Ontario Moves to Boost Digital Talent Ecosystem

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TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $1 million over two years in a scholarship for postsecondary students in esports and related programs – a rapidly growing industry in the province. The Ontario Esports Scholarship program will offer financial assistance to students enrolled in programs related to the game design, development, marketing, and innovation industry that may lead to a career in similar fields.

Christina Verdurmen, Marketing Lead at Xbox Canada says, “The establishment of an esports scholarship is yet another meaningful step toward bolstering Ontario’s digital talent ecosystem in a thriving and increasingly competitive industry. We look forward to the ways in which this program will make the video game and esports sectors more inclusive and accessible for students looking to break into the field.”

Creating the environment for growth in the digital world can position Ontario as a leader in the key areas of gaming, but also in programming.

“As the first province in Canada to recognize the educational value of esports design and development in this way, we will support students who are building skills that can lead to discoveries, innovation, training opportunities and economic benefits for Ontario,” said Minister Dunlop. “This investment will help students pursue their passion and prepare for careers in the highly lucrative video game and esports sector, and to develop transferable skills valued by employers across countless industries.”

The program will be available through eligible publicly assisted colleges and universities. Students will be awarded scholarships in Fall 2022.

This investment profiles the fast-growing gaming industry, the largest segment of Canada’s entertainment industry, contributing more than $5.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.

Quick Fact

In 2021, the gaming industry directly supported more than 55,000 full time jobs in Canada, including roles for computer scientists, software engineers and developers, data scientists and marketing professionals. Ontario is home to 298 video game companies, the greatest for any region in Canada.

“This exciting new scholarship will inspire more young people across the province to embrace the wide range of techno-creative careers in the video game and esports sector. We are thrilled with Minister Dunlop’s announcement and applaud the government for its leadership,” said Lucie Lalumière, President and CEO, Interactive Ontario.

“Talent is the resource that makes Canada’s video game industry a world leader. Supporting over 55,000 full-time jobs across the country, the video game industry is an exciting and growing sector of the Canadian economy. The employment opportunities offered by our industry are lucrative and innovative, with skillsets that are transferable across a host of other industries. Ontario is a hotbed of activity in video games and esports and we applaud the provincial government for recognizing the opportunity to invest in the future talent that will continue to propel our industry forward,” commented Jayson Hilchie, President and CEO, Entertainment Software Association of Canada.

“We applaud the Ontario government’s commitment to training highly-skilled talent in the esports and iGaming sector. As a proud Toronto founded and based company, and one of Ontario’s first fully registered operators of internet gaming and sports betting, we strongly believe in growing our business right here at home and hiring the top talent Ontario has to offer,” adds Steven Salz, Co-Founder and CEO of Rivalry.

“Ontario’s universities welcome this investment towards increasing student access to a fast-growing technology field. It will help ensure students can continue to access the skills they need to succeed in high-demand sectors,” said Steve Orsini, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities.


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