On November 2nd, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google Parent company Alphabet Inc., praised Canada’s cultivation of tech friendly immigration policies saying he was “enormously thankful to Canadians” for the country’s artificial intelligence innovations.
Schmidt has confessed that he is uneasy about the state of immigration and identity politics in the United States under the current administration. The result is that Google and Canada have begun making billion-dollar bedfellows. Google and its sister firms, including DeepMind and SidewalkLabs, are all seeking to hire Canadian talent and develop deep ties with universities and research centers in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton.
Google is among the backers of the Vector Institute, a Toronto-based artificial intelligence research lab which is part of Ottawa’s strategy to drive innovation in Canada. Ottawa is putting up to $50 million into the institute, Ontario is investing $50 million and more than 30 private-sector companies are set to invest $80 million.
According to the Google Economic Impact Report, last year, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $222 billion of economic activity for 1.5 million businesses, website publishers and non-profits. An estimated 10.4 million U.S. jobs were created across all 50 states by the Internet in 2016 – 86% of them are outside major tech hubs. In sum, earnings from the Internet make up a whopping 6% of the gross domestic product – 1.12 trillion dollars and Google is a huge part of that number.
Google is just one example of corporations having huge impacts on our economy. Previously, we wrote about Amazon who is considering putting their second headquarters in Canada. The new venture will bring 50,000 high paying jobs to the fortunate city that Amazon selects.
If our nation is not congenial to innovation and the hiring of foreign talent to provide that employees companies like Google need, these companies will begin to look elsewhere. It’s important the law makers not only develop immigration policies that are favorable to the recruitment of foreign talent, but that they build relationships with corporations in a joint effort to grow the economy.