Capital LEADING THE WAY Ottawa talent,
tech and tourism drive growth
tech and tourism drive growth
Since 1956, OakWood has been providing a specialized Design & Build service to help homeowners and real estate investors generate ongoing lease or rental income from various property strategies in the Ottawa market. Our clients are attracted to the long-term security of owning something tangible that can increase in value over time. We help them leverage their current equity to obtain financing for development projects, find land for future development, and invest in custom-designed investment properties. From modifying existing single-family homes to building a customized multi-floor rental property, our Team of experts will work with you to find a solution that is right for your financial goals and investment level.
A CHANGE IS as good as a rest. And after the last couple of years of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, the world needs a rest. For Ottawa, that comes in the form of change.
The recent election of a new mayor and city council bodes well for a fresh perspective on the opportunities that are before us as we contemplate affordable, inclusive, and sustainable city building. In anticipation of this important election, the Ottawa Board of Trade launched the Build Up Ottawa initiative with the intention of curating critical conversations about what we were looking for in the next term of council. Key pillars included innovative investments in health care, housing and transit that would drive growth along with support for small business.
Above all, our economic partners and members were looking for a commitment to consensus building. The challenges before us are broad and complex. They demand future thinking and optimization of our expertise and resources from both the private and public sector. And that requires radical collaboration and transparency.
We are excited to welcome our new mayor, Mark Sutcliffe, along with several new council members and the re-elected members who have all shared their commitment to a high level of collaboration. There is a new energy in our city for what we can achieve by building on our strengths, agreeing on key priorities and working together.
The Ottawa Board of Trade is dedicated to representing our business community as a key and equal partner with all levels of government and our economic stakeholders. The city we build to foster business success is the same city well positioned to make great strides in meeting our inclusivity and sustainability goals. One cannot be achieved without the other.
This edition of CAPITAL highlights how Ottawa is leading the way in key economic areas. Business and community leaders share what true leadership looks like in our post pandemic world. And most importantly, you will see how our dynamic ecosystem drives business success and community prosperity.
Now is the time for Ottawa to leverage our unique amenities and areas of expertise, to promote our cultural and geographic diversity and to embrace strong leadership. We have all we need to become the best national capital city in the world. Together, we will.Sueling Ching, President & CEO Ottawa Board of Trade
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AS SHE PUTS it, Kathryn Tremblay is in “the job business,” so when she saw she could help Ukrainians who were fleeing for Canada after Russia invaded their country, she was all in. The CEO and co-founder of Altis Recruitment excelHR, excelITR and Altis Technology knew Canada would be accepting more refugees who would need to find work — and finding work for people is her business.
Within the first two weeks of the Russian invasion and the announcement that Canada would be a safe-haven, Tremblay started getting calls from Ukrainians asking “if we’re able to come, are there any jobs for us?”
Tremblay kicked into gear immediately and put together a team of her recruiters to help further. The team members reached out to clients, urging them to take newcomers on, and they organized information sessions for the refugees, after discovering that Ukrainians write their resumés differently than Canadians, and that their interview questions tend to differ, too.
“We organized virtual sessions because people were in different locations,” Tremblay says. “And we put this out to everyone we could think of who might know of a Ukrainian newcomer. We ended up with 70 names.”
Altis recruiter Maryna Skobal was born and raised in Ukraine and was able to translate any questions from Ukrainians involved in the sessions. Team members who are well versed in LinkedIn helped the participants beef up their profiles and explained the platform’s importance in Canada. They also briefed participants on all of the job sites in Canada — everything from Indeed to Monster. Further, they worked on interview skills.
In another session, the Altis team discussed what jobs are in demand at the moment in Canada and explained how agencies such as theirs work to help people find jobs.
“As an immigrant myself, I didn't know that there was such a thing as an agency [when I arrived],” Skobal says. “And it is a free service as well. I wish I had known [when I came], because it can increase your chances in finding employment.”
The agency has continued to work with the refugees as a resource whenever they have questions.
“We have an open email address just for this Ukrainian group, where they can email us and ask, any questions they have,” Tremblay says. “It’s completely free. It’s not part of our business. It’s just to support them.”
Skobal confirms Altis receives questions every day from this group. The team has also put together a step-by-step guide to starting the
job search, with best practices in terms of content and layout of a resumé, tips on what job sites to watch and how to boost your chances of getting a job. Altis also offers the recordings of its two earlier webinars to anyone interested. Finally, if has an “open invitation” to register for its newcomer program, which it started in 2017 to improve the lives of new Canadians in a direct way by providing paid internships within the company, giving newcomers “Canadian” experience, something many employers insist upon.
The newcomer program — a fully paid apprenticeship for eight to 10 weeks that includes the use of a laptop and headset — is entirely sponsored by Altis, which doesn’t make any money from it. But Tremblay says there are other rewards for her and her team.
“The personal growth has been incredible, because some of our team members have themselves faced different challenges along the way,” she says. “It's also created a really special community inside the company, because those that are really participating in it have this enormous job [of helping a newcomer find work.] When we see that someone [we've helped] has secured a permanent fulltime position and they had been unemployed for years, that’s just something priceless.”
The program was Tremblay’s way of remembering her late husband, Tony Guimarães, who was himself born in Portugal. Altis offers registrants hands-on experience, skills development, networking opportunities, professional training and active marketing of the newcomer’s skills to help them get full-time work. Those with human resources, administrative services or finance and marketing skills are all encouraged to apply.
“Our last person was from East India, and she was here for about a year and a half couldn't find work,” Tremblay says. “She did this apprenticeship and she is now in an incredibly great full-time permanent position.”
The program was also one of Tremblay’s Canada 150 projects and she committed to helping 150 newcomers get on-the-job experience and then hopefully a good job. So far, the program has helped 84 people and almost all of them have found full-time employment.
One plus is that the newcomers leave with a Canadian reference. Again, sometimes only having references from their previous home country is a barrier to entry into the workforce.
“That’s one thing that’s made a big difference,” says Katherine Soler, who is the team lead on the newcomer program. “The other big takeaway is the confidence the program builds.”
Indira Rao is a graduate of the newcomer program and a big fan. She came to Canada from India in 2019 as a professional language translator, but she found the languages she knew weren’t in high demand here.
“The program had a significant impact and helped get me an interview with RBC,” says Rao, who now works as a pre-employment representative and HR officer for RBC in Toronto. “It was a great experience.”
Rao’s initial contract with Altis/Excel HR was for 12 weeks, but that was extended until she found another position, which happened after about 16 weeks.
“I think the experience definitely helped me stand out when I was looking for my next opportunity,” she says.
She was particularly impressed with Tremblay’s leadership. Tremblay makes a point of meeting with all newcomers finishing the program to find out whether it was worthwhile and what, if anything, should change.
“I would definitely recommend the program — 100 per cent,” Rao says. “I’ve told all my contacts and have recommended people to Altis.”
So rich was her apprenticeship, Rao says she would be keen to return to Altis if the opportunity arose.
WHY ARE SOME leaders and organizations more customer centric than others? Why do some companies inspire greater loyalty from employees and customers alike to become the best loved brand in their industry?
Many senior leaders today would agree that a customer-centric culture is a vital ingredient to a successful business. More than a decade of empirical research within the global customer experience (CX) industry supports a strong correlation between a positive customer experience and three key elements of loyal behaviour: a willingness to buy more, a reluctance to switch, and the likelihood to recommend.
In studying customer centricity and senior leaders who have had the most success, we discovered specific observable behaviours and actions that differentiate customer-centric leaders from others. Customer-centric leaders:
1. FULLY EMBRACE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AS A CORE OPERATING MODEL. They have a strongly held belief that customers are the foundation of their business. They instill a feeling of purpose around the customer and help every employee to understand their role in delivering the ideal customer experience.
2. MASTER THE ABILITY TO CLEARLY ARTICULATE A SHARED VISION OF THE IDEAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, one that is intentionally differentiated from other brands through the consistent delivery of a well-articulated value proposition across all customer channels. Customer-centric leaders regularly and easily communicate this uniqueness to everyone inside and outside the organization.
3. EMBRACE AN AUTHENTIC PASSION TO SPEND TIME INTERACTING DIRECTLY WITH CUSTOMERS to establish special emotional connections. They can tell stories about positive and negative customer experiences and will regularly showcase examples of employees who demonstrate consistent or exemplary customer-centric behaviours.
4. HAVE A STRONG WILL TO UNDERSTAND CHANGING CUSTOMER PREFERENCES—benchmarking both competitors and industry leaders. Customer-centric leaders make problems in the customer experience well-known across the company and understand the true cost of poor-quality experiences. Enterprise-wide systems are put in place to understand and empathize with the changing needs of their customers.
5. STRIVE FOR A CLEAR DEFINITION OF WHAT EMPLOYEES NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY TO DELIVER THE IDEAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE for everyone’s role, both front- and back-office positions. Some organizations manage as many as tens of thousands of interactions with customers every day. Ensuring a consistent, high-quality experience across every interaction or channel will not be possible without clear direction and a robust system.
6. IMPLEMENT A MEASUREMENT AND REWARDS SYSTEM, linked to customer experience management, to accelerate the pace of change. Employees want to be recognized for changing their behaviour. When an employee is recognized, it provides senior leaders with an opportunity to share the vision of the ideal experience and provide stories of customer-centric behaviours in action.
7. RECOGNIZE THAT NO ONE LEADER CAN ACHIEVE CUSTOMER CENTRICITY ALONE. Customer-centric leaders build cross-functional alliances, to break down silos, and reinforce key metrics that bring forward corrective actions needed to improve the customer experience. There must be a strong coalition across the organization to bring about transformational change.
Today’s customer-centric leaders recognize the strategic advantage of driving customer perspectives throughout all aspects of their business. They work to transform legacy systems to adapt to changing customer expectations and use customer experience to disrupt, reshape and redefine new markets, creating strong coalitions across the organization to bring about transformational change.
Janet LeBlanc + Associates is an executive coach, business strategist and recognized leader in customer experience management, specializing in helping leadership teams master the ability to design and deliver a Branded Customer Experience®. This proprietary approach includes customer experience strategy development, ideal customer experience design and journey mapping, customer research, and employee training. She can be reached at email@example.com. BRANDED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE® is a registered trademark of Janet LeBlanc + Associates Inc.
THE CITY AND surrounding area offer residents a diversity of regions and neighbourhoods — from familyfriendly townhome developments or luxury urban condos to riverfront living, smaller rural communities, and everything in between.
As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is home to many embassies and their international staff. It borders another province, Quebec, with its own set of market trends and entirely different tax implications. It’s among the largest cities in Canada but has a very low population density compared to Toronto or Vancouver.
All these factors mean there is a vast array of choice and opportunity in Ottawa’s residential market.
“I’m often asked for real estate advice,” says Penny Torontow, president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB), a professional association representing 3,900 REALTORS®. “And my answer is always the same — work with a local REALTOR®. There’s a multitude of factors to consider when buying or selling real estate and, in Ottawa, the highly localized intelligence that a REALTOR® has is key to a successful deal.”
Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021, OREB has a long tradition of building and upholding high standards of ethics, professionalism, and cooperation among REALTOR® members. It recently launched an awareness campaign, The Confidence Behind the Sign, to help homebuyers and sellers know they can trust a professional REALTOR® to navigate life transitions after lockdown, interest rate hikes and price trends.
“Today’s real estate market is drastically different than even just a few a months ago,” says Torontow. “We’re seeing more of the stability Ottawa is typically known for, especially with highly employed government and technology workforces. Homes aren’t selling at the lightning speed we saw at the height of the pandemic, but slower sales give buyers more time to do their due diligence and propose conditions. Some homes, though, are still being sold above asking and with multiple offers — it depends on the timing, neighbourhood and price. That’s where REALTORS® are essential.”
Not all real estate salespeople are REALTORS®. To be able to call themselves a REALTOR®, a registered broker or salesperson must be a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and adhere to a Canada-wide code of ethics, which in many cases is a higher standard than what is set out in provincial regulation. REALTORS® are then registered with their provincial and local association or board and are given access to leading-edge technology, tools and resources.
Ottawa’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS) system is one such tool. Built upon a foundation of cooperation and accuracy, it’s the most popular and trusted real estate platform, and it gives the best possible exposure to a property system.
“REALTORS® are leaders in community building,” says Torontow. “They can be counted on even in the most volatile of times to help consumers with what is probably the largest financial transaction of their life.”
LEADERSHIP. IT SETS the context for the cultural, social, and economic story of a city. Ottawa has lots of it. And the benefits are real.
Ottawa is one of Canada’s largest cities but with a unique ability to maintain a close community spirit. This allows us to forge meaningful partnerships among leaders in the public, private and third sectors. The synergy and optimization of effort and resources positions us well to risk, regroup and grow quickly. To be the seat of the federal government brings many amenities, embassies, and a cosmopolitan culture. But it also naturally attracts national associations, charities and social enterprises that drive agendas critical to whole community health and prosperity. Ottawa is also home to world class education and health institutions, attracting top talent and investment and resulting in a highly educated and well served population, a breeding ground for future thinking leaders.
Tourism and the visitor economy is a top industry and priority for the national capital region. It is natural for both domestic and international visitors to be drawn to a capital city including business, conference, and leisure travel. Fortunately, Ottawa is well set up to welcome these visitors with a plethora of attractions, festivals and events, diverse neighbourhoods, national sport teams and the list goes on. There is something for everyone. Art aficionados, business
travellers, foodies, music lovers, outdoor adventurers and sport fans alike create memorable experiences. The direct impact of our visitor economy bodes well for our local businesses and our tax base. However, there is more.
The visitor economy is the front door to every other form of economic development. Simply put, when someone visits Ottawa, experiences Ottawa, we increase the possibility they may consider our city as a great place to live, to work, to invest. They are more likely to recommend it to someone who is considering where to go to school, plan a vacation or open a business. Also, the assets we build for visitor attraction are the same assets that attract residents. Increasingly, the talent value proposition extends beyond the job, the compensation, and the workplace. The executive, entrepreneur, and employee of today care just as much and perhaps more about the community they live in. Tourism plays a significant role not only in community development but directly impacts our business and economic success by creating lifestyle choices and promoting our city.
Fortunately, Ottawa Tourism is known for their leadership. Working collaboratively with the City of Ottawa and key economic stakeholders they lead the way in branding, customer experience, marketing, and destination development. And they make it easy to engage all members of our community and business community. They have recently launched “Canada in One City”, the Ottawa
brand story with toolkits to attract businesses, citizens, students, and visitors. Check out canadainonecity.ca to learn more about Ottawa as a legacy building, caring and diverse city that connects people, urban and nature with a vibrant quality of life. And there is more to come. This year Ottawa Tourism will be releasing our new Destination Stewardship Plan to further develop the Ottawa offering.
It is impossible to speak of leadership in Ottawa and not immediately think of the tech sector: our previous success and strong prospects. Our international reputation as a leading centre for tech excellence and innovation is founded in deep tech roots, access to a significant talent pipeline and a collaborative ecosystem. Our tech community including multi nationals, start ups, post secondary institutions, government and key economic development organizations like Invest Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association can be described as agile, connected, and diverse. Key initiatives like the AV Test Track and Area X.O combined with innovation centres at Bayview Yards and Hub 350 and announcements of private sector success and expansions signals the continued growth and diversification of Ottawa’s tech industry. And if tech talent concentration is any indicator of future success – and it is – then Ottawa’s rating as the highest in North America tells the story of where we are going. All the way.
Build it and they will come. Innovative infrastructure is a critical component of city building. Ottawa has several game changing
projects on the horizon. The building of LeBreton, the revitalization of the ByWard Market, the creation of Lansdowne 2.0 and the construction of the new Ottawa Hospital will continue to elevate Ottawa as a world class city. Integrated mobility and transit plans that include our next phases of light rail, an expanding international airport and the future of high frequency rail all provide opportunities for affordable, inclusive, and sustainable city building.
Energy is the foundation of our businesses, homes and community so having city owned Hydro Ottawa as a key partner and bold leader in ESG and climate action is a leading edge for the national capital. Last year their Board of Directors announced the acceleration of their transition to net-zero operations by 2030: a first for any municipally owned utility company in Canada. Residents, business, and community leaders alike can proudly point to our local utility as a change maker and share the story of their partnership with Zibi Canada and Kruger Products, to complete the construction and commissioning of the district energy plant which will provide zerocarbon heating and cooling to the Zibi community in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau.
We are at a time that calls for a new style of leadership from individuals, businesses, organizations, and governments. Opportunity is everywhere for those who are adaptable, bold, collaborative, and inclusive. Ottawa has it all. And we are just getting started.
WHETHER ATTENDING A virtual doctor's appointment, viewing the latest images captured in space, or keeping your files and documents safe from cyber attacks, it’s likely that Ottawa-based Calian was quietly supporting in the background.
The company’s diverse yet highly specialized portfolio of four business units span healthcare, advanced technologies, learning and IT & cyber solutions serving both public and private customers across Canada, the United States and Europe.
The common thread? “Customers trust us when they can’t fail,” says Calian CEO Kevin Ford.
When the margin for error is slim to none — such as providing a third high-performing antenna for NASA’s Global Observing System — the ability to meet such exacting standards, in addition to nurturing long-term relationships, are key values contributing to the company’s steady growth. In fact, trusted relationships are key to the company’s success over the years, recently becoming the leading provider of military training for NATO.
Over the past 13 years, Calian has supported the design and delivery of over 70 NATO exercises – from exercise planning, computerassisted technologies, role-playing, and mentoring and advising. Calian offers a wealth of multi-national expertise and the ability to respond to NATO mission-critical operational and training requirements. It’s a nod to its expertise and established presence which can only come from 40 years of being a trusted partner in the defence community.
Throughout its history, Calian health has evolved from delivering healthcare and digital health solutions to innovating new pathways to better healthcare on a global scale. This year, Calian partnered with Syantra Inc. to help bring the Syantra DX breast cancer blood test — which detects breast cancer using software developed with machine learning to interpret results — nation-wide. The Calian digital health platform will make this test available to all Canadian women directly or through the Canadian Cancer Foundation. This has enormous potential to change the face of this devastating cancer.
Time and again, Calian has harnessed the opportunity for employees to showcase their expertise, skills, and undoubtedly, passion. It’s
their not-so-secret recipe for building trusted partnerships which has led to repeated successes.
“It has to be driven by incredibly talented people who can rise to these challenges,” says Ford. Every person on the Calian team works hard to meet their clients' needs, driven by their four key values: integrity, teamwork, innovation and commitment.
Ford adds, “We’re not going to be able to do this without talented and dedicated people. The fabric of a company is clearly its people. And we have amazing people.”
The same values which guide the team at Calian are the wind behind the back of CEO Kevin Ford. Named CEO of the Year by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal in 2017 and EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, Ford attributes his success to teamwork, integrity and commitment. These values, combined with Ford’s enthusiasm for Calian technology, talent and his passion for diversity and inclusion, help him future-proof the business. He is fully invested in the growth of the company, playing a key role in the 18 successful acquisitions Calian has made since 2015.
“Through a combination of strategic acquisitions, innovative solutions and diversification, we continue to increase our customer base in Canada and expand into new international markets,” Ford adds.
As Calian celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, it’s a time for praise as well as reflection on its history — from humble beginnings as a one-person firm in 1982 to trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and growing to the $500-million business it is today.
It’s even more astonishing considering the dot com ups and downs in the 90’s, the 2008 stock market crash and the global pandemic — the business’ lasting power in an uncertain world is impressive.
“If you think of all the things that have happened during the last 40 years, the fact that we’re still here, still growing and a thriving business, is a testament to our customers and their confidence in us, and our employees who live our core purpose of helping the world innovate, learn, lead safe and healthy lives,” Ford says.
And as Calian marks its second consecutive year of a half-billion in revenues, and it marches steadily towards the north-star of $1B revenue, Ford is decidedly proud of the company’s past and optimistic about its future.
“Celebration,” he says, “is absolutely the right word.”
to virtual healthcare: Ottawa’s oldest start-up emerges as one to watch at 40
IMMONDS ARCHITECTURE IS widely known for its custom work in residential projects as well as largescale commercial ones. Its team of principals have experience designing buildings around the world.
Christopher Simmonds Architect was originally branded with just the founder’s name. Today, it’s called Simmonds Architecture, a sign that Simmonds himself is part of a team that includes Samantha Schneider and Scott Hayward, both of whom are design principals in the firm.
“It’s not just me; it’s a team and a couple of very key players,” Simmonds says of Schneider and Hayward.
The boutique firm is known for, as Simmonds puts it, “crafting beautiful buildings with a lot of diligence, inspiration and creativity” and it is often invited to bid on projects.
“Big firms have a team that cranks out proposals for projects around the world,” Simmonds says. “We don’t typically do that. People approach us, we sit down, we talk to them, we find out about their project. We work with them to give them really good value for their investment and we have a close partnership with our clients. We’re not trying to compete on the scale that bigger firms work in.”
The firm is known for its custom houses across the region, but it also takes on many commercial projects and Simmonds and his team take pride in designing buildings that stand out from those of their counterparts. The Tomlinson headquarters building in Barrhaven is
one such example. Carved into a sculpted landscape, it is a stunning building full of windows, angles and light and is a flagship building in the area.
Currently the firm is working on a plastic surgery clinic in Ottawa. Simmonds calls it an “elegant state-of-the-art facility” with fully equipped surgical suites. The firm was also responsible for designing Eastern Canada's first LEED gold-certified building, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority in Manotick.
Samantha Schneider joined Simmonds Architecture in 2010 and has been working in the field for 25 years on all aspects of project delivery and building types, including residential, commercial, educational and cultural facilities. She has worked on international projects such as embassies and university buildings, including the Perimeter Institute, which is the theoretical physics research centre in Waterloo, Ont. She has been involved in projects in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, London, Seoul and Vienna and after many years of international work, decided to settle in Ottawa.
Schneider has a strong interest in architecture education, and has been a sessional instructor, guest critic and external thesis adviser at various universities.
“This office, and Ottawa in general, gives us an opportunity to do a great variety of work,” Schneider says. “It’s not just one sector of design — we can be doing a single-family home, or Tomlinson. That’s what attracts me to this office and interests me about Ottawa in general.”
Scott Hayward spent his post-secondary years in Germany after graduating from Carleton University. He worked on projects of all
sizes and types before coming back to Canada. Among the work he has completed with Simmonds Architecture are the Wakefield Community Centre, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority Headquarters and a timber-framed Muskoka cottage and boathouse, which was awarded the “Best Project Anywhere in the World” by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association. He is currently working on large-scale residential and infill projects.
“We’re an office that has the size and experience that allows us to do small-scale residential projects comfortably but also to take on larger projects if they align with our design approach,” Hayward says.
Hayward likes working in Ottawa because it’s “a great place to provide for a continuous stream of really interesting work while also being small enough to allow for a great work-life balance.”
There’s a common thread that weaves its way through all of Simmonds Architecture’s projects and that thread is customization.
“Every commercial project we do is customized to the client, and it's reflective of the company itself,” Schneider says. “We take that approach that was developed through custom homes and carry that through to our commercial work.”
Using the Tomlinson project as an example, Simmonds explains: “We didn't say, ‘Alright, let's do an office building.’ We looked at what the company's values were, what they were trying to communicate to their own staff and to the public about them as a company. Those values were technical excellence, thoroughness, effectiveness, modernity. We were trying to forge a new corporate identity for the company.”
Simmonds says with each project there are signature design elements that include a contemporary, slightly minimalist spirit, but each has its own character.
“In all of our residential projects, we try to respond to the particular site of the building and to the personalities, interests and aspirations of our clients. In our commercial projects, we're trying to do the same thing,” Simmonds says.
THE ROLE OF the National Capital Commission (NCC) is to ensure that the capital remains an enjoyable place to live and visit for present and future generations. One of the major projects the NCC is currently working on is:
Kìwekì Point, formerly known as Nepean Point, is a spectacular lookout and a key destination in the National Capital Region. The goal of the Kìwekì Point redevelopment project is to make Kìwekì Point a vibrant 21st century park and to provide the public with a panoramic view of the capital’s national heritage. This redevelopment is based on the Big River Landscape concept, the winning proposal submitted by Janet Rosenberg & Studio as part of an international design competition held in 2017.
The redevelopment concept enhances the universal accessibility, interpretation and landscaping aspects of the park, while creating new perspectives. It features several elements, including an unobstructed view of the Capital Region on two levels, an architectural shelter named the Whispering Point, and a new walkway reminiscent of the historic pedestrian connection between the point and Major’s Hill Park.
A new name
Indigenous peoples have inhabited Kìwekì Point and the banks of the Ottawa River on an ongoing basis for tens of thousands of years. In a spirit of reconciliation, the NCC worked with the Algonquin Nation, particularly the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Pikwàkanagàn First Nations, as part of the redevelopment project. Some of the rewarding discussions led to the selection of a new name, Kìwekì Point, which means “returning to one’s homeland” and which was given to the point in October 2022. This name was chosen by a working group of individuals from Algonquin communities who specialize in Algonquin history or heritage and the Algonquin language.
Interpretation communicates the meaning and history of a place to visitors. At Kìwekì Point, the Algonquin perspective is fundamental to the development of the interpretation plan. As such, the interpretation plan will tell the story of the Ottawa River through its natural surroundings, focusing on its landscape features and its holistic relationship to the “Big River.” Interpretive signs will take the form of creatures, chosen for their importance in Algonquin culture. Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Pikwàkanagàn First Nations are involved in the creation of these signs.
Site design, like interpretation, will tell the story of the Ottawa River. The location of monuments and works of art contribute to this story. After consultation, including with Indigenous peoples, the statue of Samuel de Champlain will be relocated from the top to the centre of the site and the statue of the Anishinabe Scout, which was at Major’s Hill Park, will be returned to the site on the edge of the perimeter trail overlooking the river.
The NCC welcomes the opportunity to work with new suppliers and contractors. If you are interested in offering your services, please visit https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/business/contracting-with-the-ncc
s the climate continues to rapidly change, we’re seeing consumers move towards carbon-free lifestyles – which means their investments are too.
With the world looking to transition to a greener economy, more and more businesses are taking action against climate change. Net-zero commitments are becoming the norm - not only for governments, but for businesses of all sizes and industry as well.
Last November, in the lead up to COP26, the City of Ottawa and other local partners across our city joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, a global coalition of cities, businesses, and institutions to enact climate action.
More recently, in August of this year, the Government of Canada announced their net-zero challenge - a voluntary initiative open to all businesses in Canada that encourages the development and implementation of credible and effective plans to transition their facilities and operations to net-zero emissions by 2050.
As Tim Fargo, american author, investor and entrepreneur put it, “Good intentions might sound nice, but it’s positive actions that matter.”
Moving from ambition to action is where the real potential lies to earn brand loyalty, appeal to new eco-conscious consumers and increase profitability.
For more than a decade, Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc. (Hydro Ottawa) has been on a journey of balancing growth with environmental protection and social responsibility, and a hallmark of their evolution has been a commitment to sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance.
Not only do they have an environmental management system and corporate social responsibility program in place, they are also a customer-centric organization that actively connects with stakeholders, supports community initiatives and conducts grassroots outreach programs aimed at engaging youth and offering energy-efficiency solutions to their customers.
So it made sense when on December 15, 2021, Hydro Ottawa’s Board of Directors announced the acceleration of their transition to net-zero operations by 2030; a first for any municipally-owned utility company in Canada.
At the time, Hydro Ottawa President and CEO Bryce Conrad said, “You can’t wait for billionaires, governments or anyone else to act. You have to take responsibility for your own operations and impact on the environment.”
Reaching that goal will take every ounce of innovation and ingenuity the utility has to get there. And they’re making progress. “We know this is a big undertaking,” reflects Conrad,“but we also know it’s what’s best for our growing city, and for our customers. And we know that we can do this by joining our collective efforts.”
To ensure they have the scale, financial capacity, and culture of innovation necessary to deliver on this agenda, their strategy includes a continued focus on strategic business growth within core areas of strength. Their growth agenda involves four basic components:
ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION: expanding their grid to accommodate new customers and continuing to evaluate opportunities to increase their service territory;
RENEWABLE GENERATION: increasing the supply of clean energy for customers and earnings for their shareholder by making smart investments in renewable generation;
ENERGY SOLUTIONS: providing innovative and sustainable solutions to help consumers, businesses, public sector agencies, and communities meet their energy objectives; and
UTILITY SERVICES: leveraging their assets and expertise to help other utilities to enhance the value they provide, creating new revenue streams and economies of scale.
In addition to their own net-zero journey, over the coming years
and months, the utility will be strengthening their role as a leading partner, a trusted energy provider and an enabler of change.
Preparing for the future, municipalities need innovative solutions to help modernize while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. From LED street lights to energy-efficient retrofits and self-cooling buildings to EV chargers and electric public transportation, investing in partnerships can provide positive outcomes, accelerate inclusive clean energy transitions and provide the biggest carbon-mitigation return on investment.
In partnership with Zibi Canada and Kruger Products, Hydro Ottawa completed the construction and commissioning of the district energy plant which will provide zero-carbon heating and cooling to the Zibi community in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau.
They have also entered into an agreement with the Ottawa International Airport Authority to review GHG reduction projects and support the airport’s commitment to achieve net zero operations.
For large scale projects, feasibility studies form the foundation of success - providing insights on the economic, technical, financial, legal and environmental considerations.
For others, climate action planning starts with setting targets, measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, assessing electric vehicle readiness or building automation systems and lighting solutions.
Fortunately for businesses of all sizes, a range of incentive and financing programs exist to reduce investment barriers to complete deep carbon reductions and become future ready.
Together, Hydro Ottawa and its affiliates are powering as one - building a sustainable, resilient, and vibrant future for the communities where their customers live, work and play.
Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc. (Hydro Ottawa) is a private company 100 per cent owned by the City of Ottawa and whose core businesses are electricity distribution, renewable energy generation, and energy and utility services. As a leading partner in a smart energy future, Hydro Ottawa is committed to sustainability and reducing its impact on the environment in all aspects of its operations. It owns and operates three primary subsidiary companies: Hydro Ottawa Limited – a local distribution company that delivers electricity to more than 353,000 customers in the City of Ottawa and the Village of Casselman; Portage Power – the largest Ontario-based municipally-owned producer of green power with 128 megawatts of installed green generation capacity (enough to power 107,000 homes); and Envari – an energy solutions company offering products and services that help reduce energy consumption and costs for municipalities, industrial and commercial clients, and various local distribution companies.
EVERY MONTH INDUSTRY leaders, recruiters and HR personnel take their searches to LinkedIn in hopes of finding qualified individuals to fill longstanding vacancies. Despite their best efforts, however, many organizations are continuing to come up empty-handed.
The decentralization of industry and diverging fields of work further complicate this challenge by requiring qualified workers to have niche skills and a specialized education.
As a leading Canadian post-secondary institution, Algonquin College is focused on addressing these challenges by assuring that the talent pipeline meets the current needs of employers. Through innovative programming and a learner-driven sensibility, the College's leadership team is shaping learners into skilled workers with the qualifications required to be successful industry professionals in emerging fields of all sizes.
Algonquin College culinary students are not only chefs but scientists — learning how to preserve and process raw commodities into healthy, safe and appealing food through chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology. Similarly, engineering students are learning more than just the physics of a suspension bridge; studying sophisticated automation and robotic technology geared toward today’s workplace and consumer.
Senior Vice President Academic, Dr. Chris Janzen said Algonquin College’s programs are really what set the institution apart: “Algonquin College’s leadership in program innovation means students leave our campuses ready to take on new and emerging roles in Canada’s evolving labour force.”
Algonquin College was one of the first institutions of its kind in North America to provide hands-on undergraduate degrees in which learners receive university-level credentials while working in an immersive environment. These specialized programs allow learners to acquire both practical and theoretical knowledge that will help them excel in their chosen industry. Currently, Algonquin College offers 15 degree-level programs in a variety of fields, including culinary arts, engineering and skilled trades.
Maya Bisnath, a student in the Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science program, shared how beneficial the pairing of theoretical and practical learning has been and will be to her future success in the field of culinary and food science.
“The Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science is practically designed and prepares students through technical skills and extensive health and safety training, including obtaining the Food Handler's Certificate,” said Bisnath.
Bisnath also commented on the opportunity for professional relationship building and application of practical and theoretical learning in the program’s final years.
“I am really looking forward to our co-op placements in the later years of the program, as the relationships and experiences are invaluable in preparing for a career in the field. In addition to our
food labs, we also have chemistry labs and the hands-on experience for both the culinary side and the food science side which will be incredibly useful for jobs in food development,” added Bisnath.
The Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science program provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a variety of roles within the food service industry such as product development, quality assurance and food production management. Graduates of the program bridge the gap between the culinary world and food science industry.
Cory Haskins, Academic Chair, School of Hospitality and Tourism, spoke to how this program exemplifies the College’s leadership in cutting-edge programming.
“This program is the first of its kind in Ontario and was created to meet the needs of an evolving industry,” said Haskins.
But the needs of the industry are not the only thing that is top of mind.
“The needs of our learners have been a primary focus in the creation of this bachelor’s degree and its individual courses. All of the classes were developed with a subject matter expert in collaboration with an Algonquin College curriculum specialist, ensuring we create accessible and sustainable learning environments,” added Haskins.
Algonquin College’s Bachelor of Engineering (Automation and Robotics) program is yet another way that the College is showcasing its learner-driven sensibility and innovation. The program’s first cohort is slated to graduate in Spring 2023 with applied research and design skills that are unique to the future of engineering technology.
“As our communication and information technologies advance, manufacturing and production spaces become increasingly automated, networked and digitized. There is anticipation that future engineers will need an in-depth understanding of these technologies, and as such, the Bachelor of Engineering (Automation and Robotics)
program teaches those fundamentals that you might not otherwise see in a traditional engineering program,” explained Raymond Greiss, Professor, Mechanical and Transportation Technology.
The Bachelor of Engineering (Automation and Robotics) program embodies the Algonquin College spirit of innovation and accommodation — especially in relation to the program’s applied projects. Towards the end of the program, students will take on a comprehensive eight-month capstone project related to accessibility in the community.
“I am hopeful that our students will demonstrate not just their technical expertise, but also the humanitarian benefit of engineering in our society. As our industry and society evolve technologically, we hope to inform our graduates of their responsibility as future engineers to harness these technologies for the benefit of all,” said Greiss.
And learners seem to be responding to this hands-on and forward-thinking approach.
“I believe obtaining a bachelor's degree at a college sets me apart because of the practical nature of college courses. I feel very comfortable around the lab equipment and with existing hands-on experience I’ve felt comfortable learning new equipment in my co-op position as well,” shared Bachelor of Engineering student, Jaxson Payment.
The program has also been actively working to adapt its course material to industry needs. Thanks to data gathered in 2019 from learners, faculty and industry council, modification has been made to the computer programming curriculum to match evolving knowledge requirements.
“Algonquin College has been an amazing school for this program. I've always felt like they are giving us all the resources necessary for our studies and the labs are well equipped for our projects. Being in the National Capital Region there are also plenty of co-op opportunities in the area,” said Payment.
Currently the program is seeking accreditation from Engineers Canada which would provide graduates with eligibility to seek licensure as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) — another way the program is hoping to better serve future learners and employers.
When it comes to serving learners, Algonquin College has always been a leader. Since 1967, the College’s skilled trades and technology programs have been transforming hopes and dreams into lifelong success. Now, 55 years later, Algonquin College continues to innovate its skilled trades and technology programs by offering upskilling and theoretical opportunities to hone specialized skills.
The Bachelor of Business Administration (Trade Management) offers the opportunity for tradespeople to advance their organization
or start their own business by providing learners with knowledge in proposal writing, basic finance and bookkeeping, organizational communication, and team management.
“Currently there is a gap in management skills within the trades. There are many very capable tradespeople, who know their job inside and out… but do not know how to manage a business, a team, or a more senior position. This program gives advancement opportunities to individuals who may have resolved themselves to one career,” explained Natalie Gamble, Academic Manager, AC Online.
“Having further education for trades creates an environment conducive to innovation where new ideas, networks and connections
to subject matter experts are born,” added Gamble.
And new ideas are what Algonquin College is all about.
“Algonquin College provides something a little bit extra in its learning because it’s applied. In the case of these programs, Algonquin College is infusing two elements, practical and theoretical. That kind of innovation takes leadership and courage, and it’s impressive to me and I think that it’s impressive to students as well to see an institution taking a forward-thinking approach,” said Ron Gerold, Principal at Group G, and Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science Program Advisory Committee Chair.
As a leader in post-secondary education, Algonquin College is proud to foster a learner-driven community in which individuals from all backgrounds, skill levels and walks of life have the opportunity to transform their hopes and dreams into lifelong success thanks to innovative programming and accommodative learning.
“From online programing to trades and other educational opportunities that provide advanced certification, diploma and degree options, students are not only met where they are on their learning journey but can also choose the post-secondary path most suitable to their needs and future working environment,” Dr. Janzen also noted.
Algonquin College graduates leave their studies with the same leadership, innovation and accommodation mindset that guided them along their way — moving on to be global leaders, movers and shakers.
ORE AND MORE of us are affected by Dementia, but it’s a term that is not always understood—just like those impacted by it. Dementia is an umbrella term for the symptoms caused by different disorders that affect the brain including Alzheimer’s, vascular, frontotemporal, and mixed dementia. Symptoms can vary depending on the type and stage of dementia.
For forty years, The Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County has been connecting people impacted by dementia to free programs, education and support to help them stay social and active, feel valued and live meaningful lives. Early diagnosis and intervention helps families access support, plan for the future and live better with dementia.
1 in 5 Canadians has experience caring for someone living with dementia.
Most people living with dementia live at home with support from a spouse, family member, or friend. Many care partners report feeling unwelcome in the community—particularly in retail businesses like pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, and in entertainment and recreational facilities—all services which help us to live well.
The Dementia Society’s bilingual no-cost Dementia-Inclusive Training helps to make our community a better place for people impacted by dementia. Organizations like Giant Tiger, RBC branches in Renfrew County, The Shaw Centre, The National Arts Centre and OC Transpo have trained staff to identify the signs of dementia; communicate better with a person living with dementia; and optimized their business environment to be more inclusive and accessible Training is web-based, or can be onsite and customized for businesses.
“The information presented gave our service teams the tools to better recognize the signs of dementia, and to adjust our service delivery accordingly. Thank you!”
National Arts Centre Training includes certification in Dementia-Inclusion, and businesses receive a complimentary post-training audit and toolkit; listing on Dementia613.ca, and on-going support.
For more information, visit DementiaHelp.ca (select “Dementia Inclusive” under the Education tab), or call 1.888.411.2067.
Brittany W illiston, Rehabilitation Consultant, PPRC Inc.
PPRC matches champion employers with a hidden pool of talent who are dependable, motivated and ready to work!
PPRC offers Employment Readiness Assessments to make sure candidates are prepared to give their best at work, Disability Awareness and Etiquette Training so all team members are set up for success, ongoing support through job coaching and accommodations, and access to a hidden pool of talent who are educated and have the skills to excel.
Join the movement toward workplace inclusivity. Contact PPRC today. www.pprc.ca
THE ECONOMY IS facing an inflation crisis that has prompted the Bank of Canada to raise key interest rates multiple times this year. Experts predict further hikes before the year ends and people and businesses have been affected in varying ways.
As a start-up founder, you are possibly experiencing a slowdown in accessing funding due to a lack of enthusiasm on the part of investors. Venture Capitalists (VCs) have the cash to deploy but are increasingly cautious and selective about their investments.
While VCs take their time in deciding which start-ups are worth the risk, you must also rethink and reset your overall strategy, and invest in growth and value creation for your company.
Start-ups and VCs have been disproportionately focused on market penetration over the past 10 years — often at the expense of profitability. Given the uncertainty, investors are going to want assurances of a return on investment into entrepreneurial ventures and a clear path to exit.
You need to change your thinking from how to grow, to how to grow your bottom line. This will require tearing down your beliefs about the business and building up new ones.
Here’s how you can start:
COST STRUCTURE : review your company’s expenses and the resources it distributes. As inflation persists, the prices of your products will rise and so will your expenses. Your cost structure must align with your revenue so you can make a profit.
Understanding and accurately visualizing this in your business model will have investors considering your company worthy of their check. If you’ve previously mismanaged funds, you can retrace your steps by hiring an expert to evaluate your cost structure and create a new one to match your goals.
CUSTOMER RETENTION STRATEGY: Your revenue is at risk, so you need to invest resources into retaining your customers, not acquiring new ones. Understand that your business’ health is directly dependent on the strength of your customer base and the relationships you build with them. Conduct a customer
segmentation analysis to determine which groups of customers to prioritize and when. Also, improve on how you communicate your product’s value and manage your customer success operations.
REVENUE GROWTH AND OPTIMIZATION : Revenue growth rate is more than just a KPI, it’s a path to sustainable profitability. It also needs to tell potential investors about how well you’re able to retain revenue and dominate the market in coming years, long after the economic uncertainty is over.
Focus on maintaining a high gross margin, predictable revenue streams, and high customer retention to grow your revenue.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: This should be more than just a software, but a living and breathing element that prioritizes your employees and helps you achieve strategic goals.
When key employees leave your company, you lose expertise and send the wrong signal to investors. With a performance management process that recognizes employees, supports their career goals, and encourages feedback, you can retain employees and boost investor confidence.
VALUE PROPOSITION: It is important to honestly and critically review the solution that your product or company provides. If an investor examines your pitch and concludes that your solution is not essential in today’s world, you could lose them.
But if your value proposition is strong, you may only need to work on storytelling. Articulate your story clearly and concisely. Make it appeal to your investors’ emotions. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver so make sure not to exaggerate your product features and abilities.
Investor spending is under intense scrutiny while funding prospects grow dimmer. Some founders resort to exploring alternative sources of funding like borrowing. Debt comes with a lot of risk but building the health of your start-up for survival and sustainability positions you as a worthy investment. It builds your confidence and reassures investors of profitable returns.
For more information on positioning your start-up for funding, contact Chris Chapman, Managing Director, Corporate Finance at 416.596.1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality leadership has fueled Ottawa’s success in building a diverse, multi-faceted economy that excels in many key Canadian sectors, including the public service, technology, the services industry, and academia, among others.
A highly educated base of local professionals bring “bench strength to research and innovation solutions to meet their respective sector challenges,” says Catherine Callary, vice-president of Destination Development at Ottawa Tourism.
Ottawa’s position as Canada’s capital city and seat of the federal government perpetuates co-operation between public and private sector leaders. Furthermore, “we see an incredible diversity of international companies that are headquartered here or have satellites here, that bring together their top thought leaders in Ottawa. That’s a tourism opportunity, but it’s also an opportunity to build innovation,” says Callary.
Stéphane Brutus, dean and executive director of the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, believes Ottawa is just the right size for leaders to connect and learn from each other.
“Ottawa is in that sweet spot of business activity, combined with having a very human sized town, which allows people to make these connections, to try things out, and to bounce ideas off each other,” he elaborates.
He lauds the successful leadership and work of Invest Ottawa, which is the lead economic development agency for knowledgebased local industries. “Invest Ottawa is extremely present. It plays its role in terms of promoting new businesses and growth in Ottawa in a superb fashion,” praises Brutus.
The travel industry in Ottawa. the city’s third largest, was among the hardest hit by the pandemic. “It’s essential to have in-person interactions for tourism. That’s how people build memories,” says Callary, who notes that her industry, which pre-COVID employed more than 43,000 people, subsequently shrunk by about 25 per cent.
Facing the challenge of having to rebuild in the midst of a labour
shortage, the industry is also trying to help rebuild other elements of the local economy. Ottawa Tourism has undertaken initiatives with other local leaders in an effort to provide new reasons for people to come downtown and support local businesses and engage in downtown events.
Kelly Haussler, director of Destination Development at Ottawa Tourism, says Ottawa Tourism has partnered with the Shaw Centre and Invest Ottawa on ‘Think Ottawa,’ a project designed to attract conferences and events to come to Ottawa.
Haussler says Ottawa Tourism is also creating a Destination Stewardship Plan to help define a ten year tourism vision for Ottawa. This includes strategizing on how to work collectively with local partners in order to achieve community prosperity through tourism.
For example, “Indigenous tourism is an area that we definitely want to continue to grow,” says Haussler.
Inclusivity and diversity are key aspects of the Ottawa brand. As a national capital “we want all who visit and live here to feel welcome and able to contribute meaningfully to community life,” says Callary.
The quality of life in Ottawa, plus the very cosmopolitan nature of the city, attracts people from all over the world to study, work and live. “It speaks to our strength because it allows people to see themselves mirrored in the community, and it perpetuates the invitation to want to come and to settle here,” says Claude Brulé, president and chief executive officer of Algonquin College.
For its part, Algonquin College has developed an ‘equity diversity inclusion’ blueprint to create a very inclusive environment at the college, says Brulé.
The presence of several excellent post-secondary institutions helps to ensure that tomorrow’s local leaders are being prepared for the roles they will need to fill.
Algonquin College is in the thick of offering local research and innovation opportunities with very hands-on, applied research. “We help companies, especially small to medium enterprises that may not necessarily have the talent, equipment or the wherewithal to pursue
their innovation agenda. We’re able to bring our students and our faculty to help them innovate, improve their prototypes, and improve their processes on the way to commercialization,” Brulé explains.
“It’s great for our students. They get to work with employers and learn about the new technologies. Often they get employed by the employers after graduation, contributing to their talent pool. And the companies benefit from the resulting R&D,” he says.
Brulé adds that there are also many examples of leadership and entrepreneurial success, where students have developed something for which they been able to retain intellectual property.
Algonquin also develops its own staff and students in leadership roles. “We have our own leadership program at the College, which includes having made a large investment in professional development and learning. Some of it is formal. Some of it is as a result of taking part in projects and task forces and committees,” explains Brulé.
“Algonquin College is proud to be a great community builder in Ottawa. We’re delighted with what we’re able to do to help contribute to the future prosperity of the National Capital Region and the Ottawa Valley with our talent development and our leadership,” says Brulé.
“We’re grateful for the relationships that we’re able to develop with the community. We do this by ensuring that our students are able to be placed in a variety of settings with employers, including with not-for-profit companies and non-governmental agencies, so they can see leadership in action for themselves,” he explains.
Ottawa is the right size for Telfer’s business students to really flourish, says Brutus.
“Telfer is all about learning from experiences, and the proximity to organizations facilitates the integration of meaningful class projects, co-op placements, guest speakers’ engagement, etc.” he says.
Telfer is providing leadership to invest in the future through a new strategic plan that defines four major pillars, says Brutus.
One is to help generate and maintain wealth through, for example, teaching and research that places an emphasis on entrepreneurship, including a world-class centre that looks at family businesses.
Second is promoting a greener Canada, with respect to sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, looking at issues such as how to transition from a carbonbased economy to other forms of renewable energy. For example, “we just revised our MBA program, which is based on the responsible manager, on a greener way of doing business,” Brutus says.
Third is working towards a happier Canada through an emphasis on issues such as mental health. “We have a core of researchers and psychologists who focus on how we can better understand and facilitate the well-being of people at work. We’re launching a multi-million dollar lab next semester that’s going to focus on these questions,” explains Brutus.
The fourth pillar is the promotion of a healthier Canada. Telfer`s focus on health is a very distinctive focus for a business school with more than a dozen healthcare management researchers and four programs dedicated specifically to health care management, says Brutus, who notes that the pandemic brought to the fore serious organizational, logistical and human resource issues in health care.
More than ever, these issues highlight the importance of sound and innovative management in this industry, he stresses.
As Ottawa continues to grow and enhance its reputation as a world-class city, the quality of its leadership will assume even greater importance.
Brutus notes the ambitious goals on tap for the revitalization of downtown Ottawa in the near future, including the new Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa’s Advanced Medical Research Centre, the new Lansdowne 2.0 development, and expansion of light rail transit.
“The city is on the move with very aggressive plans. The challenge for leadership is how to manage that growth. How do you reinvent the city for its next big phase of development, knowing that the projection for Ottawa is one of exponential growth?” he says.
Preparing tomorrow’s local leaders also starts before they are post-secondary age.
“We’re always looking for volunteers and mentors for the opportunities to help fuel the next generation in Ottawa,” stresses Albert Wong, the director of Junior Achievement (JA) Ottawa.
JA Ottawa, through the Ottawa Network for Education, a local charity, works with all four local school boards - English, French, Public and Catholic - to deliver various life and careers skills programs free of charge to elementary, middle, and high schools in the city.
“The secret sauce to JA is the volunteers and mentors,” says Wong. Volunteers who wish to share their life and career experience, including people from the business community, come and tell their stories to students ranging from Grades 5 to 12, inclusive. This broadens students’ horizons with new career ideas they might not have thought of before, he explains.
For example, Ottawa faces several key challenges in the near and distant future, including a talent shortage, particularly in the skilled trades, where there have been many retirements, says Wong.
“What we’re doing on the education front - the school boards as well as JA, is trying to expose students to the fact that there are a lot of opportunities in skilled trades. And it’s not just blue collar. There
are a lot of technical trades as well that have technology needs,” he stresses.
The three pillars of JA Ottawa’s programs involve a focus on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and career readiness.
A key purpose is to provide students with financial knowledge at an early age. “The way I like to see it, and say it, is it’s like planting seeds. You start planting that knowledge early and trust that will provide the students with the tools and the skills so they can make better financial choices as they get older,” says Wong.
JA’s flagship ‘Company’ program serves high school students from Grades 9 to 12, who get involved in building an operating business that produces an actual product. With the support of trained mentors, students write up a business plan, market their product or service, sell it to the public, keep financial records, and distribute or donate the financial proceeds.
“It’s true entrepreneurship that you can relate to by doing. That’s where the leadership comes into play,” says Wong, who adds that students work in a structured business environment where they elect their leaders, including a president and various vice-presidents in areas like marketing, sales, finance, and human resources.
Many elected presidents are female, and JA serves as a great confidence builder in developing young women for leadership positions, Wong adds.
OTTAWA’S REPUTATION, BOTH within Canada and around the world, as a leading centre of technology excellence, has been forged through decades of achievement.
The distinction is no marketing ploy, says Kevin Ford, president and chief executive officer of Calian Group Ltd. in Ottawa, who cites a litany of local achievements across multiple platforms, including e-commerce, communications, healthcare, and Cybersecurity.
“We’ve earned it. We can point to numerous cases of where that reputation of tech excellence is absolutely true, and growing. It’s pretty exciting times for tech companies here in Ottawa,” says Ford.
Even in tough, challenging times, such as after the telecommunications market collapse in the early 2000s, Ottawa’s tech sector has shown an amazing ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
For example, in the wake of Nortel Networks, we now have large companies like Ericsson Canada, Ciena Canada, and Nokia featuring prominently in the city, says Jamie Petten, president and chief executive officer of the Kanata North Business Association.
From roots in telecommunications with companies like Mitel and Newbridge Networks, a number of diverse technology sub-sectors
are now represented in Kanata, including 5G, software, software as a service, cybersecurity, and the Internet of things, among others, she adds.
The tech industry in Ottawa has evolved from being primarily communications and networks in the 1990s, says Ford. “We’ve changed that DNA now and sprinkled it over a whole bunch of other sectors. Our resilience is much stronger now because we are not a one sector innovation hub. That diversification in Ottawa is why we’ve been able to manage through some of these tough times,” he adds.
Even as larger companies have disappeared, local companies have been able to innovate for customers’ critical business needs, including, for example, cyber platforms, healthcare platforms, commerce platforms, B to B platforms, and AI innovation, says Ford. “What we do is relevant to both good and bad times and I think that’s why we survive. We’re innovating across mission critical, customer critical requirements that still have to move forward,” he stresses.
There are now 1,750 technology companies that employ more than 80,000 people in Ottawa, says Sonya Shorey, vice-president of strategy, marketing and communications with Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards.
“We have such an incredible mix and powerhouse of innovators, start-ups, scaleups, multi-nationals that work together in a highly collaborative, thriving ecosystem here in Ottawa. I think we punch far above our weight,” she adds.
“Our talent is one of the key differentiators,” says Shorey. “We have the highest tech talent concentration in all of North America, according to CBRE’s most recent report for 2022 on top tech talent markets. For the third year in a row, Ottawa topped that list at 11.6 per cent, ahead of Silicon Valley at 11.4 per cent,” she noted.
Shorey says a second factor in the city’s tech success is its deep and long-standing technological capability. “We have incredibly deep roots in telecommunications, advanced next generation networks and cybersecurity, among the plethora of technology strengths that we have more broadly. Our region has cultivated world-class expertise, capabilities, and companies in smart mobility (V2X), autonomy and connectivity, next gen networks, SaaS, cyber, AI and Machine Learning, 5G, IOT, life sciences and cleantech.”
Shorey attributes a collaborative ecosystem to be a very strong third attribute of Ottawa’s internationally recognized global tech hub. “The ability for us to very nimbly and in a very agile way come together to collaborate on some of those shared objectives in a mutually beneficial way is, I think, another big differentiator for a city of one million people,” she says.
Ottawa companies are also incredibly open, and flexible, and always looking to do things differently, which gives them a competitive edge, Shorey adds.
Ford also cites the surrounding technology ecosystem as a key advantage.
“All the folks that have moved around the different companies have shared knowledge, whether it’s on how to innovate, how to generate IP, or how to grow companies from start-up to exit. That knowledge of intellectual capital is extensive in the city,” says Ford, who notes that corporate success also leads to capital investment by, for example, banks or private equity, which provide local companies with the financing they need to grow.
Another local attribute is the focus on investing in the future, through research and development.
says Ford, who adds that local companies are lucky to also have government funding from various programs that support research and development, such as the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) funding and the Strategic Innovation Fund.
The ingredient for any company’s success is human talent – people who can “bring passion, the smarts, the energy to make these ideas and innovations real,” says Ford.
The work being carried out in universities and colleges with some
“Research and development is clearly the core of innovation for many firms, including Calian. We continue to invest more in research and development as we look to innovate across our portfolio of companies,”
of the job development programs is also vital to that, he adds, noting “we’re working with them across numerous sectors to co-innovate.”
Ottawa’s post secondary institutions play a critical role building a pipeline for the next generation of technology innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders, says Shorey. She notes that Algonquin College, Carleton University, La Cité, the University of Ottawa, and Willis College collectively educate 150,000 students per year, with more than 20 per cent of those students specializing in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“Our post-secondary institutions are creating the next generation of highly skilled people who are going to create innovations and solutions that will drive our regional economy, while also helping to address and resolve some of the greatest challenges we face in our society,” says Shorey.
Another advantage is an Ottawa ecosystem that is highly diverse and multicultural and continues to take steps as an inclusive and welcoming community to create an even stronger culture of belonging, says Shorey. This is a big differentiator and tremendous strength for our region, particularly when taking into consideration the large numbers of international students that are coming to our postsecondary institutions.
We also have an incredible community of current and aspiring immigrant entrepreneurs who are starting small businesses and tech companies, she adds.
“I believe one of the greatest differentiators and competitive advantages in Canada’s Capital is Area X.O.,” she adds. Founded and managed by Invest Ottawa, this R&D complex is dedicated to advancing the next generation of smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity technologies. This facility is enabling the development, testing, validation and adoption of new mobility solutions across diverse sectors, from transportation to telecom, smart farming, defence, public safety, drones and the environment.
Area X.O is also attracting a host of new companies, talent, and investment into our region, explains Shorey, who cites Hexagon AutonomouStuff and InDro Robotics as two examples of companies that have landed and expanded into the Ottawa Region at Area X.O.
Petten, of the Kanata North Business Association, says there are 540 companies in Kanata North, employing 33,000 people,
“We’re dedicated to helping grow robust, sustainable start-ups and scale-ups from the ground up together as a collaborative community. We are also dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment, companies, and talent into our region,” says Shorey.
from large multi-nationals to smaller emerging start-ups populating the suburb’s Technology Park, which is often referred to as Silicon Valley North.
“There’s quite a significant community of innovators here in the Park, and the demand for the solutions that are being developed here couldn’t be greater than today,” says Petten, who notes that even during the worst of the COVID pandemic, the connectivity technology developed in Kanata North helped enable the local economy to continue to work.
That connectivity will continue to be an important aspect in our daily lives as the world continues to digitally transform, she adds.
“As a result, our companies are hiring at rapid rates. Today in the Tech Park, there are over 1,900 open roles, primarily for engineers that need to be filled immediately, and those roles are only continuing to increase. It speaks to the demand for talent. It also speaks to the excellence of our innovation companies here in the Park, and the world class solutions they are building,” says Petten.
The innovation and application of technologies developed in Kanata impact a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, transportation, security, and retail, among others, she notes.
Academia has also made a significant investment in the Technology Park. The University of Ottawa established a satellite campus there in 2018, with the intent to directly connect students to experiential learning and graduates to career opportunities. Additionally, the University has focused on opportunities to commercialize their research in areas such its Smart Connected Vehicles Innovation Centre, says Petten.
Anchored by Kanata North-based BlackBerry QNX, Ottawa is Canada’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) capital and home to more than 90 start-ups, corporations and post-secondary institutions that are contributing intelligence to CAVs of the future, she adds.
The Technology Park is also home to the City’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicles public test track, where Ottawa was the first Canadian city to launch testing of an on-street autonomous vehicle (AV) communicating with live City infrastructure. “The Kanata North tech community is the perfect Smart Cities living lab,” says Petten.
Carleton University has also opened up a satellite campus, at Hub350, a community gathering space opened by the Kanata North Business Association a little over one year ago. “We’re thinking about Hub350 as the physical gateway to Canada’s largest tech park - a space where our existing ecosystem of tech, industry, academic and finance partners can come together and collaborate, as well as a place for talent or investors from across the country or around the world,” says Petten.
At the heart of Hub350 is the TELUS 5G Innovation Zone, powered by Canada’s fastest mobile network. Furthermore, 5G represents one of the most significant new advances in communications technologies to date, making the 5G Innovation Zone ideal for conceptualizing, developing, testing, and now, commercializing 5G, she adds.
“I’m very excited for the future of the Technology Park. We have a thriving community of innovators and technology enthusiasts, thanks to a lot of good work in bringing the community together over this last decade,” says Petten.
TTALENT: YEAR AFTER year, it’s identified as the overriding concern and biggest challenge for business owners. The pandemic didn’t help that. But this year’s Ottawa Board of Trade (OBOT) and Ottawa Business Journal (OBJ) Talent Summit tried to do so. What follows are some of the one-day event’s highlights.
Steve Harrington, director of Human Capital at Deloitte, started his keynote by saying that employers aren’t competitive enough when it comes to talent. They compete on technology and products, but forget about talent.
“That's a really difficult place to get to, because the way we've constructed human resources is actually about being the same as everyone else,” Harrington said. “Think about the way we write job descriptions, think about the way we do compensation.”
Harrington said we’re currently experiencing what he calls as “a flight to quality” in the employment market. He said it’s important to think about the jobs you’re currently offering as products that you're putting onto the market.
“Employment-seekers are consumers,” he said. “And they're looking at that product and they're deciding if they want it. A lot of the turnover we're seeing in the market today is consumers rejecting your ‘product’.”
Addressing what we’ve learned through the pandemic, he said “we have never in human history, seen a change in behaviour like we did in the pandemic. All around the world, a certain class of employees went home and worked from there.”
If he’d asked a deputy minister in 2019 whether all employees could work from home, the answer would have been no. In another innovation, CERB rolled out in 16 days though one person he asked said it would otherwise have taken three years.
“The reorganization of work suddenly allowed for dynamic outcomes,” he said. “And that's really important to remember.”
Addressing the issue of “quiet quitting,” he said a survey found that a third of workers at any given time are disengaged and don’t want to give any more than they absolutely must. The problem from his point of view is that this is being blamed on work-from-home even though as many as 80 per cent of Canadians who worked from
home during the pandemic want to continue to work from home the majority of the time. And, he added that Ottawa and Gatineau so far have the highest proportion of workers working from home. Part of that is because Ottawa’s workforce is made up a large number of people who do the type of work that allows them to work from home.
Looking to the future, Harrington says human potential is becoming our greatest untapped asset. He said teams such as his measure people's drive, their conceptual thinking, their empathy, their social flexibility, many of which are incredibly predictive of future success.
“The theory now is if we do a better job of measuring potential, we can line people up to their strengths, so that… they're more likely to be successful,” he said.
The other emergency HR-wise is the skills shortage.
“The World Economic Forum released a report to 2021 saying we need to reskill a billion people worldwide by 2030 and 40 per cent of the skills that we use every day at work are going to change in the next two years,” he said. “How can anybody afford to rescale at that scale? We have to think about it fundamentally differently.”
Harrington called for a re-architecturing that starts with the job itself.
Harrington recommended the HR strategy coming out of the pandemic should be done as an enterprise, considering the work itself, the “how” we do work, the “who” and the “where.” He said accessing talent is about getting the right talent at the right time, from a broad ecosystem of potential talent and then we curating consumer-grade experiences for those people.
The Talent Summit heard from three companies that were recently named among the top 10 places to work in a program run by OBJ and OBOT.
Fellow produces a productivity tool and its mission, according to Sarah Collins, head of customer success at Fellow, is to “make meetings delightful.”
“If we want the build work to be the product that the that the employment market wants to buy, more than anything else we have to get out of our HR habit of saying, ‘Let's be like everyone else’.”
Fellow decided to walk its talk by giving employees the right to contribute to meeting agendas by adding insights and questions, just as the person drafting the agenda does. This shifted the way employees contributed to every conversation and managers then shifted to prioritizing all of the points within that agenda, thereby changing the way they work.
Derek Hanson, president and CEO of The Attain Group, a technology engineering company, said he starts his day by thinking about how he can make a difference in someone else’s life, he treats people the way he wants to be treated and makes his workplace a place he wants to work. That approach seems to be working because after 18 years, Attain has a 97 per cent retention rate.
Sarah Rossman, vice-president of Rossman Architecture, said her company aspires to fulfilling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. First, it aims to make employees feel as though they belong. It also makes sure it’s fostering self-esteem among employees. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization and the company aspires to get employees there, too.
“Work is such a big part of our life,” Rossman says.
To help workers meet those needs, the management team prioritizes them, invests in leadership, asks for in-person feedback and ensures it’s consistent in its approach.
Another focus of the Talent Summit was to examine the way how companies can hire either co-op students from one of Ottawa’s many post-secondary institutions, or non-traditional talent resources through organizations such as Performance plus Rehabilitative Care, Sixty Over 60, Treble Victor Group and Hire Immigrants Ottawa.
Cathy McCallion, recruitment strategy and community relations manager at Ross Video, said her company hires 50 co-op students per year.
“[The student] gains critical applied skills and advances their future career, plus the company they are working for can gauge if they are an appropriate fit for the organization,” McCallion says. “It's really a win-win socially and economically. If you see a student showing great potential, invite them back for a second, third, or even fourth term, and proactively offer them a role after they graduate.”
To that end, the Hire Local initiative is a consortium of postsecondary educational institutions (Algonquin College, Carleton University, La Cité and the University of Ottawa) who work with OBOT, Invest Ottawa, the City of Ottawa and the Kanata North
Business Association. It exists to promote the idea of hiring one of the 10,000 co-op students in the region.
Meanwhile, Talent Summit participants also heard from Henry Akanko, director of Hire Immigrants Ottawa, which is an initiative of United Way Eastern Ontario that focuses on supporting employers to more effectively attract and integrate international trade professionals into the labour market.
“Immigration has, for a long time, been a key driver of our population and labour force growth,” Akanko said. “And this is going to continue to be the case for many, many years to come considering where our demographic trajectory is going.”
Pouria Ghods, president and CEO at Giatec, told his story. He is an immigrant who did a PhD in civil engineering at Carleton University and he’s been hiring immigrants for the past couple of years for his company. In fact, his first 10 employees were immigrants. Then, ironically, he had to tackle the same problem many companies are facing: He needed to add diversity to his team.
Linda Simpson, director of Performance Plus Rehabilitation Care, spoke about her private rehabilitation company, funded by the government of Ontario. She discussed what options employers have in hiring people with disabilities.
“If you look around, there are four of you at the table and at least one person has actually lived disability experience,” Simpson said. “[A full] 22 per cent of Canadians are living with disabilities. If you hire people with disabilities, they're also going to teach you about disabilities.”
Helen Hirsh Spence, CEO of Top Sixty over Sixty, said chronological age is a terrible predictor of success. Rather, it’s skill and experience that really makes a difference. Her company offers consulting, thought leadership and training on age diversity and inclusion.
“Ottawa’s senior cohort already comprises Canada's largest group of post-secondary degrees in the country,” Hirsch Spence said. “So these people are just going to be better educated in the future.”
Joel Watson, member of Treble Victor Group, encouraged employers to consider retired members of the military in their hiring. His group’s mission is to enable ex-military personnel to achieve their full potential in post-service careers. Watson named a number of people who went on to have auspicious post-military careers, including Supreme Court Justice Brian Dickson and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
Excellence in leadership manifests itself in many ways in Ottawa, a city that has evolved over the years to become much more than just the seat of our federal government.
The growth of the high tech industry, in particular, has injected a major infusion of entrepreneurship into Ottawa, played a vital role in creating jobs and wealth in the city, and been a valuable engine driving economic growth.
But especially coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we reopen the economy, we face leadership challenges. The basic challenge over the short term in Ottawa, as elsewhere in Canada, is being able to find and retain employees with the skills that are urgently required for businesses to be able to grow to the next level.
One of the natural advantages we enjoy in Ottawa is having several outstanding post-secondary institutions. I see a genuine desire by those institutions to work with business to identify the skills needed to help solve that mismatch. Our first-rate academic institutions are a valuable part of the solution in terms of preparing people for jobs of the future.
Another leadership priority emerging from the pandemic is for the federal government to encourage a return of the public service to the office, in person. As the city’s largest employer, this will help breathe life back into the downtown core, and provide the stimulus needed to revive the many businesses that depend on the presence of people in a vital and thriving public service.
We also need policies to roll back red tape and regulation.
In order to do that, governments at all levels in Canada – federal, provincial and municipal, need to view business as a valuable partner. Too often, the inclination among governments is to think ‘how do we control business?’ rather than ‘how do we encourage business?’
Ottawa has long been an attractive venue in which to invest and to live and raise a family, and has all the ingredients necessary to continue to be a magnet for talent and investment.
One would be hard pressed to find a more livable national capital in the world. Ottawa is in a sweet spot in terms of its size. We have, as I mentioned, first rate educational institutions. We are sophisticated and international. We have an incredibly rich cultural endowment with very active French, English and Indigenous communities that make for a very colourful tapestry.
I am confident that there is a very strong desire amongst our government, business, and academic leaders to work together to ensure Ottawa enjoys sustainable growth that will provide an even higher standard of living for our children than our generations have had the privilege to enjoy.
Perrin Beatty is the Ottawabased president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.