In response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries, several Canadian technology leaders, including Wattpad’s own Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau, shared the following open letter on Sunday.
The Canadian tech community comprises many different nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, mental and physical abilities, and perspectives. We believe that this diversity is a source of strength and opportunity.
On this topic, we are united.
Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train, and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world.
The 21st century will be driven by pluralistic economies powered by pluralistic societies.
This is a belief founded upon personal experience for many in our community. Many Canadian tech entrepreneurs are immigrants, are the children of immigrants, employ and have been employed by immigrants.
As connected economies, decisions by the United States can directly impact every business north of the border. The recently signed Executive Order to block entry of citizens from seven countries has already impacted several in our community. As a community, we are all affected.
As a community, we stand together in opposition to the marginalization of people based on their birthplace, race, or religion.
The Canadian tech community supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s message that Canada will and must remain inclusive to all nationalities. We also stand directly opposed to any and all laws that undermine or attack inclusion, and call on Prime Minister Trudeau and our political leaders to do the same.
The Canadian tech community also calls on the Canadian federal government to institute an immediate and targeted visa providing those currently displaced by the US Executive Order with temporary residency in Canada. This visa would allow these residents to live and work in Canada with access to benefits until such time as they can complete the application process for permanent residency if they so choose. We encourage provincial and municipal governments across Canada to lend support as they can.
Diversity is our strength. We, as Canadians, recognize our privilege as a prosperous nation. We believe providing refuge to people seeking safety should remain our compass.
In the hours following the US decision, many members of our community have privately shared personal stories of their immigrant experience. We ask them now to share those stories publicly so they may be amplified.
To read the open letter in French, click here.