nearshore outsourcing to Canada

Telecommuting in Canada: Current State and Opportunities

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Over the past decade, Canada has been growing in importance as a nearshoring hotspot driven by cultural and geographical proximity to the United States. The currency exchange value that has historically favored American companies has also helped make this outsourcing model quite popular.

But as technology evolves and gets more innovative, Canadian providers need to start doing more to keep their businesses relevant and sustainable in the long-term. One way Canadian companies are doing this is by embracing a telecommuting and work-from-home model.

Telecommuting is highly suitable for the nation as the infrastructure is already in place. Furthermore, the fact that it can also deliver first-world connectivity to educated populations in areas that are economically disadvantaged is also an asset for the growing requirements of the industry.

Telecommuting in Canada Today

There are two very distinct types of telecommuting, one where you’re telecommuting from home or from about 50 miles from a physical office and the other where you’re not attached to any specific physical locations (aka a digital nomad).

The second model is the most favorable as you can be anywhere in Canada and still get the job done. As more and more companies embrace a truly virtual operating model, we can probably expect more enterprises to follow suit. 

But like everything else in life, this model also has its own unique challenges. So companies really have to get creative to try and overcome them.

They essentially need to overcome the hurdle of training new recruits. This can be difficult when no one is centralized in one location. Additionally, companies also need to find an effective virtual model to fill management positions.

With more and more rural towns getting into the telecommuting game, more professionals are also relocating to these areas. So there might be good options out there if you know where to look for them.

By taking advantage of the most sophisticated technologies like Big Data analytics, Canada is expected to grow as a leading nearshore provider with a telecommuting workforce (that also comes with favorable labor costs).

An Enormous Opportunity Tomorrow

Whether it’s basic business activities or a complicated software development project, it can all be achieved right next door. While currency rates can be fluctuating, there are also several rural areas with a low cost of living that can help control expenses.

Although the U.S. was already adopting higher-value services through telecommuting agents, the current political climate can also significantly help grow this niche. But Canadian companies will need to improve their current telecommuting model to take advantage of this opportunity in the years to come.

This is because Canada also faces a serious skills shortage. But the wheels are already in motion to attract more tech-savvy immigrants. While government policies are highly favorable, we will have to see how it all falls into place in the near future.

While there is competition from parts of South America and Costa Rice, Canadian providers can try to build long-term stability by promoting the fact that they have a similar culture, regulations, language, and experienced telecommuting professionals.

Right now, there is an urgent need for IT professionals, but other aspects of business like HR and accounting are already well represented. As a result, an opportunity may arise in the future to nearshore almost all business functions to Canada.