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• May 23, 2018

Tomi Poutanen believes that Canada's technology talent is our country's greatest export.

But the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer at TD and co-founder of Layer 6 also believes that for too long, global companies have swept up Canada's tech talent at the expense of our own home-grown industry.

"Canada has a history of innovating, and letting that innovation – that intellectual property – slip south of the border," Poutanen, in an interview on The Point, the Economic Club of Canada's podcast.

"We celebrate our hockey players, but we don't celebrate our tech entrepreneurs," Poutanen said.

"And I think it's very important for us to be able to hold on to the lead. Over the last 15 years, the story was that a technology company would be born here and when it gets to a certain size, or shows some promise, then some foreign company would buy it. And a team would disappear."

According to Poutanen, that's all about to change. Over the last five years, tech titans like Uber, Google, and Thompson Reuters have expanded their investments in Canada, and more are beginning to recognize Canada's competitive edge.

"Most of the AI breakthroughs have come from Canada," Poutanen said. "Our companies are uniquely positioned to take advantage of that talent that we have here, to really build up their capabilities to a level where no foreign companies have."

Want to hear more? Listen to the full podcast here.