The number of workers employed by Canadian tech companies is growing at a faster rate than the Canadian labour market.
But as the country’s technology sector grapples with an ageing workforce, the number of people employed in the technology sector is on the rise.
A 2017 report by the University of Waterloo found that technology-sector employment growth is now greater than the population of Quebec and Ontario combined.
And the number has more than doubled since 2007.
The report, titled A Changing Industry: Technology Employment in Canada, noted that Canada’s tech industry now employs nearly 10 per cent of all workers.
But according to a recent report by Statistics Canada, the labour market in the Canadian tech sector is still dominated by people aged 55 and over.
About 25 per cent have been in their 50s or older, and the rest are in their 20s or 30s.
That means there are about a quarter of all tech workers aged 55 or over.
“It’s a little bit scary, because the number that’s working in the tech industry is the workforce that’s really important to the economy,” said Chris Tait, executive director of the Association of Canadian Technology Agencies.
Tait is also president of the Canadian Institute for Information Technology (ICT), which has been pushing the government to improve the accessibility of job information in the country.
The government’s jobless claims data, which are compiled from job postings, is inaccurate and has been linked to the use of temporary foreign workers.
And despite a crackdown on temp workers in recent years, the report found that more than 6.5 million temporary foreign labourers, or FTEs, have been employed in Canada.
The ICT report also found that only 16 per cent in Canada have access to the labour force participation rate, which is the percentage of people who have jobs but are not actively looking for work.
About half of FTE workers have jobs in the private sector.
And just under half of those working in tech jobs have at least a bachelor’s degree.
A report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) last year said the tech sector had the second highest proportion of temporary labour in Canada behind only agriculture.
The federation also said that Canada was not doing enough to help tech workers.
In the meantime, a group of tech companies have launched a petition to make Canada the first country to require that all temporary foreign worker jobs be given to Canadians.
The petition, which has attracted more than 4,000 signatures, urges the government “to include all temporary workers in the Employment Insurance system.”
“It is our understanding that Canada has not done anything in the past decade to improve its labour market and that this needs to change,” said CFIB president Doug Porter.
“The Canada Labour Code, which provides protection for temporary foreign labour, is a critical component of this plan, and we believe that Canada should be the first to adopt it.”