Ontario brings oversight to IT, hires Hilary Hartley as First Chief Digital Officer

Hilary Hartley will assume her new role in April 2017 and her mission will be making Online Services Simpler, Faster and Better for People and Business in the Province of Ontario. She is an American living in San Francisco where she is working to empower governments to use and understand the local/mobile/social web.

Do we need more oversight in Ontario when it comes to conducting business online? Especially by someone from San Francisco, US? Noone knows for sure whether bringing more government oversight is a good thing when it comes to online services.

Hilary said via Ontario provincial website:

“Hello, Ontario! I am so excited to join an incredible team of passionate people, with wicked digital skills, who are working hard to create change and bring user-focused design and internet-era ways of working to government. Making government services simpler and easier to use will have a huge impact on people’s lives — I can’t wait to get started.”

She also sent out a Twit:

Quebec is the most taxed province in Canada; expect to pay $10k more in taxes on senior developer salary

UPDATE 1: Some people have disagreed with salary #s indicated in this article for Montreal market, instead of including one $, we have updated it to provide a range. Please note all salary #s are with bonuses included.

We love how beautiful Montreal is in the summer, the European charm, the Old Montreal streets, so one day you decide to move there, get a job and become a good member of society.  Quebec they say is one of the most socialistic places in North America however it is also the most taxed place.

If you are a senior software developer / programmer with 8+ years of experience you might get recruited by big companies in Montreal like Morgan Stanley or Ubisoft. The salary you might get will be around $90k-$110k plus say $10k-$20k bonus and stock options – so about $130,000 through payroll.

What a lot of Quebec marketing campaigns do not say when trying to attract talent is that you will pay $10,000 more than say in Alberta. You will say – hey at least I get cheap day care – not so fast – you will now need to pay $20 a day or more a for subsidized daycare  and around $40 a day for private daycare if your household salary is over $100,000.

Seth Daniel, developer who recently moved to Montreal from San Francisco, is not very happy about his new adoped city’s taxes – “atrocious … low.. salaries  with the highest taxation. Seriously the lowest paid dev salaries in the western world” as he calls it:

I am actually from SF (now living in Montreal) so I can tell you from experience that my dev friends in the Bay Area making 140k are doing much better than we ever will in Montreal. Indeed, rent is cheaper here but literally everything else is WAY more expensive. I was in Tennessee last summer and was able to go to the grocery store, spend $60 and feed a family of 5 for an entire week. The cost of living argument is really weak when you take more than just rent into consideration.

But what if you incorporate and become an IT consultant and run your own small business that way? Not so fast, Quebec has increased its small business tax for corporate IT consultants this year mind blowing 50%.

We compare 4 salary brackets and amounts taxed in 3 provinces below:

Out of School / Entry Level Developer Salary of $40,000 – $60,000 a year – $2k-$2.5k or around 5% difference a year: 

  • Quebec – $7.7k
  • British Columbia – $5.8k
  • Alberta – $6.4k

Intermediate Developer Salary of $60,000-$80,000 a year – $4k-$5k or around 6% difference a year : 

  • Quebec – $20k
  • British Columbia – $16k
  • Alberta – $16k

Senior Software Developer of $90,000 – $130,000 a year – $7k-10k or around 8% difference a year: 

  • Quebec – $45k
  • British Columbia – $35k
  • Alberta – $35k

Vice President of a company $150,000 – $200,000 a year – $16k or 8% difference a year: 

  • Quebec – $80k
  • British Columbia – $66k
  • Alberta – $64k

* please note all salaries indicated are with year end bonuses attached to them.

However before jumping to conclusions – you should compare all the costs of housing, education, insurances, etc.

For example when it comes to early education, few people in Quebec business community commented that, in the rest of Canada (or ROC), you are at disadvantage when you have kids going to daycare because in Quebec you just pay about $15-$20 a day vs $40-50 in ROC. Even though Quebec advantages might soon come to an end due to neighbouring Ontario’s recent annoucenment promising to let all 2.5 year old and older kids go to day care for free.

So even if you exclude Ontario, in Quebec you still would need to have 3 kids subsidized day care (which is very hard to get into) to offset $10k in extra taxes you will be paying as senior dev.  Also that is only for 3-4 years before they go off to elementary school. And unlike rest of Canada, in Quebec, you will most likely send your kids to private school either in French ($4,000+ a year) or English ($12,000+ a year). Unless you want to send them to public school with up to 20% drop out rates (highest rates in Canada). Private schools in Quebec generally have much higher success rates, no matter the language.

Also cost of living in Montreal can save you another $3,000 – $5,000 on 2 bedroom apartment a year as rent prices in Montreal are 38.98% lower than for example in Toronto.

But before you get excited, even with lower cost of living, and subsidized day care, you will most likely get salary about 20% less in Montreal than in Toronto or Ottawa for example. That could be a difference of around $20,000 for a senior web / app developer.


SOURCE: https://simpletax.ca/calculator

SOURCE: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Canada&country2=Canada&city1=Toronto&city2=Montreal&tracking=getDispatchComparison

SOURCE (drop out rates): http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/dismal-dropout-rates-among-french-speaking-students-worry-minister-1.2771757

Canada might follow US / UK on laptop / tablets ban on flights

Canada is still considering whether to follow UK and US in their laptop and iPad carry on ban on airlines flying from Middle Eastern countries. The ban came into effect this past Saturday March 25th. This basically means you are now allowed to use your laptop during your flight. You can still use it at the airport but not take it with you with your carryon. You have to check the items in.

Airports that are now part of the ban are as follows.

US is now banning the following airports:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB)
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

UK is now banning airports located in:

  • Turkey
  • Lebanon
  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Jordan
  • Tunisia

Examples of larger electronic items are:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • E-Readers
  • Cameras
  • Portable DVD players
  • Electronic game units larger than a smartphone
  • Travel printers/scanners

Some business travelers are wondering what they will now do on those long 15+ hour flights. Books are so  last century. But it is not really about inconvenience you have also greater chance of your laptop or tablet getting stolen or broken in your checked in luggage. The best idea is to encrypt your laptop.

You can always try to book your flight to travel through Europe for example from Turkey and then onwards to the US. This way the ban would not apply to you. However be aware even on connecting flights through Canada – for example Dubai to Detroit and then on to Montreal – the ban will still applies.

Even if you are US or Canadian citizen the ban would still apply to you.

But do not fret, maybe it is time to catch up on in flight media entertainment and catch up on your John Grisham’s book reading.

Montreal startup Kaloom, efficient data center, gets $14.3m Canadian in funding

Montreal startup Kaloom, company that is revolutionizing how applications and services are delivered to the world, has received $10.7m USD in Series A funding.

The funding was received from Fonds de solidarité FTQ, as well as Somel Investments, MBUZZ Investments, Griffin Fund II.

Company has locations in Montreal as well as Silicon Valley and currently employs about 15 people.

According to their website this is what they do / who they are:

We are a group of technology veterans with a proven track record of delivering large scale networking solutions for the world’s biggest networks. Coming from leading companies including Ericsson, Redback Networks, 3Com, Nortel and Apple, we are building a critically needed solution to address the biggest transformation in networking that we have seen in our lifetimes.

We see a “perfect storm” forming in the networking industry and recognize that no existing solutions from incumbent or emerging vendors are addressing the fundamental challenges ahead. Kaloom was formed specifically to address these challenges and is developing world class technology to allow our customers to fully embrace and leverage these new opportunities in networking and emerge with the highest performance, lowest cost and greenest network possible.

Simon Williams, Co-Founder and CEO of Kaloom said,

“I have spent my entire career in the networking industry. The seismic shift that is taking place in networking around hyper-scale, open networking and the rise of white box solutions is like nothing I have ever seen. The Kaloom solution is designed explicitly with this new wave fully in mind and will allow our customers to benefit from this shift and deliver unsurpassed performance, scale and reliability in a way never before seen. We are delighted to partner with our investors, including the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Somel Investments as their vision and support enable us to begin our journey to transform the networking industry as we know it.”


Forget Silicon Valley. Get $5m for Your Startup to Move to Buffalo, New York.

The city of Buffalo is trying to ramp up some interest in its city by hosting a 43North competition and giving away up to $5m USD to startups to come and work on your startup there in the incubator.

You will get a chance at $1 million prize for first place, $650k for the second place, $550k for third place, and five $500,000 prizes.

Canadians are not strangers to Buffalo and 43North. Toronto’s strtup Formarum won $500k in the last competition. They were pretty happy about it:

Today we are sharing a big news. After months of intense competition where hundreds of companies competed for a chance to win a share of $5 MILLION in prizes as part of the 43North competition, Formarum has been selected as one of the 8 Winners. We have won a $500,000 USD cash prize to help us launch our first product, Dive Smart Sanitizer.

“We could not be more grateful today. The funding we will receive from this award will help accelerate our product launch. We are extremely excited and looking forward to an incredible year to expand our operations to United States, grow our company, and start delivering an amazing product to our customers”, said Moe Dini , Formarum’s Product Manager .

“This is a fantastic news and opportunity that has come as a result of years of working on our core technology. I want to thank everyone who has helped us get to this point, especially our past and present employees without whom we would not be able to achieve this milestone”, said Seyed Nourbakhsh, Formarum’s CEO and Founder.


Here is how 43North describes itself on its website:

We award $5 million in cash prizes, including a top prize of $1 million, to innovative startups from around the globe. And that’s not all – our winners also receive mentorship, incubator space, marketing exposure and tax breaks. We operate through the support of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative and the New York Power Authority.

With $5 MILLION in prizes, 43North is a competition that’s in a league of its own. But it’s more than that. For winners, it’s an amazing staff and dedicated mentors. And free incubator space. And healthy tax-breaks. And some fierce ping pong. Click here for all the details on our 2017 competition.

Founded in 2014, 43North is an unprecedented program, made possible by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s historic Buffalo Billion initiative, with support from the New York Power Authority.

Our winners are helping to fuel a remarkable story that’s well under way – the renaissance of a great American city. BUFFALO, NY is poised to show the world what a 21st century city looks like, and that it’s a fertile ground for visionaries, pioneers, dreamers, and doers.

Make sure you have your passport up to date as you would need to pitch your startup to a panel of judges in Buffalo, New York (about 1.5 hours away from Toronto or Waterloo).

You can apply on their website until May 24, 2017:  https://apply.43north.org/register


Vancouver and Toronto Ranked in Top 20 Startup Ecosystem around the World

The Startup Ecosystem Ranking report is out for another year and they have been some significant changes – London went up 3 places to #3, and Berlin went up 2 places to #7, and Beijing came in at #4.

Things look good for Canada as well especially if you work and live in Vancouver or Toronto region (Waterloo included). Toronto went up 1 spot to #16, and Vancouver went up 3 spots to #15. Unfortunately Montreal did not make the list.

Startup Genome is a global collaborative effort to help regions everywhere nurture and maintain thriving tech startup ecosystems. Insights gathered from 10,000+ startup companies and 300 partner organizations, provide a starting point for founders, employers, local leaders, and policymakers in 50+ cities around the world to make informed and timely decisions that drive innovation and economic growth.

In regards to Vancouver, report said:

Vancouver is leveraging its unique combination of assets: Hollywood North, a strong industrial foundation, enterprise data and cloud underpinnings, and a remarkably diverse talent pool, with over half its residents having a first tongue other than English.

The city may have the fewest number of startups in top 20, but their valuations are highly competitive. Its funding metrics point to the Vancouver ecosystem holding steady, not rising or sinking greatly.

Toronto was another story, the report said:

An estimated 2,100 to 2,700 startups thrive thanks in part to world-class engineering talent, strong entrepreneurial culture, an affordable rental market, and a global base of customers. It benefits from multicultural talent drawn from sixteen academic institutions…alongside generous tax credits, government grants, and favourable currency exchange.


Top 20 Startup Cities  as according to Startup Genome for 2017

  1. Silicon Valley (unchanged)
  2. New York City (unchanged)
  3. London (up from #6)
  4. Beijing (new entry)
  5. Boston (down from #4)
  6. Tel Aviv (down from #5)
  7. Berlin (up from #9)
  8. Shanghai (new entry)
  9. Los Angeles (down from #3)
  10. Seattle (down from #8)
  11. Paris (unchanged)
  12. Singapore (down from #10)
  13. Austin (up from #14)
  14. Stockholm (new entry)
  15. Vancouver (up from #18)
  16. Toronto – greater Waterloo area (up from #17)
  17. Sydney (down from #16)
  18. Chicago (down from #7)
  19. Amsterdam (unchanged)
  20. Bangalore (down from #15)

Toronto Canadian Russian Speaking Hacker is Behind Yahoo Hack

22 year old Hamilton Ontario area resident , Karim Baratov, was arrested and is now alleged to be behind the biggest Yahoo hack. He has dropped out from high school but was living luxurious life.

Karim has dual Canadian Kazakh citizenship and lives just outside of Toronto. He is now been arrested due to hacking and selling Yahoo passwords for $100 each.

Karim has pictures all over the internet showing off exotic cars, houses, watches, cigars as well as hanging out in night clubs.




Karim owns two luxury cars : an Aston Martin, and Mercedes Benz sedan. All of which will be forfeited to the US if they manage to convict him.




This quote has been taken from his Facebook page:

Hey guys, let me share a very personal story with you, that not many people know. Exactly 4 years ago I got suspended from school for a few weeks for threatening to kill my ex-friend as a joke. At first, I felt really upset as I have never got into trouble before; but time off school allowed me to work on my online projects 24/7, and really move my businesses to the next level. I was well off in high school to be able to afford driving a BMW 7 series and pay off a mortgage on my first house; however, all the extra free time allowed me to make triple and even quadruple the normal amount. By the time my suspension was done, I changed my whole life plan! I didn’t wanna do post secondary anymore! The principal asked me to go see her and asked if I learned my lesson. She was very rude the whole time, so I politely asked her to go fuck herself, which led to my expulsion as I wanted. I only had 1 semester to graduate anyways, which I completed in 2 weeks by taking half courses online, and half via self-education program. Everything happens for a reason, and this really changed my life to better! My advise to you is give yourself permission to get the most out of your life. Taking shortcuts doesn’t mean shortcutting the end result.



Mr Baratov is now expecting a court hearing in Canada and will face extradiction request to the US. US has charged him with conspiring to commit access device fraud, commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse. He is facing up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

He is one of four men indicted by the US, however the other three are hiding somewhere in Russia and two countries (USA and Russia) do not have extradition treaty.