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March 2019 Vol. 22, NO. 01
Seven common mistakes to avoid when leasing retail space Preparing to open your first store is an exciting and huge accomplishment. But as you embark on finding the right space for your business, there can be unknown pitfalls along the way. “Consumers who deal directly with a prospective landlord or seller often don’t have the leverage to negotiate best terms,” says Mitch Gauzas, Realtor®-Salesperson at Keller Williams Integrity Realty. “An experienced commercial Realtor® acts as an intermediary in negotiations, keeping decision-makers on both sides at arm’s length. This creates space for finding solutions and an atmosphere of competition to arrive at better outcomes.” Here are seven common mistakes first-time tenants make when looking for that perfect space – and how to avoid them.
BUDGET CONSIDERATION You can easily feel an emotional pull towards a commercial space because of how it looks on the outside. However, consideration of your budget should be first and foremost in your mind. “Committing to a high rental rate to get that beautiful space can make or break you,” says Leena Ray, Realtor®-Salesperson at Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty. “Consumers will come to your space because you have a great product or service – not because your building has a beautiful facade.”
TREATING A LANDLORD AS THE OPPOSITION RATHER THAN AN ALLY
Leasing commercial property can be very tricky. Enlisting the services of a team of professionals to aid in renewal or search for new space can save you additional costs down the road. “Commercial members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board understand the market and will ensure a market deal involves everything from rental rate, leasehold improvement allowances, fixturing periods, free rent period, early termination rights and options to renew,” says Geoff Godding, Realtor®-Salesperson at Decathlon Commercial Realty Corporation. “This could save you time and money.”
HIRING THE FIRST SALES REPRESENTATIVE YOU MEET When you’re hiring new employees, you’ll typically interview several people and choose the person who is the best fit for the job and for your business. The same holds true for real estate professionals.
Ottawa’s zoning bylaw controls how commercial space may be used. It’s complicated, and everchanging. The worst thing you could do is to sign a lease only to find out that the zoning doesn’t allow for your intended use. “We are experienced in verifying zoning and other restrictions to ensure that the use is permitted,” says Chris Tremblay, Realtor®-Salesperson from Royal LePage Team Realty.
OVERLOOKING BUILDING SPECS Another pitfall involves failing to verify building specifications such as power capacity, ventilation and fire rating. “An experienced Realtor® can ensure that all aspects are considered to ensure that the chosen space meets, or can meet, all criteria and requirements necessary,” says Tremblay. “This saves the client time and unnecessary costs.”
NOT INCLUDING A LAWYER IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL TEAM Whether leasing office, retail or warehouse space, tenants should always have their leases reviewed by a lawyer. “Leases are complicated documents and need a trained eye to ensure the obligations of both the landlord and tenant are understood,” says Godding. “Without a good team of experts, business owners could potentially get themselves into hot water.”
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NOT UNDERSTANDING COMMERCIAL ZONING
You want to have a good working relationship with your landlord. “Having a professional working with you will help you to navigate the space requirements, negotiate favourable terms and create a lease that provides a framework that benefits both the landlord and the tenant,” says Mike Lewicki, Realtor®-Broker at Keller Williams Integrity Realty. “That way you can focus on what you need.”
ASSUMING THAT DOING IT ALONE WILL SAVE YOU MONEY AND TIME
“Business owners should interview at least two or three commercial salespeople before selecting a representative,” says Godding. “Make sure your representative works the specific real estate market segment in which you are seeking space, and has access to leading edge marketing tools such as the MLS® System. Ask for references and a list of similar deals they’ve completed.”
PROSPECTUS OTTAWA AS AN ‘EDUCATION CITY’? Carleton University’s newish president was the keynote at the Mayor’s Breakfast in February, speaking to a jam-packed crowd of business leaders in city council chambers. As I delivered welcoming remarks from the podium, I realized that not one, not two, but three post-secondary presidents were sitting beside each other: Carleton’s Dr. BenoitAntoine Bacon, Algonquin College’s Cheryl Jensen and uOttawa’s Jacques Frémont. (It should be noted that Lise Bourgeois of La Cité is a regular attendee, too.) Universities, like businesses, are hypercompetitive. It’s no exaggeration to say that there is an intense multimillion-dollar competition for students among local universities and colleges. Nevertheless, here were Ottawa’s post-secondary presidents sitting beside each other in solidarity. Way beyond seating positions, there seems to be spirit of co-operation and renewal in post-secondary education in the nation’s capital these days. Bacon spent some of the
address talking about the concept of Ottawa as an “education city.” It’s an intriguing idea. All the aforementioned postsecondary institutions met in November to “develop more integrated stackable academic programs and shared research shops that will help find solutions to challenges faced by businesses, non-profits and governments.” That’s a bit tough to decipher, but the “education city” initiative has real potential. But it isn’t the only notable development in the local post-secondary sector. There is a remarkable infrastructure boom on local campuses, particularly when it comes to business and entrepreneurship. This academic year, Algonquin College students are settling into the $45-million DARE District, a mashup containing an Indigenous entrepreneurship hub, energy lab, library and analytics centre. On the other side of town, La Cité recently opened a 40,000-square-foot addition called Excentricité. The French-language college says the $30-million centre will allow companies to work with students to develop business concepts, create prototypes and commercialize products. Back downtown, uOttawa’s Engineering School took a step
into the 21st century with a $115-million STEM complex that will “become the core of its own discovery district.” In addition, the Sprott School of Business will have a proper home on Carleton University’s campus when the 100,000-square-foot Nicol Building opens in fall 2020. While it’s true that buildings alone won’t move the yardstick on entrepreneurship and STEM, state-of-the-art facilities, when combined with modern programs and top-flight educators, will tend to attract the best and brightest. If the economic test of 2020 and beyond is about attracting and retaining young talent, Ottawa gets a passing grade in semester one. Collectively, can the universities and colleges demonstrate mastery when it comes to our education city?
@objpublisher Michael Curran
NEW ONLINE ORDERING FOR OBJ DELIVERY Want this great publication conveniently handdelivered to your office each month? Well, now that’s a lot easier. Thanks to a partnership with local tech company Fusebill, you can now guarantee your regular monthly delivery of OBJ through an easy online system. Simply visit www. obj.ca/delivery to place your order. It’s a nominal fee of $8 per month to get 1-25 copies of OBJ hand-delivered. Pick the number of copies that you need. It’s a flat delivery fee. Use the promo code PROSPECTUS for 50 per cent off the delivery fee for three months.
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To help mark International Women’s Week, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade are hosting CEO Talk with a “women in business” theme. Award-winning serial entrepreneur Janice McDonald, an expert in female entrepreneurship, will kick things off with her personal insights on gender issues in the corporate world. That will be followed by a panel of female CEOs, including Francoise Gagnon of ADGA, Caitlin Kealey of MediaStyle and Karla Briones, a MexicanCanadian serial entrepreneur with a particular interest in immigrant entrepreneurship. The panel will be moderated by BLG managing partner Katherine Cooligan. It all happens at the new Ottawa Art Gallery on Daly Street. Visit www.ottawabot.ca for details.
It is as much of a political document as a budget document. It will also lay the groundwork for the Liberal government’s re-election bid. Finance Minister Bill Morneau will unveil his fourth federal budget on March 18. The next morning, OBJ and the Board of Trade will organize the PostBudget Breakfast with expert commentary and a discussion about what the spending plan means for business owners and our city. Details were not available at press time, but visit www.ottawabot.ca for the latest on venue and guest speakers.
How hot is Kanata’s tech job market? Well, get your answer at the Discover TechNATA Career Fair, when thousands of career-minded technology workers visit with dozens of Kanata-based companies looking to hire. The event is organized by the Kanata North Business Association. It all takes place between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Brookstreet Hotel. Come and experience the growth and success of Kanata North. Register for the event at www.discovertechnata.com.
Ottawa is a hotbed of regional and national associations that are tirelessly working to advance important issues and create a better Canadian society. These associations have unique challenges, including membership, reliable funding, board governance and advocacy. With this in mind comes a new media brand called OAX, the Ottawa Association Exchange. This project will debut with a half-day forum that includes new research about associations from Abacus Data,
an interactive workshop that will explore best practices in association management and a keynote from Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s most respected pollsters and communications experts. For details, visit oaxforum.eventbrite.com.
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Kanata’s Equispheres lands $8M from BDC
The Business Development Bank of Canada is putting $8 million from its cleantech fund into a made-in-Ottawa metal powder with the potential to reduce fuel consumption and waste in a variety of manufacturing processes. BDC announced Feb. 19 it’s investing the money in Kanata’s Equispheres, which develops the powder for 3D printing applications. Equispheres’ uniform metallic powder can act as a lightweight, affordable base for a variety of products, such as airplane parts and prosthetic limbs. The funding brings Equisphere’s total financing to more than $30 million, with cash from well-heeled Ottawa angels as well as US$5 million from defence giant and customer Lockheed Martin. “We have tremendous demand from global leaders in the aerospace and automotive sectors for our uniquely consistent metal powder as a means to make lighter, stronger parts,” said Equispheres CEO Kevin Nicholds in a statement. “The BDC investment will help us scale up to meet this demand and provide the benefits of our product to these rapidly growing markets.”
Firm pitches hotel for former Beer Store site
– OC TRANSPO BOSS JOHN MANCONI, ON THE RIDEAU TRANSIT GROUP’S CHANCES OF HITTING THE DEADLINE FOR HANDING OVER THE KEYS TO THE NEW CONFEDERATION LRT LINE
Shopify soars past $1B revenue mark in 2018 Shopify passed a major milestone – and did so faster than any other SaaS firm before it – in its fourth-quarter earnings report for fiscal 2018. The Ottawa-based e-commerce giant reported revenues of $1.07 billion for the year, the first time the firm has passed the billion-dollar mark in its history. (All figures in USD.) Shopify executives touted another accomplishment during the company’s earnings call with investors and analysts: With 59 per cent year-over-year revenue growth, the company is also the fastestgrowing SaaS firm to ever crest $1 billion in sales.
The Ottawa firm, which chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein noted now employs more than 4,000 people in total, is making a concerted effort to expand internationally. Finkelstein said Shopify’s aggressive pursuit of cannabis commerce in Canada is setting the firm up for international success by making it a leader in the space as markets around the world move towards decriminalization.Subscribe to our Newsletters Revenue for the firm’s fourth quarter ending Dec. 31 totalled $343.9 million, up from $222.8 million for the same period in 2017. Shopify reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.5 million, compared with a loss of $3 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Shopify set its full-year revenue guidance for fiscal 2019 between $1.46 billion and $1.48 billion.
Westboro FUSE STREET FESTIVAL
A Montreal developer is proposing to build a hotel and residential tower on the site of the former Beer Store on Rideau Street. In an application filed with the city, Prince Developments says it wants to tear down the existing buildings at 207 and 213 Rideau St. and replace them with a 24-storey highrise that would include 208 hotel rooms and 76 residential units. Renderings of the new building included in the development application feature the logo of AC Hotels, a brand owned by Marriott International. The building at 207 Rideau St. was occupied by a Beer Store that closed last October, while the two-storey structure next door at 213 Rideau St. is home to a restaurant, tattoo parlour and other commercial establishments. The space directly to the west of the former Beer Store at 201 Rideau St. is currently a surface parking lot and would become part of the new development’s footprint. The hotel would occupy the first 16 floors of the new highrise, with residential units on the remaining eight. The proposal calls for four levels of underground parking for 121 vehicles, including 115 spaces reserved for hotel guests.
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Is there an accountant in the house? A checkup of the new financial picture for physicians T
he last few years have been a period of significant financial changes for doctors across Canada. “We’ve seen fee cuts to Ontario physicians, partnership rules change and now passive income restrictions and the loss of income splitting,” says Donna Ho-Faloon, a partner with Ottawa accounting firm GGFL. “There are a lot of upset doctors out there, many of whom are more actively involved in discussing tax planning with us.” Changes to the federal Income Tax Act that took effect in 2018 constitute the most radical of those changes. Specifically, physicians – especially younger doctors and those about to become doctors – are being forced to re-examine how they should structure their finances.
There’s a fundamental question physicians should be asking themselves: Does it still make sense to incorporate their medical practice? The question is particularly relevant because the new federal measures will affect two important areas: A physician’s ability to income “sprinkle” – reducing income tax by
paying dividends to low or no-income family members – and sheltering passive income earned on investments held by the professional corporation and unrelated to the medical practice. (In contrast, active income is revenue derived directly from the physician’s practice.) It all comes down to timing, says Ho-Faloon. “It makes sense to incorporate if a physician is in a position to leave income in the corporation and save for the long term,” she says. “Then they will still have the benefit of tax deferral. So determining when to incorporate is more crucial now. “If a physician has high student debt, or personal lines of credit, they have to use after-tax income to pay off those debts,” adds Ho-Faloon. “It is important to have a plan for debt repayment from the beginning so they can be in a position to start saving. That is when they will have the advantage of incorporating.” Under the new rules, family members not active in the practice will be taxed at the top marginal rate on dividend payments. These new rules have effectively eliminated the benefit of income
“If a physician has high student debt, or personal lines of credit, they have to use after-tax income to pay off those debts” – Donna Ho-Faloon, partner, GGFL splitting through dividend payments to family member shareholders, with the exception of the spouse. There is no longer any advantage to having children, or the physician’s parents, as shareholders because of requirements that they contribute. However, if children or a spouse are working for the practice, they can be paid a reasonable salary and do not have to be shareholders.
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On the positive side, a well-timed incorporation for a physician’s practice still makes sense because it continues to offer tax deferral opportunities. Currently, incorporated physicians can benefit from a reduced tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income, unless the physician is associated with a partnership group. Beginning in 2019, the small
business limit of $500,000 will be reduced when the annual investment income of the prior year for the professional corporation and associated corporations exceeds $50,000. The small business limit will be reduced to nil when annual investment income reaches $150,000. Even with the changes outlined above, incorporation continues to benefit physicians and is an effective tax planning tool. It’s complicated, concedes GGFL partner Ho-Faloon. She suggests thinking of incorporation as another form of saving for retirement when money can be invested in the corporation for the long term. Figuring out the new financial intricacies is understandably a big headache for most busy physicians, so making an appointment with an accountant for a tax checkup is highly recommended.
I wasn’t the only one who felt helpless; everyone at the bar, it seems, felt like they were watching this human tragedy happen, and all they wanted was a way to help. – Katie Black, co-creator of the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program
Katie Black is co-creator of the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
Founder of refugee program raises the bar for legal achievements Ottawa lawyer Katie Black has made her mark at the Supreme Court, the justice department and as the co-creator of a program that helped bring thousands of Syrian refugees to Canada – all by the age of 37 BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS MARCH 2019
ttawa lawyer Katie Black is a rock star. Not in the spiked leather jacket kind of way, but with how she’s compiled – in a mere decade – a list of accomplishments and awards formidable enough to inspire anyone. She’s clerked for Beverley McLachlin, the first female chief justice of the
Supreme Court of Canada. Within six years, Black made partner at Ottawa law firm Caza Saikaley LLP. She helped bring more than 4,000 refugees to Canada by co-creating a program to deliver free legal services to private sponsors of Syrian refugees. And by age 35, she was made an adviser to the federal justice minister. On top of all that, she put herself through law school as a single mom and
graduated with high honours. “I worked hard because I didn’t want my status as a single parent to impose a glass ceiling on me,” she explains on a cold winter day at Caza Saikaley’s downtown office. Black won the Gordon F. Henderson Award from the CCLA in 2016, followed by the Ontario Bar Association’s David Scott Award for Pro Bono Law in 2017, and the most prestigious alumni distinction
from the Faculty of Common Law at the University of Ottawa in 2018. “I am blessed to have worked for really great people,” she says of a career that has put her among the legal profession’s finest. Black, now 37, remains incredulous when telling the story of how she was hired to clerk for Canada’s top judge in 2009. Never did she imagine she’d get the job. Without any expectations of being hired, “the chief justice and I just had this amazing conversation,” recalls Black. “As I was leaving, the chief said: ‘You’re going to do really well in life, Katie.’ I thought she was just being nice and replied: ‘Thank you so much for taking the time to meet me. It was a real pleasure.’” It wasn’t until later, when she was offered the position over the phone, that terror struck. “Have you ever had a job working for your superhero?” she asks. “I spent the last few years of my life parsing everything the Supreme Court said, weighing the social and legal analyses and import of where the chief justice was taking the law. And now I was supposed to give advice to my superhero?” McLachlin, who retired from the bench in 2017, was one of two prominent women for whom Black worked closely. In 2016, she was appointed judicial affairs adviser to former minister of justice Jody Wilson-Raybould. Black was tasked with reforming the judicial appointment
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT KATIE BLACK
Black gives free “contractual negotiation hygiene” workshops to companies to ensure that the contracts they negotiate are the contracts enforced by the courts. “If a contractual relationship falls apart, you need evidence to demonstrate what was agreed upon,” says Black. “This requires good negotiation hygiene and record-keeping, a skill your company may not have.” Black created this practical workshop when teaching contract law at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. “I challenged the students to use these skills to negotiate better cellphone contracts. A lot of them were successful.”
Black was raised in a family of entrepreneurs. Her father, co-creator of DY-4 Systems, used to make her give three reasons why she should get anything in life, including a glass of water.
Black has two sons, ages seven and 15. She and her husband married in 2010. Their ceremony at the Supreme Court building was officiated by McLachlin, with whom she still remains close friends. When a department store launched a campaign to sell bras named after famous Canadian women – including “The Beverley Bralette” – Black was the one who picked up the phone and shut the campaign down quickly on behalf of McLachlin. An apology was issued, as well as a donation to Cornerstone Housing for Women.
At age 16, Black went on a year-long solo backpacking trip around Europe.
Black’s greatest contribution as a lawyer came a year before that appointment, in 2015. It was the iconic photo of a boy’s lifeless body washing up on a beach that woke up the world –and Black – to the plight of the Syrian refugees. Alan Kurdi drowned in the Mediterranean after his family’s attempts to escape to Europe saw waves swamp its flimsy inflatable boat. He was three years old. “My son was the same age,” the mother of two says. Her legal expertise wasn’t in refugee law; it was in commercial litigation, professional negligence, defamation and employment law. However, Black found a way to help. She learned that one of the biggest barriers to privately sponsoring refugees was the paperwork involved. That’s when the light bulb went off. “I can fill out forms, I can project manage, I’m capable of pushing through the legalese.” Black issued a call for volunteers to undergo refugee law training in order to deliver free legal support to Canadians interested in sponsoring refugees. Within three days, 80 lawyers had signed up. “What happened next was magical,” recalls Black of the day they hosted a legal clinic at City Hall and advised 400 people on the sponsorship process. They even offered free translation and day-care services. The program went national, spreading to 11 cities and involving 1,400 volunteers. “I wasn’t the only one who felt helpless; everyone at the bar, it seems, felt like they were watching this human tragedy happen, and all they wanted was a way to help. We gave them the avenue through the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program.”
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Black represented the woman who brought a harassment claim last year against her former employer, the speaker of the legislature in New Brunswick. An independent third-party investigator determined her allegations “to be founded, in part.” The politician lost his seat in the fall election while the woman, says Black, felt empowered and respected throughout the investigation.
process, making it more diverse and transparent. “The minister and (former) chief justice had a lot in common,” she says. “They were unflinchingly honest in their approach, humble, good listeners and respectful.” As Canada’s first Indigenous justice minister, “Minister Wilson-Raybould cared profoundly about ensuring that Canadians have faith in the judicial system,” adds Black,who says she is nonpartisan.
Spoonity’s point-of-sale tech gaining loyal international following Ottawa firm’s app now used by eight million customers from Latin America to New Zealand BY CRAIG LORD email@example.com
ollowing a banner year that saw his firm’s user base grow 300 per cent, the co-founder behind an Ottawa app maker says the company’s local foundations set it up for international success. Spoonity, founded in 2011, is a 15-person firm developing loyalty and payment programs for restaurants and grocers. The company has received some financing along the road from angel investors and the Toronto-based MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. Chief executive Max Bailey tells OBJ the firm’s early success came from its first major deal with a notable local brand, Bridgehead Coffee. He recalls working with the Ottawa chain’s CEO, Tracey Clark, around 2013 on an application that could integrate Bridgehead’s point-of-sale system with a loyalty program, all while flying the coffee shop’s own banner. “It was a tremendous success right out of the gate,” Bailey says, noting that the program handled some half a million transactions in the first six months. Spoonity’s reputation grew steadily across Ottawa and soon the rest of Canada. Today, the company counts
Spoonity CEO Max Bailey’s 15-person firm has set itself up for major international success. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON
The company is growing quite rapidly in international markets. We found the technology that we built here in Canada is something that other markets don’t have access to. – Spoonity CEO Max Bailey local mainstays such as Kettleman’s Bagels, Farm Boy and Pure Kitchen among the customers using its turnkey mobile app, which now processes some 55,000 transactions daily. National brands, including Pita Pit, are also using Spoonity’s white-label application for their own programs.
If there’s one brand that stands above the rest in the restaurant loyalty industry, according to Bailey, it’s Starbucks. The Seattle-based coffee giant’s loyalty program, which gives out free birthday drinks just for signing up and honours its most dedicated customers
with a custom gold card, has been the subject of numerous case studies exploring what provides the most rewarding returns. Bailey says Spoonity’s approach has been to offer smaller chains – the ones that can’t afford the Cadillac of custommade apps – a “comparable program”
for a few hundred dollars a month. “Starbucks created a very successful loyalty program. It’s considered to be the gold standard in the industry, but they invested millions of dollars in producing that program and a lot of other merchants don’t have the same resources to produce something like Starbucks did,” he says. The discount approach appears to be catching on with users as well. Over the course of 2018, the base of customers using some variation of Spoonity’s app quadrupled from two million to eight million total users.
TECHNICAL HURDLES While its Canadian success has set a foundation for the firm, Bailey attributes Spoonity’s recent growth to its international expansions. Roughly 18 months ago, Spoonity started focusing on growing its global presence, entering international markets such as Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. While North American markets are becoming saturated with customer
loyalty programs, Bailey says there’s a strong appetite for what Spoonity’s serving around the world. “The company is growing quite rapidly in international markets. We found the technology that we built here in Canada is something that other markets don’t have access to,” he says. The main hurdles Spoonity faces going abroad are likely familiar ones to app developers. While getting support
in multiple languages and moving money across borders are common business headaches, it’s the technical details on which Spoonity is spending a great deal of time. In the same way any mobile app maker has to ensure their product works across the iPhone’s numerous versions and operating systems, Spoonity also has to ensure its back end can work with a variety of international
credit card processors, for example. “It’s not a one size fits all when it comes to technology or most products, and it’s certainly no different in our industry,” Bailey says. “Making the technology capable of catering to those markets is important … and those are hurdles that we need to work through as we’re expanding in that market.” Bailey says he sometimes sits back and laughs from the company’s offices on Richmond Road, remarking at how the conversations they’re having would only ever happen there. Targeting the needs of a single region in a specific industry can make for some very niche demands, but that’s part of the fun in designing for a global user base, he says. “From the outside, it seems so simple and straightforward,” Bailey says. “There are lots of little nuances that you need to be aware of and working to resolve in order to make it available to a larger audience.” Bailey says the Spoonity team is looking to double in size to 30 people by the end of 2019.
After surpassing 5 million passengers, YOW renewal takes flight New amenities planned to meet growing passenger needs
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five-million mark confirms that we are headed in the right direction.” YOW continues to work with airline partners to discuss the benefits of serving Canada’s Capital Region in an effort to attract additional capacity and destinations. Airlines decide where to deploy their aircraft based on a market’s volume, its yield, and how that geographic location fits into their overall network strategy. More information about the new concession operators is expected later this year. Further details about the overall enhancement program, including project updates, can be found at www.yow.ca/yow+.
The current terminal is designed to accommodate five million passengers. To meet the demand and growth forecast, upcoming modernization projects include relocated and expanded security screening facilities, new concessions, the addition of an onsite terminal-connected hotel, and construction of a terminal light rail station. Plans are already starting to take shape. In late January, Group Germain Hotels revealed details for a 180-room, $40-million Alt hotel adjacent the multilevel parkade. Its top floor will contain meeting rooms and a restaurant featuring 360-degree airport views. The hotel
When the Ottawa International Airport surpassed the five-million-passenger mark late last year, it was more than a symbolic milestone. It also reinforced that for YOW to continue its role as a community economic enabler; it must keep up with the growing needs of Canada’s Capital Region. “Our passenger volume has increased over the past several years, thanks to a strong local economy. The airport must keep pace with the growth and continue to deliver the high level of service our clients expect,” says Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.
will offer traveller-friendly amenities, including no predetermined checkout time and ultra-fast free WiFi. Estimated to be completed by late 2020, the Alt Ottawa Airport hotel will meet the needs of multiple traveller types. Given the airport is a key driver of the visitor economy – inclusive of leisure tourism, meetings and conventions, major events, and corporate travel – a terminal hotel is a natural fit. Similarly, new stores and restaurants, offering a diverse range of food, beverage and shopping options, will provide a modernized experience for local and visiting passengers. “The projects we are undertaking over the next five years will be transformative for the airport and the community. We have listened to our passengers and stakeholders and are responding with connected accommodations, greater in-terminal choice, local flavours, and multimodal transportation options. Reaching the
Sprott hires former Amazon exec, Oxford academic as new dean BY DAVID SALI
lready preparing to move into a swanky new home, Carleton University’s business school is set to install a new leader with a glittering resum é. The university announced in February that Dana Brown, a former Amazon executive and past director of Oxford’s MBA program, will begin a five-year term as dean of the Sprott School of Business on July 1. Brown graduated from New Jersey’s Rutgers University before earning her master’s degree at Oxford and a PhD in political science at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. In 2016, she helped launch the Leicester Castle Business School at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, and currently serves as the school’s dean. “I am delighted to be joining Sprott, and I look forward to working with colleagues to take the school into its next phase of success,” Brown said in a statement. “The amount of talent and level of ambition at Carleton presents an exciting opportunity to further develop an innovative approach to business education and to grow Sprott’s impact locally and globally.” Carleton provost Jerry Tomberlin, who headed the search committee, said Brown
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possesses the ideal skill set to help the school raise its profile on the world stage. “She’s really someone who I think is perfect to be leading the school into the next era,” he said. Tomberlin praised Brown’s background as an academic administrator who brings real-world experience in building startups. Brown was among the first employees of Amazon, serving as the e-commerce firm’s senior manager of operations before the company went public in 1997. After earning her PhD, she lectured at Oxford’s Said Business School and later taught in France and Egypt before returning to Oxford to become director
of Said’s MBA program in 2013. At Said, Brown supervised an overhaul of the school’s curriculum that helped spark a 50 per cent increase in enrolment. Tomberlin said one of Brown’s priorities will be to help “nourish” the Sprott school’s connections to the outside business community, both in Ottawa and around the world. “She brings in that (real-world business) perspective that we don’t always get from an academic,” Tomberlin said. “That practical experience is crucial.” Brown’s arrival at Sprott comes as the school is constructing a state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot new home located next to the University Centre in the heart of Carleton’s campus. Named in honour of Carleton alumnus Wes Nicol, the $48-million project is expected to be completed in 2020 and will give the school’s 2,500 students and 95 faculty, who now share space with other departments in Dunton Tower, their own building.
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After nearly eight years of being a construction zone, the newly renovated West Block officially opened for business in late January as the temporary home of the House of Commons while the Centre Block undergoes a massive makeover of its own that’s expected to last more than a decade. The West Block project had a total price tag of nearly $900 million and required an average of 500 workers on the site every day. Part of that work involved painstaking cleaning of many of the structure’s stone building blocks — a total of 140,000 stones had to be moved, cleaned and reinstalled. Situated in what used to be the building’s exterior courtyard, the new Commons chamber (right) is brightly lit by the sun, thanks to a new glass ceiling. A new visitors centre located between the Centre and West Blocks will welcome the thousands of tourists who come to Parliament Hill every year. PHOTOS BY MARK HOLLERON
360 Lofts Condominium, located on Cumberland Avenue between York and George streets, won a 2013 Ottawa Urban Design Award Urban for infill. Judges highlighted how the project showcases that modern, contemporary, infill construction in the four- to six-storey scale is possible and can be successful.
Making intensification work in Ottawa What is good density? And how do we tell good density from bad?
ore people living on less land means less sprawl. However, when poorly designed or located in inappropriate areas, infill development is often accused – with some justification – of degrading the urban landscape and livability of a community. There are basically four levels of density. The first is the sort of modest infill that could be achieved by eliminating R1 zoning. What’s really the difference between a large single-family home and a duplex or semi-detached house? Not much. Sensitively done, this can add more homes to an existing community. One step up is the low-rise infill seen often in the form of walk-up apartment buildings containing six to eight units on lots similar in size to nearby singlefamily homes. They are contextual, and provide good rental or owner-occupied apartments in established neighborhoods. Chris Ryan covers the local history these mid-century modern jewels on his website. More moderate infill developments – often referred to as the #missingmiddle – fit in the range of four to six storeys and integrate well with the form, mass and scale of their surroundings. That leads to the last category: tall buildings. We’re
seeing the limits pushed with projects such the 65-storey proposal across from the Bayview LRT station.
CONTEXTUAL INFILL Which of these densities is good? Which should be encouraged? The answer is all of them – but in the right way and at the right time. Low-rise infill density in existing residential neighbourhoods is easy to build and can bring quality housing affordability to existing communities. At the other end of the scale, tall towers need
Density comparison The proposed tower at 900 Albert St. is on a huge site with massive density: 1,241 units on 1.45 hectares of land, or 855 units per hectare. The 360 Lofts project on Cumberland Avenue is on a more modest site – 38 units on less than 0.07 hectares, or the equivalent of 563 units per hectare.
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to be located in the right places – namely, close to transit and coupled with parks, public spaces and amenities at the pedestrian scale. The density of a 1,000-unit apartment building needs to have a direct, proportional relationship with the quality of the design: the more people, the higher the quality of the design. Failure forces more people to share in the misery of poor design in greater proximity. We need more contextual infill housing in two and three-storey walk-up buildings. Imagine a threestorey, six-unit building within walking distance of Bank Street that’s the size and scale of a typical Glebe house constructed a century ago. With limited or no parking on site, and carefully designed to respect the surrounding setting, these projects could bring good density within a short walk of transit, walking and biking paths. We also need far more #missingmiddle projects. Our Traditional Mainstreets are desperately in need of four-to-six-storey infill, bringing gentle density and more residents to established communities that are well-served by transit and small businesses. Key to all four of these is excellence in design quality. That means investing in the skills of talented and innovative architects, coupled with a development industry that sees value in creating the social capital needed to make healthy communities. It means creating designs that respect their context and the community design plans that show the good will of the area’s residents. We need to strengthen the social contract we have with our elected leaders: to vote for plans that fit, are good design, and raise our society’s expectations for excellence in the built environment and not be overruled by poor design, profit-driven shortterm goals or political interests from outside the community. We need our planning departments, political leaders and community partners to work together with architects and the development industry to bring good density to communities. Architecture should be beautiful, uplift the human spirit, be safe and healthy. Smart density is sensitive, creative and respectful. 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 bit.ly/DCA-portfolio. Follow @ ArchitectsDCA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
‘Cereal bar’ owners thinking outside the box BY MICHAEL D’ALIMONTE Special to OBJ
ttawa natives Desean Gremli and Tolu Makinde are hoping to turn customers’ fond memories of a childhood ritual into a viable business with the city’s first “cereal bar.” “Everyone remembers running downstairs to the TV, flipping on cartoons and eating a sugary cereal your mom would let you eat only on Saturday mornings,” said Makinde. “We’re hoping to tap into that nostalgia factor.” JAM (“Just Add Milk”) Cereal, which recently opened at 891 Bank St. in the Glebe, offers an eclectic mix of 30-plus domestic and imported cereals for customers to eat in-house or on the go.
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Each serving comes in a personalized box fit with a bowl, spoon and bottle of milk. Customers can mix and match cereals and add on a variety of toppings. Specialty milkshakes, designed to taste like the milk at the end of a bowl of cereal, will also be a staple of the menu for folks who want to indulge. JAM is the only dedicated cereal bar in Canada, and Gremli and Makinde are hopeful the concept will be a hit. “I’m not expecting somebody to come in here and buy 40 boxes and never buy a cereal box again,” said Gremli. “Even if you have 10 boxes at home, you’ll come in here, have something you’ve never had, then come back in a few weeks.”
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Ottawa Art Gallery 50 Mackenzie King Bridge king 5:00 p.m. Registration & networ A Q& & ion uss disc el Pan . 6:00 p.m king wor 7:00 p.m. Closing remarks & net Hear from:
Individual Tickets: $35 + HST
(Ottawa Board of Trade Members)
$45 + HST (Non-Members) Presented by: AND
Janice McDonald Founder The Beacon Agency
Katherine Cooligan Regional Managing Partner BLG
Panelists: MARCH 2019
Francoise Gagnon CEO ADGA Group
Karla Briones Founder Karla Briones Consulting & New Canadian Entrepreneur Inc.
Purchase tickets online at: www.ottawabot.ca
Caitlin Kealey CEO MediaStyle
companies to watch 2019
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What ‘real inclusion’ looks like in Ottawa workplaces Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. celebrates 25 years of connecting employers with people with disabilities
here do you find top talent? One of the common misconceptions for employers is that bringing in a person with a disability can be difficult and costly. Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care (PPRC), a Canadian company focused on placing people with different abilities in the workplace, is hoping to change that. PPRC works with employers to identify their hiring needs, matches the candidate with the employer and assists with the onboarding process. Liam Maguire’s, the Ottawa pub, reached out to PPRC when they needed to find a new employee. “One of our new employees had difficulty learning different tasks at the same time,” says Jamie Faulkner, head chef at Liam Maguire’s. “PRRC told us that the employee needed to learn one task at a time and helped us with strategies. So instead of learning many things at once, he learned one task at a time so he could be comfortable with the work. It was a different approach for us and it worked.” PPRC founder Linda Simpson has a passion for inclusion in the workplace. Her work with people with disabilities began in sheltered workshops whereby she was responsible to help move
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participants into community jobs. While working for a U.S. rehabilitation company, which gave her additional training in disability management, she moved to Ottawa to open their new office. In 1994, she decided to start her own business delivering the first mobile functional abilities assessment to corporations and governments in Canada. “Everyone in our community has a right to a full life, including the right to work,” says Simpson. “PPRC has a highly skilled team of consultants with lived disability experiences who work with employers and job seekers. They can help employers overcome their fears of what to do when recruiting a person with a different ability and ensure that they have the supports. When we have everyone working together to create opportunities and share capacities we are fully participating in our communities, that’s real inclusion.” Simpson’s initial service model, in 1994, was providing functional assessments. PPRC utilized a mobile assessment tool, the first of its kind in Canada, to determine a person’s abilities against job demands. This assessment was used to help employees who were injured make a safe return to work. PPRC has evolved since 1994 and has incorporated the use of the Employment Readiness Scale to evaluate candidates’ employability skills and readiness for employment. “Increasing employability and a successful job placement is PPRC’s goal,” says Simpson. “We look at whether the person has a job goal, the capacity to look for a job and keep the job. We’re working with the person’s potential.” PPRC began as a small privately-owned Canadian business offering bilingual vocational rehabilitation services and in 25 years has grown increasing their OBJ360 CONTENT STUDIO
Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care teamed up with Ottawa pub Liam Maguire’s to help onboard a new employee. From left, Vanessa Crowder, general manager at Liam Maguire’s, Joseph Pion, cook at Liam Maguire’s; Melissa Pagliaro, rehabilitation counsellor at Performance Plus and Jamie Faulker, head chef at Liam Maguire’s. capacity to successfully match employers with job candidates who have different abilities. INTEGRATING NEW HIRES Receiving disability awareness is one of the most impactful things an employer can do to promote inclusion in the workplace. Last year, PPRC launched its new education on Disability Awareness and Etiquette aimed at making employers and their staff more comfortable with interacting with people with disabilities, both at work and in the wider community. “Inclusion is not just a disability issue,” says Simpson. “As businesses and employers try to increase their capacity, they’re facing a labour shortage. They need to find new talent pools.” Employers like Liam Maguire’s can use PPRC for staffing and job coaching. When PPRC placed a person with a learning disability in the restaurant, they also helped Liam Maguire’s with the employee training by providing job coaching. In only two years, their new hire went from dishwasher to one of the cooks on the main line. “Working with PPRC has helped us find hardworking, loyal employees,” Faulkner says. “The trainers from PPRC came to work with the employee one-on-one until he was ready to work on his own. That extra help meant we didn’t have to pull people away from their day-to-day operations.” For more information on hiring people with disabilities, visit http://www.pprc.ca.
companies to watch 2019
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Industry trailblazers mark 50th anniversary of Quantum Ongoing employee mentorship, focus on people propels recruitment firm’s expansion
nne Côté began working at Quantum’s Montreal head office in 1977. After two successful years demonstrating that she had the determination and resiliency to make it in the industry, she pursued the company’s expansion strategy to launch their new office in the National Capital Region. The branch became a successful staffing supplier to the federal government in the early 1980s – and its portfolio of services grew and diversified from there. “I received exceptional mentorship,” says Anne Côté, vice-president of the Ottawa region. “Their corporate values and investment in people really impressed me.” GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS While the company has continuously evolved with the market, the focus on people and relationships hasn’t changed. “There are no limits here,” says managing partner Cynthia Miles. “That is what our business model is predicated upon. We’re committed to helping people reach their full potential.” The model works. What was once a single office in Montreal with three employees is now a major recruitment firm, with over 250 recruitment specialists across 12 offices in Ontario, Quebec, and New York, supporting 15,000 employees. “Our open-door policy allows our employees to have access to senior management for mentorship and advice,” explains partner Diane Côté-Bier. “We are very hands-on in helping our managers and staff to be successful.”
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AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE Leading by example, Quantum founder and president Lyon M. Gould promoted the importance of mentorship and training early on, fostering a culture of empowerment and opportunity for growth. With no restrictions placed on their potential, entrepreneurial women have soared at Quantum. In fact, over 80 per cent of the company’s leadership roles today are held by women. “This company is made up of trailblazers,” says Côté-Bier. “You have an opportunity here to do the impossible, and that’s why I love what I do.” NICHE-SPECIALIZED RECRUITMENT EXPERTS Quantum Management Services is a leading supplier to the federal government, across all sectors, and offers a wide range of recruitment solutions to over 1,500 diversified clients, in both the public and private arenas. With an elite talent pool and several distinct divisions, each run by experts in their respective fields, Quantum specializes in the areas of finance and accounting, administration and operations, human resources, customer service, and warehousing and logistics. The Quantum umbrella also includes two highly specialized subsidiary companies, offering IT and healthcare staffing
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solutions, respectively. Quantum Technology Recruiting Inc. (QTR) provides businesses with some of the most specialized technology professionals and contractors in the market. “We have a deep understanding of our clients’ technical environments, project goals, and business strategies,” says Terry Scullion, vice-president of QTR. Alternacare Inc., established in 1986, plays a valuable role in the community, providing qualified, compassionate health care professionals. “Whether recovering in the hospital or at home, our caregivers provide clients with support to maintain a high quality of life. Our services run the gamut from Alzheimer’s and dementia care to cancer care, palliative care, as well as assistance with activities of daily living, such as feeding, grooming, housekeeping, and companionship,” says Côté. Alternacare Ottawa is fully accredited by Accreditation Canada. “We’ve built our company recognizing that people are our most important asset – whether they are our employees, our clients, or our candidates,” says Miles. “This principle has been the foundation of our success, and it will continue to define the essence of Quantum, as we keep evolving in the next 50 years and onwards. The best is yet to come.”
From left, partner Diane Côté-Bier, managing partner Cynthia Miles and Anne Côté, vice-president of the Ottawa region.
Germain to build $40M, 180-room hotel at Ottawa airport BY DAVID SALI
roup Germain has landed on what it thinks is the perfect location to make its 20-20 hotel vision a reality: the Ottawa airport. The Montreal-based chain has announced it is planning to build a 180-room hotel that will be directly connected to Ottawa’s international airport terminal. The $40-million project is expected to be completed by
the end of next year. The new hotel, which will operate under the Alt banner, will be Group Germain’s third property in the Ottawa area after its Alt Hotel on Slater Street and the Le Germain lodging at the redeveloped Arts Court complex near the Rideau Centre. Assuming it’s completed on time, the airport hotel will also fulfil the Quebec company’s goal of operating 20 properties by the year 2020. The hotel will be the third airport location for Le Germain, which also
runs Alt-branded properties at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Like the buildings in Toronto and Halifax, the new Ottawa hotel will offer direct entry to the terminal through an indoor skywalk. “For us it’s extremely important because it’s a nice way to differentiate ourselves, to be able to have our guests stay in the hotel and basically pack their stuff and literally go to their plane in winter in their flip-flops and their shorts,” said Hugo Germain, the familyowned firm’s director of development. “For us to be able to be connected to a terminal like this is really a unique opportunity. Each airport probably has one terminal hotel, and after that usually it’s not something they develop anymore.” The new hotel is part of a series of upgrades planned for the Ottawa airport, which announced late last year it’s launching a $25-million renovation that will see the 15-year-old terminal
be reconfigured to accommodate new security screening technology and expanded food court and retail services. In addition, a $20-million light-rail station at the airport is slated to be finished by 2023.
‘A PERFECT FIT’ Germain said the company views the Ottawa terminal, which surpassed the five-million-passenger mark for the first time in 2018, as an ideal place to expand. “The airport itself is already a very, very nice airport,” he said. “Traffic volumes, passenger volumes are increasing. I think our product is a perfect fit for that.” The new hotel will feature a restaurant and meeting rooms on the top floor offering 360-degree views of the terminal and runways. Guests will also be allowed to check out whenever they wish, meaning they can relax in their rooms until they need to catch their flights.
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Toronto-based real estate investment trust has purchased an office tower on Laurier Avenue in a bid to beef up its presence in Ottawa’s downtown core. True North Commercial REIT announced late last week it bought the 11-storey Narono building at 360 Laurier Ave. W. from Dream Office REIT for $24.5 million. The 107,000-square-foot, Class-B building’s main tenant is the Correctional Service of Canada, and the federal government still has about three and a half years remaining on the lease. Completed in 1968 and extensively renovated in 2013, the Narono building
is True North’s sixth property in the National Capital Region. The REIT’s other local holdings include the 13-storey, 279,000-square-foot Sir Wilfrid Laurier Building next door at 340 Laurier Ave. W., which is also leased to the federal government. In a statement, True North CEO Daniel Drimmer said the acquisition “will help solidify our footprint in Ottawa’s central business district and allow us to capitalize on operating synergies and efficiencies.” True North now has a portfolio of 46 commercial properties in five provinces totalling more than 3.7 square feet. – OBJ staff
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ON THE ROAD TO A SMARTER CITY 3 PARKING SPACES AVAILABLE AT DESTINATION
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Setting a course for a more connected Ottawa New technology will soon make driving, parking and interacting with City Hall easier, municipal officials say BY DAVID SALI
n a plot of land that once served as a stark reminder of how quickly a promising tech sector can go bust, a new facility is paving the way for cuttingedge products that could fundamentally change how residents move about the capital. The 16-kilometre test track for selfdriving cars is located on a 1,866-acre site just off Woodroffe Avenue across from the Nepean Sportsplex. In the early 2000s, the area housed an incubation centre for biotechnology startups,
a venture that ultimately became a casualty of the dot-com bust. Today, the National Capital Region is enjoying a tech resurgence fuelled by a new wave of firms focused on software – including applications for the fast-growing autonomous vehicles sector. The City of Ottawa and its partners at the new test site are betting that self-driving cars will eventually become the norm – and that this region will lead the way in developing the software and sensors needed to ensure those vehicles can navigate their way safely around city streets. AV and its related applications are just a few examples of how emerging
technology is poised to revolutionize life in urban areas, local officials say. Broadly speaking, “smart city” technology refers to an emerging group of apps, sensors and other electronics that are part of the so-called “Internet of Things” – the network of devices that send and receive data from cars and other infrastructure such as traffic signals and streetlights. Government officials say smart city technology promises to improve our lives in a myriad of ways, from making traffic on major arteries flow more smoothly to instantly alerting residents when garbage pickup will be delayed by a storm.
“(Municipal governments) have the capability of connecting people with the world around them in ways that no one else can,” says Marc René de Cotret, a former IBM employee who now heads the City of Ottawa’s Smart City 2.0 initiative. Council approved the Smart City strategy in 2017, mapping out an ambitious plan to make Ottawa a hotbed of autonomous vehicle research while nurturing a new wave of startups that would provide the sensors, software and apps needed to power AV and other cutting-edge tech. It’s still early days in the process, says René de Cotret, adding his office plans to provide an update on its progress to council’s finance and economic development committee later this year. But he says the City of Ottawa is indeed getting smarter in its approach to technology, pointing to concrete examples such as the launch of the AV test track and the ongoing effort to replace the municipality’s old sodium and metal halide streetlights with energy-saving LED models that can be individually dimmed or brightened as required. Phil Landry, the city’s director of traffic services, says the LED program has already proven its worth. Since they first began to be installed two and a half years ago, the high-tech lights have saved city taxpayers $2 million in energy costs, Landry says. Once all 58,000 streetlights in Ottawa have been converted – expected to be some time next year – the city will start looking at partnering with tech firms on other ways to use sensors in the lights to monitor traffic flows on busy streets, for example. “With the LED lights, we’re building the foundation so that we can be at the forefront and proactively testing things with industry,” Landry explains. “The last thing you want to do is try something on the road and something doesn’t work.” So far, much of the Smart City 2.0 rollout has focused on transportation infrastructure. For example, sensors embedded last year on Innes Road between St. Laurent Boulevard and the Bearbrook Road bypass measure traffic flows and send that data to traffic signals that can be
‘Web of data’ collected by smart city tech stokes privacy fears
Jason Lee is founder and CEO of Stittsville-based SmartCone Technologies. FILE PHOTO
At the end of the day, we want to be engaged in this because we feel that it’s going to make our roads safer, which is our ultimate goal. – Phil Landry, director of traffic services at the City of Ottawa
Products that make city roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are also driving growth at several local startups. Stittsville-based SmartCone
Technologies has been working with the city since 2017. The 20-person company makes devices equipped with video cameras, motion detectors and other sensors that can be easily installed in traffic cones or set up on their own. The system flags invisible threats such as seismic activity, dangerous wind speeds and toxic gases in addition to reading licence plates of passing cars and recognizing faces. The devices can also detect when an intruder or pedestrian wanders into a construction site, for example, and alert trespassers to danger. The City of Ottawa has installed SmartCones along the O’Connor Street bike path in Centretown to provide more effective signalling to drivers. Flashing lights indicate if drivers should check the bike lanes before crossing O’Connor or turning onto Waverly Street. The cones’ sensors can detect approaching cyclists but are smart enough to avoid activating if pedestrians walk within range or if bikes are heading in the opposite direction. Continues on page 25
Panel has also given her an up-close view of the controversy surrounding Sidewalk Toronto, Google sister company Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build a high-tech, ultra-connected community on the city’s lakefront. Last October, former Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian resigned from her consulting role at Sidewalk Labs over concerns the company couldn’t guarantee people’s personal information would be protected. Other critics have also expressed worries about what will be done with all the data collected at the property. Marc René de Cotret, who leads Ottawa’s Smart City 2.0 initiative, says residents have every right to expect their privacy won’t be invaded by the next generation of smart city technology. “It’s something you have to take very seriously,” he says, adding the city’s fundamental principle is that every citizen “needs to have full control of their data. If you want to stay anonymous, you should be able to do that.” For example, René de Cotret says when the city unveils a new app later this spring designed to send alerts to residents about situations such as parking bans and changes to garbage collection, it will give users the option of blocking the GPS tracking function. Scassa says governments appear to be taking the issue seriously, noting the province recently launched online consultations on ways to ensure citizens’ privacy is protected in the growing “big data” economy. “I think we need to be very careful and try to stay on top of these things because it is moving very quickly and there’s a huge thirst for this data,” she says. “All kinds of things could go wrong if we’re not careful.” – David Sali
automatically set to stay green longer during periods of heavy travel. In 2017, the city partnered with Transport Canada, the provincial ministry of transportation and researchers from Carleton University to install software at traffic signals on Hunt Club Road that used GPS technology to alert drivers of selected vehicles such as courier vans when upcoming lights were about to change, giving them more time to slow down. The alerts reduced fuel consumption in those vehicles by up to 15 per cent, Landry says. The new AV track will offer even more opportunities for the city to work with industry and academic partners to test the latest tech, he adds. “At the end of the day, we want to be engaged in this because we feel that it’s going to make our roads safer, which is our ultimate goal,” Landry says.
Apps that do things such as alerting drivers when a parking spot opens up nearby make life easier for urban dwellers, proponents say – but some critics wonder what will happen to individual privacy in a world where a vast network of cameras, sensors and other devices is capable of watching us virtually every minute of the day. “Little by little, we are collecting more and more data about more and more of our activities,” notes Teresa Scassa, the Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Privacy at the University of Ottawa. “There’s a whole web of data that is being collected in our cities, and it all raises governance questions, but it doesn’t seem to attract as much attention as it really should.” As a member of an advisory panel aiming to ensure new technologies used in the revival of Toronto’s waterfront are safe, ethical and respect data privacy, Scassa has had a front-row seat to examine the issues that arise as government agencies – as well as private corporations – continue to find more and more ways of keeping a constant electronic eye on citizens. As an example, she points to Presto cards, noting the Toronto Transit Commission and other public transit agencies in the Greater Toronto Area have handed over personal data about the cards’ users to police on dozens of occasions. “Most people would think, ‘Hey, if it helps catch criminals or reduce crime, then so much the better,’” Scassa says. “But the problem is that it’s a surveillance layer and if you don’t have the appropriate safeguards in place, then it becomes problematic. It has an adverse impact on individuals’ autonomy and dignity and on their civil liberties as well.” Scassa’s role on the Waterfront Toronto Digital Strategy Advisory
ON THE ROAD TO A SMARTER CITY
L5 test facility aims to pave way for driverless future 16-kilometre track in Ottawa’s south end will provide four-season proving ground for the latest in autonomous vehicle technology BY DAVID SALI
hat a lot of winter-weary Ottawa residents might consider to be the city’s biggest curse – its weather – is a godsend for the organizations behind a cutting-edge new facility for testing autonomous vehicles. The 16-kilometre track located at the site of the former Ottawa Biotechnology Incubation Centre off Woodroffe Avenue is designed to test driverless cars in all kinds of conditions without endangering the public. The gated 1,866-acre property – dubbed L5 to indicate it can accommodate vehicles with full “level 5” autonomy – features real streets, intersections and buildings equipped with high-tech sensors and infrastructure such as “smart” construction cones that can detect cyclists and pedestrians. Invest Ottawa is the lead partner on the project, which is expected to formally open in March and includes millions of dollars in new communications technology supplied by industry heavyweights such as Ericsson and Nokia. The economic development agency received a $5-million funding grant last year from the provincial government’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network program, which is aimed at building clusters in various parts of Ontario that will specialize in different aspects of AV technology. The largest track of its kind in Canada, L5 will be responsible for testing and developing communications systems
A car steers itself during an autonomous vehicle test run in Kanata North in 2017. FILE PHOTO
that allow cars to talk to one another and related traffic infrastructure such as traffic signals and streetlights. Besides Ericsson and Nokia, other partners in the project include the National Capital Commission, which owns the property, as well as tech firms BlackBerry QNX, IBM and Juniper Networks. The city’s four main postsecondary institutions – Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College and La Cité collegiale – will also contribute to the initiative. In addition, several local startups specializing in smart city technology will be setting up their products at the site, giving them a chance to see how their tech holds up under the toughest realworld situations.
“If you’re a small to medium enterprise company, you can test advanced engineering scenarios without having to invest in the infrastructure to make it happen,” says Invest Ottawa CEO Mike Tremblay. “It’s all in one package.”
WEATHERING THE STORM Besides those organizations, the other key player in the equation is one that won’t be producing any technology but will instead be supplying the unpredictable conditions: Mother Nature. Industry partners say Ottawa’s bonechilling winters and hot, humid summers will provide the ideal laboratory for the software, sensors and other technology needed to make sure driverless cars get
safely to their destinations in all types of weather. “If we’re having a snowstorm, or rain or whatever the weather can throw at Ottawa, our cars are on the road,” says Grant Courville, vice-president of product management and strategy at Kanata-based BlackBerry QNX, which makes software platforms that help power many AV applications. “The autonomous vehicles today still aren’t at the point where they’re as safe and as good as human drivers are at controlling the vehicle. We know we have to get there, and we all will, but we’re also trying to solve the really difficult problems such as what do you do in a snowstorm and wind and rain and which sensors are going to work well in those environments and which sensors are not going to work so well in those environments.” The site will feature an array of oneand two-way streets with speed bumps and pedestrian crosswalks, in addition to a pair of intersections with traffic lights and others with four-way and three-way stops. Sensors attached to traffic signals and streetlights will feed data about the cars’ locations back to an on-site control centre via a high-speed wireless network. A 5.2-kilometre high-speed test loop is expected to be added to the facility in the future. Nokia and Ericsson will use the site to test the latest in 5G networking technology, which aims to dramatically speed up the flow of information between wireless devices. Other equipment being installed at L5 includes sensors and software from General Electric’s digital industrial business Current, which can detect sounds such as gunshots or traffic collisions and alert police. “There is no place like it in North America to test,” says Kelly Daize, the director of the AVIN program at Invest Ottawa. “My hope is it will allow us to adopt this technology faster and safer.” Among the local firms that will be showcasing their technology at the track is Invest Ottawa-based Smats Traffic
There is no place like it in North America to test. My hope is it will allow us to adopt (AV) technology faster and safer. – Invest Ottawa’s Kelly Daize, on the new L5 autonomous vehicle test track Solutions. The two-and-a-half-yearold startup – which makes sensors that measure traffic flows using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals from connected cars and wireless devices – says L5 is an ideal proving ground for its products. “It’s a great help for us,” says Smats founder Amir Ghods, whose firm’s customers include municipal governments and border agencies. “Typically, finding private roads like that that are equipped with everything, it’s not something you can get unless you ask somebody to give you permission to block roads or you go at midnight.” Courville, who calls Ottawa a “hotbed” for emerging AV technology, predicts the test site will be a valuable piece of
infrastructure for decades to come. Car-to-car communications is still in its infancy, he notes, adding it will likely be “a couple of decades” before we see vehicles navigating their way along city streets at any time of the day and in any weather conditions without a human at the wheel. “You’re going to see autonomous vehicles before then, but it’ll be in controlled environments – only on certain roads at certain speeds, on nice, sunny days,” he explains. “The really hard problems, that’s going to take quite a while. So the need for that private track is going to stand for a couple of decades. It’s that kind of environment that we need.”
Connected Ottawa Continued from page 23 SmartCone’s made-in-Ottawa tech has also made waves beyond the capital. The company has landed contracts with local governments south of the border, and in February, the firm announced it was partnering with IBM to use the global tech giant’s Watson platform to monitor falls and other incidents at work sites. “This is our time,” says SmartCone founder and CEO Jason Lee, adding the company is set to install a new version of its devices on O’Connor that track “near-misses” between cyclists and cars. Meanwhile, René de Cotret’s department is poised to roll out a range of new smart city pilot projects beginning this spring. Among the first will be an app that will allow city staff to send alerts and notifications directly to users’ smartphones, such as texts to notify
them of overnight parking bans or delays in garbage pickup following a snowstorm. René de Cotret says the app could also be a portal for residents to connect with City Hall – say, by allowing users to send photos of graffiti with a link to its location. The city is also planning to unveil a chatbot on its website in late March or early April that will answer common questions and spare residents from calling 311. Another pilot project later this year aims to use sensors in streetlights to detect vacant on-street parking spots and notify nearby drivers via their smartphones. More innovations – including smart meters that will tell homeowners if they’re using more water than usual, for example – are coming down the pipeline, René de Cotret says. “The idea here is trying to connect people with the world around them in a way that’s frictionless, that’s really customized and personalized to your specific circumstances.”
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Are Ottawa’s condos and commercial properties ready for electric vehicles? Energy solutions firm Envari develops new program to assess suitability for charging stations It’s a modern take on the classic chicken-and-egg question: Which needs to come first – the electric car or the charger? Envari, the Ottawa-based energy solutions company, is betting on the charger. Through its new assessment program, building owners and managers can determine what’s required to add charging stations for electric vehicles. Envari’s goal is to improve the infrastructure in multi-residential, commercial and retail properties in order to promote the use of electric vehicles. “Consumers are saying they won’t buy electric cars because there are not enough charging stations,” says Adnan Khokhar, Envari’s Chief Energy and Infrastructure Services Officer. “Just as you see
gas stations everywhere, drivers want to see the infrastructure for electric vehicles. They’re thinking, ‘If I drive from Toronto to Montreal, is there a place for me to charge my car?’ If there is no infrastructure, they won’t buy electric cars. We want to change that.” The Envari assessment is geared towards condominiums, multi-residential units, commercial buildings and property developers. Khokhar says condos and multi-residential buildings are especially important, since 80 per cent of electric car users charge their vehicles at home. “Adding chargers is not a matter of changing breakers,” says Khokhar. “We want to assist businesses and condo boards in finding the right solutions and
building the infrastructure to support consumers with electric vehicles.” The assessment, which starts at $3 000, looks at the current electrical capacity of the building, metering configuration and voltages, as well as the age and condition of an electrical system. Based on these factors, Envari can also provide infrastructure and installation services. “Charging stations may be a new revenue source for condo boards,” says Khokhar. “By engaging Envari to design a well thought-out electric vehicle charging system, condo boards can create a system where tenants pay individually for the associated energy use, rather than placing that burden on all building tenants.” To schedule an assessment, visit https://envari.com/ electric-vehicle-infrastructure/ for more information.
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When Mark Van Dusen retired from CJOH as one of Ottawa’s most recognizable local TV journalists, he knew he wanted to get into boxing. “As a longtime admirer of boxing, I dreamed of one day trying my hand at it,” says Van Dusen. “(Barone’s) rigorous DIGITAL workouts taught me basic punching EXCLUSIVE techniques, foot work and heavy bag work. Visit OBJ.CA/ I feel like a champ.” OBJ-DIGITAL-EDITION What makes Victory Strength unique is to view the digital the class sizes. Each class is limited to eight edition for exclusive people, giving Barone the ability to give features one-on-one feedback. Clients must also face a new challenge each week with new exercises. “What’s great about Anna is she
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hen Anna Barone was working in a senior finance position on Bay Street in the mid2000s, she experienced a serious health setback brought on by the demands of work and life. So Barone turned to her passion for strength training and boxing. Inspired by her years of experience as a professional boxer and mixed martial arts fighter, Barone in 2012 opened Victory Strength, a strength training, boxing facility and cafe in the City Centre complex just off Preston Street. “How we eat, exercise and rest our bodies determines how well we handle all the stressors in our life, and there is no quick fix for it. Good health is achieved with thoughtful and consistent work.” Barone’s success led her to relocate to Westboro, where Victory Strength is now located. Her new cafe, Cucina Barone, is now separated from Victory Strength. (The cafe is located at 393 Winston St. and the gym is located a few blocks away at 294 Picton Ave.) Clients are able to work with experienced coaches who understand the effects of busy executive schedules and aging on the body. The workouts and boxing sessions at Victory Strength are designed with strong technical progressions for sustained results, ensuring clients at all fitness levels and ages can participate. New clients receive a full assessment and functional movement screen to identify imbalances as a result of day-to-day life, injuries or illness. Clients typically come twice a week for sessions ranging from 30 to 45 minutes focused on strength and mobility. “Health is wealth and it doesn’t have to complicated,” says Barone. “I am all too familiar with the needs of businesspeople with heavy demands at work and home. Consistency is the best way to sustain your energy over a long period of time.” Besides boxing and personal training, Victory Strength also offers a 20-day packaged meal program through Cucina Barone to get people started on healthy living. “I want people to think differently about food,” says Barone. “It’s very easy to eat whatever you want,
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OBJ.social STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
SENS GET THEIR GROOVE ON AT ANNUAL SOIRÉE so important for us to give back and to help create opportunities for these kids to succeed. That’s our responsibility.” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was there. So were head coach Guy Boucher and Senators Sports and Entertainment chief operating officer Nicolas Ruszkowski, who welcomed everyone from his position on the centre stage, standing beneath the giant, sparkling disco ball.
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Foundation’s signature gala, along with Bell. Crook and Greenberg are also wellknown philanthropists in Ottawa and passionate fans and supporters of the Senators. Their favourite game day sign is: “Win or lose, we love our Sens.” “If you’re paying attention only to the standings, you’re not getting the true picture of this year’s team,” Crook told the audience. “We have so many exciting young players and we have great leadership on the ice and behind the bench. There’s no shortage of heart and there’s no shortage of hustle, and that’s how Dan and I define a great team.” Crook, who’s also on the board of the Ottawa Senators Foundation, encouraged the crowd to “Party like it’s 1977!” The crowd heard briefly from the team’s alternate captains, Mark Borowiecki, Matt Duchene, Zack Smith and Mark Stone, as well as from Ottawaborn, Gatineau-raised player Jean-Gabriel Pageau. “Here in Ottawa,” said Borowiecki, “we’ve all had the opportunity to get to know and see the kids in our community who are less fortunate than us. I think it’s
If anybody knows about Stayin’ Alive, it’s the Ottawa Senators. The hockey team boogied its way down to the Westin hotel on Feb. 9 for this year’s Senators Soirée: Saturday Night Fever. All the players, coaches and management arrived fresh from the team’s 5-2 afternoon home game win over the Winnipeg Jets. Awaiting them was a tux-wearing, sequin-embellished crowd of 650 business and community leaders at the disco-themed gala. Together, they raised $271,835 to help many thousands of children and youth in our community gain better access to physical, mental wellness, social and recreational programs. As is tradition at the annual Sens Soirée, all the members of the team were introduced, one by one, before walking across the stage. They were accompanied by their wives or girlfriends, all of whom looked dy-no-mite, as the 1970s catchphrase goes. Barbara Crook and her husband, Dan Greenberg, took to the main stage on behalf of Ferguslea Properties. It owns and operates the west-end residential rental community Accora Village and is a longtime sponsor of the Ottawa Senators
STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
Kaleidoscope of Hope puts focus on youth mental health You could feel a warm glow of optimism at this year’s Kaleidoscope of Hope Soirée: Start A Fire as organizers shone a critical light on an often dark issue – youth mental health and teen substance abuse. Some 500 attendees filed into the Infinity Convention Centre on Feb. 8, escaping winter’s chill for a spectacular gala setting. From gospel singers belting out their music on
stage to children cheering on guests and, later, joyfully parading around the room, there was so much to feel good about. The ballroom was transformed into an expansive and elegant lounge area, thanks to sophisticated and modern event furniture courtesy of Carole Saad’s LouLou Lounge. Guests cruised between food stations and relaxed on couches and plush chairs, surrounded
Some 500 people turned out for the Kaleidoscope of Hope fundraiser on Feb. 8.
by lanterns, fire motifs and pretty lights. There was also a performance artist who juggled flaming torches and breathed giant fireballs. Live music was provided by Beverley Mahood and Kenny Munshaw and Paul Wilson and The Academy Choir. CTV Morning Live hosts Annette
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Steve Cody and his wife, Natalie Cody. All proceeds from the gala were to go to the Youth Services Bureau, project step (through the Ottawa Senators Foundation) and the Say No For Nick foundation, which was created by the Codys following the accidental drug overdose of their son Nick in 2013. Guests included Ontario cabinet minister Lisa MacLeod and Ottawa’s 2018 CEO of the Year, Bruce Linton of Canadian cannabis powerhouse Canopy Growth. He’s also a partner in Ruckify, which is an online person-toperson rental marketplace.
her husband, Tony House, CEO of Corporate Hype, were back to co-chair their eighth annual fundraiser. Bosley House owns Avant-Garde Designs, which does the decor for such special events as the U.S. Embassy’s Fourth of July Independence Day celebration, the NAC Gala and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala. The company and its staff donate all their time and services to the gala. The event committee also included residential interior designer Jennifer McGahan, Linda Seguin-Lawrence, Maria Iglesias, Mark Clatney, Ruth Kemp and Ruckify founder and CEO
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BIZ COMMUNITY SUITS UP FOR SKI-THEMED FUNDRAISER With more than a foot of fresh snow awaiting, some 250 members of Ottawa’s business community got to be ski bums for a day at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort while raising money for children who are ill and in need within our community. The 29th annual Ski for Kids fundraiser, held on Feb. 15 about an hour’s drive north of Ottawa, is the largest single-day charity event for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa, a fundraising arm of the Children’s Aid Society. The event raised $343,265. Returning for the third year as title
sponsor was Sporting Life, represented by Hank Shannon, manager of its Ottawa store at Lansdowne. Returning to co-chair the organizing committee were Tom McKenna and Derek Noble. Noble is a partner with Huntington Properties. Huntington Properties was a double black diamond sponsor, along with the non-profit, family-run Taggart Parkes Foundation. Loyal sponsors also included Jeff Clarke, CEO of black diamond sponsor Inflector Environmental Services. Best attire of the night went to Paul Cook, vice-president of sponsor CBRE, for his ski motif buttoned-down shirt.
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Startups to watch: Ottawa’s APX lays out the blueprint for a smarter, safer city BY CRAIG LORD firstname.lastname@example.org
local startup’s software is not only giving Ottawa firefighters valuable insights before arriving at a frenzied scene, but could also lay the foundations for a smarter and safer nation’s capital. Advance Property eXposure, or APX, develops a SaaS solution for municipal fire departments and other emergency services to enter dangerous situations with a full view of the building. At the touch of a button, the firm’s mobile app summons layouts, labels flagging particular hazards and photos of key rooms or shut-off valves.
APX founder and CEO Paul Martin (centre) guides emergency personnel through a training exercise at the University of Ottawa. Photo by Alex Craib As APX founder Paul Martin puts it, the instant access to relevant data helps to not only save time, but lives as well. “The idea is that by the time (first responders) arrive on scene, whether the building is full of smoke, whether people are running out of the building and it’s chaos ... they had collected information in advance that allowed them to make good decisions,” Martin says. Officially founded in 2013, APX has been pushing its software to market in
the United States and Canada for the past two years. Its SaaS solution is now active in 65 cities across 15 states and four provinces, including Vancouver and here at home in Ottawa. The 15-person firm has taken in funding from Ottawa’s Capital Angel Network and FedDev Ontario in recent years, and Martin says the company is now looking to start scaling up with sales and marketing hires in the coming month.
DEMAND FOR DIGITAL RECORDS The APX software addresses a regulatory need for fire departments across North America. Under the standards of the National Fire Protection Association – a U.S.-based organization that nonetheless covers Canada as well – every municipal fire service must document the layouts and hazards of its district’s public and
ADVANCE PROPERTY EXPOSURE (APX)
Key players: CEO, founder Paul Martin Solution: Data collection and presentation for first responders Funding: Angel investment, grant from FedDev Ontario
commercial buildings. That’s more than 100,000 buildings in Ottawa’s case, Martin says, with Vancouver and Toronto doubling and tripling that count, respectively. Before APX, which prides itself on a low-tech approach to both collecting and displaying its information on mobile devices, many fire departments would scrawl blueprints and notes on reams of paper that were then logged into filing cabinets. As a result, when the bell rings out at a fire station relying on physical record-keeping, relevant data is often not readily available. “Our biggest competitor is pen and paper,” Martin says. The need for relevant and accessible emergency services data has become increasingly poignant in recent years with disasters such as the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Fire response and regulations in the United Kingdom came under heavy criticism in the aftermath of the incident, which saw 72 people killed and dozens more injured. Beyond safety, Martin says it’s in municipalities’ best interests to invest in digital services. Insurance underwriters often base rates on how well regulations are followed, and when incidents do occur, gaps in safety protocol can open cities up to costly litigation.
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“Our biggest competitor is pen and paper.”
– APX founder and CEO Paul Martin
Though Martin says APX should be considered a smart city application, the utopian vision of the connected city is not a prominent part of his pitch. Martin recalls a meeting he had with Steve Kanellakos, the city manager of Ottawa, and a representative from
Nokia. He says Kanellakos started off by telling the partners he didn’t want to be sold smart city technology – he wanted a practical solution to his city’s problems. The efficiency APX brings to Ottawa Fire Services makes for a decent sales pitch on its own, but Martin says the
APX has attracted the attention of heavy hitters in the public safety sector. Nokia, for one, has plugged the Ottawa firm’s software into its Advanced Command Center product, which allows public safety agencies to integrate a variety of Internet of Things and surveillance services.
potential in having a digital footprint of 100,000 public and commercial buildings is where the smart city dream can begin. With a digital record of Ottawa’s buildings as a foundation, the city could begin to offer a variety of services. The APX data can act as a base for 3D representations of the city or any artificial intelligence service that would benefit from a holistic view of the capital. “We are now giving them the tools to digitize and be prepared for other layers of technology that the city can benefit from,” Martin says. In the meantime, however, the startup’s founder has his eyes firmly set on the public safety sector. Opportunity aside, he says APX’s team feels privileged to work in a field where a few lines of well-placed code at the right time can make all the difference in a potentially fatal situation. “We’re making a difference in communities across North America with the tools that we’re developing. And I think that that’s what drives our team.”
FOUNDATIONS OF A SMART CITY
First responders can use APX’s technology to get a full view of a building before they enter it.
BROADCASTING THE BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE
Professor Melike Erol-Kantarci presenting her work in Future Networks (AI-enabled wireless networks, 5G and beyond) during the inaugural uOttawa Innovates event in Kanata on February 12th.
University of Ottawa presence in Kanata North takes shape Programming already underway ahead of spring opening
he University of Ottawa plans to unveil its new collaborative office space in Kanata North this spring, just months after it announced plans to expand to Canada’s largest technology park. The school’s Faculty of Engineering is among the departments that will have a Kanata presence through a series of events and programming, designed to support innovation and facilitate networking between alumni, industry, researchers and co-op students. “We want our alumni to have a space where they can meet with others and collaborate,” says Kyle Bournes, alumni relations officer at the Faculty of Engineering. “Kanata is the largest tech hub in Canada. We have more than 5,000 alumni in the area and many co-op students. We want to work closely with them and connect them with others in the area.” The Faculty of Engineering is already deepening its reach into Kanata and recently hosted a collaborative research focused event featuring faculty members making five-minute presentations to a sold-out crowd of businesspeople in the hope of finding industry partners for their artificial intelligence research. Elsewhere, the Telfer School of Management is also preparing to launch short business courses covering topics such as sales, marketing and management.
“Upscaling a business is quite different than creating new technology,” says Guy Levesque, the university’s associate vice-president of research support and infrastructure. “Not everyone in Kanata is an engineer. There are people in marketing or sales that need formal training. We have the ability to train and mentor people.” Part of the university’s mandate in Kanata is to help new alumni settle into post-graduate life in Kanata. Different seminars include becoming first-time homeowners as well as others focused on professional development. One of the other key goals is to reach out to youth. The uOttawa Engineering’s Outreach team hosted professional development day camps in February, a family fun night focused on coding and is planning day camps during March break. “In our first year in Kanata, we want to be engaged and share our knowledge with the community,” says Bournes. “The next generation will see Kanata North as a place to work. There’s so much growth happening here and we want to be a part of it.” To sign up for the next University of Ottawa event in Kanata, please visit research.uottawa.ca/specialprojects/kanata-north/events OBJ360 CONTENT STUDIO
Jacques Beauvais is curious about the professional lives of engineering graduates. As dean of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering, he’s set out to learn why alumni decide to establish their business in Ottawa or head out to Silicon Valley as well as explore what industry leaders are looking for in new graduates. What did he learn? You’ll have to listen to find out. In February, the University of Ottawa Faculty of Engineering launched a new podcast titled, Make the Future. In each episode, Beauvais discusses different trends in engineering – such as women in STEM and entrepreneurship – with young leaders and experienced professionals. “We’re on a quest to gain insights from our students, alumni and industry,” says Beauvais. “We want to engage with the community and better understand their needs in order to adapt our activities, and continue to make our student training even more valuable and relevant. The series will also give prospective students and parents a glimpse into university life and career options in engineering. “When we held our open house last year, we had a panel of seven students talk about their experience in university. The parents who attended told us the panel was the best part of the open house,” says Beauvais. “Students don’t necessarily know what engineering is, or (how) your career can evolve beyond your major.” Have a listen at
Techopia Live: Ottawa’s Contextere laying the foundations for global AI success
Grounded on the past. Focused on the future.
BY CRAIG LORD email@example.com
echopia Live got a crash course in business fundamentals recently from Contextere, an Ottawa firm working with the likes of Lockheed Martin and BMW on an artificial intelligence solution to keep blue-collar workers safe. CEO and co-founder Gabe Batstone took the hot seat and discussed how his travels to army arsenals and factory floors across Russia, Afghanistan and North America revealed a gap between the abundance of information in the manufacturing industry and the access workers have to that data. With a dozen industrial workers dying on the job every day in the United States, Batstone told Techopia Live that there was a clear need to build a solution that could simultaneously better inform their work and keep them safer. “They install, they maintain, they operate complex equipment, and that equipment is key to make sure planes fly, trains roll, the lights go on,” he said. “What’s the right thing to tell the person at the right time on the right device to get the outcome you want?” Describing it as “Siri, but for a bluecollar worker,” Batstone explained that Contextere’s AI tells on-site employees about the tools, approaches and relevant
The National Capital Region’s Premiere Law Firm. Contextere’s Gabe Batstone. File photo information needed to work on complex machinery. The company started big with a $1.1-million contract from defence giant Lockheed Martin and landed some early funding from BMW and a spot in its U.S. accelerator. Contextere is among the companies that the federal government has pre-qualified as AI suppliers. Batstone said attaining these qualifications has already come in handy to get its foot in the door with prospective customers such as the Canadian military, and he encouraged startups to invest in similar certifications and foundations that could pay off down the line. “No one’s ever given me money like, ‘Here’s a pile of cash, go do work.’ There are contracts, there are expectations, there are procurement rules,” he said.
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An Ottawa-based SaaS developer is headed to the Big Apple to join the next cohort of a national accelerator program. Tehama, a business unit of local IT services firm Pythian, announced in February it will join the Canadian Technology Accelerator’s spring cohort in New York City. The digital technology accelerator is a five-month program run by Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service that supports Canadian companies to enter foreign markets.
SAAS FIRM TO JOIN NYC ACCELERATOR
2018 MARCH 2019
Ottawa, ON K2P 2C4 613-785-0770 bell.ca
Nokia 600 March Rd. Ottawa, ON K2K 2E6 613-591-3600 nokia.com
Ciena Corp. 385 Terry Fox Dr. Ottawa, ON K2K 0L1 613-670-2000 ciena.com
officer, executive vicepresident, corporate development James Watt vice-president
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Service providers; traditional telcos; webscale operators; over-the-top providers; large enterprises
Wireline and wireless service providers, Y 1992 undersea cable WND CIEN OF LOCAL EMPLOYEES) (RANKED BYNYSE: NUMBER operators, internet content providers
Omur Sezerman Johanne presidentSenécal and CEO Ted Woodhead senior vice-presidents
John Wall Bill Park senior vice-president regional sales director Eric Smith head of government relations Gopakumar Menon Doug Alteen vice-president, vice-president head of services of product line and support, open management, network division telecom Mike Fleming CEO Omur Sezerman John Saull president and and COO CEO president
Les Rechan Michele Beck CEO vice-president of North American sales
Brian Silverstone Bill Park vice-president, sales regional sales director
Gopakumar Menon Jaison Dolvane vice-president, CEO head of services Kumanan Yagaratnam and open chiefsupport, technology officer network division
Y Y TSX: ESP NYSE: DOX
Diversified Canadian communications and media company.
Major clients WND
Major markets WND
Products and services Provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators. Communications company, providing broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services from Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS. Multimedia company with assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. Communications and collaboration solutions powering more than two billion business connections Hardware and services for any type of network. Helps service providers, governments,and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things. Borderless networks; collaboration; data centre and virtualization; routers and switches; security and surveillance; home and small business services
Small, mid-sized and large businesses Telus; SaskTel; AT+T, China Mobile, Government; small, Vodafone medium and large enterprises; service Wireline providersand wireless service providers, undersea cable operators, internet WND content providers
Global Service providers; traditional telcos; webscale operators; over-the-top providers; large enterprises WND WND WND
Aerospace WND and defence; telecommunications; industrial; medical; renewable energy WND
Small, mid-sized and large businesses
WND Government; small, medium and large enterprises; service Telecommunications; providers military/aerospace; oil and gas; industrial; medical and WND pharmaceutical
Datacom, telecom, commercial lasers, 3D sensing WND
Networking systems, services, and software company. Communications products and services including wireless, data, Internet protocol, voice, television, entertainment and video and health IT. Diversified Canadian communications and media company. Manufactures optical and radio frequency/microwave products. Develops custom end-to-end supply chain, manufacturing processes, tests and tools. Provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators. Mobile-native security software and services company dedicated to securing people, devices, processes and systems for today’s enterprise. Operates in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. Communications and collaboration solutions powering more than two billion business connections Manufactures optical and photonic products. Commercial lasers enable advanced manufacturing of products from semiconductors to automobiles, as well as next-gen 3D sensing solutions for diverse consumer electronic and industrial applications. Borderless networks; collaboration; data centre and virtualization; routers and switches; security and surveillance; home and small business services
Fibre-optic components; test equipment; sensor systems Communications products and services including wireless, data, Internet protocol, voice, television, entertainment and video and health IT.
North and South Aerospace America; Europe, and defence; Middle East and Africa; telecommunications; Asia industrial; medical; renewable energy
Global satellite operator, providing satellite-delivered communications solutions Manufactures optical andtelecom, radio frequency/microwave products. Develops custom worldwide to broadcast, corporate and government customers. end-to-end supply chain, manufacturing processes, tests and tools.
Small business WND
VoIP-enabled systems forand small businesses, IP and analog telephones, Mobile-native phone security software services company dedicated to securing software. people, devices, processes and systems for today’s enterprise. Operates in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
AT&T; Verizon Wireless; Sprint; Bell WND Mobility; Rogers; Telus
Service providers in the telcom,telecom, media Datacom, and entertainment commercial lasers, 3D industries sensing
Broadcast; telecom; corporate and WND government
Healthcare, Telecommunications; government, military/aerospace; technology, private oil and &gas; industrial; sector financial medical and institutions pharmaceutical American Express; SAP; Jio; NASA; Broadcast; telecom; Barclays; Harris; corporate and airtel; NETX; Voice government Base
WND Small business NDS; Tele Columbus; Wide Open West; Shaw; AT&T; Verizon Eastlink; Numericable; Wireless; Sprint; Bell TeleNor; Vodafone; Mobility; Rogers; Telus Sharp; Toshiba; Hitachi; Panasonic Healthcare, government, Public Safetyprivate 911; technology, Emergency Services sector & financial IP Networks institutions
Manufactures optical and photonic Commercial lasersaccess enablecontrol advanced Develops subscriber-centric serviceproducts. control solutions, including manufacturing of products from semiconductors automobiles, well as and policy management software for fixed, mobiletoand convergedas networks. next-gen 3D sensing solutions for diverse consumer electronic and industrial applications.
National Capital Region WND
Using industry-leading technologies, FCi provides design, integration of IP-based security solutions, including access control, video surveillance and intrusion Fibre-optic components; testpeople, equipment; sensor detection. FCi ensures your facilities, andsystems data are secure.
Financial services; North and South telecom providers; America; Europe, utilities; smart cities; Middle East and Africa; IoT Asia
Advanced event broker technology that supports publish/subscribe, queueing, request/reply streaming using satellite-delivered open APIs and protocols across hybrid cloud Global satelliteand operator, providing communications solutions and IoT environments. worldwide to broadcast, telecom, corporate and government customers.
Financial services, healthcare, education, government, utilities, WND hospitality, public safety
Enables mission critical, real-time communication applications. Customizable solutions for contact centres; unified communications; Cloud, on-premises and VoIP-enabled phone systems for small businesses, andmanagement analog telephones, hybrid deployments; professional planning, supportIPand services software. teams.
Cable operators; Service providers in telco operators; the telcom, media consumer electronic and entertainment manufacturers industries
Develops service control solutions, including access control STB clientsubscriber-centric software; Cloud video service delivery platform; TV browser and policy management software for fixed, mobile and converged networks.
National Capital Region WND
Using industry-leading technologies, FCi provides design, integration of IP-based security solutions, including access control, video surveillance and intrusion 9-1-1 call handling and management solutionsand data are secure. detection. FCi ensures your people, facilities,
Financial services; telecom providers; utilities; smart cities; IoT
Advanced event broker technology that supports publish/subscribe, queueing, request/reply and streaming using open APIs and protocols across hybrid cloud and IoT environments.
Financial services, healthcare, education,
Enables mission critical, real-time communication applications. Customizable solutions for contact centres; unified communications; Cloud, on-premises and
Networking systems, services, and software company.
Avaya 425 Legget Dr. Kanata, ON K2K 3C9
Hardware and services for any type of network. Helps service providers, governments,and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things.
FCi (Fleming Solacom Technologies Mike Fleming Communications 80 Jean-Proulx St.Inc.) Pierre Plangger CEO 101-920 Belfast Road 162 1995 N Gatineau, QC J8Z 1W1 president John Saulland CEO 75 1998 N Ottawa, ON K1G/ 613-6930Z6 819-205-8100 Suzanne Larsen president and COO 613-244-6770 fci.ca 0642 chief operating officer solacom.com Solace Corp. American Express; 535 Legget Dr., 3rd floor Les Rechan SAP; Jio; NASA; *These companiesOttawa, did not respond this year’s survey in time previous years. WND= Would ON K2Kto3B8 158 for publication. This information is from 2001 N not disclose CEO Barclays; Harris; airtel; 613-271-1010 / 613-271-2844 NETX; Voice Base solacesystems.com
business communication services from Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS. Multimedia company with assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media.
LARGEST TELECOM COMPANIES
17 13 18 14
Rogers Communications* 360 Albert St. Ottawa, ON K1R 7X7 888-ROGERS-1 rogers.com Company/Address Ericsson Canada Phone/Fax/Web 349 Terry Fox Dr. Bell Canada Ottawa, ON K2K 2V6 160 Elgin St. ericsson.com 613-963-8000 Ottawa, ON K2P 2C4 Mitel 613-785-0770 350 Legget Dr. bell.ca Ottawa, ON K2K 2W7 Nokia 613-592-2122 / 613-592-4724 600 March Rd. mitel.com Ottawa, ON K2K 2E6 Cisco 613-591-3600 1700-340 nokia.comAlbert St. Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y6 Ciena Corp. cisco.com/ca 613-788-7200 385 Terry Fox Dr. Telus Communications Ottawa, ON K2K 0L1 215 Slater St. 613-670-2000 Ottawa, ON K1P 0A6 ciena.com 877-310-6110 telus.com Rogers Communications* Sanmina 360 Albert St. 500 March Ottawa, ON Rd. K1R 7X7 Ottawa, ON K2Krogers.com 0J9 888-ROGERS-1 613-886-6000 / 613-886-6001 Ericsson Canada sanmina.com 349 Terry Fox Dr. BlackBerry QNX* Ottawa, ON K2K 2V6 1001 Farrar Rd. ericsson.com 613-963-8000 Kanata, ON K2K 0B3 Mitel 613-599-7465 / 613-599-1922 350 Legget Dr. blackberry.com Ottawa, ON K2K 2W7 Lumentum LLC 613-592-2122Operations / 613-592-4724 61 Bill Leathem Dr. mitel.com Ottawa, ON K2J 0P7 Cisco 613-843-3000 / 613-8431700-340 Albert St. 2800 lumentum.com Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y6 OZ Optics cisco.com/ca 613-788-7200 219 Westbrook Rd. Telus Communications Ottawa, ON K0A 1L0 215 Slater St. / 613-836-5089 613-831-0981 Ottawa, ON K1P 0A6 ozoptics.com 877-310-6110 telus.com Telesat Sanmina 1601 Telesat Crt. 500 March Ottawa, ON Rd. K1B 5P4 Ottawa, ON K2K 0J9 613-748-0123 / 613-748-8712 613-886-6000 telesat.com / 613-886-6001 sanmina.com Fortinet Technologies* BlackBerry QNX* 1826 Robertson Rd. 1001 Farrar Nepean, ONRd. K2H 5Z6 Kanata, ON K2K 0B3 613-225-9381 613-599-7465 / 613-599-1922 fortinet.com blackberry.com Amdocs Lumentum Operations 500-303 Terry Fox Dr. LLC 61 Bill Leathem Ottawa, ON K2KDr.3J1 Ottawa, ON K2J 0P7 613-595-5000 / 613-595-5556 613-843-3000 amdocs.com / 613-8432800 lumentum.com FCi (Fleming OZ Optics Communications Inc.) 219 Westbrook 101-920 Belfast Rd. Road Ottawa, ON K0A 1L0 Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z6 613-831-0981 613-836-5089 613-244-6770/fci.ca ozoptics.com Solace Corp. Telesat 535 Legget Dr., 3rd floor 1601 Telesat Crt. 3B8 Ottawa, ON K2K Ottawa, ON K1B 5P4 613-271-1010 / 613-271-2844 613-748-0123 / 613-748-8712 solacesystems.com telesat.com Avaya Fortinet Technologies* 425 Legget Dr. 1826 Robertson Kanata, ON K2K Rd. 3C9 Nepean, ON K2H 5Z6 613-595-9347 613-225-9381 avaya.com fortinet.com Espial Group* Amdocs Elgin St. 1000-200 500-303 Terry Ottawa, ON K2PFox 1L5Dr. Ottawa, ON K2K 3J1 613-230-4770 / 613-230613-595-5000 / 613-595-5556 8498 espial.com amdocs.com
Dino DiPerna vice-president of research and development
FOR THE RECORD
MARCH 2019 OBJ.CA
Growing up in Newfoundland, Anne Robinson had a passion for music – but the practical side of her brain convinced her that numbers, not notes, would be a more likely route to prosperity. At the same time, she had no desire to be a high school math teacher or an actuary. Then, while a student at Acadia University, she attended a conference called “What’s a mathematician like you doing in a place like this?” One of the sessions focused on operations research, a field in which math is applied to solve practical problems in a range of industries. “It just opened a world to me,” she says. “I came back going, ‘I want to learn more.’” That set her on a career path that to led to jobs at U.S. tech giant Cisco and telecom powerhouse Verizon, where she specialized in helping those firms manage their supply chains. In January, Robinson took on a new role as chief strategy officer at Kinaxis, an Ottawa-based firm that makes cloud-based supply-chain management software. Kinaxis’s main product, called RapidResponse, uses big-data analytics to help clients such as Ford, Nissan and Toyota get a better handle on their inventory, preparing them for a range of “what-if” scenarios that could disrupt the manufacturing process and ensuring they have the right amount of raw materials they need to keep the assembly lines rolling. Robinson, who holds a PhD in industrial engineering from Stanford, says companies are being bombarded by more and more data every day. She and her
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Anne Robinson/Kinaxis team are responsible for making sure Kinaxis is using the right technology to ensure customers’ supply chains are functioning as efficiently as possible. “It’s really beyond what a human brain can figure out,” she explains. “How do we ensure that we’re making all the right decisions, that we have the right product available, that we’re planning ahead recognizing that some decisions need to be made months ahead of when they’re actually realized? Not everything works.” The mother of a 19-month-old daughter, Robinson compares managing corporate supply chains to keeping a kitchen well-stocked with groceries. “Nobody wants to have screaming kids because you don’t have enough
boxes of cereal in the cupboard,” she says with a chuckle. “But you don’t want to have so much that that’s the only thing you have in your cupboards, either. It’s really something that transcends across all kinds of different industries.” Robinson, 44, is joining a company that’s now in full stride. Founded in 1984, Kinaxis struggled for years to gain traction. But the firm’s revenues have risen steadily since it went public in 2014 and are expected to crack the $150-million mark for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31. Now at more than 500 employees, Kinaxis is regularly ranked among the world’s top suppliers of cloud-based supply-chain software. The firm has more than 100 customers, many of
them well-known multinationals in the automotive, life sciences, electronics, industrial and aerospace and defence sectors. Still, Kinaxis itself is not a household name, and Robinson concedes many of her family and friends had no idea what the company does. That’s just fine with her. “This ability to transform and digitize the supply chain, that’s where I wanted to be,” she says. “That’s where industry is headed. You don’t have somebody just sort of punching in data. Kinaxis is in the leading seat, and I wanted to be with a company that was innovative, that wasn’t afraid to evolve and that was really looking to take their organization to the next level.” – David Sali
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE The Ottawa Network for Education has hired Heather Norris as its new president and CEO. Previously the CEO of Northumberland United Way, Norris has 20 years of experience in the health-care and non-profit sectors and brings expertise in operations management, fundraising, government relations, human resources, volunteer management, board governance and public speaking. Hill+Knowlton Strategies has appointed Ivan Ross Vrána national director of its cannabis practice. Ross Vrána has worked at Hill+Knowlton since 2015, serving as an account director and vice-president of public affairs. Before joining the company, he worked at Health Canada, where he helped develop the federal government’s position regarding the use, production, distribution and regulation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Julia Kennedy has been named a partner in the business law group at Fasken. The McGill University graduate has worked at the firm for nine years, practising in the areas of corporate commercial law, copyright and communications law, trade and competition law, dispute resolution and employment law. Cathy Smith has joined Ottawa customer experience management firm Intouch Insight as chief financial officer. Before joining Intouch, the University of Waterloo grad held senior leadership roles with AirVM,
BTI Systems, Fusebill, Protus IP Solutions and most recently Telepin Software Systems. Ottawa software maker Feenics has hired Blair Cox as chief financial officer. Cox specializes in financial reporting, forecasting and modelling as well as corporate taxes. Most recently, the graduate of Western University worked at a cloud-based telecommunications software company Line2 in San Francisco, where he was responsible for finance operations as well as strategic budgeting, planning and analysis.
HATS OFF Ottawa cannabis products company Origin House has been named to the 2019 OTCQX Best 50, a ranking of the top-performing companies traded on the OTCQX Best Market last year. Origin House was ranked as the second-bestperforming stock across all sectors on the OTCQX Best Market in 2018 with a return of 58.9 per cent. GaN Systems was included in the Cleantech Group’s 2019 Global Cleantech 100, an annual guide to the leading companies and themes in sustainable innovation. The list combines the Cleantech Group’s research data with input from a global panel of leading investors and experts from corporations and industrials active in technology and innovation scouting.
Get your OBJ at Hillary’s Cleaners
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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.
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Boot camp seeks to ‘create magic’ for women entrepreneurs Ottawa businesswoman Janice McDonald says a day-long workshop coming to Bayview Yards in March will give help attendees the skills they need to succeed on the global stage BY JANICE MCDONALD
When I started my first company in 1991, the landscape for women business owners in our region looked very different. There was no entrepreneurial ecosystem, and if training existed, I didn’t know about it. I couldn’t imagine finding my own tribe of advocates, collaborators and allies in our community to help me with my business. Fast forward to 2019, where women entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to do just that. Thanks to the Business Development Bank of Canada, a day-long boot camp offers women entrepreneurs the chance to establish relationships, find ways to drive growth, build confidence and skills and tap into a wider network – all free of charge. BDC has partnered with my company, The Beacon Agency, to create the program – and its impact has been significant. “This past year has taught us that magic does happen when women work together, and now, more than ever, it makes us want to help create as much magic as possible,” says Laura Didyk, the national lead for women entrepreneurs at BDC. Half of all new businesses in Canada
today are led by women, and the desire for training and networking among female entrepreneurs has never been stronger across the country. In Vancouver, more than 150 women signed up to attend the boot camp; the event in Calgary attracted in excess of 120 participants. The last stop on the national tour is here in Ottawa at Bayview Yards on March 19. Sonya Shorey, the vice-president of marketing and communications at Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, believes the workshop will equip women entrepreneurs with new skills to help their businesses succeed in international markets.
SENSE OF CAMARADERIE What can attendees expect? They can expect to leave feeling inspired, motivated and confident, with a heightened sense of community and camaraderie. This is achieved by spending the day working on their businesses while upgrading their skills. Five key topics are covered. The day starts with a one-hour session on leadership taught by Clare Beckton, the driving force behind the five-day Advancing Women Leaders Program at Carleton University. She is also my co-author on two national studies on women entrepreneurs and the cofacilitator of the boot camp. The finance section and people and culture topic are both presented by BDC’s own experts. I bring real-world experience, technical expertise and
practical solutions to the sales and marketing session and the growth strategy session. A representative from the Economic Development Bank of Canada will then briefly highlight the benefits of going global. Over lunch, a seasoned and successful woman entrepreneur will discuss her rollercoaster entrepreneurial ride. Participants love hearing the challenges that a successful entrepreneur has faced and overcome because it helps to keep their own difficulties in perspective. Award-winning entrepreneur, investor and author Fiona Gilligan will be the lunchtime keynote speaker in Ottawa. She will highlight stories from her book Confessions of a Girlpreneur, a delightful read that addresses the unique challenges that women entrepreneurs face. Gilligan, who started Trauma Management Group in 1994 and ran the company until 2007, is currently the co-owner of Ottawa Anxiety and Trauma Clinic. Her wealth of experience is exactly what attendees will want to hear about. The day wraps up with cocktails and a networking session that connects entrepreneurs with key partners from organizations such as EDC, Futurpreneur, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, BDC and others. New connections are sure to be made as expansion plans are hatched. For more information and to register, go to www.bdc.ca/en/i_am/ woman-entrepreneur/pages/default. aspx. Some spots are still available. Janice McDonald is the founder of business strategy firm The Beacon Agency, an adviser at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business and the co-author of two national studies on women entrepreneurs.
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Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.
Published on Feb 22, 2019
Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.