Ottawa Business Journal Winter 2023

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04 Prospectus 05 Datebook 06 Stories to watch 2023: Check out our top 10 10 Tourism: ‘Adventure city’? 12 Real Estate: Office conversions explained 16 Bright Side of Business 19 What a party: Best Ottawa Business Awards 29 HR Update: Rise of the 15-minute ‘hood 37 EOBJ: She bakes, she scores! 49 Techopia: On the hunt for VC 57 61 The List: Real estate brokers 62 People on the Move CONTENTS
6 62 8 37 10 OBJNews @obj_news WINTER 2023 Vol. 24, NO. ottawabizjournal ottawa-business-journal TECHOPIA SEEKING VC P49 HR UPDATE 15-MIN ‘HOOD P29 OUR TOP 10 P6 BEST OTTAWA BUSINESS AWARDS DRAW LARGE CROWD TO CELEBRATE LUMINARIES P19
PRESIDENT Michael Curran CO-FOUNDER Mark Sutcliffe


Finding inspiration from the CEO of the Year

There was a remarkable bit of transparency and humility when Kyle Braatz took the podium to accept his CEO of the Year award for 2022. It came in the form of an anecdote from childhood sports.

“When I think back on my life, I’ve been extremely hard on myself. I’ll give you a little example. When I played hockey, I would get off the ice and come out of the dressing room and my dad would say, ‘Great game, Braatzy.’ I would respond that I was awful because of one pass that I missed. That’s all I could think about. My entire life I’ve felt that I’m not good enough and the things I do are not good enough.”

Not exactly what you expect to hear from the region’s top executive for 2022, especially someone who has scaled a company to almost 1,000 employees and more than US$600 million in annual revenue.

Braatz looped that anecdote back to his take on leadership. Standing before 600 business and community leaders at the Best Ottawa Business Awards, Braatz shared that it’s sometimes difficult to find the confidence to lead. What bolsters him is a north star. Instead of being solely motivated by money or power, Braatz said he is driven by a desire for positive change. That altruistic motivation allows him to lead from an authentic place and increases the likelihood that others will join the Fullscript mission.

As we enter the new year, it’s time for business leaders to take stock and set their sights on the horizon. The leadership equation

outlined by Braatz can serve as a model for others who want to lead and make an impact. These days, it’s easy to feel that our local, national and global challenges are insurmountable. Great leadership, admittedly a scarce commodity, can go a long way to rally good people to reframe problems and find solutions.

In 2023, let’s challenge local leaders to step up, find common ground and make headway on issues that confront us.

(Sueling Ching at the Ottawa Board of Trade likes to call it “radical collaboration.”) The local challenges are known: fixing the much maligned LRT system, finding a new vision for the downtown core, managing the complexity around the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats, securing a rebound in the local tourism and sustaining innovation in the technology sector.

Inspired leadership and this building momentum around “team Ottawa” could make 2023 more about solutions than problems.

So many roads we could take in 2023

Probably every holiday season when we reflect on the past and look to the future, we see an outgoing year of great change and a coming year of tremendous uncertainty. After all, seismic shifts in society, singular turning points in history, and issues of global import are nothing new.

So humour me when I suggest that the bridge between 2022 and 2023 seems particularly tenuous, fraught with potential missteps but also shored up with much promise.

In this edition of OBJ, we look at 10 stories to watch over the next many months. While it was not easy to keep the list to 10, these 10 stories jumped off the page in an unmistakable fashion.

Perhaps the biggest issue on the menu is how we will work together to reimagine this city we call Ottawa. Let’s be clear: the civil servants are not coming back, at least, not in the full-time, everyone-in-the-office way we knew. The HMS GoC has sailed. So, yikes, this leaves a yawning gap. It also exposes a twinkling array of possibilities. Who will step up to people the downtown with workers and professionals? What kind of new buildings and infrastructure can we create, both in the downtown core and in our suburbs? What kind of city can we become? With all the beautiful trappings that accompany almost any national capital, surely we can’t mess it up that badly.

Hopefully we can offer them more support than disparagement as they pick their way along.

Of course, at the fringes of our downtown issue and at the forefront of our national obsession with hockey is the future of LeBreton Flats. Let’s just hope it goes better than the last time — and possibly the time before that. Will a sparkling new sports venue be part of the downtown puzzle? It certainly seems that the stars are aligning for a stunning new development in this rubble-strewn lot.

And at the heart of the downtown issue is our complicated love/ hate relationship with the federal civil service. How will their plans for hybrid work pan out (grumble, grumble)? What will the future be for millions of square feet of office space divested by the federal government? Will it all be a wonderful environmental boon, or a vacant and haunting boondoggle? In this city of innovative and entrepreneurial citizens, surely we can do more to propose solutions rather than simply identify problems.

So what comes next? Well, that’s the big question — one that I’m sure we will all be waiting and watching to find out the answer. Or, even better, finding a way to make it happen, together.

Many of our top 10 stories are related to this theme. Undoubtedly, we will be watching every twitch and shiver of our new mayor and council. What path will they follow? What decisions will they make? What cow patties will they step in?



After celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, Forty Under 40 nominations for 2023 will soon open. The most sought-after award for young business and community leaders will accept nominations at Applicants will be ranked on a 40-point system, with up to 20 points for business accomplishment, 10 points for expertise and 10 points for community involvement. The nomination period will end in late March. Recipients will be selected in mid-April and celebrated at a gala in the third week of June. Do you know an outstanding young leader who is worthy of such recognition? Give them a nudge.


New year, new mayor and the kickoff of the 2023 Mayor’s Breakfast Series. This is a tradition dating back to the late 1990s that sees business and community leaders gather at city hall for an update from the mayor on important local issues and hear from a guest speaker. Over that time, guest speakers have included senior political leaders, Supreme Court of Canada chief justices, governors of the Bank of Canada, highprofile CEOs, artists, athletes and industry leaders. With a new mayor, tickets for the series will be in high demand. Visit and check out the events section.


The Book of Lists continues to be one of OBJ’s most popular publications. Even in this age of Google, nothing compares to the Book of Lists in terms of providing easy-to-access information on local business sectors, statistics and relevant data on Ottawa’s economy. Printed copies of the Book of Lists will hit the streets in February and the publication will have a launch party. Note: digital access to the 2023 issue will be limited to OBJ Insider members. Visit and click on “Become an insider” in the top-right corner for more information.

Also in February, look for an exciting new report from OBJ focused on the future of the local technology

sector. In partnership with EY, Techopia will launch a comprehensive publication that includes a feature on the 75th anniversary of the sector, profiles of nextgeneration tech firms and features on the state of affairs in venture capital and gender equity in technology. Keep your eyes peeled for this report in late February.



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but who will own the hockey team?

In November 2022, the Ottawa Senators confirmed that they have initiated a process to sell the hockey club, with the one condition that the team remain in town.

“This was a necessary and prudent step to connect with those deeply interested parties who can show us what their vision is for the future of the team,” said Sheldon Plener, chairman and governor of the Ottawa Senators, emphasizing that, “A condition of any sale will be that the team remains in Ottawa.”

Some valuations estimate the franchise’s worth at US$655 million, up more than 20 per cent over last year. Speculation is that some big-name local business leaders could be involved in the bidding for the team.

For example, Roger Greenberg, the executive chairman of the Minto Group and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, told local media in April his family would likely be a part of a new ownership team if the Senators were sold.

Give us the deets: The feds will shrink their real estate footprint in


If there was one overall theme to the 2022 Ottawa Real Estate Forum, it was the industry coming to grips with the reality that the federal public service, which occupies virtually half of all the office space in Ottawa (about 42 million square feet, both owned and leased) is not going to be re-occupying that office space at anywhere near the density of pre-pandemic levels.

The federal government reaffirmed that the scheduled rollout of its current workplace strategy, GCWorkplace, has been greatly accelerated by COVID. That strategy outlined a plan to reduce the overall government office space portfolio by as much as 30 per cent over 25 years.

Forum participants learned that the federal government expects to release a list of surplus government-owned properties that will be available for purchase and/ or partnership in redevelopment,

Stories to Watch in 2023

So, we could have a new sports arena at LeBreton Flats …

What do we know? Well, the National Capital Commission and a group led by the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey team signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2022 toward the development of a major event centre at LeBreton Flats.

Capital Sports Development Inc. (CSDI) proposes to build an NHL hockey arena and events venue surrounded by mixeduse development, on Albert Street between Preston Street and City Centre Avenue.

CSDI’s concept for the arena facility will be developed further in 2023 in a series of “bite-sized, realistic phases” with a “realistic but aggressive timeline,” said

NCC board chair Marc Seaman.

“The vision is a destination for people to live, work and play,” said Seaman. “People can visit and Canadians can feel at home.”

While CSDI elaborates on its concept and creates an implementation plan, the NCC and CSDI will work toward signing a longterm lease agreement by the fall of 2023.

And look out — Ryan Reynolds is firmly in the mix and says he wants to be part of the group that buys the Sens. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon asked Reynolds if he was interested in purchasing the club.

“Yes, that is true,” said Reynolds, who is co-owner of the Welsh soccer club Wrexham. “I am trying to do that. It’s very expensive. I need a partner with really deep pockets.”

representing 15 to 20 per cent of the existing owned portfolio of 21 million square feet. These end-of-life buildings would be in addition to some planned relocations of an undisclosed number of public servants from buildings with government leases coming to an end in the next few years, to properties where the government has signed long-term leases, as a further means of maximizing the federal public service’s use of space.

A handful of local companies have the one-billion-dollar revenue mark firmly in their sights. “The path to a billion is not unrealistic. I think we’re doing all the right things to make it happen,” Solace CEO

Almost there … companies chase the elusive $1B annual revenue mark

Denis King told Techopia in November. “It’s accurate, absolutely, and we’re pretty enthusiastic about being named to the list,” RVezy’s vice-president of marketing Tom St. John said in October after being named to Communitech’s list of firms with the highest probability of reaching the lofty goal. Also on the list alongside Solace and RVezy was Ross Video. “We can definitely see the path to a billion dollars now. Nineteen acquisitions and creating a true unicorn internally financed, there’s probably not too many companies like that,” said CEO David Ross. And don’t forget Calian Group. “We’re feeling pretty good,” CFO Patrick Houston said in November. “We’ve got a good backlog; we’ve got some good momentum … it shouldn’t be too long until we can actually say that we’re a (billion-dollar revenue company).”

Will Shopify strategies pan out?

It was a tough year for Shopify, which saw deteriorating results, a falling stock price and significant layoffs. After admitting a whoopsie on estimating post-pandemic online shopping habits, the exec team embarked on a number of strategies to buoy the e-commerce juggernaut.

“If you look over the seven years since (our) IPO, five of those years, we’ve been profitable. We plan on becoming profitable again,” said president Harley Finkelstein in October. “We said this year is an investment year, but this is a company that thinks deeply about managing expenses, growing revenue and, ultimately, this is a company that likes to be profitable and we will get back there.”

One of the biggest strategies for Shopify involves its fulfilment network, which helps merchants ship goods to consumers and is seen as a way to up the ante in its battle with Amazon. It’s also teaming up with professional services giants such as Ernst & Young to drive more enterprise-level customers to its platform.

Nokia Canada to break ground on ‘hub’ of the future

Nokia Canada confirmed in October its intent to transform its existing facility

in the Kanata North Business Park into a “world-leading, sustainable research and development (R&D) hub,” with construction slated to begin in 2023.

According to the company, the project will transform Nokia Canada’s 26-acre campus into a “sustainable, accessible, mixed-use corporate, residential and commercial hub where nearly 2,160 local employees, Ottawa residents and businesses and Canada’s entire tech ecosystem can collaborate, innovate and drive Canadian and global well-being and prosperity.”

The new development would add thousands of residents to an area that’s already among the city’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods.

Kanata North Business Association told OBJ in May that the development could play a big part in the

Neil Malhotra, CFO of Claridge Homes, is co-chairing a task force aimed at creating a long-term plan to revitalize Ottawa’s downtown. He said the task force whose members include Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi as well as social housing advocates, Indigenous leaders, sustainability advocates, local business improvement area representatives, and tourism stakeholders – has its work cut out for it.

“It’s not a simple issue,” he said. “I’d love to give you a one-word soundbite, but it’s going to be very complicated. I think the best way to describe it right now is it’s a blank slate. Everything is on the table, and we’re just at the start of that process. There are no easy answers here.”

New kids on the block

Up, up and away

Ottawa International Airport continues to regain altitude after air travel virtually ground to a halt during the pandemic, with significant upgrades to its facilities, including hangars and taxiways.

CEO Mark Laroche warned that the airport, which drew more than five million passengers in 2019, won’t fully recover until more business executives start jumping on planes to meet customers face-to-face. The airport authority is projecting that the not-forprofit facility won’t hit the break-even point until at least the second quarter of 2023.

In November, an airport spokesperson said the airport is rebuilding its network of direct flights to the U.S. but said it is still anybody’s guess when a full slate of U.S. destinations will return.

The new world of work

tech park’s “necessary transformation” into a mixed-use district with vibrant commercial and residential components.

Whither the downtown core?

The downtown core suffered during the pandemic as thousands of employees who once commuted to office towers began working remotely. At one point, Statistics Canada estimated that 46 per cent of Ottawa’s workforce was working from home, compared with 28 per cent elsewhere in the country.

ttawans voted in a new mayor and council in October and are waiting to see what the priorities and agenda will be for the fledgling municipal government. From transit to red tape and from zoning to tourism, Ottawa’s business community will have many points of intersection with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and his team.

“We can help the city identify where there are impediments to building more homes in their processes and regulations and the city-imposed costs that negatively impact housing affordability,” said Jason Burggraaf, executive director of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, in reaction to Sutcliffe’s win.

“Mayor Sutcliffe understands the business community and the value tourism brings to Ottawa, particularly in the downtown core where the absence of federal government employees is having such a negative impact,” said Steve Ball, president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association.

“Ottawa’s swagger is the single most important thing we can do right now. We have to compete and seize the moment and I know Mark knows that,” said Michael Tremblay, president and CEO at Invest Ottawa.

It seems everyone can agree that the pandemic changed the way we work — or at least expedited shifts that were already underway. Many of the kinks are still being worked out, as most HR experts can attest.

Heather Tyrie, chief talent officer of Fullscript, points to her company’s policy of “work wherever you work well.” She related how some of her colleagues preferred to drive to Fullscript’s small Kanata office, while those who preferred to take public transit could go to the company’s larger space downtown.

A key criteria appears to be recognizing that the best way to get people back in the office is to create a sense of community and even moments of joy.

“This is a great opportunity for organizations to figure out how to be a lot more thoughtful about the workforce and the trends that are changing it,” said Stephen Harrington, a partner at global business advisory firm Deloitte.

“We need to figure out how to attract employees and engage them differently postpandemic.”

Heidi Hauver, vice-president of people experience at Shinydocs, is all about the athome experience. “It’s about having access to talent and not requiring them to relocate to Ontario,” she explained.

“They can remain where they are, where they’re building their lives, and still be part of a really exciting opportunity and a growing organization. We are seeing a lot of great talent reaching out to us directly because of the amazing culture we are creating, which includes a work-from-home environment.”


Influential lobbyist lets her moral compass be her guide

Ottawa lobbyist Jacqueline “Jacquie”

LaRocque was fêted recently at a swanky gala in Toronto as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100, hosted by the Women’s Executive Network.

She normally shuns the spotlight, so stepping before a large crowd to collect an award was definitely outside her comfort zone. As was sitting down for an interview to discuss how she grew her public affairs firm, Compass Rose, from a one-woman show into a team of whip-smart former journalists, political staffers and public servants.

It’s hard to know where LaRocque’s career story begins. Maybe in the small Northern Ontario town where her dad supported the family of four kids through his job at the pulp and paper mill. Or, during her eight years as a public servant, developing her love for shaping public policies that can benefit all Canadians. Certainly, her two years as director of communications for International Trade Minister Jim Peterson was some of the best training she’s ever had.

LaRocque is the first to acknowledge that, even while building skills, knowledge, experience and long-lasting relationships, she didn’t always know in which direction she was headed. Maybe it’s fitting that she named Compass Rose after a symbol of safety and guidance.

“The path that I’ve taken, in building this company, my career and my family, has generally been non-linear,” said LaRocque in the bright and bustling headquarters of Compass Rose, located in a beautiful heritage building in the ByWard Market. “I followed my instinct and I just feel so fortunate that the plans I made brought me to where I am now.”

In 2015, LaRocque stepped away from her position as managing principal at public affairs firm Ensight Canada to go out

on her own. She got married later in life, at age 39, and became a mom at 43.

Many people assumed her career change was about achieving better parental work-life balance. However, it was more about her wanting to be in a position to make professional decisions based on her core values and principles.

“For me, it’s about honesty, truth, empathy, finding the common good,” said LaRocque. “I wanted to chart a path for myself and bring those beliefs back up in the lobbying ecosystem.”

Public affairs professionals work to influence legislation, regulation or other government decisions on behalf of their clients. LaRocque remains proud of the work she does because it’s so strongly driven by her desire to find solutions to challenges faced by Canadians today, she said. “Being a lobbyist is a big word for a lot of people. It’s a badge of honour for me.”

Compass Rose serves businesses and organizations in critical sectors of Canada’s economy, including agriculture, creative

industries, natural resources, green industries, fintech, digital, tech, transport, communications and trade and commerce.

Key to her success, she believes, has been building a strong foundation for Compass Rose, as well as expanding to a full-time equivalent of 22 staff through smart, incremental growth.

“But, you can’t do it alone, which is where the team and the kind of team that I’ve gathered over the years comes in,” said the University of Ottawa graduate. “I am known to work with a lot of amazing women and some of my colleagues are also really smart men.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, LaRocque shone as a leader. She was adamant about not laying anyone off and, in fact, hired and promoted. “We all need each other right now; we don’t need a pink slip. I was very determined to make sure the team was taken care of, that our business was protected and that the clients were supported.”

Compass Rose also transitioned to a remote workforce “without skipping a beat” as soon as offices started shutting down.

Of priority to LaRocque was everyone’s mental health. She did daily video check-in calls with employees during the thick of things. “We were deeply flexible with the team, with how and when they worked, but never compromising the output.”

It wasn’t always easy for LaRocque, who put in long, hard days. “We always keep staff top of mind, but this was a different level. I admit, it really tested me as a manager.”

As for clients, Compass Rose kept them in the loop with regular updates based on the whirlwind of government announcements and new developments of the day. “For about four months, every single client of Compass Rose received a deep and detailed dispatch. Not something general, like a PR tool, but geared strictly toward them, based on their needs. We also lobbied for supports.”


1Her Top 100 award included glowing reference letters and testimonials from members of her staff, as well as Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, former Conservative cabinet minister Lisa Raitt, Business Council of Canada CEO Goldy Hyder, former NDP strategist Kathleen Monk, Carleton University chancellor Yaprak Baltacıoğlu, and journalists such as Paul Wells and Evan Solomon.


One cause she really enjoyed being part of was the Hope Live fundraisers for Fertile Future. The concert benefit gala featuring top Canadian performing artists was led by her good friend and fellow lobbyist Heidi Bonnell from Rogers Communications. LaRocque was sponsorships chair.


Her French Canadian heritage is important to her. Growing up in Espanola, she travelled an hour each day to and from her French-language high school in Sudbury.


Her favourite piece of advice is: “It’s as important to know who you are not, as it is to know who you are.”


She’s a community leader, especially when it comes to small business. When the Freedom Convoy blockades shut down huge swaths of downtown in February 2022, she led a fundraiser for the staff of Stephen Beckta’s Play Food & Wine, located at 1 York St. in the same building as Compass Rose. It raised $17,000.

Jacqueline “Jacquie” LaRocque, public affairs counsellor, founder and principal of Compass Rose at her office at 1 York St. in the ByWard Market. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS.
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‘Adventure city’? Ottawa needs to trumpet outdoor offerings, report says

Ottawa could see a return to prepandemic visitor spending levels as early as next year, a top tourism official said recently as the local industry’s main marketing agency unveiled a 10-year blueprint for attracting more travellers to the National Capital Region.

Catherine Callary, vice-president of destination development at Ottawa Tourism, told a lunch crowd at the Shaw Centre in December that some forecasts show the city is on track to generate as much spending from tourists in 2023 as it did in 2019, when it attracted 11 million visitors who injected a collective $2.2 billion into the local economy.

Speaking at the annual Ottawa Economic Outlook event hosted by OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade, Callary highlighted key elements of Ottawa Tourism’s recently completed Destination Stewardship Plan, which aims to chart a long-term path to recovery for the local sector.

Produced by Ottawa Tourism in partnership with Resonance Consultancy, the 66-page report gathered data from interviews with industry experts, surveys of visitors and local residents, as well as social media platforms and sites such as Tripadvisor to create a “plan to sink our collective teeth into,” Callary said.

The study found that Ottawa ranked highest among all major Canadian cities for outdoor activities such as water sports, boat tours and parks.

is developing new “outdoor gathering spaces” that can become four-season venues for attracting sporting events and other tourist attractions.

it comes to outdoor offerings,” Callary said. “It really is an outdoor adventure city, and that’s something that we really have to start highlighting more in our collective marketing.”

director of Nepean’s Wesley Clover Parks, agreed. Speaking during a panel discussion

following Callary’s remarks, Sparks said Ottawa needs to “lean into” its reputation as a winter sports mecca to lure more outdoor enthusiasts and adventure

The report also calls on tourism officials and other government officials to restore international routes that were suspended such as Frankfurt will “take some

carriers” in order to compete with Toronto and Montreal.

Business leaders cheered the recommendation, saying better connections from Ottawa’s airport will make the region a more attractive destination for workers and tourists alike.

“It’s a problem that we have to work our way through,” Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay said after the presentation.

“It’s going to take time to work through it. The single most important thing that we can all do as an economy is to drive demand (for more direct flights to Europe and other international destinations).

“Without demand, we are not going to attract the flights that we want to have. We have to really stay strong and vigilant on that one.”

Among the report’s other key recommendations are expanding the city’s growing list of festivals and major events, pushing for the construction of a new arena and events centre at LeBreton Flats, enhancing Ottawa’s cultural offerings, promoting the local music industry, and supporting the creation of more Indigenous tourism experiences.

more fuel-efficient aircraft are years,” the report’s authors say Ottawa must strive both traditional and emerging

Tremblay lauded the report, saying it offers a blueprint for leaders from all industries to follow as they work together to promote the region as a great place to live and visit.

“At the end of the day, people will ultimately work where they want to work now,” he said.

“What’s going to attract the best talent in the world? It’s having amenities and things that are exciting. We need to think big and bold now in terms of what we want our city to be.”

The study comes in the wake of a two-year stretch that saw tourist traffic to Ottawa plummet amid COVID-related travel restrictions.

Ottawa Tourism officials estimate that, from the beginning of the pandemic to the end of 2022, the nation’s capital will have lost $3 billion in visitor spending.


Porter Airlines announces PearsonYOW route with new Embraer aircraft

Porter Airlines will fly four times a day from Toronto to Ottawa with its new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, the airline announced recently. The flights to Ottawa International Airport (YOW) will be based out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

“As Porter’s inaugural destination in 2006, YOW is thrilled to be part of their Embraer E195-E2 introduction,” said Mark Laroche, Ottawa International Airport Authority president and CEO, in a news release.

“With construction of Porter’s YOWbased maintenance hangar well under way, plus the resulting air service growth, this carrier’s commitment to YOW is unprecedented. Not only do Porter’s nextgeneration jets add to their flying refined experience, YOW’s future is bright with this aircraft being an integral part of it.”

The four daily round-trip flights begin Feb. 1, 2023 with fares starting at $225. Porter will also fly from Pearson to Montreal and Vancouver with the Embraer E195-E2.

Ottawa and Montreal were the first two destinations served when Porter started flying in 2006 from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport with its Dash 8-400 aircraft. Montreal and Ottawa will continue playing important roles in

Porter’s network as new destinations are introduced in 2023, the airline said.

Porter’s order for up to 100 E195-E2s means additional routes in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean will be announced regularly, the airline said.


“Porter’s introduction of the E195-E2 provides the ability to operate throughout North America, including the west coast, better positioning us to serve the needs of many more business and leisure passengers,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines.

“This investment introduces a new level of thoughtful service, unmatched by any other airline in North America. It will change the way passengers think about flying economy.”

Porter will continue to offer complimentary beer and wine and snacks, while the 132-seat E195-E2 will also offer free wifi and the option of fresh meals on longer flights.

The new menu design will reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastics onboard, providing biodegradable cups and cutlery and eco-friendly packaging, the airline said.

The E195-E2 is 65 per cent quieter and up to 25 per cent cleaner than previousgeneration technology. It has the lowest fuel consumption per seat and per trip

among 120- to 150-seat aircraft and is the quietest single-aisle jet flying today, the airline said.

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Developers eye office-to-residential conversions as demand for housing grows

At first glance, the 14-storey highrise just a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill doesn’t look like anything special.

Opened in the early 1970s, the nowvacant office building at 110 O’Connor St., on the corner of Slater Street, resembles dozens of other greyish-brown office towers in the downtown core that were built to accommodate the burgeoning public service decades ago.

But according to some veteran real estate experts, the former Department of National Defence building could be the shape of things to come for downtown towers that have outlived their usefulness as offices.

Shape, as in rectangular. The 202,000-square-foot building is long and narrow, making it an ideal potential candidate to be converted into residential space, according to the Montreal-based company that bought it late last year from Cominar REIT for $40 million.

“It’s an appealing option,” explains John Esposito, Groupe Mach’s director of leasing for Ottawa. “But no decision has been made yet. Whatever strategy we adopt, we want to ensure that it does fit in the community and it does contribute positively to the neighbourhood.”

DND pulled up stakes at 110 O’Connor and other downtown sites two years ago when it moved into its new west-end campus in the former Nortel complex on Carling Avenue. A building that once teemed with hundreds of workers on a daily basis is now gathering dust, with only a couple of retail tenants remaining on the ground floor.

But it’s also just one of many significant chunks of aging office space in the city’s core that could gain a new lease on life as multi-residential projects, some longtime real estate executives say.

“If a building gets to the end of its useful economic life, not doing something is not an option,” says Michael Church, managing director of Avison Young’s Ottawa office. “It’ll deteriorate, and then nothing is possible.”

The idea of turning offices that are past their best-before dates into apartments or

condominiums is hardly novel.

A number of examples already exist in the capital’s downtown core. They include Théo, another repurposed former DND building at the corner of Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue that’s now home to a privately owned residence for University of Ottawa students, and The Slayte, a new

luxury apartment complex built by CLV Group and InterRent REIT at a converted 50-year-old government office tower at 473 Albert St.

But real estate observers say a number of factors could add fuel to the office-to-residential conversion trend in the next few years.

With more employers rethinking their need for downtown office space as the hybrid work model becomes a way of life, class-B and C buildings that were already hard to fill before the pandemic have become even less attractive to tenants, they note.

According to Colliers International, the vacancy rate in those asset classes was nearly 19 per cent at the end of September, up from 13.1 per cent for class-B buildings and 15.1 per cent for class-C buildings a year earlier.

“The owners of those asset classes, they really need to rethink their asset strategy,” says Scott Pickles, a Torontobased principal and senior vice-president at Avison Young. “Do they stay or do they innovate? Conversion is just one option to innovate, but really it’s a great opportunity even though it might not feel that way to rethink what they should do with their assets.

“If they (have) older, smaller footprints, if they have some unique characteristics and amenity spaces, a conversion would give them that uniqueness that will help position them well in the marketplace.”

Pickles’ Ottawa-based colleague, Church, notes that newly elected mayor Mark Sutcliffe made housing a key plank in his campaign platform. Sutcliffe pledged that 100,000 new homes would be built in the capital over the next decade, and Church says repurposing outdated offices

If a building gets to the end of its useful economic life, not doing something is not an option. It’ll deteriorate, and then nothing is possible.
– Michael Church, managing director of Avison Young’s Ottawa office

as rentals or condos could help the city hit that target.

Church says the federal government’s plan to sell off up to 20 per cent of its office portfolio in the National Capital Region as much as seven million square feet, or about seven buildings the size of the L’Esplanade Laurier complex could provide opportunities for ambitious developers to gut some of that space and turn it into housing.

“It’s about the opportunity on any given day,” he says. “Given the political climate locally, I think (conversions are) going to come into greater focus. In short, I think there’s some momentum that way.”

Still, transforming a decaying office tower into a place where people want to live is often easier said than done, experts caution.

“There are a whole host of issues,” says veteran Ottawa real estate executive Shawn Hamilton, who now serves as Montrealbased Canderel’s senior vice-president of business development in the National Capital Region.

“The idea of conversion is often a sound bite that sounds better than the idea of building new. And people will often say,

‘Look, it must be cheaper and quicker to convert an old office facility into residential than it would be to build new.’ In some cases, that is correct. But the reality is, the conversion of a building is a much more complicated process than people give it credit for.”

Hamilton points out, for example, that a building has to be the right size and shape to accommodate apartment units that don’t end up looking like “bowling alleys” that is, suites that are long and skinny in order to have a window while still conforming to the typical apartment size of around 750 square feet that makes rental projects economically viable.

“You need efficiency to have things make economic sense,” he explains. “A larger floorplate, although not impossible to subdivide, may not lend itself well to it. You also need to be able to offer a product that meets the demand that’s being asked for.”

Hamilton cites 473 Albert St. as an example of a property that lent itself to such a conversion due to its configuration.

“Because it was a narrow rectangle, it subdivided well.”

Then there are the costs and headaches associated with upgrading and expanding

the plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems in office buildings, which aren’t designed to handle the number of bathrooms, kitchens and other such facilities required in a residential space with dozens or hundreds of units.

That often means stripping a building down to its skeleton and reconstructing it from scratch all the while working around typical structural elements like post-tension cables within the floor slabs.

“You never really know what’s behind the walls until you open up the walls,” says Pickles. “In some ways, the stars need to align to make sure all those systems will work for the new purpose.”

Even if a building is the right shape and a developer is willing to shell out the necessary cash to refurbish it for residential use, it might still be in the wrong place.

Towers that are crammed between other highrises might saddle residents with what Hamilton calls a “quintessential Manhattan view” a brick wall outside their windows while offering no room for balconies or backyards.

Today’s tenants, he says, are demanding more from their domestic spaces.

“In a world of hybrid work, I think the

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comfort of home will take on an even greater meaning than it might have in the past, given you’re going to be spending more time at home than you might have traditionally done,” Hamilton says.

Yet despite all the potential pitfalls, one of the city’s largest property managers says it is actively “exploring opportunities” to acquire office space and repurpose it into residential units.

“Does it work for every building? Absolutely not,” says Regional Group chief executive Sender Gordon. “Developers have to be thinking down this line. However, in order for it to really be a reality, it takes partnerships. These are very costly projects.”

Church suspects Regional Group won’t be the only local developer looking to jump on the conversion bandwagon.

While acknowledging that such undertakings are “not something that’s done lightly,” he says turning empty offices into a steady flow of monthly rental income is an enticing proposition that will prove hard to resist if the conditions are right.

“There is lots of opportunity out there, if people know what rock to look under,” Church adds.


On the road to net-zero: Developers up their game in the name of sustainability

As Canadian policy-makers across all levels of government search for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, major developers working on projects in Ottawa are taking the lead in the building industry.

According to a recent report from the World Green Building Council, buildings are one of the most overlooked carbon emitters, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of global carbon emissions. Retrofitting existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency is a primary goal of the federal government when it comes to meeting its net-zero targets.

While developers and real estate investors are well positioned to play an essential role in fighting climate change, attitudes across the industry have been slow to change, according to Jamie Gray-Donald, senior vice-president of sustainability at QuadReal Property Group.

“I think most developers are still pursuing a business-as-usual approach,” he said. “Everyone, including architects (and) mechanical engineers, are used to doing buildings a certain way. So that’s just the norm.”

As one of several global development companies working on projects in Ottawa with sustainability at the forefront, QuadReal is undertaking a major

renovation of the World Exchange Plaza, its downtown office and retail complex at the corner of Metcalfe and O’Connor streets. First built in 1991, the property is one of many that will be modernized not only for functionality and aesthetic, but also for energy efficiency, said Gray-Donald.

The redesign is expected to bring the property up to LEED Platinum standard, the highest certification awarded for sustainability by the Canada Green Building Council.

“What we want to do with our buildings is try and take them to the highest standard,” he said. “This team in particular is very strong at achieving excellent results. In general, we’re strong supporters of green

certification, but you can’t stop there. We think net-zero is the next level that needs to be achieved.”

By 2030, 75 per cent of buildings will be ones that already exist today, rather than new construction. When it comes to updating existing properties to meet emissions targets, Gray-Donald said QuadReal wants to be a leader among real estate investors.

In October, the company announced its plans to decarbonize its entire portfolio by 2050. That includes a 50-per-cent carbon reduction of its Canadian portfolio by 2030 and net-zero emissions for all office buildings globally by 2040.

“We can typically get to be 30 to 40 per cent more energy efficient, but the focus is now shifting to carbon efficiency,” GrayDonald said. “We look at the lifecycle of major pieces of equipment and buildings and understand when they would typically be replaced. How do we create a roadmap to 2040 to have these buildings be zerocarbon?”

When it comes to buildings, carbon emissions are divided into two primary categories: embodied carbon and operational carbon.

Embodied carbon is attributed to emissions that occur due to the production and transportation of materials, as well as construction, while operational carbon is emissions from everyday use, including heating and electricity.

When it comes to reducing operational carbon, sustainability-focused developers have two main priorities: higher-performing envelopes (building facades that lessen heat transfer in both directions, thereby reducing heating and cooling needs), and tapping into renewable energy sources. This is something that retrofit projects and new developments can achieve.

In Ottawa, a proposed mixed-use sustainable community in LeBreton Flats is building sustainability into its design.

Dream LeBreton is intended to be the first development built into the National Capital Commision’s LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan. The 2.5-acre Library Parcel site will become home to two residential towers with 601 rental units. Operated in partnership with the MultiFaith Housing Initiative, 41 per cent of those units will be affordable.


The project is pursuing a number of sustainability targets, prioritizing a highperformance building envelope, solar panels and regionally sourced, sustainable materials.

While energy efficiency is a cornerstone of the development, the developers are careful to say that they’re striving for “very close to zero operation carbon” and “lowembodied carbon.”

Local architecture firm Perkins&Will is one of the leading companies for the development. According to global design principal Peter Busby, the specific language stems from the fact that it isn’t really possible to achieve zero carbon right now.

“Generally speaking, electricity across Canada has different carbon footprints,” he said. “So this is an all-electric building, but the carbon footprint does exist. We can’t say zero.”

Achieving net-zero carbon is most difficult in provinces like Alberta and Nova Scotia, which still rely heavily on natural gas and coal to power their electrical grids. But provinces such as Manitoba and Quebec run entirely on hydro electricity, meaning their grid is carbon-free.

Ontario is somewhere in the middle. Approximately 59 per cent of electricity generation in the province is driven by uranium, 24 per cent by hydro, and seven per cent by wind.

“Depending on where you are on the grid, it’s somewhere between eight and 17 per cent fossil-fuel driven, so the carbon footprint does exist,” said Busby.

While the electricity grid is out of their control, the LeBreton project architects hold the reins on everything else.

“There are no fossil fuels being used in this building,” said Busby. “There’s no gas fireplaces, there are no gas appliances, there’s no gas boiler in the buildings; everything is electric.”

They’re also reducing embodied carbon with designs that limit carbon-heavy materials like concrete and by bringing in more sustainable options like wood.

“We’ve absolutely minimized the amount of concrete that we’re using,” said Busby. “We will use low carbon concrete and we do use non-concrete finishes wherever we can. We also looked at carpet and glazing and aluminum, for example.”

When Justin Robitaille talks about the LeBreton development, he is most keen to discuss plans to implement an innovative sewer heat recovery system right into the property.

Robitaille is vice-president of development for Dream Unlimited, another of the principal companies overseeing the project.

Dream has set its sustainability ambitions high. Based on current designs, the completed buildings are set to be operationally net-zero carbon, LEED Gold certified, and One Planet Living Accredited. But the cost of reaching these targets can be high. According to Robitaille, the two-building development on the 2.5 acre parcel currently has a price tag of over $300 million.

The sewer heat recovery system will be one of the major investments.

“(The system) involves tapping into the sewer line beneath the site as an energy source to provide all heating, air conditioning and domestic hot water needs for the buildings on a zero-carbon basis,” he said.


These systems have found success in other developments across Canada. In Burnaby, B.C., Canadian-based company SHARC International Systems installed a system in several local buildings, including a 172unit condominium complex. Depending on the size of the building, the system can cost anywhere from $200,000 to more than $1 million.

The LeBreton property will have the central plant built into the development itself. Utilizing heat recovery chillers and heat pumps connected to the city sewer system, the system will be able to produce enough energy to heat and power most of the building.

To offset the demand on the building’s heating and electrical system, designers are also looking to integrate additional sources of renewable energy, like solar.

The design integrates solar photovoltaic panels into the facade of the building. The positioning of the two buildings, offset from each other and oriented at different angles, is meant not only to maximize the view for both buildings, but also to reduce the amount of shade throughout the day to optimize sunlight-harvesting potential.

“We really tried to optimize the design for solar power generation through placing panels on juliet balconies for instance — which would minimize solar shading — and the orientation of panels to maximize solar availability.”

In the 40 years Busby at Perkins&Will has worked in Canadian architecture, high-

cost investments in sustainable technology have been a tough sell.

“Architects and engineers have been telling clients to do sustainable design for a long time,” he said. “Clients always said no, that’s not what we normally do, it’s going to cost too much money.”

However, in the past few years, the incentives to go green have multiplied and become harder to resist. “It’s mainly the marketplace,” said Busby. “That’s the thing that’s been holding us back. All of the strategies we use for decreasing building emissions now have been around for a while. There’s not much in the way of invention. It’s just putting them all together and doing them all at once.”

In some cases, sustainable technology has resisted cost inflation, with prices instead going down as they become more popular.

According to EnergySage, the cost of solar panel installation, for example, has dropped dramatically over the last decade. In 2009, the cost of a solar panel installation was $8.50 per watt. By 2021, that price had fallen to $2.77 per watt.

“There’s almost nothing else in the world that’s gone down in price except for those solar panels,” said Busby. “It’s becoming easier and more accessible.”

There are also more incentives for developers to make those up-front commitments.

“In some cases, going that extra step on the efficiency side opens up opportunities for some attractive financing,” said Dream’s Robitaille. For example, the LeBreton project will likely be able to secure high loan-to-cost financing with competitive interest rates, something Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation offers to companies meeting or exceeding ambitious energy targets.

And because cities like Ottawa are prioritizing low-carbon building initiatives, they’ve been able to fast-track parts of the approval and permitting process.

“They recognize our significant investment in affordable housing in a sustainable setting,” said Robitaille. “I think our goals are very much aligned in delivering on that. The support from the city has been tremendous.”

Shifting consumer values are also pushing corporations to make changes to attract clients.

While it’s not yet evident if carbonemitting buildings are losing value in Canada, investors are starting to see lower vacancy rates and longer-term resale value

in their sustainable properties, according to Busby.

“People want to live in low-energy buildings; they want to be part of the solution,” he said. “There will be no problem renting this (LeBreton Library Parcel) building. If rentals across Ottawa have five to eight per cent vacancy, this building will have zero, because there’s people who want to make lifestyle choices around climate change.”

Accessibility and opportunity aren’t the only things making low-carbon investments more attractive for investors. Rapidly evolving energy policies are also making the status quo more unappealing — and expensive — by the day.

“Developers across the country now are really getting it and want to do low carbon,” Busby said. “They see climate change as a threat to their business.”

It’s what Busby calls a “carrot and stick” approach, one that’s necessary if the country wants to achieve its emissions targets.

“(Buildings) are credited with 40 per cent of total carbon production on the planets,” said Busby. “If we can get operation carbon down to zero, we could actually change carbon emissions globally by 20 or 30 per cent, just through buildings.”

All levels of government are already starting to press for more stringent policies. The federal carbon tax, for example, is shifting attitudes. Currently, a ton of CO2 costs $50, a price that is expected to increase to $170 in 2030. With prices like that, investing in energy efficiency now is just good business, experts agree.

Busby said he’d like to see more municipalities stepping up to the plate, too.

“We should have a high level of building performance requirements issued by the authorities having jurisdiction where we get our building permits,” said Busby.” If you don’t do this, you’re not getting a building permit.”

While reaching net-zero carbon across all Canadian buildings will be a decadeslong process, recent changes to corporate attitudes are encouraging to sustainability experts like Busby.

“Public and regulatory authorities are changing their minds and insisting on high levels of performance. Industries coming up to the table will reduce prices of photovoltaics and heat pumps. Things are starting to change. I’m very optimistic about the future.”


uOttawa grad’s startup named one of Ontario’s top 10 cleantech firms

Belinda Gilbey knows a thing or two about legacies: her father was a mechanical engineer and, following in his footsteps, she went to the University of Ottawa to study the same thing.

“I was there for a number of years, living in the beautiful city, off of the Rideau Canal,” she says. “I would sometimes skate to school; where else can you do that in Ontario?”

But after graduation, Gilbey had other plans for herself. “I really wanted to get in front of customers and learn about sales and marketing,” she recalls.

Gilbey ended up working for a solar racking company, soaking in all she could about renewable energies. From there, she started doing strategic account management for an HVAC company, helping building owners upgrade their systems to become more energy efficient.

Within that organization, Gilbey began spearheading initiatives around heat pump retrofits. In 2019, she met Aaron Graben. At the time, Graben was simply a potential customer who owned and operated his own buildings.

“He encouraged me to quit my job and start a company with him,” Gilbey says. It

was good timing, too, as Gilbey had already been toying with the idea of starting her own heat pump retrofitting company. “In life, you have to jump in and just see where the adventure will take you.”

And so Bondi Energy Corp. was created, with Gilbey as co-founder and president.

Bondi specializes in installing heat pumps for multi-family unit buildings and commercial properties across North America. The company retrofits electrically heated apartments with heat pumps, reducing carbon footprints.

But what exactly is a heat pump?

“It’s a really energy-efficient type of HVAC equipment that can do both heating and cooling with the same piece of equipment,” Gilbey says. “It effectively pumps heat out of the air and moves it from one space to another.”

Heat pumps have two sections of units: one (or multiple) units go indoors and one goes outdoors. In the wintertime, the equipment pumps heat by moving heat energy from the outside to the inside, through refrigerant. In the summertime, it does the reverse.

In the last two years, Bondi has completed retrofits or has been under contract for almost 1,500 units, with a recent job including a 325-unit building near Bondi’s Toronto office. The building in question had a woefully outdated heating and cooling system, using an old chiller for cooling and electricity for heating.

“We’re really excited to get started,”

Gilbey says, adding that, with heat pumps, it’s possible to have different temperatures in different rooms. “It’s going to be a better living experience for the residents.”

She explains that, where electric heat is a huge “energy hog,” heat pumps are three to four times more energy-efficient on the heating side. She adds that buildings are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, due to burning natural gas for heating and hot water. Because they’re electric, heat pumps are effectively carbon-free, Gilbey says, depending on the source of the electricity.


“If you can switch a gas-heated building to a heat pump, you’ve decarbonized that building and you’ve taken a huge chunk of GHG emissions out of the environment,” Gilbey says — a move that is critical as Canada strives to reach its GHG reduction targets.

Although it’s only been around for a handful of years, Bondi is already thriving, having recently won the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) award for energy efficiency and grid firming. This makes Bondi one of Ontario’s top 10 cleantech companies.

The energy industry is one that’s been historically male-dominated, but Gilbey is proof that is changing. “I’m seeing more and more women in leadership roles and doing good work,” she says. “It has been nothing but positive for me.”


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The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success. The column is presented by Star Motors, Ottawa’s original Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes Van dealer. uOttawa grad Belinda Gilbey is co-founder of Bondi Energy Corp. PHOTO SUPPLIED.

Accounting firm Crowe BGK cements its Kanata North presence with new March Road location

alike, Crowe BGK continues its story not only as an accounting firm servicing its clients in a rapidly changing economy but one that gives back where it matters most. In 2018, in honour of Michael McCrann who lost his battle with cancer, the firm started the Crowe BGK Foundation to engage staff and members of the community to help raise funds and awareness towards cancer research, clinical treatments, and cancer coaching.

Crowe BGK is a proud Canadian member of Crowe Global. Crowe Global, ranked among the top 10 global accounting networks, consists of more than 200 independent accounting and advisory services firms in over 145 countries around the world.

Crowe BGK is no stranger to the Kanata Research Park since it opened its first Ontario location in 2005 –quickly becoming a gem in the west end of Ottawa.

The firm was built on the vision of the late Michael McCrann and Clifford Herer, who partnered with wellknown colleagues at Crowe BGK in Montreal to extend the firm to the other end of highway 417. Crowe BGK became one firm with two locations; offering its clients a full suite of services in the areas of audit, accounting, tax and advisory services.

Founded in 1950, Crowe

BGK has grown in its two locations to 32 partners and 230 employees, seeing steady growth and increasing success while maintaining it’s founding partners’ core principles of professionalism, service excellence and integrity. The move to its new Kanata office allows the firm to continue to build upon the principles established by its founders.

As a result of continued growth and success, the original Ottawa office no longer met the firms needs. The plans to find a larger and more innovative space were well underway when COVID-19 hit, and the world came to a

standstill. After over two years of working fully remote, Crowe BGK welcomed its employees back to its new, bright, state–of–the–art office.

“Our new office space allows us to continue to meet the needs of our current clients while continuing to grow and expand upon our service offerings,” says Gary Connolly, one of the firm’s partners, who spearheaded the search for this new space. “Now that we are in our new space, we will continue to attract top talent and expand our position in the local business community.”

Through attending community and business events

Crowe Global member firms are known for their local knowledge, expertise and experience balanced by an international reputation for the highest quality of service.

Crowe Global offers a broad spectrum of professional services and has built an international reputation in the areas of audit, tax, and advisory services. Member firms are selected for their personal service to privately and publicly held businesses in all sectors.

“As we enter this new chapter, we are excited to continue to welcome clients, both old and new to our new space at 400 March Rd. and continue to show the Ottawa business community what Crowe BGK is all about,” says Connolly.

Gary Connolly, incorporated partner at Crowe BGK LLP

Carleton and the Bruyère Research Institute are making aging-in-place a reality

Weall know our society is aging, but family physicians like Dr. Frank Knoefel – who is dedicated to caring for older Canadians –understands the problem better than most.

Knoefel has been a family physician and expert in the Care of the Elderly with Bruyère for 27 years, and currently holds the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind-Bruyère Research Institute Chair in Primary Health Care Dementia Research.

When he started, aging-inplace wasn’t always an option. “I wanted to ensure my patients didn’t end up back in hospital two weeks after I discharged them,” said Knoefel. “But it was hard to get timely and sufficient home care.”

When Knoefel heard from friends about new-fangled technology they were using to automate their homes, it gave him an idea — but he needed a Carleton University professor, computer engineer and smarttechnology expert like Rafik Goubran to make it happen.

Goubran, now Carleton’s Vice-President (Research and International), was receptive and soon Knoefel was co-supervising Goubran’s engineering students who were researching smart technology.

Together they built a foundation of knowledge by publishing more

than 200 articles and training dozens of students. It was an essential step before “getting down to brass tacks” as Knoefel likes to say to transfer that knowledge to the real world.

The Carleton U and Bruyère Research Institute smart apartment

In 2003, Knoefel and Barbara Schulman, former vice-president, planning and partnerships of the SCO health service, co-founded a multidisciplinary program called Technology Assisted Friendly Environment for the Third Age (TAFETA), which was designed to connect public and private companies working on aging-inplace solutions.

With help from partners such as the Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County and the National Research Council of Canada, several research projects involving smart-health technology have taken place – including the creation of the first TAFETA Smart Apartment which opened at the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital in 2005.

The apartment was established as the program’s test site for the integration and testing of smart age-tech solutions for real-world applications, many of which are being designed by Carleton University students.

In one scenario, the team created a smart-home solution for

a gentleman living with dementia who often wandered during the night.

Pressure and motion sensors were used to activate smart lights that guided him to the bathroom, and if he accidentally went to the kitchen instead of back to bed, he heard his wife’s voice gently reminding him where to go through a wireless speaker.

The impact was huge. After their first pilot project with 16 families, no one wanted to return the technology. Dr Goubran reflects on this success explaining that “often solutions can be relatively simple from an engineering perspective but the impact on people’s wellbeing is significant”.

Today’s Carleton-Bruyère team is a well-oiled machine

“Our group is well past the honeymoon phase,” said Heidi Sveistrup, CEO and chief scientific officer at the Bruyère Research Institute.

One of the people Sveistrup can call with the push of a button is Chantal Trudel, director of the Centre for Community Engagement and associate professor in Industrial Design at Carleton. Her role is to look at aging-in-place both in the home and in the community.

“Transportation is how seniors keep in touch with their friends and families,” said Trudel, noting that an industrial designer’s approach goes beyond hightech solutions like self-driving technology and into the design of systems and operations.

Sveistrup adds that as a leading academic institution, Carleton has been a valuable partner in providing research expertise and trainees to tackle aging-in-place.

As the work between the hospital and university continues, there’s no denying the original partnership between two persevering groups laid the foundation for significant progress.

From left: Heidi Sveistrup, Dr. Frank Knoefel and Chantal Trudel


Wasn’t that a party? BOBS draws large crowd to celebrate business luminaries

Three years removed from the last big gathering for the Best Ottawa Business Awards, the city’s movers and shakers made up for lost time.

A packed house of more than 600 attendees filled a ballroom at the Westin Ottawa for the annual celebration of the brightest stars in the local business community – the first time since November 2019 that participants were able to gather en masse in person to honour the winners.

The BOBs, as they are known, recognize recipients in more than two dozen categories as determined by the Ottawa Board of Trade and Ottawa Business Journal.

Newly elected mayor Mark Sutcliffe, a previous host of the awards on several occasions, captured the spirit of optimism that permeated the crowd. In his opening remarks, Sutcliffe noted that many businesses in the National Capital Region still face an uphill climb as they recover from the pandemic, but he said he’s confident the city’s brightest days are still ahead.

“Ottawa is a great place to do business, and it’s only going to get better,” Sutcliffe told the audience. “Everything we do as a community starts with economic development and a stronger economy. Working together, we will get through those challenges.”

Among the headliners was Fullscript chief executive Kyle Braatz, who was honoured as CEO of the Year.

The 38-year-old executive, whose online health-care platform supports millions of patients in Canada and the United States, brought the house down with a speech that was by turns touching and humorous.

Reflecting on his tendency to be his own toughest critic, Braatz recalled how he used to agonize over mistakes he made as a minor hockey player, even as his father Al would congratulate him on a great game.

“My entire life, I felt like I’m not good enough,” said Braatz, whose firm generated revenues of more than US$600 million this year.

“I think that’s a good thing for my ego … although my wife may not agree,” he added as the crowd chuckled. “But it also means that I have to dig deep to have the

confidence it takes to build and lead.”

Braatz, a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, paid tribute to his “amazing support system,” including one of his Telfer professors, Barbara Orser and his colleagues at Fullscript.

“This is a group that demands excellence,” he said of co-workers at the 900-person company. “They are ruthless in their approach when it comes to driving towards our mission. But at the same time, they see kindness as a competitive advantage they really care about people.”

Braatz had the room in stitches when he asserted that “at Fullscript, one of the realities is we don’t hire a–holes.” He used similar colourful language to describe past business associates with whom he clashed, saying they gave him the “scar tissue” he needed to help him persevere.

Braatz credited his family members for his ability to see the lighter side of even the toughest situations.

“They taught me that there’s no inappropriate time for humour. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a boardroom with the

baddest-ass CEO in the world in the most important meeting ever, or you’re in a room full of stuffy businesspeople giving each other awards,” he said to more howls of laughter.

Braatz then paid a heartfelt tribute to his wife of nine years and his daughters Brooklyn, 3, and one-year-old Blair.

Lynn Norton, longtime chief operating officer at Butler Group of Companies, delivered a tribute to his boss and mentor, Pat Butler, 85, the 2022 Lifetime Achievement recipient.

He told the audience Butler has worked seven days a week for more than 60 years, building an automotive group that consists of Leisure Days RV Group, five new car dealerships, three Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships and Powersports Canada. In total, Butler employs more than 1,200 people, most of those located in the Ottawa area.

“Pat invests in people and rewards loyalty and effort. Some of his senior managers are rewarded with equity in the businesses that they have helped build,” said Norton. “Pat believes in senior management on site at every location. He believes and lives everyday by the phrase: ‘You cannot enrich yourself unless you enrich others.’”

Other recipients included Ottawa Senators executive Erin Crowe, who was named CFO of the Year. Crowe, who rejoined the Senators as senior vicepresident and chief financial officer earlier this year, is the fifth recipient of the annual award, which recognizes CFOs who maximize their company’s financial position and growth during a recent period.

Newsmaker of the Year went to Joe Thottungal. In May 2020, the pandemic was already wreaking havoc with Thottungal’s livelihood when fate cruelly threw another obstacle in his path. The eastend restaurant he’d owned for more than 15 years, Coconut Lagoon, was severely damaged by fire, dealing Thottungal a major blow at a time when prospects for his industry were already dim.

But instead of throwing up his hands in dismay, the 50-year-old native of India turned what could have been a careerending setback into a symbol of hope. Thottungal quickly got to work rebuilding the business he affectionately refers to as his “baby,” officially reopening the newlook, expanded Coconut Lagoon on St. Laurent Boulevard in August to a chorus of cheers.





Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Calian Group has grown from a small resourcing team to a global technology company. As it starts its fifth decade in business, the company is pursuing the goal of $1 billion in annual revenue. The first nine months of 2022 saw revenues rise 10 per cent over the same period last year, with the third quarter delivering $150 million for the first time ever.


Diversity at Ross Video, long a hallmark of the company’s HR practices, took on a new urgency in the sales and product development arenas when COVID wreaked havoc with the company’s traditional markets. Ross had a beachhead with some of the world’s largest corporations and decided to create a new strategic accounts team to drive in more deeply with these global leaders. This vertical is now the company’s third largest, having grown 126 per cent since 2020.


Stoneworks is one of the largest valueadded resellers in the National Capital Region. Sales in 2022 were on track to top $100 million with year-over-year sales growth of around 30 per cent. Stoneworks is proud of its “family first” approach to business, insisting that family issues take priority when they arise. Stoneworks champions diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2021, it was named one of Ottawa’s Best Places to Work. Since inception, Stoneworks has supported several community organizations, raising more than $275,000 for local causes.



Just two years since it was founded, UrbanMop has already topped $1 million in revenue. The company capitalized on a need it saw during the pandemic for homes and businesses to easily book reliable cleaning services. The founders built an automated and engineered booking system to provide hassle-free cleaning services for residential and commercial sectors. The

business has grown rapidly. UrbanMob more than doubled its headcount in 2022. It works with more than 200 cleaning contractors and last year expanded to Toronto.


Ben Lacroix missed a couple of touchdowns while waiting in the beer line during a football game. This led him to conceive of a company that would provide in-seat ordering at events. This idea pivoted sharply during the pandemic. GetIt Local provides digital ordering and payment technology to local businesses. The startup’s bigger idea is an all-in-one community marketplace in which local businesses can offer the same delivery speed and cost efficiency as the global giants. GetIt Local expanded to Calgary in 2022.


GenesisLink is a consulting company helping entrepreneurs and startups accelerate their businesses. GenesisLink provides a range of consulting services and

R&D support. It regularly takes an equity position in its client companies. Since its founding almost three years ago, revenues have grown exponentially and are forecast to top $500,000. GenesisLink works with clients in Brazil, India, UAE, Egypt, Israel, Portugal, Vietnam and Qatar, as well as Canada.



Since 1906, The Ottawa Mission has been extending mercy, dignity and compassion to all who enter its doors. The Mission provides emergency shelter, food, education, job training and support for mental health, addiction and trauma. In 2021, The Mission served almost one million meals, handed out 62,000 bags of groceries, and successfully housed 78 individuals. Chef Ric’s, a social enterprise, was launched to provide job training and raise revenues. Donation revenues rose across all fundraising areas in 2021 and totaled $12 million.


Every year, Algonquin College recognizes the local business that provides the best co-op employment program to its students. This year, the City of Ottawa was the choice not only of Algonquin, but of all four of Ottawa’s major post-secondary institutions for its Hire Local initiative. More than 10,000 students take part in co-op programs across the four schools — Algonquin, La Cité, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. This year, their hometown sought to make a positive impact on the local economy and to build a greater sense of community and culture while addressing one of the region’s biggest issues: attracting, hiring and retaining talent. The initiative saw a dozen Algonquin students from many different programs find co-op placements.



At SINIX Media Group, customer priorities become company goals. With a newly created director of customer experience and quality control this past year, SINIX is putting an even greater focus on customer relationships. Quality is consistently maintained through audits, data analysis and regular reviews and checkups. Employees are a critical part of this system. Honest feedback is encouraged. Projects are planned collaboratively. Problems are solved together. Every employee is encouraged to pay attention to response times when following up with customers.



Hyatt Place Ottawa West was built from the ground up with sustainability in mind. There are 275 solar panels on the roof. Geothermal energy for heating and cooling is harvested from deep in the ground. Recycling bins are in every office and guest room. Bottled water is not available anywhere in the hotel. Rather, there is a free reusable bottle refill station in the lobby. There’s even a beehive on the roof. All these efforts cut operating costs, reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint, and attract a clientele that is increasingly looking to reduce their travel carbon footprint.

Sueling Ching and Michael Curran were co-hosts of the evening. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON.



Ross Video is the first company in Canada to be certified as a Canadian Compassionate Company by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. A second initiative this past year improved Ross Video’s maternal, paternal and adoption leave policies as well as sick, family medical and compassionate care leave. CEO David Ross says the initiatives demonstrate the company’s commitment to its people and their families. Ross Video currently scores 74 in its regular employee experience monitoring program where a score above 40 is considered excellent.


FELLOW.APP is all about helping managers improve their relationships with their employees. So it makes sense that the company should seek out and champion individuals who excel at this, people calls Supermanagers. This

past year, launched its Supermanagers podcast featuring influencers and thought leaders in the technology sector. The podcast is the flywheel of’s contentmarketing activities. From it, the company generates content across a range of marketing channels and tactics. Hundreds of thousands of podcast plays have yielded potent new relationships, co-marketing opportunities, partnerships and revenue.



Five years ago, eQ Homes set out to challenge the assumption that home builders shouldn’t partner with realtors, whose focus tends to be on home resales. Today, fully 61 per cent of its sales of new homes come from realtors, more than double the proportion of five years ago. An aggressive program of tiered incentives saw more than 350 realtors do at least one deal with eQ Homes. In turn, eQ Homes has earned a reputation among Ottawa realtors as a great home builder with which to do business.



There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the benefits of engaging people in garden and nature activities. Root in Nature partners with not-for-profit organizations to deliver horticultural therapy programming to veterans, cancer patients, Indigenous groups, youth and others. Its Garden Club teaches autistic youth how to build a garden and grow food. The program promotes mental, social and emotional wellbeing. A virtual seminar, Nature in the Workplace, reviews the effect of nature scenes, natural light and plants on mental, physical and emotional health as well as productivity.



Doubling in size during a global pandemic was no easy feat, but Syntronic Research and Development Canada pulled it off. Head count grew over the past three years from around 250 to more than 500.

This makes Syntronic the fourth-largest employer in Kanata North. The company had a plan for growth and stuck to it, even as many other companies were downsizing during the pandemic. Syntronic believes excellent internal communications was a key to its success. So was expanding internal and external support services alongside the growth.


Assent Compliance became Ottawa’s newest unicorn, a title bestowed on companies with billion-dollar valuations, when it raised more than $445 million in fresh capital to fund ambitious global scaleup plans. As regulations governing the components that go into complex goods grow more complicated by the year, Assent’s software has become a must-have for some of the world’s biggest manufacturers in the industrial, automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical and oil and gas sectors. The company’s growth has accelerated as widespread supply chain shortages plagued the global economy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Thank you Invest Ottawa, RBC, and the Ottawa community on the NextBigThing award at the Best Ottawa Business Awards.


WINTER 2023 OBJ.CA 21 “




The Place de Ville office complex was sold in November for $350 million. It was the second-largest commercial real estate transaction in Ottawa history. The deal was brokered by CBRE and RBC Capital Markets. Opened in the early 1970s, the Place de Ville complex consists of four buildings on Queen, Kent and Sparks, including Ottawa’s tallest office building. Nico Zentil, senior vice-president of capital markets at CBRE’s Ottawa office, said Place de Ville was a sought-after commodity when the company put it on the market.



An iconic local retailer’s five-decade run as an independent entity came to an end in 2021. Quickie Convenience Stores, which operated 51 retail stores and 22 gas stations across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, was acquired by Maxville-based MacEwen Petroleum. Both companies are family-owned enterprises with similar geographic footprints, making the acquisition a perfect fit, according to Quickie co-founder Arnold Kimmel. In an unconventional move, the buyer, MacEwen, will rebrand all its outlets as Quickies to capitalize on the more familiar name.



In what its CEO calls a “transformational deal,” Fullscript took a giant step toward its goal of becoming a billion-dollar-revenue company by acquiring a U.S. competitor. Health-care practitioners use Fullscript’s software to dispense products such as vitamin supplements, as well as track inventory, automatically refill patients’ orders and create treatment plans. Fullscript purchased New Hampshire-based Emerson Ecologics, a 42-year-old firm with a wellentrenched U.S. customer base and broad distribution network. With this acquisition, Fullscript went from being a dominant player in the space to an industry behemoth.



Ottawa Tourism was so keen to welcome visitors back to the nation’s capital this year that it even helped foot the bill. The Third Night On Us accommodation package covered the cost of the third night for visitors who booked a stay of three or more nights at participating Ottawa hotels. The program was an important part of Ottawa Tourism’s strategy to bolster the local tourism economy. The promotion helped generate more than 25,000 room nights, and led to visitors staying longer in Ottawa. This increased visitor spending led to a significant economic impact.



Giatec Scientific believes that a diverse workforce enhances its understanding of global business and industry needs. That

diversity starts at the top. Half the senior leadership team is female, and more than three-quarters were born outside Canada and have various cultural and religious backgrounds. Diversity is pursued through intentional initiatives such as international recruitment and using a gender decoder when writing job descriptions. Every new employee participates in a welcoming and open onboarding process to highlight the value Giatec puts on diversity, equity and inclusion.


CANADAWHEELS.CA wants to be the Amazon for car parts in Canada and beyond. That vision was boosted this past year when export sales increased by 200 per cent. Fully five per cent of the company’s sales are to the United States and Europe. This year, the company will launch USAWheels. com, targeting a far bigger market than Canada and one with higher adoption

rates for e-commerce. Think globally but act locally, the company says. A solid local business is required before global expansion can be considered.



It’s no wonder Fullscript’s Kanata office engenders a strong team spirit, given that its home is the historic Monk House. Nicknamed The Retreat, the office is in the heart of the Kanata North Technology Park and yet is surrounded by greenspace and hiking trails. The house evokes a calm, spalike atmosphere that reduces outside distractions and fosters innovation. Historic meets cutting-edge in bright and airy meeting spaces equipped with all the tech required to support distributed teams. And when teams need a refresh, outdoor beach volleyball courts, a patio and a yoga and meditation sunroom are available.

2022 CFO of the Year Erin Crowe accepts her award. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON.


‘Chef Joe’ sees adversity as just another opportunity to give

down, because we had never slowed down until that time.”

private act of generosity to celebrate his 50th birthday.

“Before I enjoy myself, I need to put other people in front,” Thottungal says. “To get a steak, for me is not a big thing but for them it is.”

Altaf Sovani, former chair of hospitality and tourism at Algonquin College, has known Thottungal for more than a decade and says this spirit of giving extends well beyond Thottungal’s philanthropic efforts.


t’s mid-November, just days after Joe Thottungal’s 50th birthday, and the first powdery snow of the season dusts the corners of St. Laurent Boulevard and McArthur Street where Thottungal’s Coconut Lagoon restaurant has stood since 2004.

Inside, the freshly renovated space is airy and sophisticated. You’ll find no traditional Indian decor, but the high ceilings, contemporary lines and cool slate-blues subtly evoke the surf-smoothed ambiance of Thottungal’s home province of Kerala on India’s Malabar coast. Thottungal says he’s not trying to recreate India in Ottawa; instead, he wants to deliver the “taste” of India in a stylish, contemporary setting.

It is certainly a far cry from the humble restaurant Thottungal opened 18 years ago at what was once a sports bar, a place he himself describes as “a hole in the wall.” He likens the gradual transformation to the broader immigrant experience.

“An immigrant who comes into the airport, he doesn’t have proper winter shoes, he doesn’t have a nice jacket. But he comes in, he starts living,” Thottungal explains. “Next year, he will buy better boots, a better jacket. Five years down the road, he buys a house, he drives a good car. We always improve.”

The dramatic makeover of Coconut Lagoon followed a devastating fire in May 2020 that shuttered the restaurant and forced Thottungal to shift operations to his downtown location, Thali, which he opened in 2018.

Pandemic lockdowns were not kind to the restaurant industry and Thottungal has endured more than his share of adversity; the February convoy occupation also forced a closure of his Thali restaurant. But Thottungal seems to treat the hardships as opportunities to reflect, to rebuild and to give back.

“I look at life in a different way,” Thottungal says. “And as a restaurateur, we got enough time to look at what we were missing during the pandemic, once it slowed

Celebrity chef and one-time Dragons’ Den dragon Vikram Vij is not at all surprised to see his good friend take adversity in stride.

“I think what motivates him is to bring his culture and his love of the country that he comes from onto the plate,” Vij says. “He’s very proud of being a Keralite and where he comes from, in the same way that I’m very proud of being a Punjabi and from northern India. So I think it’s more important for us that there is a country called Canada that gives us this backdrop to be really, really who we are.”

Thottungal studied culinary arts in India

taught him the value of hard work and the importance of treating others with dignity and respect.

“We were treating our staff very well and staff stayed on with me. Until the fire, we kept pretty much everybody employed, even in COVID, the community was supporting us and we were getting orders,” says Thottungal, who used his own staff rather than thirdparty delivery services like Uber Eats.

In fact, Thottungal’s leadership through the pandemic went well beyond ensuring his staff could continue to feed their families and pay their mortgages. He assembled a host of volunteer chefs and partnered with the Food for Thought Net Café to provide up to 1,800 meals a week to people experiencing homelessness, donating the use of the Thali kitchen until the fire forced him to relocate the Coconut Lagoon operation to Thali.

Thottungal, who had been leading a culinary tour in Kerala when the first lockdown was imposed, says the project grew from necessity. Through phone calls from quarantine, he knew that his restaurant fridges were full.

“And my first instinct was to call my friends and get rid of my food. I didn’t want to waste it,” he explains. “So, I started giving out to (The Ottawa) Mission, the Shepherds (of Good Hope) and things like that.”

That generous impulse in the face of adversity earned Thottungal a Community Builder Award and the Order of Ottawa in 2020. David Gourlay, vice-president of the Shepherds of Good Hope Foundation, co-nominated Thottungal for the Order of Ottawa and named him to the Table of Community Champions in 2021 for his longstanding contributions.

“He used to come as a guest speaker for our international cuisine class in our culinary program. And students really loved him and his approach to international cooking,” Sovani says. “He brought a lot of joy and experience looking at cuisine a little bit more globally.”

Sovani describes Thottungal as a “community builder” always eager to share his experiences and to take on culinary co-op students and recent graduates.

“He’s an inspiration,” Sovani says. “Inspiring to the future chefs coming in. He’s even inspiring to a lot of restaurateurs, too. If he can do all this stuff and do fundraising, why can’t we do it? We’re in the same industry, right?”

Robin Duetta curates the Taste of Hope event for the Shepherds of Good Hope and worked with Thottungal on the Ottawa Restaurant Fund, which raised and disbursed more than $100,000 to restaurants impacted by the February convoy occupation. Duetta says chefs and restaurateurs are probably Ottawa’s largest philanthropic business group and that Thottungal leads the pack.

“Several charities rely on him to engage with their donors. Joe donates his own money, his restaurant’s resources, he uses his influence to bring people to the table to support the causes he cares about and he’s a trusted advisor to many of the leaders of our charitable community,” Duetta says. “I do not believe that the word ‘no’ exists in Joe’s world. Whenever he’s called upon, he will do whatever he can to help people.”

He adds that the most striking of Thottungal’s qualities is his humility.

and worked in high-end hotels both there and in Saudi Arabia before emigrating to Canada in 1998. In Toronto, he worked in the Royal York and Park Hyatt hotels before moving on to the Crowne Plaza in Ottawa.

Thottungal says his upbringing in Kerala

“He’s more than a partner to us, he’s a friend,” Gourlay says. “His restaurants are not just restaurants where food is served. They truly bring people together.”

Just days before his interview with OBJ, Thottungal was at the Shepherds delivering steak with mushroom sauce and dessert. He had prepared the meals with his family as a

“He has never asked for recognition and would prefer that no one was aware of any of this. It is not in his nature to want to pump his chest and brag about all the things he’s done to help people,” Duetta says.

Thottungal’s reaction to the Newsmaker of the Year award bears this out.

“When I got it, I was reflecting on me and I was thinking, ‘Do I wake up and say, oh, I want to be a newsmaker next year, let’s make some news?’ No, I never do that,” Thottungal says.

As a restaurateur, we got enough time to look at what we were missing during the pandemic, once it slowed down, because we had never slowed down until that time.
– Joe Thottungal, 2022 Newsmaker of the Year. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS.


‘The ideal person to be playing that role’: Senators CFO Erin Crowe thrives in the eye of the storm

Like many of the best personnel signings in pro sports, Erin Crowe’s career with the Ottawa Senators began as the product of timely advance scouting.

In 1996, Crowe was a young accountant on the rise at KPMG. The Nepean native had joined the professional services firm’s Ottawa office two years earlier after earning her commerce degree from the Queen’s School of Business, and she had every intention of following the traditional route to success in the accounting world by working her way up to partner.

Mark Goudie, however, had other ideas.

Goudie, the Senators’ chief financial officer at the time, was looking for help with some of the heavy administrative lifting as the fledgling NHL club was shifting its operations from the Civic Centre to its new home in Kanata.

Goudie’s wife Lisa, then a senior accountant at KPMG, suggested he talk to her co-worker who’d performed an audit of the Senators and was impressing everyone at the office with her financial acumen and tireless work ethic.

Lisa told her husband “if she had to hire one person to work in industry, she would hire Erin,” Goudie, now the president and chief executive of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, recalls.

“We had tons of new stuff to figure out and processes to get in place and a new arena to run. I needed a workhorse, and people assured me that Erin was the right person for that job. She ended up being that in spades.”

So much for being a career accountant. Instead, Crowe embarked on a path that saw her become the financial boss of a pro hockey team, a major real estate firm, a waterside company and a software industry trailblazer incubated by some of the city’s highest-profile entrepreneurs.

Last February, Crowe’s journey came full circle when she rejoined the Senators as chief financial officer and executive vice-president.

The timing was fortuitous. Within

months of her return, Crowe was kneedeep in perhaps the two most important assignments of her career — working side by side with president of business operations Anthony LeBlanc as the club’s two most senior executives attempt to simultaneously secure new ownership for the team and hammer out a lease with the National Capital Commission for a new arena site at LeBreton Flats.

One of those tasks alone would be allconsuming. But two at the same time?

True to form, Crowe is taking it all in stride.

“Both of those are great opportunities for the future of the club at the end of the day — and lots of fun to work on,” the 51-year-old mother of two says. “It keeps me on my toes.”

Those who know Crowe best say it’s no surprise she’s in the thick of things as the Senators head into what might be the most critical 12-month period in the franchise’s 30-year history.

“Erin’s position becomes the eye of the storm,” Goudie says. “The fact that she is trusted by everybody, respected by everybody, makes her the ideal person to be

playing that role.”

Indeed, the high-stakes world of pro sports is old hat to Crowe, who originally joined the Senators just as the club was moving into a new rink and later helped stickhandle the franchise through a dicey stretch that saw it file for bankruptcy protection before Eugene Melnyk came to its rescue in 2003.

“It was a really chaotic, busy time … and she never missed a beat,” says Cyril Leeder, who helped spearhead Ottawa’s return to the NHL and served as team president from 2009-17.

Like Goudie, Leeder calls his friend a “workhorse” who loves to roll up her sleeves and solve problems.

Crowe, he explains, is as well-versed in the art of dealing with people as she is in the science of crunching numbers. Whether it’s courting big banks to help restructure the team’s finances or politely inquiring as to why a certain department isn’t meeting its revenue targets, Crowe gets her message across with aplomb.

In addition, Crowe has been a force

in other ways, shattering the glass ceiling in a series of industries — pro sports, real estate and tech — with C-suites that have traditionally been dominated by men.

When she attended her first NHL board of governors meeting at age 38, Crowe was one of only a handful of women in the room. Leeder says it didn’t take long for the grizzled veterans around the table to realize she belonged.

“Erin was a bit of a trailblazer there,” he says. “It didn’t faze her. She didn’t really think anything of it.”

Craving a new challenge, Crowe left the Senators in early 2015 after more than 18 years with the organization. Since then, her resume has covered a range of industries virtually unmatched by any other C-suite executive in town, including stints as CFO and chief operating officer at real estate firm Regional Group; CFO of waterslide manufacturer ProSlide Technology; a consultant at Stratford Managers; and, finally, CFO of up-and-coming Kanata software company Martello Technologies.

Martello chief executive John Proctor describes Crowe as the steady hand on the tiller while the firm went public on the TSX Venture Exchange via a reverse takeover in 2018 and later made a series of key acquisitions to help fuel its growth.

When others were questioning whether a deal would get done, Proctor recalls, Crowe would be the one to say: “We got this.” Over the years, she became the CEO’s close confidante and a trusted sounding board.

“One of Erin’s strengths is her calm demeanour,” Proctor explains. “Martello would not be where we are without Erin.”

Now Crowe is back in the eye of the storm with the Senators — but maybe a little wiser than before, she says.

“People are excited about the team, they’re excited about LeBreton, they’re excited about the fact that we’re front and centre in the community,” Crowe adds with a smile. “It’s exciting to be part of that, and it’s exciting to feel like you can actually have an impact on some of those things.”

2022 CFO of the Year Erin Crowe (centre). PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON.


Fullscript’s top exec writes his own script

By his own admission, it took Kyle Braatz a while to figure out his true purpose in life. But once the 38-year-old native of London, Ont., found his calling as an entrepreneur dedicated to doing good for others, there has been no stopping him.

Over the past 11 years, the co-founder and chief executive of Ottawa-based online health-care firm Fullscript has taken the company from an idea he and business partners Brad Dyment and Chris Wise hashed out in his living room, to a multinational enterprise that provides nutritional supplements and other natural health-care products as well as treatment plans to more than five million patients.

After a momentous 12-month stretch that saw Fullscript raise US$240 million in

2022 CEO of the Year Kyle Braatz. FILE PHOTO.

equity capital the biggest such funding haul in the nation’s capital since the dotcom boom in the early 2000s and acquire one of its biggest competitors, Braatz was honoured as the city’s 2022 CEO of the Year.

The University of Ottawa alumnus is the 23rd recipient of the award, joining a

prestigious group of past winners and is among the most prominent members of the new generation of tech entrepreneurs.

“(Braatz) is quite unique from his predecessors,” said Eric Lathrop, managing partner at Boyden, which specializes in executive recruitment in Ottawa. “Having a recipient under the age of 40 really illustrates that next-generation leaders are stepping up in Ottawa’s technology sector to continue its growth and evolution.”

The honour comes just as Fullscript is taking a giant leap forward as a result of what Braatz called a “transformational deal” earlier this year its acquisition of New Hampshire-based Emerson Ecologics.

The mammoth transaction doubled the Ottawa company’s size virtually overnight. Fullscript now employs more than 900 people at offices in Canada and the U.S., while its 2022 revenues are projected to

be north of $600 million as it expands its platform across North America.

For Braatz, who once thought he’d follow in his father’s footsteps and become a firefighter, the timing of the award is fortuitous.

“This has been a transition from entrepreneur to entrepreneurial CEO, which is a much different role,” he said of his evolution at the helm of an organization that’s fast heading toward $1 billion in annual revenues. “So to be recognized with this, it’s definitely something I’m really grateful for and proud of.”

It’s also the latest landmark in a long journey of personal growth for Braatz, who was inspired to enter the world of social entrepreneurship after his grandfather, Frank Moores, was diagnosed with liver cancer while he was in university.

Fifteen years later, that drive to do good for others continues to propel Braatz and his company to greatness.

“I’ve probably never been more excited about what we’re building than I am today. My goal right now is just to do everything I can to do what’s best for this company and the people that work here and build something great.”



‘I make the most of every day’: Pat Butler reflects on a lifetime of earning and giving

For someone with such a successful career, Pat Butler has effectively flown under the radar. But this has certainly not hindered the advancement of his company.

“Pat is the ultimate entrepreneur, arriving in Ottawa in 1965 with very little money in his pocket. Through hard work, smarts, determination and a continuous growth mentality, he has built one of Ottawa’s largest private-sector entities: the Butler Automotive Group,” said Cyril Leeder, CEO of Myers Automotive Group, who nominated Butler, 85, for the Lifetime Achievement award.

Butler Automotive Group consists of Leisure Days RV Group, five new car dealerships and three Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships, as well as Powersports Canada. While national in scope, Leeder noted, the bulk of operations are local, with many locations in Ottawa, the Ottawa Valley and Eastern Ontario. The group employs more than 1,200 people, about 800 in the Ottawa area.

“At 85 years old, he is still active, every day, in the operations of Butler Automotive Group,” said Leeder.

Butler started in the automotive industry in 1956 in Toronto at age 18. He moved to Ottawa in 1965 to work with the Dilawri Group. In 1972, he had scraped together enough of a grubstake to purchase his first dealership, Mckenzie Mercury (now Lincoln Heights Ford Lincoln) and has never looked back. “He has been a serial entrepreneur ever since,” noted Leeder.

“We are still evolving the company to catch up to him,” Lynn Norton, company chief operating officer, told RV News Magazine earlier this year. “He is still pedal to the metal every single day.

“One of Pat’s greatest assets is his incredible vision for the future,” added Norton. “We as a management team are so fortunate to benefit from his 60 years of experience in the automotive industry.”

“Pat is one of Ottawa’s true gems,” said Leeder in his letter of recommendation. “He has spent 66 years working in the automotive business and 50 of those years with ownership in Ottawa. He has helped build a significant number of businesses, played a major role in the development of many careers, generously gives back to the community he calls home, all the while seeking no personal attention or limelight.”

Butler is the 12th recipient of the award, which is presented to a businessperson who demonstrates long-term business success, innovation and perseverance, strong leadership and a legacy of community building.

OBJ recently asked Butler to share a bit of his past, in his own words.

How did you get your start in business?

I grew up in the Maritimes and my father was a fisherman. My first job was selling fish door to door to our neighbours. When I was 18, I moved to Toronto and worked as a lot attendant at a car dealership. Before long I was selling cars and eventually managing dealerships. In 1964, I moved to Ottawa and landed a job with Hari Dilawri at his Ford dealership in Stittsville, “just beyond the fringe.” I eventually managed to scrape enough money together to buy my first dealership, MacKenzie Mercury in Ottawa’s west end.

Today, that dealership is now Lincoln Heights Ford Lincoln and operated by Les Bell, one of my early employees at the dealership.

How did you develop your famous “business instincts”?

Well, I think instincts are developed over time

and by trying things. After more than 65 years in business, I have had plenty of time to hone my instincts. Early on, some of my instincts may not have been the best and sometimes that means you may fail at something. But with time, perseverance and a continual drive to learn and get better, I think you develop better instincts. Experience, trust in yourself and your decisions also help improve your business instincts over time.

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

Over the years I have learned a lot of lessons. In business, you learn both from making mistakes and from times you are successful. But business in general is about people connecting with other people and working together. So, I have a couple of sayings that I think have guided how I approach business and relationships. The first is “treat people the way you want to be treated.” I like to get to know everyone in my businesses, from the managers to the cleaners, as they all play an important role. The second is “you cannot enrich yourself unless you have enriched others.” My success is in part because of other people, so I enjoy having them participate in the rewards.

What has been your role within your community during your career?

I would say for the most part I have avoided being overly visible from a community standpoint. I enjoy supporting causes that have a connection to me such as Loaves and Fishes, the Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Heart Institute, to name just a few. Our companies employ many people and I get great satisfaction knowing we are benefiting their families as well. And I also try to help people that may have a certain need that I learn of. As an example, I think I have paid for braces for over 15 people that were not my family members. I enjoy helping people in different ways like this when I can.

What does the future hold for you and your career?

Well, I am 85 so I try to make the most of every day. I still enjoy coming in the office every day and I enjoy making deals and finding ways to help grow our businesses.

I have a great family with five children, 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren that keep me busy. I also have two beautiful standard poodle dogs, Harri and Jim, that I enjoy immensely. Away from work, I still enjoy boating, which has been one on my lifelong passions.

Pat Butler, 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON.

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Downtown decline creates rise of the suburban ‘15-minute ’hood’

They call it The Retreat. The 8,000-squarefoot on-site/off-site office in the former Monk House in Kanata serves as a kind of home away from home for Fullscript employees who used to work downtown.

Heather Tyrie, chief talent officer with the Ottawa tech company, says the limestone heritage house at the end of a wooded drive had just the feel they were looking for.

“The vibe that we went with when we renovated this place was that it needed to feel like home,” Tyrie says. “We kept the original wood floors. We didn’t really change the character of it.”

The heritage house has been renovated as a meeting and team-building space that opens onto modern-style offices at the rear and complements Fullscript’s downtown offices at Constitution Square. The company’s 250 Ottawa-based employees are free to choose their preferred workplace — Kanata, downtown, or remote — with a desk reserved for those who are in the office more than three days per week. The Kanata location opened in September and is, according to Tyrie, a response to the pandemic, employee preferences and company growth.

Jennifer Cross, business development manager with Marant Construction, thinks more businesses will “need to start taking a risk” as Fullscript has done as work patterns change.

“We’ve seen employers surveying their

workers — meaning if hubs were open, where would those places be — and what we’re seeing is that in neighbourhoods like Orleans, Barrhaven and Kanata, employees want to eliminate the commute but still have the opportunity to work with their colleagues and out of their own house,” Cross says.

Tyrie says shifting demographics and employee preferences guided the Fullscript decision. Pre-pandemic, about 70 per cent of Fullscript’s Ottawa employees lived in or near downtown, whereas now 50 per cent live downtown or east of it and 50 per cent live west of Bronson Avenue.

“For a lot of people, it is about commuting after being in their homes for a long time,” Tyrie says, citing employee feedback. “It takes a lot for somebody to get in their car and pack a lunch and put on office clothes, so putting it closer to their home makes such a huge difference.”

Tyrie admits that typical downtown

amenities are lacking in Kanata. It’s a great place to take a beautiful hike at lunch, but you can’t grab a quick meal and coffee, she points out.

Cross says the push for businesses to meet employees where they are is shifting the thinking around development. Questions about amenities are common.

“Amenities used to service people where they work and so the downtown is full of dental offices, coffee shops and dry cleaners that are no longer being actively used by workers coming to downtown,” Cross says. “So, we need to recreate those amenities spaces where people live.”

Cross likens it to the need for “15-minute neighbourhoods” that put a person’s daily needs just a short trip from home.

Josée Anne Pronovost, an architect and partner with Linebox Studio, has experience in this tricky multi-play of

building a holistic workplace ecosystem that also accounts for informal social spaces. Linebox designed the Hub350 tech centre in Kanata aimed at boosting tech community interaction.

The Hub350 space, located in Mitel’s former headquarters at 350 Legget Dr., is a meeting place for industry leaders, academia and finance professionals to collaborate on projects. The 12,000-squarefoot “living lab” features open-concept meeting rooms as well as smaller private offices, lounges, booths, seating areas and auditoriums with stadium-style seating where founders can pitch their businesses to potential investors.

In addition, it houses a full-service media studio where companies and individuals can produce and broadcast stories and promotional materials.

“But then you also need the other interacting spaces,” Pronovost says. “So, the coffee shop and the grocery store and the corner store and the pharmacy and the restaurants.”

Linebox is now finalizing another project that also reimagines the work and home life relationship, although the aim is almost opposite that of Fullscript in Kanata. Linebox is converting a commercial property at 473 Albert St. into 100 apartments for CLV Group, with the aim of enticing residents into repurposed offices. Among many baked-in amenities is a remote business centre.

“A place to work from home, but not necessarily in your home,” is how Pronovost describes it. “It’s of the time, whereas we’re talking about office spaces being vacated and the building parks of the government being now potentially up for grabs. And what do you do with those buildings?”

Pronovost notes that repurposing a building is not the easiest thing to do but it is a sustainable option. “We’re in a time of a lot of reinvention, a lot of rethinking,” she says.


What do millennials really want and why are they abandoning jobs? We speak to tourism industry expert Altaf Sovani

Attracting and retaining millennials is crucial to solving the ongoing labour crisis that’s left hotels, restaurants and other similar businesses struggling to find sufficient staff to run their operations, says Altaf Sovani, author of a new book, Labor Shortages Crisis in Hospitality, Tourism & Event Industry.

There’s a catch, though. Businesses and leaders may have to adjust their needs if they want this increasingly powerful demographic of workers to stick around.

During COVID, many workers who either lost their jobs or had their full-time hours slashed have gone on to other industries that are more stable or better paying. But, even before the pandemic came along, the hospitality sector was facing a pervasive shortage of workers. “It’s just that it’s gotten even worse,” said Sovani in an interview with OBJ.

And so have the customers. “Customer expectations have not changed from pre-pandemic levels. In fact, many have become more demanding.”

In his new book, Sovani has come up with solutions for hospitality leaders eager to recruit, retain and motivate millennials, or those who currently fall between the ages of 26 and 41. They’re an educated, informed and tech-savvy group expected to represent 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025.

While COVID has been a factor behind millennials quitting their jobs, job satisfaction remains essential to their retention in the hospitality industry, Sovani found.

His book identifies and explores eight key reasons why millennials are abandoning their jobs in hospitality and tourism. They are: an inconsistent application of organizational policies by supervisors; a culture that favours seniority over merit; a lack of opportunities for

advancement; excessive focus on the aging baby boomer culture; insufficient training and development; poor compensation and benefits; and a greater desire for work-life balance.

“People don’t leave restaurants or hotels; they leave bad managers,” said Sovani, who’s of the view that good managers don’t manage people, they manage things. “With this generation, you need to lead them, you need to support them, you need to motivate them.”

Sovani, who has more than 40 years of experience in the hospitality, tourism and event industry, runs his own consulting firm, Alzen Consulting. He worked for 27 years at Algonquin College, most recently as academic chair for its School of Hospitality and Tourism.

In the 1980s and ‘90s, he was heavily involved in hotels and restaurants (he owned The Brokerage, which was the first restaurant in the Rideau Centre to offer cappuccinos).

Sovani sees innovation as helping to shape the future of the hospitality industry, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors

of the global economy. Booking engines, mobile apps, digital concierge services, keyless entry systems, and automated check-in and check-out processes are all examples of innovation and technology that are helping to make the industry run more efficiently. “But, you still need the human element,” he added.

Sovani based his research on thousands of informal conversations with millennials who chose to or aspired to join the hospitality industry. He also conducted dozens of formal face-to-face interviews with millennials as part of his doctoral research, in partnership with California Southern University.

“Millennials want baby boomers to respect them, to listen to them and to understand them because they want a sense of belonging and value in the organization,” said Sovani.

What millennials are looking for, he said, is more flexibility in their work, to be valued and to be supported in their career progression. They don’t want to feel like they’re stuck in the past or being managed by their mom or dad.


He also found that millennials do remain loyal to their employer if presented with opportunities to advance. They’re looking for purpose, he said. They also want to work for an employer that demonstrates things like corporate social responsibility, empathy to climate change and progressive work policies, he learned.

A major sticking point remains the low wages and lack of proper benefits. Because more customers and clients carry credit cards now over cash, it’s more challenging for hospitality workers who traditionally relied on tips to complement their low pay.

Of the millennials interviewed by Sovani, 63 per cent expressed concerns that their wages weren’t enough to meet basic needs. Some mentioned that they had moved back in with their parents

because the cost of living was so high.

Sovani argued that, in order to attract people back to an industry from which they’ve chosen to walk away, employers must offer the full package, including training opportunities, workplace wellbeing, flexibility and opportunities for growth.

He lists Stephen Beckta as a shining example of an industry leader who put his staff first during the pandemic. Beckta, who owns flagship restaurant Beckta dining & wine and its sister restaurants, Play and Gezellig, launched a successful fine dining meal kit service, called Curated by Beckta. It helped to keep his staff employed when dining rooms were temporarily shut down, said Sovani.

Sovani contrasts Beckta’s “human connection” approach with other operators who furloughed staff without bothering to check up on them until a year or so later, when they needed them back at work. “How you communicate with and care about your employees matters,” Sovani said.

Sovani also acknowledges in his book that a revival of the sector must involve a coming together of industry, associations, academia, and government to address such relevant areas as immigration, as well as technology and innovation, and to ensure students are ready to hit the job market upon graduation.

Sovani, who’s a baby boomer, applauded the millennial generation for continuing to strive for purpose and flexibility. He acknowledged that, had he done the same, he may have spent more time with his two daughters when they were growing up, or focusing on self care. It would not likely have come at the expense of his career, he opined.

“I don’t believe so, because I loved my work and I would have been more productive in less time.

“I am glad that this generation is pushing for balance and I am hopeful that our industry will meet their demands.”


Heidi Hauver explains how she brings remote work to life at Shinydocs

HR leader Heidi Hauver never thought there’d come a day when her professional life didn’t revolve around the office. “I went into the office every day,” she said of her 20-plus years of working at nearly a dozen organizations, including Invest Ottawa.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020, she — much like 37 per cent of the Canadian workforce — shifted to working remotely. In doing so, she realized the arrangement offered many advantages, including greater flexibility and work-life harmony.

Once the pandemic started to ease, Hauver said she became inspired by the “great reimagination.” She felt it was time to pave the way for others at Invest

Ottawa and that meant an opportunity to reimagine what was next for her.

This past January, Hauver joined Waterloo-based data-centric software company Shinydocs as its Ottawa-based vice-president of people experience. She provides executive leadership to employees spanning seven provinces.

“It’s about having access to talent and not requiring them to relocate to Ontario,” she explained. “They can remain where they are, where they’re building their lives, and still be part of a really exciting opportunity and a growing organization. We are seeing a lot of great talent reaching out to us directly because of the amazing culture we are creating, which includes a work-from-home environment.”

Taking on a remote role has meant learning to approach things differently, Hauver acknowledged. “Finding ways

to be innovative, to create that team connectedness is really important. I personally think it’s challenged me as an HR leader and I love it because it enables us to try and find new ways of doing things to meet the needs of the team.”

Areas of focus for Hauver are communication, work culture, employee engagement, human connections, and trust.

“You have to make sure you take the best parts about working in the office and translate that into a virtual way,” said Hauver of recreating those friendly, impromptu office conversations in a different work landscape.

“Again, it’s about changing your mindset, having that willingness to try something new.”

Hauver relies on messaging apps such as Slack to keep team members informed, aligned and engaged in the

workplace. Group activities, such as virtual office Olympics, have been successful in promoting health, wellness and social participation, she added.

Human resources has come a long way, said Hauver of a growing field that used to be relegated to administrative and transactional responsibilities. “It’s not a ‘nice to have’ it’s ‘a must have’. You need to have a great culture, you need someone leading that is being mindful, paying attention and iterating.

“I’m a big believer in making sure your team is part of the solution. We lean in, we get feedback, we encourage the team to come up with ideas … That’s something we all have to do, whether we’re in the office or not.”

Organizations that shed office space in order to operate remotely need to look at taking some of their budget savings, if they’re not already, and putting it into their employees, said Hauver.

“Make sure you have the tools to keep your people connected and communicating, make sure you have some money set aside to facilitate some of those in-person meetings, to invest back into your people to make sure you still develop the culture you want.”

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Tips for Navigating Salary Negotiations

Not knowing how to negotiate a salary and how to advocate for yourself can leave you feeling helpless. Here are some helpful hints and tools to use when you are in a job interview, or a review meeting with a superior. They will get what you want during salary negotiations.

1. Be Prepared

Before you suggest any numbers or agree to any amounts, you should research comparable rates among your peers, and have an idea of a target number or range you would like to fall within. Knowing what you are worth, what the going rate is, and what you would like to achieve in the meeting will help you respond appropriately to any offers.

2. Highlight the Positive

When you get the chance to advocate for yourself, view yourself as a product/service that your company needs, and highlight the ways that you make the company money or help reach its goals. It can be difficult to talk about yourself in this way, so if you need to, practise beforehand. It is crucial to be able to sell yourself.

3. Consider Non-Monetary Options

When you are discussing salary with an employer, you may reach an impasse on the monetary amount. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for non-monetary benefits, such as vacation time, or flexible working hours.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

If you don’t ask for a raise in a review, you will probably not get one. If you don’t negotiate your starting salary, you will not know what could have been available. You will be glad you took the extra step to negotiate and advocate for yourself.

5. Hone Your Skills

Practical negotiation workshops will give you the skills necessary to tackle any type of employment discussions.

Contact information: 1.800.318.9741

Holiday work parties aren’t what they used to be, experts say, citing ‘comfort-based participation’

The days of Christmas cocktail parties and festive after-work gatherings might be behind us at least, that’s what some Ottawa experts say.

In fact, when it comes to the holiday spirit and team morale, invitations to work get-togethers just aren’t cutting it anymore.

“In many organizations, there’s been a move back to in-person when it comes to holiday parties with the caveat that people participate if they’re comfortable.

There’s been a strong movement towards comfort-based participation,” explained Rob Rosenfeld, vice-president for the National Capital Region and public sector team lead at LifeWorks. “There used to be pressure on showing up, but now there’s an understanding that some people show and some don’t.

“Organizations should have appropriate means of engaging and recognizing the efforts of employees in both virtual and in-person capacity,” he said. “So you don’t create this divide between those who can and those who cannot go to an in-person event.”

Rosenfeld said there are also new issues to consider when planning an end-of-year celebration. For example, with a particularly rampant flu season and increased economic stress, some companies are still choosing to go virtual.

“I think what we were able to experience organically before around team spirit we now have to be very deliberate about,” said Karen Brownrigg, founder and CEO of iHR Advisory Services. “Especially for businesses that are hybrid or remote.”

Ultimately, though, Rosenfeld said engagement and support for employees have to be part of “a larger overall strategy” not just a holiday special.

“If you haven’t made an effort to connect to your employees yet, this is a bit late to get involved,” he told OBJ. “It has to be part of your overall engagement

strategy. Continue speaking to them, engaging them, providing support and being a person who listens.”

Some organizations send their team gift cards, while others stress the importance of mental health support for employees who may struggle during the holiday season.

A recent survey by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) found that 90 per cent of Canadian business owners say they are open to seeking support for a mental health issue. Among them, fear of a cash shortfall (62 per cent) and the recession (51 per cent) were identified as the main sources of stress. The BDC study also found that small business owners in

particular are prioritizing the mental health of their employees. Of those surveyed, more business owners are offering flexible hours/ schedules (55 per cent), additional time off when required (50 per cent), and remote or hybrid work options (33 per cent).

Brownrigg said many organizations are prioritizing a celebration of their team’s achievements rather than a more traditional and strictly Christmas-themed party.

“There are different ways to define a holiday party,” she said. “Some people don’t enjoy this time, so how can you make it more about the relationships in the workplace and less about the holiday itself? How do we celebrate each other and our accomplishments and look forward to a new year and new ways to appreciate each other? How can we have fun together?”

“We’re in a different place than we were prior to the pandemic for a variety of reasons,” explained Rosenfeld. “We’re still not at where we were when it comes to isolation, anxiety, financial concern … We aren’t out of the woods.

“External factors place a lot of pressure on a workforce and management has to respond with ever-evolving measures,” he added.

Ask the Expert
Karen Brownrigg, founder and CEO, iHR Advisory Services

Meet two local leaders who want Ottawa to lead Canada in health-care reform

the physicians would remain physicians of the hospital.”

The HSHG is also committed to reinvesting a portion of their profits back into the public system to help further ease restraints.

The Harley Street model

Ottawa local Amita Kochar is CEO of the HSHG in Canada. “Our number one priority is to take as much pressure off the system as we can so we can help reduce wait times and other barriers to accessing care,” she said.

Today she wants to help others struggling with similar health challenges. “Our 360 degrees of health approach incorporates my experience with ancient practices, healthcare operations, foundation and donor experience, as well as my business experience,” said Kochar.

Innovation and integrated care are the way forward


of The HARLEY and Nathalie Cadieux, CFO of the Ottawa Hospital believe innovation is the way forward

No one can argue that health care systems around the world are in crisis.

The pandemic stretched resources beyond their limits and the increased need for care shows no signs of abating. COVID-19, however, isn’t entirely to blame.

“People are living longer with illnesses they used to die from,” said Nathalie Cadieux, chief financial officer and executive vice-president of finance and business development at the Ottawa Hospital (TOH). “We’re proud to be saving lives, but we can’t ignore the pressure it’s putting on the system.”

That’s why the hospital is exploring new ways to serve the community.

“We’re calling it ‘post-COVID recovery’,” said Cadieux.

Creating capacity in the public health system

As CFO, Cadieux manages a balancing act between building financial strength and allocating resources. One tool that she and CEO Cameron Love are exploring to strike this balance are publicprivate partnerships (PPPs).

About a year ago, one group’s offering captured their attention: The Harley Street Healthcare Group (HSHG), which brings 50 years of experience managing a PPP in the U.K..

Their proposal stood out from other offerings because it doesn’t involve transferring patients from a public to a private system.

“They’re offering capital capacity for infrastructure — like an operating room or diagnostic imaging centre,” said Cadieux. “But the patients would remain the patients of the hospital, and

While Kochar may be known best as a local entrepreneur and philanthropist, her passion for health-care goes back to her youth. As an 18-year-old college student, she faced a life-altering challenge of her own: she was in New York City on 9/11.

As she watched her fellow students struggle to cope with the trauma by turning to drugs and alcohol, she was dealing with crippling anxiety.

“When you’re a teenager, you don’t have coping skills for something like this,” said Kochar. “I developed uncontrollable anxiety and agoraphobia that resulted in panic attacks.” She tried medication, but it didn’t solve the problem.

During a visit to India, her parents suggested complementary therapies. “Within two to three weeks I was feeling better — I could go to a restaurant again,” said Kochar. The experience even inspired her to become a reiki practitioner.

Prioritizing innovation in the Canadian health-care system is a fairly new proposition, but TOH is committed to making it work.

“Innovation and integration of care are at the forefront of our strategic plan,” said Cadieux.

That focus appealed to the HSHG. “They’ve reached a point where they know they have a problem, and they genuinely want to solve it,” said Kochar.

Since it’s the first time TOH has considered a partnership like this, they’re doing their due diligence. “We’re taking baby steps to make sure we understand the risks and seek the proper approvals,” said Cadieux.

What the two parties have built so far is a foundation of mutual trust and respect.

“They’re a very forwardthinking team that’s going to set a precedent in Canada,” said Kochar.

Cadieux returned the sentiment. “The HSHG team truly wants to make a difference,” she said. “They’re being very patient with us, and we’re getting close.”


Westboro cocktail boutique the latest offering from former Dragons’ Den darling

Steve Morrier calls himself the chief alchemist.

Nine years ago, he formulated a modest business crafting distinctive cocktail syrups in his kitchen with $2,000 of his own money. A few months later, he was fielding three investment offers on the CBC program Dragons’ Den. These days, his Split Tree Cocktail Company cordials are distributed online and through retailers across the country. Not bad for a laid-off tech worker and former microbrewery

sales rep turned entrepreneur.

“It was always the goal around the eightto nine-year mark to try and get a store up and running and I just felt like, jump now or give up. You can’t keep waiting. It’s never going to be a perfect time,” Morrier says of his company’s new 2,000 square foot retail location at 98 Richmond Rd. in Westboro.

It’s much more than a storefront for Split Tree’s signature cordials. Morrier aims to give Ottawa a one-stop cocktail shop and home entertaining boutique on the order of Toronto’s Cocktail Emporium, Montreal’s Alambika or Vancouver’s Crafty Bartender.

“I’ve just always thought Ottawa was missing it,” Morrier says. “They had a lot of people who sort of dabbled in barware, dabbled in cocktails, but nobody just went all in.”

Split Tree’s retail floor is dedicated to all things cocktail-related. That includes charcuterie boards and cheese plates, in addition to the barware, hardware and cocktail ingredients one might expect.

Meanwhile, he is developing an event space and kitchen at the rear of the store for workshops and tastings. He also plans to develop custom mixes, exclusive to the store, as well as a juice program to supply

local bars and hotels.

“We’re just trying to be as nimble as possible and not really say no to any sort of revenue stream that fits within our theme,” Morrier says of his big-tent approach. He says the next step will be securing a liquor license to the kind of workshops and tastings Split Tree is able to offer.

Morrier admits that having a storefront is more of a personal ambition, rather than something his original business demanded. “I really had a pretty good system set up where I had a distributor. I just took orders and shipped stuff off and had people co-packing for me. I was just running the business,” he says.

At the same time, he felt an urge to get more engaged in a business he felt was running on cruise control.

“It was definitely a want, but I also really believed in the idea and I thought Ottawa was ready for this and I think they are,” Morrier says.

Morrier wouldn’t describe himself as a success, but if he has a secret, it has been not overextending himself.

“I never did anything where I said, ‘If this goes south, I’m going to be bankrupt, I’m going to lose everything.’ I always did it very organically and patiently,” he says.

A celebration of aesthetically beautiful, functional and healthy workspaces across the National Capital Region.

To be a part of our 2023 edition please contact Wendy Baily:


What the average Canadian needs to know about the two-year ban on foreign real estate purchases

In case you hadn’t heard, Canada is in the middle of a housing shortage due to lack of supply and affordability, and demand for a solution is only increasing.

That’s why lawyers like Mariam Sarr are doing double duty when it comes to understanding legislation enacted and being enacted at multiple levels of government to solve this problem, including the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by NonCanadians Act.

With this two-year ban on foreign buyers coming into force on January 1, 2023, Sarr and her colleagues at PerleyRobertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. are already on the case. “When a new law is coming in, we want to anticipate any problems that could affect our clients,” she said.

Right now, there are more questions than answers. What we know is that the law comes into force at the start of 2023 and it likely won’t be applied retroactively, said Sarr, meaning it will not affect agreements entered into prior to January 1.

But after that, residents will need to be mindful not to run afoul of the law. “People who have knowingly assisted in contravention of the Act — meaning they knowingly sold their property to a foreign buyer

— may be subject to monetary penalties,” said Sarr.

She suggests that anyone buying residential property after January 1st bring a real estate lawyer into the process earlier than usual.

“Typically people get a real estate agent or broker and sign the agreement, then look for a lawyer to close the deal,” she said. “But because the contract is binding, it can be a bit tricky to modify things down the road.”

But wait, there’s more Sarr also wants people to know that this legislation is not being enacted in a vacuum.

There are also provincial and municipal laws being created to address the housing crisis to take note of.

Ontario has already brought forth a law to curb foreign speculation in the Canadian real estate market. “People generally know they have to pay a land transfer tax when they buy a property,” said Sarr.

“But in Ontario, there’s an additional 25 per cent tax that non-residents have to pay — it’s the highest in the country.”

The City of Ottawa is also unveiling the Vacant Unit Tax, which comes into force in January, 2023.

This law will require Ottawa property owners to make an annual declaration of occupancy for their residential

unit. If the unit is deemed to be vacant, additional taxes will be applied.

“They’re trying to increase the housing supply and are planning to reinvest the funds — which the City has estimated could amount to $25 million — into affordable housing initiatives across the city.”

There are a few exceptions to this law, such as an owner who has died or is in the hospital. Foreign property owners can also choose to rent

out their units to avoid paying the penalty.

Even if your unit isn’t vacant, the law requires you to make the declaration.

“Property owners in the city of Ottawa need to take note of the deadlines for those declarations to avoid being penalized,” said Sarr.

“Buying or selling a house is one of the biggest purchases that somebody will make in their lifetime,” said Sarr. “It’s very important to consult someone on these matters.”

Real estate lawyer Mariam Sarr says there are more questions than answers
Mariam Sarr, Associate at Perley-Roberston, Hill & McDougall LLP /s.r.l

She bakes, she scores!

From hockey pro to cookie wiz, the Gills are still in the game

It’s still game night in the Gill household, but the star player is now Krista Gill, wife of former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Todd Gill. And the game is now her gourmet cookies, which are scoring big points with residents of Eastern Ontario.

“I have customers that drive an hour on Thursdays to get their box of cookies,” says Janet Campbell, proprietor of Mrs. McGarrigle’s in Merrickville, which carries the treats. “They sell out every week and people are waiting to come to the store on delivery day and sometimes they’re still warm when people come to pick them up.”

Krista chose the moniker 23 & Co. for

her business in honour of Todd’s jersey number with the Leafs, the team with which he played from 1984 to 1996. Then, on the advice of her daughters, she kept the hockey theme going.

“We call my cookies pucks and penalties,” explains Krista with a joie de vivre that oozes from every pore. “So pucks are singles when I sell them because, in hockey, one is a puck; penalties are a two-pack, because penalties typically are two minutes and a half; a dozen cookies is a starting line-up; a CCM cookie is a chocolate chip cookie with a melted peppermint patty on top.”

It’s Krista’s infectious joy and eagerness to listen and learn, as much as the product itself, that’s carrying her business forward.

“She is a great people person and collaborator. Above all a great baker! A strength she has is to ask for help — businesspeople don’t have to be wearing all the hats at once — and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. She loved the mentoring,” says Cindy James, manager with the small business advisory centre for Smiths Falls, Lanark County, Leeds Grenville.

Krista’s story started at age 15, when she met Todd in high school. They spent a few years apart at the start of his hockey career and, in the meantime, Krista completed a business degree at Brock University. They married in 1989 and moved to Toronto, where Todd needed to be with the team. While owning a bakery was always at the back of her mind, the cookiemaking happened naturally as part of her husband’s life as a hockey player.

“On a game day, typically the player sleeps in the afternoon,” Krista explains. “He has a big lunch, sleeps and then gets up and heads down to the arena. Todd had started drinking coffee then and on his way to the arena he would have a cup of coffee and was looking for a treat.”

This was in 1990, before the internet, so Krista started collecting cookbooks and says that initiated her hunt for the perfect cookie.

“Todd kept trying all these cookies and he’d be, ‘Hmm, it’s okay,’ and then one day

he said, ‘This is the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten!’ So that was the end of me test-trying cookies,” chuckles Krista.

From then on, Krista baked that chocolate chip cookie for Todd every game day and, if he was carpooling with other players, she’d pack extra cookies for the guys. By the time Todd was traded to the San Jose Sharks in 1996 and became team captain, Krista’s cookie-baking had become her signature dish.

“When teams would get together for parties or get-togethers for fundraising events, I was in charge of bringing cookies, it became my thing. Some people took deviled eggs or chicken wings, I took chocolate chip cookies,” says Krista.

Parlaying that perfect cookie into a business would take a lot longer. At the start of their lives together, Todd and Krista figured he would play for about seven years and then retire and she’d start her own business.

“But Todd played for 19 years and, by the time he retired, our children were youths, so we were busy with four kids — two boys, two girls — and then he started coaching,” Krista recalls. “So he was continuing to work and chasing the coaching dream and, as a good partner, I was supportive and I waited until I thought it was an opportune time for me.”

Even when Todd finally retired in 2019 and the family moved to Opinicon Lake in Rideau Lakes, it took a nudge from her daughters to set Krista on the path toward her dream.

“The whole cookie thing was always floating in the back of my mind and I kept bothering my children with it. Until one night our daughters (both adults now) said, ‘You know mom, you gotta dance, you just have to do it. The song is not going to stop playing, you have nothing to lose, right?’ I’m assuming they all just thought I’d have fun for a little while and then I’d get bored,” says Krista, laughter sparkling in her eyes.

That’s when she turned to the small business advisory centre and jumped into the starter company plus program. She was awarded a $5,000 non-refundable grant through the program following a successful pitch to the review committee.

She put the money toward a convection oven that she installed at the Forfar Cheese Factory and Bakery and now sells her cookies at markets and retail stores all over Eastern Ontario. Her goal is a storefront of her own — maybe. She’s actually working on a website that she says may end up being her storefront.

Todd Gill and wife Krista Gill, founder of 23 & Co. PHOTOS SUPPLIED.


between hospitals while we continue to deliver high-quality patient care.”

Hospitals and their individual surgical wait lists are being onboarded in phases. The initial phase included Hôpital Montfort, Queensway Carleton Hospital and Cornwall Community Hospital. In coming weeks, The Ottawa Hospital and Hawkesbury & District General Hospital will be onboarded. Once these hospitals are live on the system, they will be joined by:

• Almonte General Hospital

• Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital

• Carleton Place and District Memorial

• Deep River and District Hospital

• Glengarry Memorial Hospital

• Kemptville District Hospital

• Ottawa Heart Institute

• Pembroke Regional Hospital

• Renfrew Victoria Hospital

• Winchester District Memorial Hospital

Kingston software firm’s solution helps hospitals throughout the region reduce surgical wait times

Multiple hospitals in Eastern Ontario, including many of Ottawa’s largest facilities, will be better able to manage and reduce surgical backlogs with help from a Kingston software firm.

The Centralized Regional Surgical Wait List Management Hub, built by Kingstonbased Novari Health, consolidates patients waiting for surgery into a real-time regional wait list using interactive mapping and analytics tools. The Hub will improve the coordination of surgical services between hospitals in Eastern Ontario, meaning patients may be able to receive their surgery sooner at a different hospital.

The software will integrate with existing hospital systems to gain an overall picture of backlogs, speed up wait times and help

identify bottlenecks at various stages of the surgical process.

All regional hospitals that perform adult surgeries will be included in the Champlain Centralized Regional Surgical Waitlist Management Hub initiative.

“By working together and using realtime data, we can improve patients’ access to surgeries and procedures,” said Andrew Falconer, president and CEO of Queensway Carleton Hospital, in a news release.

“Working with Novari and other care providers, the Hub will create better outcomes for patients waiting for surgeries, better use of hospital resources and a smarter, data-driven and coordinated approach to address the surgical backlog in our region,” said Bernard Leduc, president and CEO of Hôpital Montfort.

“The (Hub) will allow us to deliver surgical services to patients and address

– Suzanne Madore, chief operating officer and chief nursing executive of The Ottawa Hospital

ongoing pandemic pressures,” said Suzanne Madore, chief operating officer and chief nursing executive of The Ottawa Hospital. “This system of partnerships will facilitate seamless communication

Novari Health designs, builds and implements enterprise-scale SaaS solutions that improve the delivery of healthcare services. Based in Kingston and with offices in Australia and New Zealand, Novari has become one of the largest Canadian-based digital health solution providers.

“This ground-breaking technology provides the hospitals with the tools they need to coordinate surgical services in real time within the region, all while supporting better patient outcomes while tackling the surgical backlog,” said John Sinclair, president of Novari Health.

Ontario has provided funding to hospitals across the Ottawa region since 2020-21 to support a complex, multiyear transformation initiative aimed at supporting enhanced load balancing of surgical cases and reductions in patient wait times, as well as development of the technical infrastructure required to support centralized waitlist management at the provincial level.

“Integrating this made-in-Ontario software in hospitals across Eastern Ontario will mean shorter wait times for patients awaiting surgery and a more efficient use of hospital resources,” said Minister of Health Sylvia Jones. “This is an excellent example of the innovation we are calling for, all with the goal of improving our health system and creating a better experience for the patient.”

This system of partnerships will facilitate seamless communication between hospitals while we continue to deliver high-quality patient care.

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Immigrants are part of the answer to the labour shortage, officials agree

With labour shortages in all sectors causing challenges across Eastern Ontario, one strategy that is gaining traction is attracting more immigrants to rural regions.

“The county is working with employers to promote job vacancies and working with organizations and agencies to help settle newcomers to our area and place them in jobs,” said David Wybou, business development officer with Renfrew County. “This includes participating in virtual career fairs with new Canadians currently living in urban centres and looking for new opportunities elsewhere, as well as people overseas who have recently been or are about to be granted work permits in Canada.”

Colleges like Algonquin are also recognizing the potential.

“One opportunity in Lanark and Renfrew counties is the growing international student enrollment at Algonquin College’s Perth and Pembroke campuses,” said Jamie Bramburger, manager of community and student affairs at the college’s Pembroke campus. “Many of these students are interested in settling in Canada when they complete their post-secondary education.”

Foreign student enrollment has more than tripled in the past year as labour shortages around the world fuel more emphasis on education, Bramburger added.

In Cornwall, Walmart Logistics welcomed more than 200 new associates this fall. The new workers came from Montreal, Ottawa and the GTA, but many were also newcomers to Canada who had obtained their permanent residency status.

“As our business grows, so does our need to increase our team,” said Rene-Paul Gomis, regional manager, people — logistics

with Walmart. “We continue to have employment opportunities at our Cornwall distribution hub and these new workers will certainly help us address the seasonal surge that always happens at this time of the year.

“The goal is to convince our new associates to stay and settle in Cornwall,” added Gomis. “Cornwall is a wonderful place to live and raise a family and the cost of living here is so much more affordable than large urban centres like Toronto.”

Also in Cornwall, Olymel recently welcomed a group of 11 workers from Mexico.

“As we take the initiative of welcoming new foreign workers, we thank them for choosing us and assisting Olymel through these tough times,” said Shelly Harding, human resources manager with Olymel Cornwall. “We also thank our employees at Olymel who supported, helped and welcomed the foreign workers with so much passion and appreciation.”

Olymel has steadily grown its workforce

in Cornwall to meet rising demand for its products. It has stepped up its recruitment efforts and increasingly looked outside of Canada to meet its growing needs, including through a temporary foreign workers project.

Last year, the company welcomed 49 foreign workers to Canada and has a target of hiring another 100 new employees. The workers have made a commitment to work for Olymel for two years, during which time the company hopes that many will seek permanent residency status.

In Renfrew and Lanark counties, the local labour market plan produced by the workforce planning board this past spring shows more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of industries in the region have experienced a negative impact on their businesses related to the pandemic. The most affected sectors were retail, healthcare and social assistance, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing and construction, according to the report.

“There is no question more employers are talking about the challenges they are having in attracting and retaining workers,” said Bramburger, adding there’s more competition for workers and job seekers have more choices than ever before.

Repeated work stoppages during the pandemic led many people nearing retirement to take an earlier exit from the workforce, says Heather Inwood-Montrose, small business advisor with Enterprise Renfrew County. It’s estimated that, in 2021, approximately 50 per cent of the population in Renfrew and Lanark counties was 45 years and older, above the provincial average of 44.3 per cent, according to data compiled by the counties and Algonquin College.

But that’s not the only factor at play.

“When people were forced to stay home due to business closures, this offered time to reflect on values and to re-evaluate career paths. This has driven a shift in prioritizing retraining, education and entrepreneurship to move away from minimum wage jobs and precarious employment,” InwoodMontrose explained.

At the same time, a jump in remote working opportunities ignited by the pandemic is allowing more people to consider jobs independent of geography, when before they would have settled for positions closer to home.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, some sectors of the economy in Lanark and Renfrew counties were already facing significant labour market shortages such as the skilled trades,” said Bramburger. Now, the shortage is being felt more widely.

“Virtually all business sectors are experiencing at least some labour shortages and challenges finding new employees,” added Wybou.

Algonquin College is responding by offering shorter-term programs that support the healthcare and forestry sectors in a concerted effort to attract new entry-level employees, Bramburger said.

“The college has also added additional sections of apprenticeship training in trades such as carpentry and electrical to feed the surging housing industry,” he said.

“Businesses are coping in different ways, depending on the nature of the business,” added Wybou.

Food services and retail are asking existing staff to work longer hours and/ or reducing hours of operation, while manufacturers are investing in technology, lengthening shifts and foregoing production increases, he said.

Come visit our various attractions, stay for our culture and diversity, work in our bilingual environment, and invest in our growing opportunities. Prescott and Russell is a welcoming region! C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Regional_Ad-print-final.pdf 1 2022-05-19 10:02:30 AM

‘I’ve got 130 years of branding here’: Everything’s coming up sunflowers for this Maritimer

Surrounded by dilapidated equipment and on the cusp of a global pandemic, Matthew McShane was still in the mood for a kitchen party jam when he went into the food services business three years ago.

In fact, as a self-described Maritimer through and through, McShane was determined to bring the warmth and hospitality of his Nova Scotian upbringing as the proud new owner of Forfar Dairy and the Sunflower Bake Shop.

McShane moved to Perth and bought the bake shop in 2019. There were challenges from the get-go.

“I didn’t realize this at the time, everything looked like it was in good condition until I got in there, then I could really see the equipment was so old. The average piece of equipment was 30-plus years old and there was nothing new, everything was literally on the brink of falling apart and is still falling apart,” says McShane with a shrug.

For three years he struggled to pay rent while working around failing equipment. He considered investing in new appliances,

but it was going to cost upward of $30,000 at a time when his new business was in the grips of the pandemic.

A natural collaborator with strong community values, McShane got involved with the Perth Business Improvement Area. “I love being in Perth, so I started to look for other facilities or another building,” says McShane, who could find nothing suitable in the town.

Then he discovered Forfar Dairy in Portland was for sale and already had a retail space and café. Recognizing a complementary business, McShane decided to move the Sunflower Bake Shop and combine the two businesses. Best of all, Forfar, at almost 6,000 square feet, was three times the size of the bake shop.

“It allows me to do everything I want and already has threephase power. So it was perfect and it’s a hub and destination,” he enthuses.

The move was arduous and took nearly four months to accomplish. One piece alone took upwards of a day to move.

“We have a big mixer, Mavis, that weighs 900 pounds that needed a tow

truck to move. When we got to Forfar, the neighbours, Baker’s Feed Store, brought over their forklift to move Mavis. They’re the best neighbours,” laughs McShane.

“So now I have two iconic brands,” he adds, with the pent-up energy and delight of a child with a new toy. “Sunflower Bake Shop that’s been around for 30 years, famous for their carrot cake, and Forfar Dairy, famous for their cheese curds and their reputation of 100 years. So I’ve got 130 years of branding here.”

McShane says he wants to “expand the businesses on all sides.” This winter he intends to start manufacturing and bottling his own BBQ sauce, Blaze ‘n’ Glaze.

“It’s my own recipe. I wrote the main recipe when I was teenager. I made a few small batches at the Sunflower Bake Shop in Perth and we sold out in five minutes. Really, it was, ‘Here’s a sample and here’s your bottle,’” he chuckles.

Once he gets the bottling operation running, he figures he’ll be able to offer co-packing for other producers in the area. Less than a year in the new facility and he’s already expanded the seating area and increased his bakery’s output by collaborating with 23 & Co., another cookie-making business.

“All of the ovens and equipment Matt had in Perth were gas and he was not retrofitting the building here in Forfar for gas and I had an electric convection oven. He needed an oven, I needed space, so Matt and I became very good friends,” says Krista Gill of 23 & Co. in Rideau Lakes.

“Even though we were both making cookies, it wasn’t really competition . my motto is community over competition,” explains McShane.

Darlene Gifford had been working at Forfar for 30 years when McShane took it over. Initially unsure of her employment situation, she left Forfar and started working for Baker’s next door. Within two months she was back.

“Having been here many years my passion for the business was still here,” says Gifford, who, according to McShane, refuses the title of manager even though that’s her role.

McShane has taken his experience in information technology, hotel and hospitality management and coupled it with his Maritime heritage to build businesses that reflect his roots.

“Yeah, it is definitely part of our culture in the Maritimes — you feed people and have a kitchen party jam,” he says with a twinkle.

Matthew McShane, third from left, surrounded by loyal colleagues at Forfar Dairy in Portland. PHOTO SUPPLIED.
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Ottawa Business Growth Survey:

Diversity and collaboration is key to business success

Ottawa’s local political and business leaders have done a more effective job at navigating the pandemic and positioning the economy for a quick recovery than either the provincial or federal governments, respondents to the Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey say.

“One of the biggest lessons that we’ve learned over the past two years is how we work together. The competitive advantage in Ottawa could be radical collaboration,” says Sueling Ching, president of the Ottawa Board of Trade, referencing a method of working together that embraces diverse perspectives.

Ching believes governments learned how to move more quickly during their response to the pandemic and should not lose that speed now.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Jim McConnery, managing partner at Welch LLP.

“The business community has experienced a wide range of challenges since the onset of COVID including

numerous lockdowns and restrictions; last winter’s blockade experience; and a tight labor market in many sectors of the economy,” he says. “Effective collaboration between government and the business community is key to the resilience of our economy and will continue to be important as we navigate an uncertain business climate in 2023.”

At Regroupement des Gens d’Affaires de la Capitale Nationale (RGA), general director Marc Chenier agrees on the need for more interchange between government and business.

“Just imagine if we have to go back to lockdowns because of the new variants ... What should we do?”

Chenier asks. “Those discussions should happen between members of various boards of trade and chambers of commerce. They should get involved more in the lobbying process with governments … We should be more

proactive in this case, there’s not enough proactivity.”

Of course, Chenier recognizes that governments can only do so much to manage macro forces such as inflation and unemployment. What they can do, he argues, is expedite processes for businesses, such as zoning and permitting, and not worry as much about subsidies or financial aid.

Tim Thomas of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall agrees that it’s not about the money. “I can tell you the one big thing right now is that it takes forever to get stuff approved,” he says, citing months-long delays in getting site approvals from city hall. Unless processes are streamlined, conversion projects in the downtown could be delayed or not even started, he adds.

“It speaks to modernizing government,” adds Ching, citing digitization, smart city solutions and security as areas where the public sector must keep up.

Ching believes an environment of trust, predictability and confidence is necessary for businesses to excel and innovate. “What we know is that our economy is growing and our community thriving will be driven by the success of our businesses,” she says, adding that the municipal government has a huge opportunity to contribute to that success.


Visit to download your copy.

Shaina Watt, CPA, CA

Client service is an important issue for Shaina. Her dedication to helping clients has endeared her to them. One of Shaina’s greatest attributes is her innate ability to connect with our staff and help them realize their full potential. Shaina is committed to helping the community at large and serves as a director on the board of the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation.

“At Hendry Warren, I’ve grown into a role that I thoroughly enjoy, day in and day out, and it’s the people and clients who make it worthwhile.”

Shaina attended Dalhousie University and started with Hendry Warren as a co-op student in 2011. She obtained her CA designation in 2016

Spencer Brooks, CPA, CA, TEP

Committed to obtaining the best results for our clients, Spencer is an integral part of Hendry Warren’s knowledgeable and versatile tax team. Spencer has focussed his tax acumen on estate and succession planning, which has become a growing concern among many of our clients. He has served as a tutor at the Income Tax for the General Practitioner In-Depth Course.

“As a tax specialist, my expertise in succession and estate planning, income tax research, income tax planning and corporate reorganizations allows me to provide clients with the full picture to determine the best way forward.”

Spencer was born and raised in Ottawa. He attended Carleton University and began his career in accounting as a co-op student with Hendry Warren in 2013. He obtained his CA designation in 2018 and his TEP designation in 2021.

Michelle Bouchard, CPA, CA

Problem solving is what Michelle loves most about accounting. It is this love that manifests itself in every aspect of her interactions with our clients. Her dedication to client service permeates other aspects of her professional life. Michelle is currently serving as Treasurer and Vice Chair on the board of Roger Neilson House.

“Starting and continuing my career with HWLLP has provided me with endless opportunities to expand my knowledge of assurance and taxation in a variety of industries while developing my interpersonal skills by interacting with clients directly.”

Born in Cochrane, Ontario Michelle attended the University of Ottawa. She started with Hendry Warren as a co-op student in 2012 and obtained her CA designation in 2016.

We are growing and always looking for new people for our dynamic team. We respect and encourage a balance between work and personal activities. Our team enjoys the work environment at our office and a flexible work schedule including remote work options. We also participate together in various community service activities and fundraising

With over 20 years of service excellence in the Ottawa business community, our unique team of CPAs and professional accounting and bookkeeping staff will work alongside the partners to provide personalized solutions for your business or personal needs.

Nancy Nicks, Jacob Milosek, Blair Duffy, Todd Hamilton, David Ienzi and Jenifer Dawe are pleased to welcome Shaina Watt, Spencer Brooks and Michelle Bouchard to the Firm’s partnership.

Local tech firms still eyeing VC funding

While venture capital investment in Canadian firms plummeted in 2022 as tech valuations took a hit and economic headwinds mounted, some Ottawa tech companies say that won’t deter them from pushing ahead with plans to secure more growth funding.

Biotech startup Genomadix is one of several local firms that said in a recent Techopia survey it plans to raise more money in the next 12 months.

Chief executive Steve Edgett said the company is polishing up its pitch deck as it prepares to pursue a “proper series-A” round aimed at raising between $25 million and $30 million in the first half of 2023.

“It’s an attractive market,” Edgett says of the current fundraising climate for biotech firms like Genomadix, which makes a rapid COVID-testing device. “There’s quite a bit of money on the sidelines available to finance companies into a growth stage.”

The company’s flagship product, the Genomadix Cube, is a coffee cup-sized rapid-testing device. In addition to detecting the virus that causes COVID, the technology has also been adapted for other applications.

Earlier this year, Genomadix signed a multi-year deal with the Mayo Clinic that will see the non-profit Minnesota-based organization gain an ownership stake in the local firm. Under the agreement, Genomadix engineers will work with infectious disease and point-of-care specialists at the Mayo Clinic to brainstorm new testing technologies and map out a plan to best commercialize the Ottawa company’s products.

But Edgett says his 53-person firm needs a bigger financial warchest to really capitalize on the potential of the Cube.

“With the funding and the revenue projections that we have, we could add one or two new tests a year,” he says. “But to be a real player in this space, we need to have 10 or 15 different tests in various verticals all operating on the cube in order to show it’s a platform, not just a one-off test. That requires a lot of additional capital.”

Genomadix is currently awaiting approval from regulators in Canada and the U.S. to resume production of its device and market it for other applications.

Edgett says he expects to get the green light from Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the next 60 days, adding the approval will open the floodgates for sales to a “bunch of customers” south of the border.

“As soon as we have that FDA approval, the company’s going to be worth a lot more money,” he says. “That’s when we’ll do the series-A.”

Another rising Ottawa tech company in the healthcare field, Welbi, also says it’s looking to raise as much as $10 million before 2023 is out after landing $6 million in seed capital this past summer.

Based out of Invest Ottawa’s accelerator at Bayview Yards, Welbi makes a software platform that helps retirement and long-term care homes design recreation programs and other activities for seniors while monitoring residents’ levels of engagement.

Co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau told Techopia the firm’s fundraising efforts attracted so much interest that the company eventually decided to limit contributors to its seed

round to those investors it felt “could really move the dial to the next level” as it ramps up its expansion drive.

Welbi’s footprint in the U.S. has grown to five states over the past three months. While the company had virtually no U.S. revenue a year ago, it now earns about three per cent of its sales south of the border. AudetteBourdeau says she expects that share to rise to more than 25 per cent by the end of 2023. She expects Welbi, which now has 25 employees, to double its headcount over that span.

“I believe there are a lot of opportunities for us to grow into (the U.S.),” she says.

“We’ll be trying to just pour fuel on the fire.”

Welbi’s success during the pandemic has convinced U.S. venture capitalists that the company is for real, she says.

“Because we’ve been able to penetrate (the Canadian market) so fast over the last 18 months, it is attractive to U.S. investors,”

Audette-Bourdeau explains. “They know that once we get into the U.S., things are going to go even faster.”

Edgett and Audette-Bourdeau remain bullish on their fundraising prospects despite a recent study that showed venture capital funding for Canadian companies nosedived in the third quarter compared with a year earlier.

Edgett says there’s no question VCs are more reluctant to dole out cash than they were a year ago, when the funding frenzy was at its peak. “Raising money in Canada is really difficult right now,” he says.

But he says there are still plenty of firms willing to grab a stake in high-potential companies if they fit the right criteria.

“You want to be either looking for a little bit of money to get started or you want to be looking for a big chunk of money to scale up,” Edgett says. “It’s the piece in the middle that I think is really hard.”

Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau, CEO of Welbi, says her company will be looking for more cash. FILE PHOTO.
OBJ.CA WINTER 2023 50 In a volatile business environment, will the bold be rewarded? Now is the time to invest and test the waters with new business models. © 2022 Ernst & Young LLP. All Rights Reserved. 4153189 ED00 To learn more visit

Cooperation needed between feds, private sector in hunt for talent

As the federal government looks for talent to fuel its new Digital Ambition program and the private sector searches for oftenelusive tech employees, local experts are suggesting the need for a coordinated strategy.

The government’s Digital Ambition program was announced by the Treasury Board in August with the stated goal, “To enable delivery of government in the digital age for all Canadians. This will be done by providing modernized and accessible tools to support service delivery that expresses the best of Canada in the digital space.”

As part of the program, the government will be “developing skills for digital delivery, accessibility, data literacy and cyber security” and “attracting and retaining diverse talent for a digital-first workforce.”

“The talent strategy will seek to access the best talent across Canada and take advantage of new hybrid ways of working and focus on increased inclusivity and diversity,” Catherine Luelo, Canada’s chief information officer, told OBJ

At the same time, fierce global competition for technology workers makes it difficult for private-sector businesses to recruit and retain high-tech workers.

“Ottawa is a globally significant technology innovation cluster that has the potential to continue to grow as a powerful global economic engine over the next decade. However, its continued success is not a foregone conclusion,” said Jamie Petten, president of the Kanata North Business Association (KNBA).

“Like its peer-leading innovation clusters around the globe, its continued success will depend on its ability to attract and retain knowledge workers; the increasingly scarce skilled and educated

talent that constitutes the innovation economy’s most essential resource.”

Shan Gu, founder of Ottawa-based Foci, a consulting firm that helps businesses get the most out of their high-tech talent, believes a national digital strategy would be a good idea. Gu told OBJ that this strategy must involve the public and private sectors working together to benefit everyone in Canada’s high-tech sector.

“The federal government is competing with private industry for talent, so they better work with industry to understand how we approach talent,” Gu said. “Best case scenario, we’ll be able to fully collaborate and come up with some innovative solutions that will make the Canadian public service one of the strongest digital workforces in the world,” added Gu, whose company has worked with the federal government.

Petten said the the KNBA would support a national talent strategy that

goes beyond the federal government to encompass the private sector as well.

“What will distinguish us (in the bid) to attract competitive talent to the region? A series of compact nodes that support the critical mass of live, work, play, learn and innovate activities, by promoting the creative collisions of people that power new ideas,” Petten said. “We need to develop a roadmap to integrate all infrastructure and technology related to ‘smart cities’ in a mixed-use commercial and residential community,” Petten noted.

Hans Parmar, spokesperson at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), said that, even though the new Digital Ambition program is focused on the public sector, the federal government has other programs designed to help the high-tech private sector when it comes to training and opportunities to foster talent in Canada.

“While the talent portion of the Government of Canada’s Digital Ambition (program) is focused on internal skills acquisition within the public service, there is a recognition that attraction and retention of talent is also a key challenge for private sector firms,” Parmar told OBJ.

Customers turn to Calian when they can’t fail.

Thank you to our customers, employees, contractors and partners who made this milestone possible. Together, we’ve helped the world communicate, innovate, learn and lead safe and healthy lives. See what we have in store for the next 40. Visit us at

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talent development

Since its inception, the University of Ottawa has built a reputation as a leader in talent development, often being a source for local companies to find the nextgeneration talent they need to grow and innovate.

Through a joint initiative with the Professional Development Institute and the Faculty of Engineering, the university has broadened its offerings to provide upskilling solutions that help existing teams grow and succeed at a business – at a business and at a technical level.

uOttawa’s Business Communication and Influence (BCI) program does just that, with the development of critical business skills before, and after, talent is hired.

“At its core, the Engineering Sales School is now a business solutions provider, and more importantly a long term partner for business,” said Trevor Wilkins, Principal of uOttawa’s Engineering Sales School. “We are here to help organizations solve challenges like achieving faster revenue and greater profitability, navigating new opportunities in technology and

building what people truly need.”

Through its landmark presence in the Ottawa downtown core – and now from its new satellite locations in Kanata NorthuOttawa is connecting with business executives, HR leaders and innovators to hear firsthand what skills and business solutions they need to succeed and scale.

“In our business we need to connect customer conversations with highly technical development teams. uOttawa’s BCI program gave us the common language that cut across the gap between these silos,” said Fred Gedling, SVP Global Alliances at Rapidminer AI, a company that has participated in the BCI program. “As a result, we build what people want – rather than wasting time and money building what we think they need.”

Career development at any stage

At the uOttawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI), participants have access to a vast network of courses in a range of topics including cyber security, business

communications and marketing, writing skills, project management, national security, business-process improvement, leadership and many more.

Designed for career professionals to upgrade their knowledge, keep up with the latest in best practices as well as add new skills to their resume, uOttawa’s PDI is a one-stopshop for businesses from all industries.

The Business Communication & Influence (BCI) program is available, and now delivered, as a tailored Hybrid Corporate Solution, combining selfpaced online training with live tutorials – in person or online. The result is enormously strong communications and influence skills that allow participants to engage fully with their customers, to draw out their business outcomes and then to deliver a cost-effective solution –not just a technology product.

The BCI program also removes

cross-departmental silos through common language, techniques and insights. For key stakeholders of the BCI program, it checks all the boxes.

For Human Resources, it’s about quickly building a profitable team from a group of smart, motivated people.

For the Technical Teams, it’s about eliminating wasted time, effort and money building products and services you only think customers need.

For Business Development leaders it’s about sharing the tools that allow everyone to contribute to the company results.

So, whether you’re a tech company looking to fuel growth, or an HR leader trying to build a top-tier team – uOttawa and its Engineering Sales School is here to listen and provide solutions.

For more information on the BCI program, please visit

link between
and generating faster revenue, increasing profitability and enabling innovation?
The answer lies in the buildout of critical skills during talent development which leads to the productive business talent that many companies desperately need

Rewind lands on Deloitte Fast 50 list

Software developer Rewind is the only Ottawa-based entrant on a prominent annual ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing tech companies.

The local firm placed 41st on the latest Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list with three-year revenue growth of 551 per cent between 2018 and 2021.

makes software that backs up and

recovers data for Shopify merchants, QuickBooks customers and users of other cloud-based software platforms. It stores data from customer accounts on encrypted servers, ensuring sensitive information is protected from events such as power outages or cyber-attacks.

Rewind, which raised US$80 million venture capital in 2021 and now serves more than 100,000 organizations, was also the highest-ranking Ottawa company on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list of firms from across

“We are extremely honoured to make the Fast 500 list for the first time,” Rewind co-founder and CEO Mike Potter said in a statement. “Since 2015, we have been on a mission to help educate businesses about this vital risk of using SaaS, while building backup and restoration solutions that protect the data they rely on each and every day.”

Still, although it’s one of the city’s biggest startup success stories of the past several years, Rewind is among many Canadian tech firms that have faced headwinds in 2022.

After doubling its headcount from 65 to 130 in 2021, the firm said it planned to hire up to 100 more employees in the next 12 months.

But while Rewind did make a splash

this year with a few big-name recruits — including Nolan Beanlands, the former executive director of the Capital Angel Network, who took on the newly created post of corporate development manager — the firm’s total staff count remains about the same as it was last December.

A company spokesperson said Rewind has continued hiring in 2022, but added that some other employees “left for new opportunities.” The company, which said in May it expected recurring revenues to rise by about 50 per cent this year, declined to give an update on projected sales growth when contacted by OBJ

The only Ottawa company to crack last year’s Fast 50, cybersecurity firm Field Effect Software, did not appear on the 2022 list. Deloitte relies on companies to voluntarily apply and submit required financial information.

Two other local companies also appeared on this year’s Technology Fast 500 list.

Food Cycle Science, whose flagship offering is a portable composter that converts food scraps into a nutrient-rich byproduct, ranked 383rd with threeyear revenue growth of 351 per cent. The company was also ninth out of 15 enterprises highlighted in Deloitte’s Clean Technology list.

The local entrants on the Fast 500 list were rounded out by online research software firm Recollective, which landed at No. 472 with three-year growth of 261 per cent.

In addition, two enterprises from the capital were represented on Deloitte’s Companies to Watch list of up-andcoming firms: Meeting management software provider Fellow (three-year growth of 643 per cent), which raised US$24 million in series-A financing last year, and cybersecurity firm Crypto4A (three-year growth of 437 per cent).




Unite | Influence | Grow

Events 2023


The Ottawa Board of Trade is the voice of business and key economic partner in our nation’s capital. Our mission is to cultivate a thriving world class business community. One that creates community prosperity and drives affordable, inclusive, and sustainable city building. The last three years has shown us what levers to focus on for economic growth and how to get things done in a way that we may never have considered otherwise. This provides

a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo, move quickly and bring everyone along.

In the upcoming year, we look forward to working with economic partners and elected officials at every level of government, as well as business and community leaders from every sector and size of business. Together, we will shape a competitive environment in which everyone can thrive, through smart policy making, innovative


• 3D Security and Response


• Alstom Transport Canada Inc.

• Aspire Academy

• Bird Richard

• Bonar Institute for Purposeful Leadership Inc.

• Bread by Us - Artisan Bakery & Espresso Bar Inc.

• Capital Content Inc.

• Carlyle Interpretation


• Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty

• Differly Inc.

• Diya Accounting and Tax Services

• Dr. Christina MD Clinic

• Dustbane Products Ltd.


• Ferguson Performance Solutions Inc.

• Getit Technologies Inc.

• Ha2 Architectural & Design

• Klavan Security

• Lady Dive, Gray Line & Cobblestone Ottawa

investments and radical collaboration.

We invite all businesses to be a member of your local board of trade – to act local, think global and co-create the future of our city, the nation’s capital. Now is the time. Cheers to the success of every employee, entrepreneur, and executive among us. It is going to be a good year.

• Leisure Days RV Group

• Malcolm Parker

• Marcil Lavallée

• Multivesco Inc.

• Notionhive Canada Inc.

• Odawa Native Friendship Centre

• Ottawa Basketball Network

• Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

• Pendulum Group

• Premium Construction

• Red Arrow

• Rise Up Strategies

• SkyWare Labs Inc.

• Spraytech Insulation

• Syntax Strategic

• The Missing Link Project

• Theia Partners Inc.

• Top Sixty Over Sixty

• Ware Malcomb

• Whitewater Cottage & RV Resort

• Willow Sound Records

• YOW Home Team - Innovation Realty Ltd.

Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
Mark your calendars for events designed to connect, celebrate, and contribute to the success of your business and the growth of our city. Maximize Your Membership Mondays at 1:30 pm | Virtual Mayor’s Breakfast February to November CEO Talk March Post-Budget Breakfast April City Building Summit April Women Wine & Wisdom May & November Welch Ottawa Business Growth Survey June Forty Under 40 Gala June Ottawa’s Best Networking Golf Tournament August Talent Summit October
Business Awards November Ottawa’s Economic Outlook December Stay tuned for more details, found at
Best Ottawa

Five important acquisition lessons from an Ottawa business leader

company was 17 — an unheard of statistic in this industry.

“Our philosophy was that leaders worry about business conditions, not employees.” said Jog.

This cultural foundation became the bedrock of CRG’s successful acquisition.

Lesson 2: Know what your company is really worth Exiting a business built over time can be emotional for any entrepreneur, but it’s important to be clear-headed when determining your company’s worth.

“The valuation of your company relies on why an acquirer may be interested in your company and what they are willing to pay,” said Jog.

In other words, have reasonable expectations.

When Ottawa entrepreneur Dr. Vijay Jog realized his company, Corporate Renaissance Group (CRG) needed to offer a onestop cloud-based solution to its customers to stay competitive, he found himself at a crossroads.

Should he acquire a company to add the expertise he needed, or should he find a company to acquire CRG, a fixture of Ottawa’s business ecosystem for 30 years?

For Jog the choice came down to lifestyle. “Acquiring

another company is a young person’s game,” he said. That’s why Jog struck a deal to be acquired by Quisitive in 2019.

Here are a few lessons he learned along the way.

Lesson 1: Put people and culture first

In professional services, your employees and the culture they create are your biggest asset.

That’s why developing a team-focused culture was always a top priority at CRG. It showed: the median work years of key members of the

Lesson 3: Acquisitions are detailed and time consuming Acquirers insist on a rigorous due diligence process that requires detailed information and delves deep into a company’s history.

Not only will they want the details on every product, customer and the associated risks, but also information about employees, systems, governance and contracts with suppliers.

You need to be ready for at least four to six months of data collection and collation work. CRG was ahead of the game because they had invested heavily in information systems and analytics.

Lesson 4:

Get professional help where needed

Selling a company is much like selling a house — it’s a significant financial transaction that doesn’t happen every day.

That’s why no one should attempt to sell a company by themselves.

You need to hire professionals including investment bankers, company accountants and an exceptionally good legal firm. In particular you want an investment banker that has done deals in your specific industry.

The benefits of this investment far outweigh the costs.

Lesson 5: Set up your team

for success

For companies that depend on “people assets” acquirers will want to pay you during an earnout period spread over two or three years.

It’s critical to fully inform the team members and maintain operational control during this period. It benefits the acquirer as well by ensuring the leadership team will meet their expectations.

Jog’s team was committed to success, in part due to a commitment he made to them.

He distributed $2 million to his team at the end of their earnout period. “They deserved every penny since they contributed to the company’s success,” he said.

For Jog, that success means he can now spend some time investing in himself.


Why ‘disability confidence’ needs to be a business priority

Improving accessibility can bring new opportunities for Ottawa businesses

In 2019, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into effect—a landmark piece of federal legislation to create a barrierfree Canada by 2040.

The Act mandates that all federally regulated organizations develop and publicize accessibility plans in 2022 and 2023. This includes federal government departments and agencies, broadcasting entities, Canadian carriers or telecommunications service providers, the transportation network, Crown corporations, and others.

Beyond publishing an initial accessibility plan, organizations governed by the Act are also required to release public-facing progress reports and updated accessibility plans at regular intervals for years to come. Those that aren’t compliant risk significant fines and reputational damage.

While the Act impacts these organizations and industries directly, it also has implications for anyone who works and interacts with the federally regulated organizations in areas such as digital technology and transformation, procurement, customer service, communications, transportation, employment, and the built environment (facilities and physical space).

The ACA, other provincial legislation, and cultural indicators

are sending a clear message. Accessibility needs to be on everyone’s radar.

As a result, any business that wants to work with the federal government or Crown corporations in the Ottawa area is facing new pressures. Simply put, they must ensure they have some level of disability confidence.

What is disability confidence and why does it matter for businesses?

Disability confidence encourages organizations to think differently about disability. It asks organizations to take action to improve how they interact with employees and do business with persons with disabilities.

To be disability confident, accessibility cannot be an afterthought or a reaction. It must be intentional and proactive.

Nearly 22 per cent of Canadians identify as having a disability and almost every person experiences disability in their lifetime.

Accessibility is a growing priority in Canada that has strong ties to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks.

Organizations that take accessibility seriously have the potential to reap significant financial and reputational advantages. This is where BDO comes in.

Accessibility compliance needs the right people with the right experience

Accessibility touches upon every area of business. It impacts both the physical and digital space your business operates in, from the way you hire and onboard employees, to how you deliver customer service.

Becoming truly disability confident can take considerable effort to achieve, but it’s something that every organization needs to embrace— and you need people with the right experience to succeed.

BDO’s accessibility team has lived experience with disability, which gives us a unique perspective to help Ottawa businesses navigate requirements and reach new levels of disability confidence.

Our team is led by BDO vicepresident Max Brault, a person who lives with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). In addition to having more than 35 years of experience advocating for persons with disabilities in the federal government and the private sector, Max was also a key participant in the creation of the Accessible Canada Act.

The team also includes Mandi Crespo, who has lived

experience of disability. She has 18 years of experience in postsecondary education and the private sector working in the areas of accessibility, strategy, change management, and team development.

Our intimate knowledge of the Accessible Canada Act allows us to help clients and partners develop the attitudes, structures, and practices needed to navigate the ACA requirements and develop disability confidence. We have connections with disability communities across the country and understand their needs. We bring with us an in-depth knowledge of accessibility barriers and work with accessibility industry leaders to support our clients.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Max Brault at

Mike Abbott is the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario Managing Partner for BDO Canada.

Grinch Dinner raises $50K to help Shepherds of Good Hope serve hot meals this winter

The Grinch Dinner has become as much a beloved holiday classic as the fictional green grump that first inspired it so many years ago. The fundraiser does an exceptional job of bringing people together to support Shepherds of Good Hope. There are a few factors that help to make the dinner so successful, beginning with the participation of the Ottawa chefs who donate their food, time and expertise. This year’s 42-person Grinch Dinner was held at Coconut Lagoon restaurant on St. Laurent Boulevard. Its owner and executive chef, Joe Thottungal, closed his business down for the night in order to hold the special event. “He’s the best; there’s no one like Joe,” said Deirdre Freiheit, president and CEO of Shepherds of Good Hope and of its foundation. Then there’s the volunteer leadership behind the Grinch Dinner.

It’s co-hosted by lawyer John Peters, a partner in the Ottawa office of Gowling WLG, with long-time community builder Melissa Shabinsky

BLG event raises $88K for brain cancer research in honour of late Marc Jolicoeur

The sparkling wine was flowing and a string quartet playing at the Ottawa office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP for a special evening involving friends, peers, family, former colleagues and law partners of the late Marc Jolicoeur. The former regional managing partner of the firm passed away last February at age 68 from glioblastoma brain cancer. BLG brought nearly 100 invited guests together to honour Jolicoeur’s tremendous contributions while also

raising money for a legacy endowment fund Jolicoeur and his wife, Kathleen Faulkner, established at The Ottawa Hospital. It supports research into finding better treatments and, ideally, a cure for brain cancer. Faulkner attended that night, along with Jolicoeur’s two sons, David and Mathieu. BLG expressed its deep gratitude to the family members, recognizing that the long hours Jolicoeur spent working on behalf of the firm was also time spent away from his loved ones.

Kathleen Faulkner with her sons, David and Mathieu Jolicoeur. is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors and Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. STORIES AND PHOTOS BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS
John Peters, Melissa Shabinsky and Joe Thottungal. Chris and Mary Taggart with Gary Zed and Liza Mrak.

Barbara Crook, Melanie Adams, Dan Greenberg and Shannon Gorman (above). Erin Phillips and Chris Phillips with Sara Cinq-Mars (left).

Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg Mental Health Centre brings hope to Queensway Carleton patients

It was years in the making but a community effort to vastly improve the mental health unit at the Queensway Carleton Hospital is achieving exactly what it set out to do: replace the dark and dingy department with a healthcare environment that’s far more conducive to healing for vulnerable patients in their time of crisis. Dozens of supporters were invited to the opening of a mental health centre that now bears the names of prominent philanthropists Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg. Almost seven years ago, the Ottawa couple helped to launch the Hopes Rising fundraising campaign for mental health at QCH

with their $1-million gift. The campaign ended up raising more than $6 million, in addition to $9 million from the Ontario government. With the faint smell of fresh paint still in the air, the couple was given a tour of the brighter, more spacious new inpatient unit alongside Ottawa MPPs Lisa MacLeod and Merrilee Fullerton, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and several of his city council colleagues, and former Ottawa Senators player Chris Phillips, vice-president of operations for the hockey club, and his wife, Erin Phillips They were joined by Sara Cinq-Mars, who so beautifully led the popular fundraising galas held at Saunders Farm.

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Christmas Cheer Breakfast fills Shaw Centre with joy and generosity

We don’t know how Santa arrived at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast but he should have swapped his reindeer for a supersonic aircraft, courtesy of the fundraiser’s presenting sponsor, Lockheed Martin. He’d have made excellent time getting to the Shaw Centre, where 650 leaders from business and non-profit organizations started their day.

Shaw Centre CEO Nina Kressler, Lockheed Martin Canada chief of operations Ray Townsend, and Duane Francis from Capital Wealth Partners were among the business and community leaders helping to serve beverages. Also seen at the breakfast was Ottawa’s new police chief, Eric Stubbs, in uniform. The Christmas Cheer Breakfast is a significant

fundraiser for 22 local charities. Organizers were confident they would raise the $100,000 that they were shooting for. Helping them to reach their goal was a generous donation made by Lisa Mierins and her brother, Arnie Mierins, co-presidents of the Mierins Family Foundation and of Mercedes-Benz Ottawa Downtown. The Mierins presented a ceremonial cheque for $10,000 before announcing plans to double their gift, making it $20,000.

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GOOD CHEER Lisa Mierins and Arnie Mierins with Chris Phillips; Marie-France Lalonde with Eric Stubbs and Yasir Naqvi; Nina Kressler and Tim Kluke.


Company/Address Phone/Fax/Web



Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa 400-55 Metcalfe St. Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5 613-236-7777 / 613-236-5958

Coldwell Banker Sarazen Realty Brokerage* 1090 Ambleside Dr. Ottawa, ON K2B 8G7 613-596-4133 / 613-596-5905


Colliers International 1005-99 Bank St. Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9 613-567-8050 / 613-567-8035


Royal LePage Team Realty 1723 Carling Ave. Ottawa, ON K2A 1C8 613-725-1171 / 613-725-3323


CBRE 333 Preston St., 7th floor, Preston Square Tower 1 Ottawa, ON K1S 5N4 613-782-2266 / 613-782-2296



No. of brokers doing more than 50% (in dollar value) of their work in commercial real estate

National commercial agents

Local offices / National offices

19 533 1 22 6 2009 Nathan Smith executive vice-president and managing director

12 N/A 3 N/A 11 1977 Leah Sarazen broker of record

Full service: office, industrial and retail leasing; land, multi-family and investment sales; property tax consulting; appraisal; project management; lease administration; market research; advisory and consulting services.

Real estate sales and leasing, multi-residential, retail, industrial, office, institutional, land, market research and consulting services.

12 469 1 48 5 1992 Warren Wilkinson managing director

12 454 13 0 N/A 2002 Rick Eisert broker and manager

10 378 1 23 10 1999 Louis Karam


Century 21 Explorer Realty 23-2525 Carling Ave. Ottawa, ON K2B 7Z2 613-253-4253 / 613-257-2593

10 0 5 0 5 2004 Ralph Shaw CEO and broker of record

Leasing (landlord and tenant representation), investment sales, real estate management services, valuation and advisory services, project management, consulting, research.

Full range of services including sales and acquisition, leasing, tenant representation, land assembly and development and consulting for all commercial and institutional asset types.

Tenant representation, office, industrial and retail leasing and sales, investment and multi-residential sales, project management, appraisal, property management, capital markets, global workplace solutions, facilities management.

Full service: Retail and office leasing, land sales, commercial and industrial sales and leasing, agriculture, mortgage financing.


Avison Young 800-45 O’Connor St. Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4 613-567-2680 / 613-567-2671 9 275+ 1 14+ 4 2007 Michael Church managing director and principal

Full-service commercial: leasing, office/ industrial/retail, multi-residential and apartments, asset management, property management, mortgage brokerage, investment sales, appraisal, project management, valuations. 7

Office, industrial, land and retail sales and leasing, tenant representation, investment sales, multi-residential, seniors housing, property management, consulting and advisory services. 9


Royal LePage Performance Realty 165 Pretoria Ave. Ottawa, ON K1S 1X1 613-238-2801 / 613-238-4583 9 132 3 38 6 2002 John Rogan broker of record

Marcus & Millichap 301-275 Bank St. Ottawa, ON K2P 2L6 613-364-2300 / 613-364-2310 7 110 2 6 8 2018 Mark Paterson VP, broker of record

Capworth Commercial Realty Brokerage 204-240 Catherine St. Ottawa, ON K2P 2G8 613-601-1353 7 N/A 1 5 2 2016 Denis Shank president and managing partner

Brokerage and advisory firm serving institutional, public and multinational corporate investors, private owners, major space users, developers and lenders.

Tenant representation, buyer representation, ownership leasing representation.


Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty 2 Hobin St. Ottawa, ON K2S 1C3 613-831-9628 / 613-831-9626 6 150 5 20 10 1994 Ross Webley president and broker of record


CDNGLOBAL 203-1419 Carling Ave. Ottawa, ON K1Z 7L6 819-360-6521/613-695-0440


JLL* 800-275 Slater St. Ottawa, ON K1P 5H9 613-656-0145 / 613-288-0109


Koble Commercial Real Estate & Brokerage 4 Foothills Dr. Ottawa, ON K2H 6K3 613-237-0123

6 52 1 8 1 2008 Philip Zunder president and broker of record

6 130 1 8 2 2010

Ransome DrCar vice-president and practice lead

6 N/A 1 0 1 2014 Marc Morin Graeme Webster co-founders and partners

*These companies did not respond to this year’s survey in time for publication. This information is from previous years.

Tenant representation; office, industrial, commercial, land and retail leasing; investment sales; advisory and consulting services; business sales.

Commercial real estate sales and leasing including office, retail, industrial, hotels, apartment buildings, cannabis, retirement homes, land and syndication.

Tenant representation, project/facility management, lease administration, office/ industrial leasing, investment sales and management, retail sales, leasing and investments, land sales, multi-residential investment.

Commercial real estate advisory, acquisition, listing services.

Local support staff Year est. in Ottawa Top local executive Services offered


Jacqueline Belsito joins Senators Community Foundation as new president

The Ottawa Senators have acquired a top-performing player, off the ice, anyway, with the hiring of Jacqueline Belsito as president of the club’s new charitable foundation.

The Ottawa-born-and-raised professional fundraiser officially started her new job with the Senators Community Foundation on Nov. 21.

Belsito brings to the organization a decade of experience with the CHEO Foundation, where she helped to raise millions for the purchase of new equipment and for medical research and family support programs for the young patients of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

“It really is that classic case of right time, right place, right fit,” said Belsito of her new leadership role.

Belsito was contacted by executive search firm Keynote Search cofounder and partner Donna Baker to apply for the position. She will be tasked with relaunching the foundation and fulfilling its mission of improving the lives of children and youth in Eastern Ontario and western Quebec through community investments and programs.

“This opportunity to make a difference was too exciting for me to pass up,” said Belsito, who was sorry to leave the CHEO Foundation, where she worked as vice-president of philanthropy.

“My time at CHEO has been nothing but rewarding. I fell in love with the cause and the people who work there.”

She was particularly attached to the kids, their families and the front-line staff at both the children’s

hospital and the pediatric palliative care facility Roger Neilson House.

“They impacted me, made me a better person and have definitely made me a better leader.”

She said she learned so much from the young patients whom she met over the years and “the way they dealt with the cards that were given to them. It was really remarkable, their positivity, their perseverance. It really grounds you when you work at a palliative care centre or children’s hospital. It really puts a lot of things in perspective.”

Belsito will be tasked with the job of building the Senators Community Foundation from the ground up, overseeing its full operations and acting as a key liaison between the leadership at the club level, players, alumni, donors, sponsors, stakeholders and partners.

She will work closely with a board of directors and the Ottawa Senators

senior leadership team, including executive vice-president and CFO Erin Crowe; Anthony LeBlanc, president of business operations; and Tom Hoof, vice-president of marketing and game entertainment.

“To be part of that winning team, on and off the ice, is so exciting,” she said.

Particularly attractive to Belsito was the way the organization’s values align with her own.

“There’s a chemistry and culture there that really spoke to me,” said Belsito. “Right from the first conversation, I felt valued for the expertise that I could bring to the table and felt that we could accomplish great things together.”

Belsito said she’s also really looking forward to continuing “to lift up children and youth in our community.”

What a lot of people don’t know about Belsito is that sports played a big role in keeping her on the right path

when she was a potentially at-risk youth.

“I would say one of the best pieces of advice that I got as a young teen was to stay in sports,” said Belsito, who excelled in volleyball and basketball. “Sport taught me the value of hard work and sportsmanship and teamwork – all those core skills that, frankly, I continue to integrate into my life today.”

Belsito is a graduate of Algonquin College’s business management and marketing program. Prior to joining the CHEO Foundation in 2012, she worked as director of marketing and advertising at software company Cognos, vicepresident with fundraising firm KCI (Ketchum Canada), and director of marketing and fundraising for Rowing Canada Aviron.

With the announcement of Belsito as new president, things are finally looking up for the charitable arm of the Ottawa Senators, which saw its former foundation break ties with the team in 2020. Its replacement organization, it seemed, never really got off the ground.

This past March, owner Eugene Melnyk passed away due to illness, leaving the team to his daughters.

The chairman and governor of the Ottawa Senators has confirmed a process has begun to put the team up for sale. Said Belsito: “Whether the team is up for sale or not up for sale, I would say it doesn’t change the value that the foundation can add to the organization, and it doesn’t diminish its ability to galvanize a community around the Senators.”




Bree Jamieson-Holloway has been appointed vice-chair of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) for a five-year term by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland. The CITT is an independent, quasi-judicial administrative tribunal adjudicating various international trade cases and matters. Jamieson-Holloway, a Forty Under 40 recipient, founded Ottawa’s Jamieson Law in 2017. As a result of the appointment, Jamieson Law will be continuing at Gowling WLG.

After almost a quarter century at Bloomberg News, Theophilos “Theo” Argitis has joined full-service public affairs firm Compass Rose as its new managing director. Argitis will lead the execution of the firm’s growth strategy, including development of business segments. Argitis started working as a reporter for Bloomberg in 1999. He served as Ottawa bureau chief for nearly 18 years, as well as head of Canadian economic and government news. “As one of the most respected organization heads and reporters covering national affairs and economic policy, Theo has built an enduring reputation for integrity,

accuracy, insight and delivery,” said Compass Rose founder Jacqueline LaRocque in a news release.

Anick Losier has joined CHEO as its new chief branding and communications officer. Losier spent the past six years with CMA (Canadian Medical Association) Media, most recently in the role of vicepresident. She’s also held media relations and communications roles with Canada Post and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Her volunteer work has included Institut du Savoir Montfort, Dovercourt Recreation Association and Ottawa Race Weekend.

Chad Schella has joined CIBC as its associate vice-president of government relations. Schella, who’s a member of the board of directors at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, worked for more than 10 years at Canada Post, most recently as its general manager of government and community affairs. Prior to that, he worked for the Ottawa Senators and its foundation.

Scott Bradley has joined Waterloo-based tech company OpenText as director of global government relations. He will continue to be based in Ottawa. Bradley spent the past couple of years working with BDO Canada,

Ottawa business community says goodbye to two great leaders

Two well-known names in local business circles passed away recently, leaving a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

Denzil Doyle died Oct. 26 at the age of 90.

Affectionately known as the “father of Silicon Valley North,” Doyle grew Digital Equipment Corporation’s Canadian operations from a oneperson sales office to a multifaceted corporation with more than 1,500 employees from 1963 to 1981. Following his career at DEC, he founded

Doyletech Corp. to provide consulting services to entrepreneurs, investors, governments and policymakers. He was appointed to the National Research Council of Canada in 1982. He cofounded Instantel Inc., an Ottawa-based supplier of instrumentation equipment, and served on the board of directors for many successful Canadian high-tech companies, including Mitel, Newbridge Networks and Gennum Corp. He also served as chairman of Capital Alliance Ventures Inc., an Ottawa-based venture capital company specializing in technology investment.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate of engineering by Carleton

helping to establish its ESG practice, pulling together the work the firm is doing across Canada with its Indigenous clients and partners, and amplifying its position as a leader in advisory and technology services within the federal government.

Katrina Barclay has become the new executive manager of the Family Enterprise Legacy Institute at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. The Forty Under 40 recipient first joined FELI a year ago as its communications and liaison manager.

Another Forty Under 40 recipient, Michael Williams, has been promoted to managing partner of the Ottawa office of executive search and recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson. Williams has been a partner at the firm since 2017.

Business development specialist Erin Binks has set off on a new career path with ergonomic and sustainable office furniture brand Humanscale. She’s now its senior account development representative.


The late Marc Jolicoeur was posthumously presented with a 2022

Lifetime Achievement Award at a recent awards ceremony, the VOscars, hosted by Volunteer Ottawa. Jolicoeur, a former managing partner at BLG, served as a volunteer for numerous charitable organizations, including with the University of Ottawa, United Way Canada, United Way Ottawa and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Jolicoeur, 68, died in February from glioblastoma.


Also at the Oscars, the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation’s Volunteer Engagement Program was selected as the winner in the Outstanding Volunteer Program category. Its program, created in 2011, has seen its volunteers complete 42 projects and donate nearly 35,000 hours to help enhance OCH neighbourhoods.

Helen MacMillan, general manager of Ottawa’s Rideau Carleton Casino/ Future Hard Rock Casino Ottawa, has been named as a 2022 recipient of the Patricia Becker Pay It Forward Award on behalf of Global Gaming Women (GGW). The award honours women who have demonstrated a commitment to the development and advancement of women in gaming, as well as in their community.

University, granted fellowship in the Engineering Institute of Canada, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal and was invested as a member of the Order of Canada.

Doyle was born in Vinton, Que., and received a bachelor of science degree from Queen’s University in 1956. He was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal for graduating top of his class.

Another icon of Ottawa business, Grete Hale, died Oct. 28 at age 93.

Hale was the second of Ottawa’s “Three Sisters,” the daughters of Cecil Morrison, co-founder of Morrison Lamothe Bakery. The eldest, Jean Pigott, was a businesswoman, MP and chair of the National Capital Commission. Pigott died in 2012. The youngest is Gay Cook, a former food writer for the Ottawa Citizen.

Hale graduated from Carleton University in 1954 with a degree in

journalism. She joined Morrison Lamothe in 1966, becoming president in 1979 and chair of the board in 1989. Morrison Lamothe eventually moved its production to Toronto, though its head office remains in Ottawa.

Hale was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006. She was governor of the University of Ottawa, president of Beechwood National Cemetery and honorary colonel of the Governor General’s Foot Guards, the first woman to hold the position.

She had honorary doctorates from uOttawa and Carleton and honorary life membership for Canhave Children’s Centre and the Community Foundation of Ottawa, both of which she helped found. She was also a member of 100 Women Who Care Ottawa, a group of women who share a common desire to give back and inspire local philanthropy in their community.

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