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Tech community calls for swift action during COVID-19 crisis in open letter to Ontario government

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More than 230 tech CEOs and innovation hubs are calling for the provincial government to maintain top talent and jobs threatened by the virus outbreak.

In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and other Ontario government officials, more than 230 CEOs of leading tech enterprises and innovation hubs are calling on the province to strengthen Ontario’s tech sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tech employment has grown rapidly across Ontario,” the March 25 letter said. “And these are good jobs. Across the industry, tech wages in Ontario averaged $78,070 in 2018 – 51% higher than the average private-sector wage. This didn’t just happen. The growth of Ontario’s tech sector is a success story shared by successive governments stretching back to the creation of MaRS and Communitech under the Harris government and continuing to the present day. Now, all this hard work and economic impact is threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Ontario’s tech leaders believe the ecosystem needs our provincial government to continue taking immediate and longer-term measures to help companies weather this storm,” the letter continued.

Recommended actions include:

  • Payroll subsidies, tax deferment, and other means to ensure companies retain top talent and jobs;
  • Increasing and rapidly deploying additional funding through established programs and investment vehicles;
  • Providing greater grant and program flexibility for companies with an existing funding relationship to the government.

“On behalf of more than 230 tech leaders, we are appealing for swift, targeted support that strengthens Ontario’s innovation ecosystem, and helps companies to survive this crisis and drive economic growth and job creation during recovery,” said Jason Flick, co-founder and CEO, You.i TV in a prepared statement.

“To survive this crisis, we need more certainty,” said Bridgit Co-founder and CEO Mallorie Brodie, in a statement. “By maintaining cash flow, fast-tracking funding and stimulating procurement, startups like ours will be empowered to win in the long run against COVID-19 and lead in the recovery.”

Read the letter at this link.


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