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[LINK] “Canadian tech leaders ask Ottawa for temporary visas after Trump order”

The Globe and Mail‘s Tom Kiladze reports on an initiative by Canadian tech startup companies that, besides being humanitarian, may also work out to be something really advantageous for Canada in the long run.

A collection of Canada’s top technology leaders is asking Ottawa to provide “immediate and targeted” assistance, including temporary residency, to those displaced by President Donald Trump’s executive order that bans entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries.

In a statement, the leaders, who include Wattpad chief executive officer Allen Lau, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, TechGirls Canada founder Saadia Muzaffar and Wealthsimple CEO Michael Katchen, ask the federal government to provide visas to people displaced by the executive order.

“This visa would allow these residents to live and work in Canada with access to benefits until such time as they can complete the application process for permanent residency if they so choose,” the group wrote. More than 200 people have signed the open letter to show their support.

The Canadian tech community has long stressed that diversity is one of its strengths – as well as one of Canada’s – but the decision to boldly ask the federal government to take action in the face of the new U.S. order is a sign of its evolution.

Until recently, the country’s tech community was thought of as a collection of small startups likely to be acquired by larger American tech companies. Lately, though, it has grown up, and in the last few months there is additional buzz about its potential – particularly around artificial intelligence. Former Facebook executive Steve Irvine recently left the Silicon Valley giant to start a Toronto-based AI company.

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 29, 2017 at 8:15 pm

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