Technology CEOs Call On Political Leaders To Support Innovation

Canada’s technology leaders have taken the unusual step of weighing into the federal election campaign.

The chief executives of more than one hundred Canadian technology companies have penned an open letter to the four major federal political party leaders, asking them to step up to the plate when it comes to fostering Canadian innovation.

The letter, addressed to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Leader Elizabeth May, says that each party needs to develop economic policies that allow the Canadian technology sector to more easily access talent, capital and customers.

"We're writing because Canada's productivity is lagging and our future economic prosperity is at risk," states the letter. "We want to work with all parties in this election to address this challenge.”"

The CEOs note that their companies employ more than 35,000 Canadians, export to 190 countries and generate over $6 billion for the Canadian economy annually. However, the letter goes onto state that one in four science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students leave for the U.S. technology sector, citing a recent study from the University of Toronto.

The letter from the technology executives explicitly asks that all political parties commit to keeping the "Global Skills Strategy" that provides temporary work permits in as little as two weeks in categories such as software engineering. More than 24,000 people have used the skills strategy since it came into effect two years ago.