Could Canada Be the Next Hub of Customer Service Tech Growth?

Salesforce has announced that it will invest $2 billion in Canada over the next five years, taking its customer service and CRM solutions to the United States’ northern neighbor. The company has also promised to increase its Canadian office space, data center capacity, and 1,000-strong workforce during that time, though it didn’t elaborate much beyond that information.

"Like you, we’re a city that values diversity, we value equality and we also value innovation. ...We know well be able to have a great business environment in Canada," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to California this week.

Toronto is quickly becoming a hub for technology innovation, specifically artificial intelligence, which is increasingly playing a role in powering customer support solutions and self-service tools.

As of yet, however, Canada is still playing catch-up. It’s not home to any major global tech players, there aren’t any Canadian companies among the world’s top 300 spenders on research and development, and tech only represents about 4.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. But this could soon change.

Tech giants across industries outside of customer service and CRM have taken notice of growing buzz as well, and are eyeing Toronto for expansion. Back in May of 2017, Uber announced that it would open an artificial intelligence research center in Toronto, and now Amazon is planning to open its second headquarters in Toronto, too. Even Google’s DeepMind unit unveiled plans to open a research office in Canada’s Edmonton.

As for Canada, the country is ready for its tech boom to really take off, especially given the recently introduced, heavier restrictions on high-tech workers immigrating to the U.S.  “We know that being open to investment and highlighting our extraordinary diverse workforce that’s willing to work hard, innovate and create a future is what it’s all about,” Trudeau said in a meeting with Benioff.