded in an interview with The Canadian Press on Monday, “we are stretched from a resource perspective. And so we’ve got to make those decisions as to where we invest, and when we invest.”

He added that he approved the decision to send two frigates to the Pacific, where tensions between the West and China are growing, “because we want to deliberately increase our presence in Asia-Pacific, because we are a Pacific nation.”

China last week launched a massive military exercise around Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers its territory, after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. The exercise came amid growing fears of a potential Chinese invasion.

University of Calgary shipbuilding expert Timothy Choi said the decision to send two frigates to Europe at the same time earlier this year played a large role in constraining Atlantic Fleet’s ability to send another frigate in the short term.

“To my mind, it doesn’t mean the availability of the ships and crews have deteriorated over the last few years,” he said.

“Rather it’s the unavoidable consequences of forcing a small fleet to concentrate more resources into a smaller time frame which results in more time required to recuperate.”

But defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute predicted Canada will have to make increasingly difficult trade-offs in where to send its warships given the size and state of its navy.

While Canada has 12 frigates, Perry said the navy’s maintenance and training requirements mean only a handful are available to deploy at any given time. Canada used to also have three destroyers, but those vessels were retired in 2014.

Adding to the difficulty is the growing age of the frigates, which entered service in the 1990s and are becoming increasingly more challenging to fix and maintain, according to both senior officers and internal reports.

“Those decisions about trade-offs are going to become increasingly difficult because, and we’re already experiencing this, the maintenance cycle on a ship that old is becoming more intense, more labour-intensive and longer,” Perry said.

Adam MacDonald, a former naval officer now studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said the navy and Canadian Armed Forces are also expected to face growing pressures to maintain a presence in not Europe, Asia and the Arctic.

“It’s going to be very pressing because there’s going to be demands on all three of those geographic environments,” MacDonald said. “On top of anywhere else we operate: the Caribbean, West Africa, South America.”

The federal government is overseeing construction of a new fleet of warships to replace the frigates and destroyers, but the multibillion-dollar project has been plagued by cost overruns and repeated delays.

The navy, like the rest of the military, is also facing a severe shortage of personnel.

In the meantime, MacDonald predicted the Kingston-class minesweepers will continue to pick up more slack as the navy faces increasing demands overseas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.


Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

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Montreal Pride Festival starts internal probe after embarrassing parade cancellation



MONTREAL — Pride Montreal, the organization that runs the city’s annual celebration of LGBTQ communities, is conducting an internal investigation after it abruptly cancelled the official Pride parade on Sunday.

“Pride Montreal will release its review of the 2022 festival later this week,” Nathalie Roy, a spokesperson for Pride Montreal, said in a statement Monday. The group said it couldn’t make anyone available for an interview.

The decision to cancel the signature event came hours before it was to begin Sunday. The festival’s executive director, Simon Gamache, cited security concerns stemming from a lack of volunteers to ensure the event could go ahead safely.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said Sunday she was not informed of the labour issue before organizers announced the cancellation. The weeklong festival, which included concerts and other events and ended Sunday, received $600,000 from the City of Montreal.

Festival organizers were expected to meet with city officials Monday afternoon to explain what went wrong, according to city spokesperson Marikym Gaudreault.

This year’s festival also received more than $1.1 million from the Quebec government, and the provincial Tourism Department said in an emailed statement that it learned of the parade’s cancellation through media reports Sunday morning. It declined to comment on whether the poor organization of this year’s parade would affect future funding.

“It’s important to mention that although the event was cancelled, the majority of the other activities on the Montreal Pride Festival schedule took place,” the statement said. The department said it has asked to meet with the parade’s organizers to address the situation.

Meanwhile, one of the festival’s major sponsors, Loto-Québec, said the surprise cancellation will not affect its support of the Montreal Pride Festival next year. “Loto-Québec has been supporting Montréal Pride for several years,” Renaud Dugas, a spokesperson with the organization, said in an emailed statement Monday.

“Last week, several activities took place on the Loto-Québec stage and at the Casino de Montréal, to everyone’s delight.”

TD Bank Group, the festival’s official presenter, said it supported the decision to cancel the event and would “continue celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ communities.” The bank, however, declined to comment on if it would fund the event in the future.

“TD provides unwavering support to 2SLGBTQ+ communities, and Pride Montreal is a long-standing and trusted partner that we work with in this regard,” TD spokesperson Caroline Phemius said in an emailed statement Monday.

The Société de transport de Montréal, the city’s transit authority, said on Monday it was “disappointed with the turn of events.”

“We are partners with Pride Montreal and the parade since 2016,” said Amélie Régis, a transit authority spokesperson. “This is an important event for us.”

Pride Montreal initially wrote on Twitter Sunday that the decision to cancel the parade was made with the support of city police. The organization clarified later Sunday that police were not involved in the decision.

Montreal police said in a statement Sunday they were ready to supervise the parade, “and we will be there for every edition.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 8, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.


Virginie Ann and Stéphane Blais, The Canadian Press

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