Is Facebook’s Further Expansion into Canada a Bad Thing?

When I first learned that Facebook was opening a second Canadian office in Vancouver, I thought “What great news!” That was until I heard the location had a one-year life span.

Facebook has announced that the office will serve as a training ground for recent software engineering graduates seeking full-time employment within the company.[i]

According to Ryan Holmes, CEO of Vancouver-based Hootsuite, the new Facebook office is “…a pop-up boot camp for training local software engineers and then shipping them to the U.S. Rather than contributing to a homegrown tech scene…the new office will siphon off the already limited number of qualified professionals in the region.”[ii]

Much like doctors, software engineers and developers can often make more money working in the U.S. As such, brain drain is a serious problem for the Canadian economy. With over a million expats living in the states and approximately 350,000 in Silicon Valley, the government needs to do a better job at retaining skilled workers.

Tax incentives for businesses and initiatives such as the Start-up Visa have been put in place to help keep Canada compete on a global level. Although these measures are great, they don’t address the continuing migration of Canadian to U.S. jobs.

According to Techvibes, Facebook has signed a three-year lease on a 20,000 square foot space in Coal Harbour. Although Vancouver is supposed to be a temporary venture for Facebook, the lease length indicates that it may be more permanent than initially planned.

[i] Facebook Bypasses Gastown and Yaletown to Open Vancouver Office in Coal Harbour

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