CanadianSME Small Business Magazine November 2022 Edition

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CANADIANSME Empowering Canadian Small & Medium Businesses


Banking Partner

Helping Startups Build Their Digital Future Page - 27

The Top 10 Most Innovative Manufacturing Companies In Canada Page - 22

Canadian Manufacturing: A Global Perspective

Page - 16 Xero's Latest Integrations Make It Easier Than Ever To Manage Your Business

Page - 25 All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in this magazine are the property of their respective owners.

Shipping Partner

Accounting Software Partner



Entries for the awards are open




We are proud to present our latest publication with the most insightful articles and insights! We strive to be Canada’s top magazine, providing exclusive insights, strategies, and advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Our mission is to include the best of inclusive interviews and top business insights from reputable industry experts. Our team works very hard to deliver the most valuable content to our readers to ensure that you stay up to date on all the latest business trends. Empowering small and medium-sized businesses is our prime goal. This month, CanadianSME is focused on Manufacturing in Canada. In this issue, we have featured new trends in the manufacturing industry, innovation in manufacturing, exploring technology in manufacturing and Govt initiatives related to it. This issue will also feature interviews and specialist advice from industry experts. Get “The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Surviving Payroll Year-End” by Wagepoint; Learn “How DirectPay and Clik2Pay help Small Businesses” by Xero Canada; “How CDW Is Helping Startups Use Technology to Grow, Optimize and Secure Their Operations”; “The key to focusing on your business? Keeping your payroll precise” by National Payroll Institute. And read our exclusive interviews such as TELUS Health Virtual Care; Access to care within minutes, with Roee Ben-Eli, Director of Strategic Programs at TELUS Health Virtual Care; CDW helps startups Digitally Transform their operations with Kale Johnson, Senior Sales Manager at CDW Canada and Potential Solutions to the rising Stress and Poor Mental Health Scores with Paula Allen, Senior Vice-President at LifeWorks. The CanadianSME Business Awards is designed to recognize and applaud the contribution that small business owners provide to Canada’s economy. Because the SME industry plays such a crucial role in Canada’s economy, we want to provide our support and recognition to the entrepreneurs who work hard in making their small businesses a success. Our nominations for the annual CanadianSME National Business Awards 2022 have opened. We are delighted to continue to serve the business community and bring recognition to small and medium-sized businesses from across the country. Follow us on our social media for more information. Don't forget to subscribe to our magazine to get the latest trends and stay up to date on our events. canadiansme canadian_sme canadiansme canadiansme

Editor & Publisher Shaik Khaleeluddin (SK) Consulting Editor Shiraz Siddique Creative Design Cmarketing Inc Client Manager Maheen Bari Social Media Cmarketing Inc Sales Abdul Sultan Shaik Photography Deposit Photos Web Cmarketing Inc

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All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in this magazine are the property of their respective owners.

The contents in CanadianSME Magazine are for informational purposes only. Neither Cmarketing Inc, the publishers nor any of its partners, employees or affiliates accept any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of its contents.

IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme small business magazine

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Current Retention of Marketing & Tech Roles


Top Government Initiatives for SMEs in Canada


Sourcing International Solutions to the Housing Crisis


Solving the issue of high shipping costs that lead to online shopping cart abandonment


Kale Johnson



4 Tips to Help Business Owners Set & Adhere to Strict Budgets for Long-Term Projects


CDW Canada: Helping Startups Build Their Digital Future

Senior Sales Manager at CDW Canada

Small Businesses Have a Big Impact Supporting Tomorrow’s Innovators Today

The key to focusing on your business? Keeping your payroll precise Finding Happiness in Your Career Choosing the right career path in business and life

IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme Small Business Magazine


Flow Beverage Corp's CEO on their recent partnership with the TSC New York City Marathon


The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Surviving Payroll Year-End

68 Helcim Making Xero Customers Smile As They Tackle Rising Costs With Affordable Payments Marjorie Juno-Reid Chief Financial Officer at Helcim


Canadian Manufacturing: A Global Perspective

IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme Small Business Magazine




The Paris Jewellers Diamonds: The First LabCreated Collection of its Kind

Mental Health Support In The Workplace: What Gaps Need To Be Addressed?



Business Woman of the Month:

Marilyne Bouchard

Xero's Latest Integrations Make It Easier Than Ever To Manage Your Business

How CDW Is Helping Startups Use Technology to Grow, Optimize and Secure Their Operations

News Clik2pay relaunches Clik2pay mobile app for small business PAYMENTS

CMA names Alison Simpson new president and CEO

Small businesses are being hurt by inflation just like everyone else,” said Mike Bradley, Founder and CEO of Clik2pay. “Clik2pay offers businesses a way to save costs at a time when everything else is getting more expensive. In addition to the cost savings, businesses can reach more customers with Clik2pay – including those who don’t have credit cards.

Visa Canada and RBC announce collaboration to expand flexible financing options in Canada with installment plans


The marketing industry is incredibly dynamic and experiencing unparalleled change,” said Simpson. “I am thrilled that the directors have placed their confidence in me to lead the CMA’s talented team at this pivotal time. I look forward to seizing every opportunity to help marketers develop professionally, contribute to marketing thought leadership, build strong networks, and strengthen the regulatory climate for business success.


Our collaboration with RBC is about enabling eligible Canadian cardholders and participating merchants to take part in the growing installments trend, delivering a more flexible payment experience within the familiarity of a Visa transaction process,” said Brian Weiner, Vice-President and head of product and digital, Visa Canada.

Shopify Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM) Global Study 2022 Factsheet Canada SMALLBUSINESS

Canadian consumers are cautious about spending due to uncertainty of the cost of living crisis, with more than three in four (76%) saying they have reduced their disposable spending in the past couple of months. That increases to 80% among those aged 35-44, who are likely facing dual pressure of slow wage growth and increasing expenditures.

News Xero announces CEO succession, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy appointed ACCOUNTING

Xero Chair David Thodey commented: “As Xero continues to focus on achieving our global ambitions, weʼre delighted to appoint someone of Sukhinderʼs calibre as CEO to lead Xero through our next phase of growth.

FedEx Survey: Canadians Gearing Up to be Savvy Shoppers This Holiday Season TRANSPORTATION & E-COMMERCE

Canadians are gearing up for a busy holiday season by being

smarter online shoppers, leveraging digital solutions that empower them to take ownership of their shopping experience,” said Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada. “Like every holiday season at FedEx, we’re ready to deliver on Canadians’ shipping needs, so they can focus on what matters most.

Supporting Tomorrow’s Innovators Today

Senior Vice President, Desjardins Agents Network Throughout the pandemic, small business owners have demonstrated their resilience when it comes to managing the unknown, especially as we head into a looming recession. They have adapted to the

Throughout the pandemic, Canadians looked to entrepreneurs to see how they were able to adapt while continuing to provide essential goods and services. It’s that same innovative thinking that will serve us now, as these entrepreneurs continue to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that will come during unpredictable times ahead.

needs of their communities and delivered innovative solutions in the most

I'm so proud that Desjardins has brought back the GoodSpark Grants for a third consecutive year,

unpredictable moments. But as much as we rely on small businesses to help our communities thrive, they need our support

committing another $3 million to help entrepreneurs drive innovation, promote sustainability, and create jobs, enriching the lives and the communities where they live


and work.

While the disruptions caused by the

In my role, I work alongside more than 2,000 independent

pandemic are mostly behind us, the

enterprises that form the backbone of our society are now facing a whole new set of challenges — labour shortages, supply chain issues and inflation chief among them.

According to Industry Canada, roughly 98% of Canadian companies are small businesses, employing almost two thirds of Canadians. And more than half of those workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 20 employees. There’s a huge potential for impact. These businesses do more than just provide employment, they are neighbourhood hubs where people come together, find things they need, or just spend time engaging over coffee. They are the pillars of our communities and what makes every neighbourhood in every city unique and special.

insurance agents and licensed team members. Our Desjardins Agents are small business owners themselves, and I'm fortunate to be able to hear from them about the challenges they face and the impact their businesses have in their communities. I've also seen how programs like the Desjardins

GoodSpark Grants have helped entrepreneurs give back to their communities. Companies like Greenii, which developed new methods to turn clean paper waste into original gift bags and packaging, or smartARM Robotics, which is innovating 3D printing to make bionic limbs cheaper and more accessible, or Shade of Miti, which is promoting food and climate justice through sustainable farming. They and many others have inspired a group of up-andcoming entrepreneurs to create their own future, to use their agility and creativity to solve every new challenge as it rises, and to find opportunity in the most unlikely places. So just as they have continued to be there for us, entrepreneurs will need our support now more than ever. We can't predict exactly what will come tomorrow, but we can be sure that small businesses will be there and have a big role to play.

Marketing & Tech Roles With many experiencing a rise in their costs of living, long-

The participants of this survey are from

Great Resignation”. To learn more about how companies have been affected and how they are pivoting to increase employee retention in digital marketing and tech roles, Jelly Academy ran a survey, sponsored by Innovate BC, to obtain data from 2,000+ participants across Canada.

many others. They were asked about the retention of employees in digital roles, what they are actively doing to hire for digital roles, which tactics are being implemented to retain employees in these roles, and how remote or hybrid options are affecting team culture.

lasting job dissatisfaction, and changing safety standards, many Canadians are leaving their jobs for other opportunities. This period, beginning early in 2021, has been dubbed “The

Jelly Academy is a digital marketing school that relies heavily on listening to hiring managers and industry experts in order to shape our curriculum. As a school, we work hard to stay on top of industry trends in order to determine what skills and credentials are needed for people to land digital marketing roles. Conversely, as Jelly Digital Marketing, the agency, it is also important to us to know what it takes to retain people in digital marketing and tech roles.

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Canada’s main industries including Marketing, Financial Services, Transportation, Food and Beverage, and

Technology A main takeaway from our study is that the majority of Canadian companies, as represented within this sample size, are currently experiencing a downward trend in employee retention for digital-

focused marketing and tech roles. While a high percentage of participants cited workplace morale and culture as a reasoning for employee departure, nearly half of respondents admitted that they do not emphasize this within their businesses. This study guided Jelly Academy to provide insightful recommendations in order to promote employee retention in digital roles. It also highlights the shortcomings of small and large organizations when it comes to proactively hiring and retaining

diverse employees in digital roles. Management teams within

businesses throughout Canada now have the opportunity to use these results to inform strategies that

In order to retain employees in digital roles and attempt to

reduce the effects of The Great Resignation, there needs to be greater resources available for employees to be able to continually progress their skills. Employers should also work to strengthen their methods of diverse employee hiring and retention, in order to promote a well-rounded workplace

environment. By encouraging employees in digital roles to always be working toward a greater goal, employees are more likely to extend their time with an organization as they remain challenged and invested in their future.

contribute to an overall more attractive working experience for employees in digital roles.

To learn more about the key findings and recommendations by Jelly Academy, read the study here.

Darian Kovacs is the Indigenous founder of Vancouver based SEO company Jelly Digital Marketing & PR and digital marketing school, Jelly Academy. He is the host of the podcast Marketing News Canada, he is a contributing writer for the Globe & Mail, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Canadian Business Quarterly, Future Economy and is on the board of NPower Canada. He was recently nominated by SME Magazine as Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year. Darian lives in Fort Langley, BC with his wife and four children and likes to mountain bike, watercolour and read in his free time.

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Canadian Manufacturing: A Global Perspective

Since the pandemic, the manufacturing industry in Canada has had to make some drastic shifts to keep up with the new demand, and the backlog of consumer wants, but technology has also shifted substantially to facilitate teleworking, and numerous other innovations that made their debut. Manufacturing in Canada was due for an overhaul, especially with the direction implications Covid had on our industry. The restrictions resulting from the pandemic affected 85.2% of manufacturing plants, combined with flooding in B.C. which further affected 28.1%, and the following protests against the health measures, which affected an additional 17.7%. Canadian manufacturers need to reorganize and re-establish themselves, as leading into the last 2 years the entire manufacturing sector has seen a record jump in sales, their highest point to date in all of 2022. Despite the highest level of recorded manufacturing sales in North America, the industry is not out of the woods yet.

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Manufacturer There are still numerous shortages caused by global supply chain issues which are impacting the industry mainly dealing with computer components. Despite these upsets that everyone is aware of, the pandemic has forced manufacturers to revitalize how they function to prevent or offset any production disruptions like this in the future. In the interim, these new developments may be slow to become integrated, but as they do, production will slowly return to normal. While this is happening, prices for manufactured goods have skyrocketed due to market demand, and shortages of supply.

This entire process reduces the costs and prices of goods and services, making consumers feel more economically wealthy resulting in them spending more which in turn would lead

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, because of the pandemic, manufacturers had forecasted that more than half of their operations would be impacted. Considering that, the main focuses that the manufacturing industry should prioritize are 3D printing and mechanization technologies. This will allow them to be more flexible, scalable, and automated which will not only facilitate dealing with

to the creation of more jobs. Overall, it's beneficial and a total counterpoint to the argument that automation will put people out of work. Now, discussing the introduction of automation without at least touching on how employees can be kept on in your workforce would be

more efficient with the introduction of AI-driven production but increase the skillsets of the people who previously handled the manual

manufacturing sense does not mean that you need to fire

potential future situations like another pandemic but also simply render current manufacturing practices more streamlined. This industry relies heavily on hands-on human labour, which would not only be rendered

process of manufacturing. Contrary to the common belief that this would in fact create job losses, it would not only do the opposite but

increasing productivity means a higher quality of sustained business growth. Simple economics state that if you increase your capability to

create higher quality goods at a more sustainable rate while lessening the chance of production disruption then consumers will purchase more.

irresponsible, and this is where re-education comes in. Automation of processes in a

employees, in fact, it actually means that you can then offer your employees classes and opportunities to fit into their new environment and pivot from their old position to a newer, often much more

interesting and lucrative role is now needed. Not only will these

kinds of initiatives improve your productivity and increase profits, but it allows you to revitalize your workforce, further improving productivity by offering much more mentally stimulating positions to employees and keeping them from venturing towards employee fatigue, or boredom.

Manufacturer This change of focus will only help in driving up sales, and subsequently, as local manufacturers begin to implement these new measures to revitalize their industry, costs will drop, which will only increase profits, at least in the interim, until the retail value of goods begins to match the production value. At the moment, the sales increase rose to

The improvements in productivity and efficiency are not only beneficial to the manufacturing industry in order to compete on the global stage, which has gotten markedly smaller as previously mentioned, but the

initiatives will need an influx of modern technology to not only keep their industries competitive but also profitable for all those involved. This also means keeping the

outdated equipment with newer, more efficient, and cleaner versions, but the end result will be the same: greater

27.8% which as mentioned earlier comes on the back of the largest decline in almost a decade in the manufacturing industry which has been steadily increasing since about 2015. Even according to the Canadian Government, there is a Restart, Recover, and Reimagine plan of action. This initiative is going to help industries like manufacturing keep up with the growing trend of being environmentally conscious, and fighting climate change, all while digitizing as many processes as possible. To do this, however, these

manufacturing industry competitive as the world has gotten exponentially smaller since the pandemic, despite already having begun to shrink since the 4th industrial revolution began taking place, and the age of everything digital took over. As Claude Theroux, the CTO of Cubeler mentioned, “Technology has changed in huge ways over the last 20 years, and we’re still seeing advancements almost daily.

When looking at manufacturing, the same increases in production, making it faster and more efficient, apply just as within any other industry that incorporates modern technology. Added to that, we’re not only using more advanced machinery but the software behind that

machinery, the AI, is becoming more advanced as well. It all leads to an overall better business process.”

Chief Technology Officer, Cubeler

increased price points due to demand while slowly curtailing the production issues and still keeping up with a healthier and more sustainable manufacturing system will only go to drastically boost the profits of Canadian manufacturers. There are short-term losses that may be incurred, the cost of overhauling

profitability and output that keeps up with modern consumer wants. To make things easier, we can always start with the manufacturing sector that we’re already a leading competitor in the production of natural resources necessary for the manufacturing

industry itself. Effectively, without us (Canadians), the whole system that manufacturing relies on would falter

quite a bit, even compared to our southern counterparts. If we can ramp

up that sector of manufacturing, or corner the market maybe a little more, we may be able to increase Canada’s standing as a global manufacturer.

“Technology has changed in huge ways over the last 20 years, and we’re still seeing advancements almost daily. When looking at manufacturing, the same increases in production, making it faster and more efficient, apply just as within any other industry that incorporates modern technology. Added to that, we’re not only using more advanced machinery but the software behind that machinery, the AI, is becoming more advanced as well. It all leads to an overall better business process.”


The Top

Manufacturing Industry Trends You Need To Keep Your Eye On The digital revolution and the pandemic period

The significance of IoT is that everything can be

upgrades and industrial automation. Along with managing the business, manufacturers should also

efficiency at a reduced cost.

have changed the manufacturing landscape drastically. Manufacturers have an extra duty to keep their operations running at their best through

pay attention to the requirements of their employees and their effect on the environment.

With all these changes gaining momentum in the manufacturing industry, here are the top five trends you need to keep an eye on.

monitored in terms of data. These available statistics give manufacturers insights to make informed decisions that can help improve

A digitalized manufacturing process also helps increase safety and strategize risk management.

Process automation and digitalized monitoring give early warning that can be mitigated timely to avoid any probable threats.

Modernizing Supply Chain Incorporating digital advances in the supply chain and inventory gives a transparent and clear picture that helps in the improved management of the manufacturing facility. In addition, this modern step helps improve efficiency as the data can be used to optimize stock and reduce wastage.

Leveraging the Internet of Things Adapting to the Internet of Things is essential for the success of the manufacturing industry. Ever since the pandemic, the world has experienced the ease and flexibility IoT provides in getting work done. 20 - CanadianSME - November 2022

The data-driven inventory management is an effective way to identify setbacks and keep track of the progress of the manufacturing process. It also helps make future-driven decisions accurately and efficiently. These modern advances in the supply chain help improve the company's overall efficiency and help businesses stay competitive and thrive.

Manufacturing Industries Employee Safety and Health Especially after the pandemic, most industries give importance to the health and safety of their employee. This step is significant in meeting the talent shortage and ensuring employee interest in your company. Manufacturers should also take measures to ensure the facility's safety along with workplace precautionary protocols that include training and awareness of the environment. In addition, a thorough

assessment of the possible risks, the level of the hazard, the current safety measures

employed, and its working condition should be made to strategize future safety measures.

The incorporation of smart manufacturing equips machines with the latest technology, like onboard sensors that help monitor the machine's performance and create preventative maintenance plans and insights for smart analytics. Smart manufacturing is a proactive and effective way of maintenance, thereby helping reduce operational costs.

Prominence to Sustainability and Carbon Neutrality Today's world gives much importance to sustainable measures and carbon neutrality. Clients are becoming more aware of the impact of their products on the environment and are demanding that their products be made with sustainable materials. They also choose to work with

environmentally friendly companies that take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Effective waste management, recycling, renewable energy sources, and other eco-friendly measures are some ways manufacturers can work toward sustainability. In addition, investing in a robust sustainability strategy can give you a competitive advantage over other manufacturers, create a

positive impression in the minds of your customers, and improve your overall brand image.

Upgrading to Smart Manufacturing Smart manufacturing is the easiest and most adaptable way to keep up with new technology and grow your business. It uses computer-integrated manufacturing, which helps in quick and easy adaptability. 21 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Manufacturing can be challenging but can also be rewarding when done right. To gain a competitive edge in the industry, manufacturers should keep a close eye on the changing trends and digital innovations that help them stay relevant in the industry cost-effectively. In addition, a holistic approach to business operations beyond profit helps manufacturing companies stand out in the industry and be the first choice for clients. An innovative, modern workforce and an environment-friendly company will always be a sought-after choice by all. To read more on these topics and stay ahead of your competitors, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

The Top 10 Most Innovative Manufacturing Companies In Canada

FoodPak Ltd. FoodPak Ltd. provides complete packaging solutions to businesses working in North America's food industry, from custom pouches to packaging equipment. With over 50 years of experience in the packaging industry, they began operations as a small, family-run business. Their wide array of services covers all areas of the packaging cycle, from choosing between a custom run of digital vs. conventional printing, trays vs. pouches, or tray sealers vs. thermoformers that are a perfect fit for your business. Their packaging is designed to be shelf-appeal and offers solutions to keep up with your growing business success.

FoodPak Ltd. helps companies deliver The manufacturing industry in Canada is constantly evolving and exploring new realms that technological innovation offers. These innovations have changed the dynamics of the manufacturing industry and how it operates. Here are the top 10 most innovative manufacturing companies in Canada redefining the Canadian manufacturing sector.

Inertia Product Development Inertia Product Development is a research and product development company in Toronto, Canada, offering mainly engineering services to customers in the automotive industry. They started functioning in 2004 and have expanded to include medical and health, safety and security, agriculture and food, and industrial areas. They create industry-defining product innovations that create new businesses and grow existing businesses by more than solving technical problems and delivering design, engineering, and manufacturing services. Instead, they provide a holistic approach to product development, thereby solving the right problems in the right market, for the right customer, with the right product. Inertia Product Development seamlessly delivers product design and manufacturing. To know more, visit 22 - CanadianSME - November 2022

meals to customers' hands easily. For more information, visit

Advanced Test and Automation INC. In 2005, ATA was founded with its

headquarters in Toronto, Canada and hundreds of systems installed globally. ATA’s roots come from the rigorous automotive test systems industry. ATA empowers busy professionals to make product quality decisions faster, leveraging unique technology and insights in thermal and fluid pressure component function combined with strong software development, data acquisition and control background and a passion for testing. ATA actively contributes to international test standards, working with organizations, including major OEMs and SAE International. In addition, they publish content pieces and case studies to assist customers in answering their pressing questions.

Manufacturing Companies ATA is a Leader in solving Complex Problems for Smart Fluidic Devices in Mobility Applications. For more information, visit

Timereaction Timereaction is a workflow management software company that provides access to the ultimate collaborative workflow management system, automatically sets up project milestones, communicates efficiently with the right people and helps them meet deadlines.

Having your team's workflow, conversations and files in one place

They have been innovating, refining, and applying their skills in manufacturing sealing solutions for their customers for over five decades. Throughout this time, their talented technicians have used their expertise to create superior products in a timely fashion while maintaining the highest industry standards. Their extensive experience with the construction, mining, petrochemical, pulp and paper, and refining sectors began locally in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has now expanded to include thousands of return customers across Canada and abroad. Custom Gaskets provide industrial sealing solutions and custom gaskets for a diverse cross-section of businesses. To know more about their products, visit

Engineering CPR

helps streamline where to find the information you need, thereby getting more done with less effort.

Engineering CPR is a team of Contract Designers &

manage complex projects and complete tasks in real-time. Their predictive scheduling and

engineers, electrical/electronics engineers, software/firmware engineers and manufacturing engineers.

Their intuitive interface helps

integrated messaging make planning and communicating with your team easier. Stay proactive by

automating manual, repetitive tasks and processes with their predictive scheduling engine. Keep your teams on track with Timereaction workflow automation. For more information, visit

Manufacturers of Medical Devices, Senior Developers and Specialists in Product Development and Operations, such as industrial designers, usability specialists, mechanical

They are experienced in protecting your schedule and capable of working on small and large projects. Their services include Full Scope Product Development, which provides a comprehensive service to their clients from initial designing to prototyping, which helps estimate the cost of production and in-field product performance. In addition, Turnkey Manufacturing delivers the final product to their customers by taking care of all aspects of production, from assembly to testing and quality control, for overall satisfaction.

Engineering CPR provides contract design and manufacture of medical devices. For more information, visit

Custom Gaskets Custom Gaskets has been an innovative industrial sealing solution since 1967. They are a leading manufacturer and supplier of gaskets and industrial sealing solutions with a growing worldwide reach. 23 - CanadianSME - November 2022

San GROUP San Group has had its roots in the lumber industry since 1979. During this time, the company has evolved from a small lumber remanufacturing facility to a multi-level forest products corporation. They focus on harvesting the highest quality Canadian timber and take pride in understanding the

Manufacturing Companies value chain of lumber manufacturing. Their overall ethos is centred around value-added manufacturing, developing methods to utilize each log harvested to its highest degree. Over 30 years of manufacturing lumber have allowed them to understand the significance of their clients in business and focus on their customer’s wants and needs for quality products, timely service, and relationships. Every day, they listen to their customers and strive to satisfy their needs and surpass their expectations. San Group provides ethically harvested and produced Canadian-made lumber products directly from Canada to the world. For more information, visit

Tungsten Collaborative

Covspect Covspect is the world's first technology Enabled Biosafety VAR that creates a safer workplace by procuring Biosafety UV-C devices. They host an industry-leading agnostic biosafety VAR marketplace with a team that solves infection control challenges for healthcare, hospitals, government, consumers, and corporate. They procure hospital-grade UV and biosafety technology to help mitigate HAIs while creating safer indoor environments and workplaces. Each customer engagement prioritizes a conscious focus on CS, CX, empathy, communication, and reliability. They specialize in mobile device cleaning, ultraviolet device cleaning, biosafety, biotechnology, UV-C, UV, UVGI, UV Light Disinfection, Infection Control, UV Air Treatment and many more. Covspect provides biosafety for all.

To know more about their safety measures, visit their website at


Tungsten Collaborative helps with

ITFC is a robust national economic platform that allows all

packaging to launch. They are multidisciplinary product design

ITFC is about sharing economic opportunities with businesses,

every stage of product development, from concept to prototype, manufacturing to branding, and

Canadians to participate in economic transformation and change, contributing to a new era of inclusion and engagement driving the Canadian economy.

specialists who take your idea and run with you for better results.

communities and individuals, ensuring members are aware of these opportunities and how to participate. They share a network to help

They partner up and help with everything from finite element analyses to complex satellite-tracking software. From military or medical, biotech or datacom, and commercial or consumer goods, their focus is on design elegance, user simplicity, and technological innovation that help companies succeed in their market.

ItsTimeForChange is an economic inclusion strategy for Canada. For more information, visit

Tungsten Collaborative is an experienced, multidisciplinary product design and development firm with a unique focus on client collaboration. For more information, visit their website at 24 - CanadianSME - November 2022

businesses grow, develop partnerships and participate in a new era of economic opportunity. ITFC has designed the platform to allow non-Indigenous firms and organizations to understand Indigenous communities across Canada.

The manufacturing industry is reimagining the landscape of the Canadian economy by exploring the possibilities of technology, innovation, sustainability, and artificial intelligence. These companies are creating new Canadian markets and opportunities through their initiatives and operations. The manufacturing industry is a cornerstone of the economy. To read more on the innovations happening in the market, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

Max Nokhrin Senior Partnerships Manager for Xero Canada What is your role as Senior Partnerships Manager for Xero Canada, where you lead partnership discussions with banks, credit unions, and companies in the financial services industry? I work closely with the financial services ecosystem in Canada to bring integrations between Xero and our partners to the Canadian market. While as a global company we have many options for small

businesses to connect with to run their business, there’s always a local partner that needs to be integrated - be it a bank or a payment processor. Bank feeds are key for small businesses to get a holistic and accurate view of their business health, and local

payment partners are critical to getting Canadian businesses the right options to transact with their customers.

We got the privilege to chat with Max Nokhrin, Senior Partnerships Manager for Xero Canada, who shared his thoughts on DirectPay and Clik2Pay, the two new integrations announced by Xero just recently. He shared how are these two integrations going to be helpful in solving rising credit card transaction fees issues, assist small businesses in locating less expensive and more efficient methods of payment, without increasing customer costs, benefit from the use of Interac

What are your thoughts on DirectPay and Clik2Pay, the two new integrations announced by Xero just recently?

e-transfer as the default payment method, and some helpful strategies for businesses to overcome these new

We’re very excited to introduce these two app partners to the Xero

fees and methods that will aid them in

ecosystem. Interac e-Transfer is a great payment method for Canadians to use, which is available to everyone in Canada at much better pricing options than credit cards. DirectPay and Clik2pay enable businesses to use the Interac e-Transfer rail for paying their invoices, so it’s exciting to be able to support a Canadian payments option within the Xero App Store.

25 - CanadianSME - November 2022

managing their finances. Max leads Xero’s partnerships discussions in Canada focusing on banks, credit unions and companies in the financial services space. Prior to joining Xero, Max was an early member of the COR.IQ team at Symcor, where he led the creation of a new line of business focused on detecting and preventing fraud. Max has a background in technology and finance, and a passion for wine.

Accounting Software In view of the fact that rising credit card transaction fees are a growing concern for Canadian retailers and small businesses in the present day, how can these two integrations offer a potential solution to this problem? These integrations enable Canadian small

businesses to leverage the cost-effective Interac e-Transfer payments method for billing their customers. e-Transfers have been around for many years and are a ubiquitous means of payment and funds transfers in Canada. Helping our small business customers leverage them to avoid paying high credit card fees is key for Xero in Canada.

How will DirectPay and Clik2Pay aid small businesses in locating less expensive and more efficient methods of payment, without increasing customer costs? Both apps enable small businesses to connect the Interac e-Transfer payments method to their invoices - enabling their customers to make safe, secure payments without incurring the high costs associated with credit cards. e-Transfers are also available for all Canadians that have an account with a bank or credit union across Canada, making this integration available to all customers.

How will businesses benefit from the use of Interac e-transfer as the default payment method? And how will it ensure that businesses are paid less expensively, more quickly, and with less interest on credit, consequently doubling savings? Interac e-Transfers are synonymous to cash without having to go to an ATM to withdraw the cash. The funds are securely withdrawn from your bank or credit union account and sent to the merchant in real-time. 26 - CanadianSME - November 2022

There is no credit card processing fee, and for small businesses, there is no opportunity for a chargeback - eliminating stress in managing finances but also avoiding the costs of having to deal with chargebacks. The funds are deposited quickly into the small business’s account. Adding online payment options to your Xero invoices also helps small businesses get paid up to twice as fast.

What, in your opinion, are some helpful strategies for businesses to overcome these new fees and methods that will aid them in managing their finances? I think it’s all about accessing the most innovative and cost-efficient payments methods available. Credit cards have always incurred a high cost for

acceptance up front, but also at the tail end when it comes to chargebacks or disputes.Small businesses can’t afford the time to deal with the management

overhead, and looking for alternative options is timeconsuming. At Xero, we’re excited to be able to offer our customers an integrated alternative solution for receiving payments. We also advise our clients to work with their trusted advisor - the bookkeeper and the accountant - to find the best solution available to fit each individual need of the small business.

Kale Johnson Senior Sales Manager at CDW Canada

We spoke with Kale Johnson, Senior Manager for the National Small Business and Startup team at CDW Canada, who shared his valuable insights on the impact of technology on the Canadian small business landscape in the coming years, the biggest challenges that small businesses face when it comes to technology, the types of technologies that are important for startups, the three key ways CDW helps startups digitally transform their operations, and much more.

How do you see technology impacting the Canadian small business landscape over the next few years? We have seen unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation in the last three years, primarily driven by remote and hybrid work. Many businesses now need to figure out how to optimize the investments they have made to ensure they are getting the most value out of their technology.

The other piece of optimizing technology is protecting these investments, both physical and digital. A company’s assets, intellectual property and reputation could be at stake without a strong security strategy in place.

Kale Johnson is the Senior Manager for the National Small Business and Startup team at CDW Canada.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that small businesses face when it comes to technology?

With 13 years of experience in the IT industry, Kale has experience leading teams serving small, medium and large enterprise customers. His passion is helping provide the right IT solutions to customers across Canada.

The most common response we get from small businesses is they have trouble deciding which technology they want to invest their money in. There are so many products and solutions available, and that’s why it’s important to have a trusted partnership with an IT solution provider who can help you navigate the options.

27 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Technology Solutions What types of technology do you think are important for startups to be using? How can startups secure their operations and protect their data? Startups should be primarily focused on “As a

Service” offerings that allow them to focus on activities that drive the differentiation of their brand. For instance, using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that store data in the cloud can take away the headaches of managing your data on premises – but you still need to be responsible for protecting that data. Fortunately, disaster recovery (DR) or backup can be outsourced to IT solutions providers like CDW. Having just one of those solutions will probably not be sufficient to protect a startup from a ransomware attack, which is the most likely cause of data loss. Don’t get me wrong, having security solutions in place is extremely

important, but it’s even more important to have a plan in place before the inevitable occurs, and that’s another area where CDW can provide

To ensure we are uniquely addressing the

concerns of startups, we have a team of dedicated startup account managers that have years of experience with scaling businesses. Our

solution architects work with businesses of all sizes and understand the needs of a startup at all points of their growth journey.

the expertise to help your startup.

What are the three key ways CDW helps startups digitally transform their operations? How does CDW ensure that its solutions are tailored to meet the needs of startups? 1) First, we will consult with our solution specialists to ensure we are aligned with the business outcomes you are hoping to achieve with your digital transformation project. Our specialists provide detailed vendor evaluations and recommendations to identify compatible vendors for you. 2) We ensure that you can find a solution that best suits your organizations needs, outcomes and budget. 3) We can offer post-sales professional and managed services to ensure successful implementation and/or management of your new technology solution. 28 - CanadianSME - November 2022

What advice would you give to small businesses who want to become digital leaders? Digital transformation is the hot phrase right now, but it is truly a strategy that you want to adopt in all aspects of your business and your value chain. Also, it is important to understand that most digital transformations fail. Whether it is choosing the wrong process of your business to transform, or due to a lack of employee adoption, most of these projects are not successful. Having a tolerance for risk is important but assessing how an individual digital transformation project will positively impact your business outcomes is incredibly important. From our side, choosing the right partners to help you plan and implement your chosen project is the next step to helping you have a successful implementation from a technology perspective. At CDW, we can help you navigate the vast technology landscape to choose the right technology for your business outcomes and support you from end to end.

New Technology in Manufacturing: The Best Digital Tools All businesses across industries desire efficiency and smooth functioning of

operations. The new technological innovations are oriented towards a direction emphasizing cost-effective, environmentally friendly processes that provide optimal outcomes. Especially in the manufacturing

industry that deals with machinery and equipment, efficiency is a demand not just by the entrepreneur but something

Artificial Intelliegence Artificial intelligence is often employed in

manufacturing to replace the human workforce. This is done to reduce employee risk, thereby preventing injury and hazards that are a part of the workplace. It also helps make production faster as it helps in faster decision-making and around-the-clock output at a reduced cost.

monitored by multiple institutions.

Implementing AI streamlines production, improves

Digital and technological solutions are

smarter to forecast trends and produce goods quickly and with less waste.

developed to provide the efficiency that

quality control, and makes industrial processes

manufacturing industries are looking for. Here are five manufacturing industry digital tools to enhance operational efficiency.

Internet Of Things Cloud Computing The Internet of Things helps digitalize the manufacturing industry, which helps with better management and optimization. The advanced features of IoT offer quality control, predictive maintenance, managing inventory and logistics, employee management, and smart manufacturing. Incorporating the IoT into the manufacturing industry helps reduce costs as it helps optimize production and reduce wastage. It helps reduce the product cycle time, effective production and supply chain activities. It makes operations smooth and energy efficient and helps reduce downtime. IoT also improves workplace safety with higher predictability of hazardous conditions, thereby improving operations.

Cloud-based helps in enterprise resource planning and streamlining manufacturing operations. In addition, providing software that handles routine documentation and administration work, such as managing inventories and customer relations, enables the workforce to focus on production activities. The significant feature of cloud computing is offering scalable applications cost-effectively. It helps employees work as a coordinated team, access data from any location, work remotely and still streamline their productivity for the company's growth. The stored data in the cloud is also protected with the leading security tools, and manufacturing companies do not have to worry about data loss.

Artificial Intelliegence

Augmented Reality Augmented reality helps to see a virtual thing in real-time and the world. For example, it helps to create computer-generated information that allows companies to demonstrate a simulation of the manufacturing process, assembling devices or detailing the manufacturing equipment. This created reality helps people better understand the process, improving efficiency and productivity. The use of augmented reality removes the need to imagine what the end product would look like, thus removing the chances of error or

Predictive Maintenance

misunderstanding. It is an efficient implementation in the manufacturing industry

Predictive maintenance keeps a check on equipment,

them to better work with it and respond to it.

predict when parts require replacement and instruments need repair, as maintenance is cheaper

as it can help train the workforce about the instrument, how to work with it, and the probable hazards it can cause and educate

tracks its performance and helps reduce unexpected breakdowns by scheduling maintenance accordingly. In addition, it is a cost-effective process as it can

than dealing with a broken instrument.

It helps prevent any major issue by providing insights that help reduce machine downtime and improve efficiency. The machine-directed maintenance does not keep any place for error and performs a high maintenance test even when human interference is not present.

Incorporating digital solutions help manufacturing businesses reduce their costs of designing, production and maintenance while increasing productivity. These measures also keep a tab of the carbon footprint and sustainable practices and streamline productivity across all fields. Technological incorporations are the need of the hour, and the manufacturing industry must keep their systems and operations updated with the changing times and the possibilities they offer. Small businesses must adopt new technology and implement it in their operations for better productivity and profitability. To read more on these technological trends, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme. 30 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Top Government Initiatives for SMEs in Canada Canada is emphasizing leading economic growth and

Small businesses planning for business

focusing on SMEs. Small businesses are an important contributor to economic growth and innovation in Canada. But funding is one of the greatest hurdles that ding-financement/canexport/smepme/index.aspx?lang=eng for more

innovation. The Government of Canada is implementing several initiatives to improve the business environment,

SMEs face that restrains their growth.

To overcome this barrier, the government has initiated a number of funding programs.

CanExport SMEs CanExport SMEs is a financial initiative that offers grants and contributions to small and medium-sized businesses to promote and enhance the diversity of Canadian trade. This initiative helps small businesses prepare for and build a presence in international markets where they currently have minimal or no sales. Under this program, small and medium-sized companies can access up to $50,000 in funding to assist with international market development activities. Candidates must be successful Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, be incorporated as a legal entity, a limited liability partnership (LLP), or a cooperative, have a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and employ no more than 500 full-time employees. 31 - CanadianSME - November 2022

expansion into export trade can avail of the benefits of CanExportSME by visiting


Fund for Innovation and Transformation The Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) is a program designed to support Canadian small and medium-sized organizations (SMOs) testing innovative solutions that advance gender equality in the Global South. The Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils (ICN) program is managed by the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation and funded by Global Affairs Canada. The objective of FIT is to foster an environment at work where SMOs are empowered to experiment, fail, adapt and try again. Organizations from civic society, social businesses, post-secondary institutions, and the private sector can participate in the programme.

SMEs FIT provides successful applicants with $150K-$175K over a 6-12 month period to test their solutions in partnership with local organizations. Innovative solutions require funding for their consistent development and successful implementation. To learn about their funding procedure, visit

Spur Change program The Spur Change program is a 5-year initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada, supporting the engagement of

Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is a Government of Canada initiative that helps small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) adopt digital technologies to increase their competitiveness. Eligible businesses will

receive a loan that covers items directly related to the digital plan.

small and medium organizations in international development and Canadian youth as global citizens. They aim to increase the effectiveness of Canadian small and medium organizations (SMOs) to deliver sustainable results in support of the Feminist International Assistance Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Alberta Council for Global Cooperation manages the national program on behalf of the Inter-Council Network of Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation and will run till 31 March 2024. The InterCouncil Network (ICN) is a coalition of the eight Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation. They are committed to global social justice and change and

represent more than 350 diverse civil society organizations (CSOs) across Canada. Small businesses should explore Spur Change to increase their participation and effectiveness at the global level. Find more information through This digital assistance includes acquiring IT equipment, installing new technologies, updating and expanding IT equipment, and training staff on onboarded technologies. They provide materials and support services directly related to onboarding the technology and further advisory services on particular aspects of the digital adoption plan. The program increase competitiveness as digitally mature businesses is more likely to export, enjoy high sales growth and make more profit.

32 - CanadianSME - November 2022

SMEs Small businesses should upgrade their technology in order to compete in the global market. To discover more about the Canada Digital Adoption, visit for more information.

Canada Small Business Financing Program The Canada Small Business Financing Program makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing

the risk with lenders. The program helps term loans to finance the purchase or improvement of land or buildings used for commercial purposes, purchase or improvement of new or used equipment and purchase of new or existing leasehold improvements, that is, renovations to leased property by a tenant. In addition, the lines of credit can be used to pay for working capital costs, that is, day-to-day operating expenses of the

business, and aid intangible assets and working capital costs.

The Canadian government offers financial support in an attempt to address the diverse economic demands of small businesses. From promoting export trade to digitalization,

their development is promoted to help them achieve their full potential and contribute to the Canadian economy. Small and medium-sized businesses

Financial programs are necessary for small businesses to thrive in

should make use of all the provisions that are effectively designed for them to

objectives without being concerned about finances.

today's economy. For more information, visit https://ised-

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accomplish their goals and

Business Woman of the Month: Marilyne Bouchard Founder of BKIND Marilyne Bouchard: Being Kind To People, Animals and Nature BKIND is a brand that offers everything from luxurious body care to package-free hair care products. Starting their operations in 2014, their products are all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and made in Quebec.

The Company With Kindness The founder of BKIND, Marilyne Bouchard, is a

microbiologist who believes in being respectful and thoughtful of everything around them. She founded BKIND as a result of her passion for natural cosmetics and the knowledge she gained from studying microbiology. BKIND is on a mission to provide high-quality products that are not tested on animals and are completely safe for the environment. Their products are plant-based and made from 100% natural ingredients. Made in Quebec, BKIND beauty and skin care products are carefully developed for their customers to be all-natural, plant-based, vegan, and eco-friendly. These minute details are ensured, from ingredients to packaging, to offer the best options for their customers, their skin, and the environment.

Finding Her Own Solutions Marilyne Bouchard had sensitive and reactive skin, making her realize that the pharmacy and supermarket products were not meant for her. Hence she turned to natural ingredients to develop her own body care products and quickly realized the benefits of it on her.

She ensures that her products offer the best ingredients in the best recipes with the most excellent benefits for her customer. With an emphasis on being kind, they implement practices for the benefit of the beings around us. They donate 2% of their sales to animal welfare, use biodegradable shipping material, offer bulk options to reduce waste, and ensure eco-friendly products that come in 100% recyclable and durable OBP packaging for cleaner oceans.

Women Entrepreneurship

BKIND is particular about sustainable practices, from the ingredients to the packaging to the finished product. For example, they introduced OceanBound Plastic into their packaging, with some of their tubes made with plastic found on ocean banks, transforming cleaner oceans from durable and recyclable packaging. In addition,

they use locally printed, 100 percent recyclable cardboard packaging with the FSC logo, indicating that the company practices responsible forestry. Since its founding, BKIND has come a long way. They began their journey from Marilyne’s apartment in Verdun and have grown into a 17,000-square-foot warehouse.

Marilyne Bouchard deserves all appreciation for

her initiatives as a responsible entrepreneur for animals and ocean conservation and for emphasizing the significance of kindness in the choice of ingredients to the effects of her products on her customers. Considering all these factors, Marilyne deserves the title of Business Woman of the Month. BKIND’s products are developed, so customers never have to compromise on beauty again. To know more about their products and initiatives, visit their website at Small businesses should strive to be environmentally sustainable and responsible. To read more about these entrepreneurs, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

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Roee Ben-Eli Director of Strategic Programs at TELUS Health Virtual Care As the Director of Mental Health at EQ Care, acquired by TELUS Health in 2020, Roee spearheaded workplace initiatives and programs that bring mental healthcare to employees and their families. Currently, as the Director of Strategic Programs at TELUS Health Virtual Care, Roee is focused on collaborating and developing integrated and holistic care models within the vast TELUS Health ecosystem. We recently got the chance to speak to Roee Ben-Eli, Director of Strategic Programs at TELUS Health Virtual Care, who discussed his journey as a healthcare professional with over 20 years of experience in multiple areas, most effective methods to address the gaps affecting mental health conditions, best ways to extend the limited coverage for mental health services in order to adequately cover the support that employees need, how effective is the coverage in assisting employees to access services that are burdensome, and the role of company leaders in filling these gaps in mental health support. Roee Ben-Eli has been a practicing Registered Nurse in the province of Quebec in various fields of the profession, over the past 20 years. Beginning his career on the front lines, Roee worked on the internal medicine ward and emergency room to operations management in community and private clinical spaces. Over the past decade, Roee has dived into program development in family medicine, specialty medicine, and psychiatry.

How will you describe your journey as a healthcare professional with over 20 years of experience in multiple areas? And how does your position as Director of Strategic Programs for Virtual Care at TELUS Health enable you to concentrate on the various mental health program development initiatives? Prior to joining TELUS Health, I worked as a nurse for 21

years in various fields including internal medicine and in hospital emergency rooms. I was also an operational manager and director in a multidisciplinary clinic with family medicine, cardiology, urology and mental health services, and a mental health program manager for a virtual healthcare company. Through these roles I gained experience across the healthcare continuum including direct physical care, healthcare management, project development and care facilitation. When I started working in the workplace wellness space, I observed the urgent need for more empathetic and effective mental health services for those in the workforce, and this is something I became personally invested in improving. Over the past few years in my role at TELUS Health, I’ve witnessed the increased need of employers to support the mental health of employees and I think this can be achieved in the next decade by companies like TELUS Health with our growing presence and influence across Canada’s healthcare space.

HealthCare Since Canada has witnessed a historic shift in corporate attitudes toward mental health conditions, there are still many gaps that need to be addressed; what do you believe are the most effective methods for doing so? It has been historic indeed, and I should note that mental health support available to Canadian employees has come a long way with companies making great investments and strides towards reducing the stigma surrounding these types of health concerns in the workplace. But while progress has been made, we are not done yet. Many barriers exist which prevent employees from addressing their mental health concerns, the biggest of which is the accessibility of these services. One solution to this gap is integrating systems so employees have one place they can go to access mental health and any other health supports provided through their benefits plans –

for the employer, this means centralizing all services into a single digital platform and working with their insurer to develop a system where all electronic filings of external health claims can be stored on the same system. It shouldn’t take weeks of referrals and repeated “storytelling” (i.e. explaining mental health symptoms to multiple people or completing several

online forms) for employees to access the care they urgently

need. This extended and lengthy process can often discourage employees from getting the help they need (and they often give up on trying). An integrated digital system with a single point of entry for all health benefits and claims adjudication

can help resolve some of the time and effort spent when an employee is trying to reach mental health support, taking the strain out of the process and getting them closer to healing.

What, in your opinion, is the best way to extend the limited coverage for mental health services in order to adequately cover the support that employees may need? There is significant research available to help employers better understand the evolving benefits landscape and how they can better meet their employees’ needs. Understanding their unique workforce is also important and it’s worth every penny to take the time to do it right. Whether it's engaging employees (surveys, focus groups, etc.) to find out what types of health supports they would benefit from, or to assess where they view the gaps in their current benefits plan, this knowledge is incredibly valuable. Of course, this research may see some employees asking for unrealistic coverage (i.e. unlimited access to mental health supports), but it may also reveal more feasible changes that can be made in the short-term. 37 - CanadianSME - November 2022

This engagement may also see employees propose a modification to their benefits plans allowing increased flexibility for coverage to be redirected to mental health support – giving employers something reasonable to consider. When I first started working in the workplace wellness space, I worked with a game development company. Their employee average age was 28 and the benefit plan emphasized exercise, physical therapy and healthy eating. Five years later, the plans shifted coverage, and services to those

focused more on mental health, financial health and family support. Employers need to evolve with their

employee base. You can’t simply set it and forget it. Doing the research can help companies to better design their health benefits

programs to align with evolving employee needs.

How will the coverage assist employees in accessing services that are burdensome and leave them confused about which services are available? Increasing coverage for mental health supports is an ideal solution, but we know that this isn’t realistic for many companies.

To ensure these health benefits are effective for employees while also being sustainable to a company, we look at the last three years of disability cases, use of Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP) services, use of paramedical and allied health

benefits and identify trends. This analysis allows an employer to identify the associated costs of the programs, the benefit to the employee, and to see any health plan shortcomings. It’s amazing when you stop and see the costs of not having a strategic approach to employee wellness, especially when factoring in recruitment and retention, as well as absenteeism and presenteeism as key drivers of cost. Suddenly, the cost of

providing a wellness package becomes negligible in comparison to the positive impact on employee happiness, health, productivity and the bottom line. Confusion is an accurate way to describe how many employees feel when they are looking to access mental health services through their benefits plan. It can be a labyrinth trying to find out what’s available to them and how their coverage works for external services. To help address this barrier and improve awareness and understanding of mental health benefits, companies should look at ways to regularly engage employees to provide this information, in plain language, and create a system where people can easily reach out to HR staff if they have any questions – with answers provided promptly. This approach will help employees know what is available to them and make the process of accessing these services more comfortable for those who need them immediately and those who may need the services at some point in the future.

38 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Communicating this information to employees is crucial in getting them to actually use the mental health supports and coverage available to them – providing

them with the right intervention at the right time. Research has shown that the earlier someone can get help for a mental health concern, the better they can manage it in the long-run and avoid a situation where they

require extensive support, which may not be fully supported by their benefits plan.

In addition to the issues listed above, what are the most common obstacles faced by employees in this regard, and how can companies overcome these obstacles to assist employees in receiving adequate and consistent mental health support? A major obstacle we are seeing emerge is getting employees the “right” mental health support for their specific condition or situation.

HealthCare If someone is experiencing anxiety or depression, who do they talk to? A therapist? A psychologist? Maybe it’s something a social worker can help them with? It’s not clear for many people, and I think this is an area where Canada’s health system needs to improve more broadly. Think about this: when you go to a hospital, you go through a triage to determine what medical services you require but when it comes to mental health you have to navigate it on your own. This is an area where companies like TELUS Health can help innovate screening and triage systems so employees not only get the specific help they need, but also have a more sustainable benefits program.

What, in your opinion, is the role of company leaders in filling these gaps in mental health support, and what can they do beyond their benefits plan to assist their coworkers? Employers should look to invest in training for their leaders that give them the skills and techniques to identify and action support for their teams regarding mental health. For many leaders, this is a new skill. Leaders need to be able to not only recognize when a colleague or an employee isn’t doing well, but

also know how to engage them to understand what they need and connect them with the resources that will help them. Leaders need to be able to create a safe space for employees and show them that they are listening and exercising empathy. This type of regular

Today, TELUS Health offers care advocates that provide guidance to employees to assess their needs and identify which supports are available to them. We are getting more and more specific and sophisticated in the process, but there are still many things companies can do to help employees on their journey to seeing effective mental health intervention. HR staff can develop toolkits that provide information on services for different mental health concerns – i.e., what type of counseling may be best for specific conditions/situations – and the frequency of these appointments. Even if a company does not have strong coverage for these services, providing this information will show staff that a company is committed to their health and wellbeing.

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engagement and communication can go a long way in supporting an employee on their path to improved mental health.

I should be clear that company leaders are not doctors or counselors and their role in mental health intervention for staff is not

about “preventing” an event. It is about being proactive and trying to support an employee

at an earlier stage so they have someone they can talk to in an effort to help reduce the

delay in getting the medical attention they need. While this means extra training and time for leaders, it will pay dividends down the road with potential increases in employee satisfaction in the workplace and retention, and a decrease in absenteeism.

A Few Tips For How To Manage Your Business As A

Small Enterprise “Management is all about managing in the short term, while developing the plans for the long term.”

Jack Welch The development of a disciplined management

strategy is essential for the success of small businesses. Even the minute details of a business operation can have an impact on its long-term performance. Small businesses should therefore develop a system that facilitates their efficient

When these recordings of business operations are digitalized, it simplifies the

task and makes it transparent. Automating repeatable tasks saves time, and digitalization optimizes accounting,

marketing, customer service, and every aspect of business operation. An organized

business is always easy to manage, can find faults or mistakes faster, and thus helps make business operations efficient.

Building a Strong Team

operation and guarantees their continued existence. Here are a few tips to help manage your business as a small enterprise.

Maintaining an Organized Business An organized, structured, and disciplined business operation enhances the efficiency of the enterprise. This includes maintaining proper documentation and time management and adopting digitalized and automated technologies. Keeping records of copies of all invoices, cash receipts, and cash payments for bookkeeping and tax purposes helps business owners understand and manage their finances easily. In addition, uploading them to a central repository makes them easily accessible for future needs. 40 - CanadianSME - November 2022

A strong and efficient team is the

foundation and backbone of any successful business. Along with talented members who can drive growth and success, the right team also requires trustworthy people. Commitment to the team and collaboration of the members is essential for the efficient functioning of a company. The team members should be able to take up respective roles that handle different tasks and responsibilities while focusing on a common goal. This division of work helps each person focus on their assigned task, ensuring the completion and quality of work while saving time and energy. Hardworking and passionate staff are always an asset to the company and bring a work culture that is based on productivity and teamwork.


Ensuring Quality Customer Service Customers should always be placed at the center of business planning, and customer service should be the priority of business operations. All upgrades should be focused on providing customers with the best and smooth experience. In a brick-and-mortar business, staff should be trained to provide a comfortable shopping experience. While in an e-commerce setup, the website should be built with an AI chatbot that ensures 24x7 accessibility for the customers.

Small businesses can ensure customer satisfaction by providing discounts, customer incentives, quality products, and efficient delivery services. Hence, a customer-centric approach

that exceeds expectations is always desirable for any business. A satisfied customer's word-ofmouth promotion goes beyond strategic marketing and branding plans.

Engaging in Community Work Customers always value socially responsible businesses that work with the community and contribute to its betterment. Small businesses have close local and community interaction in their sales, and, most often, the community contributes to the growth and success of these businesses. Hence, small businesses must work

closely with the community to give back and help build a better society. Small businesses can choose to donate a portion of their proceeds to local charities, choose local vendors for their business operations, help raise funds for a cause, or promote sustainable and

ethical initiatives. These meaningful contributions to the community will prompt customers to associate with and support the business, thus building customer loyalty and trust.

Creating Websites and Social Media Accounts Small businesses should invest in website

development and focus on their social media presence. Potential customers tend to check companies and businesses online to get an impression before they visit the store or decide to purchase the product or service. A welldocumented and curated website gives detailed information about the company, their products, and services. It should also be powered by a chatbot that ensures customer service is always available. Creating social media accounts on all platforms helps small businesses reach out to a wider customer base. A consistent digital presence helps in marketing, brand awareness, and advertising. This online presence will help brands remain in the consciousness of the customer and build customer relationships. In the digital era, websites and social media are inevitable for the growth of small businesses. 41 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Small businesses should be aware of all available options to help ease and optimize business operations. Cost-effective and smart work helps in business growth and increases customer base and profitability rather than a money-invested strategy. These solutions will optimize business management to be effective and efficient. Small businesses should optimize their business management through smart and strategic planning. To know more about these solutions, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

4 Tips

to Help Business Owners Set & Adhere to Strict Budgets for Long-Term Projects

If you are looking to set a budget for a new project, make sure to keep these helpful tips in mind:

Have a Meeting for Project Decision Makers to Discuss the Budget

By Nathan Liao As a company owner, you are likely constantly planning new projects to pursue. For long-term projects, you might have to select which staff members will work on them, purchase

software and other items needed, construct a timeframe outlining milestones to hit by certain dates, and the list goes on. These projects have many elements to consider, but there is one major step you absolutely have to take before anything else: setting a strict project budget to adhere to. In my own experience as the CEO and founder of CMA Exam Academy (a Certified Management Accountant exam review program), I have seen firsthand how important it is for businesses to prepare budgets for long-term projects. Here is an overview of why long-term project budgets are pivotal and helpful tips for business owners to keep in mind:

Why Long-Term Projects Need a Budget Improving the bottom line should always be a top priority for business owners. If you don’t have a project budget, it can be so easy to have a “the sky's the limit!” mindset and spend an outrageous amount of money that can end up hurting your business’s bottom line and financial health in the long run. Having a strict budget will help you and your team decide what costs are absolutely needed to make the project a success, which will keep you all from spending frivolously. On top of this, having a project budget can also help you and your team adhere to a designated timeline. For example, if your business needs to send items that will be used to manufacture a new product line before a specific deadline, you know you will need to ship the items well before the date so that you don’t end up spending a ton of money on overnight shipping (which can cause the whole project to go way over budget).

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Will the marketing department, customer service department, and accounting department all be involved in this project? One department’s team lead may have a different idea of what the project’s total costs will be than another

team lead. For example, a social media team lead may know that the price of a Facebook advertising campaign is way higher than what another department head thinks it would be. That said, having a meeting for all of the project’s decision makers will give everyone

the chance to share their thoughts and come to an agreement on which budget to select.

Budget Use a Cloud-Based Spreadsheet Platform to List Out Essential Expenses Trust me, it is so easy to forget about minor project costs that can add up and cause you to go way over the total amount you thought the project would cost. For example, if you are expanding services into a new city or country, you may forget to include the price of a localized Google ad campaign targeting potential customers in the new market. That is why it is vital to spend time thinking of every single cost involved in the project and recording them in a spreadsheet. These may also include the hourly costs for local contractors who will help, software subscriptions, printed documents, flights for team members, etc.

Yes, you may be thinking that you could just make a

mental list of all of the expenses and then select a general spending threshold to not go over, but it can be

so easy to forget smaller costs (like the cost of a packing or shipping supply you need). Taking the time to list out every single essential expense will help you select the best project budget possible.

Now, it will be wise to use a cloud-based spreadsheet platform (like Google Sheets) to list out the expenses,

rather than a plain Word Document or Excel spreadsheet. The reason for this is that if you ever need to add on a new project expense or remove one, you can easily do that on your phone while on the go. Or, if you and your team spend more on some costs, you can easily adjust

the budget for the rest of the project on your phone. Your team will also be able to access the spreadsheet whenever they need to as well.

Ensure EVERYONE Working on the Project Is Well Aware of the Budget The last thing you would want is for a team member to accidentally and unknowingly overspend on ordering supplies or another project element just because they didn’t know there was a strict budget in place. So make sure all of your team members working on the project are well aware of the budget that is in place. If one person doesn’t know the budget, they can end up making a decision that causes the whole project to go way over budget. Make sure everyone has access to the aforementioned cloud-based spreadsheet so they can always stay in the loop about total costs up to a certain point, how much of the budget is still available, etc. 43 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Have Regular Meetings Specifically to Review the Budget You don’t want to just set the budget and then hope all of the project’s decision makers abide by it. Especially for projects that will take months, a year, or even more to complete, it can be easy for unforeseen costs and/or roadblocks to pop up that

could cause you to go way over budget. So set a weekly or bi-weekly meeting for the project’s decision makers to go over the budget, share updates on where their teams are at, check to make sure milestones are being hit on certain dates, etc. This will keep the project on track to be completed by a designated deadline, all while keeping it under budget.

To Wrap It All Up Setting and adhering to a budget will help prevent long-term projects from hurting a business’s overall financial standing. To select the best budget for a project, first

set a meeting for all of the project decision makers to discuss what they think it should be. Then use a cloud-based spreadsheet platform to list out essential expenses and make sure every single person involved in the project is well aware of the budget. Finally, have regular meetings for project decision makers to review the budget and share updates. Following these steps will help set you and your business up for budgeting success!

Nathan Liao is the founder of CMA Exam Academy, a top Certified Management Accountant exam review program. As a CMA and CMA coach, Nathan mentors accounting and finance professionals in over 80 countries to earn their CMA certification in as little as 8 months. The unique review framework in CMA Exam Academy has proven to be the key to his students’ outstanding success in attaining their dream of earning the Certified Management Accountant certification.

With rental housing vacancy rates below 1% in large cities in Canada, access to housing is becoming even more dire, especially for younger families. Rental Rates continue to escalate with increasing interest rates, making it difficult to find a space to live, let alone buy a home. Imagine what it would be like to have 8-10% Vacancy across all major rental housing categories. If this were reality, finding a place to live would be easier and come with access to a variety of realistic options. How can real estate and development professionals transform this ideal into reality? Canadian municipalities currently approach rezoning and development approval with

significant political risk and industry friction. In contrast, we see international markets experience success by removing zoning and

only applying building bylaws to the building permit approval process. To better understand the approach taken within other markets, we must look outside our Canadian borders and

draw inspiration from those around us. One great example of this, would be an analysis of Houston, Texas. Could Canadians support the elimination of zoning and switch to a prescribed development bylaw that allows new housing projects to be granted building permits within 90 days? Without any zoning throughout the entire city, Houston manages to operate successfully and without the same crisis being experienced in Canada. Without zoning regulations, one might expect to see a hodgepodge of buildings spread out into complete and total chaos. Instead, what we see looks strikingly similar to every other city that uses a lengthy zoning approval process, with clusters of similar building types and transitional neighbourhoods. 44 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Driven by developers’ adhering to public sentiment and what the market of occupants are willing to accept, project production tends to be very reminiscent of what we see everywhere else with restricting zoning regulations. It is surprising to see a place with a perfectly balanced supply and demand of housing, especially when compared to the 2-4 year approval process for projects in Canada. Even though Canada has the second largest land area of any country in the world, Canadians face greater constraints on land use.

Following the implementation of rural protection areas like

Whether the Canadian government can

as many higher-density housing projects as possible to catch up with the demand-supply gap that seems to be

catch up to demand. If real estate professionals can speed up the

the “Green Belt” around Toronto and the Agricultural Land Reserve surrounding Vancouver, these major cities have now reached their limits. Developers now need to approve

growing wider each month. Rather than rolling back the green zone protections, if we eliminate the rezoning

process for already developed areas, and instead have a prescriptive set of bylaws by building type, the market can then do what it does best and answer greater demand with greater supply. In effect, there could be a “zone with no zoning”.

remove zoning entirely is uncertain, but what is shown by a much faster project approval process is that supply can

development permitting process, getting it down to 6 months in most areas, there will be fewer staff resources and council meetings required. By removing these steps and following international inspiration, Canadian professionals could start to believe in a future where the housing industry matches housing

starts with demand and ultimately provides enough housing for everyone. Political leaders have been looking at options to improve the process for obtaining development permits but dealing with the volume of approvals needed is still limited by the time and resources of municipal staff. Houston’s solution of eliminating the zoning approval process while providing a prescriptive rule book of building criteria is a great strategy to facilitate a large volume of new housing starts. With housing availability being a national crisis, it is time that the federal government provided a framework for municipalities to follow that could open up a path for reduced friction. If the federal government can very quickly mobilize for a pandemic-related health crisis, then they can certainly mobilize solutions for a housing crisis. 45 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Adam Gant is an entrepreneurial enthusiast

Adam Gant is an entrepreneurial enthusiast with an interest in housing finance systems and real estate development. A curious and inventive mind paired with an interest in architecture and engineering made a career in real estate a natural fit for Adam. He has a passion for real estate which can be traced back to his very early years.

Nicholas Reichenbach Founder and CEO, Flow Alkaline Spring Water

We got the opportunity to chat with Nicholas Reichenbach, Founder, Chairman & CEO at Flow Alkaline Spring Water, who shared how successfully his company meets its objective of reducing environmental impacts by offering sustainably sourced naturally alkaline spring water, his thoughts about Flow’s recent partnership with the TSC New York City Marathon, followed by the benefits participants and spectators will receive from this partnership and how it will contribute to brand awareness and trial in the New York area and throughout the United States. A seasoned executive & serial start-up, investor and consumer product entrepreneur, Nicholas has built a robust track record, founding, creating and building multiple businesses in the consumer goods, social media, internet/mobile technology, entertainment and hospitality space; Flow ( a socially responsible water company), Mindfull INC (an organic Food & Beverage Company), Rabbit (a leading social video chat platform venture-backed by Google Ventures, CrunchFund and other leading VCs), GuestDriven (a leading start-up in hospitality/hotel SaaS with clients such as Thompson, Hyatt & Intercontinental), Magmic Games (Voted top 10 mobile social game & app publisher having produced over 300 games from Guitar Hero mobile to NewYork Times Crosswords) and Bplay( One of the largest mobile smart phone direct-to-consumer mobile content storefront that powered At&t, Verizon (Alltel), U.S. Cellular, Rogers Wireless and R.I.M Blackberrys, worldwide).

Entrepreneurship How will you describe your entrepreneurial journey, which includes a strong track record, founding, creating, and building multiple consumer goods, social media, internet/mobile technology, entertainment, and hospitality businesses? I’d say my first key milestone was co-founding a

multimillion-dollar entertainment business that brought European electronic dance music to the Canadian market, laying the foundations for thinking on a global scale. I moved into tech in 2011 founding video-chat company Rabbit and spent the next two years in Silicon Valley as the President

I realized this was a problem that I could help fix, founding Flow using water from my family’s artesian spring and advanced packaging to create a 100% recyclable water bottle. Over the years, my businesses have ranged in sector, but they tend to operate in white space – a gap in the market where consumer intention is strong, but no major businesses are acting on this sentiment. Consumers are more mindful of how their spending choices are impacting the health of the

planet and the economy at large. Being mindful in business, operating with a mission at heart, makes good business sense, with the bonus of being able to follow avenues I’m truly passionate about.

and a Board Member. Here I learnt from the best in

the business, I grew as a leader and significantly, I learnt how to work with purpose in mind. My time in tech culminated in a trip to Burning Man in 2014, which led to the life-changing epiphany that informed Flow.

Burning Man’s zero-trace policy meant whatever you brought with you, you took home or recycled.

At the end of our trip, I walked past a literal plastic bottle mountain, all from water, all for recycling.

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How successfully does your company meet its objective of reducing environmental impacts by offering sustainably sourced naturally alkaline spring water in a recyclable and up to 75% plant-based package? Flow has a comprehensive sustainability program that goes beyond the package to cover impacts

across 5 key pillars: protecting the source, a more

Entrepreneurship sustainable package, climate protection and carbon footprint reduction, supporting the circular economy, and giving back to our communities. Our package plays a role in all of those areas, but most clearly aligns with the first through third sustainability pillars.

How is the pH of the water maintained within the pack? Can the Flow pack be recycled? The water’s alkalinity is a measure of calcium carbonate in the water, and alkalinity is a solution's ability to buffer an acid. Flow’s alkalinity in the package remains stable as long as the package is sealed. pH is a measure of hydrogen ion activity, and can give a snapshot of the water’s alkalinity at a certain time and temperature, but can vary from the source to the package. Our pH of +/- 8.1 as measured at the source is an average of the historical pH range of the springs over time.

The Flow package is recyclable. In Canada, 95% of the country has curbside recycling access for cartons. You can find more info on recycling at:

What are your thoughts about Flow’s recent partnership with the TSC New York City Marathon? What are you hoping to achieve through this collaboration? Launching our partnership with NYRR has been an incredible experience and we look forward to working together over the next four years. The TCS New York City Marathon is one of the foremost sporting events in the world, presenting us with a valuable opportunity to resonate with global audiences who value healthy living. For its 51st edition, we connected with the Marathon’s 50,000+ runners in addition to millions of spectators watching inperson and worldwide to profile Flow as a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastic bottled water. Over the course of this incredible partnership we hope that by

supporting the NYRR’s roster of events, we will continue to connect with global audiences to build Flow’s brand awareness and encourage further trials in the New York area and across the US.

How will participants and spectators benefit from this partnership? And how will it contribute to brand awareness and trial in the New York area and throughout the United States? Flow’s sustainable packaging that is 100% recyclable and made with up to 75% renewable materials, provides participants and spectators with a more sustainable alternative to single-use plastic, with 100% recyclable packaging. In addition to this, thanks to the optimum balance of minerals and electrolytes, Flow will provide the best and healthiest form of hydration to runners over the next 4 years, which ties into Flow's ethos of capturing consumers that live traditionally healthy lifestyles. I anticipate the collaboration will help build our brand awareness in the New York area and throughout the wider United States, with NYRR’s events over the next few years contributing towards a greener template for future sporting and entertainment events in the future.

Janelle Desrosiers Founder of Bloom + Brilliance: The Story of a Feminist Brand and Web Design Agency Bloom + Brilliance is an Indigenous-women-led, feminist

She believes in clients' vision and

beautiful branding, websites, and design strategy for feminist and Indigenous entrepreneurs born to build, serve and lead.

develop effective and impactful brands and websites that create meaningful connections, increase awareness and

brand and web and boutique design agency based in Treaty 1, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They create bold,

involvement in the project's success. She helps refine those ideas and

encourage engagement.

The Two Spirited Creative Director

Janelle Desrosiers has an industry

Janelle Desrosiers is the founder and creative director of

expertise in design, restructuring and adaptation for various levels of both the private and public sectors. In addition,

Bloom + Brilliance, an Indigenous women-led and feminist design agency in Winnipeg. She founded Bloom + Brilliance with a mission to support Indigenous and feminist leaders in transforming the world through innovative, team-based, and user-friendly design.

She is a two-spirit Michif (Red River Métis) from Winnipeg, Manitoba, of French Canadian descent and a member of the Treaty 1 Territory. Her identity as an Indigenous feminist and two-spirit woman influenced her collaboration with other Indigenous and intersectional feminist entrepreneurs, as they know their gifts are meant to be cultivated for the betterment of the community. She is a naturally creative businesswoman who works with organizations, community leaders, and women-owned businesses to use branding, website design, and strategy to focus on growth and impact. Her comprehensive approach to brand and online design services reflects her values of relationship building, community spirit, and positive effect and brings an intuitive, collaborative, and passionate touch to her work. 49 - CanadianSME - November 2022

experience of over 18 years and

she has a collaborative history with local, national, and international; corporate, non-profit, government and Indigenous organizations; small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Her notable works include the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association Manitoba (Website Design and Development), Willow Place Shelter (Website Design and Development), ONE: Mayor's National Summit on Racial Inclusion (Brand, Collateral + Website Design), Immigrant Women's Association of Manitoba (Brand and Website Design and Development), and Ending Violence Across Manitoba REES Program for Reporting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (Brand Development), to name a few.

Women Entrepreneurship

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Women are uniquely positioned to affect positive change on the individual, community, and global stages by channelling their passion, purpose, and power. It is from this firm belief that Bloom + Brilliance creates stunning brands and websites for Indigenous and feminist business owners and community leaders who are prepared to reach their greatest potential. Bloom + Brilliance offers a guided, explorative, intimate and supportive partnership and considers it breathtaking to gather with a group of women to create incredible things because of their cultivation and actualization. They help build a sustainable, resilient, adaptable, ethical, successful and deeply fulfilling business while upholding everything you consider near and dear. After a detailed discussion with the client to understand their passion,

purpose and power, their goal is to align the business and life and bring a work-life balance that helps them enjoy the good things in life and explore their full potential as citizens of this world.

They clearly and concisely understand the vision and values that drive you, helping simplify the building process and

giving an ethical and outcome-based strategic design and marketing guide.

Bloom + Brilliancehas worked with clients, including

entrepreneurs, organizations, and companies working towards creating an equitable society for all, including all genders, races, ethnicities, cultures, sexualities, abilities, income levels, work occupations, religions, and spiritual beliefs.

They do this with collaborative, intuitive, and inspired design, creating brands and websites that reflect their clients' past, present, and future. They also help clients create ethical, sustainable, and fulfilling businesses that allow them to

be more involved in their communities. Bloom + Brilliance firmly believes in the community-building capacity of women to positively impact and revolutionize the standard online platforms. Therefore, they create beautiful branding and websites for feminist entrepreneurs born to bring change. Furthermore, they support and empower collaborative and intuitive design and strategy.

Bloom + Brilliance helps women

entrepreneurs build a brand and create the career and lifestyle of their dreams. For more information, visit their website at Small business owners should take

advantage of the agencies' services that help them with branding. To read more about these services and agencies, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

By Kasia Wind, Strategic Communications and Projects Manager, Wagepoint

Let’s be honest: You didn’t start your small business because you love payroll. Or paperwork. Or – dundundun – payroll paperwork. Your passion is wood-baking pizzas with juuust the right amount of bubbles in the cheese; finding the coolest vintage board games for your hobby shop or nailing the perfect hue of “blue” for a graphic design project. So, when year-end comes around, the

thought of taxes, T4(A) forms and deadlines can not only feel overwhelming, but downright unpleasant. The bad news? Year-end paperwork will probably never be as fun as making pizzas. But it can be a lot less stressful with a

solid plan and little bit of preparation. Find payroll peace at year-end with these tips.

Account number and rates for Workers’ Compensation (WSIB/WCB), Employer Health Tax (EHT) and other provincial/territorial taxes Next, verify employee details for active and

terminated employees (they will also need year-end statements). A tiny mistake in an

employee’s information can cost lots of time when the forms are due, especially if this happens for multiple employees at once. Look for:

Correct first and last names, addresses, dates of birth and SIN numbers. Look out for SIN numbers that start with a 9, which means The key to a smooth and compliant payroll year-end is

all in your payroll data, which appears on your employees’ T4s, T4As and RL-1s (in Quebec). Whether you’re filing manually or electronically using an online payroll app, reviewing this data early can save you headaches later, when it’s time to submit your forms in February. Start in November or December so that you can get organized, take your time and keep your eyes peeled for any discrepancies to minimize the likelihood of receiving a Pensionable and Insurable Earnings Review (PIER) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

So, which data should you be reviewing? Begin with the basics of your business, such as: Company name and address CRA/RQ business number and payroll account number Threshold frequency for your remittance schedule 51 - CanadianSME - November 2022

they’re temporary and may have expired. Correct classification – is this person an employee or contractor? Correct tax status. Is the employee’s TD1 form up to date?

Finally, make sure that your year-to-date (YTD) amounts are accurate. Review:

Gross earnings CPP and EI Federal and provincial/territorial income tax Vacation – verify accrued vacation amounts and ensure that vacation times were reported and deducted from employees’ balances All incomes and deductions Keep in mind any outstanding entries to your payroll bank account, like manual or void/cancelled cheques

Payroll Using an online payroll software like Wagepoint can simplify your year-end review process with easy-to-access payroll reports that show your YTD amounts at a glance. The new T4/T4A/RL-1 Export also allows you to see a preview of each of your employees’ year-end forms so that you can quickly spot any errors before submitting your documents.

You’ll also need to be aware of other cutoffs, like the last date to process a direct deposit/manual payroll for a pay date in 2022 or the deadline for submitting bonus payroll runs if you plan to issue year-end bonuses before 2023. To stay on top of these deadlines, check out Wagepoint’s 2022 Canadian Payroll Calendar (you don’t need to be a customer). The Year-End Survival KITs also notify you of all your important dates, and customers have access to a just-for-you payroll processing schedule. Add relevant dates to your

business calendar or Google Calendar so that your employees are always paid on time (customers also receive a heads up by email).

For all business purposes, year-end is

Filling out tax forms by hand sounds about as fun as spending an afternoon reading junk mail. Submitting your documents electronically, directly to the

government, means that you can save time, be more accurate and lean on the support of a friendly team and dedicated year-end resources, like Wagepoint’s Year-End Survival KITs (Keep It Together).

Plus, who wants to issue T4s by hand? With electronic filing, your employees can have access to PDF versions of their year-end documents within 48 hours of your submission, right from their employee portals.

actually pretty serious stuff. But that doesn’t mean that you need to take yourself seriously the entire time.

Balance is important during any stressful time, so find your outlets, your

support people, and your favourite dad jokes to help lighten the load and prioritize mental wellness.

For more payroll year-end tips, as well as a few funnies, check out Wagepoint’s Year-End Survival KITs and 2022-23 Year-End Checklist for Small Businesses. If you are looking for a friendly payroll solution that is built for small businesses just like yours, sign up for Wagepoint. Use code 1MONTHFREE to receive your first month of payroll for free.

Another payroll consideration at the end of the year is, well, paying your team on time. With bank closures around Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s, you may need to process your payrolls earlier than usual to make sure that everyone is paid by the dates you intend.

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Solving the issue of high shipping costs that lead to online shopping cart abandonment Reducing abandoned carts is all about reducing friction with the key factors being trust, transparency, and time

If you run a smaller e-commerce business in Canada

By Lauren Helstab, Country Manager for Sendle Canada

Shock and surprise at the online checkout can cost you sales. According to a recent Leger poll, two-thirds of Canadians (66%) have been shocked by the cost of shipping once they have reached the checkout page and 65% have abandoned their online shopping cart because of high shipping costs.

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and are finding that the high cost of shipping is making it increasingly difficult to convert site visitors

into customers, this can have a major impact on your bottom line – especially if your business doesn’t ship a high enough volume to negotiate discounts for delivery. To solve this issue, many small businesses are turning to new shipping alternatives. They are also exploring ways to counter shopping cart abandonment and boost online sales. Reducing abandoned carts is all about reducing friction with the key factors being trust, transparency, and time (i.e., there is no time to waste). This is particularly pertinent as the holiday season approaches. In fact, cart abandonment rates peak in December when Black Friday and other holiday sales entice impulsive shoppers, according to BigCommerce, an e-commerce platform for retailers. Here’s what you can do to prevent customers from abandoning their online carts.

E-commerce Establish trust by offering only good surprises at checkout including free, fast shipping: No one wants to fall in love with an item while they’re online shopping only to find out they're paying $20 in shipping that will take three weeks for delivery. And to add insult to injury, the customer then gets an unexpected bill for duties when they receive their order. Make the costs transparent to customers at the outset. Even better, make it easy for them to find out if they are eligible for discounts and promotions, and offer free or cheap shipping that will get their purchase delivered to them when they want it. Plus, if you do have other unavoidable fees like sales tax or handling fees, mention it on the product page so customers

Explore low cost shipping options: Take the time to fully research shipping options that are

now available in Canada. You may be surprised to discover providers that not only prioritize the needs of small businesses but also understand the important role low cost delivery plays in eliminating shopping cart abandonment and increasing sales.

Make checkout fast and simple: Get people through the checkout quickly by making the

process simple and easy to navigate. Consider options such as one-click checkout like Apple Pay, Shop Pay or PayPal, address autocomplete or offering customer accounts to save customers from tediously typing in all their information each time, offering a guest checkout option, and adding clear calls to action so customers know how to add items to their cart and navigate through the checkout process. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify have tried, tested, and proven checkout flows that make it simple for small businesses to offer customers smooth checkout experiences that convert into sales.

Be transparent about post-purchase policies and processes: This is an integral way to reduce the friction of buying online. Offering customers the assurance that their decision isn’t final and they can freely return their purchase can go a long way in establishing a loyal customer base. Things like providing returns at no cost and using packaging that’s easy for customers to reuse for returns can give them every reason to buy and then come back and buy more. 54 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Give timely help when customers need it: When in a bricks-and-mortar store, customers can always get help from an associate if they have questions about a product. The same principle applies online – if people have questions and can't easily find the answers, they'll leave. Consider offering an online chat option so customers can get the answers they need to buy your products in real-time.

Look trustworthy: Customers need to feel confident

exchanging their money and information with you. Modern website

experiences communicate a sense of trustworthiness, especially when they include trusted symbols like compliance badges, good reviews, awards, user generated content, and other social proof.

In addition to the recommendations noted above, you may also want to consider creating compelling offers —

like cashback programs and special discounts — so that there is an obvious benefit to being a loyal customer. The bottom line is you worked hard for a new customer to discover your business so don’t let the slightest obstacle thwart a shopper's desire to buy from you. Make their journey simple and fun, instead of tedious and aggravating, by removing the friction from “window shopping” to checkout by implementing these e-commerce optimization tips. They may provide you with a pleasant surprise in the form of boosted sales this holiday season. For more tips and information on how to reduce cart abandonment and lower your cost of shipping, go to

Technology has long been a key part of many new businesses. However, the pandemic's impact showed that adopting technology into business operations is essential for firm survival and success. In such a situation, business owners must rise to be responsible digital leaders who proactively explore the effectiveness of information technology in their organizational management and implement it to be more responsive to the needs of customers, optimize their goods and services, and quickly adapt to changing market trends.

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A recent survey shows that digital leaders are twice as influential as competitors at building customer trust, 3.5 times more effective at boosting profits, four times more effective in improving operational efficiency and five times faster at launching new products or services. Conversely, only 40 percent of businesses in Canada can claim to be digital leaders.

Technology Solutions

Managed service providers (MSPs) like CDW help small businesses become digital leaders by drawing on decades of experience assisting businesses to digitize, optimize and secure their operations. CDW Canada is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare. Established in 2003, CDW Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of CDW Corporation, a Fortune 500 company with multinational capabilities based in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

With more than 900 coworkers in nine offices across the country, CDW Canada helps customers achieve their goals by delivering integrated technology solutions and services that include security, cloud, data centre, networking, collaboration and digital transformation.

CDW Canada reduces the risk, cost and complexity of

procuring, deploying and integrating technology internationally. By combining local knowledge with true

expertise in international logistics, they deliver consistent, service-driven solutions to their local and international customers.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 80 percent of Canadian enterprises have adopted industry-specific software and moved some of their activities to the cloud, while nearly 90 percent have implemented a company-wide computer network. In the present day, a majority of small businesses are cloud-based. In such a scenario, the question is, do they have the in-house expertise to manage all their cloud-based infrastructure and applications?

With their technological solutions, CDW helps startups digitally transform their operations or incorporate technology from the ground up. Through their

endpoint/asset management, device optimization, and security compliance, CDW can help improve the digital

performance of small businesses.

Endpoint/Asset Management Endpoint/asset management is important for startups with a remote workforce and, by extension, assets spread across dozens or hundreds of devices. CDW helps startups at this stage by not only overseeing the deployment of devices from leading manufacturers such as Dell, Logitech and Epson, but ongoing asset management through services such as asset tagging and mobile device management.

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Technology Solutions Endpoint security assessments and next-generation IT tools are designed to keep your organization's and customers' data secure and compliant.

Device Optimization The requirements of a startup with 10 employees are very different from the needs of a startup with 100, or more than 500 employees. CDW supports the growth of startups by helping them choose collaboration hardware and software from vendors like Team Viewer and Poly to ensure

their businesses run smoothly, optimizing them over time as their needs change. For example, many startups are born in the cloud, but at a certain stage, it becomes more economically viable to install an on-premises

system and, ultimately, a hybrid model. CDW can help startups reduce their storage costs by conducting regular cloud assessments and advising when it's time to change their data

storage practices while providing hardware like Aruba Instant On networking solutions for small businesses.

Security Compliance According to CDW Canada's 2022 Security Study, 90 percent of Canadian organizations reported being victims of a cyberattack last year, regardless of size, industry or location, with the average organization facing 419 attacks and security incidents. CDW supports the prevention of such incidents by helping startups identify their vulnerabilities through penetration testing, prepare a response plan with help from their risk advisory services and incorporate cybersecurity software from providers such as Proofpoint and Okta into their operations.

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Despite the statistics showing that nearly

100,000 businesses are founded annually, the number of startups that fail is close to 90,000. CDW works to change this staggering figure by helping them manage, optimize and secure the

technology they need to succeed, thereby assisting startups in ensuring they're built for success and growth. CDW and its partners have the hardware, services and expertise startups need to succeed in today's digitally powered

economy. CDW's dedicated small business team can help you achieve your goals and establish long-term technology solutions to sustain growth. To learn more about their services, visit As cloud operations and remote workforce become cheaper ways of running businesses, small businesses should focus on digital solutions that help streamline their operations. To read more on these topics, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

A great business is often sparked by a great idea, but that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs instinctually understand all aspects of running a business. Many of the moving parts of starting and maintaining a business require a lot of learning, and payroll is no exception. It may not be the reason you started your business, but payroll plays an important role in keeping it running, which is why a strong record keeping system is so important.

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What is payroll record keeping? Payroll record keeping includes the storing of all documentation related to paying employees. This includes everything from pay statements to hiring documents and direct deposit forms. And while proper payroll record keeping may not be the most interesting aspect of managing a business, giving it the attention, it deserves is time well spent. That’s because payroll and compensation are deeply sensitive and personal subjects to employees. As such, they require high levels of care, privacy and confidentiality.

Payroll It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure employees are paid accurately and on time as well as to guarantee their compensation information is safe and confidential. To achieve this, you need to have proper systems in place to collect and store accurate employee data. The reality is that many business owners are unaware that there are federal, provincial, territorial and ministerial laws that guide the

collection and storage of employee data. Staying on top of these legal requirements in your record-keeping practices will not only save time, but also reduce frustration in the long run.

How do you meet federal requirements? While keeping payroll records may seem

straight forward, there are a few federal requirements for employee information to keep in mind.

Why does payroll record keeping matter? Proper payroll record keeping not only ensures the wellbeing of your employees, but of your business too. That’s because the government conducts regular payroll audits, which will depend on your data to verify your records. Payroll audits, which can randomly target any business at any time, differ from traditional business tax audits, which most employers anticipate. A payroll audit is an inspection by a third party to confirm compliance with payroll administration, accounts payable and receivable, and the recording of taxable benefits.

When it comes to audits, being aware of the following processes will set you up for success when the next one comes: You'll receive a written notice of audit in advance with a designated time (note: it can be rescheduled, if needed)

Your audit notice will include a list of all the

information your auditor expects to see in print or digital form

Besides basic employee information like name,

When the auditor arrives, you should ask them to

address and SIN number, other federal requirements for record keeping include logging:

The auditor will conduct the audit and ask

Daily hours of work

Actual earnings, wage rates and basis Payments made after deductions and details of deductions

Information on annual vacation, legislated leaves or statutory holidays

Information on averaging, if appropriate, employer pay periods

Information on notice of termination or intention to terminate,

produce their ID

questions, as necessary. It’s up to you to provide certain details and, some cases, make determinations, such as who your key stakeholders are

The auditor will likely pinpoint certain issues they want to focus on

At the end of the audit, you will be given a written recommendation report

If you are non-compliant, you will be given time

to fix your errors. It is also possible to appeal the auditor’s ruling

Information on notice of work schedules that exceed either the standard or maximum hours of work

Information on absences due to work-

related injury or illness in addition to any changes to the rate of pay and effective dates

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No matter where you are in your record keeping, understanding how it impacts both the short and long-term success of your business is key. To learn more about how to properly maintain your records or nail your next audit, check out the National Payroll Institute’s Payroll Wellness Check-up for Small and Growing Businesses.


ith the holidays fast approaching, many businesses are looking for extra sets of hands to come on as seasonal hires. The problem is the labour market is tight and unemployment is low so there isn’t a

massive pool of job seekers looking for seasonal roles. Here are a few tips to make your life easier heading into the holiday season.

Most people who are looking to pick up shifts during the

holiday season are also looking to work during other times of the year. Instead of making the position a seasonal role, try making it a permanent role with reduced hours after the

If you find your current employees aren’t taking as many shifts as you’d like them to, or that it’s challenging to find additional staff for the holidays, consider increasing your hourly wage for holiday shifts. Yes, it might mean a few hundred dollars extra in wages, but if you think that will be far surpassed by the sales you’ll make that day, it’s better to be fully staffed and generating revenue. Another way to think of it is valuing your time from a monetary standpoint. If increasing your hourly wages saves you tens of hours of headaches with recruiting and scheduling, that time saving in

dollar terms may outweigh the additional monetary expenses you’re incurring.

holiday rush. This can work perfectly for students who may be willing to work full-time hours over their school break and scale down to 10 hours per week once classes resume. This can also help reduce the time and money you spend hiring and training future new employees over the coming year if you can retain most of your previously seasonal hires and make them regular staff.

Many employers will create schedules on Thursday nights for the following week and expect to give employees only a few days' notice on shifts. For

the holiday season, instead of doing a weekly schedule, make a schedule for If your existing job boards, hiring signs and career fairs aren’t

working, try exploring new talent pools to tap into. Reaching out to local charities, nonprofits, schools, or sports teams to see if their members are interested in your roles is a great way to meet people where they’re at instead of waiting for them to come to you. Consider having your current staff make fun and engaging TikTok videos about their roles during their shifts to encourage others to come and work for you.

If you’re running into issues trying to staff all your shifts for the holiday season, consider asking for availability at the interview stage to ensure there’s enough coverage of shifts before you make hiring decisions. There is nothing worse than hiring three staff and having them all unavailable on the same day. A strategy to incentivize increased availability can be to give employees who provide the most availability their preferred shift times. This will keep them happy and reduce the time it takes to fill out the schedule.

the entire season so that employees can make plans around their shifts. This will reduce the risk of them making plans and you trying to schedule shifts last minute.

While the holidays can be stressful and hectic, remember to take a step back and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Here’s to a great holiday season and hope these tips will be helpful with retail staffing this holiday season and beyond.

By Matt Parkin

Founder of Mornings With Matt Career Services

In 2017, I left a comfortable corporate career spanning

I wanted to be a

almost two decades to take on the challenge of turning around an insolvent apparel provider. It was a wild adventure involving many sleepless nights, second-

meaningful equity owner in whatever venture I took on, and I was ready to accept the risks and the “roll-up-your-sleeves” demands of a

of 2021.

percentage of ownership (including my own capital contribution as well as my “sweat equity”)

guessing and sacrifices, and in four years, I drove it to a successful turnaround and exit, leaving in the spring

Over the next few months, while I was determined to take the time to enjoy the summer sunshine, I realized I felt lost without a mission and a team to work alongside to achieve it. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to take on the leadership of another private business.

That role in 2017 had come to me; I hadn’t been searching for it. But now I had the time and space to reflect deeply on how to approach my next venture. After many discussions with friends, family and colleagues, I arrived at a list of criteria: 61 - CanadianSME - November 2022

smaller venture. A smaller business would naturally mean I could take on a larger

I wanted to find a market with enough white space that I could play offence more than defense and achieve 5x growth or more. Exponential growth, I have learned, is more achievable in a large, growing market than in a limited stable market. I have always been a big believer in business as a force for good. It’s important to me to work with a service or product that I feel proud of and that I’m naturally geared toward—I’m motivated by the ability to create impact.

Life Education I’m more of an inspirational versus a “commandand-control”-type leader, so I knew a peoplecentric business would be a great fit for me.

Brain Power is an award-winning after-school enrichment education provider with a thirty-year track record of opening doors for high-potential students. Led by an academic team of PhDs, the small business was growing, but it needed the business acumen, leadership and capital to get to the next level.

Unlike most supplemental education providers, which focus on remedial or tutoring support, Brain Power gives bright, creative, curious kids the tools they need to stand out and make their mark on the world. Research shows that 60% of high-potential kids actually underachieve compared to their abilities and that they in fact

grow at a slower rate than other kids when it comes to improving grades and other academic markers. That’s a profound problem. In Brain With those criteria clarified, I realized that the

education sector was a natural area to focus on. Having worked closely with many school boards in my previous role, I was acutely aware of the challenges in the sector: funding shortfalls in public education, COVID learning loss, teacher

burnout, escalating costs of private education and technology disruption. Beyond the demand for solutions to those issues, I was deeply passionate

about education. Over the years I’ve developed my curriculum-writing and teaching skills at the University of Toronto, where I’m an executive-inresidence and where I do a lot of teaching and mentoring of students.

But where would I begin to find a deal in the growing education space that would leverage my skills and passions? Once again, I was fortunate: in mid-2021, the funding market for private deals was very healthy. Within just a few weeks of my exit, I secured support from Sage Capital, a search fund in Toronto. Sage agreed to explore an acquisition with me and, while it can often take one to two years to source and close a deal, we hit the ground running. Within a few months we had sourced and closed the acquisition of Brain Power Enrichment Programs.

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Power, I saw what the most compelling opportunity might be I would have in my lifetime to make a real business and personal impact.

Over more than thirty years of developing innovative and proprietary curriculum and in-class teaching methods, Brain Power has differentiated itself in five critical ways, all anchored by peer-reviewed research.

Brain Power students are taught at an average of one to three grade levels above Ministry standards for their age, while being grouped age-appropriately ensure social compatibility with their peers.

Brain Power’s classes provide a stimulating learning environment for a wide range of learners. Classes don’t rely on widely used worksheets or drills, which are too easy for high-potential students. Instead, they focus on building and applying knowledge by developing the most advanced cognitive domains: creating, evaluating, analyzing.

Life Education

The small class sizes, cross-curricular activities (such as chess club, book clubs and guest lectures), social events and field trips offered through Brain Power create deeper student engagement and build a strong sense of belonging and community. Brain Power kids also enter—and shine in— academic contests around the world.

Brain Power’s faculty hold advanced degrees, have university-level research and teaching experience, and are experts in their fields of study. They are uniquely equipped to harness the curiosity of high-potential students and guide them in their learning and educational choices.

Brain Power students are trained to adopt a “growth mindset” (the belief that their basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work). In each lesson, students and parents receive targeted, specific feedback that they follow in a continuous growth loop.

The ultimate proof of Brain Power’s methods is its

community of distinguished alumni, which includes hundreds of doctors, engineers, lawyers, inventors and disruptive thinkers. Many of them return regularly to Brain Power to teach and mentor the next generations of high-potential students.

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I’ve only been the CEO and co-owner for six months, and Brain Power has already exceeded my expectations. When I joined, we had just a single location. Today, we are experiencing double-digit growth and operating out of three physical locations (North Toronto, Vaughan and Halton Region) and a vibrant virtual school. We have extended our award-winning math program to include kids in grades 1 and 2 (now covering the entire math curriculum up to grade 12), and we’ve launched a Public Speaking Academy to train high-potential students in the art of rhetoric and persuasion. I see tremendous potential to continue delivering teaching excellence to our niche of exceptionally talented students. I feel incredibly grateful to have found a role in which I feel such a sense of purpose and impact. One of our newest faculty members, Anthony Di Corte, recently shared an email with me from a parent of one of his students in our brand-new Primary Math Master's program; the child was an A student but lacked confidence in her math abilities. The email read: “My daughter used to say, ‘I am not good at math.’ Yesterday she left the class very excited, saying ‘I cracked the code today and I suddenly became smarter.” Reading that and seeing Mr. Di Corte’s sense of pride and accomplishment, I felt something click. These two great minds—educator and student—have been connected and mutually inspired… just imagine the butterfly effect for years to come. If my team and I can continue to facilitate authentic connections like this one, the business growth will take care of itself.

Chau Lui Co-Owner of Paris Jewellers We recently got the chance to speak to Chau Lui, the co-owner of Paris Jewellers, who shared her journey as an immigrant entrepreneur, her fascination for jewellery, her thoughts on the upcoming launch of the first LabCreated Diamond Collection by Paris Jewellers, the options that Paris Jewellers has for customers when selecting their dream piece in terms of diamond size, colour, clarity, and

Chau has had the honor to create engagement rings for 3x Emmy Award Winner Derek Hough, To All The Boys I've Loved Before, actress Lana Condor as well as Bachelorette/DWTS S29 Winner Kaitlyn Bristowe.

budget, the similarities between labgrown and mined diamonds, followed by her company's initiative of planting a tree for each item sold in view of the

Chau is on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Jewellers Association, highlighted on Top 40 Under 40 lists, Global’s Women of Vision and was a featured speaker at the Women +

recent forest fires in British Columbia.

Wealth Gala as well as MOMFest.

Chau Lui is the co-owner of Paris Jewellers, a Canadian -Vietnamese sister-owned luxury jewelry brand, which focuses on celebrating customer’s stories through jewelry, community partnerships, and supporting women.

Paris Jewellers has been featured in People, The Knot, BRIDES, Popsugar, GMA, etalk, Entertainment Tonight and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Supporting communities is one of Paris Jewellers’ core values and during the last few years, we have raised over half a million dollars for women and children focused charities.

How has your immigration from Vietnam to Canada been? Can you tell us a bit about your fascination with jewelry?. We grew up very blessed to live in Canada, and we had a great example of hard work, grace and gratitude from our mother. Early on in our jewelry business we would watch our mom interact with customers and see her connect with customers to find that perfect piece! We love jewelry and the way that it makes us feel every single time we put it on, but what we love most, is how we hold moments and memories close with pieces of jewelry.

Jewellers What are your thoughts on the upcoming launch of the first Lab-Created Diamond Collection by Paris jewellers? As a family-owned business, we have always made every effort to listen to our teams (which we consider family) and our customers. Providing a Lab-Created collection is something we are so passionate about because our customers and

The bridal collection features nine engagement rings and three matching wedding bands. The fine jewelry collection features seven styles including two pendants, three pairs of earrings and two tennis bracelets. Each piece comes with an IGI certificate including the diamonds unique laser inscription.

teams are passionate about it. It is a product that customers want - and it’s important for us to have that selection available for our customers.

How does Paris Jewellers ensure that customers have options when selecting their dream piece in terms of diamond size, colour, clarity, and budget? We are so excited to provide our customers with

more options for their dream piece. Having a labcreated collection allows our customers a choice in selecting a piece with a higher carat weight, color and clarity at a lower price point than mined diamonds. We proudly offer both options, and

believe that whether lab-created or mined, it's the customer’s choice to find something perfect for them.

In what ways are lab-grown and mined diamonds equivalent? And what do the bridal and fine jewelry collections offer diamond lovers? Lab-created diamonds are identical to mined diamonds in their composition; they have the exact physical, chemical and optical properties meaning that they have the same hardness and durability. Mined diamonds are crystallized under enormous pressure and at very high temperatures from the earth’s mantle while these conditions are replicated in a laboratory for lab-created diamonds. Diamonds in our Lab-Created Diamond Collection are created from the high-pressure hightemperature (HPHT) method and grow most similarly to a mined diamond. Graded by the same standards known as the 4Cs (carat, cut, clarity and colour); our diamonds feature a clarity and color grade of VS2-HI (bridal collection) and SI1-HI (fine jewelry collection).

What obstacles did you encounter as a female entrepreneur in the business industry? What assisted you in overcoming these obstacles? Some obstacles early on were not seeing a lot of women in our jewelry industry. But I had our mom as an example. And our family. We learned that through experiences and challenges, that our belief in ourselves had to be so much bigger than anyone’s opinion of us.

In view of the recent forest fires in British Columbia, what would you like to say about your company's initiative of planting a tree for each item sold? We care deeply about British Columbia; we have five stores in this wonderful province and over 40 employees here. This is our small way of giving back to a community that we are so proud to be a part of.

How has your journey been as a global leader and senior vice president of research and total wellbeing at LifeWorks, also a sought-after speaker, and a well-recognized expert in many streams? My journey started with direct clinical service and subsequently with supporting workers the return to health and work of people on disability leave. That gave me a clear view of the “end of the parade” and insight into the several pivotal preceding points that might have changed the course. That position fueled my passion to leverage

We had the honour of interviewing Paula Allen, the global leader for research and total well-being and a Senior VicePresident at LifeWorks, who shared her valuable thoughts on the LifeWorks Mental Health IndexTM, strategies to be implemented to build trust between employees and their employer, potential solutions to the rising stress and poor mental health scores among Canadian employees, the primary causes of a lack of trust between employees and their employers, and her specific advice for organizations to assist them in making employee wellness a priority and recognizing the connection between culture and employee trust.

those pivot points more positively in a systemic manner. To do that, data is essential, hence my path toward research and the practical application of that research.

Paula Allen is the Global Leader, Research and Total Wellbeing and a Senior Vice-

What are your thoughts on the LifeWorks Mental Health IndexTM, which says that the erosion of employer trust has a negative impact on the mental health of employees?

data science, research collaborations and meta-analyses. Given her focus on industry

We had been seeing several anecdotal indicators that trust was being eroded

Trust in relationships that are significant in your life – family, friends and work. Trust enables social support and sense of connection and belonging, which are essential to wellbeing

As Canadians believe trust between employees and their employer has decreased compared to before the pandemic, what are the strategies to be implemented in order to address this issue? One of the drivers of trust it caring about the wellbeing of the other.

Paula Allen Senior Vice-President at LifeWorks

President at LifeWorks. In this role she manages the research agenda for LifeWorks, which includes primary research, exploratory

leading research, Paula also leads LifeWorks’s thought leadership and is cochair of the organization’s product and innovation strategy. Paula is focused on the current and emerging issues that impact health and productivity and related costs. Her scope includes all areas of wellbeing – social, physical, financial and mental.

In the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of workplace communication and support that demonstrated this caring. Though the concern may not have declined, the focus on wellbeing in the eyes of employees has often declined and this has an impact on trust. Increasing the focus, support and training managers are together very effective

What, in your opinion, are the potential solutions to the rising stress and poor mental health scores among Canadian employees? We need to understand that several factors have been increasing the level of mental

health risk for some time, but the pandemic intensified the risk factors and has reset our collective mental health. We know that people who work for employers who invest mental health are doing better based on our data – this includes offering a range of mental health support, training managers on workplace mental health and repeated, clear and destigmatizing

communication about mental health and the services available

What are the primary causes of a lack of trust between employees and their employers? How do we overcome these obstacles? In the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of workplace communication and support that demonstrated this caring. Though the concern may not have declined, the focus on wellbeing in the eyes of employees has often declined and this has an impact on trust. Increasing the focus, support and training managers are together very effective. The primary conversation should not be just about returning to the office alone.

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What specific recommendations do you have for organizations that will assist them in making employee wellness a priority and recognizing the connection between culture and employee trust? You cannot improve what you do not measure – organizations can self-assess what they are doing regarding working mental health with the LifeWorks

Workplace Strategy Index for Mental Health (on the LifeWorks Website and at

According to LifeWorks research (with similar recommended published by the US Surgeon General) employers should focus on 5 things

Psychological safety A sense of connection, community and belonging Personal control and flexibility with respect to work Recognition Practical and accessible support for work and health

These require a focus on culture, which is supported by tangible actions, resources and manager training.

We recently got the opportunity to chat with Marjorie Junio-Read, the Chief Financial Officer at Helcim, who shared her opinion regarding Helcim's recent partnership with Xero to expand its service offerings, cost-effective solutions that will support businesses' fundamental requirements, the innovative strategies Helcim intends to employ to differentiate its payment service for a variety of businesses, integration of Helcim's credit card payments into Xero invoices to assist businesses in requesting and accepting payments on the Xero platform in an effortless and streamlined manner, and how will Helcim’s partnership with Xero help to reduce the administrative burdens associated with running a small business.

Marjorie Junio-Read is the Chief Financial Officer at Helcim, a payments company that delivers an easier, smarter, and more affordable payment experience with a human touch. As CFO, she is responsible for the finance and accounting functions which includes Helcim’s day-today funding operations to its merchants as a payments company. Before joining Helcim, Marjorie gained over 10 years of experience with a multinational public company, including corporate finance, cash management, budgeting, accounting, and controls. She holds a degree in finance from the University of Calgary and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) ® Charterholder. Marjorie was recognized for her impact in the payments industry with the 2020 Women in Payments Inspiration Award and as one of The Peak's 2022 Emerging Leaders.

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Marjorie Juno-Reid Chief Financial Officer at Helcim How will you describe your role as a Chief Financial Officer at Helcim? And how has your journey been with over 10 years of experience with a multinational public company, and being recognized with the 2020 Women in Payments Inspiration Award and as one of The Peak's 2022 Emerging Leaders? As CFO at Helcim I get to be a strategic financial advisor to the entire company. It's my role to

ensure the company includes a fiscal lens as part of the impacts of their decision. I'm lucky that we have such an engaged and collaborative executive team where we work together to make decisions and each one of us gets to impart our specific areas of expertise to our decisions. As a growing startup every role at Helcim has a big impact and that's definitely been true of my role. Coming from a large multinational company with thousands of people it was an adjustment to go from having access to experts in really specific areas to the realization that I am not the expert and need to figure out solutions on my own. This has been a fun challenge that gives me more opportunity to be creative and really dive into different areas of the business I wouldn't have exposure to if I had stayed at a larger organization. It's that ability to make an impact and effect real progress for the company that I personally find really motivating.

Payment What are your thoughts on Helcim's recent partnership with Xero to expand its service offerings? We are very pleased to have officially announced our partnership with Xero. Both companies are invested in helping small businesses thrive. We do this by consistently delivering on easy, affordable and human payment solutions. Integrating with Xero is exciting because it means Helcim can reach a broader audience of businesses and provides further ease and affordability to them by partnering with a software they already love and use frequently.

As the majority of small business owners are extremely concerned about inflation squeezing their profits, what are the various cost-effective solutions that will support their businesses' fundamental requirements? Payments is our core product, and our strategy will be to continue to

offer small businesses the core products they need to get paid at an affordable price tag. With no monthly fees, hidden fees or contracts,

automatic volume discounts, and Interchange Plus pricing, merchants in any industry can get value from signing up with Helcim. On average we save small businesses 22% and that number could increase significantly depending on volume processed and number of transactions. We offer all these savings while emphasizing great

customer service and support for our merchants and think they deserve a real partner that helps them not only survive but thrive.

What innovative strategies does Helcim intend to employ to differentiate its payment service for a variety of businesses? And how will this benefit the businesses? As a growing fintech we are focused on digital first payment solutions which ultimately help small businesses scale as they grow. With one free account, merchants can access our full platform of tools for no extra cost. They only pay for what they process which we feel is a rare model in the age of monthly subscriptions.

How will the integration of Helcim's credit card payments into Xero invoices assist businesses in requesting and accepting payments on the Xero platform in an effortless and streamlined manner? Xero customers can easily request payment via Helcim from their Xero account. Users can get the benefit and performance of both tools in one platform which cuts back on administrative time. The current functionality works with credit card payment but ACH payment requests and a full sync is on the roadmap for our partnership with Xero. 69 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Since Helcim observed an increase in merchant inquiries regarding accounting software integrations, how do you believe this partnership with Xero will reduce the administrative burdens associated with running a small business? Automation and integrations absolutely reduce the administrative burden of

running a small business. Business owners wear a lot of hats and streamlining the number of tools they use is

one way we can reduce the administrative burdens they face every day so they can

focus on their true passion their business. The more we

can integrate into tools they already use frequently helps to position us as a brand that cares about their business.

We receive many words of wisdom

It can take a while with many experiences before we figure we

happiness in our careers.

a true flavor of your chosen discipline until you are actually immersed in the field? Besides how could academic teachings provide a true flavor of your chosen discipline until

and advice from our mentors and colleagues regarding how to find

One piece of advice is to “find your

passion.” This mantra might apply to some and is a worthwhile endeavour for those who know their passions

discover where we feel we are making a meaningful contribution. Besides, how could academic teachings provide

you are actually immersed in the field?

and can successfully commercialise these interests.

However, many talented individuals have passions that provide creativity and challenge, but do not generate enough income to pay the bills. I also believe a vast majority of people do not know what their passion is or may not have a passion. When we look at employees who are happy in their careers, few have had a straight trajectory, instead most have explored a number of different avenues until they have landed. 70 - CanadianSME - November 2022

Passion and ability are not always linked. I would love to have been a sax player or a great vocalist. I am passionate about music. I am also tone-deaf, and no amount of passion will allow me to excel at either. When my clients seek career advice, I suggest they find something they can excel and flourish. Everybody has talents whether it’s as a coder, writer, plumber, statistician, strategist etc. When you find something you are good at, then it comes naturally and you see yourself as adding value. Value to your organisation, and your team. You then become a desired commodity.

Payment This puts you at a competitive advantage. Your profile is raised, and so is your currency. Being valued is the most important driver for engagement and investment in your role. I advise my clients not to necessarily have a single career for the rest of their lives. Think about this: the average person works for about 90,000 hours over the course of their life time. That is daunting. So to engage in the exact same thing for 90,000 hours might lead to diminishing returns. You might be fatigued, burnt out, or just plain bored.

It is advantageous to consider that you might

have many careers in the course of your lifetime. Remain curious, continue to explore different fields and build your network. You will most likely end up shifting your interests more than once. This will allow you to stay engaged and enjoy new challenges. A journey of multiple careers is highly rewarding. You then recognise that your talents are not singular but rather plentiful.

Stop thinking in straight lines, remain curious and embrace change. Passion is a feeling and feelings change all the time. So my advice to you is find something you are really good at, because when you do, the returns are great. Recognise that you may embark on a few careers over the course of your life based upon market demands, your personal commitments and the evolution of your interests and values over the course of your life time. People who have had many careers are fascinating to talk to, they have many interests and have multi-faceted skills. They give us permission to be many things.

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Just remember although you may enjoy doing the

same thing for 40 years the road to happiness likely has many trajectories. For those of you who have a varied career path, you are welcome at my dinner table any time.

Cindy Wahler, PhD, C.Psych. is a leadership consultant specializing in executive coaching and talent management. She can be contacted at



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