Toronto, November 2, 2016 – The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) welcomes the commitment made by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in yesterday’s fall fiscal statement in regard to highly-skilled, highly-paid technology workers from abroad being critical to the future success of Canada’s innovative digital economy.

“The government recognized the importance of creating a dedicated stream for highly skilled workers from abroad that will help foster an economic climate of innovation and growth,” said Jayson Hilchie, President & CEO of ESAC. “We ask the government to quickly implement their Global Skills Strategy, which will go a long way to ensuring companies in Canada can compete globally by accessing talented workers who will contribute their expertise and specialized know-how to the Canadian economy,” he added.

The Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) has been riddled with delays in processing applications and inconsistencies in the application of rules, as well as controversies surrounding low-skilled, low-wage streams of workers. Creating a stream for highly skilled technology workers that allows quick and seamless access of specialized talent will let high-growth technology companies scale up and create well paying jobs here in Canada.

While ESAC is optimistic about the way forward, faster processing of work permits is only one part of the solution. “Ensuring that qualifying companies are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) is also necessary to ensure fast and efficient access to the best talent from abroad. Without addressing the crippling delays caused by LMIAs, the Global Skills Strategy will not have the desired impacts,” added Hilchie.

As most countries are competing to attract the best and the brightest workers from around the globe, Canada’s implementation of the Global Skills Strategy will ensure a greater chance of success when Canadians are not readily available to fill these jobs. With 1,400 jobs to be filled in just the intermediate and senior categories, access to high-skilled foreign workers will create job opportunities and knowledge transfer within the video game industry for more junior Canadian workers and new grads.

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada is the voice of the Canadian video game industry. ESAC works on behalf of its members to ensure the legal, regulatory and public affairs environment is favourable for the long-term development of Canada’s video game industry, which already contributes $3 billion to Canada’s GDP and employs over 20,000. Association members include the nation’s leading interactive software developers and publishers including Electronic Arts, Capcom, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Canada, Nintendo of Canada, Sony Computer Entertainment, Disney Interactive Studios, Other Ocean, Glu, Take Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Ludia, Silverback Games, Square Enix, Relic Entertainment, and Gameloft as well as distributors Solutions 2 Go and Team One Marketing.
For more information, contact:
Julien Lavoie – 416-620-7171 ext. 248; jlavoie@theesa.ca

Posted November 2, 2016