Are Atlantic Canada IT firms scaling up as fast as the rest of the country?
Of course the answer to this question depends on how you define scaling. You could look at capital investment, revenue or other measures. If we want to use Statistics Canada data, employment level is one important measure.
Ideally, a jurisdiction would like to see a number of its tech firms (or any exporters) breakout and become large firms with established export markets.
Looking at the growth in the number of IT firms with 50 or more employees, it seems Atlantic Canada in general is doing quite well. This data is only based on three NAICS industries - NAICS 511211 - Software publishers, NAICS 518210 - Data processing, hosting, and related services and NAICS 541514 - Computer systems design and related services. It does not include video game production and other types of ‘tech’.
According to Statistics Canada, across the four provinces combined there was a 44% increase in the number of firms with at least 50 staff between 2015 and 2022. That compares to a growth rate of 30% across the country. New Brunswick saw a 63% jump in 50+ employee IT companies, the highest growth rate in the country (except PEI but the number on that province increased from 3 to 5 so the baseline was low.
Again, this is just one measure but the fact that in these three discrete IT sectors there are now 59 firms across Atlantic Canada with 50+ employees, that is impressive. In New Brunswick alone there are 26.
Don’t get too worked up about this. Ontario is still way ahead in terms of IT GDP, export revenue and other measures but the fact that nearly one in 10 IT firms in New Brunswick has more than 50 employees is an important achievement.