This is part of a new series to follow up on the previous one I wrote on offshoring IT jobs. In the last series, which included an overview, and then for and against arguments, we looked at investing in IT infrastructure and talent outside of Canada.
Today, we’re going to look inward instead and focus on “nearshoring.” We’ll start from the Canadian perspective, looking at the benefits of keeping IT jobs here at home.
Once upon a time, Halifax was a major economic powerhouse in Canada. As one of the top shipbuilding centres in the world, the city was prosperous and cosmopolitan.
There was only one problem. In Halifax, they were building wooden ships.As time went on and metal ships with powered by motors made their appearance, the people of Halifax lost one of their most profitable industries.
As well, across all the maritime provinces that had depended on fisheries, a gradual economic downturn set in as fish stock were depleted and buyers went elsewhere.
Meanwhile, martimers themselves were forced to leave their homes, traveling west in search of other opportunities.
We all know the bittersweet history of Atlantic Canada. But not all of us know about the promising future our east coast neighbours can look forward to. Companies in the major technology technology hubs of Canada are finding the east coast fertile ground to set up offices, recruit new talent and make profits in their own front yard.
Here are four reasons why companies that nearshore IT to the maritimes can profit from it.
1) Atlantic Canada wants your business—a lot
One of biggest reasons for Canadian IT companies to nearshore IT in the Atlantic Canada is the low cost of real property. Annual facility costs in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland are on average 30 per cent lower than the rest of Canada. This is a key competitive advantage when considering where to locate a call centre or data centre, for example.
Not only are your operating costs lower, but you’ll also get a break when it comes to taxes. For example, the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, was rated as having the best overall business taxes out of nearly a hundred cities in North America. The province’s capital, Fredericton, also got first place for the friendliest taxation regime for R&D investment.
Obviously, the government of Canada wants you to invest in the maritimes, and is actively encouraging it through incentives. It’s an opportunity you can take advantage of.
As well, local IT firms in Atlantic Canada are attracting attention from the federal government and getting funding as part of the Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
Finally, virtually everything is cheaper in the maritimes compared to central and western Canada, from construction to cost of living to the price of electricity.
2) Stay connected, stay secure
Another big benefit to locating your IT infrastructure in Atlantic Canada is its excellent Internet connectivity. The region is not what you’d call “remote” in this sense; its urban centres are hooked up to Canada’s fibre-optic highway. This, along with the fact that the geographic region isn’t prone to natural disasters, make it an attractive place to locate data centres.
Many of your fears about cloud computing, particularly data residency, can be put to rest if data centres are located within Canada. And if you’re a company with regulatory requirements about where your data is stored, you don’t have a much of a choice in the matter. But you do have the option of choosing to keep it in a part of the country where it will cost you less. If you can’t or don’t want to offshore IT, you can always nearshore IT.
3) A big IT talent pool
The maritime provinces are home to some of the top-rated undergraduate universities in Canada, such as Mount Allison, Acadia and the University of PEI. There are also plenty of technical colleges that focus on developing IT skills. If you want to recruit new talent right out of school, Atlantic Canada is an ideal place to do it.
4) Nearshore IT and live near the shore
Most of us who have been to the east coast have been taken in by its breathtaking natural beauty. From the red beaches of Prince Edward Island to the cliffs of Newfoundland, and the lively cities of Halifax and St. John’s, there are plenty of pluses to relocating to this corner of Canada for a job.
Even if you’re a hardcore condo-dwelling urbanite, you have to admit that waking up in your seaside house to the sight of whales playing in the ocean, all visible from your living room window, can be a nice start to your day.
NEXT: For our American friends, we’ll take a look at why they should consider offshoring IT to their next-door neighbours.