Canadian 2018 Fed Budget: Tech + R&D

Another year went by and another budget was passed. The good news the deficit will be reduced to about $12b by 2023 and liberals have backtracked on a lot of controversial changes they wanted to pass just few months ago.

Parental Leave

So let’s start with not so techie but important for a lot of startups and entrepreneurs out there – parental leave. Government has passed $1b+ to create a 5 weeks program for fathers to be able to take parental leave with a maximum of 40 weeks (up from 35) for both parents and cap it at 55% of 2nd parent income for as much as 12 months as long father takes the 5 weeks. Lose it or use it – they call it.

Small Businesses Tax Changes

The government has decided to push through with their passive income changes. Basically meaning that if you earn passive income in your business – you will not be able to take advantage of low small income corporate tax rate of 9% but would need to pay full 15% corporate tax rate used for big corporations.

Hold on a second, I am a bit slow – what is a passive income you ask? Basically if you earn income as part of your active business activities it is not considered passive income. So if you sell $10m of widgets and earned $1m – it is NOT a passive income but just income. If now you have decided to reinvest that $1m of income to buy say shares of Amazon and Facebook, and made 5% over a calendar year it would be considered an income earned from investments—stocks, ETFs, bonds, etc., as many smart business owners use for long term savings—then it is passive income.

So back to passive income. Government has decided to be “nice” and will allow you to use small corporate rate when applied to first $50k of passive income. However, from $50k to $150k, you will now need to pay more than small corporate rate, and maximizing it at 15% full corporate rate at $150k of passive income or more.  You will not be affected if you are making less than $50k passive income.

If you reinvested your $1m to buy stocks and those stocks increased by say 20% at $200k in passive income – you will be required to pay the same tax rate as the big boys. So basically government wants all of your money.

Innovation Boost to Science

Government has decided to commit almost $4b over next 5 years to give boost to science specifically physical and life sciences, social sciences and health research. The scientists will receive about half a billion dollars more to do their research through university and government funding.

Females Lead the Way / Big Data

The feds have decided to be nice to female business owners as well committing almost $100m to help them grow their businesses as well as almost $600m to provide advanced computing and big data resources. Canada is a world leader in that.

Cybersecurity Project

Government has decided to allocate over $500m to cybersecurity threats. It will be used to develop a central body to oversee cyber security. Cyber attacks have cost Canadian businesses billions of dollars and government is trying to reprimand that. Even the government itself and several universities were a target of Russian and Chinese hackers and ransomware over the last few years.

Newspapers / News Websites / Blogs

Canadian government has decided to help out underfunded and declining newspaper industry by providing them with a non profit status. as well as $50m subsidy to support local journalism. So now if you run a newspaper or a blog , you will potentially be able to register as a non profit.

Did we miss anything? Let us know.


Toronto Pacific Mall Flagged By US Government

Pacific Mall in Toronto area of Markham said that it will clean up its mall from counterfeit and pirated products. This comes after the US government declared the mall as the most notorious in the world for counterfeit and imitation goods.

In January, US government said that the Toronto area mall, compromising mostly of 450 stores catering to Mandarin speaking clientele in the area, is “one of the world’s notorious sources of counterfeit goods”.

US government’s report added that vendors at Pacific Mall “operate largely with impunity (as) requests for assistance from local law enforcement have reportedly gone unanswered.”

TravelCoffeeBook / Pixabay

Pacific Mall said it was  “deeply disturbed” by the recently learned report that “suggested that some vendors in the mall are selling imitation goods.”

“We are deeply disturbed and disappointed by this news. Management takes compliance with the laws and regulations that govern the sale of goods seriously. We will be implementing stringent internal measures to stop imitation goods from being traded or sold in the mall.

Pacific Mall is not only one of North America’s busiest retail centres but it also acts as a unique cultural hub for Toronto and GTA residents. Moreover, Pacific Mall has been a retail attraction for millions of local and international tourists. We hope to reaffirm the public’s confidence in Pacific Mall as a place where consumers and families can find a wide array of cultural opportunities and products at great value.”

angelic / Pixabay

This is not the first time mall has received attention from authorities. In 2009, the RCMP as well as local Police have done patrols in the shopping malls around Markham including Pacific Mall in order to eliminate the sales of counterfeit items.

Toronto Jibestream Mapping Your Indoor Spaces

Jibestream is the provider of an indoor mapping and location platform that is transforming the way people engage with indoor spaces. We help enterprise organizations develop IoT-driven, indoor maps that can power a wide range of use cases from indoor navigation to asset tracking, spatial business intelligence and beyond.

With a portfolio of high-profile venues deployed globally, including the Pentagon, World Trade Center, Mall of the Emirates, various Department of Defense hospitals and hundreds of other buildings in both the private and public sector, Jibestream is the go-to leader in the indoor mapping space.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

The company was co-founded by a business entrepreneur and a web developer. Today the company is run by co-founder Chris Wiegand. About 35% of Jibestream staff are on the engineering team with expertise in Java, JS, SQL, Node.js, Python, LISP, Objective-C, and C.

Chris’ ‘lightbulb’ moment came during his employment with a print shop that was in the process of transitioning from traditional lithographic to digital web press.

During that transition, and well before marketing personalization started to gain traction, Chris was exposed to a range of one-to-one marketing tech that enabled direct mail personalization. These experiences led to a moment of serendipity and a hunch about where the market was moving. He ended up being spot on with that hunch, launching and establishing the Jibestream brand well in advance of today’s behemoths like Google, Apple and HERE who are only now starting to deploy their own solutions.

Jibestreams’ first concepts of indoor maps were centered around the mall wayfinding kiosk. They leveraged facial recognition to allow us to instantly know the age and gender of the kiosk user so that a relevant advertisement could be displayed. The concept had some obvious flaws but the idea of using real-time variables to deliver the most relevant message to the user is still a core concept that is contextualized across Jibestreams’ range of use cases.

How are you being financed?

Jibestream is a private company backed by venture capital. In total, Jibestream has raised $2.5 Million in outside capital. $2M from Whitecastle Investments and $500k from the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. Otherwise, Jibestream is largely funded by cash flow generated through customer revenue.

What do you think will be/is a big obstacle to overcome?

The opportunity and challenge of working in a highly fragmented market that is in high growth lays in identifying the appropriate target buyers, which vary vertical to vertical. Unlike traditional SaaS vendors, we are working with enterprises who are trend-setters in digital transformation. Recent research by Gartner as well as MaM have identified tremendous growth in the market over the next 5 years (predicted at 42% CAGR) but that growth is just starting to take off and so our biggest challenge will be in remaining at the forefront of that adoption.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

Jibestream is self-aware and recognizes, nurtures, and promotes the people involved in making our platform a premiere product. Our team is a resourceful group of passionate people that believe together, we can achieve great things. The solutions we create and the work we do is something we are all excited to be a part of. Finding amazing people is one of the hardest parts of building a successful company which is why we take our culture and people seriously (and why we couldn’t help but give them a shout-out in this response)!

In addition to all of the traditional recruitment approaches, we are actively engaged in peer community groups (like Peerscale). We’ve also founded a program called women.js, a special interest group with the mission to increase the presence of women within their organizations and to inspire gender equality in tech. We hope to be able to cultivate relationships with talent through programs like this and other developer community engagement initiatives.

Who is your biggest competition?

Our competitors change based on the vertical market. At times it can be point solutions that solve a specific need and other times it is something more comparable, such as a platform. Usually the intended use case easily differentiates which vendor is best for a particular customer.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?

By continuing a repeatable scalable model of identifying use cases where our technology is a must have, not just a nice to have. We believe that the market is headed to this realization on its own and we are focused on demonstrating the capabilities so that decision-makers who are embarking in digital transformation initiatives can look to Jibestreams’ industry leadership for guidance throughout the process. The primary markets which we are focused on are healthcare, retail, transportation, hospitality and tourism, industry 4.0 and commercial buildings.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is likely the value and impact that peer groups can have on a growing business. The ability to network with other founders and startups, learn from their mistakes and get input on our own strategy and execution was instrumental in our early success. Following this, would be the role that diversity plays not just on culture but in performance and growth. This is much more difficult to get right later on and in retrospect it would be at the top of our priority list in developing our brand, culture and product.

Last, but not least, have a listen to 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO, by Jibestream CEO Chris Wiegand

Where You Book Your Vacation From Matters

On a recent vacation search, one of our employees have decided to go down to Riviera Maya for a much needed rest. After searching through multiple reviews on Tripadvisor, he has came upon a wonderful resort of Grand Palladium in Riviera Maya.

Problem started when he started booking it, he got a price different from his wife’s travelling in England at that time even though both of them looked at the same hotel , same room , same dates.

A Big Difference

The difference was over $300 Canadian for each room. Because they were travelling with another couple and 2 kids, the savings went into over $1,000 difference for all them. So it does matter where you book from.

Booking Grand Colonial from Berkshire, England

Booking Grand Colonial from Toronto, Canada


A Travel Bug?

MustangJoe / Pixabay

We wondered if this was an error and went asking different people whether they had the same issue – Jason (last name redacted as per request) from Saskatchewan wrote to us in an email with a similar issue:

“Yeah.. I booked once from France, and then again a week later from London (cancelling the first booking as my dates were wrong). The total came out about the same. 2 weeks for like $4500 USD I think it was, for 4 of us. A travel agent here in Saskatoon was getting a price over $7000 CAD, or about $6100 USD, which is the price I got when I VPN’s through my home office in Saskatoon. Exact save everything – $4500 USD when going to their site from Europe vs $6100 USD when visiting from Canada.

The reason I cancelled and rebooked to change the dates was that I had free cancellation, and on contacting their reservations team to change the dates, they said they could only do it by changing the rate back to what I was quoted when visiting their site from Canada. This just to shift our days by one. So I went and cancelled and rebooked. Nothing was said when we checked it in. $1600 USD is a large difference. If anything, I thought it would be cheaper from Canada where our dollar for income takes us less far on an international basis.”

Not just Hotels – Airlines Also

dariolafelicia / Pixabay

If you are booking a flight, it is always advantageous to book from inside the country where you are flying to. It works when you are booking domestic flight in that country specifically vs outside.

Below quote and price comparison is taken from:

Take a look when we search of a flight to Ho Chi Minh City from Hong Kong. The normal pricing for this route is around $300, give or take. Frustratingly, I kept landing on the Hong Kong version of the United website, with price estimations at over $700 after figuring in the exchange rate. This was definitely more than what I wanted to pay, so I jumped on to the U.S. version of the site. Things got a little more affordable: the price dropped down to below $300. Sometimes the price difference isn’t this dramatic; sometimes you just end up saving a few dollars here or there. To test how prices differ, I ran a search for the exact route just now testing the French, British and American versions of the website, using the same dates. The small differences are palpable:

Lesson learned, where you book from can end up saving you and your family thousands of dollars. Beware!

Canada Awards $950m to Develop Five Innovation Superclusters

The feds will spend almost a billion of dollars to advance five super clusters , as they call it, technology advancements across our beautiful country. They expect this move will help to grow Canada’s economy by $50 billion over the next decade and create more than “50,000 middle-class jobs.”


Five Superclusters Will be Spread out across Canada

  • Ontario will get Toronto-based members such as the Mars Discovery District involved and will focus on “advanced manufacturing.”;
  • British Columbia will develop supercluster technology to connect “big data” with health care, forestry, manufacturing and other sectors;
  • Prairies will be construct a “protein industries” supercluster to develop plant proteins;
  • Quebec will work on its artificial intelligence and robotics;
  • Atlantic Canada will be responsible for so called “ocean supercluster” to “improve competitiveness” in fisheries, oil and gas, and clean energy;

These 5 superclusters include over 450 businesses and 60 post secondary institutions. We just love saying superclusters – sounds super cool.

Canada To Introduce Border App – No More Waiting in Line

Federal government has created a new app that will help you cross the border much easier and faster. You would need to download and register first.

It is called Known Traveller Digital Identity app, and will first be launched only when you travel between Canada and Netherlands. If all goes according to plan, it will be rolled our to many other countries by 2020.

JESHOOTS / Pixabay

The app will work similar to existing programs like Nexus, program that allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada. Basically you will need to register your details such as your passport #, vaccinations taken and records, bank statements, schools you went to, etc. This will allow agents to know who you are even before your flight leaves its gate.

This app will also use your retina and facial recognition to verify that you are exactly who you claim to be.

Accenture, technology company, behind developing this app says that all the information will be very secure.

“No personal information is stored on the ledger itself, ensuring that personal information is not consolidated in one system, which would make it a high value target for subversion,” the company said in a statement to CBC News.

geralt / Pixabay

The app will learn from your travel patterns, and the more countries, and times you cross the border, the more trusted persona, you would become.

Ontario is going to use drones to monitor the highways, and now the government will use your cell phone records to decide if they want to let you in.

“Big Brother is Watching You.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Toronto Tech Salaries Grew 7% Last Year, But Still Fall Way Behind the US

Hired, job board website, recently released salary guide, where tech workers get paid the most. The study gets published every year with salary and real estate #s adjusted. Here is similar report published last year. Many things did change especially when it came to Toronto. The study was done using 420,000 actual salaries of tech workers in Canada and the US.

The good news for Toronto that the salaries are finally going up, average is now $92,000 in 2017 vs $88,000 in 2016. Average salary was $89,000 in 2015. The bad news, Toronto ranked at the bottom of the list with actual salaries, and when adjusted for cost of living.

Toronto Tech Salaries Graph Below


Toronto Salaries = Bottom Of the List

Out of all the cities in North America / Europe ranked, Toronto unfortunately is at the bottom of the list for salaries.  Toronto salaries are half of what people in San Francisco would expect to make and that made Toronto to be ranked 12th out of 13th cities listed. Paris was the last one on the list.

Your Job Title Matters

Most in demand and  highest growth paid positions within technology were product managers clocking in an average of $145,000 USD, and data analysts, and software engineers getting $137,000 USD.

Highest Growth – Product Manager Year over Year Salary

Highest Growth – Software Engineers Year over Year Salary


Top 5 In-Demand Tech Skills

Most in demand positions were as you can expect backend, frontend and full stack developers. Skills you want to brush up on are:

  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Python
  • HTML
  • CSS

Not All is Lost – Cost of Living

Most people do not even want to relocate to San Francisco due to cost of living. Top 5 cities techies do want to move are:

  1. Seattle
  2. Austin
  3. Denver
  4. Chicago
  5. Atlanta
KBaucherel / Pixabay

Why people are not running to San Francisco? As mentioned cost of living is very expensive, when adjusted for cost of living Austin comes out on top as from the map below. Now time for Air Canada to do some direct flights to Austin, Texas. Los Angeles and Seattle tied for 2nd spot.

Toronto still did not do too well, ranked last in North America, even with cost of living adjusted. Maybe it is due to $1m detached housing prices real estate around GTA, but did beat out Paris and London.

But this is a good guide, maybe think twice before taking that job in New York City or San Francisco, and instead opt in for a tech job in Texas or California. Good luck and remember to consider high crime rate in some US cities like Chicago and Washington and high cost of health care into account when moving down south.

Average Tech Salary: Adjusted for SF Cost of Living