Ottawa named best Canadian tech hub: study

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There’s no better place to live and work in tech than Ottawa, according to a recent study.

Expert Market, a business services provider, evaluated eight of Canada’s largest cities to determine where the best tech jobs could be found, and also drew on data from CBRE to determine where costs of living were most reasonable.

Ottawa came out on top, scoring well on available tech jobs, cost of living and average wage. Calgary, Montreal and Toronto ranked behind, while Waterloo and Vancouver sat at the bottom of the list.

“I have globe-trotted for more than 30 years in business, and I can honestly say there is nowhere else in the world I want to be,” said Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay in a statement.

Added MindBridge AI founder Solon Angel: "I have co-founded startups in Paris and San Francisco, but have never experienced the level of support by both the institutions and individuals, as I have experienced in Ottawa. It has a remarkable quality of life, incredible people, nearly limitless tech talent, amazing outdoors.”

The first-place ranking is a feather in the cap for Invest Ottawa as the economic development agency embarks on its “Work in Ottawa” campaign. The marketing effort will seek to attract top tech talent to the city, pitching Ottawa as an attractive destination to live and work.

As part of the survey, Ottawa also ranked first for tech diversity in Canada, as Expert Market reports that women constitute 27 per cent of the city’s technology workforce. Many advocates for women in tech argue that this number is still too low to celebrate.

Women in Communications Technology began a campaign last year called “Up the Numbers,” where it seeks to quantify the representation of women in technology and the level of influence female employees have in their companies in an effort to achieve true parity.

“Canada’s digital talent pool is not as robust as it needs to be,” said WCT executive director Joanne Stanley in a statement announcing the campaign. “We’re going to need to fill about 180,000 new jobs by 2019 and we’re at virtually full employment today.  We simply have to do a better job of attracting and retaining women if we want to fulfill our aspirations for a leading digital economy.”

One of the firms leading the WCT initiative is Ottawa-based Pythian. The first of the reports is expected to be released later this month.