Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the department and the minister for being here today.
Minister, I want to talk a bit more specifically on the GTA and my region, the Waterloo region. I want to talk about the global skills strategy that was put out in the summer.
Over the last decade there has been a decrease in the tech workers who have been coming. If we look at tech sector immigration from 2008 to 2014, we see it hovered around 6,000 tech-sector immigrants coming to our tech sector. In 2015-16, we shot up to around 8,000 tech workers coming in. I'm just going to give you a little information on something that we export in the Waterloo region. We try to do what is called “the corridor”, and I'll get to the reason that this is relevant.
Between Toronto and the Waterloo region, there are 423,000 students, 200,000 tech workers, 15,000 tech companies, 5,200 start-ups, and Toronto is the fourth-largest city in North America. When the previous immigration minister visited our region and had consultations with a lot of individuals in the region, one of their critical issues was getting global talent. What was happening was global talent was being snatched from us. Individuals who had great skills, global skills, were going to Australia and other places around the world. Because of our immigration system, it was too hard to get people here quickly.
With the statistics that I just presented, how has that really benefited Canada? How can we move forward to maintain middle-class jobs for immigrants?