ESAC Advocates Importing Game Developers to Keep Canada’s Industry on Top

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada, along with the Information Technology Association of Canada, has published a whitepaper calling for the government’s help to recruit intermediate- and senior-level talent from outside Canada.

The paper is quick to curb the knee-jerk objection that they’re advocating that foreign workers come to “take our jobs.” Part of the problem, the paper claims, is that there are not enough intermediate- and senior-level employees to fill the demand here in the Great White North. Indeed, the paper points out that it is preferable to hire within the country to save on dire relocation costs for top-level talent, but the companies represented by the ESAC, including Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and Electronic Arts, say that experienced workers are in short supply here.

Among the recommendations made by the paper are the restoration of the federal IT Workers Program, clarifying government guidelines for service standards, and creating more accurate market data by including new occupations in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.

The paper makes diplomatic nods to the country’s myriad academic institutions churning out grads, but admits that Canada’s studios are saturated with junior-level employees, and can’t wait until those younglings work their way through the ranks to assume the higher-level positions that need to be filled. While it did refer to the dearth of women in the trade (at 16% of the workforce), the paper did not discuss the broader issue of whether the video game industry, with its frequent accusations of misogyny and strained quality of life, is the kind of place where Canadian adults even want to work.

Canada remains the third largest producer of video games in the world by employment numbers, after the USA and Japan.