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B.C. government looking to increase tech sector with new grads and immigrants

Click to play video 'B.C. and Washington State promote closer tech ties' B.C. and Washington State promote closer tech ties
ARCHIVE: Premier Christy Clark and her Washington State counterpart sign an agreement to develop a so-called Cascadia Innovation Corridor. As Grace Ke reports, it's part of a move toward closer economic and cultural ties between Vancouver and Seattle – Sep 20, 2016

The province is pushing to be a leader in the innovation economy by boosting the number of tech-grads.

Speaking at the second annual #BCTECH Summit in Vancouver on Monday, Premier Christy Clark said the province will become a leader by increasing the number of tech-grads by 1,000 a year by year 2022 and doubling post-secondary tech co-op placements to over 1,400 students annually.

“B.C.’s tech community has told us their number-one priority is making sure British Columbians have the talent and skills they need so the sector can continue to grow and thrive,” Clark said in a release.

“The revised BC Tech Strategy is about giving British Columbians in all corners of the province every opportunity to build careers in tech.”

Along with increasing the number of tech-related grads and co-op placements, the government said it will further grow B.C.’s supply of tech talent by working with the federal government to lower barriers to bringing in immigrants with technology skills that can contribute to the province’s economy.

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Clark said in her keynote speech that as countries around the world are putting up barriers to trade and immigration, British Columbia needs to turn outward in order to grow the province’s burgeoning technology sector.

READ MORE: Prime Minister Trudeau touts tech at Microsoft centre in Vancouver

That includes offering citizenship to any foreign national who earns a PhD from a Canadian university. She also announced a plan to expand a provincial tax credit for augmented and virtual reality work that is currently only available to the entertainment industry.

Additionally, the province will continue to increase its trade presence in Seattle and Silicon Valley to attract investors as well as continue to work with Washington State on the Cascadia Innovation Corridor.

In September 2016, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates joined both Clark and Washing State Governor Jay Inslee to advance the Cascadia Innovation.

Both Clark and Inslee signed an agreement, which was part of the Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference, to encourage the establishment of a “results-driven innovation and collaboration” tech corridor that will help grow the high-tech, life sciences, clean technology and data analytics industries across borders.

Opening up the borders for job creation and strengthening the region’s global economic competitiveness was also a key focus.

~ with files from Canadian Press

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