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Finance Minister says gov’t will work with angel and VC community to build tax fairness plan

Source: BetaKit

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is committed to ensure that the government’s proposed tax changes do not have a negative impact on small businesses and investors. It intends to work with the investment community to ensure it is able to continue its work.

“Access to capital is a critical part of growing a tech firm, and Canada’s high-growth CEOs need a competitive tax environment and an ecosystem that encourages entrepreneurship and scaling up globally.”


Greater Montréal: A major player in the fintech arena

Source: Montréal International

With Montréal having the highest concentration of tech jobs among Canadian cities, and being the third largest international financial centre in North America, the city is establishing itself as a major player in the fintech sector.

“Fintech is a hot sector right now in Greater Montréal, with businesses and industry experts coming to the city to tap into its pool of top tech talent and cutting-edge financial knowledge.”


Quebec’s LeddarTech keen to take Canadian pole position in driverless cars

Source: Montreal Gazette

Canada’s main contender to take a leading role in the development of technologies for driverless cars is Leddar Tech, a laser radar technology developer that is backed by major industry players such as Delphi Automotive, Osram Licht and Fiat Chrysler. The market for laser radar technology is expected to grow to $2.5 billion by 2027.

“Having built an impressive lead in artificial intelligence, Canada is keen to do the same in driverless cars.”


Canadian exports seeing big gains on strength of global economy

Source: Calgary Herald

Export Development Canada pointed out to growing exports as the US and global economies continue to gain strength. Oil and gas exports have grown 31%, accounting for half of the year’s gains. Other sectors that are registering growth are ores and metals, and aerospace.

“Trade agreements are important in sort of setting the groundwork, but really what drives the Canadian export cycle is the business cycle.”


Could data be the new oil in Calgary?

Source: CBC News

With low oil prices having cost thousands of skilled workers their jobs, Calgary hopes to turn itself around by transforming itself into a high-tech hub and attracting startup companies to vacant office spaces previously leased by energy companies.

“City hopes to rebound by transforming from Canada’s energy capital into a high-tech hub.”


Calgary offers Amazon sweeteners for headquarters, but no tax incentives

Source: Calgary Herald

A representative for Calgary Economic Development, who is leading Calgary’s bid to host Amazon’s new North American headquarters, stated that the city would not offer tax incentives but would provide sweeteners to attract the company to Calgary. The city is arguing competitive advantages it offers in terms of lower costs in labour, energy and taxes, in addition to potentially leveraging funds from a community revitalization levy should the company be interested to move its headquarters east of the downtown area.

“Calgary’s bid highlights nearly 13 million square feet of office real estate available after the oil price rout triggered widespread layoffs. It cites a deep pool of existing talent, and the city’s ability to continue to supply Amazon’s labour needs with post-secondary institutions.”


Shopify adding 300 to 500 new jobs at Waterloo office

Source: BetaKit

Shopify plans to add 300 to 500 new jobs to its Waterloo office to serve its Shopify Plus service, which is dedicated to offer support to the company’s enterprise customers. Shopify first opened its office in Waterloo in 2016 following the acquisition of a Waterloo-based company.

“We initially chose to build Shopify’s presence in Waterloo because we knew we would be supported by the tech community in the region. …With that support, along with world-class local talent, our growth has outpaced our expectations and projections.”


Amazon would save $1.5B a year if new HQ located in Greater Toronto Area

Source: Canadian Business

The head for Ontario’s bid to host Amazon’s new headquarters stated that the company would save $1.5 billion per year if it selected the Greater Toronto Area. The main advantages come in the form of lower cost of labour as well as lower taxes in comparison to jurisdictions in the United States.

“What is Ontario’s core advantage? …Great talent at a very competitive cost. That’s an edge the government is determined not only to maintain but to sharpen.”


New Microsoft Canada president makes the case for “cool” Canadian innovation

Source: ITBusiness.ca

In a Q&A session, the newly appointed president of Microsoft Canada stated that the global tech community is paying attention to Canada and innovations that are being developed by its tech community.

“Montreal, in particular, seems to have piqued Microsoft’s interest in Canada. Besides the Maluuba deal, Microsoft has also invested $1 million in Montreal AI incubator Element AI and donated $6 million over five years to fund AI research at McGill University and Université de Montreal.”


First manufacturing business incubator-accelerator opens in the Laurentides region

Source: Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

La Manufacture, the Laurentides region’s first manufacturing business incubator-accelerator opened to support local startups in their early years. The 20,000 facility will host office space, industrial workshops, shared spaces and services.

“La Manufacture is perfectly aligned with the City of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts’s Destination 2030 plan and the Laurentides RCM’s sustainable strategic planning, both of which seek economic diversification and job creation in our area and in the Pays-d’en-Haut RCM, which is working with us on this project.”


NAFTA notwithstanding, outlook is sunny for Canada’s agri-food sector

Source: The Globe and Mail

The long-term prospects for growth and productivity of the Canadian agri-food sector are strong, independent of the outcome of ongoing NAFTA negotiations. The agri-food sector was put forward by the government as one of six areas that will be supported by the Innovation and Skills Plan, which will invest $8.2 billion to support high-growth sectors of the Canadian economy.

“Most of the new demand for food will come from outside Canada, so you really have to consider trade as an opportunity for growth.”


Ontario Gov’t investing $30 million in Vector Institute as part of Amazon HQ bid

Source: BetaKit

Ontario’s government will invest $30 million in the Vector Institute over a 3-year period, in addition to a previous $50 million commitment, to accelerate growth in applied masters’ graduates in artificial intelligence. The government will also foster more STEM graduates, aiming to increase the number of graduates by 25% over the next 5 years.

“While the Vector Institute and STEM grad investments are in response to Amazon’s RFP, Clark said the province would move forward with the investments regardless of Amazon’s decision.”


CDPQ announces investment strategy to address climate change

Source: CDPQ

La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced that its investment strategy will address climate change, covering its entire portfolio and setting targets for the investor to make a positive contribution towards the transition to a low carbon economy. CDPQ set a 3-year target to increase its investments in low-carbon assets by more than $8 billion.

“In the wake of the Paris Agreement and changing consumer choices and technology, we are already seeing markets undergoing rapid change. This new reality has prompted us to review the risk-return profile of several industries and companies.”


Faster growth expected for Montreal and Québec City economies in 2017

Source: Markets Insider

According to a report published by The Conference Board of Canada, Montreal and Québec City are expected to register real GDP growth rates of 3.2% and 2.9%, respectively. Montreal’s manufacturing sector is expected to register a 4.0% growth rate, the fastest gain since 2000.

“Fuelled by a pickup in manufacturing and construction, and continued strength in the services sector, Montreal’s economy is on track to post its fastest expansion since the turn of the century.”


How the CSeries deal could end up changing the world’s aerospace industry

Source: Financial Post

The newly announced alliance between Bombardier and Airbus in the CSeries will enable Bombardier to circumvent import penalties into the United States by transferring production to Airbus’s Alabama assembly plant.

“Tuesday’s deal starts to rearrange the deck in a move that many have been expecting since former Airbus head Louis Gallois warned six years ago that the market was getting too crowded.”


Toronto to be home to Google parent’s biggest smart city project yet

Source: Financial Post

Alphabet Inc. will announce plans to develop a section of Toronto’s waterfront by its Sidewalk Labs unit, which designs, tests, and builds new technologies for smart cities. Google will move 300 employees to the site, to become the area’s anchor tenant.

“Sidewalk Lab’s website says it wants to develop a ‘large-scale district that can serve as a living laboratory for urban technology.’ The unit has teams that work on housing affordability, healthcare for underserved populations and ‘smart’ traffic management.”


Canada among top 10 countries for marketplace expansion

Source: BetaKit

Hyperwallet’s inaugural 2018 Marketplace Expansion Index ranked Canada 8th among countries in which marketplace companies – such as Uber – should expand into in 2018. With the greater part of its population concentrated among a few large cities, it is easy for on-demand companies to scale quickly in Canada.

“If supportive regulations are put in place, Canada’s great logistical and payment infrastructure will make it a very attractive destination.”


FortisBC plans new community solar power project

Source: Business in Vancouver

FortisBC is planning to invest $1 million on a community solar power project in Kelowna in response to consumer demand in the region. The project will be the third solar power installation of its kind in British Columbia.

“While hydro facilities are cheaper to build in B.C. – not to mention more reliable – than solar installations, thanks to an abundance of rivers and lakes, there is a strong consumer demand from customers for solar power.”


Investment in commercial construction sets record in Montreal

Source: Montreal Gazette

Montreal registered a 12.9% increase in investments for commercial construction compared to the third quarter of 2016, higher than the 3.4% nation-wide increase for the same period. Only Toronto saw more investments in the period.

“Investment in non-residential construction rose in Montreal during the three-month period that ended on Sept. 30 to $1.35 billion, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers released by Statistics Canada on Monday.”


IBM inaugurates its Client Innovation Centre in Montreal

Source: Markets Insider

The IBM Client Innovation Centre opened in Montreal, and will help the company’s customers to address digital transformation challenges. The facility, which employs 120 persons, is expected to grow to 250 by the end of 2018 and 500 within 4 years.

“The image of Montréal is changing, and for the better. We have succeeded in positioning ourselves as a leader in many sectors, such as artificial intelligence or aerospace, while retaining neighbourhoods on a human scale, where it is great to live and work.”


Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal make list of world’s 25 most high-tech cities

Source: BetaKit

The World Economic Forum ranked the world’s most high-tech cities, listing Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal in the top 25. The ranking factored-in criteria such as the number of filed patents, number of tech startups and venture capitalists, and the level of smartphone use in the cities.

“Montreal is seen as a world-class innovator for virtual reality and wearable technologies — which is what landed the city a place on the list — and an emerging identity as a vibrant programming and industrial design community.”


JPMorgan partners with RBC to launch payments network using blockchain technology

Source: The Globe and Mail

JPMorgan Chase & Co announced the launch of a payments processing network in partnership with Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Making use of blockchain technology, the network will allow payments to be executed faster with fewer steps and more securely.

“Blockchain capabilities have allowed us to rethink how critical information can be sourced and exchanged between global banks.”


Marc Garneau makes Canadian pitch to Tesla executives

Source: Global News

Canadian Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, visited Silicon Valley researchers and executives for companies working in the autonomous car development to pitch Canada’s ability to contribute in terms of engineering and research know-how. As part of its focus to create an environment that can lure self-driving car developers to Canada, the government has been moving to craft regulations for the sector.

“With our capability that is established in Canada, particularly in Ontario and in Quebec, there is the possibility that Canada could contribute if Tesla made the decision that it wanted to expand its manufacturing.”


Quebec investment agency hits road to spur innovative manufacturers

Source: Montreal Gazette

Investissement Québec will be touring the province to meet with manufacturers and offer advice on innovation and possible financing. In a previous tour, the government agency met with more than 1,000 manufacturers.

“Investissement Québec has an $825-million budget over three years to support innovative manufacturing companies.”


New Huawei and University of British Columbia partnership agreement to advance next gen communications

Source: CNW

Huawei announced a 3-year $3 million commitment, in partnership with UBC, to support research in advanced communications. The agreement adds on to an existing partnership that started in 2011, supporting 10 research projects and commitments totaling $1 million.

“Over the past year, Huawei has made a number of number of research commitments with universities across Canada, including the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and École Polytechnique.  In total, Huawei will invest over $10 million in research projects with Canadian universities in 2017.”


US tech workers more likely to search for Canadian jobs

Source: BetaKit

The number of US tech workers applying for tech jobs in Canada has been rising as a result of the recent boom in the Canadian tech industry as well as investments by global tech companies.

“…though US job seekers account for just under two percent of total Canadian clicks, the US is still the largest source of international searches for Canadian jobs.”


Five SFU-led research projects share $21.7 million from CFI’s Innovation Fund

Source: SFU News

Simon Fraser University will receive $21.7 million to support 5 research projects in areas such as wearable biomedical technologies and immersive remote sensing communication. Funds are being provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Innovation Fund, which has pledged to invest more then $554 million in 117 infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges and research hospitals.

“The Innovation Fund supports transformative infrastructure projects that underpin promising and innovative research or technology development in areas where Canada currently is, or has the potential to be, competitive on the global stage.”


Parliamentary Secretary Lametti discusses how intellectual property is critical to fostering innovation

Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

At the 91st Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development stated that strategic use of IP can help companies grow and be more competitive. The government recently launched consultations on its new intellectual property strategy that is to provide a framework to support innovation across all economic sectors.

“Supporting the strategic use of IP by Canadian firms to grow to scale is a key objective of the national IP strategy being developed. IP agents and organizations involved in the innovation ecosystem can all contribute to helping Canadian businesses become more IP savvy and increase their commercialization outcomes.”


Canada’s first virtual, augmented and mixed reality hub opens in Vancouver

Source: CNW

Canada’s first Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Hub, the BC Tech Cube (“The Cube”), opened in Vancouver and will serve to help companies grow and learn from one another. The 3D development industry in Vancouver already created 17,000 jobs and $2.3 billion in revenues.

“Vancouver, as North America’s third largest film production centre and the world’s largest VFX and animation cluster, is uniquely positioned to be propelled into becoming the world’s best AR/VR/MR cluster.”


Hydro-Québec invests $3.9M in Concordia University

Source: Montreal Gazette

Hydro-Québec announced a $3.9 million gift to support research for sustainable energy and smart-grid security at Concordia University. Part of the research will focus on work to protect the province’s power grid from cyberattacks. Funds will also serve to underwrite scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students.

“With this new gift, we deepen our commitment to advancing scientific discovery through the great work being conducted by experts in their field at Concordia.”


BlackBerry QNX self-driving car hits the road in the first Canadian street test

Source: Financial Post

A BlackBerry QNX equipped self-driving car was tested on the roads in suburban Ottawa, being the first on-street test of an autonomous vehicle in the country. The street was closed for the demonstration, but the vehicle is expected to be operating in city streets amidst real traffic and pedestrians in the future.

“A demonstration test zone has been announced for Stratford, Ont., as part of the Ontario government’s plan to create an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, with the help of $80 million over five years.”


Putting new tools in the hands of leading Canadian scientists

Source: Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canadian government announced an investment to fund the Biomaterials and Nanomedicine Laboratory at the University of Manitoba. The facility will receive $1.2 million to support four research projects ranging from harnessing the renewable power of tidal currents to rehabilitating people with traumatic brain injuries and building the world’s first quantum computer.

“The funding was announced at the university today…as part of a CFI investment of more than $554 million in 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges and research hospitals across Canada.”


Thomson Reuters celebrates its Toronto Technology Centre’s first anniversary with $100m expansion

Source:Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters announced it will invest US$100 million in an expansion of its one-year old Technology Centre, to be located in Toronto’s Entertainment District and accommodating 1,500 employees.

“Once fully staffed, the Centre will house one of Canada’s largest technology hubs dedicated to developing the next generation of products and capabilities for our global customers.”


Canada at #1 in ranking of world’s most cashless societies

Source: Huffington Post

In a study published by trading site Forex Bonuses, Canada ranked as the most advanced country in terms of cashless payments. A second study by Visa’s Roubini ThoughtLab named Toronto and Ottawa as “digital leaders” in the payments field.

“When the world finally goes cash-free, there’s a good chance Canadians will get there first. The country is moving towards a cashless society faster than anyone else, studies suggest.”


Carleton University to head international cyber network

Source: IT World Canada

Two Canadian universities and a technology accelerator will be part of a network that will spread cyber security knowledge and share work its members are working on. With 14 members from 10 countries, the network aims to add an additional 11 organizations by the end of 2018.

“What we’re building is a global community of cyber-security based innovation ecosystems.”


Volta Labs launches cohort program providing $25,000 to early-stage startups

Source: BetaKit

Halifax-based Volta Labs announced the launch of a new program that will fund early-stage tech startups in Atlantic Canada. The cohort program will offer $25,000 to five companies to help them develop their products and expand their operations.

“This financing, and the coaching that comes with it, will help some of the most promising first-time founders across Atlantic Canada turn their startup ideas into actual revenue-generating businesses.”


China will be increasingly important in Canada’s economic future

Source: IT World Canada

Like other major multinational tech companies, Chinese tech giant Huawei has established a presence in Canada to tap into its engineering and academic talent. The company currently has 275 R&D employees in Ottawa, 125 in Richmond, and 25 in Waterloo, expecting to reach 500 by the end of next year.

“China will be increasingly important in Canada’s economic future as China moves up the technology ladder.”


Minister Carr issues ENERGY STAR Challenge on eve of Generation Energy

Source: CNW

The Canadian Minister of Natural Resources challenged industrial companies and manufacturers to improve their energy efficiency by 10% within a five-year period.

“The ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry encourages Canadian industrial manufacturing facilities to reduce energy use and related costs and be more competitive while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”


CAPP’s six-point plan for Canada to become a global oil and gas supplier of choice

Source: JNW

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has laid out a six-point action plan to improve the market dynamics for Canadian oil and gas, including the creation of a national vision for oil and gas development, a clean energy task force that includes oil and gas, a climate leadership plan, a competitive international trade policy, an effective outcomes-based approach to regulations, and improved market access for Canadian oil and gas.

“Canada can both share its energy prosperity with the world and drive to a lower-carbon economy at home…”


A look at nine candidates left in the government’s supercluster competition

Source: National Post

The nine finalists that have been shortlisted out of a total of 50 applications for the $950 million supercluster initiative have been announced by the Canadian government.

“The government hopes to create dense business areas with the initiative where large and small companies can collaborate with research institutes and organizations to commercialize ideas.”


La Caisse and Desjardins Group announce the creation of a FinTech fund

Source: CNW

La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (la Caisse) and Desjardins Group announced the creation of a Montreal-based venture capital fund that will invest in the fintech sector as well as artificial intelligence applications to finance. The two groups will invest a joint amount of $50 million into the fund, which is expected to reach a maximum size of $75 million.

“With its high concentration of talent in information technology and the robustness of its financial industry, all the pieces are in place for Québec to see the emergence of a first-rate FinTech industry.”


Thales selects Canada as new global hub to boost artificial intelligence expertise

Source: CNW

A partnership between French-based Thales the MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms), the IVADO (Institute of Data Valorization) and the Vector Institute of Toronto, was announced for the creation of the creation of the Centre of Research and Technology in Artificial Intelligence eXpertise (cortAIx) in Montreal. The centre will work to advance the application of artificial intelligence into the company’s product portfolio.

“Leveraging the combined expertise of MILA, IVADO and the rich ecosystem of AI universities and laboratories, make Montreal and Canada the perfect place to develop cortAIx.”


‘We’re in a global innovation race’: Ottawa announces shortlist for ‘supercluster’ program

Source: Financial Post

The Canadian government started to announce the shortlist of 9 finalists under its $950 million supercluster initiative, naming finalists from the Atlantic Canada region. Shortlisted proposals will be required to submit more detailed proposals before November 24th, with an announcement of winning proposals is scheduled for 2018.

“Intensifying competition outside of Canada, and a fast-changing and global marketplace where only a few top companies dominate, compels government to play a larger role in creating an atmosphere of innovation.”


Nuco raises $27 million to build interoperable blockchain network

Source: BetaKit

Toronto-based Nuco raised $27 million to build an interoperable blockchain network that will connect compatible blockchains operated independently to allow for the instant transfer and recording of data and value.

“The blockchain landscape is like the railroad system of the 1850s, when there were multiple switching networks. At some point, there had to be a consolidation of gauges so that railroads could use each other’s tracks to reach more customers.”


Canada has what it takes to lead in CO2 conversion

Source: Montreal Gazette

Canada is currently leading in the development of CO2 conversion technologies, but to maintain that role it must continue to invest and focus on key variables that support the growth of the sector: public and private sector partnerships; innovation-friendly policies; and world-class research institutions.

“There are efforts underway today across Canada to reduce the climate impact of heavy industrial products, while also developing new markets and seizing economic opportunities.”


Canada must prepare now for the post-carbon economy

Source: The Globe and Mail

As clean energy sources become increasingly affordable, Canadaian resource based-industries will have to adapt by finding alternative and sustainable uses for hydrocarbon resources, working with multidisciplinary partners in sustainable industrial innovation, and drive innovation by networking with smaller and more efficient startups.

“Canadian companies have one shot to adapt to the post-carbon economy. Leaders who invest in reuse cases, cross-disciplinary innovation and networks will lead our economy.”


Key to success for independent Canadian breweries lies in ‘economies of scope’

Source: Financial Post

To compete against large global conglomerates and their economies of scale, Canadian independent breweries are focusing on innovation in the beer market space. By producing a variety of beer styles, independent brewers aim for growth and obtaining a marketing advantage on economies of scope.

“The consumers are looking for such variety and by having a broad portfolio that helps us.”


Halifax’s clusters of cleverness, creativity

Source: The Chronicle Herald

An innovation district in Halifax is emerging, attracting well-known technology companies such as Tesla and MetaMaterial Technologies, startup hubs and accelerators such as Volta Labs and ideaHUB, as well as several research and innovation clusters fueled by local universities, hospital and research labs, as well as the Canadian Navy. In total, more than 100 tech companies are located in the district.

“In 2015, Halifax was home to more top tech startups than any other city in Canada. In 2016, Halifax was ranked fifth among Canada’s top tech hubs to live and work in.”


Canada’s groundbreaking bitcoin fund

Source: Digital Journal

The recent approval of Canada’s first regulated bitcoin fund, First Block Capital, was the first of its kind for a fund that focuses solely in investments with cryptocurrencies.

“Canada has proven to be very innovative and supportive of cryptocurrency and blockchain. There are many intelligent people working in the space creating valuable companies and also the regulatory environment is eager to assist and learn more.”


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