Diverse tech: innovative immigrants are showing the way

March 24, 2017

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

As the U.S. tech sector blasts the recent travel bans because of the important role immigrants play in the industry, Canada is surging forward in innovation with help from a diverse bunch who are founding companies, launching apps, furthering tech education and moving the economy forward.

“Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world …”

In response to the U.S. travel ban, this excerpt from a recent open letter signed by more than 150 technology companies in Canada — including Shopify, Google Canada, Hootsuite, Kickstarter and BlackBerry among others — proudly mirrors Canada’s policies toward immigrants and refugees — that our strength lies in our diversity.

“In order to succeed in North America, you must collaborate with talented individuals on great ideas, regardless of their religious beliefs or where they were born. And, as Canadians, our commitment to fostering an open and inclusive society has been our strength,” says Jordanian-born Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ, the tech incubator at Ryerson University in Toronto.

“We see and experience this every day with our diverse community at DMZ and in the Canadian tech sector. And as a result, we’ve become a more innovative country. And, no matter where you stand on this argument, it’s a fact that diversity is at the core of economic growth,” he adds, noting that many of the founders and employees at his tech incubator come from countries targeted by Donald Trump’s travel ban.

The letter, too, points out that many Canadian tech entrepreneurs are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, employ and/or have been employed by immigrants.

“The open letter from the Canadian tech sector proves that you don’t need to be a refugee or an immigrant Muslim like myself to feel the impact of this radical policy,” says Snobar. “You just have to understand that the more a nation marginalizes a group of people, the more socially and economically stagnant it becomes.”

And a nation that welcomes diversity will see the opposite result; the dynamic ideas and innovation coming from Canadian immigrants in the tech sector proves the case.

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