June 12, 2017, Los Angeles, California – The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) today applauded the Federal government’s introduction of a new Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is a key pillar of the government’s Global Skills Strategy. The new program will allow high-growth video game studios operating in Canada to attract the specialized global talent they need to transfer knowledge, innovate and grow by providing a faster and better streamlined service.

“Having timely access to the best talent in the world is critical to highly skilled and growing sectors like Canada’s video game industry,” said Jayson Hilchie, President & CEO of ESAC. “Canada can only continue to be a competitive global leader when it attracts and retains the right talent to help train Canadians, impart knowledge and know-how, and contribute to innovation and growth,” he added.

Canada’s video game industry has long called for a reform of the Temporary Foreign Worker program which was ill-suited to a timely access of highly-sought after talent from around the world. The changes announced today will ensure that Canada can compete in a globally competitive environment for the best and most innovative global talent. Even though Canada has some of the best post-secondary institutions in the world, the right kind of experience and innovation can sometimes only be found in other countries. While the vast majority of new hires come from Canada, in 2015, 13% of the video game industry’s workforce was made up of Temporary Foreign Workers, a third of which went on to become permanent Canadian residents.

Already, Canada’s video game industry is one of the largest in the world, punching well above its weight class and exporting video games for computers, consoles, mobile devices and virtual reality headsets all over the globe. Canada’s role in the global industry is being showcased in Los Angeles as part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo – or E3 – where the best new video games and entertainment technologies are on display.

There are over 450 video game studios in Canada, collectively employing 20,400 workers in creative and technical jobs. By paying a high average salary of $71,300 / year, the industry contributes $3 billion to Canada’s GDP each year and is a leading sector of Canada’s growing digital economy.

ESAC 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. Association members include the nation’s leading interactive software developers and publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Capcom, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Canada, Nintendo of Canada, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Other Ocean, Glu Mobile, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Ludia, Silverback Games, Square Enix, Relic Entertainment, Take Two Interactive, Gameloft and Solutions 2 Go.

For more information, contact:
Julien Lavoie – 416-620-7171 ext. 248; jlavoie@theesa.ca