Toronto Startups Ecosystem That You Need To Know

The following graph was developed by Toronto Founder Institute’s Sunil Sharma and Kamal Hassan, see the draft of the #Toronto #StartupEcosystem Canvas…

It is everything you need to know about Toronto startup ecosystem summarized in one long image below. Enjoy.

More input is needed, so please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document, and it will be considered for the next update:

Graph taken from:

50% More Tax for IT Consultants / Small Businesses in Quebec

UPDATE: Due to high popularity of this article, we’ve got multiple requests on where we got this #s and if this is really true. Did Quebec really decide to increase their small business tax 50% like that? Unfortunately it is true as references by the following newspaper articles below (at the end of this article) about new taxation for small businesses in Quebec.


If you are a small business in the province of Quebec this year, prepare to pay more in taxes. How is that possible you say? We already pay the highest taxes in North America in Quebec. Well now the government is going after small businesses to collect more tax dollar.

If you are an incorporated business in Quebec with 3 or less employees, you will start paying provincial tax rate of 11.9% instead of small business tax rate of 8% as it is currently. This can add up to $10,000 in extra taxes if you are making $240,000 a year.

When you compare corporate small tax to Ontario for example, small corporations there no matter how many employees only pay 4.5% vs 11.9% in Quebec – accounting for $18,000 difference. So it does matter which province you incorporate your business in.

Province of Quebec came in dead last when it came to entrepreneurship rate of 9.6% comparing to 19% in Alberta.

The Quebec government have decided that this way they are “helping” small businesses to grow by encouraging them to hire more employees. This is the only province in Canada which decided to “help” small businesses this way.  Quebec is already the highest taxed province in North America, expect to pay $14,000 more (around 10% more) in personal taxes than neighbouring Ontario on income of $150,000.

This change will of course not affect manufacturing sector as they were excluded from the change since their big unions were against it.

Alex Degrachev, an owner of a small tech business, Evolving Web, in Montreal, was completely taken aback when he learned about this change:

“Quebec government wants to “encourage small business growth” by increasing the income taxes on all companies with 1 or 2 employees by 50%. This is going to DISCOURAGE someone like me from starting a business in Canada.”

It is a mystery why instead of supporting very small businesses, Quebec decided to tax them the same as a big corporation with thousands of employees.

Maybe you think – it is only few percentage points why worry about it too much? Plus all those doctors and lawyers making millions they should pay their fair share, right? No – It does get worse.  The report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, measured the levels of entrepreneurial across Canada over the last few years. What they did was they took # of working adults who are setting up their own business or do have businesses that pay salary and existed for 42 months or longer.  Province of Quebec came last, with an entrepreneurship rate of 9.6 per cent, compared to for example 19 per cent in the province of Alberta.

If you are thinking of incorporating, it would be wise to think incorporating outside of Quebec as you would be saving upwards of 4% on your taxes.



Journal de Montreal for our French speakers:

and Globe and Mail for our English speakers


Toronto Dream Payments, financial service cloud company, raises $10m

The round was led by FairVentures Inc, the innovation investing arm of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. Connecticut Innovations (CI), Real Ventures and a prominent group of angel investors were also key participants in the financing.

Dream Payments is a fintech solutions company and developer of technology that enables leading merchant acquirers and banks to deliver mobile merchant services solutions to businesses of all sizes. Dream’s solutions are secure, EMV and PCI certified, accept Chip and PIN debit and credit cards, and Contactless payments. Dream is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and its investors include Real Ventures, Blue Sky Capital, Rouge River Capital, DonRiver Inc., and angel investors.

“The business world is rapidly transitioning to mobile commerce, which is translating into growing demand for our payments cloud, applications and services,”

said Brent Ho-Young, Chief Executive Officer of Dream Payments.

Watch Video – Every Small Business starts with a Dream, now running your business can feel like one. At Dream we make it easier to accept payments and manage your business on the go:


Canada’s Global Skills Strategy / Fast Track Work Permit to start June 2017

As US becomes more and more complicated to get work permits for, Canada is opening up to skilled labour candidates.

Canadian Government is introducing a fast track program to bring skilled talent into Canada called “Global Skills”. This was announced Thursday morning in Toronto by Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, and Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. This new work permits will be given out quickly so that Canadian companies can request professionals with specific skills to come to Canada to work for periods less than 30 days in a calendar year.

This initiative will target:

  • High-growth Canadian companies that need to access global talent in order to facilitate and accelerate investments that create jobs and growth. This will include companies that can demonstrate labour market benefits, such as increasing investments, knowledge transfer and Canadian job creation; and
  • Global companies that are making large investments, relocating to Canada, establishing new production or expanding production, and creating new Canadian jobs.

“This will result in timely, responsive and predictable service that allows companies to attract top talent to scale up, create good middle-class jobs at home, and remain globally competitive,”

Canadian Employment, Workforce Development and Labour said in a statement.

Montreal startup Dialogue, benefits provider, raises $4M, expanding to Ontario

Dialogue raised $4m in funding from BDC Capital, and Hacking Health Accelerator. They are now will be expanding to Ontario but still operating in Quebec.

Dialogue offers a range of healthcare services to employees and their families. We work hard to keep individuals healthy, present at work, productive and happy.

Through Dialogue, employees can chat with a nurse for any health or well-being related questions, consult a psychologist when they are stressed, chat with a nutritionist to lose weight, or consult with a doctor for conditions that can be managed virtually. We are a new part of your employees’​ benefits program. No more time wasted in waiting rooms, or conditions that go untreated because they simply don’t have time.

“We are excited to announce our first expansion outside of Quebec, accelerated by particularly strong demand from Ontario employers. This marks the beginning of accessible virtual care to employers across all of Canada.”

said Cherif Habib, co-founder and CEO of Dialogue.

Uber is finally coming back to Vancouver, BC to subsidize taxi industry

Uber is coming back to Vancouver at the end of 2017, Province of British Columbia has announced.  While deciding to bring back the ride sharing service, the province has also decided to level the playing field by subsidizing the taxi industry by providing  “$1 million to help the taxi industry develop an app with the capability of shared dispatch to allow the taxi sector provincewide to better compete with new entrants to the market, and allow the public to hail and pay for a taxi with a smartphone in the same way that they would for a ride-sharing service”.

The province will also provide the following to help the taxi industry:


Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure said:

“British Columbians have told us that they want ride sharing services, and we’re moving forward to make it happen. While we’re taking action, we know that many people rely on taxis to support themselves and their families. That’s why we’re making investments to modernize the taxi industry and create a level playing field.”

Not everyone was happy with the proposed plan – users went to social media, Facebook, to vent, including James Becker:

Why are taxpayers subsidising an industry that is unwilling or unable to adapt to the changes in the transportation market? The taxi industry deserves no favours or special treatment from taxpayers or government. The entire framework of taxi regulation and licensure needs to be dismantled and the market opened up to new competitors like Uber and Lyft so that the consumers can benefit the most with true market value prices rather than government mandated artificial scarcity. Government should stick to governing and get out of the business of business. End corporate welfare.

Uber’s spokesperson for Canada, Susie Heath, said the following in regards to the announcement:

From Vancouver to Victoria, Kelowna to Prince George, British Columbians want and need access to more safe, affordable, reliable transportation options across the province.  Today’s announcement is a step forward by the provincial government and we’re encouraging all parties in British Columbia to commit to bringing forward progressive regulations that embrace ridesharing in 2017.

Video below goes over BC investing in taxi industry to help them compete against Uber and other ride sharing services:


Amazon acquires Winnipeg based Thinkbox Software

Seattle based Amazon acquired mostly Winnipeg based ThinkBox, software company providing unique solutions for artists in the entertainment industry, for undisclosed amount of money.

Thinkbox Software has provided creative tools and pipeline technology for both small and large scale projects including the worlds largest feature films. Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Thor, Green Lantern, Harry Potter, Avatar, Tron, GI-Joe the Rise of Cobra and hundreds of other films have utlized our software in front of and behind the screen. Our tools have been at the core of award winning projects, music videos, commercials and hundreds of hours of creative content spanning film, broadcast, commercial, marketing, games and web content.

Chris Bond is the Founder, CEO and President of Thinkbox Software. He established the company in 2010 with a mission to bring together the power of high-performance computing and the artistry of visualization. Following the acquisition he said:

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been acquired by Amazon!

We’ll be joining the Amazon Web Services family, and we’re looking forward to working together to deliver exciting customer offerings.

At this point, it’s still business as usual for us. We’ll continue to provide you, our customers, with remarkable support whether you work on-prem, in the cloud or both.

Chris and the Thinkbox Team

It will be interesting to see what Amazon has in mind for ThinkBox software. Maybe some new blockbuster Amazon Originals movies like Transformers?