Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for your first visit to this committee. We welcome you and we look forward to engaging with you on various topics.
I want to start by talking about my region and expanding across Canada. I know that a previous immigration minister John McCallum early on in our last Parliament came to our Waterloo region and met with staff at an incubator called Communitech and they talked about the shortage of labour and the high skills in high tech particularly. That was in a round table. If can give you a few stats, in 2017 Communitech had around 200 start-ups. It generates around $250 million in start-ups, and employs hundreds of people. When the previous minister went there, he heard about the shortage in talent, the calls for getting talent from many different regions around the world—top talent because we needed the best and brightest in our region to expand, innovate, scale up companies.
As I mentioned, those stats were one of the reasons it was imperative for Communitech to scale up and have that talent. When we introduced the global skills strategy through the global talent stream, we were able to bring in talent within two weeks rather than two months. Many other countries like Australia were grabbing these individuals, bringing them to their countries. How has that impacted communities in the Waterloo region and across Canada?