François Lambert on Montreal’s changing visual effects landscape

Source: Montreal in Technology

Following 14 years working in the United States’ visual effects industry, François Lambert returned to Montreal to head production at a new studio and found the city to have a new and thriving visual effects industry that offered the opportunity to work in large high quality projects.

“Numerous major studios have opened shop in Montreal and the city has built a reputation in the visual effects industry. Outside of Canada, Montrealers began to be known for their resourcefulness and technical creativity.”

B.C. fuel cell company on board for federal tech push

Source: Business in Vancouver

Vancouver-based hydrogen fuel cell company Loop Energy announced that its new fuel cell module that for use by fuel-cell-powered heavy-duty yard trucks has become operational. As the recipient of more than $8 million in government funding, the company is an example on how the federal government is working, through regional economic development agencies, to emphasize the strengthening of innovation capacity among small and medium sized companies through the adoption of new technologies.

“By providing departments like Western Economic Diversification Canada with the tools and funding to do their job, we are working towards building a stronger, more innovative and inclusive economy.”

B.C. Green party exerts pressure on ride sharing, promises legislation

Source: Canadian Business

British Columbia’s Green Party intends continue pressure towards the reintroduction of legislation to enable ride sharing services in the province. The party sees allowing ride sharing services and the innovative technologies as an economic imperative that the government should not shy away from.

“All parties want to see B.C. be a leader in the emerging economy. To do so, government must take a proactive, responsive approach that considers the wide-ranging impacts of technological innovation.”

Ottawa tech companies recruiting to fill thousands of jobs

Source: CBC News

Ottawa tech companies are facing increasing challenges to hire and retain employees in an environment that is expected to see an a growing number of tech job openings in coming years. The high demand for skilled professionals is leading to a premium on salaries compared to a few years ago.

“Invest Ottawa predicts nearly 10,000 new jobs in the city by 2019 and said those jobs will come in a range of technology fields.”

Canadians seeking more federal innovation to improve health care system

Source: Markets Insider

A study commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) found that provincial and territorial government s are seen as being more effective drivers of innovation in the health care sector than the Federal Government. Innovation is currently expected to drive improvements in the health care sector, with robotics, 3D printing, and AI being potential game changers in health care delivery technology as well as the structure of health care.

“As health care delivery is a provincial/territorial responsibility, there is likely more visibility afforded to that level of government; however, the federal government should seize the opportunity to drive a national agenda of health innovation.”

Amazon’s ambitions big boost to Vancouver’s burgeoning tech sector

Source: Vancouver Sun

Amazon’s expansion in Vancouver is being seen as a welcome sign of the city’s reputation as a tech market as well as an opportunity to further drive the tech innovation ecosystem, even if it is expected to increased competition for tech talent. Vancouver is seen as offering many advantages, in terms of a favourable geography and attractive costs of living, to tech companies looking to expand beyond traditional tech hubs such as the Silicon Valley and Seattle.

“Vancouver’s tech sector still ‘punches above its weight, in every respect.’”

Paycase plans Canadian Bitcoin exchange launch by end of year

Source: Financial Post

Canadian-based Paycase, created to disrupt the remittances market by using Bitcoin to transfer money around the world with considerably lower fees compared to traditional remittance companies, plans to offer its services to the general public and encourage the creation of a regulated Bitcoin exchange market.

“Bitcoin made it possible for two parties to transfer digital value to each other across borders with no fees and no intermediary.”

Accenture launches “Liquid Studio” in Toronto to help clients accelerate digital transformation

Source: Canadian Underwriter

Accenture opened the “Liquid Studio” in Toronto, which will help client companies turn innovative ideas into applications and solutions. Using rapid development approaches, Accenture aims to reduce development time and shorten the time to business impact.

“The goal of the institute, Accenture said in a statement at the time, is to ‘help build and maintain Canada’s position at the scientific forefront of the global shift to artificial intelligence.’”

Canadian gov’t invests $712,572 in business centre supporting Northern Ontario indigenous entrepreneurs

Source: BetaKit

The Canadian government announced it is investing more than $700 thousand in a business centre for the M’Chigeeng First Nation, which will assist indigenous entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses. Funding is being provided through FedNor, the government’s economic development organization for Northern Ontario.

“The funding announced today supports key infrastructure and business initiatives that contribute to the immediate and long-term social and economic growth of Northern Ontario’s Indigenous communities.”

Vancouver is the third most livable city in the world: the Economist

Source: Business in Vancouver

A report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit found Vancouver to be the third most livable city in the world, following Melbourne and Vienna. Cities were evaluated across 30 factors in 5 areas, which included stability, health care, culture and environment and education and infrastructure. Toronto and Calgary ranked in fourth and fifth positions, immediately after Vancouver.

“Of the top five cities in publication’s rankings, three are Canadian.”

Identifying emerging technologies for robotics systems for potential space station near the moon

Source: CNW

British Columbia-based MDA was awarded a $2.75 million contract by the Canadian Space Agency to identify the requirements for building a deep-space exploration robotics system that would be used to operate and maintain a future space station near the moon. The station is meant to serve as an outpost for further deep-space exploration.

“We are identifying options for Canada’s next steps in deep-space exploration. These options will guide the development of new technologies, particularly in areas such as space robotics systems, where Canada has world-class expertise.”

Coalition of Quebec taxi groups makes proposals for modernizing the industry

Source: Montreal Gazette

A coalition that represents Quebec’s largest taxi groups proposed changes to the industry that would modernize it, improving its image and the customers’ experience. The group asked for fair and equal measures for all groups.

“Given the current situation in the taxi industry, it is essential for us to react in order to revitalize it, in keeping with the principles of healthy competition and the application of rules that are fair for everyone.”

Borderless banking arrives in Canada

Source: Montreal in Technology

TransferWise, a British financial fintech company, launched its “Borderless” account platform in Canada. The platform allows users to simplify international money transfers and to exchange currencies at actual rates instead of those imposed by dealers and banks.

“The TransferWise platform was launched as a currency exchanger in Canada last year. Since then, Canadians have sent and received over $2 billion.”

Government of Canada announces long-term investment in the Royal Canadian Navy providing more than 2,000 jobs in Canada’s marine sector

Source: Public Services and Procurement Canada

The Canadian government announced a contract for in-service support for Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) and Joint Support Ships (JSS). The initial 8-year contract, worth $800 million, may be extended for the 35-year life cycle of the vessels, in a contract totaling $5.2 billion.

“The in-service support of these vessels will be performed in Canada, and Thales will make investments in skills development and innovation, contributing to the long-term stability and growth of Canada’s marine industry.”

BlueRock Therapeutics opens R&D and manufacturing hub in Toronto

Source: BetaKit

BlueRock Therapeutics, a developer of cell therapies for degenerative diseases, announced it is opening an R&D and manufacturing hub in Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District. The company is partnering with the University Health Network (UHN), and will focus on the development of cell therapies to regenerate heart muscle in heart attack and chronic heart failure patients.

“Our R&D model leverages collaborations with world-class stem cell and disease biology experts, and this UHN collaboration will allow us to work closely with leaders in the field to develop breakthrough cell therapies for patients suffering from heart failure.”

Canadian CIO IT budgets are turning towards innovation

Source: IT World Canada

IT World Canada’s 2017 CIO Census found that IT budgets are increasingly aimed at transforming and growing businesses. Entering digital ecosystems is allowing companies to have a greater reach, giving rise to new business, products and services.

“CIOs are benefiting from an increase in IT budgets that can then better serve innovation for that organization.”

The transportation transformation

Source: The Globe and Mail

While cities are looking to transition towards an urban transit system that offers integrated mobility, but it is an area in which progress has been limited in Canada, being faced with issues such as the regulatory environment and limited population density. However, transit systems are being developed in cities across the world and private companies are developing transit solutions, which will spare Canadian cities form having to invent solutions of their own.

“If the goal is to build sustainable communities and we say we will track modal share of sustainable urban mobility options, this is where I think we’ll achieve the right growth.”

New investments in research to help Manitoba dairy sector

Source: Agriculture and Agri-food Canada

The governments of Canada and Manitoba are partnering to expand diary scientific research with a $1.4 million investment. The funds will support the creation of a diary research facility at the University of Manitoba, and ensure that facilities meet industry standards. Manitoba’s dairy industry generates over $250 million in farm gate revenues.

“[This investment] will enable faculty and students to further their understanding of the dairy industry while contributing to the sustainability and advancement of Manitoba’s livestock sector.”

Government of Canada investment will help Atlantic rural businesses transition to low-carbon economy

Source: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Canadian government announced it will invest $4 million to support SMEs to adopt clean technologies in their transition to a low-carbon economy. Business will be offered capital to develop clean products, services and solutions, and to offer them across Canada and abroad.

“Canada’s expertise in clean technology is recognized around the world and is a promising area for growth.”

Despite e-commerce growth, shopping malls are seeing a resurgence

Source: Montreal Gazette

While e-commerce is growing and some traditional retailers are facing hardship, shopping malls are seeing a resurgence and mall owners in Montreal are investing in renovations and redevelopments. While e-commerce sales in Canada reached $34 billion in 2016, they still represent a small fraction of the more than $520 billion Canadians spent on retail purchase.

“You need brick and mortar, that’s why Amazon is opening brick and mortar, that’s why Frank and Oak are doing it too.”

Creating the conditions for Canada’s job creators to succeed globally

Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The minister of Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announced the creation of six Economic Strategy Tables representing six high-growth industries that will guide government efforts to promote long-term growth and innovation in each of those areas.

“The Economic Strategy Tables will set ambitious growth targets for Canadian innovators, identify sector-specific challenges that they face and create a roadmap to support their global success.”

Island Capital Partners launches $4 million early-stage investment fund for PEI startups

Source: BetaKit

With a $2 million commitment from the Prince Edward Island government as well as an additional $2 million from local investors, Island Capital Partners launched an early-stage investment fund that will focus on local high-growth potential startups. The fund follows the opening of the Startup Zone, a space that offers PEI startups with working space and mentorship.

“The launch of Island Capital Partners means that all four Atlantic provinces now have funds supported by provincial governments to provide early-stage financing to startups.”

Vancouver potential host city at FIFA 2026 World Cup

Source: Business in Vancouver

Vancouver is among 7 Canadian cities, and a total of 44 cities, that are potential hosts in the joint bid between Canada, United States, and Mexico, to host the FIFA 2026 World Cup. A short list of cities will be submitted next month, and an announcement by FIFA on who will host the event is scheduled for June 2018.

“Vancouver is a world-class host city that has successfully hosted many international sporting events including the 2010 Winter Olympics, the HSBC Rugby World Sevens Series and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

Trade experts agree Canada has plenty of leverage in NAFTA negotiations

Source: Vancouver Sun

Given the size difference between Canada and the United States, it may seem that Canada is in a position of dependence to thrive economically and that it needs NAFTA more than the United States. However, being the United States’ biggest customer, Canada may have more leverage in the NAFTA negotiations that are set to start on Wednesday.

“There are a lot of powerful interests, from companies to governors to mayors, who are going to be annoyed, to say the least, if access to the Canadian market gets curtailed in a significant way.”

Meet Calgary’s best kept tech secret

Source: Calgary Herald

Solium Capital, a Calgary-based software company, has survived and thrived in the city for more than two decades, expanding its portfolio of business internationally. Calgary provided the right elements and support for the company to grow.

“Having a Calgary-based software firm succeed on the international stage is a great example for other companies thinking about setting up shop here.”

Ensuring Canadian universities and researchers achieve science excellence with cutting-edge labs and equipment

Source: Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canadian government is investing more than $52 million in 220 new infrastructure projects in 51 universities across Canada. The funding, that will allow universities to attract top researchers and provide them with state-of-the-art research facilities, is being provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF).

“State-of-the-art equipment and facilities play a central role in ensuring the new generation of researchers can make breakthrough discoveries and fuel Canadian innovation.”

CIOs claiming leadership role in innovation and transformation


The recently published CanadianCIO Census found that CIOs are gaining importance and increasingly taking the helm in leading companies’ digital transformation processes. Business innovation is now one of the main priorities for CIOs as they gain seniority within their organizations and become increasingly involved in C-suite level discussions.

“Most Canadian CIOs expect the multi-year trend of increasing technology budgets for to hold: 57 per cent expect to see budget increases, with 11 per cent expecting an increase of more than 15 per cent or more.”

Toronto’s financial services sector gets a new champion

Source: The Globe and Mail

The new CEO for the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, Jennifer Reynolds, will look to promote Toronto’s financial services sector globally. The TFSA is a public-private partnership that aims to grow Toronto’s financial services sector.

“A lot of people don’t understand that we are the second largest in North America and the eighth largest in the world in terms of rankings of financial centres globally.”

Expanded programs will help boost Atlantic exports

Source: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Canadian government is supporting two export programs that aim to assist small and medium-sized Atlantic Canada companies export and diversify their markets. A total of $3 million is being offered through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency as part of the Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy.

“The Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy aims to double the number of exporters in the Atlantic region by 2025, raise the value of exports, increase the number of exporters selling to more than one market, and attract more foreign investment to the region.”

In rare move, Ottawa asks CRTC to reconsider rulings on investment in Canadian content

Source: The Globe and Mail

Following concerns raised by production groups on the potential decrease of spending requirements for original Canadian programs, the government has asked the federal broadcast regulator to reconsider how licenses affect investments on Canadian TV production. Last May, in the renewal of TV licenses, the regulator had decreased required spending on “programs of national interest.”

“It is important to have a strong cultural sector in the country.”

Western Canada will benefit from strategic investments in the aerospace and defence industry

Source: CNW

The Canadian government is offering more than $320,000 to support Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) activities through 2018. Funds are being provided through the Western Diversification Program, which invests alongside non-profit organizations that support the strengthening of the Western Canadian economy.

“Western Canada is responsible for 16 per cent of Canada’s aerospace manufacturing employment and 42 per cent of Canada’s aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul employment.”

Over half of Canadians use smartphones to make online purchases

Source: BetaKit

A survey published by StackAdapt found that 53% of Canadians have used a smartphone to make an online purchase. It also found that companies have to improve mobile browsing experiences as the majority of mobile consumers reported finding factors that prevented them from concluding a purchase.

“Mobile presents a tremendous opportunity for brands.”

Canadian VC investment tops $2.1 billion, best first half in 16 years

Source: Montreal in Technology

Following a first quarter that registered 115 venture capital transactions worth $804 million, the first semester of 2017 registered its most active period since 2001, with a total of $2.1 billion in investments. Average VC investment sizes increased by $8.9 million in the period.

“…the province of British Columbia more than doubled it’s investment levels from the year prior, with $614 million invested in the first half.”

Reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 could generate 20 million jobs

Source: Business in Vancouver

A study by the Columbia Institute found that up to 20 million direct and indirect jobs could be generated by 2050. A net-zero scenario cold generate almost 2 million direct non-residential building jobs, as well as an addition 2 million direct jobs for the construction of district energy systems, renewable energy sources, and urban transportation infrastructure.

“Meeting our climate goals is good for the planet and good for the economy and job creation.“

Springboard Atlantic and Invest Atlantic launch pilot program to bring more investment to Atlantic Canada

Source: BetaKit

A partnership between Springboard Atlantic and Invest Atlantic aims to attract $500,000 in angel investments to support early-stage Atlantic Canada startups. $104,000 is being provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the partnership will assemble the remainder of the investor group by targeting investors with links to the region.

“This is an ongoing need in the region where we see so many startups created and needing early-stage support to validate their opportunity, then solid investment to get the opportunity built and scaled.”

Battle to become one of 5 federal ‘superclusters’ attracts 50 competitors

Source: Canadian Press

The federal government has received more than 50 proposals as part of the first phase towards the creation of up to five government-designated technology ‘superclusters’. Following a review of the proposals, a short-list of approximately 12 applicants should be released in the coming weeks.

“Combined, the submitted proposals say they can bring in a total of $17 billion in private investment, even though they are asking for $10 billion in federal funding.”

Uber begins mapping in Metro Vancouver

Source: Business in Vancouver

In preparation to obtaining the provincial government’s green light to start offering ride-hailing services in British Columbia, Uber has announced it is starting to map the Metro Vancouver area. Mapping efforts will allow the company to have enhanced maps and to accurately predict estimated times of arrivals, match the closest available drivers with passengers, and determine the fastest driving routes.

“Over the past decade, mapping innovation has changed our daily life…That progress will only accelerate in the coming years especially with technologies like self-driving cars.”

Canada is top choice for US tech workers considering relocation due to Trump administration

Source: BetaKit

A report published by tech jobs marketplace Hired found that Canada is the preferred choice among tech workers that are looking to relocate away from the United States. Canada led, with 32% of respondents indicating it as their top choice, followed by Germany (12%), Asia (10%) and Australia (10%). The Canadian government has been responding to immigration concerns to the United States by facilitating access to visas for tech workers and allowing entrepreneurs to obtain permanent residency.

“Over the long term, these issues could very well have a negative impact on the US’ ability to stay competitive in the global tech economy.”

Memorial University applies genomics research to aquaculture industry innovation

Source: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The federal government and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a $3.5 million investment to support research to improve the health and welfare of cultured Atlantic salmon through genomic and biotechnology. Memorial University, in partnership with industry and academic partners, is researching the impact of climate-related challenges on salmon aquaculture.

“As a result of this project, Atlantic Canadian fish farmers will be able to expand their workforce and revenue and have more disease-resistant broodstock as well as new scientific tools to improve fish health.”

Canada’s biotech sector continues to build momentum with two large IPOs since March

Source: CNW

The IPOs for Clementia Pharmaceuticals and Zymeworks, which raised more than $200 million, are an indication of growing momentum of the Canadian biotech segment. Companies, universities and research centres in Canada have consistently produced science-backed innovation, which has been attracting interest from institutional investors and a growing pool of capital for the sector.

“If more Canadian companies emulate Zymeworks and Clementia utilizing public markets to raise large rounds to finance growth, we believe that Canada can create strong, innovation based companies with an opportunity to be leaders in the industry.”

Ontario Digital Service Lab at Communitech wants to help gov’t embrace digital services

Source: BetaKit

Unveiled by the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Digital Service Lab at Communitech will focus on improving the provincial digital offerings, making it easier for the public to interact with the government. The lab will take input from citizens and translate it into solutions in the next generation of products.

“For those challenges that do need digital innovations, the Lab has the in-house expertise to take the outputs of user research sessions and turn them into prototypes than we can quickly validate with real users in the Lab.”

B.C. home construction picks up, driven by buildings, condos, CMHC says

Source: Vancouver Sun

Contrary to expectations, the home construction segment in Canada registered growth in the month of July, driven primarily by construction activity in British Columbia and Alberta. The increase is a reflection of increased demand that was registered at the end of last year and into early 2017.

“Some of the momentum could potentially carry forward into the second half of the year before new home construction eases along with the existing home market next year.”

In the Trump era, are Canadian cities poised for success?

Source: Curbed

The Trump administration’s immigration policies represent an opportunity to attract tech talent to Canada, but other factors are also attracting immigrants, particularly a focused pro-urban policy by all levels of government that is contributing towards economic growth and private sector investments in urban projects across the country.

“We don’t separate citymaking from economic development…Smart citymaking is the bedrock of economic development.”

Amazon on verge of closing two major office leases in Vancouver and Toronto

Source: Vancouver Sun is planning to increase its footprint in the cities of Vancouver and Toronto, a sign of its growing presence in the Canadian marketplace. The company is said to be in negotiations with real estate companies to close lease agreements in the cities.

“Amazon’s presence is already huge in Canada, beyond its two latest pending office transactions. The company has 2.2 million square feet of fulfillment centre space in Toronto and 741,000 in Vancouver.”

Supporting the next generation of Halifax start-ups

Source: Dalhouse University News Dalhouse University innovation sandbox ShiftKey Labs is hosting 7 early-stage startup teams from the Faculty of Computer Science that are developing products with business potential. The three-month bootcamp will culminate in final presentations, with the most promising projects sharing a $50,000 prize.

“Through mentorship, innovation-focused workshops and collaborative workspace, we are supporting the next generation of Halifax start-ups get off the ground.”

Experts predict dramatic Alberta recovery

Source: Journal of Commerce

The minister of economic development and trade for Alberta issued a press release highlighting experts’ predictions that Alberta will experience economic growth in the near future. GDP growth for 2017 is expected to reach 2.9%, followed by 2.4% in 2018.

“Some of Canada’s most respected economic experts are forecasting that Alberta will lead the country in economic growth for the next two years.”

Sustainable forestry initiative opens request for proposals: seeks new partners for conservation and community projects in the U.S. and Canada

Source: CNW

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) announced it is accepting proposals to partner with and offer grants to support conservation-related initiatives for SFI-certified forestlands, and that are working in sustainable forestry and responsible procurement.

“For SFI Conservation Grant applications…Particular attention will be paid to applications focused on conservation values in the areas of water, climate change (including both carbon attributes and forest resiliency), and biodiversity.”

Calgary should embrace the culture of innovation

Source: Calgary Herald

Calgary has been known for being a welcoming city for refugees and other migrants alike. The welcoming spirit, combined with the city’s entrepreneurial, could offer the opportunity for it to declare itself a sanctuary city for entrepreneurs and attract migrants with a similar spirit and an intent to start new businesses in the city.

“Calgary already has a strong foundation of entrepreneurship. Why not embrace that fact, continue to build the infrastructure that supports intelligent risk-taking of all kinds, and celebrate the city as a Canadian and global sanctuary for entrepreneurs?”

SNC-Lavalin targets Canadian projects despite Trump’s audacious spending plans

Source: Montreal Gazette

In spite of aggressive spending plans by the United States, SNC-Lavalin is focusing on Canadian projects and Prime Minister Trudeau’s pledge to invest $120 billion on infrastructure over the next 12 years. In the short term, Canada is viewed as being more attractive and ahead by 2 to 3 years of the United States, whose plans are “still to be confirmed.”

“SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is bidding on projects such as light-rail lines in Ottawa and Toronto and a $6 billion rapid-transit system for Montreal.”

Investments made in Ontario will lead to cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technologies

Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Canadian government announced it is investing $15.5 million to support six Ontario-based companies that are developing clean tech innovations for the electric vehicle, plastic recycling, construction and farming sectors. Projects will be funded through Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which supports bringing early-stage clean technologies to market.

“To help clean technology firms grow, the Innovation and Skills Plan includes investments of nearly $1.4 billion in new financing on a cash basis, starting in 2017–18.”



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