Superclusters Activate: 5 New Innovation Superclusters Expected to Create Thousands of Canadian Tech Jobs

Wondering where to look for Canada’s next crop of hot tech jobs? Five new Innovation Superclusters located across the country, which are expected to create 50,000 technical jobs within the next decade, are a wise place to start. In 2018, the Canadian government partnered with 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and a diverse range of community partners to create these industry-led consortiums that are expected to transform some of the country’s most important regional economies.  

Canada’s five new Innovation Superclusters are: 

  • An Ocean Supercluster in Atlantic Canada that will create over 3,000 jobs and use innovation to drive greater competitiveness in the country’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy. 
  • The SCALE.AI Supercluster in Quebec that will create over 16,000 jobs and make Canada a leading exporter by leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics to build smarter supply chains. 
  • An Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster in Ontario expected to create 13,500 jobs that will connect Canada’s technology strengths with its manufacturing industry. 
  • A Protein Industries Supercluster in the Prairies expected to create more than 4,500 jobs, which aims to make Canada a leading supplier of the world’s plant proteins. 
  • A BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster expected to create over 13,500 jobs that will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in sectors like healthcare, forestry and manufacturing. 

The caliber of private sector companies involved in the effort suggests there is a great deal of confidence in the results that private, public and educational partners can achieve by working collaboratively. Recognizable names include Microsoft, TELUS, Linamar, Optel, Air Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, SNC-LavalinDow DuPont Agriculture and Maple Leaf Foods. The long list of post-secondary and research institutions involved includes the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, University of BC and Dalhousie University. 

Efforts the Superclusters expect to inspire include a wide range of technologies that could fundamentally change the way many of Canada’s key industries operate. From autonomous marine vehicles to warehouses run by robots and improved access to remote care for Indigenous communities, the initiatives on the table will have an enduring impact right across the country. 

Having a strong representation of women and under-represented groups and helping them succeed in highly innovative industries is a key priority for the five superclusters. Providing digital and tech skills training for those working in traditional industry sectors has also been identified as a strategy to help ensure Canada’s workforce keeps up with the rapidly increasing pace of technological change. 

It may take some time before the projects funded through the Innovation Superclusters begin to generate the jobs that have been projected. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a new technical position, be sure to browse our current Canadian and American job openings.  

5G Comes Into Focus

4G, 4G LTE. 5G. If you’re feeling a bit confused by the ever-changing variants of mobile networks, you’re not alone. While 5G hasn’t arrived quite yet, testing is well underway and widespread rollout is expected in the 2020 timeframe. Here are some key things to know about the technology as 5G transforms from concept to reality around us.

The wireless game is about to change

5G stands for fifth generation wireless network. It is being touted as a global game changer that will dramatically disrupt the way we work, play, and live. While previous network upgrades have brought about relatively gradual change, industry experts have compared 5G’s potential impact to major technological shakeups like the introduction of the printing press, harnessing the power of electricity, and the transition from the typewriter to the computer.

The Internet of things (and way more things)

The need for this new breed of mobile network is being driven by incredibly rapid mobile data traffic growth. With the increasing number of consumer electronics, wearables, connected cars, machines, meters, sensors and point-of-sale terminals, industry analysts are predicting that there will be 50 billion devices connected to mobile networks worldwide by 2020. That proliferation of devices and how they communicate with each other is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and it requires a fast, reliable network to make it run.

The down low on downloads

Life in a 5G world will usher in an era of significantly faster download speeds. How fast? For a visual comparison, picture your current mobile phone download experience as watering a plant with your garden hose. With the 5G network, your download experience will be more like watering that same plant with a fire hose. With current 4G LTE capability, it takes about one hour for a high-quality download of a short HD movie. If the signal is disrupted during that download, which is common, it can take much longer. On a 5G network, download speeds are anticipated to reach 10 gigabits per second, which means a full HD movie could be downloaded in a matter of seconds.

Lightened up latency

Network latency refers to the time it takes for data to get from one point to another. Low latency means the network experiences small delays and high latency means there are long delays. That few-second delay you currently experience before streaming begins when you press play on Netflix might not seem like a big deal, but milliseconds can be the difference between life and death in a world where autonomous vehicles rely on signals they are receiving from the wireless network. With current 4G latency, a car driving at 100 km/h would still move 1.4 metres from the time an obstacle is detected until the time the braking command is issued. With 5G network latency, that car would move just 2.8 cm before the braking command was executed, which is comparable to the standard of current anti-lock braking systems.

Slicing and dicing

Network slicing will be an important concept for 5G as it will allow different networks to be customized over one shared infrastructure. Different mobile technologies put different demands on the network. The remote operation of a machine in a factory, for example, requires a different degree of bandwidth and latency than a remote tele surgery, for example. Network slicing will segment individual networks so that they can be isolated and customized for unique applications as if they were each a physically separate network.

Towers get tiny

To deliver the required speed and capacity to an increased number of devices, 5G networks will rely on a denser collection of smaller antennas than what currently exists for 3G and 4G networks. Today’s mobile networks require large towers every few miles that can be as high as 250 feet tall. 5G networks will require a massive deployment of shoe box-sized cells. Dozens of these cells within a single neighbourhood block will be attached to existing lamp posts, utility poles and the sides of buildings.

The secret sauce for major technological change

The drastically enhanced degree of connection that 5G will drive will usher in a range of new technologies that have been waiting in the wings. Self-driving vehicles will make their long-awaited trip from the test track to the twists and turns of real-world driving. Virtual reality will transform the healthcare sector by allowing for medical assessments and surgical procedures to be performed remotely by a doctor in a city that is hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Sensors that constantly communicate with each other will create smart cities where highway lanes can be changed to quickly respond to traffic patterns, public lighting can be dimmed when pedestrians and vehicles aren’t present and garbage collection routes are created in real time to reflect actual demand.

The next generation of jobs

Analysts predict that the economic impact of 5G will reach $12.3 trillion in 2035. In the automotive sector alone, 5G will enable over $2.4 trillion of economic impact when its supply chain and customers are included in the equation. In the nearer term, the deployment of 5G wireless networks will also have a significant economic benefit. In the United States, 5G deployment is expected to create 3 million new jobs and boost annual GDP by $500 billion.


With 5G network testing already being executed, the race to source qualified talent, especially systems engineers, RF engineers, design engineers and project managers, is on. If developing your company’s 5G talent strategy is still looming on your to-do list, connect with an Ian Martin recruiter to find out how to secure the right talent more efficiently and determine if contract staffing might be a better option for your bottom line.

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Shake the Trees: 4 Ways to Take Your Tech Talent Search Beyond the Job Board

If you’re not hearing from the type of candidates you were hoping for in your technical talent search, it may be time to cast a wider net. As the battle for technical talent continues to heat up, it’s no longer enough to just post an ad to an online job board, share it on LinkedIn and cross your fingers. Here are some additional channels to consider incorporating into your recruitment strategy.


Slack is a cloud-based team messaging and collaboration app that was initially developed as an alternative to email to help companies communicate more efficiently. It’s been so well received that there are now Slack public communities that have been created to allow people with common interests to communicate. Third party websites like slack list, Standuply and Slofile compile lists of public Slack communities to help people looking to connect with others with similar interests. These communities can be a great way to make connections with technical talent. The Ruby on Rails community, for example, has over 6000 people interested in Ruby on Rails from all over the world, including avid OSS contributors, full-stack engineers, founders of start-ups, backend engineers and students learning Ruby on Rails. Within each community, various topics are organized into subject-based channels.

Top Tip: Watch your manners. When you join a Slack community, take some time to get to know the culture of the community before you start to post and tailor what you write accordingly. When you have a good feel for the community, ensure you are posting on the most appropriate channel.


Meetup is a social networking site that connects people with similar interests and helps them organize offline group meetings. As Meetups happen in physical locations, it is very easy to search by location if you are looking for talent in a specific city. There is a great collection of technical groups. By searching Ruby On Rails, for example, within 100 miles of Toronto, you’ll find Meetup groups of Ruby developers and enthusiasts in Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo. In addition to being able to see upcoming events, such as a Rail Pub Night, you can also search profiles of people within each group.

Top Tip: Be open and honest about who you are. As this is very much a social platform, members may not be expecting to interact with recruiters or potential employers. Review Meetup’s Usage and Content Policies as a first step before you begin to join groups.

Engage Employees as Evangelists

Employee referral programs are one of the most effective and efficient methods of recruiting technical talent. In addition to coming with a built-in reference, research shows that candidates who have been referred by employees tend to stay longer and be more productive. Equip your employees with the tools they need to communicate within their networks about open positions at your company.

Top Tip: Even if your organization doesn’t have an incentivized referral program in place, look for simple things you can do to engage more employees in your company’s recruitment efforts.

  • Ensure new job postings are shared internally with employees in a way that makes it easy for them to pass on the posting to people in their networks.
  • When employees speak at conferences or trade shows, include a slide at the end of their presentation with a call to action to those in audience to speak to them about employment opportunities with your company.

Connect with Passive Candidates

Your technical talent search shouldn’t be limited to only people who are currently looking for work. Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in technical positions gives your company access to a deeper network of talent that includes experienced candidates who may not even be looking at job postings.  Getting a call from a recruiter they respect about a new opportunity can often make candidates realize it might be time for them to consider making a change.

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