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in Canada’s large metropolitan areas is first- or second-generation Canadian — 76% in Toronto, 68% in Vancouver and 39% in Montreal. To speed up the entry of qualified workers

and meet labour market needs, the govern- ment of Canada launched an immigration application management system called Express Entry last year. According to the Express Entry Year-End Report 2015, more than 31,000 invitations to apply for permanent residence were issued in 2015 to a diverse range of highly skilled immigrants, and almost 10,000 individuals (principal applicants and their family members) have already been admitted to Canada through the program. Financial auditors and accountants are ninth on the list of top-10 groups of invited candi- dates, and account for 2% of these candidates. Among the economic benefits immigration

brings to the country, a 2014 Conference Board of Canada study found that 12% of immigrant- owned businesses export products and ser- vices to countries other than the US, compared to 7% for nonim- migrant-owned companies. And between 2007 and 2011, the average annual profits of immigrant exporters grew at a rate of 21%, while nonimmigrant exporters saw their profits shrink by 2% on average. Of course, the benefits of immigration cannot be measured in numbers or statistics alone. There are social and cultural bene- fits as well. Above all, immigration is a significant and multifac- eted human experience, as shown in the following profiles of four foreign-born leaders — each known for making a signifi- cant contribution to Canada.

Ethan Song: fashion innovator When Ethan Song cofounded fashion retailer Frank + Oak with his childhood friend Hicham Ratnani, he reinvented shopping for men. The online retailer offers an innovative, omnichannel experience to a young and busy clientele with little interest in roaming through fashion stores. “We wanted to simplify shop- ping for our clients, while offering an overall authentic experi- ence that fits their lifestyle and fulfills their need to belong to the community,” says the CEO and creative director. Born in China and a resident of Quebec since the age of six, Song is fluent in French, English and Mandarin. Aſter studying computer engi- neering and theatre, he went on to work in Shanghai, Paris and Vancouver. However, Song chose to live and start a business in Montreal because, as he puts it, “it’s a city where you find the very best talent in digital technology and design.” Founded in 2012, the Montreal brand with a global reach has


more than 2.3 million members and a mobile app with 500,000- plus users. Each month, users are offered a new collection of stylish and hip apparel and accessories the company has selected for them based on their individual tastes and lifestyle. What sets Frank + Oak apart is a vertically integrated structure, with every aspect of the brand — from design to shipping, including management, manufacturing, and content develop- ment for a blog and Oak Street magazine — entirely centralized in Montreal, and real-time, detailed data analysis to better adapt to constant changes in the market, no matter the channel used. It’s no surprise that this bold approach earned the startup a spot on Canadian Business’s list of the 15 Most Innovative Canadian Companies. And the company’s astounding four-year growth rate of 18,480% landed it at the top of Deloitte’s Technology 2015 Fast 50 ranking. Is Song fazed by all of this? “Not really, since this is the position we were aiming for. It confirms that we’re heading in the right direction,” he says. “I have discipline in my blood. Something I inherited from my Asian culture, no doubt.” Since last year the company has opened multiple brick-and-

mortar boutiques in North America as a way to bring clients closer to the brand, to enjoy an espresso — in one of its in-store coffee shops — or to have their goatee trimmed by a “barber in residence.” This expansion nevertheless stays true to Frank + Oak’s business model, which focuses primarily on online shop- ping. “What has changed is the impact on our sales volume, which increased to 40% from 30% in Canada [in 2015],” he says. Song also believes in the importance of giving back to the

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