Immigration matters in science and technology

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Canada’s science and technology sector employs nearly 1.5 million individuals, and there will be a significant need for additional workers in the future to maintain access to essential technical skills. Over 320,000 workers in the science and technology sector are over the age of 55, and most of them will be retiring within the next 10 years.

With an aging Canadian work force and the need for more technology workers, there’s an opportunity for immigrants to make their mark in the field.

Impact of immigration

  • Of those working in scientific research and development services throughout Canada, 37% are foreign-born.
  • Nearly 1.4 million immigrants working in Canada are trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
  • Immigrants represent 26% of the national workforce but account for 35% of computer programmers, 43% of engineers and 57% of all chemists.
  • International students represent 18% of students in the country’s post-secondary education system but account for 37% of all students enrolled in mathematics, computer and information sciences programs and 26% of all students in architecture, engineering and related programs.
  • Many international students enrolled in STEM fields will stay and build their careers in Canada, enhancing our capacity for innovation and helping us build a stronger economy for the future.

Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are from the Statistics Canada 2021 Census.

Percentage of immigrants in STEM occupations
Percentage of immigrants in selected STEM occupations - text version below
Text version: Percentage of immigrants in STEM occupations
  • Computer programmers: 35%
  • Physicists and astronomers: 42%
  • Engineers: 43%
  • Software engineers and designers: 55%
  • Chemists: 57%

Famous Canadian immigrants

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell immigrated to Canada from Scotland in the late 1800s. He’s famously known as the inventor of the telephone.

Robert Wang

Robert Wang immigrated to Canada from China. He invented the Instant Pot, a versatile smart kitchen appliance with a devoted following.

Mike Lazaridis

Mike Lazaridis, of Greek descent, immigrated to Canada from Türkiye. He made a huge impact in the communications sector with his invention of the Blackberry wireless handheld device.

Tobias Lütke

Tobias Lütke immigrated to Canada from Germany and went on to develop Shopify, a multi-channel commerce platform. Headquartered in Ottawa, Shopify powers millions of businesses worldwide.

Immigrant stories in science and technology

Recruiting global tech talent to support businesses

In response to continuous, rapid growth in the industry, many Canadian tech companies find themselves competing for the same pool of candidates. See how hiring abroad leads to new, experienced talent for companies like Vendasta.

Introducing new farming techniques to Western Canada

Using solar greenhouse technology, a geologist from China is helping Albertan farmers extend their growing season.

Enhancing food and beverage shelf life while leading women in STEM

Interested in the science of food, Natasha Dhayagude co-founded Chinova Bioworks, a startup made up of 90% women in STEM that’s created jobs in Fredericton.

Check out more stories of immigrants making a difference in Canada’s science and technology sector.

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