Reversing the “brain drain”: Where is Canadian STEM talent going and why?

Human capital migration, or “brain drain” as it is more commonly known, is a long-debated subject in Canadian public policy. This process involves large-scale emigration of talented individuals, educated in one country, but who choose to work in other countries to seek out higher salaries, prestige or greater occupational mobility. While this phenomenon has been long debated and discussed mostly in relation to doctors and other medical professionals – policymakers in Canada are still often left wondering why highly skilled Canadians opt to work abroad. This issue is becoming of increasing importance for Canada’s growing technology and innovation sector as businesses are looking to grow and find talent to support this expansion. Foreign destinations, such as Silicon Valley, are attracting a growing number of Canadian graduates hoping to work at one of the region’s large technology firms, such as Google. What is driving this decision-making?

Faculty Supervisor:

Nicole Goodman


Zachary Spicer




Political science


Information and communications technologies




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