Media release

Communitech takes over Times Square to tell U.S. tech workers: “We Want You”

Extended billboard campaign aims to attract highly-skilled tech workers affected by H-1B visa ban

KITCHENER, ONT., September 21, 2020 —Communitech has just expanded its billboard campaign to key markets in the United States, including the centre of the concrete jungle itself, New York City’s Times Square. Across from the iconic NASDAQ and 1 Times Square Plaza, in a once-bustling business hotspot where Dick Clark would drop the sparkling ball every New Year's Eve, a large maple leaf can be spotted blowing in a digital wind, on a screen emblazoned with WE WANT YOU (with apologies to Uncle Sam).

And, to all tech workers affected by the government’s pause of its H-1B visa program, we mean it. We really do want you to come join us in the land of the true north, strong and free.

“We were blown away by the response when our billboard campaign launched in San Francisco this past August,” said Iain Klugman, CEO and president, Communitech. “Not only did we get the attention of major media outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle and CNBC, but we heard from more than 75 U.S. tech workers who were interested in relocating to Canada – and we expect to hear from more now that we’ve set up camp in the Big Apple.”

This campaign began in early August with the launch of one print and eight digital billboards along Highway 101 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The advertisements, on display for a full month, caught the attention of more than four million people in person and 32 million more online, thanks to coverage from 52 media outlets around the world. 

“There are almost too many challenges faced by international tech workers in the U.S., and the threat to their visa status through the suspension of H-1B was a last straw for many, so we wanted them to know Canada is here as a safe haven worth considering,” said Saj Jamal, vice president of marketing at Communitech. “Many things make Canada a great place to live, but our thriving tech scene makes it an incredible place to work as well.”

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services agency is the approving body for highly skilled tech talent from around the world, through the country’s now-suspended H-1B visa program. The program receives about 600,000 applications yearly, but only 10 per cent of applicants gain entry to the U.S. through a lottery system, and the process can take a year.

By contrast, Canada can grant entry to these same highly skilled workers through its Global Talent Stream Program in as little as two weeks. As of June 2019, two years after the program launched, nearly 40,000 talented people had already come to Canada, 24,000 of them from high-demand tech occupations such as computer programming, information system analysis and software engineering.

“World-leading companies need world-leading talent,” Klugman said. “That’s why we’re inviting the world’s best tech workers to consider Canada.”

For more on this campaign and why Canadian tech is worth checking out, please visit communitech.ca/canada.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Candace Beres
Manager, Public Relations, Communitech
(519) 888-9944 Ext. 1027
candace.beres@communitech.ca

About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.