2016: Year in Review

Jessica Rowen

January 10, 2017

Whatever your opinion of 2016, there’s no denying it was an eventful year: there were tragedies around the world, we lost many artists, contested political decisions reverberated across Britain and the US… Thankfully, the news isn’t all bad, especially for the Toronto tech ecosystem.


In 2016, TechToronto reported that tech now accounts for 15% of all jobs in Toronto, providing 17% of the city’s salaries. The industry has grown 14.6% since 2010 and created 51,000 jobs at double the national tech growth rate.

The distinctiveness of the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor compared to Silicon Valley has also made headlines in 2016. While the Corridor is second to the Valley for highest concentration of startups in the world, it boasts a higher Real Earnings potential after you crunch the numbers. Waterloo startups are also citing quality of life and employee loyalty as “distinct Canadian advantages” that shape a collaborative tech community happy to stay where they are. To top this off, the University of Waterloo was named by HackerRank as the 5th best coding university in the world!

All of this has been supported by the announcement of the Canadian government’s Global Skills Strategy which will attract top tech talent from abroad by expediting work permit processing to two weeks and allowing permit exemptions for work terms less than 30 days.

The future is bright for Toronto tech, with much appeal for global talent – as well as for Canadians south of the border to return home!

gdR is proud to have contributed to the the growing success of the ecosystem over the past year. From supporting dozens of startups, large tech companies, and innovation labs (by helping grow the ranks of their executive teams and contributors) to gathering the community to share and collaborate at events like Canadian Tech at Scale.

The first event of its kind, Canadian Tech at Scale, brought together 70+ of the top Canadian engineering leaders to share and learn from one another’s successes and failures as their companies have scaled. The event was a joint venture between Jean-Michel Lemieux (SVP Engineering, Shopify), Boris Chan (Managing Director, Pivotal Labs) and our very own, Bruce Dorland (Managing Director, Grossman Dorland Recruiting). The roster of speakers reads like a VIP guest list to the hottest tech nightclub (is that a thing?!) and included topics such as scaling teams & culture and the next big innovation spaces like IoT, AI, machine learning, and messaging.

And we didn’t stop there! We also introduced a new service offering — leadership development and coaching which we felt aligned with our objective of helping grow the community and its leadership capacity. We partnered with Mic Berman who has over twenty years experience in tech across the US, Canada, and Internationally including holding leadership roles at Freshbooks, Mozilla, Yahoo, and CGI. She has also coached numerous leading startups and leaders.

This year we celebrate a decade of shaping tech careers and the Toronto tech ecosystem! We couldn’t be more proud of everything we’ve accomplished and are grateful to the community for trusting in us! We have big plans for 2017 so stay tuned by connecting with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or by subscribing to our monthly updates.

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