Keith McIntosh can pinpoint a defining moment when he resolved to use his position and experience in information technology (IT) to help effect change for Indigenous peoples living in Canada.
Selected to participate in the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, McIntosh was among 250 leaders from various backgrounds and industries to spend 10 days travelling the country learning about life in other parts of Canada.
Visiting an elementary school on the Kahnawake First Nation, located on the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River, McIntosh said he could smell a strong, unpleasant odour coming from the school’s drinking water, all while staring across the river at the bustling City of Montréal.
“I don’t understand how we can have schools without drinking water and see the skyline of Montréal at the same time,” said McIntosh, the founder, president and CEO of the software-testing firm Professional Quality Assurance (PQA) Testing.
“I think that corporate Canada has a responsibility to open doors and opportunities, but I think, just as a Canadian, it’s embarrassing that it happens in our country.”
At PQA Testing, a nationwide shortage in IT professionals – to the tune of 190,000 people – means his company regularly sends software-testing work overseas to meet demand, yet there remains an untapped pool of able, underemployed workers at home.