Improving Access to Skilled Talent

Author: Camila Louzada

BCTIA Collaborates with Provincial and Federal Government
to Facilitate Immigration Processes

On April 29th, the BCTIA hosted a closed event where the Federal and Provincial Government held a roundtable with representatives from the technology industry to discuss access to skilled workers, immigration, citizenship and skills training options for the Technology, Film and Digital Media sectors. It was a very productive discussion where main challenges regarding current immigration programs were raised and opportunities for further collaboration proposed.

John Jacobson, Deputy Minister for the BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, opened the event saying the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training (MJTST) is turning their attention to the tech sector and their A Team was present to hear from us suggestions on what the government can do to help us grow our business.

Scott McDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister for MJTST’s Labour Market and Immigration Division, provided a labour market overview where he noted that we are currently at a turning point with more people leaving the workforce than entering it. Amongst other projections, 26,000 computer programming jobs are expected to open in 2022 and we must prepare for it.

Matthew Wong, Senior Development Officer at Service Canada, provided an overview of the current Temporary Foreign Worker and Express Entry programs. He mentioned recent and upcoming changes, including a simplified way to calculate Cap based on number of people in the workplace, updates to provincial median hourly wages ($22 in BC) and the introduction of a new way to assess applications based on high and low wage streams instead of NOC codes. With the new assessment method, highest-paid jobs will be expedited and have an expected processing time of 10 days (in BC, this will be the case for jobs with a base of $44 or higher).

In regards to recruitment efforts, Wong noted that recruitment conducted within 3 months prior to submitting an LMIA application will now be accepted. WorkBC and JobBank will be optional if they are not the most appropriate website (although companies must submit a rationale for not using them) and applications for tech sectors will be given quick attention. Some job information might even be excused from the job posting if that posting would have negative consequences for an employer, but employers are encouraged to ask before excluding any information. Recruitment exemptions still exist for digital media, however, there has been no conversation of other categories being added to the exemptions list.

Rob Mingay, Assistant Deputy Minister for MJTST’s Workforce Development Division, reinforced that the 90 day pause on PNP application intakes ends on July 2nd. He mentioned PNP has only nominated 125 tech occupations last year, but hope to increase that number considerably. Although applications are currently processed on a first-come first-serve basis, PNP is looking at ideas to change that. Improvements being made include an online application process implementation, intake prioritization, entrepreneur immigration with a ranking system, skills-based immigration to balance priority sectors, and focus on successful settlement factors (language, education, industry experience, etc.) Rob closed off by mentioning tech is high priority for provincial nominee applications and that getting sectorial programs in place will assist in dealing with the current demand.

Scott McDonald then returned to note the government’s commitment to update the 10 year skills training plan based on the feedback provided. He listed resources available, such as the BC Job Grant and, and mentioned that through the Labour Market Partnerships Program the government is partnering with organizations to get labour market information, develop strategies, and implement solutions.

From that discussion, both the Provincial and Federal Governments have indicated a desire to continue collaborating with the industry and discuss solutions that would benefit the technology sector. With that goal in mind, the BCTIA has created a PNP Advisory Group comprised of industry representatives and subject-matter experts such as Craig Natsuhara, Associate Partner at Egan LLP, Kathy Gibson, Senior Consultant at the Vancouver Economic Commission, and Allison Rutherford, Executive Director of the HR Tech Group. The group is currently working with the Provincial Government to provide a clearer picture on current demands and challenges of the tech industry, as well as shape PNP’s future programs according to these demands. The BCTIA is also in conversations with the Federal Government to collaborate on a Labour Market Partnership project and address the sector’s labour market and hiring challenges.

We are proud to be part of such a key initiative and will continue working hard alongside the Federal and Provincial Government to bring positive changes to the tech industry’s current hiring landscape. Stay tuned for more updates in the fall.

To download a pdf version of the presentation, click here.

To learn more about TechTalentBC, visit