28th June 2011

STIC Report Says Canada Needs To Deploy Talent

Science Technology & Innovation CouncilA major report released today by Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) says that harnessing an excellent talent pool is the key to lifting Canada into the top tier of innovation leaders.

State of the Nation 2010: Imagination to Innovation – the second public report from STIC – charts progress from a baseline set in 2008 and compares Canadian performance to global science, technology and innovation leaders. The report also proposes a core list of 20 indicators for future monitoring. The list covers talent, science and technology and other innovation indicators.State of the Nation 2010 Imagination Innovation

The report shows that Canada’s strengths are a strong talent pool and a robust public research capacity. Its two main challenges are to increase private sector investment in innovation and to improve Canada’s capacity to transfer knowledge into the marketplace. State of the Nation 2010: Imagination to Innovation shows that Canada is settling in as a mid-level player despite having an excellent talent pool.

Canadian talent and Canada’s funding for R&D and higher education research continues to rank near the top; young Canadians excel in science, math and reading; Canada is attracting international talent, and innovative excellence can be found in virtually every region and economic sector.

Our challenges include reversing the trend of Canadian industry investing less in R&D than our key global competitors.  Despite some real Canadian success stories, low levels of collaboration among companies and between companies and researchers in universities, colleges and government laboratories continue to limit our business potential.

A less innovative economy results in fewer ideas transferred into the marketplace, lower productivity rates and less economic and social benefits for Canadians.

Canada has strong public research capacity

  • Canada ranks # 1 in the G7 in terms of research and development performed by the higher education sector (HERD), as a percentage of GDP.
  • Canada has a strong international reputation and is attracting new talent.

Canada’s talent pool is holding its own

  • Our young people continue to outperform most countries in reading, math and science.
  • Among economically advanced countries, Canada has had one of the highest growth rates in university graduates in science and engineering, especially at the doctoral level.
  • Canadian universities rank well in lists of the world’s top institutions.

Canada must increase investment in innovation

  • Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD), as a percentage of GDP lags behind the G7 and other leading innovators. It declined from 2006-08.
  • 8 out of 16 Canadian industry sectors had lower R&D intensity (BERD) than the OECD average.
  • Over the 2000-07 period, machinery and equipment investment was less than 75% of US levels and ICT investment was less than half US levels.
  • Although Canada is a global leader in indirect support for industry R&D (through tax credits), it ranks low in terms of direct support for business R&D.

Canada must strengthen knowledge transfer

  • Business financing of R&D performed by universities has grown substantially but knowledge transfer indicators such as contract research, licence applications and spin-off companies could be better measured to benchmark future performance.
  • In 2009, venture capital to support small companies was the lowest since 1996 ranking 7th in OECD with lower rates of return than US.
  • Canada must measure collaboration between private and public sector.
  • Fostering research collaboration between the public and private sectors will help ensure that Canada’s world-class public research can be successfully translated into benefits for Canadians.

STIC members span business, academia and government.  Members said the following about the State of the Nation 2010 report:

“Canada’s biggest opportunity lies in our excellent talent pool. We score very highly in a number of education related indicators. The challenge is how companies and government can deploy and empower our people so we can win in the knowledge economy.” – Dr. Howard Alper, Chair of STIC. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th June 2011

The Mobile Giving Foundation Canada Partners with Videotron

mobile giving foundationThe Mobile Giving Foundation Canada (MGFC), in collaboration with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), is pleased to announce a new partnership with Videotron that will offer customers of the wireless carrier the opportunity to support registered charities through text-to-donate initiatives. Videotron customers can now respond to a registered charity’s call-to-action by texting a specific keyword to an assigned five-digit number to donate either $5 or $10, depending on the type of campaign. The amount donated by text will be charged to the donor’s wireless phone bill, and is billed as a tax-exempt transaction. The carrier then remits 100% of the funds collected from mobile donations to the MGFC, who in turn remits 100% of this amount directly to the registered charity. Donors can also obtain official receipts for tax purposes by contacting support.

“Videotron is very pleased that this partnership can end up helping so many causes and so many Canadians,” declared Videotron’s Mobile Marketing and Product Development General Manager, Marie Ginette Lepage. “We today live a life of choices, and with these kinds of partnerships, we are able to offer support, as well as touch and help so many people.”

“On behalf of the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada, I extend our appreciation to Videotron for their efforts in providing this new mobile channel for their customers to support their favourite causes,” said Bernard Lord, MGFC Chair and CWTA President. “Canadians have overwhelmingly embraced the power of mobile giving, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for more than 100 registered charities in the past year alone.”

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28th June 2011

Request For Expressions Of Interest For Waterfront Cultural and Animation Strategy

Toronto WaterfrontWaterfront Toronto is interested in hearing from firms, cultural groups, creative industries and festival organizers with proposals to bring diverse, vibrant forms of culture and animation to Toronto’s waterfront.

A Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI #2011-09: Waterfront Cultural and Animation Strategy) was recently issued to solicit submissions to animate the wide range of opportunity for office and gallery uses, museums, public art, performing arts centres, cultural centres and festivals on Toronto’s waterfront.

Culture, the arts and tourism play key roles in the transformation of Toronto’s waterfront. With revitalization efforts well underway and private sector partners on board in the East Bayfront and West Don Lands, Waterfront Toronto is in a position to implement its cultural, tourism and animation strategy in the new waterfront communities.

In 2006, Waterfront Toronto commissioned a Cultural and Animation Strategy for the East Bayfront with a series of recommendations for cultural and animation uses for the revitalized waterfront.  The REOI is the next step towards waterfront animation.

Waterfront Toronto would like to hear from interested groups who have the experience, vision and financial capacity to animate cultural and tourism spaces on Toronto’s waterfront.

“Part of our mandate has always been to animate Toronto’s waterfront and create a premier destination for residents and visitors alike,” said John Campbell, Waterfront Toronto President and CEO. “We are now looking for inspiration, great creativity and purposeful action to implement this key revitalization objective.”

East Bayfront and West Don Lands will offer unprecedented cultural and commercial animation opportunities across a variety of spaces including ground floor retail, mezzanine, multi-floor and stand-alone spaces.

East Bayfront will be defined by its architectural design excellence, its direct access to Lake Ontario and signature parks and public spaces. The area is already home to the new headquarters of Corus Entertainment, the popular Canada’s Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common and future home to mixed-use projects by The Great Gulf Group of Companies and Hines.

The West Don Lands will be one of Toronto’s next great neighbourhoods; a people focused community, environmentally sustainable and beautifully designed for urban living. First phase development is underway with Urban Capital’s River City project while the build-out of the entire area is being accelerated by the delivery of the Athletes’ Village for the 2015 Toronto Pan/Parapan American Games.  Following the Games, the Athletes’ Village will become the heart of this new community.

“Our goal is to create a ‘quality of place’ for Toronto’s waterfront that will rival anywhere in the world,” said Campbell. “We are creating a legacy of beautiful, vibrant, sustainable neighbourhoods that reconnect Toronto with its waterfront.”

Interested firms are invited to submit their proposals by Friday, July 29th before 4:00 p.m. ET. Proposals should include concept and vision, experience and qualifications, target audience and expected visitors, and space requirements and location. A supporting business plan for capital and operating costs must also be submitted since Waterfront Toronto is not in a position to provide capital or operating subsidies.

The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization.

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28th June 2011

Absolute Software Announces New Board Member

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute® Software Corporation has announced the appointment of Daniel P. Ryan to Absolute’s Board of Directors, effective June 27, 2011.

“Absolute is at the center of the convergence of endpoint security and endpoint management,” said Mr. Ryan. “This is an exciting time to be in this industry, and Absolute is bringing to market some innovative solutions to help organizations solve the challenge of securely managing mobility.”

Mr. Ryan is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience in the technology sector. He has Daniel Ryanheld senior roles in business development, sales, marketing and product strategy, and is currently the “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” with Split Rock Partners, a U.S.-based technology and healthcare venture capital firm. Prior to joining Split Rock, Mr. Ryan served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Board for Pareto Networks, a leader in cloud-based networking, which he helped position for sale to Aerohive Networks in 2011. Mr. Ryan has also served as Executive Vice President and General Manager for McAfee’s Network Security Unit, joining McAfee in 2008 when it acquired Secure Computing where he was Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Board. Before Secure Computing, Mr. Ryan was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Content Management at Oracle, following its 2006 acquisition of Stellent where he was Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Minnesota.

“We are very pleased to have a person of Dan’s caliber join Absolute’s Board of Directors,” said John Livingston, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Absolute Software. “Dan’s extensive industry experience, eye for technology leadership, merger and acquisition background and deep understanding of the trends driving our growth will be valuable assets as we continue to strengthen Absolute’s position as a global leader in endpoint security and management.”

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27th June 2011

Government of Canada and SFU Strengthen Relationships with India

Government of CanadaA $302,525 federal investment will support Simon Fraser University (SFU) in delivering the BC-India Innovation, Exchange and Mobility Initiative. The project will facilitate partnerships between the two regions that will lead to collaborative research, trade and investment activities.

“Investments like this are crucial to strengthening Canada’s international linkages, promoting our educational institutions, and helping maintain British Columbia as the ideal place to invest,” said the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD). “Today is an important step toward creating economic opportunities, while increasing Western Canada’s international visibility and reputation.”

Over two years, SFU students will be placed within Indian organizations, Indian professionals will visit B.C. and sector-focused workshops will be hosted in both B.C. and India. The clean energy, health and life sciences, and new media/film sectors will be targeted.

“Undergraduate and graduate students benefit tremendously from work terms in India. This program will elevate SFU’s efforts to connect companies and organizations in India and Canada by means of exchanges as well as Indian visitors and workshops,” said SFU president Andrew Petter. “Through this funding support and that of our India Advisory Council, SFU is well-placed to play a major role in India’s declared Decade of Innovation.”

India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is projected to be the world’s third largest economy by 2050. WD and SFU see this as a fitting time to undertake activities that capitalize on the emerging opportunities India presents.

With eight faculties across three campuses in Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey, Simon Fraser University currently has more than 30,000 students, 110,000 alumni, and over 900 full-time faculty members. Student-centered, research-driven, and community engaged, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive university. In 2006, SFU was the first Canadian university to launch an India Strategy which has its secretariat at SFU Surrey and is guided by an India Advisory Council comprised of leading community and business leaders.

WD works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.

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27th June 2011

Cogeco Cable Acquires Quiettouch Inc

cogecoCogeco Cable Inc. has reached a definitive agreement to acquire all of the shares of Quiettouch Inc., an independent provider of outsourced managed IT and infrastructure services to mid-market and larger enterprises in Canada.

Quiettouch offers a full suite of differentiated services that allow customers to outsource their mission-critical IT infrastructure and application requirements, including managed infrastructure and hosting, virtualization, firewall services, data backup with end-to-end monitoring and reporting, and enhanced and traditional colocation services. Quiettouch operates three data centres in Toronto and Vancouver, as well as a fibre network within key business areas of downtown Toronto.

“We’re thrilled to announce this acquisition. It is in line with our strategy of developing the business market. It also demonstrates our willingness to seize upon external growth opportunities in our Canadian footprint when they arise,” said Louis Audet, President and CEO, Cogeco Cable. “This acquisition will enable us to widen our market focus and better serve the medium and large business market. Quiettouch is very well positioned in the managed IT and infrastructure services market and provides tremendous growth potential in the foreseeable future.”

“We’re pleased with this transaction. Cogeco Cable is a well-respected and a well positioned company in the telecommunications industry,” said Dave Templeton, President, Quiettouch. “We feel strongly that this transaction will also create added value for our customers, employees and management, who will benefit from Cogeco Cable’s expertise and market knowledge.”

The transaction will close once certain arrangements and commercial approvals are obtained. Cheverny Capital was Cogeco Cable’s advisor for this proposed transaction.

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27th June 2011

Looking For The Top 50 Best Managed Canadian Companies

50 Best Managed CompaniesToday marks the official launch of the call for applications for Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies program 2011. Now in its 19th year, the nationwide search continues for companies who are demonstrating the power of being the best through their business excellence, calibre of management abilities and practices.

The Best Managed designation is an emblem of excellence and a source of pride for private companies. Canadian-owned and managed private companies and public companies with fewer than 50% of their shares or units traded with revenues over $10 million are invited to submit their Phase One application towards earning one of the country’s premier business awards.

“We’ve been committed to fostering the success of Canadian companies since 1993 and today we call on businesses that embody the hallmarks of excellence to be recognized,” said John Hughes, partner, Private Company Services, Deloitte, and national leader of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies program. “We invite companies to apply and discover the power of the best, and continue to raise the profile of the great work being done by private companies.”

A rewarding experience, the application process delivers insights which further strengthen companies’ business models. It is an opportunity for companies to re-examine their processes, reenergize the organization, and look for new opportunities. Overall, the program provides participants with an exceptional opportunity to gain knowledge from some of Canada’s top business leaders.

New this year, the program has added a Gold Standard designation for companies that have maintained their designation after three consecutive years and demonstrated a commitment to the program, creating a four-tier award program:

  • Best Managed winner: first time winners
  • Requalified member: repeat winners retaining designation for two years
  • Gold Standard winner: designation maintained after three consecutive years
  • Platinum Club member: designation maintained for a minimum of six consecutive years

The deadline for Phase One applications is 5:00 p.m. EST on September 23, 2011 and winners will be announced February 2012. Recognition of this great achievement will take place March 27, 2012 during an evening of celebration at Canada’s 50 Best Managed gala.

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27th June 2011

CakeDeals Helps Users Navigate the Daily Deal Industry

cakedealsIn Vancouver there are now over 40 businesses that offer special ‘group’ or ‘daily’ deals, popularized by Chicago-based startup Groupon. As Groupon moves towards filing for an IPO, competition has sprung up considerably. The army of so-called “Groupon Clones” march forward, replicating the attractive business model. Canadian start-up company CakeDeals is attempting to help users navigate the many deal vendors that have materialized through its web portal and its brand new iPhone application.

Hunters for deals need solutions like CakeDeals, as sifting through deal after deal has become unbearable. However, the benefit in convenience is also gained by the many “Groupon Clones” that have appeared. New deal vendors are increasingly attempting to pull themselves ahead and move forward in competing against the online coupon giants, Groupon and Living Social.

“New deal sites approach us every day. They work hard to negotiate great group deals for customers,” said Sam Lin, COO and Accounts Director of CakeDealsMany of them are trying to shake off the stereotype of just being labeled as a ‘Groupon Clone.'”

CakeDeals CEO, Simon Wong added that “we’re trying to provide as many channels and methods as possible for end-users to view and track these coupons. We want to save people time.”

Deal aggregators such as CakeDeals allow smaller vendors to compete alongside the giants. The site automatically curates a list of the active deals in a city from various partner vendors. It also provides a view optimized for mobile phones, as well as a free iPhone application via the Apple iTunes store.

Hunting for any type of deal in general can be time-consuming, and any new tool to aid in the search will certainly be welcomed. As the daily deal industry continues to expand at a rapid rate, customers will continue to turn towards deal aggregators to precisely navigate towards the deal that they are looking for.

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27th June 2011

Just For Laughs Reverses Canada’s Trade Deficit With China

Just For LaughsJune Jiang Kun and Mark ‘Dashan’ Rowswell team up in the ground-breaking television special, the Chinese Comedy & Variety Show, in Mandarin with English subtitles, filmed at the Toronto Just For Laughs Festival. The English-subtitled version will air on OMNI. 2 and OMNI British Columbia, Sunday July 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM. The 90-minute special premiered on OMNI Television February 6th, to coincide with Chinese New Year, and following that was seen by millions in China when it aired on April 22 and 23 on Chinese network CCTV3.

Jiang Kun, China’s biggest comedy superstar brings his full Quyi Performing Arts Group to Just For Laughs Toronto for a live show that defies description. His comedy partner, and host of the television special, is Canadian ‘Dashan’, who has been called “the most famous foreigner in China.”

Just For Laughs’ own Chairman Mao, Andy Nulman said, “we’re thrilled that this risky undertaking proved to be hilarious, and we’re hoping to help out the Western world’s economy by selling something TO China, for a change. I always thought Mandarin sounded funny, but now I know it does. Now that we know we got great ratings in China, with about 30 to 40 million viewers tuning in, I will do my best to convince the Canadian government not to invade their nation.”

The on-stage performances feature a hilarious mix of comedy and variety; acts include spoken-word comedy, the three M’s of variety: music, magic, mime and the wildly popular Aerfa (the Justin Bieber of China).

Jiang Kun is without question the biggest comedy star in the world given the number of fans he has, as his comedy specials regularly rate in the multiple-hundreds of millions with the Chinese audiences. Dashan, AKA Mark Rowswell, has worked in China as a performer, television host and cultural ambassador for over 20 years. A Canadian, he studied Chinese at Beijing University, and a chance television appearance jump-started his comedy career, gradually turning “Dashan” into a household name across China.

Filmed as part of the Toronto Just For Laughs Festival, this is the second television project of Just For Laughs in a third language (other than the two official Canadian languages). Last year’s Just For Laughs Hinglish started the initiative, in Hindi. In collaboration with OMNI Television, it’s our mission to bring laughter to Canadians from a wide range of ethnic communities, and comedy fans around the world… no matter what language they speak.

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27th June 2011

Info-Tech Chooses American Companies As Champions

Info-TechA recent Vendor Landscape report evaluating dedicated Secure Socket Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) appliances published by the Ontario-based Info-Tech Research Group ranked WatchGuard, SonicWALL and Barracuda as Champions in the space. All three vendors were recognized for offering significant value for money.

“As workers become more and more mobile, SSL VPN is becoming a de facto requirement for every enterprise,” said James Quin, Lead Research Analyst for Info-Tech Research Group. “SSL VPN is critical for organizations that employ remote or mobile workers or aim to increase productivity by providing 24×7 corporate network access.”

According to Info-Tech Research Group, organizations looking to purchase a dedicated appliance based SSL VPN solution will get best value for money by selecting any of the three Champions in the report. WatchGuard received the “Best Overall Value Award” with SonicWALL trailing by just one point. Both earned high marks because of their rock bottom pricing along with broad feature sets. Barracuda Networks narrowly missed finishing in the top two spots on the Value Index. Their solution is also available at a great price, but offers less functionality for now. Mobile device support is not currently available with Barracuda Networks, but the vendor has plans for its availability in an upcoming release.

Array Networks and Juniper Networks are “Innovators” in the SSL VPN market according to the report. Their products both scored exceptionally well in the evaluation and as their presence in the market grows, both are poised to become Champions in the space.

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