Canada IT Industry: Companies and General Profile
There are over 43,200 companies in the Canadian Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector. The large majority (over 39,000) fall within the software and computer services industries.
The ICT sector consists mainly of small companies, with approximately 37,500 of them employing fewer than 10 people. The number of large companies employing over 500 individuals accounts for approximately 105 firms, including subsidiaries of foreign multinational corporations.
In a more industry-narrow way, the Canadian advertising and marketing industry is growing based on international awareness of creativity and the multicultural population. The progressive approaches are resonating with both US and globally-based companies - Mark Tharme from Muse Marketing says.
Why you should work with Canadian IT companies
Canada has found itself in a favorable position compared to other countries that have a well-developed IT infrastructure. Web & IT agencies have a fast-developing rate due to facilitating policies and attract more young professionals than any other country in the region.
Additionally, IT companies in Canada provide a full-service range with a considerably lower price than in the U.S. and offering in exchange excellent execution, fair customer experience, and professional project management.
From another perspective working with Canadian IT companies could bring added value in terms of security. In uncertain times, both politically and economically, working with IT companies in Canada reduces technology risk.
What you should be aware of when working with Canadian IT Companies
The Canadians started to focus on developing their IT industry in 2012, which mainly reveals a lack of consistent experience in the web & software industry. Since almost all IT companies in Canada are small - with less than 10 people, the industry is in the full development process and most of the agencies are not ready yet to take big projects.
At the same time, Canadian companies pay a living wage and our standard of living is higher than many other countries. As a result, expect the cost for services to be somewhat higher than in emerging economies.
Are Canadian web companies reliable?
Along with the workforce, Canada attracts an increasing number of companies from around the world, and many of them find the place comfortable and suitable for growing a business in the IT industry. Only in 2019 more than 7,000 IT startups were registered in Canada according to VisaPlace. Small companies in the Canadian IT industry are new entries and don’t have a global reputation compared to tech giants that relocated or opened new offices in Canada. Nonetheless, you cannot name small Canadian IT companies not reliable, as they all obey to the same principles and rules as the bigger ones.
How the Canadian IT industry compares to the neighboring countries
With the leading US on the continent and probably globally, Canada started to get more attention from the market as being a healthy alternative to what the US has to offer. This refers both to skilled developers & web designers and as well as clients. Due to the market accessibility and developed IT infrastructure, Canada has its own advantages towards the US, like prices and availability, but it’s still behind the U.S in terms of competitiveness
Overall, Canada is a promising destination for IT companies and a good option for web projects with a growing number of IT centers. The Toronto - Kitchener - Waterloo IT area registered good progress both in training and hiring new talents that compete even with the US Silicon Valey.
What Makes Canada Attractive for IT Companies?
Canada is attractive because the society embraces a global mindset, which is natural due to the multicultural population, both in the industry and in the general population. Historically, the Canadian design and advertising industry was built on American, European, and Japanese cultural influences. Today, the country benefits from influences from all over the world.
At the same time, Amanda Nelson from The Art Of Business mentions that Canada has found itself in a favorable position compared to other countries that have well-developed IT infrastructure. Web & IT agencies have a fast-developing rate due to facilitating policies and attracting more.
How Does the Canadian Government Support The Local IT Sector?
Federally, the Canadian government is providing access to capital through grant programs, including digital transformation grants for businesses, which is in turn creating opportunities for digital marketing and IT firms as service providers.
Alberta and Ontario - The Best Canadian Territories/Provinces For IT
Out of 10 Territories and Provinces Canada is divided, there are 2 worth mentioning - Alberta and Ontario with Calgary and Toronto as the main tech hubs.
The Toronto/Hamilton business corridor (known as the GTHA) is growing rapidly, both in population and as an international business centre. It already has the highest-density population in Canada and is projected to grow significantly by 2050. With close proximity to Northeastern US markets, high awareness of the city of Toronto as an international destination, and an excellent culture of creativity across all disciplines, this area is well positioned for growth. Immigration policies are also favorable for companies seeking a location in North America.
In addition, according to Ty Mikitka from Vertical Motion Inc, in recent years, Calgary, Alberta, has made growing strides to become a recognized Western Canadian technology hub thanks to the influx of large technology companies. Notable organizations, including Unity Technologies, Infosys, Test Driven Solutions, RBC Innovation Hub, and Amazon Web Services (Late 2023-Early 2024), now call Calgary home, creating thousands of IT jobs for local Canadians.
"Canadian IT Talent Pool is Good to Excellent"
When talking about the Canadian talent pool, Mark Tharme appreciated the local talent pool as good to excellent. He thinks that
IT and communications-related education is available at all levels: colleges, universities and private schools offer courses in a wide range of information technology disciplines. Students have opportunities to do work placements, coops, and internships with many well-regarded companies while studying or upon graduation from a recognized program.
Plan to Open a New IT Business in Canada? Focus on New Technologies!
Local tech leaders also mention that there is enough room on the market for new, innovative companies. However, most of the opportunities are especially in new and emerging technology areas, including AI, cyber security, and data management. Canadian companies are "punching above their weight" in many of these areas. Another sector good to explore is security. As Justin Harney from LionEater, the country is in need of IT security leadership.
As for how easy is to open a business in Canada, Jeffrey Miles from Jeff Social Marketing mentions that It’s simple to open a business in Canada. The first step is to apply for a business license.
This article was created together with professionals coming from reputable Canadian IT companies. Special credits: Jeffrey Miles, Mark Tharme, Justin Harne, Ty Mikitka, Amanda Nelson