‘Savvy’ U.S. firms boost Canadian expansion plans for 2020

More than half of U.S. firms in survey said they are considering setting up shop in Canada

By
Business in Vancouver
February 19, 2020





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Vancouver kicked off 2020 with news Silicon Valley fintech Tipalti Inc. was launching its first office in the city and hiring 50 workers.

The next day, U.S. financial giant Mastercard Inc. revealed it was opening a $510 million cyber security centre employing 300 workers.

And results from a report released February 19 indicate interest from American companies in setting up shop in Canada is set to intensify further this year.

More than half (51 per cent) of U.S. employers surveyed by Envoy Global Inc. said they were considering Canada for expansion plans — up from 38 per cent a year earlier.

“As U.S. immigration policies tighten, savvy companies are setting their sights on Canada as an alternative destination for talent,” the report stated.

Envoy Global pointed to initiatives such Ottawa’s Global Talent Stream — a program that launched in June 2017 in a bid to ease domestic talent shortages — as an example of Canada’s more progressive immigration strategy.

Instead of making companies in need of specific talent complete a labour market impact assessment — often described as onerous by employers — the program promises to process 80 per cent of work permit applications within 10 business days.

Since then, a steady stream of international workers has been coming into cities like Vancouver as American firms find themselves recruiting international talent and basing those workers in Canada.

The Envoy Global survey found 20 per cent of respondents were considering Canada primarily because they wanted to offer sponsored employees with placements with a more immigrant-friendly public sentiment, while 11 per cent of respondents were looking to Canada for help retaining employees facing challenges with U.S. work authorization.

Overall, 74 per cent of respondents found Canada’s immigration policy more favourable to that of the U.S., jumping 11 per cent from a year ago when 65 per cent felt that way.

The survey was directed at 433 human resources professionals, while questions related to immigration were directed to the 255 respondents that indicated direct experience handling those issues.

torton@biv.com


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