CCI’s Talent & Skills Strategy

Council of Canadian Innovators
3 min readMar 29, 2022

Remote work has completely changed the labour market landscape for Canadian technology companies, and at the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), we hear about this every week from our members. Over the past two years, it has gotten more challenging to find, hire, and retain the skilled workers Canada’s fastest-growing companies need in order to scale-up globally.

This situation is not unique to Canadian technology companies, or Canada in general, but the way Canadian governments respond to the talent crisis must be unique, competitive, and united if we are to see Canadian firms succeed in the global war for talent.

Today, CCI is releasing its Talent & Skills Strategy to address the talent crunch facing high-growth firms. The recommendations contained in this strategy are pragmatic, targeted, and informed by the feedback we’ve collected from our members over the past year.

The strategy contains 13 key recommendations for federal and provincial labour, training, and economic development ministries and agencies. We’ve positioned them into four main buckets:

Coordination and Capacity Building

  • Convene a national summit to develop a coordinated skilled labour strategy with representatives from federal and provincial governments and associated university associations.
  • Apply a skilled talent lens to all government economic policies and programs, to avoid unintended consequences which exacerbate the tech labour crunch.

Talent Attraction

  • Introduce a High Potential Tech Visa, to give the most in-demand professionals a path to Canada without a job offer in hand.
  • Launch a Digital Nomad Strategy to make Canada a destination for the growing ranks of remote workers.
  • Review and revise the National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes more regularly to better reflect the shifting nature of technology jobs in Canada.
  • Ease pathways to permanent residency within the Global Talent Stream visa program.
  • Expand the recognition of international and alternative credentials for Canadian visa applicants.
  • Enhance the Global Skills Strategy immigration program with a targeted 48-hour visa processing time.

Talent Generation

  • Offer funding and support to Canadian businesses who develop up-skilling or re-training programs to train their workforce.
  • Incentivize post-secondary institutions to develop better experiential learning opportunities, including longer co-op placements, to establish a talent pipeline from universities to Canadian companies.

Talent Retention

  • Commit to leaving the tax treatment of employee stock options unchanged, to give high-growth Canadian companies the certainty to recruit workers using this key compensation tool.
  • Introduce a permanent 12-month student loan repayment grace period for new graduates who work for Canadian firms.
  • Introduce tax-advantaged loan repayment benefits for employers who make contributions towards their employees’ outstanding student debt.

We dive deeper into these recommendations and the problems they would help solve in our full document, available here.

If you’d like to learn more about CCI’s federal and provincial advocacy efforts, please get in touch with Dana O’Born, Vice-President, Strategy and Advocacy.



Council of Canadian Innovators

CCI is Canada’s 21st century business council, advocating for our country’s high-growth, innovative companies. Visit to learn more.