Canada is ‘the ideal eco-system for software testing’

Virginie De Visscher, Director of Business Development, Economic Sectors at Business Events Canada, catches up with Software Testing News Journalist, Leah Alger, to discuss Canada as a nation of innovators, its key ICT centres and technology superclusters

As the Director of Business Development – Economic Sectors for Destination Canada’s Business Events Canada (BEC) team, Virginie is responsible for leading the development and managing the implementation of BEC’s economic sector strategy.

Responsible for increasing overnight visitations to Canada by attracting business events from international markets in alignment with economic sectors identified in the government of Canada’s international trade priorities.

According to her, Canada has a vibrant software sector which is dominated by a few large companies – for example, Exfo based in QC province, with revenues approx US$270 million per annum.

The dominance of DevOps methodology in Canada’ s software testing or APP development means testing is intrinsic to the process. So, whilst some “outsourcing” of testing is provisioned, the norm is for the software dev company (eg CGI, OpenText, Accenture) to do the test and assure quality standards.

Canada’s software sector

In all hardware and software, Canada has great capabilities in this domain eg Herjavec Group and Esentire, with it, cloud providers eg CogecoPeer 1 being a growing theme alongside Amazon Web Services and ‎Microsoft Azure.

“There is a direct correlation between the growth of the general software sector in Canada and testing and quality assurance sub-sector. Canada is home to over 36,000 companies of IT, among which 33,136 are from the software sector, generating an estimate of US$61.5billion,” said Virginie.

“The importance of Canada’s software sector, however, extends beyond output and jobs, as the sector is a leading contributor to R&D (around $2.1billion in expenditures), is an enabler for other sectors and employs a highly skilled labour force.”

The country offers an ideal eco-system for software testing and quality assurance companies to flourish. It hosts important events and targets of software quality.

The Canadian Software Testing Board (CSTB) is the Canadian national branch of the ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board). As such, it advocates education and examination as a practical means to excel in the software testing field. Other associations include the Kitchener Waterloo Software Quality Association or the Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality.

Software testing & training

“This eco-system also benefits from high-level university programmes focusing on software testing training and quality assurance. McGill University, McMaster University, The University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo are all recognised for their computer science & information systems programmes by the Quacquarelli Symonds ranking,” added Virginie.

Finally, Canada has established world-renowned centres which enable researchers to collaborate with international institutions and industry partners on specific R&D challenges including quality assurance and software testing.

“Canada is also a global leader in machine learning research, and home to many companies applying these technologies to improve service delivery,” she continued.

Some specific examples of Canadian companies applying machine learning to services include:

  • Blue J Legal: Applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict legal outcomes and improve the speed and quality of legal research.
  • Mindbridge: Provides machine learning tools to assist with financial auditing.
  • Hopper: Uses big data to predict and analyse airfare to advise customers on the best time to schedule flights.

Due to its leadership in ICT and software testing, Canada is also attracting a number of international conferences in these associated fields, such as:


  • Association for Computing Machinery – Computer-Human Interaction – Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems : 3 000 delegates – April 22-28th  2018
  • Neural Information Processing Systems Foundation (NIPS): 8500 delegates – Nov 30th – Dec 10th 2018
  • International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence:  2500 delegates – July 25-30th 2021


  • 2018 OpenStack Summit; May 21 – 25; 8000 delegates
  • 2018 SIGGRAPH; August 12 – 16,  est 15,000 delegates