Ottawa Business Journal May 8, 2017

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Inside Ottawa’s galas, fundraisers and networking events

Longtime entrepreneurs Michael and Stephen Foley hit it big with Member365 PAGES 8-11

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May 8, 2017 Vol. 20, NO. 14

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BIA pros and cons OBJ guest columnist Mischa Kaplan says BIAs can help local economies, but argues they aren’t always the right tool for the job. > PAGES 6-7

Fullscript’s fast growth is fuelled by a team that includes (from left) Taylor Fantin, Chris Wise, Kyle Braatz and Brad Dyment. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

No. 1 growth leader’s winning script Fullscript heads OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing firms for second straight year Six-page section looks at 11 local companies that are making major revenue gains — and the secrets of their success > PAGES 12-17

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Brewing goodwill Brewery Collaboration Day among the many events in the spotlight in the latest edition of > PAGES 8-11


uOttawa’s CEED is open for business Faculty of Engineering centre gives startups access to talent, resources


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t’s called the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Engineering Design (CEED), an initiative of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering, co-funded by the faculty, alumni and NSERC. It’s mission? To improve the level and quality of engineering design, and entrepreneurship education and experience. This is achieved by: • Giving students repeated opportunities throughout their studies to design, build and test products that meet customer needs. • Integrating customer discovery and validation into the design engineering process so students appreciate the need to design a product that will appeal to a target market. • Developing students’ business acumen, through introduction to essential business concepts and exposure to industry. • Fostering sales and communication skills. • Providing experiential learning opportunities with industry through design and prototyping services and technology commercialization. Through CEED, startups and growthstage companies have access to talented students who can work on design projects with CEED facilities and resources. They can also secure funding support to offer students paid internships.



CEED includes: • The Richard L’Abbé Makerspace, where anyone is welcome to invent, play, design and build, using 3D printers, Arduinos, virtual reality tools, laser cutters and much more. • The Makerlab, which provides students with a structured learning experience using technologies like those at the Makerspace. • The Manufacturing Training Centre (MTC), where students get formal instruction on how to fabricate in a traditional machine shop. • The Brunsfield Group Student Engineering Project and Entrepreneurship Centre, which

who heads CEED’s design services effort. “Newly educated minds often bring a fresh dose of innovation and creativity that elevates what our clients want to achieve.” It’s also a much more economical way for startups and entrepreneurs to tap into top-end fabrication technology and current expertise versus working with a third-party design firm. “We already have all the equipment on site and our students love to work on tangible projects with real market applications,” Falconi said.

Marvin Reyes and Tunch Akkaya, co-founders of GameStrat received support from CEED to advance all aspects of their business: R&D, marketing and sales. features tools and equipment to design, fabricate and test complex prototypes, including welders, modern CNC mills and plasma cutters. In addition: • The Sandbox provides a collaborative space for engineering students involved in small projects, pre-professional competitions and entrepreneurial projects. • The Project Integration and Team Space (PITS) focuses on providing pre-competitive teams involved in large-scale projects with the space and infrastructure required to succeed. Bringing great ideas to life … and to market Through these facilities, a dynamic team of top engineering students offer their creativity and skills to help companies and entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life, quickly and cost effectively.

Projects from the CEED Design Services team have included a tumor scanner, in collaboration with Dr. Arnault from the Faculty of Medicine. This device uses cameras to map the deformation of a tumor from each angle. This image data can be used to reconstruct a model of the tumor and analyze how it was deformed – information that’s useful in medical research to better understand a tumor’s characteristics. The results of this project were published in a medical journal. CEED also offers a 360-degree video service for virtual reality marketing and promotion of a product, event or business. This is also known as immersive video. A view in every direction is recorded at the same time using six cameras. “We are open to any proposal from the community, and we can contribute with all phases of product development: consulting, designing, prototyping and manufacturing,” said Chris Falconi,

A running start for startups Thanks to CEED’s donors and other funding mechanisms, students can also tap into great work experience opportunities with paid internships and coops. This is particularly valuable for lean startups trying to bring their products to market. This model has worked well for uOttawa alumni Charles Blouin. He hires paid interns through CEED with funding support to subsidize their salaries. Blouin is a true CEED success story. His startup RC Benchmark builds testing tools for drone designers. The business was incubated on the uOttawa campus with CEED support and now exports to customers around the world. “It’s a tremendous value for us to be able to offer competitive salaries to attract skilled students for programming and design,” Blouin said. “Unlike government funding programs like the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive (SR&ED), we can obtain these funds up front with CEED, instead of having to pay out of pocket and recoup the costs later. This makes a big difference for a cash-poor startup.” CEED has allowed many young people to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions from a running start. Prosthetics for war amputees Take Midia Shikh Hassan. She is co-founder of Dextra. This studentsled social initiative is working to

uOttawa Baja SAE team make use of the CEED facilities to build their off-road race car.

Real-time analytics for sports teams Then there is Tunch Akkaya and his startup, GameStrat. GameStrat specializes in realtime analytics software for the sports market, to provide coaches with instant video replays through wireless networks in stadium dense environments. This too is a startup incubated through CEED programs, including the university’s various entrepreneurial competitions. Initially targeted at the football industry, GameStrat has recently branched out to include volleyball, basketball and, in true Canadian fashion, hockey. “We are in the process of securing the Canadian football market and will launch for other sports this summer,” Akkaya said. “The funding and support we have received through CEED has been crucial to advance all aspects of our business, including R&D, marketing and sales.”

Members of the Ottabotics team (University of Ottawa’s Robotics Team) use the Sandbox to build projects for pre-professionnal competitions. Photos by Chris Snow Photography


To learn more about how you can accelerate your business’s time to market with CEED facilities or subsidize the cost of hiring student talent, please visit

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provide 3D-printed prosthetics to the large numbers of war-amputee refugees in regions of Africa and the Middle East. Dextra began as a project in a CEED Difference Makers workshop. The team then accessed various CEED resources for business modelling, prototyping and design. Team members have also benefited from uOttawa’s Technology Entrepreneurship course, to develop their business acumen. Shikh and her colleagues have already field-tested their design in refugee camps with prototypes developed at the Richard L’Abbé Makerspace, and taken advantage of CEED’s internship funding for further design and business development. “CEED provided us with the support to move from an idea stage to an implementation stage in one year,” Shikh said. “Without that support, Dextra would not have been able to reach its current stage within the same time frame.”

Midia Shikh Hassan, Olivier Miguel, Antoine Machaalani and Malik Jumani, members of Dextra, benefited from CEED’s internship funding.


LAUNCH PAD Numbers add up to success for Member365 Management app aimed at membership-based organizations lands $1.3 million in seed funding BY ADAM FEIBEL


ith encouraging growth and a timely batch of fresh equity, Ottawa membership management startup Member365 is charting a path to becoming a “world-class” player in its market. After running professional services tech firm Pixelera for 20 years, brothers Stephen and Michael Foley began work on the new spinoff company about four years ago. The two longtime entrepreneurs had gotten all sorts of requests over the years to build one-off database apps, and as they gained more knowledge and expertise in their industry they saw the potential in building a complete solution to the many different needs of member-based organizations. “What we saw was they were trying to manage their membership using a combination of tools, which led to a lot of inefficiencies,” says Stephen Foley, the firm’s chief executive officer. In 12 months, Member365 has gone from 10 customers to 140 customers in seven countries, and the firm reports consistent month-over-month growth of about 10 per cent. Now, the company is readying to leave Kanata’s L-Spark accelerator armed with a $1.3-million seed round it raised this month. Member365’s software combines multiple services – member management,

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event management, customer relationship management, email marketing, hosting, reporting and financial management – into a single app. The company estimates its solution comes at roughly a quarter of the cost of using each of those services from different providers. If a potential client is using a collection of those third-party tools – or nothing at all – it’s an easy sell, Mr. Foley says. “The biggest competitor of ours is the status quo. It’s the spreadsheet,” he says. “So we love having these conversations, because we can add value right away.” If a prospective client is using a custommade solution or a competitor’s larger, legacy-type enterprise system, “it’s a different discussion,” he adds. “They have a lot more questions before they make that leap.” The biggest player in the space is the publicly traded Blackbaud; Mr. Foley says Member365 has already poached a number of that company’s clients. “It’s all in one place, it’s a next-generation product, it feels like it’s been created for today,” he says, explaining why Member365 is attractive to organizations. “Usually there’s a gap, something that’s missing, or they’re simply paying way too much for something that’s now quite affordable.” In its early stages, Member365 is focused on the non-profit sector, particularly professional and trade associations and business networking and innovation


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Member365 co-founders Michael and Stephen Foley. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

“As a bootstrapped company up to this point, we’ve really focused on development. But with this funding, we’re able to invest more in customer success.” – MEMBER365 CEO STEPHEN FOLEY

organizations. (The startup has more than half of Ottawa’s local BIAs signed up with its platform.) The company is also “aggressively” pursuing opportunities with chambers of commerce – one of its current clients is the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Foley says the idea is to

gain considerable market share in those subsectors and use that dominance to power the firm to a larger and broader customer base. Mr. Foley says the company’s $1.3 million in seed financing – which comes from investors that are also Member365 customers – will help with investment in customer success, as the firm looks ahead to not only growing its customer base but generating good retention for the long-term. “We want them to choose our software for many, many years ahead,” he says. “These customers are really sticky. Once they come into the fold, they’re not likely to leave, especially if we keep updating our product. As a bootstrapped company up to this point, we’ve really focused on development. But with this funding, we’re able to invest more in customer success.” Some of the firm’s other goals include generating more employment in Ottawa (the firm started with eight employees and now has 21 on the payroll) and maintaining a trajectory that could lead to a series-A financing round, most likely in the fourth quarter of 2018. “We want to be a world-class membership management software provider,” says Mr. Foley.


Have you inspected your single-ply roof lately? The right tech can find even pinhole leaks, fast

B CHANGE LOG WELBI WINS WAVEFRONT SUMMIT PITCH COMPETITION Invest Ottawa startup Welbi went home the winner of the Wavefront Summit pitch competition in Toronto this month. The company was one of 10 Canadian firms in the contest, and came away with $5,000 in legal services from Norton Rose Fulbright as the grand-prize winner (the company also won a smaller prize as the audience’s pick). Welbi provides a wearable tech solution to help caregivers provide support to loved ones. It is currently supporting Fitbit devices in its beta trial, but will soon be expanding to others such as Garmin, Jawbone, Apple Watch, iHealth and Withings. Welbi is gearing up for a full launch by the end of the summer. PROCEDUREFLOW SIGNS ON AS TALKDESK LAUNCH PARTNER L-Spark startup ProcedureFlow has partnered with Talkdesk for the launch of the latter’s new enterprise app store, AppConnect. ProcedureFlow, whose software is designed to visually map companies’ operating procedures and information, is one of more than a dozen apps available at launch to TalkDesk customers. TalkDesk is the world’s

leading cloud-based call centre software provider, headquartered in San Francisco. “The seamless integration of Talkdesk and ProcedureFlow creates one single view for agents and administrators, ultimately combining Talkdesk’s world-class call-centre software with (our) revolutionary approach to knowledge-sharing,” said Daniella DeGrace, CEO of ProcedureFlow. CENGN GETS $63 MILLION FROM ONTARIO GOVERNMENT Ontario will provide $63 million in funding over five years to Kanata’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) as part of the provincial government’s $650-million investment in transformative technologies included in this year’s budget. CENGN helps hightech enterprises develop, validate and commercialize next-generation network products and services. Ontario’s investment in the centre “will help homegrown, Canadian companies to become globally competitive,” Invest Ottawa president Mike Tremblay said in a statement.

CALENDAR Co-founder Finder Wednesday, May 17 at 7 p.m. The Red Lion, 47 Clarence St. More information at

AccelerateOTT Thursday, May 11 at 8 a.m. Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, 1525 Princess Patricia Way More information at

Robots, Virtual Reality and Digital Forensics Wednesday, May 24 at 5 p.m. The Marshes Golf Club, 320 Terry Fox Dr. More information at

Validating Your Business Idea Monday, May 15 at 10 a.m. Invest Ottawa, 7 Bayview Rd. More information at

iTech Ottawa Conference and Exhibition Tuesday, June 13 at 7:30 a.m. Ottawa Conference and Event Centre, 200 Coventry Rd. More information at

installed. Usually, the same company that installs the roof is hired to inspect it. Although extending the life of the roof is not always prioritized over its replacement when hiring roof installation firms, as apposed to a roof maintenance firms, where the longevity and optimum performance of the roof is the main objective. In order to prevent any further damage, locating these pinholes is increasingly important, Finding one in a roof the size of a football field, for example, gives a whole new meaning to “needle in a haystack”. Mr. Cecchetto and his team have the answer: High Voltage ELD Technology This technology allows inspectors to quickly and effectively check a roof or bridge deck for pinholes and porosity. It can test non-conductive membranes from 20 microns to 6.5mm thick. How does it work? A high volt charge electrifies a copper probe that is pushed along the membrane substrate. When the probe passes over a pin hole or open lap in the membrane, the charge is grounded and an audible alarm sounds to advise the technician of the anomaly. “This is a state-of-the-art technology that can reduce the investigative work necessary to track small holes in your field membrane by several hours,” says Mr. Cecchetto. “We can detect leaks quickly on most of the single-ply roof membranes in Ottawa.” Leaky roofs can damage property, destroy inventory and disrupt regular business operations. A little proactive maintenance from trusted and transparent experts like the highly skilled staff at Roof Maintenance Solutions, can buy you peace of mind and ensure your single-ply roof gives you the maximum return on your infrastructural investment and years of worry free service.


IT Solutions for Startups Wednesday, May 17 at 1 p.m. Invest Ottawa, 7 Bayview Rd. More information at

Building an On-Demand Startup or App Wednesday, May 31 at 10 a.m. Invest Ottawa, 7 Bayview Rd. More information at


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Digital Marketing on a Shoestring Budget Wednesday, May 10 at 1 p.m. HUB Ottawa, 123 Slater St. More information at

tig retail outlets and institutional buildings across Ottawa have embraced singleply membrane roofing systems, but with their advantages comes a greater need for regular inspection and maintenance, versus old-school tar and asphalt. Why? Look at the name, “singleply.” There is no redundancy in this type of roof. There is only one membrane, one layer of water-proof material, standing between you and the elements. A single pinhole is all it takes. There is a reason why single ply has become so popular in recent years. It is cleaner, cheaper and quicker to install versus asphalt. It can be highly emissive, meaning it reflects the sun’s energy – the building is easier to keep cool in the summer, thereby saving on energy costs. Today’s single ply membranes are also engineered for long-term service, able to endure seasonal temperature shifts, UV radiation and ozone. They come in various thicknesses and can be reinforced for greater tear resistance. Sheets as large as 50 by 100 feet are available for large roofs to reduce the number of seams – always the first place to expect a leak - which if gone unnoticed or untreated, can lead to unwanted expenses, premature roof replacement, and major environmental strain. But the durability of the materials is only half of the equation, says, Ernie Cecchetto, president of Ottawa’s Roof Maintenance Solutions. “It’s important to work with a roofing contractor that is qualified to install the type of single-ply roofing system you have chosen,” he says. “Different materials also require different maintenance qualifications in order not to void the roof’s warranty.” For hassle free performance, regular inspections are a must. The single-ply membrane can still be compromised by factors such as critters and wind-blown debris. Property managers are advised to do their homework and ensure that the inspection service used is certified to work with the specific type of roofing

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For every BIA that functions with a clear mandate and produces impressive tangible economic results, there is another which struggles to create meaningful impact and value for its members

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Jenna Sudds has turned the Kanata North BIA into a major success story. FILE PHOTO

To BIA or not to BIA?

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With Kanata Central recently becoming the city’s 19th BIA, guest columnist Mischa Kaplan looks at arguments for and against one of the region’s most popular economic development tools



LETTERS TO THE EDITOR We welcome opinions about any material published in the Ottawa Business Journal or issues of interest to local businesspeople. Only letters with the writer’s full name, address and telephone number will be considered for publication. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published, but they might be used to verify authenticity. Letters can be e-mailed to

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n March of this year, Ottawa welcomed its 19th business improvement area, or “BIA.” Located several kilometres from the Canadian Tire Centre and nestled snug in the heart of Kanata’s rapidly growing retail core, the new Kanata Central Business Improvement Area encompasses both the Signature Centre and Kanata Centrum shopping malls. Like its counterparts in other areas of the city, this BIA will be governed by a board of directors recruited from the

local business community. Operating with an estimated annual budget of about $150,000, the city’s newest BIA will have a mandate similar to those of the 18 other BIAs: promoting and marketing the area, improving the neighbourhood’s streetscape and organizing a variety of special events, among other things. While some BIAs operate with budgets of between $500,000 and nearly $1 million, the Kanata Central BIA’s budget is relatively modest and will likely

only be enough to hire one or two fulltime staff who can in turn organize some promotional events and act as economic development boosters for the area. Despite this new BIA coming into being in a seemingly co-operative manner, the basic concept of a business improvement zone remains a somewhat controversial one for many small business owners. The involvement of City Hall in the process, combined with the power given

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to BIAs to raise revenues via a “levy” placed on their constituent members, has caused some to suggest that these organizations represent nothing more than another level of government placing yet another tax on hard-working business owners. Referencing Mayor Jim Watson’s oftcited pledge to raise taxes by no more than two per cent per year, one Kanata business owner told me frankly that the new Kanata Central BIA is “just another way for City Hall to raise taxes without being accused of raising taxes.” While I empathize in a very general way with this business owner’s broad frustration over the growing tax burden placed on Canada’s small and mediumsized companies, characterizing BIAs as a veiled government tax grab is inaccurate. A new BIA cannot be created without the clear support of the local business community, and the governance of a BIA remains entirely within the hands of its membership, which elects a board of directors from the community and gives to this board wide-ranging powers over the organization’s bylaws, spending priorities and mandate. It is true that, unlike a chamber of commerce or board of trade,

membership in a BIA is not voluntary, which means that there will always be business owners who see little value in BIA membership and who resent being forced to pay the yearly levy. But as one BIA executive director aptly put it to me, “if a business owner doesn’t like being a member, then they need to speak up. There are lots of opportunities to speak your mind.” Although the ability of an individual BIA member to effect major change is probably easier said than done (once a BIA is created, for instance, it’s unclear what it would take to dissolve it), the ability of BIA members to steer their organization in a direction they find suitable is considerable, and certainly no less than in a chamber of commerce or other independent business advocacy association. If a complaint can be made about Ottawa’s growing love of BIAs as a model to spur economic development, it is that in many cases, the creation of a BIA represents something akin to a solution in search of a problem. In Ottawa, the creation of a BIA is rarely preceded by a proper economic impact analysis, and there are no set guidelines about what a BIA should and should not do in terms of mandate, at

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LACK OF RESOURCES A further challenge related to BIAs is the fact that there exists no universally accepted standards of success with which to measure these organizations. Each separate BIA is free to develop and track its own success metrics, which in practice usually means that some BIAs have developed very sophisticated key performance indicators that provide a meaningful gauge of their organization’s capabilities and successes, while others track little more than monies in and monies out. Often this problem stems from a simple lack of resources – internally tracking success takes time, people and money, things which many BIAs have in very limited supply. Only time will tell whether the

Kanata Central BIA will prove its worth. Certainly, there are some impressive success stories to act as promising precedent – for example, the Kanata North BIA (which acts as a micro-booster for Ottawa’s tech community) is often held up as a model of a successful economic development organization that punches far above its weight. But for every BIA that functions with a clear mandate and produces impressive tangible economic results, there is another which struggles to create meaningful impact and value for its members. In the majority of these cases, the problem is not with ineffective staff or a disengaged membership, but rather a lack of need for a BIA in the first place. There is undoubtedly an argument to be made that a BIA can have an immensely positive impact on a business community, but it is much more difficult to make the case that there is a onesize-fits-all solution to local economic development or that the BIA model is the ideal solution for every situation.

Mischa Kaplan is a local business owner, consultant and economic development advocate.

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least to the extent that the different BIAs might be able to co-ordinate their own efforts directly with those of the city’s various other economic development initiatives and organizations. If the BIA approach can theoretically work for communities as fundamentally dissimilar as Westboro, the ByWard Market and Kanata Central, then couldn’t the argument be made that the concept of a BIA is so ambiguous as to make it meaningless?



Stories and photos by Caroline Phillips

Denise Carruthers, left, with Cheryl Boughton, head of Elmwood School, and Whitney Fox, at the all-girls private school’s Ahead by a Century gala on April 22 in Rockcliffe Park.


Partying with a purpose: Elmwood gala raises $280,000 for all-girls school

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The 28th annual Elmwood School Gala won me over with its title alone: Ahead by a Century. So what if it was only by coincidence the name of a Tragically Hip song; it was still a promising sign for an evening that ended up raising a whopping $280,000 and attracting a sold-out crowd of 270 to the all-girls private school in Rockcliffe Park. The $275-a-ticket event on April 22 was organized by a volunteer group of Elmwood parents and led by a pair of powerhouses: Denise Carruthers, who

was a founding partner and chief financial officer of the Permedia Research Group, a software company specializing in petroleum exploration (it got purchased by a Fortune 200 company in 2010), and Whitney Fox, a Harvard-educated lawyer and longtime co-chair of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. She’s also married to Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg. It was an evening for community building, with a guest list that included Mayor Jim Watson, Shopify golden boy Harley Finkelstein, CTV political journalist Evan Solomon, Canadian ski racer Erik

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That’s where the gala theme of Ahead by a Century comes in. Last year, not only did all of the Elmwood graduates get accepted into university, but 87 per cent of them received scholarships, totalling $2.3 million. A student from this year’s graduating class is headed off to Harvard. Moreover, half the graduates over the past five years have gone on to study science, From left, Mayor Jim Watson with Cheryl Boughton, technology, engineering and math. head of Elmwood School, and the mayor’s special On the subject of science and tech, assistant, Miran Markovic (who’s leaving soon to work for Premier Kathleen Wynne) at Elmwood School’s 28th Carruthers and her husband, Dan annual gala. Carruthers, paid $15,000 during the live auction for the opportunity to go to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch SpaceX launch its Falcon 9 rocket. Meanwhile, back on earth in Ottawa, a private tour of Shopify with lunch brought in $4,000. Taib Murray raised $3,000 by offering to host up to 20 girls for a mini-leadership summit involving female Ottawa business leaders at her home during high tea. A private fashion show with bonus store credits at couturier Frank Sukhoo’s boutique on Dalhousie Street brought in From left, Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum with $6,000. his wife, Dr. Liz Muggah, and Dan Goldberg, president Artist Christopher Griffin’s donated and CEO of Telesat, at Elmwood School’s annual gala at the all-girls private school in Rockcliffe Park. Canoe painting sold for $8,500 – thousands of dollars beyond its valued Guay and Roger Greenberg, executive price of $5,000. chairman of both Minto Group and of the A dinner for 10 to be hosted at the home Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group. of Irish Ambassador Jim Kelly and his wife, Elmwood alumnae and Sakto Corporation Anne Martin, raised $7,750 while a fourchairwoman Jamilah Taib Murray (class of course tasting menu for up to 30 people at ’82) was gala patron. Fraser Café, in partnership with Jacobsons All the money raised is being directed Gourmet Concepts, sold for $6,000. toward the school’s financial aid program A dreamy trip for foodies and wine to help deserving students attend lovers from Tuscany Culinary Escape sold Elmwood and to help renovate the school’s to the five highest bidders, at $5,250 each. science labs. The black-tie crowd dined in the school’s Last school year, Elmwood went really gymnasium, which was transformed into big on its 100th birthday, throwing a gala a stunning ballroom by special event dinner featuring Canadian author Margaret production company Event Design. But Atwood. here’s the most telling sign that a good “Really, our centennial was an time was had by all: Partygoers danced late opportunity in many ways to celebrate our into the night and still had more moves left history and our past and our traditions, in them when the lights finally came back and now we’re very much focused on on and the band was packing up. the next century,” Elmwood head Cheryl Boughton told “We’re looking FOR MORE ON THE EVENT, CHECK ahead to the future, and what the future of OUT CAROLINE PHILLIPS’ VIDEO AT OBJ.CA the school holds.”


GOODWILL ON TAP AT OTTAWA BREWERY COLLABORATION DAY It was lonely work being in the craft brewery business when Steve Beauchesne, co-founder of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, first started out in 2006. “Anytime we talked to a brewery in Toronto they’d say, ‘You’re doing missionary work up in Ottawa,’” Beauchesne told at the firstever Ottawa Brewery Collaboration Day hosted on April 24 by Big Rig Brewery at its Kanata location. Since those early days, the local craft brewery market has grown faster than a hipster’s beard as more consumers are preferring flavourful, higher-quality beer over the mainstream stuff. Craft beer continues to be the fastestgrowing segment within the LCBO’s beer category, increasing sales anywhere from 20 to 30 per cent each year, according to Ontario Craft Brewers. Moreover, the industry has created thousands of new jobs around the province.

“I got into this because I love beer,” said Beauchesne. “Every new brewery has a different take on beer and they always have something I can get excited about.” Beauchesne is grateful, mind you, that he got into the industry when he did. Beau’s is one of Ontario’s most popular craft beers and is based out of Vankleek Hill, about an hour’s drive east of downtown Ottawa. “We got to be the brand new brewery for three years before another one opened up.” Beauchesne said. “Now, you get to be the new brewery for, like, three days. “It’s one of those things, though, where everybody’s got their heart in the right place in Ottawa. These are people who legitimately love craft beer.” The Brewery Collaboration Day brought together 27 craft brewers from the area, not just to have some beer together but to make beer together. “It’s killer that you’re all here,” Big Rig

Big Rig co-owner and brewmaster Lon Ladell, left, with Steve Beauchesne, co-founder and chief executive taster of Beau’s, and Paul Meek, co-owner of Kichesippi Beer, at the first-ever Ottawa Brewery Collaboration Day held at the Big Rig Brewery in Kanata on April 24.

co-owner and brewmaster Lon Ladell said as he enthusiastically welcomed everyone over some pizza and their late-morning beverage of choice: beer (drinking before noon is just one of the perks of the job). Their collaborative effort will be showcased at the 15th annual Canadian Brewing Awards happening in Ottawa in late May. “Years ago, Ottawa wasn’t a beer mecca, but it’s definitely becoming a destination for great craft beer,” said Paul Meek, co-owner of Kichesippi Beer, which has been around since 2010.

From left, Andrew Kent from Dominion City Brewing with Fariborz Behzadi, co-founder and head brewer of Bicycle Craft Brewery, Brasserie Tuque de Broue Brewery president Nicolas Malboeuf and Josh McJannett, also with Dominion City Brewing, at the first-ever Ottawa Brewery Collaboration Day held at the Big Rig Brewery in Kanata on April 24.

He shares the same the-more-themerrier attitude as Beauchesne when it comes to the battle of the suds. Craft brewers are only a thin slice of the larger brewski pie. “Instead of fighting over the piece, we need to grow it,” said Meek. Competition is stiff, agreed Ladell. “But at the end of the day, we’re all together to make craft beer, and the less that the big breweries sell, the more we sell. If we’re doing that together and helping each other out to make good beer and bring it out to the market, respectfully, then we all win.”

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017



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Stories and photos by Caroline Phillips


Hospital supporters in it for the long run With the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend just around the bend, runners and nonrunners alike were reminded April 25 of what they’re capable of achieving, whether it’s pushing one’s body to the next level or finding cures for currently incurable diseases. PWL Capital hosted a special event in support of Team Stemcellarators, a group of runners that will be pounding the streets during race weekend later this month to raise funds for stem cell research at The Ottawa Hospital. The Run for a Reason team is captained by well-known radio host, entrepreneur, Long Road to Boston author and Great River Media CEO Mark Sutcliffe, who’s going the

From left, Nancy Graham from PWL Ottawa with Al Albania, president of Acart Communications, and Erica Tice at An Evening with Ray Zahab.

From left, Dr. Michael Rudnicki with PWL Ottawa branch manager Cameron Passmore, guest speaker Ray Zahab and Mark Sutcliffe on April 25 at An Evening with Ray Zahab held in support of stem cell research at The Ottawa Hospital.

full 42 kilometres. On the top floor of the Carling Avenue office building, with views that include the site approved for the new Ottawa Hospital, attendees were awed and inspired by modern-day adventurer Ray Zahab. His story is nothing short of remarkable. Zahab is a former cigarettesmoking slouch who’s become famous for becoming an ultramarathoner in his late 20s. He’s been pushing himself to the max by crossing the Sahara Desert


MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

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and trekking through some of the most inhospitable environments in the world, clocking daily distances of up to 80 kilometres in extreme climate conditions. “Human beings have no limits to what we’re capable of achieving,” the Chelsea resident told the room. “If people say, ‘You can’t do it,’ then you say, ‘Let me show you’ and then find a way. There’s always, there’s always a way.” Zahab is also the founder of the impossible2Possible (i2P) non-profit that takes young people on life-changing expeditions, while also using technology to allow other young people to follow along back in the classrooms. This month, he’s leading a special expedition for Canada’s 150th anniversary that will see a group of young people from around the world visit every province and territory. Zahab’s preferred mode of travelling is on foot due to its ability to take him places where most people have never been and may choose to never go. After all, he almost froze to death this past winter trekking on snowshoes and pulling all of his supplies on sled through the Torngat Mountain range located in Northern Labrador and Quebec. While he was checking if the ice was safe, it suddenly gave way and Zahab found himself in water, struggling against a fast-moving

Cheryl Gillies from PWL Ottawa with Tom Atkins at An Evening with Ray Zahab.

current and gripping onto the sides for dear life. His thoughts naturally turned to his wife and two young daughters. He got himself out of the dangerous hole with help from his Italian travelling companion. On hand for the event in April was Dr. Michael Rudnicki, a senior scientist and director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Ottawa is a hub for stem cell research medicine within a country that prides itself as being a world leader and pioneer in the field. “It’s been said that if hockey is Canada’s sport, stem cell research is Canada’s science,” Rudnicki told the room. “It’s changing the practice of medicine, and in your lifetimes you’re going to see new treatments for many diseases that before had no treatment for them. And may I use the ‘c word’? We’ll see cures for diseases that were fatal.”



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long-time Citizen Advocacy supporter, also attended. So did Mayor Jim Watson. Also seen were members of the business community, including Michael Leo from presenting sponsor Lundbeck; Frank Bilodeau, district vice-president of Scotiabank; and David Rodier from Hill+Knowlton Strategies. David Cork, director and wealth manager at ScotiaMcLeod, is the gala’s returning honourary co-chair with Sen. Vern White. Cork recently took his commitment up a level by getting involved with Everyday Champions. He now hangs out regularly with Citizen Advocacy client Ian Murphy. “I wanted to further immerse myself in the amazing work for Citizen Advocacy,” Cork told the room, with Murphy standing alongside him. “It’s been a thrill for me.” Murphy got everyone chuckling with his response, delivered with unintentional nonchalance: “Yeah, it’s been great.” The room also heard from Citizen Advocacy volunteer Peter Whelan, manager of country risk assessment for Export Development Canada, and his match of eight years, Dylan Sawyer. They talked about some of the activities they do together, such as attending the monthly Dovercourt dance, an annual Christmas party, as well as more frequent outings.

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MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

You could almost smell salt air coming from the Speaker’s Salon in Centre Block of Parliament Hill on May 3 as supporters of Citizen Advocacy got together for a hot bowl of chowder and to promote the upcoming Evening in the Maritimes. The 23rd annual East Coast-themed gala is taking place Thursday, June 1, at the Hilton Lac-Leamy. It’s the signature fundraiser for Citizen Advocacy, a local non-profit organization that’s been helping people with disabilities in our region for the past 43 years. The money raised from the $175-a-ticket evening will support the organization’s Everyday Champions program. It involves ordinary citizens giving freely of their time to become friends with people with disabilities in order to provide companionship and emotional support. The program helps people with disabilities feel more included in the community and reportedly leads to improved self-esteem and greater overall health. Everyday Champions currently has more than 250 volunteer advocates but is always looking for more. At the Chow Down for Charity Luncheon was Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan, who hails from Nova Scotia. Sen. Jim Munson, who’s a native of New Brunswick and a

From left, Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan with Mayor Jim Watson and his assistant, Patrick Champagne, at the Chow Down for Charity Luncheon.

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The team at the fastest-growing firm on OBJ’s list includes (from left) Taylor Fantin, Chris Wise, Kyle Braatz and Brad Dyment. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON

‘Sky’s the limit’ for two-time fastest-growing champ Fullscript

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017




Quadruple-digit growth is becoming a habit for Kyle Braatz and his team at Fullscript, but don’t ever think the firm that is disrupting the way health-care products are delivered is taking success for granted. Fullscript, an online system for prescribing and delivering natural health products such as vitamin supplements, has landed in top spot on OBJ’s list of fastestgrowing companies for the second year in a row. The company’s latest three-year growth rate clocks in at an eye-popping 3,128.6 per cent – more than double its already impressive mark of 1,245 per cent from 12 months ago. But the folks at Fullscript are not about to take their feet off the accelerator. Not when they believe so strongly in the company’s mission. “You know there’s an opportunity to really disrupt and then change the way things are done for the better,” says the 32-year-old Mr. Braatz, who co-founded the firm then known as MD Storefront with business partners Brad Dyment and Chris Wise in 2011.

Mr. Braatz says the multibillion-dollar health-care industry is rapidly moving toward a model that rewards illness prevention rather than treatment, and his company is poised to take full advantage. Most of its 10,000-plus customers are situated south of the border, where he says health-care organizations are increasingly looking to rein in costs by encouraging patients to engage in healthier lifestyles, including using natural supplements when warranted, in an effort to keep them out of the hospital. Over the past year, Fullscript has stepped up its efforts to recruit practitioners of what Mr. Braatz calls “integrative medicine” – the 250,000 health-care professionals in North America who not only treat symptoms but put special emphasis on the role of diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and supplements in maintaining a patient’s well-being. “We already knew we had the best product; we already knew we had the greatest customer support standards out there,” he says. “It was just a matter of adding more practitioners to our model. In doing that, that just accelerated things really quickly.”

His company is now the market leader among that group, he says, and wants to continue growing that segment. In addition, Fullscript is in the process of developing a platform aimed at the much larger group of more traditional health-care practitioners – many of whom, Mr. Braatz says, will recommend natural supplements but don’t make them a core part of their treatment regimens. The firm has also invested more deeply in the Canadian market, he adds, a move that is now starting to pay dividends. “We’ve had a lot more success in 2016 in the Canadian market than we’ve had in the past,” Mr. Braatz says. “Revenue growth was very, very strong, and I think we’re going to continue to see that kind of success in Canada as we expand our catalogue and we expand our product offering here.” The firm employs about 40 people at its ByWard Market headquarters, a figure its CEO says will likely climb to more than 100 by this time next year if the business continues to grow at the clip he predicts. Originally backed by a “few million” dollars in angel funding, Fullscript is now

LOCAL HEAD COUNT: About 40 PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Software-as-a-service platform for prescribing natural health products and tracking inventory THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 3,128.6%

profitable. Asked if the founders would ever consider taking the company public down the road, Mr. Braatz says they’ll do “whatever the company needs” to give it the best shot at long-term success. Whatever route they decide to take, they have no plans to leave the nation’s capital. “I think the sky’s the limit when it comes to the market that we’re playing in, the problem we’re trying to solve,” he says. “When it comes to building a team and a company here in Ottawa, we’re very happy here.” – David Sali





Decisive move pays off in spurring BriteSky’s rise A few years ago, Decisive Technologies was one of the fastest-growing companies in Ottawa. But its executives knew that if they were going to maintain that trajectory, they were going to have to look for growth opportunities in a slightly different area. “The market was saturated and we wanted to continue growing, because if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” says Mike Smith, the president of Decisive Technologies and the executive vicepresident of sales at BriteSky Technologies. BriteSky Technologies, an enterprise cloud provider, was born in 2013 out of that desire for continued growth. It was the result of Decisive’s executives taking an intentional look at the marketplace and being in the right place at the right time. “We started listening to our clients,” Mr. Smith says. “Our customers were asking for cloud solutions, hybrid cloud solutions, on-premises, private clouds.” At the same time, Decisive – a database solutions company that landed in ninth spot on OBJ’s list of fastest-growing firms in 2014 – was moving its infrastructure off-site and building its own data centre, which quickly became the basis for a new cloud offering. BriteSky and Decisive are now separate companies, but they continue to share some staff and resources. Mr. Smith says that means his sales staff can focus on what’s best for the client, rather than trying to push them towards an

YEAR FOUNDED: 2013 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: BriteSky has seven dedicated employees, while another 15 work for both BriteSky and Decisive Technologies. PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Enterprise cloud services THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 1,237.21%

on-premises or cloud-based offering. “We can offer both solutions and we don’t mind which one wins,” he says. “Quite often, it’s a combination of the two.” It also allows customers who have been using on-premises solutions to move into the cloud at their own speed. “I don’t go into an account saying, ‘I gotta sell cloud, I gotta sell cloud,’ or vice-versa. I go in saying, ‘What’s best for you?’” he says. Mr. Smith says the equipment used to

BriteSky’s Mike Smith, Richard Losier and Joey Harrison. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON build his company’s cloud infrastructure has also played a role in its growth. He says it’s all “enterprise-grade gear” designed to be robust and dependable. For a small Canadian company, keeping the data it stores inside the country has also been a selling point. “We respect privacy and data sovereignty,” he says. Mr. Smith also credits much of the company’s strong growth to its people, adding both BriteSky and Decisive have built strong corporate cultures. “We’re winning because of the way we’ve

structured the organization, the culture. ‘Do the right thing’ is the tagline for both companies,” he says. He says BriteSky also took its time to get things right before launching. “We’ve done everything organically,” he says. “We didn’t go to market until we were ready and we didn’t have to borrow any money to do it.” Part of that has to do with how BriteSky started. “We used to call this our hobby,” Mr. Smith says. “We built this for our own company, to have our own infrastructure.” – Jacob Serebrin

seoplus+ illuminating the ‘black hole’ of digital marketing

Brock Murray and Eddy Abou-Nehme of seoplus+. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON Despite serving clients across North America, seoplus+ has a large contingent of clients here in Ottawa, including Tiny Hoppers, Laurier Optical and Sleepwell Management. The two founders say the local connection helps their team connect with their clients. The other way to achieve that, Mr. Murray says, is by hiring locally instead of outsourcing SEO, as many marketing firms do. Having an Ottawa-based workforce more readily available makes the entire process feel less transactional. Mr. Murray adds that having access to a strong talent pool of graduates from local schools such as Algonquin College is a huge incentive to keep the workforce in Ottawa. – Craig Lord

YEAR FOUNDED: 2012 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 16 PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Digital marketing services for small and large companies THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 417.06%


While reading a book that was literally titled SEO for Dummies, he says he knew there must be other companies in the same situation in which he found himself. He reached out to Brock Murray, with whom he had worked previously, and the two hashed out the beginnings of seoplus+. Today, the company is 16 employees strong, with revenue growth of more than 400 per cent over the past three years. Mr. Abou-Nehme says the key to this impressive growth is the firm’s solid relationships with clients, which seoplus+ achieves by demystifying digital marketing. “A lot of people describe SEO to us as a black hole,” he says. In order to illuminate the topic, the firm built an app that would track and report what tasks and time is being spent on a customer’s project, giving the team data that it can correlate to increased traffic or sales. “We really wanted to simplify it, break things down, be transparent, communicate it to clients,” says Mr. Murray. “And that really impresses them; they know that you’re actually working for them,” Mr. AbouNehme adds.

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

Many regard search engine optimization as a secret art, with few gurus privy to its benefits. SEO, as it’s often abbreviated, refers to a brand or website’s likelihood to turn up in search engine results. A confusing combination of tags, trusted referrers, hyperlinks and more can be the difference between a potential client finding your site or a competitor’s. For seoplus+, keeping your site at the top of a Google search is the ticket to revenue. Founded in 2012, seoplus+ is a digital marketing services firm that helps clients stand out in the murky waters of SEO and generating online traffic. The startup features clients as large as Fortune 500 companies and the federal government and as small as local landscaping firms. “That’s the beauty of digital marketing. Every company needs (it) at some level,” says co-founder Eddy Abou-Nehme. Seoplus+ isn’t the only company Mr. AbouNehme leads. In fact, it was while he was trying to figure out digital marketing solutions for Revolution Networks, his Ottawa-based IT firm, that he stumbled upon the idea of providing services for others.





Bellefleur’s mission: finding a ‘better way’ to serve clients In a world where most fast-growing companies pride themselves on embracing the latest technology, Jason Bellefleur points to a decidedly old-school customer service initiative when asked what sets him apart from his competitors. The co-owner and president of Bellefleur Physiotherapy in Orleans founded his own clinic in 2013 because, he says, he “just thought there’s a better way” to serve clients.


Among those things is putting a human touch on aspects of the physiotherapy process where customers might not typically expect it. For example, when a client of Bellefleur Physiotherapy refers another person to the St. Joseph Boulevard clinic, Mr. Bellefleur and his staff send the original client a handwritten thankyou card. On their birthdays, his clients receive cards in the mail. It’s Mr. Bellefleur’s way of showing his appreciation to those who’ve entrusted him and his staff with their health-care needs. And yes, it’s definitely not high-tech, but that’s not the point. “It always leaves a positive impression, and that’s what we’re about,” says the 33-year-old father of two young children, who received an OBJ Forty Under 40 award in 2016. Not that he is turning his back on technology. Thanks to the clinic’s online booking system, clients can log in, check available timeslots and schedule their own appointments with the click of a mouse. Up to 20 per cent of the clinic’s customers use the system on a regular basis, Mr. Bellefleur says. “It’s just adding convenience,” he explains. His staff also e-mails every client two days in

Jason Bellefleur (second from left) and his team. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON advance of an appointment. If the clinic doesn’t hear back, staff follow up with a phone call to make sure no appointments are forgotten. That customer-first ethos is reflected in the makeup of Mr. Bellefleur’s 12-person staff as well. While the clinic employs six physiotherapists with a wide range of expertise from sports injuries to TMJ and pelvic therapy, the other half of its workforce is composed of two full-time receptionists, two assistants who work evenings, an office manager and an operations manager – who also happens to be Mr. Bellefleur’s wife, Meghan. Their job is to make the office run as smoothly and efficiently as possible and ensure that clients feel comfortable the moment they walk into

the office. While many clinics employ just one person to run the office, answer phones, deal with insurance issues and respond to clients’ questions, Mr. Bellefleur says his office has enough staff to ensure that a client’s various needs are taken care of promptly and properly. “We want to make sure that people who come into our clinic, there’s a person there ready to help them,” he says. “We’re really trying to get all the confusion out of the process. “If you only hire one person to do two or three people’s jobs, of course they’re going to be overworked. That gets felt by the customers. We want people when they come in, they feel like we value them. Because we do.” – David Sali

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

Big data leads to big growth for Klipfolio



After 16 years, one of Ottawa’s most buzzworthy tech firms is finally making its first appearance on OBJ’s list of fastest-growing companies. If co-founder and CEO Allan Wille has his way, it won’t be the last. Mr. Wille, the personable chief executive of downtown software juggernaut Klipfolio, says the target market for the firm’s cloud-based business dashboard software – small and medium-sized enterprises – numbers in the tens of millions worldwide. With about 8,300 customers right now, the company is barely scratching the surface of its potential, he argues. “Ten years ago, if you wanted to buy software for your small and mid-sized business, you went into Staples and you picked it off the shelf,” says Mr. Wille, referring to the pre-cloud days when the idea of subscription-based software was still in its embryonic phase. “That was a pretty expensive way of getting software distributed. It was very limiting for a startup to do so. In the past 10 years, that has changed dramatically – the acceptance of the cloud and this entire space has opened up. There is tremendous appetite for visualizing data, working with data, consolidating data.” Thanks to big-data analytics, today’s SMEs have access to a veritable mountain of information on everything from sales to customer

Klipfolio’s Peter Matthews and Allan Wille. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON churn rates. Klipfolio’s products help clients build customized dashboards to display key metrics that put all those numbers into perspective – for example, revenue per employee (a key measure of workplace efficiency) or sales increases over the past month (which helps show how quickly the company is growing). Significant metrics can even be compared against competitors’ figures to give firms a better barometer of where they stand in the marketplace.

“A lot of numbers are nice to look at – for example, how much sales have I done today or what’s my headcount – but the more meaningful metrics are often ratios or relationships between certain things,” Mr. Wille explains. And Klipfolio’s technology displays all that information in a real-time format that is constantly being updated – essentially, doing for business metrics what Hootsuite does for social media feeds. “Having this data available in real time or rolling as things happen is really important, especially for small and mid-sized businesses,” the CEO says. “Small and mid-sized businesses can be nimble, so their data should be nimble as well.” In January, the company announced it had landed $12 million in series-B venture capital, bringing its total funding to date to more than $19 million. Mr. Wille says Klipfolio plans to invest in more R&D spending in an effort to make its platform even more powerful and easier to use. “We really need to find those magical points in the customer’s journey to really make sure that their meaningful metrics are being built, being seen, being shared, inside of their company.” Klipfolio continues to add to its A-list roster of talent, recently bringing on board former Invest Ottawa executive Jonathan Milne as director of strategic and community partnerships and tech

YEAR FOUNDED: 2001 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: About 80, with a handful of employees outside the country PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Business dashboard platform THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 297.84%

veteran Kenneth MacAskill as chief financial officer. On pace to reach 110 employees by the end of the year, the company also announced it has finally outgrown its original office on Gloucester Street and is moving to new digs in the World Exchange Plaza this fall. For Mr. Wille, it all adds up to big things for his firm, now and heading into 2018 and beyond. “There’s this buzz in Ottawa with the local successes – Kinaxis, Halogen, Shopify,” he says. “There are probably a dozen folks that are making waves, which I think really helps keep that buzz alive. I think the current tech community is probably stronger than it has ever been.” And right there, near the front of the pack, is Klipfolio. – David Sali





Posterity Group’s principles lay foundation for high-growth environment To keep up in the rapidly evolving market for green consulting, a company needs to grow quickly. That’s not an issue for Posterity Group, an Ottawa-based energy efficiency and low-carbon advisory firm that has boosted revenues by nearly 300 per cent over the past three years. The firm works with government and regulatory bodies, as well as utilities and private commercial clients, to design, implement and advise on greening policies and programs. If, for example, you receive a coupon in the mail for

YEAR FOUNDED: 2012 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 9 PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Energy-efficiency and lowcarbon advisory services THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 281.5%

a rebate on energy-efficient bulbs, it might be part of a provincial hydro program that Posterity Group helped to build. The firm also helps to evaluate the success of these programs as well as assisting clients with looking around corners in the market to see what’s coming. Principal Alex Tiessen says these two examples demonstrate the company’s commitment to its customers and explain why the firm sees a high rate of repeat business. Half a decade ago, Mr. Tiessen and Chris Pulfer co-founded Posterity Group, bringing Bryan Flannigan in as a third partner shortly after. The company has tripled in size since, with team members boasting dozens of combined years in green consulting. Mr. Tiessen makes no bones about how the quality of his team has impacted the business. “A smart, well-trained and happy team will provide the best results for the people that we work for,” he tells OBJ. Mr. Tiessen says he and his partners knew when they were just starting the company and earning clients’ trust that the path towards Posterity Group’s growth needed to be “peoplecentric.” He says that approach – building a workplace culture that encourages professional development and makes people want to come to the office every morning – has enabled Posterity

Posterity Group has achieved impressive growth. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON Group to achieve its growth. “As we bring in more and more qualified people, we have more clients we can work with and more clients that want to work with us,” he says. Posterity Group lands contracts in many ways – through procurement applications, repeat business and positive testimonials from clients. To this end, Mr. Tiessen says it’s critical that the company turns in the best projects it can deliver,

Nuvyyo says service puts it a cut above as cable alternative Nuvyyo chief executive Grant Hall. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON

YEAR FOUNDED: 2010 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 17 PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Platform for streaming and recording over-the-air TV broadcasts THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 268.02%


live south of the border. “The U.S. just has way more broadcast stations, so it is way more concentrated,” Mr. Hall says. “Our average U.S. customer gets about 42 channels over the air, which is substantially more than what you get in most Canadian markets. So there is just more TV, and at the same time there is way more over-the-top video.” Mr. Hall says Nuvyyo’s target in 2017 is to double its sales from last year, adding the company is on track to achieve that mark. He credits much of that success to the company’s strong record of customer service. Four of the firm’s 18 employees specialize in customer support and can speak directly to engineering staff right away when there is an

issue with a product. Mr. Hall says Nuvyyo also focuses on building its brand through social media, specifically Facebook. “We publish a lot of blog material,” he adds. “We try very much to be the main leader in this over-the-air cord-cutting space.” But the company is not about to rest on its laurels, Mr. Hall says. Nuvyyo has a whole pipeline of new products ready to hit the market at the end of the second quarter. One of those new offerings is a single tuner called the Tablo Live. It has a lower price point and stores recordings in the cloud, allowing customers to retrieve them anywhere without plugging in a hard drive or any other storage device. Mr. Hall says the new product is targeted at an older demographic and is designed to be very simple to use. The other new offering is a software version of the Tablo DVR that supports Android TV platforms. Customers download the software and plug in a USB tuner to pick up signals for the full Tablo experience. Nuvyyo also aims to start selling its products in retail stores in the coming year. But Mr. Hall says the firm is not focused on growth at all costs – instead, the company wants to be known as one that puts its customers’ needs first. “There is really nobody else right now who has a streaming DVR that runs on apps and devices within your home,” he says. “Kind of the way the product works is unique in the industry.” – Courtney Edgar

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

Cashing in on the cable-cutting trend has sent Ottawa’s Nuvyyo on an impressive path to growth. Founded in 2010, Nuvyyo has created a device called the Tablo, which streams over-the-air television broadcasts to TVs and other devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. It can also record those broadcasts for later viewing. “We actually work with all the boxes and devices you’re using already to watch things,” says CEO Grant Hall. Nuvyyo’s hardware picks up an over-the-air signal from an antenna and streams it over a customer’s own network – in some cases up to six devices in a home. Even as more and more Canadians turn away from traditional cable and satellite providers, Nuvyyo’s main customer base remains in the United States. About 95 per cent of its customers

down to the last coupon. “We live and die by the quality of our work,” he says. Mr. Tiessen says the company started on the right foot with the right core principles: Focus on the people; treat clients like trusted partners; and maintain a standard of excellence in every project. “We’ve slowly but surely been building a reputation in the market,” he says. “We’re going to stick to our mission.” – Craig Lord





Solink making gains in loss-prevention software space The way Solink CEO Mike Matta sees it, his Kanata-based firm is on the cutting edge of a technological revolution. Founded in 2009, Solink was originally launched to come up with a software solution to help a fellow Wesley Clover portfolio company detect ATM fraud on behalf of its customers in the banking industry. Before long, however, Solink’s founders realized its product could help scores of businesses from banks to quick-service restaurants quickly “mine” through thousands of hours of security footage to spot suspicious transaction trends and patterns of behaviour – and pinpoint exactly where and when the incidents occurred. “I think video is kind of the next ecosystem, the next platform really that’s going to be used to influence an entire generation – I think an entire market,” says Mr. Matta. “And surveillance is really just at the cusp of it.” While the firm’s current focus is on loss prevention, Solink executives believe their subscription-based software solution could eventually help clients use all those hours of security footage – which today are mostly ignored unless something suspicious happens – to better understand how employees function and find ways to help them work more efficiently. The company is currently piloting a couple of new cloud-based applications with

Solink’s Cory Michalyshyn and Norm Wong. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON

just such an HR mandate in mind. Unlike most old-school security tech firms that manufacture and market hardware such as cameras and DVRs, Solink concentrates almost solely on software – so much so that it will happily provide clients with cameras and other equipment practically free of charge in exchange for using its products. For Solink, such devices are simply a means to an end. “The customer does not pay for hardware,”

says Mr. Matta. “They pay for the service of us being able to identify insights from their business.” The company’s software taps directly into clients’ point-of-sale platforms, keeping a second-by-second account of all sales activity that can be synched immediately with accompanying security footage. For example, using Solink’s system, an establishment such as Tim Hortons (currently the firm’s largest customer) can quickly and accurately determine if a coffee-buyer who received a police discount was in fact a uniformwearing officer or whether an employee recorded the transaction fraudulently in order to pocket the difference between a discount and a full-price sale. And because Solink has instant access to millions of hours of footage across a wide range of customers, the company says, that makes it easier to determine “baselines” of consumer behaviour that can help it spot unusual patterns down the road. Mr. Matta says his firm is a leader in a multibillion-dollar industry that’s still in its infancy. Now at 27 employees, Solink has already landed more than $5 million in venture capital from Wesley Clover and hopes to secure another round in the next 12 months. The firm’s 1,100 clients operate in six countries and are split almost evenly between the quick-

service restaurant and the financial services industries, with major players such as Cold Stone Creamery, New York Fries and Wendy’s among the well-known names on its roster. Although Solink has kept a relatively low profile so far, chief financial officer Cory Michalyshyn says the firm is ready to “break out” and assert itself as an up-and-coming tech star. “There’s this big market that got built around surveillance where people really just sold hardware,” adds Mr. Matta. “The value of this insight is beyond infrastructure. It’s even beyond security.” – David Sali

YEAR FOUNDED: 2009 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 27 PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Data analytics software focused on security applications THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 227.59%

Mishkumi engineers strategic shift into cloud market

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

For Mishkumi Technologies, a changing market became an opportunity for growth. For most of its history, Mishkumi’s main focus was reselling computer hardware to the federal government. But as interest in cloud-based services started to grow, the company began a transformation of its own, focusing more on helping organizations move into the cloud by offering value-added services. “Now we’re really a strategic partner,” says



YEAR FOUNDED: 2007 LOCAL HEAD COUNT: Just under 25 in-house staff; also works with contractors as needed PRODUCT OR SERVICE: IT consultant and reseller THREE-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 223.81%

Martin Renière, the company’s vice-president. The company is now more focused on services and solutions and has added more people with engineering and software development skills to its team. While the federal government remains Mishkumi’s main customer, the firm has increasingly started working with large crown corporations and private companies such as CN, Loto-Québec and Domtar. “What is appealing to them is our innovation capabilities,” Mr. Renière says. “We really try to focus on being on the cutting edge of all the new technologies, so we can help these companies to stay competitive.” The increased focus on private-sector customers is a result of those organizations adopting cloud-based technologies at a faster rate than the government. “In terms of adoption, usually the private sector moves faster than the government,” Mr. Renière says. Still, he sees continued growth opportunities with the federal government as it continues to move into the cloud. “We’re going to be ready to support the Canadian government when they decide to move forward with some massive initiatives that relate to the cloud,” Mr. Renière says. Mishkumi is working with some of the largest data centre operators and cloud-services providers in the industry, such as Amazon Web

Mishkumi’s Martin Reniere and Benoit Benson. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON Services, Google and Microsoft Azure. That allows it to provide services without up-front costs, which Mr. Renière describes as a move from a capital expenditure model to an operating expense model. He says the company has a big focus on training and certification. Mishkumi’s executives and managers all come from a technical background, which helps them anticipate the market and mentor younger staff, Mr. Renière adds. “The technology is really moving fast,” he says,

“so staying at the forefront really demands some understanding of what is happening in terms of transformation.” The company has also added more software engineering capabilities in-house. “We add some value, leveraging some analytics, some artificial intelligence,” Mr. Renière says. Mishkumi hasn’t seen major growth just in its revenues – its employee head count has also been rising quickly. Mr. Renière says the company is adding two to four new employees a month. – Jacob Serebrin





Versature calls on marketing savvy to fuel growth For VoIP phone services provider Versature, returning to OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastestgrowing companies – with an even faster growth rate this time around – came down to marketing. “A couple years ago, we doubled down on sales and marketing, and I think that’s what really pushed us to the level that we’re at now,” says CEO Paul Emond, whose firm also made OBJ’s list in 2013. “We went from one person in sales and two people in marketing to, now, the sales and marketing team is half the company and we’re 35 people.” He concedes it was a move that involved an element of risk. “It’s a leap of faith,” he says. “Because you’re wondering if that investment is going to pay for itself.” Mr. Emond says he prioritizes marketing because, after all, salespeople can’t make much headway without leads. “What I’ve learned now, after being in this for a while, is that if you invest in marketing, the up-front lead generation, then the rest of it will follow,” he explains. Mr. Emond says one of the key parts of Versature’s approach to marketing is tracking

the return on that investment. That allows the company to quickly change gears if something isn’t working. It’s all about getting the recipe right and then executing it at scale, he says. Of course, that can be easier said than done. For Mr. Emond, who was one of Versature’s co-founders, part of that challenge was learning how to delegate responsibility to others.


“That was scary but also very rewarding, because we never would have been able to scale without those (marketing) people,” he says. However, Versature’s phenomenal growth hasn’t been fuelled solely by marketing. The company is also driving growth through the release of new products, such as Social Caller ID. While regular caller ID just shows a phone number and maybe a name, Social Caller ID pulls up a map showing where the caller is located, as well as information about the individual calling and the company where they work. It can even pull up feeds from social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. “So, powerful stuff if you’re a salesperson and a call comes in and you have all this contextual data,” Mr. Emond says. Another part of what’s driving Versature’s growth, Mr. Emond says, is the fact that his company’s products work with other cloudbased services. He says he wants his phone system to work with the tools that people are already using. That could involve making it easier to place a call from a webmail or pulling up

Versature’s Paul Emond. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON customer relationship management data from Salesforce when a call comes in. The company has also launched an app that allows customers to use their cellphone as their extension. “You could be on the road and could take calls as if you were sitting in the office – nobody would know the difference,” Mr. Emond says. As he looks to continue to drive the company’s growth, the CEO says mergers and acquisitions could be in the cards. – Jacob Serebrin

FRAMOS feels right at home in National Capital Region Editor’s note: Though a spinoff of a foreign company, FRAMOS Technologies has quickly established itself as a major presence in the local tech scene. OBJ has chosen to recognize the firm’s success with an honourable mention in our fastestgrowing companies competition. When Munich-based imaging technology firm FRAMOS was seeking the ideal base for its North American operations a few years ago, it looked seriously at a half-dozen locations.

LOCAL HEAD COUNT: 12 PRODUCT OR SERVICE: Imaging technology and services

cutting-edge equipment built by everyone from major market leaders to small niche providers. In addition, the company acts as a consultant, working side by side with its clients – which include some of North America’s biggest corporations – to tailor their imaging technology requirements to their exact needs. Its customers include makers of self-driving vehicles, robotics equipment and high-tech surgical devices. FRAMOS will advise them on whether it’s more cost-effective, for example, to custom-build their own imaging systems or buy

an off-the-shelf solution from an established manufacturer. Now at 12 employees in Ottawa, the company plans to add several more workers to its local head count in the near future. “The team that we brought together is phenomenal,” says Mr. Dignard, a 2017 Forty Under 40 recipient. “We’ve got a team of people who are passionate about what we do. You don’t grow like that without being extremely resourceful with what you have.” – David Sali



Sebastien Dignard (right) and the FRAMOS team. PHOT0 BY MARK HOLLERON MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017


Among them were places that are worldrenowned for their tech savvy, including Boston and California, along with the likes of Chicago and Quebec City. In the end, however, the company chose to set up shop in the National Capital Region. Sebastien Dignard is president of the conglomerate’s Ottawa-based operations, which are known as FRAMOS International. He says the capital’s wealth of highly educated talent and its world-renowned institutions such as the National Research Council made it an attractive place for FRAMOS to put down roots on this continent. “There is a nice area of expertise when it comes to imaging in Ottawa,” Mr. Dignard says. “For us, with our aspirations of very aggressive growth, we thought Ottawa was in a prime spot for that.” If growth percentages are any indication, the company made the right choice. Founded in 2012, FRAMOS International has posted yearly sales increases that would make most tech juggernauts envious. Over the past three fiscal years, its revenues have skyrocketed by nearly 4,000 per cent. FRAMOS brings a multi-pronged approach to the imaging technology business. The firm offers a wide range of the latest imaging components, from sensors and cables to lenses and cameras. Some of its technology is manufactured in-house, but the firm also resells


Total funds raised

TD Bank Financial Group 45 O’Connor St. Ottawa, ON




Tara-Lynn Hughes senior vice president retail banking Ontario North and East region


Ottawa Catholic School Board 570 West Hunt Club Rd. Ottawa, ON




Denise Andre director of education and secretary treasurer


Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. 415 West Hunt Club Rd. Ottawa, ON




Joseph P. Portera executive vice president, Chief Operating Officer, Eastern Canadian division


City of Ottawa 111 Laurier Ave. Ottawa, ON




Jim Watson mayor


RBC Financial Group 90 Sparks St. Ottawa, ON





University of Ottawa 55 Cumberland St. Ottawa, ON





Scotiabank Financial Group 118 Sparks St. Ottawa, ON




Frank Bilodeau district vice-president, Ottawa and West Quebec


BMO Financial Group 269 Laurier Ave. W. Ottawa, ON




Vittorio Pellegrino senior vice-president Eastern and Central Ontario


Bank of Canada 234 Wellington St. Ottawa, ON




Stephen Poloz governor

LCBO Various locations Ottawa, ON




Dr. George Soleas president and CEO

CMA/MD Financial Management 1870 Alta Vista Dr. Ottawa, ON




Brian Peters CEO


PCL Constructors Canada Inc. 49 Auriga Dr. Ottawa, ON




Dave Filipchuk, president and CEO


Innovapost Inc. 9 Auriga Dr. Ottawa, ON




André Turgeon CEO


Bell Canada 160 Elgin St. Ottawa, ON




George A. Cope CEO


Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Dr. Ottawa, ON




Dr. Roseann Runte president


Ottawa Carleton District School Board 133 Greenbank Rd. Ottawa, ON




Dr. Jennifer Adams director of education


Enterprise Holdings 2300 Stevenage Dr. Ottawa, ON




Pamela M. Nicholson president and CEO


Gowling WLG 160 Elgin St. Ottawa, ON




Peter Lukasiewicz CEO, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP


Deloitte 100 Queen St. Ottawa, ON




Frank Vittese CEO and managing partner of Deloitte Canada

NOKIA 600 March Rd. Ottawa, ON




Name of company/Address



MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017




Total funds raised for United Way Ottawa





2015 Rank

Number of Employees

Tina Sarellas Regional president Ontario North and East Jacques Frémont president and vice-chancellor

Rajeev Suri CEO

This list is current as of April 24. © 2017 by Ottawa Business Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced by any method in whole or in part without written permission by Ottawa Business Journal. While every attempt is made to ensure the thoroughness and accuracy of the list, omissions and errors sometimes occur. Please send any corrections or additions by e-mail to Research by Patti Moran. Please send questions and comments to

FOR THE RECORD People on the move


Canada’s Small & Medium Employers, in partnership with the Globe and Mail, recognized local firms PerleyRobertson, Hill & McDougall LLP / s.r.l., Kinaxis, Pythian Group and Solink among its 2017 winners. The award recognizes employers with the flexibility to adapt quickly to changing conditions.

Ian McKinnon joined the board of directors of WiLAN. Mr. McKinnon replaces Robert Bramson. Decathlon announced that Anne B. Price, Eric Schulz and Eric Lewinson have joined the company’s commercial real estate team and will be actively engaged in the sale and leasing of commercial real estate.

Hats off The Ottawa chapter of the Manning Innovation Awards presented the 2017 awards, recognizing outstanding Canadian innovations: Corey Ellis for his innovation The Growcer, a turnkey approach addressing food security, and Suhayya Abu-Hakima and Ken Grigg for their Amika Mobility Server, which distributes alert messages to those in an area at risk.

The following contains information about recent contracts, standing offers and supply arrangements awarded to local firms.

Two Ottawa high school students are among the finalists who will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas in the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition. Jeremy Chevalley of Académie de la Seigneurie will pitch Moo Call and Clip, and Victoria Gillan of Canterbury High School will pitch for St8ment Media. The annual competition is presented by Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth. John Siwiec, international arbitration and litigation lawyer for Ottawa law firm Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall, was recently elected by the Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners as its new president. Mr. Siwiec will serve a two-year team for YCAP.

Modis Canada Inc. 155 Queen St. Description: Professional services for EIRES Buyer: DND $8,679,601 Modis Canada Inc. 155 Queen St. Description: Warfare centre developmental and tech support Buyer: DND $4,948,718

KPMG 150 Elgin St. Description: Review of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada Buyer: Employment and Social Development Canada $480,000

Joan Holmes & Assoc. Inc. 7 Hinton Ave. N. Description: Research analysis, research services and document management services Buyer: Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development $350,000

Emerion 368 Dalhousie St. Description: Change management consultant Buyer: DND $469,176

CDCI 331 Cooper St. Description: Research analysis, research services and document management services Buyer: Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development $350,000

Resolution House Inc. 71 Rideau Terr. Description: Mediation services Buyer: Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development $600,000

D&R Maintenance Solutions Inc. 683 St-Rene Blvd. Description: Richmond landing shoreline access ceremonial landing Buyer: National Capital Commission $411,847

Turtle Island Staffing 420 O’Connor St. Description: Mediation services Buyer: Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development $600,000

Clean Water Works Inc. 1800 Bantree St. Description: CIPP reline CEF – SJCB storm Buyer: PWGSC $383,000

Gain Valuable Insights into Ottawa’s Economic Trends and Growth Sectors

and and and and

Oproma Inc. 116 Gatineau Ave. Description: ADP software Buyer: Treasury Board $299,450 Joan Holmes & Assoc. Inc. 7 Hinton Ave. N. Description: Research analysis, research services and document management services Buyer: Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development $275,000

present: present: present: present:

Breakfast Series Breakfast Series Breakfast Series Breakfast Series Mayor’s Mayor’s Mayor’s Mayor’s

A unique opportunity to opportunity enjoy breakfast with His Worship Jim Watson A unique opportunity to enjoy with His Worship Jim Watson A unique opportunity to breakfast enjoy breakfast with HisMayor Worship Mayor Jim Watson A unique to enjoy breakfast with HisMayor Worship Mayor Jim Watson • Hear a panel of experts break down the results and hear from business and community leaders about issues critical to Ottawa. and hear from business and community leaders about issues critical to Ottawa. and hear from business and community leaders about issues critical to Ottawa. and hear from business and community leaders about issues critical to Ottawa. from the comprehensive survey of hundreds of local businesses and what it means for the future Guest Speaker: Guest Speaker: Guest Speaker: Guest Speaker: • Be the first to receive a complimentary copy of the Honourable Catherine McKenna Honourable Catherine McKenna Ambassador David MacNaughton Ambassador David MacNaughton Canada's Ambassador to theto Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada's Ambassador the Minister of Environment and Climate Change survey results

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 The Shaw Centre, Trillium Room

7:00 am: Registration and Networking 7:30 am: Breakfast 8:00 am: Presentation

Individual Tickets: $55 + HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $65 + HST (Non-Members)

UnitedUnited StatesStates of America of America Thursday, April 27, 2017 Thursday, April 27, 2017 Thursday, June 15, 2017 Thursday, June 15, 2017 Location: Ottawa City Hall Location: Ottawa City Hall Ottawa City Hall Ottawa City Hall Registration: 7:00 a.m. Registration: 7:00 a.m. Registration: 7:00 a.m. Registration: 7:00 a.m. Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. Buffet Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. Presentation: 8:00 a.m. Presentation: 8:00 a.m. Presentation: 8:00 a.m. Presentation: 8:00 a.m.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: $35.00 + HST Chamber Members) $35.00 + (Ottawa HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $35.00 + HST Chamber Members) $35.00 + (Ottawa HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $50.00 + HST (Non-Members) $50.00 + HST (Non-Members) $50.00 + HST $50.00 + (Non-Members) HST (Non-Members)

$495 + HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $585 + HST (Non-Members)

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MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

Corporate Tables of 8 with Signage:

CORPORATE TABLES OFTABLES 8 OF WITH SIGNAGE: CORPORATE TABLES 8 WITH CORPORATE OF 8SIGNAGE: WITH SIGNAGE: CORPORATE TABLES OF 8 WITH SIGNAGE: $245 $245 + HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) +$245 HST $245 (Ottawa Chamber Members) + HST Chamber Members) + (Ottawa HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $350 $350 + HST (Non-Members) +$350 HST $350 (Non-Members) + HST (Non-Members) + HST (Non-Members)


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Hedyeh Javidnia Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Jennifer Stewart Syntax Strategies

Aali Alizadeh Giatec Scientific Inc.

Vanessa Kanu Mitel

Trevin Stratton BDO Canada LLP

Janice Ashworth Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op

Stephanie Karlovits EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle

Justin Tudor Keller Engineering

Laura Behzadi Bicycle Craft Brewery Inc.

Caitlin Kealey MediaStyle

Megan Wallace Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall

Chris Bisson Escape Manor

Briana Kim Café My House

Greg Wetmore Entrust Datacard

David Bouchard PureLogic IT Solutions Inc

Mara Klammrodt FLUX Lighting Inc.

Ruby Williams Deloitte

Rachel Caven Caven Nutrition Group

Siddhartha (Sid) Kumar Access Healthcare Services Inc.

Pat Woodcock Elite Performance Academy

Martin Cloake Raven Telemetry Inc.

Sarah Lyons MNP LLP

Gordon Cudney GowlingWLG

Lesley Mackay Ottawa Tourism

Haissam Dahan Ottawa TMJ & Sleep Apnea Clinic

Kent McCrea Procom and Keous Solutions

Jordan Danger Kent DANGER Communications

Craig O’Brien Nelligan O’Brien Payne

Sebastien Dignard FRAMOS Technologies

Jordan O’Leary Morning Owl

Kevin Grimes RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd.

Chris Pulfer Posterity Group

Emily Gruenwoldt Carkner Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres

Aaron Smith EY

Brock Higgins Leaders International Catherine Horvath Ottawa Centre for Resilience


Jean-Sylvain Sormany Snowed in Studios Inc. Mark Steele OCCO Kitchen

Steve Hubbard Lightenco


Network with the city’s rising business stars! MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

Forty Under 40 Gala | Friday, June 16, 20176 @ Hilton Lac-Leamy.




Individual Tickets: $190 Ottawa Chamber Members $210 Non-Members Corporate Tables of 10: $1800 Ottawa Chamber Members $2000 Non-Members MEDIA SPONSORS


ional camaraderie Your resource for profess and fresh insights.




How humans and machines can work together



HR UPDATE Your resource for professional camaraderie and fresh insights.




14 • MAY 8 2017




How humans and machines can work together AN HR GUIDE TO AUTOMATION, ROBOTICS, AND AI IN THE WORKPLACE


VOLUME 20 • ISSUE 14 • MAY 8 2017

Contributors wanted! For individuals interested in contributing, articles must be submitted via email to updatemagazine@ by no later than Sept. 15, 2017.

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HRPA, Ottawa Chapter


A changing of the guard A s your president for the past two years it has been both an honour and a pleasure to serve. I could not have done this without an exceptional group of directors, committee chairs, volunteers and our chapter glue, Tammy Williams. I truly want to thank them all for their support and hard work. This has been another great year for our chapter and we’ve seen some very positive changes take place! Our chapter has also grown substantially over the past year, with more than 1,700 members currently registered. We ran more than 15 professional and networking events this year, increased our social media presence and finished the year slightly under budget. So where do we go from here? I’m thrilled to introduce your new president, Melissa Bellocchi. I’m very confident she will continue to move our HRPA Ottawa chapter forward and seek new ways to promote our HR profession. As we embark on another exciting year, I’d like to introduce you to your new board directors and committee chairs: • Melissa Bellocchi-Hull – president • Aida Hadziomerovic is new to the board this year in the role of director, membership development. Aida and her team will continue to focus on new

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member outreach, statistics and our volunteers. Mirette Sedarous, committee chair, volunteers. Cheryl Banks is returning to the board this year in the role of treasurer. Cheryl spearheaded a transformation of our financial portfolio over the past two years. Dan Palayew is returning to the board this year in the role of director, Governance and Legislation. Soley Soucie is returning to the board in the role of director, community relations and marketing. Soley will focus on sponsorships and developing new partnerships with organizations that strategically align to our chapter. Angela Zimmer is returning to the board in the role of director, communications. Angela’s portfolio includes publications, social media and web content. Devin Winson is the chair of web content while the chair of publications and social media is vacant. Mersiha Mesic is returning to board in the role of director, programs and professional development. Mersiha and her team have been working

extremely hard and have already solidified the programming for the 2016-17 year, and have already started planning the 2017-18 programming year. Go team! Committee chairs: Brenda Kirkwood, professional development/networking; Eric Vande Velde, peer networking groups; and Steve Williams, law conference. Erin Taillefer is returning to the board in the role of director, membership development. Her focus is on student involvement, designations and scholarship support. Karley Bureau is the committee chair for designations while the chair of students/ scholarships is vacant. Anthony Lawley is new to the board in the role of director, mentoring. One of the key initiatives Anthony’s team will be working on this year is to continue to grow our current mentoring program. Committee chair: Sydney Penn, mentoring. Manda Nobel Green is new to the board. This is a new role we have added this year, director, administration. Tammy Williams will return as our

chapter administrator this year. Tammy has been instrumental in much of the framework we have established over the past year. Leaving our board this year is Elizabeth Roberts, past-president, and Muriel Earl, director, membership engagement. I personally and on behalf of the board would like to thank them for their stellar work this year. I will be moving into the role as past-president. Our first event of next year’s programming will be our Kick-Off event, which is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Lago Bar & Grill. Here’s to another exciting year! — Kevin Barwin

Do employment tests really work?

Other personality inventories are more reliable, such as the Big-5 Personality Traits, but only one factor – conscientiousness – relates with traditional measures of job performance.




eciding who to hire can be a stressful task, especially since the consequence of making a bad decision can be costly. Traditionally, recruiters have primarily relied on resumes, interviews and reference checks to select a candidate, but these can be subjective, open to personal biases and do not necessarily tap into the core requirements that are key to successful job performance. Some companies rely on employment tests to provide a more objective assessment of someone’s performance. Employment tests work, insofar that they are actually testing the specific requirements for the job, but far too often are administered without much thought being put into what is being measured and why.

Other types of tests, such as cognitive ability tests and situational judgment tests, have been shown to correlate with certain types of job performance. For example, tests for general intelligence are correlated with overall job performance, especially for jobs that are intellectually demanding. Similarly, situational judgement tests can predict employment success if the test is linked to a realistic job situation or a problem that needs to be solved. The challenge here is that administering a “one-size-fits-all” type of test will be more predictive of successful job performance for some jobs more than others.


Tests that are most valid and reliable in predicting actual job effectiveness are those that THE PITFALLS OF PERSONALITY are benchmarked against competencies, which TESTS are knowledge, skills and behaviour statements Personality tests can be used in employment used to define jobs. Developing test questions testing, but are they really measuring factors that that are based on competency profiles takes the are relevant to the job? guesswork out of what needs to be assessed and The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is often helps ensure that the right employees are hired used in employment testing despite the fact that for the job. its validity and reliability are highly disputed in the literature. In other words, whether you are an ESTJ or an INFP has nothing to do with your Aida Hadziomerovic is a Director performance on the job, and how you feel on a of Testing & Assessment at Human particular day could affect how you rate yourself. Resource Systems Group (HRSG). 4 HR UPDATE SPRING 2017








here’s been a shift in attitudes towards medical marijuana in recent years. More people are being treated with medical marijuana for a variety of conditions and disabilities. Accommodating a disability requires consideration and accommodation of any medical treatment, including the use of medical marijuana, that an individual requires in order to be a productive member of the workplace.


Employers also have a right to request supporting medical documentation to confirm the need for medicinal marijuana, the requirement for its use during work hours, the method of consumption claimed by the employee and the employee’s ability to continue working while consuming marijuana in the amounts prescribed. This is especially important in a safetysensitive environment, but concerns about employee safety will not relieve an employer of their duty to accommodate, particularly the procedural aspects of that duty.

DUTY TO ACCOMMODATE Accommodation for employees treated with medical marijuana should be approached no differently than any other form of accommodation. Specifically, accommodation of disabilities in the workplace requires employers to find a balance between a disabled employee’s rights and the employer’s other, sometimes conflicting, legal obligations. When it comes to medical marijuana, an employer’s obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act are usually the greatest concern. Under the OHSA, employers have an obligation to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of workers. This obligation is often in conflict with the employer’s obligations

actions on the basis of stereotypical views of the abilities of an individual who takes medical marijuana.

Concerns about employee safety will not relieve an employer of their duty to accommodate. under the Ontario Human Rights Code to accommodate the use of medical marijuana, especially where the employee operates in a safety-sensitive environment.




WORKPLACE INVESTIGATIONS AND ASSESSMENTS Any investigations or assessments of the use of medical marijuana in the workplace must be conducted in good faith. Investigations must be fair, balanced and free of stereotypical assumptions about the abilities of an employee who has been prescribed marijuana. Employers should encourage equal participation from the employee in these assessments. Employers must not base their



Employers should carefully review their policies and, if necessary, amend them to cover medically prescribed marijuana where it is being used pursuant to legitimate legal and medical authorization. Workplace policies should: Speak to the use of potentially impairing prescription medication; Set specific protocols for employees reporting on the use and/or being under the influence of such medication during working hours; Confirm the employer’s right to request and obtain information reasonably necessary to assess an employee’s accommodation request; and Communicate the disciplinary consequences of policy breaches. Finally, employers need to ensure that any new policies or policy changes are communicated appropriately and consistently to all employees. Anne Lemay is a labour and employment lawyer at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP.

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05 /24 /17



CAN YOU – AND SHOULD YOU – DISMISS FOR CAUSE? Questions for employers weighing their options


he question, “Can we dismiss for cause?” is an agonizing one. It’s typically asked of a legal advisor and, once the client receives a demand letter or statement of claim – or preparations are being made for mediation, discovery or trial – the client inevitably comments, “I hope this works out because you said we had enough to terminate for cause. You better be right!” Usually, the advice was actually more along the lines of, “You may have grounds to terminate for cause, but you will have to carefully consider how much risk you are prepared to take.”

sanction imposed. To strike this balance, the court mandates a three-step process: • Determine the nature and extent of the misconduct; • Consider the surrounding circumstances; and • Decide if dismissal is warranted.

THE TEST The legal test for whether cause exists can be mystifying. The test is: “Did the employee’s misconduct give rise to a breakdown in the employment relationship?” Courts have expressed this test in many equally confounding ways, stating that “just cause” exists where the misconduct in question: • • •

Violates an essential condition of the employment contract; Breaches the faith inherent to the work relationship; or, Is fundamentally or directly inconsistent with the employee’s obligations to his or her employer.

There is no easy formula to arrive at the correct determination. Some cases appear easier than others. Stealing, sexually assaulting a co-worker or abusing a child/patient in an employee’s care are fairly clear-cut examples. Unfortunately, real-life scenarios are typically more nuanced. Consider, for example, financial mismanagement or abusing an expense account with no personal gain, or being accused of throwing a beer can at a baseball player from the bleachers during an employee’s personal time. Invariably, there is another side to the story that obfuscates the path to a resolution. So, at what point can an employer say enough is enough?

RECENT CASE LAW There is a recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal called Fernandes v Peel Education and Tutorial Services, which speaks to this conundrum. Fernandes was a private school teacher for 10 years before his dismissal. In the spring of 2009, Fernandes was supposed to submit grades for the April 2009 interim report card. He submitted grades that contained blanks and miscalculations. Fernandes was asked to resubmit the grades, but they still contained errors. Several extensions were provided to correct the grades. Eventually, Fernandes submitted 6 HR UPDATE SPRING 2017

Did the employee’s misconduct give rise to a breakdown in the employment relationship? “perfect” grades. An investigation revealed that some of the “perfect grades” were fabricated, some had been entered before the students had submitted the assignments and some were given for work that was never done. The school concluded Fernandes had committed academic fraud. Fernandes first denied his actions, but ultimately confessed. Fernandes was terminated for cause, effective immediately, for falsifying student records. Fernandes sued the school for wrongful dismissal. The trial judge concluded that the employment relationship was not irreparable, even though Mr. Fernandes lied to the court and admitted to miscalculating and falsifying grades and lying to the school about his actions. The trial judge found that Mr. Fernandes had been employed by the school for 10 years and was a well-regarded teacher with no deficiencies. Since the school had still sent out the incorrect marks to the parents on the interim report cards, those marks were not as serious to the school as they claimed. The trial judge balanced the various considerations and determined that termination was not the appropriate sanction and outweighed the seriousness of the infraction. This case told us that an assessment of the context of the alleged misconduct is required to determine whether termination with cause is warranted. Additionally, an employer must strike a balance between the severity of the misconduct and the

The school appealed the decision. The Ontario Court of Appeal found that the trial judge failed to properly assess the seriousness of the misconduct and overturned the trial decision. The court concluded that the school had cause to terminate Mr. Fernandes, stating: “Mr. Fernandes’ misconduct went far beyond mere negligence or incompetence. Failing to properly assign marks and evaluate student progress; falsifying students’ grades; repeatedly lying to his employer – these intentional acts constitute serious misconduct.” The court noted that the school had placed substantial trust in Mr. Fernandes to fairly and accurately assign grades to his students and that the intentional disregard for fair and accurate grading was incompatible with his professional obligations and an essential condition of his employment contract. The court also considered that Fernandes’ actions put the school at risk of losing its accreditation. The difference in outcome at the trial level and appeal level applying the same test to the same facts highlights the risks in pursuing a termination for cause. To further highlight the difficulty in determining a safe course of action, at the appeal level there was a dissenting judgment which agreed with the conclusions of the trial judge.


A checklist for employers STEP 1: DETERMINE THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE MISCONDUCT What has the employee allegedly done? Is there evidence and how strong is it? Consider: •

Does the employee admit to the misconduct?

Is there documentary evidence proving the misconduct?

Is there a first-hand witness to the misconduct? Do I have a written statement?

Is the witness credible? Do I believe them?

Does the employee have an explanation?

Has the employee been warned not to engage in the type of misconduct at issue?

If not, is it sufficiently clear in a policy/contract/code of conduct or other document of which the employee is aware, that engaging in the type of misconduct at issue could result in immediate dismissal for cause?

Has there been progressive discipline for this type of misconduct? What about for other types of misconduct?


What is the employee’s position and how many years of service does he/she have?

Should the employee be held to a higher standard as a result of his/ her position/length of service/ specialized training?

Are there any mitigating circumstances that should be taken into account?

Has the behaviour been condoned or overlooked in the past?

Has the employee apologized and taken responsibility?

Is there any room for rehabilitation?

WEIGHING YOUR OPTIONS While the law certainly provides a framework that can be followed, the bottom line is employers need to think strategically. Ask yourself: • Is the risk and uncertainty associated with asserting cause worth it? • Will you and your business be better off simply making a deal, saving time, money and resources, as well as controlling risk? In all cases, we recommend that employers work with their lawyer and managers to figure out their risk tolerance in each particular case. If you make it less about the law and more about the business challenge, you will have more control of the outcome.


How serious is the misconduct (considering the context explored above)?

Aaron Rubinoff is co-chairman and partner in the litigation group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall. Falon Milligan is an associate in the law firm’s litigation group.

Is there any other form of discipline that would sufficiently address the misconduct at issue?






he reintegration of employees into the workplace following a period of disability-related absences can be challenging. Various barriers may create obstacles to an employee’s smooth return to the workplace. These include changes in the workplace during the employee’s absence, the types of restrictions to be accommodated and the level of co-operation between the workplace parties and the health professionals treating the employee. Furthermore, this process must be consistent with legislative obligations under the Human Rights Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. A successful return to work requires the collaboration between the employee, the management team and health professionals. It is vital that each party understand its role within the process. The employee must be open to sharing information with the employer regarding his or her functional abilities and collaborate in establishing an accommodation plan that fits

his or her needs – even if it’s not the perfect solution. The union also has a duty to collaborate with the workplace parties to explore options that fit the needs of the individual employee. The employer must identify the essential duties and responsibilities of the position held by the employee and craft detailed medical information requests to enable the management team to evaluate the restrictions in order to find accommodative solutions. The role of the health professionals is to provide detailed information regarding the limitations and restrictions created by the disability to enable management to assess whether the work availability can be modified to fit these needs. Many conflicts arise when employees resist proposed accommodation offers that fall short of their best-case scenario, or when health professionals attempt to dictate how the work will be performed.

CO-ORDINATOR Particularly in complex cases, employers should consider the appointment of a coordinator

to act as the point of contact for the employer with the absent employee and his or her health professionals to assist in the return-to-work process. The co-ordinator should be someone who has experience and in-depth understanding of the accommodation process and is able to guide management in its duty to accommodate. The co-ordinator is responsible for maintaining a file with respect to the disability management process and to ensure that it remains confidential. The co-ordinator should be able to either prepare – or work with others in the organization to prepare – a job-task analysis that outlines the employee’s essential functions, their frequency and the availability of modifications to meet the particular accommodative needs of the employee. This step is vital to ensure that the employee returns to productive work that is operationally required, rather than a “make-work” project.

FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY EVALUATION An employer can request more than a cursory medical note. In cases of prolonged absences, prior to the employee’s return to work, an employer – with the written consent of the employee – should co-ordinate with the health professionals to obtain a detailed functional capacity evaluation. The FCE serves as an objective tool by which to measure an employee’s abilities and restrictions to facilitate a safe return to work. Human rights tribunals and courts have repeatedly confirmed that the accommodation process must be tailored to the particular circumstances of the employment parties.

Depending on the type of restrictions, some employees may be capable of a return to regular hours of work with modifications of tasks, whereas others will require a work-hardening process whereby their hours of work and tasks will be increased over a period of many weeks. It is essential that the accommodation process be documented at every step along the way to establish that the procedural duty of exploring options has been met. Further, pursuant to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, employers with 50 or more employees are required to develop individualized accommodation plans for employees returning to work, or already being accommodated in the workplace. As a best practice, all employers ought to develop a written return-to-work plan. Such a plan should outline temporary or permanent functional limitations and corresponding modified duties. Importantly, the plan should document all steps and modifications already implemented or projected to assist the employee to return to work.

KEEP AN OPEN CHANNEL Once a plan has been implemented, it is important to consider periodic reviews, particularly where the restrictions are not permanent and improvements are expected as the employee slowly takes on increased duties. These reviews should also be documented and any challenges or barriers should be noted and solutions proposed to ensure a continued successful return to work. Caroline Richard is managing partner at Bird Richard.

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Employment Standards: The right tools can help you avoid fines & penalties Q: Why are employment standards so important to both payroll and HR? A: Employment and labour standards are constantly changing. Even in the past few months, four provinces have proposed or passed legislation to amend their employment and labour standards. Such changes affect employers and employees — workflows are impacted, payroll and HR processes and systems are affected, and risk of audits and fines is increased. Q: What does employment standards cover? A: Employment standards cover a range of issues, everything from overtime and vacation payment to medical and compassionate care leave. In Ontario, any contravention of the Employment Standards Act carries a penalty of up to $100,000. In the last two years the number of bosses facing prosecution has increased 40%, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour. Q: What can be done to prevent fines and penalties? A: It is important for payroll and HR professionals in every organization to stay up-to-date on ever-changing employment standards. Seminars, webinars, and online resources are all available through the Canadian Payroll Association. For more information on the Canadian Payroll Association’s ‘Employment Standards’ seminar and more than 20 other payroll-related Professional Development Seminars, or to register online, visit




ccommodation in the workplace often presents complex operational challenges. Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that the duty to accommodate rests on three sets of shoulders: the employee, the employer and, if applicable, the union. Each party to the accommodation process has their own role and responsibilities. To better fulfil your role in any potential accommodation process, it is important to understand the legal obligations that fall upon each party.

re-bundled format; If core duties are not possible, look to see whether the employee can perform the duties of another position as presently organized and if any such positions are available; and If no such alternate positions are tenable or available, consider whether the worker could perform work in another role in a modified or re-bundled format. As they work through the accommodation THE EMPLOYER process, employers should be mindful that It’s the employer who leads the process if they lack enough information to make a once they become aware of the need for proper assessment, it is reasonable to involve accommodation. the employee (or the union) in the search for THE EMPLOYEE This reflects the reality that the employer, accommodation. In most cases, the employee will of all three parties, has the most control For example, this might take the form of be responsible for initiating the over the operation and organization of seeking additional details of the requirements accommodation process. There is no the workplace. Employers are expected to for a religious observation. Employers mandatory method for how an employee make inquires to understand the underlying should also be mindful that the search for may make an accommodation request; such need for accommodation and then, as one accommodation has limits. There is typically requests can be made formally or informally. commentator has put it, “imaginatively no requirement for an employer to create Once the request for accommodation is assess any and all reasonable possibilities.” unproductive work. Nor will it generally made, the employee’s job is not done. Rather, In terms of process, there are four major be necessary to displace another employee after raising the need for accommodation, steps that employers will need to take: (without their consent) from an existing employees have two key ongoing duties. Assess whether the employee can position. First, employees must be available fulfil his or her job duties, as presently Finally, employers are not required to to respond to requests for additional constructed, in light of the underlying undertake an accommodation that would information (such as functional limitations grounds asserted for accommodation; create an undue hardship for the organization in the case of disability accommodation) and If the employee cannot perform his or – due to exorbitant cost, for example – being provide input on suggested accommodations her current duties, examine whether core job mindful, of course, that this is quite a high as the employer canvasses available options. duties can be performed in a modified or threshold to reach.

Second, employees must accept reasonable accommodation. They are not entitled to their preferred, or a “perfect” accommodation. If an employer puts together a plan that adequately addresses the employee’s restrictions, employees cannot simply reject the proposal without risk of being found at law to have failed to cooperate in the accommodation process.




06 /08 /17





Employers are not required to undertake an accommodation that would create an undue hardship for the organization.

In the accommodation process, unions are something of a hybrid entity. As with employers, unions can refuse an accommodation if it would create an undue hardship for its other members. As with employees, unions generally cannot insist upon perfect accommodation if an employer has presented a reasonable proposal. Beyond this, unions must be alert to their own duties in the accommodation process. These include answering good-faith inquiries and requests for information made upon the union and not blocking reasonable accommodation proposals made by the employer. Unions must also remain cognizant that depending on the nature of the underlying request for accommodation, a heightened duty of care may arise visà-vis its employee member with respect to the successful discharge of the union’s duty of fair representation. To put in place a successful accommodation plan, all parties to the process must do their part. Failure by any one party can derail the process and, in the worst cases, result in subsequent liability. All parties are well advised to keep an open mind, ensure ongoing communication and work collaboratively to reach a practical solution. Andrew Vey is an employment and labour lawyer as well as a founding partner at Vey Willetts LLP.

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us with respect to your employment with the company, and no other representations, negotiations or conditions, either verbal or written, shall be of any force or effect.” STATUTORY MINIMUMS SAVING PROVISION: “It is understood and agreed that all provisions of this agreement are subject to the minimum requirements of the ESA, such that if an employment standard as defined in the ESA provides for a greater right or benefit than any provision of this agreement, then you will be provided with your minimum entitlement under the ESA in lieu of your contractual entitlement.”

Clauses to consider when tabling a job offer


hen it comes to drafting an employment agreement, what are some of the most important things for an employer to include? The following are examples of recommended terms to include in your company’s employment agreements. The language suggested is not necessarily the only acceptable language, but employers should be careful to ensure that any language used has been reviewed by legal counsel. In addition, it should be remembered that the question of what constitutes acceptable language changes from time to time and, as a result, even the most well-drafted employment agreement should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Proper provisions for termination of employment are also critical, but that topic is enough for its own paper and are not covered here. In no particular order, employers should consider including some or all of the following provisions in their employment agreements:

BONUS: “No bonus shall be paid after the date of notice of termination, even if you are otherwise in receipt of notice or entitled to payments in lieu of notice, except if required under the ESA, in which case any earned bonus it will be calculated on a pro-rata basis to the end of the ESA notice period only.”

COUNTERPARTS AND DIGITAL TRANSMISSION: “This Agreement may be executed in counterparts and delivered by electronically or digitally, each of which shall be deemed an original and all of which together shall constitute one and the same instrument.”

VACATION: “You will be entitled to <x> weeks of vacation with pay during each complete year of your employment, earned on a pro rata basis. The first two weeks of same constitute statutory vacation under the ESA (“statutory vacation”) and any additional vacation granted constitutes excess vacation (“excess vacation”). Your vacation will generally be taken at such times as is most convenient, considering the demands of the business of the company and your personal plans, although the company may require you to take unused CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL: “In the vacation as permitted under the ESA. Although event of any fundamental changes to your you are expected to use your full vacation employment, you will be given notice of same in allotment in the calendar year in which it is accordance with and limited to the provisions of earned, you may carry forward your statutory the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (Ontario), vacation provided that you use it within 10 as amended from time to time (the “ESA”), and months of the year in which it was earned. Any any such changes will not constitute constructive unused excess vacation will automatically be dismissal.” forfeited without any entitlement to vacation pay.” TEMPORARY LAY-OFF: “If circumstances arise where the company has a temporary CONTRACT TO REMAIN BINDING shortage of work for you, you acknowledge NOTWITHSTANDING SUBSEQUENT that may be subject to a temporary lay-off in PROMOTIONS: “This agreement will remain accordance with the provisions of the ESA binding upon you notwithstanding subsequent and that any such temporary lay-off will not promotions, changes to compensation and constitute constructive dismissal.” changes in responsibilities and duties, unless both parties agree otherwise in writing.”

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Even the most welldrafted employment agreement should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COVENANTS OR SIDE AGREEMENT: While too lengthy to include in this article, all employers should have confidential information and intellectual property provisions in their employment agreements. Alternatively, separate side agreements dealing with confidential information and intellectual property should be entered into by employees. ENTIRE AGREEMENT PROVISION: “By accepting this offer of employment, you agree that the terms and conditions set out herein constitute the entire agreement between

SEVERABILITY: “The various parts, paragraphs, phrases and sentences in the agreement are severable and if any paragraph, phrase, sentence or identifiable part is held to be invalid, void or unenforceable by any court, tribunal or other body or person of competent jurisdiction, this shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining provisions or identifiable parts.” Confirmation of legal advice: “I have read and understood the terms of employment set out above. I have consulted the adviser of my choice or I have considered the terms of my employment set out above and have decided not to seek advice. I voluntarily accept and agree to abide by the terms of employment with the company, as set out in this agreement.” ESA poster: “Attached for your review is a copy of a document entitled “Employment Standards in Ontario”, which is required to be delivered to all employees pursuant to the provisions of the ESA.” ESA requirements: “In making this offer we are relying on your confirmation that you have completed Worker and Supervisor Health & Safety Awareness training as required under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (Ontario) or will complete same immediately upon commencing employment with the Company. Please provide us with a copy of your certificate of completion within one (1) week of commencing employment.” Catherine Coulter is an employment and privacy lawyer at Dentons Canada LLP.

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Closing the Talent – Opportunity Gap Immigrants are a vital part of Ottawa’s cultural and economic fabric: Almost one quarter of Ottawa’s population is foreign-born and that percentage is expected to increase in the coming years. Immigrants settling in Ottawa are highly educated, representing about 27 per cent of the labour force with a post-secondary education. Couple that with the mass retirement of the baby boomer generation and it is clear that tapping into the diverse pool of immigrant talent is crucial to our economic future. For three years running the Ottawa Business Growth Survey has shown that access to skills is the main challenge facing local businesses. And yet, immigrants remain more likely to work in jobs not commensurate with their skill levels and training. There is a gap between talent and opportunity. The global marketplace for talent is heating up. Given this reality, the necessity for employers to tap into as broad and diverse a labour pool has never been greater. Today’s workplaces must be inclusive and committed to fair and equitable hiring practices. Such organizations will be well positioned to integrate immigrant hires and ensure they are primed for success. We know that employers who diversify their workforce are better able to attract and retain top talent, better understand a diverse customer base, expand markets, enhance productivity, and so much more. Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) has for the past 10 years provided Ottawa businesses and employers the tools and resources to enhance their diversity and inclusion strategies to better hire and integrate immigrant talent into their workplaces. We invite all local employers to join us in this work. Co-Chairs, HIO Employer Council of Champions, Gaye Moffet, Founder and CEO, GEM Health Care Services Inc. Frank Bilodeau, Vice-President, Scotiabank, Ottawa and West Quebec District Learn more at


The harsh reality of workplace investigations

individuals. What is workplace harassment? In Ontario, provincial legislation defines workplace harassment as when a person engages in a course of vexatious comments or conduct against another worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. What is not workplace harassment? Reasonable management action, taken in a reasonable way, is not workplace harassment. While there are lots of awkward and somewhat inept managers, this does not automatically mean that such individuals are harassing their employees. A manager or supervisor may take reasonable management action to effectively direct and control the able to admit it or not. way work is carried out. It is reasonable The prudent employer will be proactively for managers and supervisors to allocate working to avoid allegations of harassment work and give feedback on their employees’ in their workplace. An employer must performance. educate their employees on harassment, These actions are not harassment if they know what is and what is not appropriate are carried out in a lawful and reasonable behaviour in the workplace as well as hold way. A manager exercising their legitimate people accountable when and if they engage authority at work may result in some in questionable workplace conduct. Turning discomfort for a worker. a blind eye may only make things worse. Differences of opinion and In most circumstances, workplace disagreements are generally not the same harassment does not involve just a single thing as workplace harassment. People incident. It is often what I refer to as “death can have differences or disagreements in by a thousand paper cuts” – repeated the workplace that would not typically be incidents that may look like innocent acts characterized as harassment, although both or oversights in isolation. But over time, parties may have passionate opinions on the cumulation of these incidents leaves a a certain subject. However, in some cases nasty residual aftertaste and creates a pattern conflict that is not managed may escalate of offensive and unwelcome behaviour to the point where it becomes workplace targeted at certain individuals or a class of harassment.



orkplace culture continues to evolve. In recent years there has been a greater focus on creating healthy workplaces in an attempt to not only create a more positive professional experience, but also in an effort to curb the rising number and length of disability leave and reduce employee turnover. In conjunction with the legislative amendments to the Ontario Health and Safety Act, employers and employees are experiencing a rising number of complaints regarding harassment in the workplace. What does this mean for the parties involved? By the time an individual gets to the point where they are deciding whether or not to submit a formal harassment complaint, the workplace has already been severely affected, whether the employer is




09 /14 /17

What is the impact of workplace harassment? People are generally reticent to accuse a co-worker or employer of intentionally trying to cause them distress or humiliation. The individual who is the target of the harassment will often condone the questionable behaviour or even make excuses for the person, sometimes for years. Victims of harassment are concerned that they may be ridiculed, marginalized or destroy their career if they talk about their concerns. They do not want to be the one to cause any trouble. Studies show 40 per cent of harassed individuals never tell their employers. Additionally, 62 per cent of employers who are told ignore the problem, hoping that it will stop on its own, not knowing what to do or normalizing this damaging behaviour. What is always surprising is the extent to which other people are aware of the harassment, even when the victim has not talked about it directly. During investigations, witnesses regularly describe how they could not believe the target employee “put up with that.” Witnesses will often talk about feeling uncomfortable by the harasser’s actions or attitude, but uncertain as to how to respond or how to correct the harasser in the moment. They describe not wanting to get involved and not wanting to inadvertently make the victim’s humiliation public. It is that age-old quandary: Do I tell my friend about the state of his zipper or the green stuff in his tooth? Will it make if better or worse if I shine a light on this? Will he be upset if I point out the situation? Often people choose to say nothing. Perhaps as Canadians we are just too used to being nice. Being nice has effected a high price on many Canadian workplaces. Forty per cent of Canadian workers say they experience bullying on a weekly basis. The experience is not all that different in the U.S. In a more recent 2014 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, just over onequarter of adult Americans (27 per cent) said they directly experienced abusive conduct at work. The best way to deal with harassment and bullying in the workplace is the subject of much debate. However, one school of thought is that the only way to effectively manage harassment in the workplace is to nip it in the bud, before it becomes an acceptable and often contagious negative influence in the workplace. One way to achieve this is to teach people to learn to recognize it and encourage others to step up when they see harassment or a pattern of behaviour that would reasonably be known to be unwelcome. In the alternative, employers must take their obligations under the Ontario Health and Safety Act seriously and conduct unbiased investigations to shed light on concerns raised by workers. Even the best of investigations will have an impact on the workplace, parties may become polarized and conflicting interests and opinions can become sticking points. Oftentimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, a lengthy or involved investigation can leave scorched earth in its wake. To avoid this where possible, here are some key points when commencing an investigation:



ENSURE PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS You need to ensure the investigation is fair to both sides and the findings unbiased. All parties involved must be aware of the allegations, all relevant evidence, and given every opportunity to defend themselves.

SELECT INVESTIGATORS CAREFULLY Ensure the investigator you choose will eliminate any appearance of bias or conflict of interest and may bring a fresh perspective.


What is always surprising is the extent to which other people are aware of the harassment, even when the victim has not talked about it directly.


All complaints, whether formal or informal, must be treated seriously and acted upon in a timely manner. While some delay is reasonable, employers should be acting within 90 days of any concern.

FOLLOW ALL INTERNAL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES CAREFULLY Human resource professionals, employees and investigators must understand and ensure that investigative procedures are clearly stated and followed closely.

PROTECT AGAINST BIAS OR AN APPREHENSION OF BIAS The neutral investigator must have no connection to any of the parties, and the employer must always ensure the investigation is unbiased. The employer must define the mandate and direction of the investigation in advance and in writing.

GATHER ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION All relevant witnesses must be interviewed and all relevant documents provided.

GUARD CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY Consider everything to be confidential. Individually brief the parties and immediately address any possible disclosures.

DOCUMENT INVESTIGATION AND FINDINGS Proper documentation is essential to ensure accurate evidence. Take notes to document witness and party interviews. Protect against retaliation toward either the complainant or others. Ensure there is no retaliation, no matter how subtle, against complainants or anyone else co-operating with the investigation.

ADVISE OF THE OUTCOME AND REMEDIAL STEPS Inform both the complainant and respondent in writing and whether or not the allegations have been substantiated and, where appropriate, what if any steps are being taken to avoid further complaints of this nature. Ella Forbes-Chilibeck is a lawyer at Forbes Chilibeck Employment Law.


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Insights into the impact of economic trends on HR best practices

How does an organization protect its employer brand in a fluctuating economy? Outside influences such as rising operational costs, increases in corporate taxes, and lack of available operating capital can have adverse effects on an organization’s ability to support its facilities and staff. In today’s business climate, companies are forced to flex with the times, and are often disparaged when employees lose their jobs. However, there are ways to limit liability, protect the employer brand, and provide support and hope for displaced employees. Having a contemporary outplacement provider as a partner has proven to improve alumni employee sentiment by enabling exiting employees to find their new beginnings 60% faster than average. While organizations can’t control the economic environments around them, making good decisions about what services to offer impacted employees will help preserve reputations and show your community that you are living out your stated values. While economy ebbs and flows, companies should remain wellpositioned to rehire the best talent. What should HR departments consider when managing a growing number of part-time employees? Last year, Canada’s job market was propelled by part-time work. The trend was fueled by a weakened economy and industries susceptible to downturns. Companies operating on the edge of workforce reductions are particularly vulnerable to negative employer brand image and financial and legal consequences. In these circumstances, it’s particularly important for organizations to recognize the importance of carefully transitioning employees in and out of the company. Organizations facing economic uncertainty will want to create a positive flow and experiences for employees who may join the company, only to be dismissed and then rehired at a future date. Offering smooth transitions through outplacement and redeployment solutions is one way to protect the employer brand and remain in good standing with a fluid workforce.


HRPA Ottawa Photo Gallery Check out additional photos from our recent events.


WHO WILL BE REPLACED BY A ROBOT? What business and HR leaders need to know


s the barriers between man and machine continue to dissolve, how work gets done and who does it will continue to change dramatically. To prepare for this significant revolution, business and HR leaders need to understand how to leverage technology to replace or complement the human workforce in order to improve productivity and business results. They also need to be prepared to manage the impact of change associated with the changing nature of work and the workforce.

HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN AFFECT JOBS Technology has the ability to have a positive impact on jobs in three ways, each of which provide potential costs savings as well as opportunities to better leverage human workers.

REPLACING HUMAN WORKERS The first way that organizations can use technology to improve the outcome of a specific job function is by completely replacing

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Even at the CEO level, up to 20% of job tasks can be automated.

For example, at Lee Hecht Harrison we have developed an artificial intelligence based certain jobs with technology. chatbot called Ella, designed to automate a very In these situations, organizations completely labour-intensive task in the job search process automate most or all of the tasks associated – the research and identification of available with a particular role. The workforce is either jobs. This allows job seekers to spend more reduced or people are reallocated to highertime on higher-value job search activities such value jobs. For example, driverless trucks are as networking. now able to deliver goods to customers. In the Another example of using technology to short term, drivers will still be in the truck, but improve the performance for certain tasks of a they spend their time doing paperwork and job can be found in the luxury industry, where other higher-value activities rather than driving. artisans now use computers and digital cutting Another example of jobs that have been tools to cut out patterns on raw materials such replaced by technology can be seen in retail as fabric or leather. organizations and hotels that are turning to The artisan oversees the layout and laser life-like robots to greet guests and perform cutting, and uses their expertise only to ensure certain service-oriented duties, such as that abnormalities in the material do not affect concierge. While using robots to replace human the quality of the item. This technique has workers is not new, in the past the types of significantly reduced the amount of wasted jobs that were replaced were usually physically raw materials and improves the artisan’s intensive. In today’s world of advanced artificial productivity. intelligence, machine learning and robotics, more knowledge or customer service jobs are ENHANCING EMPLOYEE being affected. PERFORMANCE Finally, organizations are also using technology AUTOMATING SPECIFIC TASKS tools to specifically enhance or supercharge the OF A JOB performance of human workers. For example, The second way organizations are changing IBM Watson (a cognitive-based computer) is jobs is by using technology to automate certain being used by physicians to identify the best tasks. In this scenario, other tasks associated cancer treatment at an individual patient level. with the specific job are still performed by a Watson combines attributes from the human worker and, in some cases, the worker patient’s file with clinical expertise, external may supervise the completion of the automated research and data before identifying potential tasks. Organizations may consider automation treatment plans for a patient that the doctor as an option in effort to: may not have otherwise been aware of. The Complete certain tasks more quickly or doctor then considers the treatment options accurately; provided by Watson and makes a final decision Eliminate low-value or unenjoyable work, for the individual patient. and free up time for higher-value work; Reduce the number of human workers WHAT LEADERS NEED TO DO required; and/or While many of these changes to the nature of Increase overall productivity of the human work have already begun, the pace of change worker. will only increase. Leaders need to think @OttawaHRPA • THE HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION OTTAWA CHAPTER PUBLICATION

about how this next revolution – one where the barriers between man and machine are eliminated – will affect their organizations and identify what they can do to capitalize on the opportunity. Leaders must first understand the types of jobs that exist at all levels of their organization. They then need to look at the tasks associated with each job to understand the capabilities required to complete them as well as the time spent on each task. They can then start to identify jobs and activities that could be helped by technology. It may be tempting to only look at lowerlevel jobs, but research by companies such as McKinsey has shown that even at the CEO level, up to 20 per cent of job tasks can be automated to produce better results. After identifying potential jobs or tasks, the feasibility and business value of using technology to change the way the work gets done must be considered. Leaders need to answer questions such as: • Is technology to replace the job or automate tasks readily available? • How easy/hard is it to find the IT talent to implement the technology? • How much will technology cost (versus the cost of human workers)? • What is the longer-term viability of the job or task? Are there changes occurring in the market that would eliminate the need for the job altogether? • What are the regulatory implications? • How easily would technology be accepted? What are the social implications of making the change? It is important for leaders to remember that although technology may improve productivity or performance for certain jobs or tasks, it still may not deliver significant business value. There are some jobs where meeting a certain standard of performance is good enough, and exceeding the standard has little or no positive impact on business results or brand reputation. For example, as part of their job a pilot has to land a plane. The performance expected is a safe landing that complies to regulations and company standards. Investing in technology to eliminate 100 per cent of the bumps on landing would not provide any significant return to an airline, because passengers really only care that they have landed safely.

DON’T FORGET THE HUMANS While many organizations focus solely on how technology can improve job performance, it is important for leaders to remember that performance can also be improved by continuing to invest in developing the more human skills and knowledge that are less likely to be replaced by technology. These include creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and agility/flexibility. For example, teaching employees how to apply creative thinking techniques to solve problems or generate ideas for innovation can also have a positive impact on business results and drive growth. By taking a balanced approach, leaders will be able to ensure humans and machines can work together to achieve better results than either could achieve on their own. Michelle Moore is the vice-president and national practice lead of the executive career solutions group at LHH Knightsbridge.

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interacting with customers and the logistics of programs such as in-store pickup has been covered as part of their collaboration. Ms. Iouguina says the Shopify employees who came into the store were experiencing this side of commerce for the first time. “A lot of them that were working on the point-of-sale didn’t understand retail,” she says. “Sheba lives it every day of her life.” Though Shopify has similar partnerships with other retailers, one of the things Ms. Iouguina values most about her relationship with Ms. Schmidt is getting access to the store owner’s meetings with suppliers, where she decides what stock she’ll be carrying for that season. Shopify is rarely privy to these types of discussions, yet they have a monumental impact on stores’ operations. “That’s visibility that’s very hard to get,” Ms. Iouguina says. On the other side of the coin, not only does Ms. Schmidt get a hand in crafting the solutions she’s using, but she’s visited the Shopify headquarters multiple times and gotten a peek inside the e-commerce giant’s inner workings. “It still is a wonderful learning experience on both ends,” says Ms. Schmidt. Mastering the world of e-commerce is increasingly important for West End Kids, and the results speak for themselves. Ms. Schmidt says that from 2007 to 2014, her yearly revenues from the online portion of her business topped out at $85,000. Since switching to Shopify, that number has soared to $230,000. This dramatic growth likely cannot be attributed entirely to Shopify’s influence, but Ms. Schmidt says the need for an online presence can no longer be ignored, and she’s been encouraging fellow retailers to get on Shopify’s Alena Iouguina (left) with West End Kids owner Sheba Schmidt. Photo by Mark Holleron the platform. “Any brick-and-mortar business that doesn’t have an online presence, they should just shut their doors,” she says. Her priorities have shifted accordingly. Ms. Schmidt says she’s no longer selling on the floor, save for winter weekends. Today, her focus is entirely online, and her partnership with Shopify is a reflection of that. Shifting millennial shopping habits, for example, is an egg that both Shopify and West End Kids must crack. “Shopify is growing with us. That’s what I love about them,” Ms. Schmidt says. Ms. Iouguina believes Shopify’s approach avoids the fatal flaws many businesses exhibit: a bit of arrogance and an unwillingness to ask for help. hopify markets itself as an Ottawa, for 22 years. A decade ago, she who headed a few kilometres west from “It’s okay to recognize that you don’t have e-commerce solution, the simple added an online store to supplement her Shopify’s downtown headquarters to learn the expertise and find the people who can storefront that allows its merchants brick-and-mortar location on Richmond more about using Shopify from the retailer’s give you the expertise,” she says. to sell everything from coffee to electronics Road. When she switched to using a perspective. “I think one of the mistakes highto clothing, all online. In short, it powers Shopify platform in 2014, she frankly wasn’t Thus began a partnership that would tech companies make is that they assume online retail. impressed by the e-commerce darling. benefit both Shopify and West End Kids, and everything revolves around them. That’s not What’s not as explicit is what goes into “I don’t think they knew what they were a working relationship between Ms. Schmidt the reality at all. Shopify is a small puzzle Shopify’s products: its software, services and doing, to be honest,” she says. The system and Ms. Iouguina that would blossom into a piece in the big, complex world of retail. even the point-of-sale hardware unveiled failed to take into account the cost of goods, fast friendship. It’s not just Shopify contributing to the just last month at the Ottawa-based firm’s for example, and demonstrated a lack of Since that first meeting, about 15 Shopify businesses, it’s the businesses contributing to annual Unite conference. awareness about the needs of real-world employees – product managers, engineers, Shopify.” How do Shopify employees know what retail, she says. designers – have been through West End While hundreds of thousands of merchants need when they’re designing The year West End Kids switched to Kids, receiving a crash course in brick-andmerchants’ websites proudly boast that these products? Westboro business owner a Shopify store was the same year Alëna mortar retail. they’re “powered by Shopify,” the reality is Sheba Schmidt tells them. Iouguina began as a user-experience Ms. Schmidt, a schoolteacher by trade, the Ottawa e-commerce firm is powered by Ms. Schmidt has owned West End Kids, researcher with the firm. When Ms. Schmidt takes great joy in showing the employees the small retailers it seeks to serve. the sole children’s-only clothing store in voiced her concerns, it was Ms. Iouguina her workflow. Everything from inventory to — Craig Lord

Ottawa kids’ clothing store gives e-commerce giant Shopify some brick-and-mortar lessons S




Three tips to get managers talking M

anagers spend 60 to 90 per cent of their time talking, according to Henry Mintzberg, a business and management academic from McGill University. Much of that time is spent with employees. So let’s help managers make the most of their everyday conversations.

SPEAK TO THE EMOTIONAL GATEKEEPER WITHIN EACH EMPLOYEE Have you ever played the lottery? Just imagine for a minute that you won $50 million. How do you feel? Did you have to think about how winning would make you feel? No, the feeling was spontaneous. Our emotions remember past experiences. They act like a gatekeeper who filters what the brain hears. Emotional responses are milliseconds faster than thinking responses. We feel before we can think. Neuroscience has proven you can’t choose to be unemotional any more than you can choose to live without breathing. Expecting employees to be unemotional is an old-fashioned way of thinking. It’s time to speak to the emotional gatekeeper within each employee.

THE FOUR SPARKS OF SUCCESS (Conversation Matrix) Benefit to Manager Valuable Team Member (Oxytocin) Gives employee social trust Prompt: “You’re an asset to our team.”

Efforts Rewarded (Dopamine) Gives employee boost to finish Prompt: “Keep up the good work.”



Personal Recognition (Serotonin) Helps employee feel valued Prompt: “We’re pleased with your work.”

Take Risk (Endorphin) Helps employee to take risk Prompt: “Go for it. You have our support.” PASSION


opinion that is perceived as fact. Here’s a key insight: Employees don’t just want feedback – their brains are hardwired to need it. It’s no wonder employee engagement rates double when staff receive regular manager feedback. According to Loretta Graziano Breuning, author of Habits of a Happy Brain, “You may not think you are focused on survival, BE CAREFUL YOU DON’T MISTAKE but when you worry about being late for a AN EMPLOYEE’S NEED FOR meeting or eating the wrong food, (that is) REASSURANCE WITH THE DESIRE your survival brain … at work. “ FOR RECOGNITION Words, specifically verbal conversations, Advice on how to talk to employees is often are a lightning rod to employees’ emotions. viewed as optional, unlike a legal or financial Much like a spark, the feeling of success can

be over in a flash. Our brains are wired to crave the high of successful survival again and again. Think of it as an emotional gas gauge that only accepts premium feedback – which strikes an emotional chord – to fill the tank.

A LITTLE FEEDBACK TO EMPLOYEES CAN OFFER A BIG PAYOFF FOR MANAGERS So, what happens when your brain gets the reaffirmation it craves? It releases one of four neurochemicals that feel wonderful. Employees need to feel these “highs” at work and they look to their managers to make this happen. The Four Sparks of Success (see table) is a guide for managers to achieve more success in everyday conversation with their employees. All four needs are wired into every human brain. Some are more meaningful to our personal success than others, depending on our own life experience. Janet Hueglin Hartwick is a speaker and author at Conversations@Work. This article is an abridged version of a presentation given at the HRPA Ottawa Dine & Learn event on March 23.


Building a great company takes a great team Hydro Ottawa a Top Employer 9 years running


hat does it take to be named a Top Employer not once, not twice, but nine times in a row? Offer an exceptional place to work, and help employees build their careers. Embrace a company culture that emphasizes innovation and sustainability, community outreach and volunteering. Offering an exceptional place to work makes good business sense. Engaged employees – those who feel their work makes a meaningful contribution and that their employer cares – will be more productive and loyal. Engagement helps build and retain the skilled workforce of the future. The team at Hydro Ottawa 18 HR UPDATE SPRING 2017

knows a few things about being a destination employer. Last month, the organization was named for the ninth year in a row as one of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers. This annual competition is organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. “Our workforce is our greatest strength,” said Bryce Conrad, President and CEO of Hydro Ottawa. “I take great pride in how our employees serve the community on a daily basis – from delivering reliable power to making our community more sustainable. This recognition would not be possible without our dedicated team who put the customer at the centre of everything they do.”


HERE ARE SOME OF THE REASONS WHY HYDRO OTTAWA IS A TOP EMPLOYER: • Maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 90 per cent of salary for up to 25 weeks) and parental top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (to 90 per cent of salary for up to 10 weeks) -- additionally, Hydro Ottawa offers a generous subsidy for in-vitro fertilization for parents-to-be. • A Community Investment program to support communities in which Hydro Ottawa operates. It encourages employees to give back by providing paid time off to volunteer and by matching

employee donations. • Tuition subsidies for employees to take job-related courses, and an academic scholarship program for children of employees. • A Diversity Council (which has launched groups like a Youth Council, Accessibility Committee and Pride Network) that advises on how the company can continue to drive progress on diversity and inclusion. • A partnership with Algonquin College that leverages the strengths of its seasoned workers and retirees to deliver a two-year Powerline

Technician Diploma Program. • An award-winning ‘Prime Time’ initiative that engages older workers and retirees by keeping them connected to the organization, thereby ensuring the transfer of valuable knowledge from experienced employees to those starting their careers. What can your organization do to improve how it attracts and retains the diverse talent it needs to prosper, today and in the future? Learn more about the Top Employers program at ottawa



Why youth shouldn’t focus on jobs and careers


on’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them what problem they want to solve.” – Jaime Casap, Google Global Education Evangelist To prepare young people for the new world of work, we need to move away from considering only the available jobs and careers and shift our attention to the challenges, problems and opportunities that exist in the world.

Some of the most important challenges we will face in the future include redesigning the healthcare system, collecting and using big data as well as managing the planet’s waste, to name but a few. These opportunities have the potential to create meaningful work. By helping youth identify and understand these challenges, we are opening up their world and enabling them to make a significant contribution to the workplace.



Focusing on jobs during youth career development is a mistake. First off, most teenagers are only aware of a small fraction of all available jobs. Second, many of today’s jobs will change as new industries are created and others die. Third, several types of jobs are at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence or other emerging technologies. Therefore, instead of focusing on jobs, we need to help youth see the bigger picture: the challenges, problems and opportunities that exist in society and the world of work.

How can we help young people make this shift? Parents and professionals can help by boldly sharing the challenges they are currently working on. In addition, they can help students identify challenges they are interested in through guided exploration of current affairs, magazines and websites. Finally, teachers can help students connect the school projects they are working on with the associated challenges in the world of work. This simple shift will unlock new opportunities for young people entering the workforce. It offers a different way of looking at their environment and provides a powerful approach to preparing for success.

FOCUS ON CHALLENGES While jobs and careers are likely to change, the challenges we are trying to solve will remain. In fact, new challenges will emerge as our perspectives on certain issues evolve.

Jean-Philippe Michel is a career and leadership development specialist at SparkPath.

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Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge helps companies simplify the complexity associated with transforming their leadership and workforce so they can accelerate results, with less risk.

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As leaders in Talent and Leadership Development, Career Solutions and Executive, Interim and Mid-Level Search, we assist organizations in finding new talent, and helping their employees navigate change, become better leaders, develop better careers and transition into new jobs. We have the local expertise, global infrastructure, and industry leading technology and analytics required to simplify the complexity associated with executing critical talent and workforce initiatives, reducing brand and operational risk.

For more information, Ottawa office: Nancy Oakes Vice President, Business Development


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