Ottawa Business Journal April 2020

Page 1


Managing work, life and mental health in a trying time P31



Resources for small businesses P5

April 2020 Vol. 23, NO. 02

Advice on handling the crisis P12-13



MAKING HOMES WORK Demand for teleworking technology on the rise P14-15




APRIL 2020




Association executives discuss best practices for identifying and mitigating common threats


ssociations are uniquely positioned to be the voice of various industries, advance important causes and bring together individuals with common professional interests. But the distinct role of associations also leaves these organizations exposed to a common set of risks related to revenues, membership and governance – and grappling, in some cases, to understand where these issues fit within their mandate. “Becoming irrelevant is a big risk for a lot of associations,” says Susie Grynol, president of the Hotel Association of Canada. “A lot of (associations) struggle with that sort of identity crisis.” The 2020 Ottawa Association Exchange, an annual management practice survey, asked more than 80 association executives about their approach to these prevalent risks and explored best practices to overcome these common challenges. Experts say the first step is typically asking some simple questions: What could go wrong? What could derail your organization’s programs, operations and growth opportunities? The answers are typically recorded in a risk register – something that doesn’t currently exist within the organizations of half of this year’s OAX respondents. Addressing the risks facing an association typically involves adopting a risk management mindset that embraces responsible and evidencebased decision-making. This gives leaders confidence that their actions will advance the organization’s overall goals. The 2020 OAX survey explores three areas in which associations most commonly face risk: financial practices, operations and membership engagement.

FINANCIAL RISK When asked to name the top threats to their organization, many association executives identified risks related to an unexpected loss of revenue. The results underscore the importance for associations to have a

mix of income sources, says Grynol. “If you build in diverse forms of revenue, you’re more protected because you have a greater portfolio of where the money is coming from,” she says. “You have more control over it, and you’re just not as reliant on membership fees.” Many associations say they’re looking to sponsorships as a way of reducing their reliance on membergenerated income. At the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, for example, executive director Jason Burggraaf says sponsorship funds make up a third of the organization’s revenue and are “vitally important.” “It’s about balancing your revenue, and not tipping the scales one way or the other,” he adds. Another mitigation measure is having a financial cushion that enables the organization to withstand an unforeseen loss of revenue, such as the cancellation of an annual conference. More than half of survey respondents reported having 10 months or less worth of operating reserves – a figure experts say could be insufficient in a crisis. “You should typically have around 12 months of reserve funds to draw upon in case membership fees don’t materialize, or the annual conference is cancelled, and you need to pay the bills,” says Richard MacNeill, president of management consulting firm OTUS Group. “Not having sufficient reserve funds available means you may not have the required cash flow to meet daily operations.”

OPERATIONS With data breaches and hacks – as well as new and emerging online threats – regularly making headlines, it’s no surprise that more than a quarter of OAX respondents cited a cyber attack as one of the biggest risks facing their organization. “You have to think about your membership database and keeping people’s information confidential,” says Nicole Thibault, executive director of Canadian Parents for French.


There’s a revenue stream (at risk) if membership were to drop. But more importantly, when you’re losing members, you’re questioning ‘Are we still relevant?’ – Nicole Thibault, executive director, Canadian Parents for French

when financial controls are weak. Liska says this is a risk that’s potentially being overlooked by many associations. Only one per cent of OAX respondents identified theft or fraud as a major threat to their organization, even though association executives conceded that they have practices in place – such as using physical cheques – that create vulnerabilities.

MEMBERSHIP The prospect of reduced membership numbers is the biggest risk facing associations, according to OAX respondents. With membership fees typically representing a significant source of revenue for associations, it’s an understandable operational threat. But it also goes to the heart of an organization’s mandate and purpose. “Obviously there’s a revenue stream (at risk) if membership were to drop,” says Thibault. “But more importantly, when you’re losing members, you’re questioning ‘Are we still relevant?’” On the surface, the associations represented in the OAX survey are moving

An inability to convey an organization’s value proposition and the loss of members are the biggest challenges facing associations in the coming years

Sponsorships continue to grow in importance as a revenue source

Three-quarters of associations say their membership numbers are increasing or remaining the same – although more than half don’t track their membership churn rate

Half of associations don’t maintain a risk register

Reduced membership numbers and a drop in conference attendance or sponsorship dollars are the biggest risks facing associations

Hosting professional events is the most common tool used to attract new members

More than half of associations have raised salaries or introduced flexible work hours over the past year to improve employee attraction and retention

Getting decisionmakers to listen is the most common challenge to associations’ advocacy programs


To see the full survey results and read up on tips for how to mitigate risk, check out the 2020 OAX Report

Key findings

APRIL 2020

Implementing specific safeguards, however, is a more complex subject, OAX survey respondents reported. Slightly less than one-quarter of association executives say they turn to external expertise by outsourcing their cybersecurity requirements. A similar number of organizations carry some form of cyber liability insurance. But despite many cyberattacks targeting employees through phishing schemes or other attempts to obtain sensitive information, more than four in 10 respondents say they don’t offer any form of cybersecurity training to their staff. The Canadian Institute of Planners used to be part of that cohort before introducing a cyber training program for employees that outlines existing security programs, emerging threats that staff could confront as well as who to contact should a security breach occur. “We’re all much more aware of cyber risk and privacy now,” says CEO Beth McMahon. OTUS Group CEO Francis Liska says associations need to understand the origins of the risks facing their organization in order to address issues such as privacy and online security. “When it comes to online security, significant risk often arises internally and is attributable to lack of awareness and cybersecurity training,” he says, adding that the risk of fraud can arise internally

in the right direction with more than three-quarters reporting their membership numbers are either staying constant or increasing. However, other areas of the survey identify opportunities for association executives to reduce the risk of losing members. Currently, more than half of OAX respondents say they don’t know their membership churn rate. Additionally, three in 10 say they don’t use a membership management software tool, or they rely on spreadsheets. And, when association executives are asked to rank various activities based on the amount of time they spend working on each, membership recruitment, engagement and retention ranks sixth. But at the same time, association executives say they’re getting more creative in their approach to membership engagement by, for example, creating custom packages to meet the changing needs of individuals and organizations. Michael Brennan, executive director at the Canadian Association of Management Consultants, says a focus on delivering value is key to retaining members and is something his team has spent several years evaluating. He explains that the process led the organization to introduce a new category of membership. “We created a sort of semi-retired membership package that is priced accordingly and really focuses on that part of our members lives,” he says. OAX survey respondents also cited financial discounts as well as outreach to post-secondary students as strategies to attract new members. “An association’s relevancy is truly based upon having a big enough membership base,” OTUS Group’s MacNeill says. “They can act as the voice of a particular contingent of people, but if you don’t have enough of those people, you’re just no longer credible.”

OAX 2020:


‘May you live in interesting times’ Ever since I started to grasp the full extent of the COVID-19 crisis for Ottawa and Canada, I’ve had this phrase bouncing around in my head. “May you live in interesting times,” the saying goes. When I first heard the expression, I thought it was a blessing. I later realized that it was a curse. Regardless of its meaning or origin, the phrase seems appropriate. The generations before me have faced truly monumental challenges, including world wars and the Great Depression. People in a group younger than the “Greatest Generation” but still my senior might cite a presidential assassination or nuclear standoff as the crisis of their times. My generation has been largely untested, with the exception of 9/11 and the subsequent 2001 recession, better known in Ottawa as the “tech bubble bust.” In these early days of the COVID-19 crisis, for the greater good of society, we have nearly halted the economy. It’s without precedent. Jaw-dropping. Unimaginable. And like the tech bust in Ottawa, I suspect this global pandemic will usher in

a new business climate that changes which businesses succeed and fail and even how business is done. While we’re on that topic... For the first time in almost 25 years, OBJ will not print and distribute its regularly scheduled publication. We’ve taken this decision for several reasons. First, our printer has suspended its operations to protect the health of its employees. Second, OBJ’s distribution model is largely dependent on direct delivery to offices, most of which are now closed. Third, OBJ is keeping the best interests of its delivery team top of mind. They, like the rest of us, must abide by public health recommendations to stay sheltered at home. Although this is disruptive, it’s not bad news. OBJ has large digital channels that reach more than 100,000 readers per month. OBJ has spent the better part of 20 years building an online readership. For April, OBJ will produce a digital edition (an online replica of a printed publication) and aggressively promote this flipbook through digital channels.

Appropriately, the digital edition is themed as a COVID-19 business survival guide. It will certainly find an audience. The website, the OBJToday email newsletter, our social media channels and our YouTube channel will be regularly updated. I might even suggest all of these are more important than ever. OBJ is committed to quality local business journalism. It remains ready and able to share your stories as together we face a health and economic crisis like never before. Welcome to interesting times.

@objpublisher Michael Curran

APRIL 2020

Local resources for your business needs



Ottawa Business Journal’s Book of Lists is an indispensable asset for finding customers, suppliers and local economic data as well as simply seeing where your business ranks among its peers. With information on more than 600 companies in the National Capital Region, organized into more than 30 industry categories, the Book of Lists is the definitive guide to local business in Ottawa.



OBJ digs into issues that are top of mind for many local business owners ​during an unprecedented global pandemic. FINANCIAL CONTROLS: MAINTAINING YOUR BOTTOM LINE


The panel discussion included Micheal Burch of Welch LLP, Sean Murphy of MNP and Ken Tammadge and Rosa Iuliano, both of Baker Tilly.

The panel discussion included Megan Wallace of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall, Chris McLeod of Mann Lawyers LLP and Andrew Foti of Avokka Professional Corporation.


LAYOFFS AND CLOSURES: OTTAWA’S HOTEL INDUSTRY The panel discussion included Michael Crockatt, CEO of Ottawa Tourism, Steve Ball, president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, and Colin Morrison, general manager of the Embassy Hotel and Suites. Morrison is also the chair of the OGHA.



The panel discussion included three experienced human resource professionals, including Heidi Hauver of Invest Ottawa, Neil Crawford of Stratford Managers and Kristi Clark of iHR Advisory Services.

These days Steve Cody is best-known as the co-founder of Ruckify. OBJ asked Cody to discuss leadership and resilience in tough times.



APRIL 2020

The panel discussion included three employment lawyers: Jill Lewis of Nelligan Law, Karin Page of Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall and Joel Rocque of Emond Harnden LLP.

EXECUTIVE BRIEFS You need to figure out the best-case and worst-case scenario. If you don’t do that, you’ll find yourself lying in bed at three o’clock in the morning with all these thoughts just spinning in your head and nothing settling down. – SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR STEVE CODY’S ADVICE TO ENTREPRENEURS DEALING WITH THE ECONOMIC FALLOUT OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS (SEE PAGES 12 AND 13)


Board of Trade names Ching permanent president and CEO The Ottawa Board of Trade removed the “interim” tag from its leader’s title in early March, officially naming Sueling Ching as its permanent president and CEO. Ching, who previously led the West Ottawa Board of Trade before it merged with its counterparts in central Ottawa

and Orl​éans in 2018, had been serving as the Ottawa board’s head since last September. “I’m really excited about the role, and I’m very honoured to work alongside a lot of the business and community leaders that we have in Ottawa,” Ching told OBJ. “I think Ottawa’s got a fantastic

APRIL 2020




Crestpoint buys 50% stake in downtown office tower Toronto-based Crestpoint Real Estate Investments has taken a 50 per cent stake in an office building at 234 Laurier Ave. W., a 26-storey tower occupied by Shopify’s growing Ottawa workforce. Crestpoint paid $92 million to take over

TD Asset Management’s and Slate Asset Management’s stakes in the downtown Ottawa office tower, according to CBRE senior vice-president Nico Zentil, who brokered the deal. Crestpoint now acts as a 50-50 partner with Gillin Engineering &


MindBridge builds ‘bridge into Europe’ with U.K. acquisition An Ottawa artificial intelligence firm that’s landed tens of millions of dollars in venture capital and is considered one of the country’s biggest IPO prospects is taking its state-of-the-art technology across the Atlantic after buying a U.K.-based startup. MindBridge Ai officially opened its London office in early March, with company officials touting the move as a “bridge into Europe” as the firm looks to broaden its global customer base. The announcement came less than two weeks after the rapidly growing Ottawa company closed its acquisition of

London-based AI firm Brevis. Terms of the agreement were not released. The U.K. startup’s products use AI and machine learning techniques to help clients with tax and corporate reporting, technology that dovetails neatly with MindBridge’s own fraud-detection software that can read years of audit reports in a fraction of the time it would take a single set of human eyes. MindBridge CEO Eli Fathi said he’s watched the three-year-old fintech firm develop its “cutting-edge” software from afar and likes where the London-based

future ahead of it.” Ching is no stranger to the business advocacy realm. In addition to spending three years as CEO of the West Ottawa Board of Trade, she acted as an executive director of Brockville’s chamber of commerce, later leading that region’s YMCA as CEO for several years. Among her priorities, she said, is seeking input from members to come up with more “tactical, timely ways

to help our businesses grow.” As an example, she pointed to an accelerator program the organization launched last year to help companies tap into global markets. Ching also said diversifying the organization’s membership is another key item on her to-do list. The board is funded almost entirely through annual fees which range from $250 to nearly $3,000 depending on the level of services members receive. Ching replaces former president and CEO Ian Faris, who left the job last fall after six years at the helm.

Construction, which remains the building’s property manager. The Plaza 234 tower was built in 1983 and renovated 30 years later, according to the 2019 BOMA Commercial Space Directory. Ottawa-based e-commerce firm Shopify has leased 18 floors in the downtown tower, around the corner from its Elgin Street headquarters, representing roughly 70 per cent of the building’s total 461,000 square feet of office space. When Shopify announced the 10-year

lease in 2017, it said it planned to house an additional 2,500 employees at the building; the Ottawa tech giant announced late last year that it had officially surpassed 1,000 employees in the capital. The building is also home to publicsector tenants. Previously, Plaza 234 served as the headquarters of Export Development Canada and was subsequently used as swing space by the Bank of Canada during renovations of its Wellington Street headquarters.


enterprise is heading. “One of the things that was important for us was to look at a company that can become the launch pad for us in setting up a subsidiary in the U.K.,” he explained. “It was really a great, great match.”


An Ottawa-based software and data analytics company with a roster of bigname clients that includes NASCAR has been acquired by one of the country’s largest professional services firms. Lixar, which employs more than 80 people at its headquarters on Coventry Road and an additional 120 in four other cities, was acquired by BDO Canada in a deal that closed in early March. Financial terms of the transaction were not released. Lixar CEO Bill Syrros said joining forces with a firm that has annual revenues in

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What you need to know to help you and your family stay healthy. • Only visit an assessment centre if you have been referred by a health care professional.

excess of $600 million and more than 125 offices from coast to coast – as well as a network of 1,500 additional offices around the world – gives Lixar the financial backing and market reach to grow its business much faster than it could on its own. Under the deal, Syrros and co-founder and chief financial officer Emmanuel Florakas will retain their titles while becoming partners in BDO Canada. The rest of the senior leadership team will also remain in place, but there will be a slight change in branding: the company will now be referred to as Lixar Fuelled by BDO. BDO Canada has a big-data analytics department of its own that currently has about 50 employees. Those workers will be transferred to Lixar and report to its management team.

• Avoid non-essential travel. • Monitor for symptoms after travel. • Avoid large gatherings. • Be prepared, but avoid panic stocking. • Caring for those who are ill? Take precautions.


BDO Canada acquires Ottawa software firm Lixar

Founded in 2015, MindBridge now has more than 100 employees and does business in 15 countries. It counts the Bank of England, Payments Canada and a major North American bank among its hundreds of customers.

• Clean high-touch surfaces regularly. • Order your prescription medication. • Practice cough and sneeze etiquette in transit.

If you have symptoms, take the self-assessment at Or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) or your public health unit.

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APRIL 2020 |

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She has a “Love, Mom” memorial tattoo on her right forearm that replicates her late mother’s handwriting.


She’s frequently asked if she’s related to prominent Ottawa real estate developer, philanthropist and OSEG partner John Ruddy. She is; he’s her uncle. She loves and is proud of her family but excluded her surname from her business title in an effort to build amanda julia events on her own merit and not rely on her famous family name.


‘I want to help spark a little joy and creativity’ Ottawa entrepreneur Amanda Ruddy is hoping to use her fledgling event planning business to help residents ‘feel connected with one another’ during trying times BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

APRIL 2020




s the eldest of five children, Amanda Ruddy had no choice but to learn how to get along with others, especially when her parents kept coming home with baby after baby until she was six years old. “It was fun, it was loud and it was crazy,” she says now of those boisterous childhood years. The Ottawa born-and-raised entrepreneur grew up in a large and loving household that hosted every

holiday and birthday celebration, always made visitors and guests feel welcomed and helped instil a strong sense of family and togetherness. All those social gatherings had a career-shaping influence on Ruddy, who’s now on the path to becoming Ottawa’s go-to corporate and personal party-planning powerhouse with her new business, amanda julia events. She celebrated her official launch in midNovember with a big bash at Common Eatery on Elgin Street. “Anyone can plan a party,”

acknowledges Ruddy, 34, who has an eye for detail, an ability to think on her feet, a vicarious personality and, clearly, a sense of humour: “I’m not saving lives. I’m just making life really fun.” Ruddy grew up in affluent Alta Vista, graduating from Immaculata High School. She went on to study political science at Bishop’s University before doing a stint working on Parliament Hill for then-Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff, while also completing her master’s degree in communications at the University of Ottawa. The 2011 federal election was unkind to Ignatieff, leaving them both out of jobs. Ruddy discovered the world of event planning after being hired by the National Arts Centre Foundation. She began working for its chief executive, Jayne Watson, before shifting to special events under the leadership of Laura Weber.

As far as businesswomen go, she admires Carole Saad, owner of LouLou Lounge Furniture Rental and Chic + Swell as well as VP of events at 50 Sussex. “There are just no airs about her,” says Ruddy.


She voluntarily runs the Lawn Summer Nights fundraiser in Ottawa for cystic fibrosis. As well, she helped with the Snowsuit Fund’s SnowBall and the CHEO For the Kids Gala.


She loves Canadian rock band Arkells, from Hamilton. She travels with one of her sisters and one of her best friends to see as many of their shows as possible.

“I loved it at the foundation,” says Ruddy, who made the difficult decision to leave only because she’d hit a career ceiling.

GREY CUP PARTY GURU Ruddy next went to work in corporate sponsorship for a brand new organization, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. She landed the position after her second time applying. She was soon managing OSEG’s events and programming in advance of the five-day Grey Cup Festival in Ottawa in November 2017. The festival was a first-time event

for OSEG, parent company to the Redblacks. Its packed lineup of events and activities involved extensive planning and preparation. “For 18 months, I lived and breathed it every single day,” says Ruddy, who worked under OSEG’s Valerie Hughes. In the weeks leading up to the Grey Cup and what would become a memorable career highlight, Ruddy lost her mom to breast cancer. Dr. Catherine Ruddy, 63, a well-liked and well-respected dermatologist, died on Oct. 26, 2017. The loss of such a remarkable woman was a huge blow to Ruddy, who marvelled at how her mom juggled career, family and friends with ease. “She was the glue in our family.” Ruddy eventually took time off to properly grieve, but not before segueing from the 105th Grey Cup Festival to helping OSEG’s new charitable foundation launch two new signature fundraising events: its Women’s Training Camp and its Gourmet on the Gridiron. This time, her boss was OSEG Foundation executive director Janice Barresi. “I’m very lucky to have worked for so

many women whom I respect so much, have looked up to and have learned a lot from,” says Ruddy. Once Ruddy decided to start her own event planning business, her pragmatic lawyer of a dad asked a few prudent questions. Michael Ruddy, a founding partner at Rasmussen Starr Ruddy LLP, reminded the would-be entrepreneur she had neither business experience nor money to invest. “Great point, Dad, thank you,” Ruddy told him while remaining undeterred.

I’m very lucky to have worked for so many women whom I respect so much, have looked up to and have learned a lot from. – AMANDA JULIA EVENTS FOUNDER AMANDA RUDDY, ON HER MANY FEMALE BUSINESS MENTORS

‘I HAVE TO PIVOT’ Ruddy got a line of credit from the bank – co-signed by brother Jake – and started creating her website and her brand. She also participated in workshops (Business Without Burnout), joined groups (International Association of Business Communicators) and volunteered with fundraising events. Now five months in, she’s realizing the life of a small businessperson can be difficult. She’s struggling, as are countless other entrepreneurs, from

the effects of the escalating COVID-19 crisis. “Events are not high on people’s priority lists, and they won’t be for a while,” she says. “So I have to pivot.” Ruddy is looking forward to the day when it’s safe again for people to come together in person to celebrate with each other. Meanwhile, she’s brainstorming ideas on how to throw

“virtual” parties and mark milestone moments while adhering to selfisolation and social-distancing rules. “I want to help spark a little joy and creativity,” says Ruddy. “I want to find ways to remind people that just because we have to distance ourselves, physically and socially, doesn’t mean we can’t see each other and feel connected to one another.”


Heightened Awareness of the Obvious


leaders? Are you identifying the right candidates, developing them for future roles? The simple rule of thumb is that you need 3-5 years, depending on the size and complexity of your business to plan and implement a highly effective business transition plan. PKA has 45 years of experience helping companies in this arena. The steps you take now will determine the road your followers will walk tomorrow. Farmer’s Insurance has a tag line, “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two”. PKA believes that this tag line applies equally to us. Reach out and let’s start the conversation. Having an initial conversation costs nothing and we are happy to have it.

Feel free to call for a no-obligation interview (+1.647.290.1300) and visit our website at: • Ottawa • Toronto • New York City • South Florida •


“We Know a Thing or Two, Because We’ve seen a Thing or Two”

APRIL 2020

e are seeing and experiencing, in real time, the impact that COVID-19 is having on us both personally and our business. This situation is a reminder, a wake-up call if you will, of the importance of planning ahead…having your house in order in the event of unexpected events. COVID-19 is a sobering reminder that when we don’t have proper plans in place to ensure the continuity and success of our business, we leave it to fate to take charge. Examples of patriarchs succumbing to illness or worse without having created an effective business transition plan are far too frequent. Are you taking decisive action in planning the transition of your business to the next generation or group of


Texas-based Cysiv to expand Kanata R&D centre in bid to track down cyberhackers Startup set to go on hiring spree after landing US$26M in venture capital BY DAVID SALI

APRIL 2020




Texas-based cybersecurity company with a major R&D facility in Kanata North is looking to beef up its presence in the National Capital Region after landing millions in new venture capital financing. Headquartered in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Cysiv makes software that uses artificial intelligence to detect and hunt down cybersecurity threats. Earlier this year, the fledgling company announced it has closed a US$26-million series-A round led by California-based ForgePoint Capital with additional participation from Trend Forward Capital. Company officials say the multibillion-dollar managed security service industry is poised for major growth in the years ahead as large companies around the world turn to systems such as Cysiv’s to battle increasingly sophisticated hackers, adding the fresh injection of equity will help the firm to add to its product lines while expanding into new foreign markets and customer verticals. Cysiv’s subscription-based products are designed to give customers peace of mind by ensuring “nobody’s sniffing around in their networks,” says its Kanata-based vice-president of

marketing George McTaggart. “That’s increasingly a 24-7, 365-day operation, and a lot of organizations simply don’t have the bandwidth, the expertise, the budget to do that (on their own).” The company’s roots in the National Capital Region run deep – much of its current platform was developed a few years ago by researchers at the local office of multinational IT security firm Trend Micro, another member of the Kanata North Business Park. Co-founders Partha Panda – the firm’s U.S.-based CEO and a partner at Trend Forward Capital – and Kanata-based chief technology officer Justin Foster eventually spun Cysiv off into a separate entity in late 2018. McTaggart says the founders felt they’d have an easier

time getting the financing they needed to scale up if they weren’t under the umbrella of a massive public company. “Getting outside investors is very difficult when you’re a big, global publicly traded company, but getting access to capital is easier when you separate out the team, the intellectual property associated with it,” he explains.

TURBULENT TIMES AHEAD? The 19-month-old startup’s 60 employees are split about evenly between its Dallas head office and its Kanata North location on Hines Road, which normally houses most of the firm’s software developers and its marketing staff – most of whom are currently working from home in an effort to “flatten the curve” and curb the

spread of the coronavirus. McTaggart says he expects to see a “significant” jump in the company’s headcount over the next 12 months as it ramps up hiring for its research and marketing teams. The company won’t reveal who its customers are for security reasons but says it targets verticals such as health care, travel and hospitality, tech, finance and government. McTaggart says Cysiv generally believes less is more when it comes to acquiring customers, preferring to focus its efforts on a select number of largescale clients rather than casting a wider net and hauling in hundreds of SMEs. “Our business model can be quite successful with a handful of customers,” he explains. But there could be some turbulence ahead as Cysiv sets its sights on becoming a dominant player in the cybersecurity space. With the COVID-19 pandemic sending markets into a tailspin and creating economic turmoil worldwide, some of the firm’s key customers – especially those in the travel and hospitality sectors – have seen their revenues plummet in just a matter of weeks. Whether cybersecurity spending will be near the top of their priority lists as they struggle to stay afloat remains to be seen. “There are certainly some sectors that we’ve been selling into that have been hit hard,” McTaggart concedes. “If you’re in the airline or hotel business, you’ve seen your revenues crater.” At the same time, he says, health-care organizations and tech firms appear to be going “full steam ahead” with their cybersecurity plans, at least for the moment. “If anything, there’s probably even greater emphasis on (cybersecurity concerns),” McTaggart says of customers in those verticals. “The criminal element tends to try to exploit these kinds of situations to their advantage.” Cysiv has made some “minor adjustments” to its hiring strategy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, he adds, but says the company is prepared to weather the economic storm ahead. “We’re well-positioned from a financial perspective,” McTaggart says. “We’re optimistic that things will return to a more normal state.”

Tech Park Dollars support Kanata North merchants, small businesses

M A time to rally together As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve across Canada and around the world, the KNBA board of directors and staff are working closely and consistently with our business leaders in Canada’s largest tech park alongside public health officials to develop protocols and steps to help keep you, your families, our member companies and employees supported, safe and healthy through this challenging time. The KNBA team has launched a dedicated landing page for businesses and their employees to reference for up to date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit the landing page for information pertaining to; • Credible sources of information from our public health officials; • Resources for business and HR leaders • Resources for supporting your employees’ mental well-being • Managing business continuity • Support for small business Our team will continue to post updates to the dedicated landing page on the KNBA website with real time updates and information on COVID-19 recommendations as it relates to our businesses. Finally, I want to stress that as the COVID-19 situation unfolds, please be mindful of its impact on your mental health. It’s normal for situations like this to affect you and it’s completely OK to ask for help. If you need support, Distress Centre Ottawa is available 24/7 at 613-238-3311 or In this unique time in history I am optimistic and confident in our community’s ability to come together and support one another. Let’s rally together to support our researchers, innovators, health care professionals and business leaders as they do critical work to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and people around the world, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

any businesses are making the difficult choice to close their doors temporarily or reduce operations for the health and safety of their customers and the community. These small businesses are facing enormous challenges in the days, weeks and months ahead and they need our support. As a grassroots measure to support our small businesses in Kanata North, KNBA has launched a #shoplocal campaign powered by Shopify. Through this program, KNBA is encouraging its community of 24,000 employees, alongside their employers, investors and partners, to order takeout, purchase gift cards and participate in our newly launched Tech Park Dollars program for use at a future date. Tech Park Dollars provide local businesses with urgently needed liquidity during this challenging period and allows Ottawa residents to continue to shop local from their homes.

Since the program launched in mid-March, roughly a dozen businesses have joined, including Calabogie Brewing Co. and online rental platform Ruckify. Available in denominations of $10, $25, $50, $100, $250 and $500, Kanata North Tech Park Dollars can be spent at participating businesses in Canada’s largest technology park. 100% of each purchase will go directly back to the local small businesses you are purchasing from in the Kanata North community. Kanata North businesses interested in joining the program can also visit the website to enroll. Restaurants, retailers, hoteliers and service providers make up an essential part of the fabric of Canada’s largest tech park. There’s never been a more important time to shop local and support our small businesses. We are all in this together.

Stay safe and healthy, APRIL 2020

Jamie Petten President and executive director Kanata North Business Association




he growing COVID-19 pandemic has also created unprecedented economic turmoil for countless Ottawa businesses – many of which have been forced to shut down their operations as part of widespread social distancing measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus. As business grinds to a halt and revenues slow to a trickle at many enterprises, Ottawa’s entrepreneurs face an uncertain future. With that in mind, OBJ has spoken with a multitude of local business leaders about how owners of SMEs can manage their way through the current crisis. They offer valuable insights and advice on a range of issues, from managing cash flow to dealing with HR concerns. Here’s some of what they had to say:

With the exception of a handful of people deployed at Telesat’s satellite control centre in its Elgin Street headquarters, all of the company’s nearly 300 local employees have been working from home since mid-March. But that hasn’t stopped Goldberg from holding his weekly management meetings via videoconference. Beyond that, he says, the company is using its internal communications networks to keep everyone informed of the latest developments on a regular basis as a way of maintaining a “sense of cohesion” among his employees. “Try as hard as you can to do (meetings) virtually,” he advises. “Here in Ottawa, we’re all going to have to find a way to support each other to get through this.”

MICHAEL WATERS CEO of Minto Group and Minto Apartment REIT

APRIL 2020

‘None of us really knows what’s going to happen’ OBJ.CA


OBJ talks to some of Ottawa’s leading entrepreneurs and business executives about how they’re trying to navigate through the biggest health and economic crisis the world has faced in generations

DAN GOLDBERG CEO of Telesat OBJ’s 2019 CEO of the Year Since taking over the helm of Ottawabased satellite equipment provider Telesat in 2006, Dan Goldberg has become one of the National Capital Region’s most respected chief executives. The recipient of OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade’s 2019 CEO of the Year award has guided Telesat to new heights – thanks in part to his bold vision and commitment to listening to the needs of his employees and customers. In times like these, Goldberg says, it’s vital for a company’s leaders to stay in constant communication with their employees, many of whom are justifiably concerned about their futures.

Over the past 25 years, Michael Waters has forged an impressive career in real estate finance, investment and development. Since 2013, he has been CEO of Minto Group, one of the city’s pre-eminent real estate management companies. In 2018, Waters spearheaded the launch of the publicly traded Minto Apartment REIT, which owns and operates 29 properties in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Waters echoes Goldberg’s belief that keeping your employees well-informed in a crisis must be at the top of a business leader’s priority list. “Sometimes, that gets lost,” he says. “People are fighting fires and they forget to keep those lines of communication open and reassure people, but also be straight with them about what’s happening. People want to have the straight goods from you for sure. We’ll get through it. We need to keep that in mind.” Waters says Minto is also looking at modifying some workers’ job descriptions in an effort to keep as many people employed as possible. “We’re going to try and be as flexible as we can,” he says.



Co-founder of Escape Manor

Managing partner, Welch LLP

Vice-president of talent, Invest Ottawa

In three decades as an entrepreneur, Steve Cody has done it all – from running window-cleaning and equipment-rental companies to launching party-supply and software companies. These days, he is best known as the co-founder of online rental marketplace Ruckify. OBJ asked Cody to discuss leadership and resilience in tough times, and asked him what he would say to business owners who are feeling discouraged right now. “Well, first of all, I think we’re all scared,” Cody says. “None of us really knows what’s going to happen. I think it’s important for business leaders to break things down to 30-day or 60-day windows. We don’t know what’s going to happen one year from now. We might not even know what’s going to happen in less than that. Look at shorter timelines for now.” Cody also advises business leaders to prepare themselves for a range of possible outcomes. “You need to figure out the best-case and worst-case scenario,” he says. “If you don’t do that, you’ll find yourself lying in bed at three o’clock in the morning with all these thoughts just spinning in your head and nothing settling down. So, depending on the kind of person you are, put them on a spreadsheet or make notes on your iPhone. Best case. Worst case. Things that you can do something about.” And finally, he says, while you might be spending a lot of time thinking about how your business is going to survive, you can’t neglect your own physical and mental well-being either. “Go for a walk, do some exercise. Mental health is a huge problem (in these types of situations). I’ve been through it.”

Steve Wilson, a partner and vice-president of sales and marketing at Escape Manor, knows all too well the economic pain the COVID-19 crisis has inflicted on many local companies – the Ottawa-based chain was forced to lay off about 180 employees in late March when it closed its seven escape room facilities in Ontario. Wilson and his partners at Escape Manor have done their best to find creative ways to keep revenue flowing during the shutdown. In late March, they banded together with several other local tourism companies to launch “Keep Ottawa Awesome,” an online campaign designed to allow customers to buy online gift certificates that will be redeemable at any time once the participating businesses are back in operation. Wilson says it’s imperative that business owners keep a vigilant eye on all cash flowing in and out of their operations right now. “We always look at our burn rate and how long could we run if literally people stopped coming through our doors,” he says. “I’d definitely recommend that they audit any cash flow going out that doesn’t need to be going out.” That means looking at all options to conserve cash, he adds – everything from cancelling non-essential software subscriptions to cutting back on contractors. Wilson says it’s also important to keep your employees in the loop every step of the way and make sure they’ve got all the documents they need to apply for government programs such as EI, including records of employment. “Everything’s happening as fast as it possibly can so that we can get folks up and sorted with EI if that’s the path that they’re going down,” he says.

Micheal Burch is one of the most recognizable faces in the Ottawa professional services scene. He’s spent the bulk of his career at Ottawa-based accounting firm Welch LLP, where he has been a partner since 1993 and managing partner since 2008. Like Wilson, Burch emphasizes the need for all business owners to get a clear handle on their finances in order to ensure they have enough income to weather the storm ahead. “I think their major concern right now is cash flow,” he says. “What should we be doing to prepare ourselves for this? How should we be getting ahead of this?” Burch says leadership teams at SMEs need to be prepared for months of hardship. “I’d start with having them stress test their projections for the next six months,” he explains. “I would go through my customer list and I would ask: Who’s most likely to be most affected by this? Who’s likely to not feel the pinch immediately, but perhaps later on? And then put that into the cash flow. If I can expect that 60 per cent of my clients are going to be business as usual and maybe 20 per cent are going to be hard done by, (then I would) do some regression analysis to determine the worst-case scenario. Sales could be down 30 per cent and receipts delayed 45 days. What does that do to our line and do we have sufficient cash flow? What steps do we need to take internally to make sure that we can match up and continue to operate?”

Heidi Hauver has carved out a long, successful career in the human resources field that has included stints as VP of human resources at IT consulting firm Pythian and a managing partner at Keynote Group, one of the city’s fastestgrowing companies. Now a senior leader at Invest Ottawa, Hauver has some words of advice for executives wondering how to manage their employees in a crisis. “I would encourage CEOs to lead by example, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable,” she says. “I think our teams are looking for leaders to demonstrate that we’re all being affected. Create a safe environment. I think you can ask your employees what they need from you. As a CEO, you need to be connecting with your team more regularly than you normally do. For example, you could start a ‘lunch with the CEO’ session. Do a Google Hangout or Zoom call where a bunch of your employees have lunch with the CEO every day. The CEO needs to eat, right?” Above all, Hauver says, managers must be honest with their employees. “We don’t have all of the answers. Give as much information and be as transparent as possible. Recognize the future is unknown. Stay connected with your team and constantly be communicating with them.” With more and more people now working from home, she says it’s imperative that office colleagues find ways to stay in touch. “My tip is video calls,” Hauver suggests. “They allow you to see each other. I was on a call yesterday and the folks were saying that just by seeing their smiling colleagues, it really helped brighten their spirits. So I encourage everybody to, while they may have messy hair, just get on that video call.”



Co-founder and CEO of Ruckify

APRIL 2020



Ottawa tech firms catering to teleworkers see ‘surge in demand’ for products With the number of Canadians working from home climbing dramatically, local companies are going ‘flat out’ to deliver solutions



APRIL 2020

or nearly two decades, Paul Vallée has been building technology to help make working from home easier. With the COVID-19 pandemic now forcing Canadians to stay away from their traditional office spaces, the Ottawa entrepreneur’s new startup, Tehama, is seeing a steady stream of inquiries about its cloud-based platform that lets off-site employees securely access company data on their laptops and other devices. “There has been a huge surge in demand for what we do,” says Vallée, whose latest enterprise was spun off from IT consulting firm Pythian last year and now employs about 50 people. “It feels like the reasons are not the reasons that we worked on for the last 20 years. Those reasons are still valid, but they had



nothing to do with this virus.” In a typical week before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, he says, Tehama probably would have received anywhere from 10-20 inquiries a week from potential customers. “That has easily tripled if not quadrupled over the course of the last month or so,” Vallée says. Tehama is just one of a number of Ottawa-based companies that make technology catering to remote workers and are suddenly experiencing a flood of interest in their products. At Kanata’s Martello Technologies, which makes software that helps customers detect and troubleshoot problems in their high-speed communications networks, CEO John Proctor says his company’s 100 or so

employees are working “flat out” to respond to clients’ needs as the number of people working from home has skyrocketed in the span of a few weeks. Apartment buildings, he explains, have now morphed into office towers, with all the requisite demand for bandwidth to accommodate teleconferences and Skype meetings. At the same time, Proctor notes, teleworkers are competing for connectivity with other residents who are streaming videos on Netflix and FaceTiming their friends. “It’s all the same problem, which is, how do you prioritize that traffic?” he says. “How do you make sure that people from their home can still do business and keep this economy going? It’s no good saying to somebody working from their home, ‘The team server is up’ if they can’t use it.”

Jeff Blacklock, CEO of Kivuto Solutions.

Proctor says the publicly traded firm has seen a definite uptick in customer interest in the last month – with requests ranging from a U.S. brewery that placed a rush order for equipment it could install over a weekend to a U.K. university looking to optimize its employees’ workfrom-home experience. “It isn’t business as usual,” he says, “but in a way, this is our technology as usual.” And it’s not just mom and dad who suddenly find themselves working 613-226-7755 x223

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is seeing “lots of traction” for its solutions, Blacklock adds there are no strings attached to the company’s offer to provide free services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, he says, it’s about being a good corporate citizen during an unprecedented health and economic crisis. “There’s no commitment to buy … once the crisis is over,” Blacklock explains. “Right now, it’s really just about doing right by the students, doing right by the schools.” Both Tehama and Martello are also offering some of their products to customers on a free trial basis during the pandemic. While conceding that the COVID-19 pandemic could bring opportunities for new business, Vallée says he and his fellow entrepreneurs are trying to do their part to make an extremely stressful situation a little easier. “To be blunt, we’re trying to get the word out because we can help,” he says. “If that’s perceived as opportunistic, well then, so be it.” Vallée points to other made-inOttawa technology that’s now being put to work in the battle against the novel coronavirus. Spartan Bioscience, for example, has pivoted its entire operation in an effort to convert its hand-held DNA test into a portable test for the virus. “All of all those technologies become really important components of the solutions, and we’re proud that we happen to have one,” he says. “There is really no reason for anybody to spend time in office towers right now.”

APRIL 2020

CEO Jeff Blacklock says the company “saw a real need” for its platform as it became apparent that many Canadian elementary and high schools will likely be shut down until at least the fall. “They’re having to really change everything they do,” he says. “They’ve been rooted in brick-and-mortartype delivery of education for so long, and now with government mandates … they’re left scrambling trying to figure out how to go online and still educate kids and adults in this new environment.” Blacklock says Kivuto is also in discussions with other textbook publishers as well as software companies such as Adobe, IBM, Microsoft and others about providing various apps and programs to students for free. While acknowledging that Kivuto

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from the living room. Other Ottawa companies are rushing to respond to the needs of the burgeoning e-learning industry that’s scrambling to deliver virtual textbooks, lessons and workshops to millions of Canadian students who can no longer attend classes in person. In late March, for example, ByWard Market-based Kivuto Solutions announced it was teaming up with educational publisher Pearson to give Canadian students from kindergarten to Grade 12 free access to Pearson’s entire library of digital textbooks. Kivuto, which makes platforms that deliver e-textbooks and educational software, now has about 70 employees. Its products are used in more than 10,000 institutions around the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Canadian universities from coast to coast.


HOW COVID-19 WILL CHANGE THE DESIGN OF OUR CITIES Our current crisis is teaching us that social spaces within our increasingly dense urban places matter, writes Architects DCA president Toon Dreessen

APRIL 2020




t’s been a tough few weeks for all of us. Small businesses are struggling and our traditional, walkable main streets are void of the pedestrian traffic that independent stores depend on to stay afloat. Some have closed outright, while others are taking steps to keep their doors open by offering take-out and delivery options for groceries, sandwiches and other necessities. Governments are offering support, at least to large businesses and individuals who suddenly find themselves out of work. What has quickly become evident is that we’re not just looking at a short-term societal change, but rather a new way of thinking about how we approach the design of our cities. With fewer motorists commuting to work, normally busy roads are largely empty. This starkly illustrates just how much of our city is devoted to cars and moving people quickly through the city from one place to another, without stopping to experience the sense of place we’re passing through. Given the lack of vehicle traffic, an online petition to open up the NCC’s parkways to cyclists is attracting attention. However, mobilizing forces to make this happen in a short time frame is likely tough. Meanwhile, as we try to keep physical distance between us, we realize how narrow our sidewalks are. Picture how challenging it is to navigate narrow sidewalks at the best of times, let alone when they are covered in snow or ice. Now picture this as being an everyday occurrence if you are pushing a stroller or using a wheelchair. Maybe it’s time to rethink equity in our built environment. What if we devoted more of our street space to cycling and walking? What if instead of “flex space” on Elgin or Queen streets, these spaces were dedicated for walking, separated cycling lanes and bike parking? Perhaps our planning goals should be to maintain physical distance while forging communities so that small businesses can thrive.

When the majority of the road surface is devoted to cars, and the cars disappear, we realize how little of our city is for people.


Over the years, our urban places have become denser – as they should. We need greater density to make transit efficient and promote the walkable and bikeable communities that we need to achieve our sustainability goals. But what our current crisis is teaching us is what urbanists, architects and planners have been saying for years: Social spaces within the density matter. We need parks where we can create community and establish social cohesion while finding the soothing personal space we need as humans. We need apartment buildings with space to live and work, have a family and find quiet space inside our homes if we can’t go outside. We need community anchors such as diners, coffee shops, libraries, local grocery stores and social spaces where we can connect with friends while taking time to reconnect with ourselves. Let’s also think about what we need as a society. When our grocery stores run out of basics such as flour, milk, toilet paper or fresh food, we need to think about how our basic needs are met. We should also use this moment to think about how we create our commercial buildings and workspaces. As offices move to flexible spaces with active workstations and desks for hotelling instead of fixed office cubicles, and we reduce the amount of space each person gets – packing more people into smaller spaces – are we prioritizing the spatial needs of people? Are we forcing office workers into

ever-closer proximity because we think this will breed collaboration? Many of our grocery stores are currently relying on lines of tape on the floor and sheets of plexiglass to keep customers away from cashiers. We’ve designed a hostile built environment. We treat people as units to be processed, kept at a distance and separated by harsh, sterile means that create a sense of unwelcome. Is this a temporary reaction or the new normal? Consider how that “new normal” is still in place more than a year after the Toronto van attack with ugly and largely ineffectual precast Jersey barriers. If we’re to design for this new normal, let’s make the design uplifting and enhance our quality of life, not corral people into a dystopian future. We can choose how we want to accept the new normal. It’s time to think about our cities, our social spaces and how we support society’s most vulnerable people. It’s time to think about the equity we strive for and what we can do, as a city, to bring in a new era of respect and social cohesion as well as forging the communities we aspire to. Design matters. Toon Dreessen is president of Ottawa-based Architects DCA and past-president of the Ontario Association of Architects. For a sample of Architects DCA’s projects, check out the firm’s portfolio at Follow @ArchitectsDCA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.









connecting to build relationships, develop their brands, and grow their careers.





The Women’s Business Network is a community of inspiring Ottawa business women


APRIL 2020



WOMENINBUSINESS2020 A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT The Women’s Business Network of the National Capital Region is an organization that prides itself on gathering women in business for the purpose of building a strong and supportive network. Therefore, our board’s top priority remains the health and well-being of our community as we all face the fast-changing and everevolving challenges of COVID-19. Our board members felt it was important to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and contribute to “flattening the curve”. We responded quickly and adapted our programming to fit a virtual model that will continue to develop over the coming weeks. It is our hope to continue to provide much-needed support and camaraderie to our members and to the businesswomen across the National Capital Region as this situation unfolds. I wish all businesswomen, entrepreneurs and professionals health and continued success as they find new ways to do business with the resources available to them. Knowing that to change may feel uncomfortable but to stay the same when staying the same is impossible will disrupt even more. To find out more about the WBN community, view events and become a member please visit www.

WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO The Women’s Business Network of the National Capital Region is a non-profit, volunteer-run networking community for women in business with a focus on building strong relationships. Our goal is to offer members the opportunity to build their network, have access to business mentorship and cultivate friendships in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere!

The WBN does this in a number of ways: EVENTS We run various recurring networking series for members, including: • Annual conference (Women in Business Conference) • Annual Businesswomen of the Year Awards Gala • Monthly networking breakfasts (Mix & Mingles) • Monthly after-work cocktail networking (Wine down) • Quarterly lunch and learns (focus on skills building) • Quarterly “Women in the Boardroom” discussion events

AWARDS We run one of the highest-profile awards programs in Ottawa — the “Businesswomen of the Year Awards”. This program recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of four outstanding women every year, one in each of the four following categories: established entrepreneur, emerging entrepreneur, professional and organization.


APRIL 2020

New this year, we are running a mentorship program matching women in the early stages of their career with more established mentors to provide structured guidance and feedback on a number of work-related issues.



SCHOLARSHIP Jessica Keats President Women’s Business Network 613-608-8844

We fund a scholarship program that recognizes one outstanding female student from Algonquin, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University each year.

BOARD & COMMITTEE OPPORTUNITIES The WBN is a volunteer-run organization with a corporate structure. Each year we appoint a new board of directors at our annual meeting of members. We welcome WBN members to join one of our five active committees throughout the year.

WOMENINBUSINESS2020 Businesswoman of the Year Awards (BYAs) Gala 2020 DATE: Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 TIME: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. LOCATION: Infinity Convention Centre, 2901 Gibford Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 2L9 WEBSITE: TICKET LINK: https://wbn.wildapricot. org/event-3642169


oin us in the celebration at the Businesswoman of the Year Awards Gala on Friday, September 18 from 6:00pm – 10:00pm at the Infinity Convention Centre, as we come together to shine the spotlight on 12 incredibly accomplished and inspiring women

Emerging Entrepreneur Category finalists Category sponsored by Logan Katz LLP


CEO To Do Done Services Inc.

Proudly Supported by PWL Capital Inc | Organized by Women’s Business Network of Ottawa


President Restoration Co. Inc. Meghan Dagenais is a successful entrepreneur passionately leading her growing team to deliver transformational service to the restoration industry across Canada, the U.S. and Puerto Rico. When she is not working from one of her company’s offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, she enjoys skiing and scuba diving.


Founder, lawyer & mediator Fresh Legal

Established Entrepreneur Category finalists Category sponsored by GGFL Chartered Professional Accountants


Founder & owner The Open Door Educational Services

Heather Desjardins runs her business with a mission to help others. She has won multiple awards for her hard work, resourcefulness and adaptability. Heather has consistently demonstrated this through The Open Door and within the learning disabilities community.


President & CEO Syntax Strategic Jennifer Stewart is the president and CEO of Syntax Strategic, a media and advocacy company. As a driven and ambitious entrepreneur, Jennifer has successfully grown the company. Jennifer is passionate about her community and is currently the executive director of the Village of Carp BIA.


Jennifer Reynolds is a family lawyer and

mediator on a mission to make legal services more affordable and accessible for people. She is also a distinguished family law conference and event speaker, presenter and mentor. Jennifer is an avid marathon runner, Spartan Race competitor, and fundraiser for leukemia and lymphoma.

APRIL 2020

Tonya Bruin is a passionate entrepreneur and philanthropist running a fast-growing business with a strong social conscience. Tonya has a degree in biology and environmental policy, she is passionate about physical and mental health, and ensuring a positive community impact. Tonya is a proud mom of two girls.

from Ottawa’s business community. Twelve finalists will be recognized in one of four categories: Emerging Entrepreneur • Established Entrepreneur • Professional Services • Organization, for their expertise, achievements and community involvement. Four recipients (one in each category) will then be awarded the Businesswoman of the Year. This dazzling, sell-out soiree is a must-attend for Ottawa’s business elite — be sure to dress to impress!


Owner & director of video interpreting – Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa Inc. (SLIAO) Raised by deaf parents, Roxanne Whiting has a deep understanding of deaf culture and strives to demonstrate successful communication in her work. With video technology readily available globally, she is motivated to work within the field to leverage technology and create employment opportunities for the deaf community.

Professional Services Category finalists Category sponsored by CIBC

KAREN BROWNRIGG CHRL, CEC, founder & CEO iHR Advisory Services

Karen Brownrigg is an accomplished senior human resources leader, certified executive coach and business strategist with over two decades of experience leading transformational, mission-critical, security-sensitive and crisis management issues and initiatives.


CPA, CA, partner Logan Katz Chartered Professional Accountants Anjali Dilawri is a Chartered Professional Accountant whose career, both in industry and public practice, has spanned 30 years. Most recently Anjali achieved a significant milestone - Anjali became a partner, the first female partner at Logan Katz.


CPA, CA, FEA, managing partner NCR & National Technology - PwC Canada

With over two decades at PwC in both the public and private company sector, Sabrina Fitzgerald has worked with businesses of all sizes, in industries ranging from technology and real estate to manufacturing and retail. Sabrina has authored several articles and is an active contributor in the community.

Organization Category finalists Category sponsored by Daniel C. Fernandes Law Office

JACQUELINE BELSITO Vice-president of philanthropy & community engagement CHEO foundation

Jacqueline Belsito is a C-level fundraising strategist, driven to ensure that donors, individuals and corporations understand the difference they make. Jacqueline also sits on the board of directors at Roger Neilson House, the only children’s palliative care centre in the community.


MPNL & CFRE chief advancement officer and president, Carleton University Foundation Jennifer Conley has 20-plus years of senior leadership experience in creating transformational change in education and health care. She holds a master’s degree in philanthropy & nonprofit leadership. Her career highlights include leading the largest fundraising campaign successfully in Ottawa’s history and Ontario’s long-term care sector.


CA, CPA, chief financial officer Mitel Networks Vanessa Kanu is the CFO of Mitel, adding another star in a career marked by a rapid rise to the top and recognizing her 20-year journey to become the trusted financial steward, operator and business strategist. She was also recognized as a Forty Under 40 business leader by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and OBJ in 2017.

APRIL 2020

The WBN has rescheduled the Businesswoman of the Year Awards (BYAs) Gala event to Friday September 18th, 2020.



All Purchased tickets are valid for the new date on Friday, September 18th, 2020. Registration is open and tickets to the 2020 Businesswoman of the Year Awards Gala are available. Visit to purchase your tickets today.


Spartan Bioscience gets federal backing to develop COVID-19 test BY DAVID SALI


ith the COVID-19 crisis becoming more urgent by the day, an Ottawabased biotech firm says it’s throwing all its resources into creating a test that will be able to detect the virus in a matter of minutes. Spartan Bioscience’s main product is the Spartan Cube, a small box-like device that collects and analyzes human DNA without the need to send samples to a traditional lab. Spartan founder Paul Lem says virtually everyone at the 70-person company has now turned their efforts to one task: figuring out how to perform a DNA test for the novel



REGULATORY FAST-TRACKING Luckily, he has a very powerful ally in his corner: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On March 20, the prime minister identified Spartan as one of three Canadian companies that will be getting fast-tracked federal funding to develop technology to 2:15 PM

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help fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Lem says he’s also had fruitful talks with a number of angel investors and philanthropists to help supply the rest of the capital. The project also faces another hurdle: gaining regulatory approval. Lem says he’s confident the Spartan Cube can be quickly ushered through the approval process because the technology is piggybacking off DNA sequencing research already conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Agencies such as Health Canada have the power to fast-track such approvals in emergencies, he said, adding he’s already been talking with Canadian health authorities.


“ “ A Strong Voice A Strong Voice

In collaboration In collaboration with with the Province of the Ontario, Province of Ontario, we have an amazing we have an amazing opportunity toopportunity develop to develop the Kanata North the Kanata North Technology Park Technology into Park ainto a world-class model world-class for model for innovation, technology, innovation, technology, infrastructure and infrastructure and economic development. economic development.

for Kanata North for Kanata North Kanata Kanata North DayNorth at Queen’s Park Day at Queen’s Park MPP Merrilee Fullerton and KNBA President Jamie Petten

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Advancing the interests of the Advancing local the interests high of thetech local highsector tech sector and greater business community and greater business community More information @ More information @

Merrilee Fullerton Merrilee Fullerton Your Kanata-Carleton MPP Your Kanata-Carleton MPP

of of Finance, Finance, Economic JobEconomic Creation and Trade, Transportation, Job Creation and Infrastructureand Trade, Transportation, and Infrastructure


Your voice in the provincial government Your voice in the provincial government 613-599-3000 613-599-3000 On On February February 26, a delegation26, from the aKNBA delegation travelled to the Provincial from Legislature the in KNBA travelled to the Provincial Legislature in Toronto Toronto to make local tobusiness make and high local tech sector business concerns known to and Ontario high Ministers tech sector concerns known to Ontario Ministers

APRIL 2020


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community centres to airports, cruise ships and border crossings. But such rapid development of a new medical test won’t come cheap. Lem said Spartan has enough material to produce about 15,000 test cartridges, but he figures it will take at least $10 million to ramp up Spartan’s production facility to manufacture the hundreds of thousands it will take to meet demand.

“ “


coronavirus on its platform. Lem, who launched Spartan 14 years ago, says he thinks the test can be ready to go to market in a matter of weeks. “This is all hands on deck,” he told OBJ. “It’s a crisis for humanity … and one of the big bottlenecks has been the lack of testing. So we really want to do our part here.” Lem says his company’s technology – which is already used to test for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease – should be able to identify the COVID-19 virus in about 30 minutes because the test results don’t need to be verified in a lab. He said the hand-held device could be deployed anywhere from doctors’ offices, pharmacies and

Are you one of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies? Each year, the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade recognize the region’s fastest-growing companies. This is a unique opportunity to be recognized for substantial, sustainable and profitable growth. Think you have what it takes? Read on:

APRIL 2020

This isn’t Toronto’s Fastest Growing Companies




First things first: Are you based in the National Capital Region?


How’s the revenue growth been in the last three years?



Middling! Well, can you explain how your business is sustainable? Yikes



You probably have a great business, but it’s not what we’re after.



Have you turned a profit? Yes

Can an accountant back up every answer you’ve provided?


Head to before April 10 to apply! is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Bruyère Foundation, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, the National Arts Centre and Sparks Dental. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS


Food delivery service aims to help local restaurateurs hungry for support

last fall after being badly burglarized and vandalized. Fortunately, the community came to its rescue by raising $20,000 through a GoFundMe campaign, allowing for Chevrier to carry on. Chevrier says she’s refusing to wallow in self-pity over her bad luck,


home safely. Owner Darren Burrowes has offered to pay his drivers to do food pickup and dropoffs within a five-kilometre radius of the selected restaurant for a cost-recovery fee of $5. Curbside pickup is also available. As well, the new logo for Love Local Delivery has been designed without cost by Lissa Constantine, owner of BirdDog Design. Wood was part of a brainstorming session in mid-March held to deal with a fast-deteriorating situation facing the restaurant industry. She met with Ola Cocina owner and chef Donna Chevrier, Das Lokal executive chef Harriet Clunie, and Robin Duetta, who’s very plugged into Ottawa’s culinary community. The group came up with the idea of running its own affordable food delivery service, recognizing that the Uber Eats model made it impossible for now-vacant restaurants to turn a proper profit. The thinking was that people still wanted to eat restaurant-quality food, even if they could no longer enjoy the meals at their neighbourhood hotspots. “People are sort of locked up in their houses and not everybody is adept at cooking, nor do they want to do it seven nights a week,” explained Clunie, who is eager to see Das Lokal stay open. “Small businesses are struggling right now and this

recognizing that most people in the restaurant industry are in the same boat. When a business isn’t making money, there’s a huge ripple effect on staff wages, rent, utility bills and suppliers, she added. “I’m not going to feel sorry for myself,” Chevrier told “I did that for 24 hours, and then I moved on. I don’t quit, and now is not the time to quit either.” Chevrier said she had no choice but to lay off her staff temporarily. She would prefer to continue working as long as possible, rather than close up and possibly rely on government aid. In short, she added: “I’m a worker.” There is government support money being made available to help small businesses and their employees, but there are drawbacks to shutting down operations, said Duetta, who works closely with the culinary community to produce such charity events as the Grinch Dinner and Taste for Hope that help the poor, vulnerable and homeless men and women at the Shepherds of Good Hope. “Your customers are going to go somewhere else,” said Duetta. “Just as much as it’s about survival for the restaurants, it’s also about relationship management and taking care of the people that you take care of every day.” Duetta said he remains hopeful the restaurants will weather the coronavirus storm. “It’s a resilient community. Watching them try and make it work is inspiring. They’re the toughest group I know.” For years, the culinary community has been helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities, Duetta pointed out. “The hospitality community needs our help today, and what a great way to show our support.”

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Ottawa restaurants have teamed up with a local events and communications firm and valet parking company to come to the aid of popular eating establishments left financially crippled by the coronavirus outbreak. A new food delivery service, Love Local Delivery, was launched in late March in support of 18 downtown restaurants. They are: Ola Cocina Taqueria, Das Lokal, BiBi’s Middle Eastern Kitchen and Fraser Cafe, all located in the New Edinburgh and ByWard Market area; Baccanalle in Vanier; Gray Jay, Pascale’s AllNatural Ice Cream, BUCHIPOP and La Roma in West Centretown; Grunt and Heartbreakers Pizza in the Wellington West and Hintonburg neighbourhoods; Centretown’s North & Navy, Town and Pi.Rho True Food Grill restaurants; Orto Trattoria in the Glebe; Oat Couture Oatmeal Cafe and Patty’s Pub in Old Ottawa South; and Pelican Seafood Market and Grill on Bank Street south. The independently owned restaurants are offering ready-to-eat meals; heat-and-serve prepared meals; and/or meal kits with instructions on how to finish or prepare at home. “We’re just happy to be able to help,” explained Karen Wood, owner and president of Knock on Wood Communications + Events, which is handling for free the publicity for the new food delivery service. “We love these restaurants. They’re these little neighbourhood gems and this (coronavirus shutdown) is devastating for them.” Responsible Choice is known for providing valet services at special events and helping partygoers to get

restaurant is so sweet and special that we want to keep it going, if we can.” Clunie knows how hard it is to run a business. She previously left Das Lokal to take over Beechwood Gastropub but had to close less than two years later. “I know how much you have to work just to keep the doors open when everything is normal, never mind having a pandemic. “We’re really just going to give it the college try and see if it takes off,” she said of the Love Local Delivery chef-prepared meals. “If it does, that’s great. If it doesn’t, we’ll just close like everybody else, but we just felt like we needed to try. That’s all we can do.” The coronavirus marks the second big blow suffered by Ola Cocina, located in Vanier. It faced closure is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Bruyère Foundation, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, the National Arts Centre and Sparks Dental. STORIES BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS


Hotel industry lends helping hand to Shepherds despite being ‘decimated’ by COVID-19 In these difficult and unprecedented times, when Ottawa businesses are closing down and laying off staff due to the coronavirus outbreak, something remarkable is happening: They’re continuing to reach out to see what they can do to help the homeless. “A lot of them have asked if there is food that they can donate,” said Shepherds of Good Hope president and CEO Deirdre Freiheit. “I just think it’s incredible.” Among the groups that deserve to be singled out for their kindness is the hotel industry. Sadly, it’s been “decimated”

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by the COVID-19 crisis, said Steve Ball, president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association and a volunteer board member with the Shepherds of Good Hope. The welcome mat for travellers has officially been yanked. Some local hotels are functioning under 10 per cent occupancy, while many others are temporarily closed until at least May 1 or June 1 – including the iconic Chateau Laurier. “There will be casualties,” said Ball of the hotel industry. “There will be properties that may not make it back.”

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Prova Bar and Kitchen, The Bridge Public House, Shopify, Laura’s Your Independent Grocer in Kanata, the University of Ottawa, Moncion’s Your Independent Grocer on River Road and Metro McCarthy Rd. “I’m amazed at how the community comes together,” said Freiheit. The near-vacant hotels could come in

handy in dealing with a serious COVID-19 outbreak, says Ball. If hospitals become overwhelmed with diseased patients, the affected homeless population will need to be isolated somewhere. “There’s a chance that hotels might be called upon,” said Ball.

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Shepherds, which runs shelter services, supportive housing programs and a soup kitchen. It also operates an evening dropin program that it’s had to temporarily cancel as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The OGHA represents about 60 member hotels. They normally employ some 6,000 employees, but these days that number has plummeted to about 2,000 or fewer due to the layoffs, said Ball. One of the first businesses to start transporting extra food over to the Shepherds once coronavirus trouble loomed was the Andaz Hotel in the ByWard Market. It donated more than 181 kilograms (400 pounds) of food. It’s become tradition for its executive chef, Stephen La Salle, along with his staff, to cook and serve the food during the Shepherds’ annual appreciation night for its volunteers. As well, the Andaz team visits the Shepherds a couple of times a year to volunteer its time and talents in the kitchen, all in support of the poor and homeless. Along with the hotel industry, there have been food donations from: Bridgehead Coffee, The Waverley Elgin,


Still, many hotels are quietly passing along their perishable food to those who need it most through the Shepherds of Good Hope rather than have it go to waste. Their philanthropy comes on the heels of the industry’s participation in the Taste for Hope culinary benefit that raised more than $86,000 earlier this month for Shepherds of Good Hope, as well as the hotels’ involvement in the 20th annual Hoteliers Have Heart. Local hotels donated 15-plus tonnes of food worth nearly $23,000 during the week-long benefit in mid-February. Over the event’s past two decades, the hotels’ contributions have added up to $223,400 worth of food donations from members of the OGHA. They purchase food from suppliers at discounted prices. “It’s amazing how generous they are in the community,” said Ball. “Yet, they don’t want any credit for it. I don’t think that’s why they do it. They help because they’re generous at heart and they’re just community players. “I just think it’s part of their DNA.” The hotels also donate no-longerneeded furniture, linens, kitchen utensils and other items year round to the

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CHEO Foundation eyes online fundraising in wake of COVID-19 crisis Every charity event organizer dreads dealing with bad weather or speaker cancellations, but nothing to date compares to COVID-19 and the subsequent cancellation or postponement of fundraising events across the city. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Foundation is just one of the many Ottawa non-profit organizations that was – and still is – carefully watching the developments surrounding the novel coronavirus. Organizers knew it was only a matter of time until the highly contagious respiratory disease would show up to the nation’s capital and badly disrupt plans. In late March, the charitable

organization announced its plans to drop the dinner portion of its 23rd annual CHEO For The Kids Gala, scheduled to take place April 1 at the Infinity Convention Centre. Attendance was expected to hit 600 people, compared with last year’s crowd of 350. Instead, organizers will keep the gala’s online auction up and running until the end of April. Business sponsors not only fully understood, but they pledged their continued support of CHEO. “It was heartbreaking during the moment we had to make that decision, but the response has been so positive,” Lydia Blanchard, director of community

engagement at the CHEO Foundation, said in a phone interview. “We’ve really seen the best part of humanity.” Now, CHEO is banking on its For The Kids online auction to be a fundraising success. It has more than $70,000 worth of items available, including: an ultimate Canadian experience for two to Calgary and Banff, available until April 2021; a gallery-level box suite for 16 people for the Justin Bieber concert in Ottawa this September; and a Via Rail train trip to Toronto for an action-packed weekend getaway that’s also good for an entire year. This year’s presenting gala sponsor was law firm and longtime supporter Borden Ladner Gervais.

The CHEO Foundation has also decided to reschedule its 2020 CN Cycle for CHEO. The major fundraiser was supposed to roll through town Sunday, May 3. CN has said it’s going to stick by the children’s hospital, whether the event eventually goes ahead or not. “We’re mindful that the situation in the community is really, really anxious right now and everybody is experiencing something that we’ve never experienced together before, but there’s no doubt that there will be a significant impact on the fundraising that’s at CHEO,” said CHEO Foundation president and chief executive officer Kevin Keohane. Keohane acknowledged that the loss of its upcoming springtime fundraising events and activities will affect the region’s only children’s hospital, come 2021. That’s why it will be looking at alternative fundraising methods, involving digital technology, to draw financial support.

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‘We’re all trying to figure out how we’re going to manoeuvre’ Realtors say the COVID-19 crisis is changing the way they do business as it looks poised to cool off a red-hot market BY DAVID SALI


When I’ve reached out to some clients, they’re just like, ‘Look, we’re staying in our home for the next couple of weeks,’ and I don’t blame them. – David Sugarman, realtor at Coldwell Banker Rhodes & Company

Coldwell Banker Rhodes & Company. “When I’ve reached out to some clients, they’re just like, ‘Look, we’re staying in our home for the next couple of weeks,’ and I don’t blame them. I think we’re not really seeing the quiet time quite yet. I think it’s just starting. I think we’ll probably head into a much different type of a market over the next month or two. I think those really crazy


favourable lending rates, residentialclass properties last month fetched a record average of nearly $564,000. But the COVID-19 crisis that has dealt a body blow to the Canadian economy is threatening to slow that momentum to a crawl, and some realtors don’t expect the good times to continue much longer. “My phone has quieted down,” said David Sugarman, a longtime agent at

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n an industry where the “personal touch” can make or break a sale, the new age of social distancing has prompted Ottawa’s realtors to rethink their tools of the trade. With open houses largely shelved due to fears of spreading COVID-19, many agents say they’re opting to take clients on virtual tours via smartphone teleconferencing apps. When Ottawa Real Estate Board president Deb Burgoyne took a client to a home in mid-March, the vendor had disinfectant wipes and gloves handy near the entrance. It’s all part of the new reality of doing business, said Burgoyne, a broker at Royal LePage Team Realty. But so far, she added, it hasn’t completely doused what’s been a blistering residential real estate market in the National Capital Region. “With all this pent-up demand, I’ve seen a lot of listings come on in the last week – a surprising number,” Burgoyne said in an interview with OBJ on March 24. “The vendors want to get on the market and take advantage of what we’ve been doing the last couple of years, but they also have the same questions. We’re all in this together – we’re all trying to figure out how we’re going to manoeuvre, and we don’t have answers for everything.” Until just a few weeks ago, it looked like Ottawa’s housing market was set to continue riding a wave of prosperity that saw prices jump more than 20 per cent year over year in February. Thanks largely to a booming job market and

prices that we have just seen, it is not a sustainable business model.” While acknowledging the industry has “definitely seen a bit of a slowdown” in the last week or so, veteran realtor Paul Rushforth said it’s not all doom and gloom. About 360 homes still changed hands in the third week of March, he noted, and he’s still seeing a few bidding wars on highly sought-after properties. At the same time, he says, there’s no question realtors have had to dramatically alter the way they interact with buyers and sellers. With real estate boards across Canada urging realtors to stop hosting open houses in effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, in-person showings are quickly becoming a thing of the past. His company, Paul Rushforth Real Estate, has closed its offices and all of its dozen or so employees are now working from home. He’s still selling properties, but more and more appraisals and walkthroughs are being carried out remotely and transactions are being conducted electronically. “We’re just being very careful and doing a lot of things by Zoom, Facebook calls, Facebook Live, things like that,” Rushforth explained. “This could be the new norm of doing business.” Sugarman says he’s all in favour of any measures that help protect the public’s health. “We just don’t know how (the coronavirus) is being spread as well as we probably should, and I think it’s just a time where people probably need to be at home,” he said. Rushforth agreed. “Business is secondary,” he said. “We just don’t want this to spread. So if that means short-term pain for long-term gain, I’m all for it. We have to do what’s responsible.” Burgoyne said she applauds realtors for finding “creative” ways to keep serving clients during the pandemic. Conceding that the industry’s short- and medium-term future is “murky” at best, she said she’s hopeful that the city’s real estate scene will bounce back once the crisis passes. “Our market will recover,” she said. ‘I can’t tell you when; I can’t tell you if it will go back to the way it was. But I’m confident. We’ve always had a very resilient market.”


CFO CORNER: Corporate strategies for Ottawa financial leaders

FROM SIGN-OFF TO STRATEGY: The role of a model CFO CFOs are under pressure to take their C-suite colleagues further and faster. CRGroup’s Vijay Jog offers three steps to modernize strategic management functions of the finance role.


ew senior executive positions have been or will be subject to as much change as that of the CFO. Thirty years ago, when I began consulting with global organizations on the role and functions of finance, the definition of “chief financial officer” was very different. In the last 10 years, there’s been a major shift in what companies need from the office and what defines an effective CFO. Gone are the days when compliance, numbercrunching and sign-off on budgets were enough. A CFO must now contribute strategically to business growth. Today’s CFO is expected to streamline all aspects of traditional finance as well as work dynamically by using data and intelligence to influence decision-making and create more value for the company.

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Gone are the days when compliance, number-crunching and sign-off on budgets were enough.



The reality, however, is that most CFOs are still spending too much time on compliance and control and do not have access to the right resources and tools needed to own this emerging role. Building a usable foundation of information is a journey that involves implementing and connecting business management and information systems. Whether it is from a reluctance to invest or a gross underestimation of the impact of automation and centralization, some businesses have been hesitant to enable their teams with the right systems. When an organization is small, it can start this journey with spreadsheets; however, once an enterprise requires scale, investments in these systems are essential.

Finance leaders who are slow to leverage technology simply cannot rise to the same level as those who are fortified by it. Business information architecture is fundamental to a CFO and enterprise success. The path to becoming a model CFO cannot happen overnight. There are three steps every CFO should consider to modernize the strategic management functions of the finance role:

1. Determine what’s needed to automate traditional finance functions The journey to becoming a model CFO starts with freeing up time and resources. This means leveraging technology and automation for traditional finance functions, for not only the CFO, but the entire finance team and any stakeholder groups involved in decision-making. Automation starts with an assessment of the current state of business and information systems as well as what is needed for growth. Today’s CFO must demand investments in new financial systems for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and corporate performance management (CPM), and often technology for business intelligence/reporting and data warehousing.

2. Start tracking your customer’s journey Having the right information on who the business attracts, what is being sold to whom, customer touchpoints and opportunities for retention or upselling is critical to business success. This requires investments in demand-planning or customer relationship management (CRM) technology to track business sales, marketing, account touchpoints and the entire customer journey, as well as reporting and business intelligence systems to uncover trends and insights.

3. Define KPIs that will drive growth The third and parallel step in this journey is understanding your company’s key performance indicators (KPIs). The easiest way to do this is by asking: “How would you know your business is successful and creating value if I were to take away your profit and loss (P&L) statement and balance sheets?” If a CFO presents business performance in just dollars and percentages but is unable to provide insights about the business of that variance and what can be done about closing the gap, they are missing the opportunity to add strategic value. Becoming a model CFO is a journey that can start today. Automate traditional finance functions, understand your data and customer journey, and define and track KPIs. The insights you need to add strategic value will speak to you. When stakeholders demand, “Take us further and faster,” a model CFO’s only response should be, “I am. Hold on tight.” Vijay Jog is the founder and president of Corporate Renaissance Group (CRGroup), a Quisitive Company (QUIS) and Ottawa-based firm dedicated to transforming business management and performance. He has led CRGroup’s growth in areas of strategic finance, corporate performance and dashboards, strategy design and execution and helping clients bridge the gap between technology and finance. Dr. Jog consults with organizations around the world and is a leading author and speaker in the areas of corporate performance and the office of the CFO. For additional resources, visit For CFOs and financial leaders looking to become more strategic in their role, we invite you to join Dr. Jog for a complimentary two-hour webinar on Wednesday, April 15. Registration is limited. Learn more and save your seat at





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and life. Prior to joining Fellow, I spent 14 years working from home running my consulting business. I had many unique work/life balance situations over that decade and a half including a pregnancy, the birth of my daughter, a battle with burnout and depression, the 2008 market crash and the general ups and downs of entrepreneurship. Through those 14 years, I developed strategies that helped me cope with the ever-changing priorities that showed up in my life. The way that I’ve handled the ups and downs is by no means a perfect system, but it has helped me tremendously and if you’re navigating these new work from home waters yourself, I hope it may be useful to you.


CREATE A SPACE YOU LOVE WORKING IN Whether this is an entire home office or a corner of your living room, be sure to set up a space that you love working from. In normal times, I have a computer set up in our home office in the basement, but I don’t enjoy spending my working hours down there where the natural light is scarce. So, when I’m working from home for long periods of time, I set up shop on the dining room table. This may be difficult for phone calls though so it’s worth having a backup space to move to for calls – even if that means having them in your bathroom or walk-in closet with the door closed.

REDUCE DECISION FATIGUE Erin Blaskie,’s director of marketing, shares her work-from-home setup.

Managing COVID-19: Work, life and mental health balance out each of our priorities. For my fiance and me, that looks like setting up offices in different parts of the home so we can both be on conference calls at the same time. For my daughter, it means staving off boredom, in between FaceTime calls with friends and relatives, while also keeping up with her studies. In some ways, I’m extremely lucky to have a lot of experience balancing work

BATCH EVERYTHING I’m a big believer in batching my


We’re spending more time at home with our families, we’re coming together as a community (virtually!) and we’re realizing that working from home, if you’re fortunate enough to have that ability, can be a viable option to keep businesses moving forward. Personally speaking, I’m home with my fiance and my nine-year-old daughter and we’re doing our best to

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t’s a disruptive time for many people right now as we navigate the waters of a province in a state of emergency, closures of all kinds and a new way of working with our colleagues. To say that we’re in uncharted territory would be an understatement. However, even while we’re under the weight of an uncertain time, there are many positive things to look at as well.

When President Barack Obama was in office, he only ever wore blue or grey suits on a day-to-day basis. (I’m sure he made an exception from time to time!) Choosing from just two options made it a lot easier to move through his morning routine but it also reduced the number of non-essential decisions he had to make so he could focus on the important decisions. We all experience decision fatigue and that can be heightened when we’re out of our normal work routines. Create solid systems and a routine that you can follow, even while working from home, so that you don’t end up exhausted at the end of the day.

“In high-stress times, it’s really important to ensure that you’re being kind to yourself and to others... It’s going to be really difficult right now to get it all right.” – Erin Blaskie work and activities so that I can stay hyper-focused and not burn myself out. It’s also really helpful to turn off unnecessary distractions and right now, with the noise around COVID-19, it’s even more important to turn things off from time to time. The idea with batching your work is that you do tasks in groups. For example, if you’re going to do email, sit down and do all of your emails at once to avoid the multi-tasking trap. If you’re going to focus on writing, do all of your writing tasks while you’re in a state of flow. If you are going to pay bills, pay all of your bills and balance your budget at the same time. By batching your activities, you

won’t be tempted to get up and do the dishes in-between conference calls or run an errand in the middle of a big project.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS In high-stress times, it’s really important to ensure that you’re being kind to yourself and to others. Emotional states run high, people are distracted and your friends, family and colleagues may have a thousand other things on their mind right now. Remind yourself of this before moving into any human interaction so that you can lead with kindness and empathy. Extend that same kindness to

yourself. It’s going to be really difficult right now to get it all right. Your kids may be having a bit more screen time than usual, you might be fighting with your spouse a bit more than normal and you might find the unknowns a bit harder to deal with. All of that is, in my experience, totally normal. Managing your mental health in uncertain times is also key. Take breaks, especially if you’re working from home, as work time can easily bleed into home time without a commute and get out into nature. While we’re all practicing social distancing right now, we can still go for walks in nature and breathe fresh air on a daily basis. Apps like Calm or Headspace can also help as they can provide you with meditations that you can do at home and there are many yoga and fitness apps that you can use to maintain your health and fitness while at home, too. These are all ways that you can ensure that you maintain self-care while working from home in isolation.

FINAL TIPS It’s really hard to stop scrolling on

social, tuning into press conferences and reading the news right now, but I highly recommend that you give yourself a time limit to consume that information before taking long breaks from it, too. Look to as many positives as possible in this uncertain time and know that the majority of people are understanding and empathetic right now. Reach out to friends and family through digital means, especially if you are isolated, and leverage technology to stay connected with your colleagues. We will look back on this time as being monumental, because it is, but I think we’ll also look back on this time as being a time of rapid transformation and learning. We’re learning how to communicate better, how to support each other better and how to cope in highly chaotic times. We’re building resiliency that will be incredibly helpful in the weeks, months and years to come. Erin Blaskie is the director of marketing at, a tool for managers to have more productive meetings.


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Forging better relationships with technology University of Ottawa Faculty of Engineering researchers aim to create smarter software to better serve humans in their everyday lives


ver the last few years it’s become commonplace to receive text messages on your watch or track your health through your phone as technology has changed how we interact with ourselves and others. With connectivity becoming an increasingly important part of our everyday lives, researchers at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering are exploring ways to use artificial intelligence and simulations to create life-changing wearable technology and smarter assistive software.

test these systems, which is why the team’s simulations and research are critical. Outside of mobility technology, Uchida says there is an opportunity to apply the research to other areas, from preventing repetitive strain injuries in assembly line workers to rethinking the way we design desk chairs or shoes. “Many of the products that interact with our bodies are not well-designed and cause us pain, discomfort or injury,” he says. “So the general problem is, how do you design or engineer a device that meshes with or complements the body? Simulations and computational models can help us do that.”

There is even potential to use this research to assist in the diagnosis of mental illness, says Al Osman. “We’re using the same affective computing technology that we’ve developed, but now instead of trying to classify emotions, we’re trying to classify bipolar disorder states,” he says, adding that there is potential to apply the machine learning technology in a range of medical scenarios. “Whether it’s tools that help clinicians better diagnose patients or an assistive robot for a senior citizen, there are many opportunities to improve and impact the lives of everyday citizens with this type of technology.”

Learning emotion While wearable tech is on the rise, so are assistive technologies such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, which Prof. Hussein Al Osman believes can be taught to interpret human emotion. Using affective computing – the development of systems that can interpret and simulate human actions or reactions – Al Osman is looking at how we can teach robots to be emotionally intelligent to better serve our needs and tailor responses to a person’s mood. “Machines are completely oblivious to our emotions,” he says. “If they can understand the emotion, that would lead to a more natural, helpful, tailored interaction.” Robots and other technology can be taught to recognize emotion through images by learning facial expressions, as well as through natural language processing or learning to understand tone of voice and intonation.

COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES Contact Prof. Thomas Uchida or Prof. Hussein Al Osman



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The future of movement After studying robotics and experimenting with AI and simulation, Prof. Thomas Uchida realized there was an opportunity to take his knowledge and apply it to the human body. Uchida and his team work with simulation software that replicates the human musculoskeletal system to better understand how joints and muscles create movement and how much energy and force it takes to make that movement happen. Replicating the inner workings of the body can lead to better-functioning mobility devices, says Uchida, whose research is helping other engineers design and test wearable technology. “We’re very familiar with crutches and wheelchairs, but there’s a new class of assistive devices called exoskeletons – structures that attach to the body and apply force to help the body to move,” he explains. “If you apply these forces in the right places, and with the right timing, you can reduce the amount of energy your muscles are expending during walking or running, which can help individuals with mobility issues.” The problem with designing these devices is that everyone is physically unique, so developing a single prototype isn’t practical. Because of that, it can be difficult and expensive to

Prof. Thomas Uchida works with software simulations to help develop more functional and tailored mobility devices.


LEADING A REMOTE WORKFORCE – IN GOOD TIMES AND IN CRISIS With working from home now a reality for many, Stratford Managers shares practical strategies for leaders to engage and stay close with distant teams


any business owners, executives and managers are unexpectedly finding themselves in new territory: Leading a remote workforce. While some may be comfortable with teleconferences and accustomed to employees occasionally working from home, ensuring productivity and employee wellness through a screen can be daunting for those unfamiliar with virtual work. The first step for many organizations is ensuring employees are set up to work from home and can access their email and digital files. Once operational, there are several strategies leaders can employ to make the transition to remote work easier for their teams and themselves.

KEY TAKEAWAYS for remote managers

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1. Ensure your team’s IT infrastructure is in place to support work at home – access/VPN, security/encryption, sufficient computing power.



2. Regular check-ins with team members and individuals are critical. Ensure they feel supported and they have what they need to work effectively. Include video-based calls to support social interaction/ connection, despite the distancing. 3. Recognize that the rhythm of working remotely is very different and may take some time to adjust.

The common thread is to take a flexible approach that accommodates the unique situations that each individual employee finds themselves in, says Neil Crawford, a practice leader of HR strategic consulting at Ottawa-based Stratford Managers. “Some people have elders to care for, some have children ... there are all of these new situations in play,” he says. “You need to be thinking about that employee relationship from a one-on-one perspective and consider how much interaction and structure is needed for each person to succeed.” As teams settle into the reality of an extended period of remote work, employees will increasingly be looking to managers for flexibility as they adjust and find the most effective and productive ways of working outside of the office.


Neil Crawford, practice leader of HR strategic consulting at Ottawa-based Stratford Managers.

Depending on how long employees need to work from home, Crawford also suggests that managers encourage employees to take breaks and be flexible with vacation and unpaid leave requests whenever they can as some employees may find it to be the COMMUNICATIONS best way to address child care requirements or other One of the biggest changes to consider is that employees may need to work non-traditional hours needs. “A lot of what we’ve learned about keeping while at home, which can be a big adjustment from employees motivated and focused on work has to do the traditional nine-to-five. While it may take time with understanding them as an individual,” he says. to find the right relationship structure with your Managers need to be prepared to adjust things to a employees, being clear that they are not expected more personal level – especially in a crisis situation. to work 24/7 or be in constant contact is important. And while this may be an unprecedented time Given the uniqueness of each employee’s for many workplaces, Crawford predicts many situation, managers should also consider more businesses will start to view remote work in a new frequent check-ins with employees, as working light. from home removes the more casual contact that “They may not have realized the long-term cost exists in the office. savings that they can have with a balance of work One of the easiest ways of implementing this that’s done in an office setting and work done at into your team’s routine is to set smaller, shorterhome,” he says, adding it may permanently shift the term goals, which opens up the opportunity for nature of work. performance and achieve quicker feedback. This approach can also help Stratford Managers specializes in helping businesses accelerate “Thisfor willmany accelerate the way we use technology, ensure that work is progressing even scale. We’re trusted advisorsand andbuilds expert bench strength of Ottawa’s leading the way that we interact with people remotely. The more trust within says Crawford. companies. Takeyour theteam, first step to the next level. “It’s not just for the person who’s overseeing and longer this goes on, the more (remote working) will beOperations accepted as the status quo.”Property | IT supervising the work. also beneficial forResources the Sales | Marketing | It’s Finance | Human | | Intellectual person who’s doing the work,” he adds. “Getting the appropriate opportunity to seek advice, counsel and coaching really helps move things forward and establishes a work rhythm.”

Break Through the Barriers to Growth

Consulting. Coaching. Virtual/Interim Management.

THE LIST Company/Address Phone/Fax/Web


No. of local lawyers


No. of local support staff/ No. of local offices

No. of national lawyers/ No. of national support staff/ No. of national offices

Managing partner(s) or key executive/ Year established in Ottawa

Services offered

Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP 2600-160 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 1C3 613-233-1781 / 613-563-9869


352 1

541 869 7

Wayne Warren 1887

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP 1300-100 Queen St., Ottawa, ON K1P 1J9 613-237-5160 / 613-787-3558


221 1

699 1,788 5

Katherine Cooligan 1952

Full-service law firm with expertise in business law, litigation/dispute resolution and intellectual property solutions.

Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. 1400-340 Albert St., Ottawa, ON K1R 0A5 613-238-2022 / 613-238-8775


60 1

0 0 1

Anthony P. McGlynn R. Aaron Rubinoff co-chairs 1971

Full-service law firm specializing in: business law; commercial disputes; labour and employment law; commercial real estate development; intellectual property; immigration; tax; personal legal needs; police law; international arbitration

Nelligan Law LLP 300-50 O’Connor St., Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2 613-238-8080 / 613-238-2098


70 1

0 0 0

Mia Hempey 1963

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP 1500-45 O’Connor St., Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4 613-780-8661 / 613-230-5459



608 WND 6

Pierre-Paul Henrie 1984

Business law; M&A; real estate; employment/labour; Canadian/global regulatory; international trade; technology/innovation; business ethics/anti-corruption; dispute resolution/litigation; construction; food, agribusiness; health; patents/trademarks

Emond Harnden LLP 707 Bank St., Ottawa, ON K1S 3V1 613-563-7660 / 613-563-8001


32 1

39 32 1

Antoinette Strazza 1987

Management-side employment and labour law; wrongful dismissal claims; human rights and harassment complaints; human resources training; employment contracts; workplace policies and sick leave management; WSIB; OHS; pension and benefits

Kelly Santini LLP 2401-160 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K2P 2P7 613-238-6321 / 613-233-4553


49 2

0 0 0

Kelly Sample 1976

Mann Lawyers LLP 300-11 Holland Ave., Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4S1 613-722-1500 / 613-722-7677


34 2

0 0 0

Edward K. Mann 1994

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP 1300-55 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5 613-236-3882 / 613-230-6423


19 1

689 925 7

Scott Prescott Virginia Schweitzer 1980

Communications; business; litigation; labour, employment and human rights; international trade; anti-bribery and corruption; intellectual property; competition; public law; government relations and ethics; privacy; constitutional and administrative

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP 1900-340 Albert St., Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y6 613-235-7234 613-235-2867


44 1

411 620 4

Donna White 1946

National law firm including IP; pharmaceutical litigation; technology; corporate finance and securities; mergers and acquisitions; taxation; regulatory law and privacy law delivering national and cross-border services

Soloway Wright LLP 700-427 Laurier Ave. W., Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y2 613-236-0111 / 613-238-8507


45 1

2 WND 1

Daniel Coderre, Christine Powell Terilynn Anderson 1946

Labour and employment law; estate planning and administration; business; debt/equity financing; insolvency/receiverships; leasing; franchising; corporate and contract law; commercial and residential real estate; municipal/expropriation; general litigation, personal injury and medical malpractice


Dentons Canada LLP 1420-99 Bank St., Ottawa, ON K1P 1H4 613-783-9600 / 613-783-9690


26 1

508 739 6

David P. Little 1985

Regulatory matters; public policy; venture tech; litigation and dispute resolution; real estate; banking; lending; intellectual property; employment law; securities; telecommunications; privacy; marketing; labelling


Low Murchison Radnoff LLP 400-1565 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R1 613-236-9442 / 613-236-7942


31 1

0 0 0

Michael L. Wong 1938

Business/corporate/commercial; financing; real estate; education; civil/commercial litigation; licensing; construction; franchising; employment/labour; personal injury/disability; family; wills/trusts/estate planning; procurement


Smart & Biggar 900-55 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5Y6 613-232-2486 / 613-232-8440


161 1

41 410 5

Steven Garland 1906

Patents; trademarks; copyright and media; industrial designs; litigation; licensing and IP transactions; life sciences (regulatory and compliance); IP management and strategic counselling; marketing and advertising; domain names and internet law


Sicotte Guilbault LLP 208-4275 Innes Rd., Orléans, ON K1C 1T1 613-837-7408 / 613-837-8015


38 3

0 0 0

Michel Sicotte 1993

Full service including: business law; family law; real estate law; litigation and dispute resolution; intellectual property; wills and estates; employment law; mediation


Tierney Stauffer LLP 510-1600 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON K1Z 0A1 613-728-8057 / 613-728-9866


33 3

0 0 0

Susan Mitchell 1982

Corporate and commercial law; commercial litigation; employment law; construction law; tax law; wills and estates; personal injury, residential real estate


30 1

0 1 0

Donald Brazeau managing partner 1989




Shane McLean

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9 11

LaBarge Weinstein LLP

ADR; bankruptcy and insolvency; business law; construction and development; employment law; estate and trust planning; family law; insurance law; litigation and dispute resolution; not-for-profit real estate Business, commercial leasing, commercial and residential real estate, employment and labour, bankruptcy and insolvency, civil and commercial litigation, wills and estates, franchise, family, personal injury, disability insurance claims

Business transfers and acquisitions; cannabis law; corporate and commercial law; employment law; family business; intellectual property; litigation; municipal and development law; non-profit and charity law; real estate law and development; tax and estate planning; technology law; wills and estate administration Corporate and commercial work with high-growth companies, equity and debt financings,


700-100 Queen St., Ottawa, ON K1P 1J9 613-237-4000 / 613-237-4001

Multi-service, including: business law; intellectual property; fertility law; commercial litigation; real estate and development; condo law; employment law; personal injury; estate planning; family law; indigenous law; labour law; mediation and arbitration services

APRIL 2020


Brazeau Seller LLP WND = Would not disclose.

Full-service firm with expertise in business law, advocacy and intellectual property matters. Advises private and public companies, not-for-profit entities and government/public sector. Local, national and international capabilities.


APRIL 2020




Already faced with big shoes to fill, Kayla Isabelle is getting a crash course in crisis management in her first few weeks as the new leader of Startup Canada. The 27-year-old Carleton University graduate took over as executive director of the Ottawabased organization dedicated to growing the country’s entrepreneurial community in early March after co-founders Victoria Lennox and Cyprian Szalankiewicz announced they were “passing the torch” to a new leadership team. To say that Isabelle didn’t get much of a honeymoon period would be an understatement. In the span of just a few days, she went from hobnobbing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an International Women’s Day event to dealing with perhaps the greatest economic crisis this country’s small businesses have confronted in generations. As the escalating spread of COVID-19 confined millions of Canadians to their homes for all but essential trips outdoors and provinces shut down bars, restaurants and thousands of other businesses in a bid to cope with the crisis, Isabelle is seeking ways to help entrepreneurs across the country keep their heads above water. “It’s been very much a baptism by fire,” she says, noting that many of the more than 250,000 entrepreneurs her organization aims to support have been “catastrophically” affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Kayla Isabelle/Startup Canada She says that while aid packages such as the $82-billion emergency response plan the federal government approved in March will help cushion the blow, more needs to be done to assist startups that don’t have the financial resources to withstand a prolonged business drought. Isabelle, who worked as a communications consultant and digital marketing expert for various

organizations before joining Startup Canada last fall, says her group is launching a series of webinars to help small business owners navigate their way through the crisis. The digital seminars will feature seasoned entrepreneurs offering advice on things such as how to manage your brand and communicate effectively with customers during the outbreak as well as strategies for managing cash

flow and planning for extended shutdowns. Startup Canada is trying to help small businesses get through trying times in other ways, she adds. The organization has launched a program in conjunction with the Coca-Cola Foundation to train and mentor 10,000 women entrepreneurs, particularly those in rural areas and often marginalized groups such as the indigenous and LGBTQ communities, in an effort to support them as they scale their companies. Startup Canada is also working with a pair of Crown corporations – Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada – on webinars to help small businesses that are looking to sell products outside of Canada at a time when many countries have closed their borders. A passionate supporter of small business – “Anybody who knows me knows that I’m arguably one of the most energetic people you’ll find,” she notes with a chuckle – Isabelle says her long-term priorities will focus on making Canadian startups in all sectors more export-ready as well as giving marginalized groups such as indigneous entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed in business. But right now, she says, “I think we’re just trying to support in as many ways as possible getting our entrepreneurs back on their feet.” – David Sali

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Ottawa marketing and media relations company Syntax Strategic has added Vern White and Catherine Clark to its team as consultants. White, who was appointed to the Senate in 2012, served five years as Ottawa’s police chief from 2007-12. Before that, he was chief of the Durham Regional Police Service and spent more than two decades as an assistant commissioner with the RCMP. Clark, a recipient of OBJ’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2016, has run her own communications firm for the past five years. Previously, she was the host of Beyond Politics on the Cable Public Affairs Channel. Deborah Lovegrove has been named the marketing and media manager of Peraton Canada. She joins the Ottawa office of the U.S.-based defence firm after spending the past five years as the marketing and events lead at the Kanata North Business Association. She also spent time in marketing roles at a number of other organizations, including the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, the Canadian Organic Trade Association and

the Canadian Plastics Sector Council. Pierre Hurteau has joined Regional Group as senior director of investment and leasing. Previously, Hurteau co-founded BridgePort Realty Capital Partners, a boutique investment and management company, in 2008. When the company merged with the Colonnade Group in 2016, he became a partner and senior vice-president of asset management at Colonnade BridgePort. Hill+Knowlton Strategies has brought Chrystiane Mallaley on board as a vice-president in the company’s Ottawa office. Mallaley most recently served as vice-president of strategic communications and public engagement at the Ottawa office of NATIONAL Public Relations. She also spent several years in various roles at NATIONAL’s Halifax office and has also worked in the public sector with the government of New Brunswick and the Halifax Regional Municipality.

f l o ra l d e s i g n s

Get your OBJ at Hillary’s Cleaners OBJ’s monthly newsmagazine can be conveniently picked up at select Hillary’s locations, including World Exchange Plaza, Constitution Square, Place Bell, Minto Place and 1235 Bank St. in Old Ottawa South.

Visit for complete list of locations




Learn more about manufacturing in Eastern Ontario

Coming Fall 2020 APRIL 2020


What do a firehose, a tactical vest and a rope to tether a cargo ship have in common? They all require high-performance yarns that are made to last under the toughest conditions. Since 1990, Seaway Yarns has continued to expand in the Cornwall area, manufacturing industrial and technical spun and monofilament yarns that are used in the aerospace, firefighting, military and automotive sectors.


Tips for landlords and tenants in trying times By showing compassion and practicality, property owners and renters will find a way through the COVID-19 crisis, Bruce Firestone writes BRUCE FIRESTONE

APRIL 2020



Since the dawn of the industrial age in the early 1700s, there had never been a major economy that contracted by 40 per cent in a single quarter – until this year. It happened in China during the first three months of 2020 due to a lockdown of much of that nation after the COVID-19 outbreak. Not even the Great Depression years of 1929 to 1933 can compare. It took nearly four years for industrial production in the United States, Germany and Canada to match that drop. Yet now, with this country in the throes of its own coronavirus crisis, it’s possible that Canada’s GDP and employment could fall by 40 per cent in the next three months. Despite these bleak projections, I am absolutely confident that Canadians will find a way through this. To quote my late father, Prof. O.J. Firestone, we must “stick together.” That advice most certainly applies to landlords and tenants of both commercial and residential buildings. With tens of thousands of Canadians already out of work and business owners across the country forced to shutter their stores, it’s vital that landlords and tenants find a workable way to navigate through the current situation. Landlords, for example, will need to show leniency during what is likely to

be a very tough time for many of their tenants. Tenants, meanwhile, will have to do what they can to conserve money, and I encourage them to take advantage of some of the emergency income programs the federal government has implemented. Here are a couple of examples. A client of mine rents an apartment to three young people (all servers) who lost their jobs in late March. None of them have any income now. However, my client reduced their rent for the next four months by half, meaning they should be able to catch up over the following year by paying a bit more each month. Another client of mine, a dentist, recently opened a practice in west-end Ottawa. Her fitup cost? Close to $2 million. Now she, like all dentists across Ontario, has been ordered by her regulator, the Ontario Dental Association, to close (except for emergencies). She now has no income. Distraught, she reached out to her landlord (here, forgive me, is a shoutout to Colonnade BridgePort), who readily agreed to defer her monthly rent payments until the crisis is alleviated. Bravo. Meanwhile, tenants in dire need of help can turn to the recently approved Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a federal program that will provide $2,000 monthly for the next four months for those who have lost their incomes because of the pandemic. The two-question, no-hassle application form should be available online as of April 6, with funds flowing 10 days later, according to Canada’s finance minister. Those who are eligible include

wage-earners, contract workers and selfemployed people who don’t qualify for employment insurance. I am encouraging everyone to do what you can to help yourself, your family and your fellow citizens protect our collective finances as much as possible during this time by: • Preserving cash and putting as much discretionary spending as possible on hold • Arranging for a home equity line of credit or other form of mortgage or credit financing • Deferring tax payments • Negotiating mortgage payment deferrals (not to mention rent deferrals or reductions for both residential and commercial tenants). Even though some of the first Canadians to ask their banks for mortgage deferrals were initially refused, I cannot foresee any circumstances under which tenants will be evicted from their apartments or stores while this crisis continues, nor can I imagine any foreclosures or powers of sale initiated by lenders in Canada against homeowners or apartment building owners being successful at this time. Do we want to make 40 per cent of Canadians homeless? Not a chance. What will the future bring? No one really knows. But one thing occurs to me: It’s time to make our nation, our cities and ourselves more resilient and self-sufficient. How do we do that? For one thing, we need to change Ottawa’s Official Plan (a new one is due out in 2021, but that may be delayed). Perhaps we should follow the example of Barcelona, which is aiming to become completely self-sufficient by 2050 in the production of energy, food, textiles, many manufactured goods and medications. The city is even proposing its own Barcelona currency to promote buying locally. We also need to be more humble about human frailties and capabilities, and treat each other and the planet with more respect and love. Be well, everyone. Bruce M. Firestone is a co-founder of the Ottawa Senators, a broker with Century 21 Explorer Realty and a business coach.

Great River Media, 250 City Centre Ave., Suite 500, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6K7 TELEPHONE Phone: 613-238-1818 Sales Fax: 613-248-4564 News Fax: No faxes, email PUBLISHER Michael Curran, 238-1818 ext. 228 CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Terry Tyo, 238-1818 ext. 268 EDITOR, PRINT CONTENT David Sali, 238-1818 ext. 269 WEB EDITOR Craig Lord, 238-1818 ext. 230 HEAD OF CONTENT Peter Kovessy, 238-1818 ext. 251 CONTENT CREATOR & CAMPAIGN MANAGER Lisa Thibodeau, 238-1818 ext. 280 NEWS RELEASES Please e-mail to ADVERTISING SALES General Inquiries, 238-1818 ext. 228 Wendy Baily, 238-1818 ext. 244 Eric Dupuis, 613-266-5598 Victoria Stewart, 238-1818 ext. 226 CREATIVE DIRECTOR Tanya Connolly-Holmes, 238-1818 ext. 253 GRAPHIC DESIGNER Celine Paquette, 238-1818 ext. 252 FINANCE Cheryl Schunk, 238-1818 ext. 250 PRINTED BY Transcontinental Qualimax 130 Adrien-Robert, Parc Industriel Richelieu Gatineau, QC J8Y 3S2 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR We welcome opinions about any material published in the Ottawa Business Journal or issues of interest to local businesspeople. Only letters with the writer’s full name, address and telephone number will be considered for publication. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published, but they might be used to verify authenticity. Letters can be e-mailed to

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