Software Developers’ Salaries in Toronto are Rising Fast

As reported by Wall Street Journal, salaries for software developers outside of Silicon Valley are rising fast. This is due to the fact that the companies are expending outside of Silicon Valley and bidding up the software developers’ salaries.

For example, average salaries in Silicon Valley for 2018 were around $220,000 Canadian dollars, increasing 6% from 2017.

While in Toronto skilled software developers were making on average around $110,000 Canadian dollars in 2018, increasing 7% from 2017.

It seems like salaries in Silicon Valley have risen so much that they have plateaued and are still increasing but at somewhat slower rate.

Companies have started expanding into cities like Toronto where salaries are almost half of what they have to pay for workers in Silicon Valley.

Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey recently said that he thinks that hiring in Silicon Valley is no longer working and that Twitter needs to look outside the Silicon Valley to hire more technical staff.

Toronto has been growing at rapid speed when it comes to number of technical jobs available and salaries that come with them. Toronto has now many companies doing artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other specialty fields that command higher salaries.

The demand for IT is high but talent is very hard to find. For example there are over 350,000 unfilled positions in the US, according to IT trade group CompTIA.

On top of that, according to Dice, over 60% of all software engineers, are planned to move to a different city due to number of constraints.

Toronto’s Number of Tech Jobs DoubleS in 5 Years

A total of around 60,000 people were employed in the tech sector in the city of Toronto in 2019. That’s 16.6% increase from 2018. If you compare the tech jobs’ employment to 2014 for example, the IT sector in the City of Toronto has almost doubled.

Looking at the research, you can see that these companies choose to locate in Toronto because Toronto is a tech centre that offers a diversity of education and culture that builds successful organizations.

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John Tory

Mayor of Toronto

John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, has said most companies choose to pick downtown for their location but some expand and open offices in North York, Etobicoke, etc.

Tory said he was happy with the numbers but more must be done when it comes to access to opportunities in some neighborhoods in Toronto, as well as, improving transit around the city.

Google to Hire Up To 5,000 Employees in Canada

Google has announced last week that it will be adding three times more employees than they have now in Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo – Kitchener, Ontario.

Google hopes to get the hires in within the next few years. Each location will get a new office. Kitchener is expected to have the largest number of employees hired, as many as 3,000.

Google is following the lead of Amazon, Microsoft, and Shopify – all opening new offices and increasing staff in Canada. This can definitely help persuade some Canadian engineers not to move to USA for work and stay local. On the other hand, with unemployment rate as low as 1% in IT field, this may prevent some local tech companies and startups from hiring local IT talent as salaries might increase and available tech talent decrease.

The open web allows any size company or individual creator in Canada to become a global business and reach customers. Canada’s digital economy is now bigger than its forestry, mining and gas industries, and the transition to digital reflects incredible momentum for Canadian businesses leveraging data and online technologies.

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Ruth Porat

CFO, Google

Google is moving to Canada even though the Canadian government has promised to tax the revenue of advertising-driven digital giants such as Facebook and Google. However, one of Canadian newspapers, Globe and Mail, has investigated and found that the Trudeau government has sent some internal memos wanting to expand Google presence into Canada.

There will be many IT jobs to choose from such as software development, game development, sales leadership, AI research and Cloud expertise.

This new expansion from Microsoft, Shopify, Amazon, and now Google puts tremendous pressure on local tech companies in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa where demand for IT talent has skyrocketed in the last 5 years.

With such a rapid hiring, we can see tech salaries in cities like Montreal , Toronto and Waterloo to grow as the tech giants compete for talent.

Lyft and Uber Are Finally Operating in Vancouver

After a long long time , Vancouver and the province has finally approved Uber and Lyft to operate this week.

Vancouver was the only large metropolis in North America where Uber and Lyft were pretty much outlawed and unable to operate.

British Columbia’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena has blamed the old government for stalling so long:

British Columbians have been asking for new ride hailing services since 2012, but the old government failed to get it done. Our government did the hard work and delivered.

Over the last two years, our government has been diligent in developing a framework that puts passenger safety first, and we remained steadfast against pressures to abandon the safety measures we put in place. Road users can now be confident that B.C.’s ride-hailing services will comply with some of the highest safety standards in North America.

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Claire Trevena

BC Minister of Transportation

While a lot of users took to twitter to share their joy

… while some were not so pleased:

Uber and Lyft were ecstatic to be able to operate again in Vancouver.

Lyft and Uber are almost identically priced, Uber seems cheaper when we tried to get a quote to go to the famous Phnom Penh Restaurant from the airport: $24-$30 with Uber vs $30-$35 with Lyft. If you decide to take the same ride from airport with taxi, it will cost you the most, around $37.

While Uber said it will cover the whole metro area , Lyft said that for now it will be just sticking to the core of the city.

Area Where Uber Operates in Vancouver

Area Where Lyft Operates

For now, Uber and Lyft are the only two companies that are allowed to operate in Vancouver but BC Transportation Ministry said that they will be approving other ride sharing companies soon.

Rogers To Launch 5G in Canada

Rogers said this week that it will be rolling out the super fast fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network in Canada. It will be the first company to do so in Canada.

Rogers will first launch in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver and later roll out the 5G in other 20 cities in Canada.

“5G is the biggest technological evolution since the launch of wireless in Canada. We are making the right investments, building the right partnerships and deploying the right technology to bring Canadians the very best of 5G.

5G will not only power businesses, it will fuel entire industries and drive Canada’s digital future,” he added.

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Joe Natale

CEO Of Rogers Canada

5G is much faster than the current 4G network. For example, one can download a full movie to their cell phone in a matter of seconds.

Rogers has decided to use Sweden’s Ericsson’s technology to do the 5G rollout.

Canada is currently reviewing whether to ban Huawei 5G technology in Canada.

Ride Sharing Drivers in Toronto Now Must pass A City Training

City of Toronto is now requiring drivers to pass a city mandated training to be eligible to work for companies such as Uber and Lyft in the City of Toronto.

The new updated bylaw governing all Toronto ‘vehicles for hire’ now is in effect this Wednesday January 3rd.

Few things are changing:

  • The minimum number of years of required driving experience will now increase from 1 year to 3 years;
  • training program must be passed covering such topics as transporting passengers in a safe manner, driving in an urban setting, providing accessible service, anti-racism, diversity and sensitivity;
  • all ride sharing drivers will now be required to attach “Watch for Bikes” on their windows to alert passengers when exiting;
  • must alert passengers if they are being recorded.

If you are a new driver you have to pass the training by June 2020, if you are an existing driver you have until end of 2020 to complete it.

Also a handheld devices such as cell phones will now need to be securely secured and mounted in the vehicles.

There will be also a new program called “Accessibility Fund Program” which will charge a fee for not providing a wheel chair accessible transportation, all the fees collected will go to fund special wheel chair accessible transportation.

Data OF 15 Million LifeLabs’ Canadian Customers Compromised

Lifelabs , Canada’s largest provider of health diagnostic testing services, acknowledged that more than 15 million of accounts have been compromised in a recent hack.

However Lifelabs has mentioned that they have negotiated with hackers and paid a ransom fee to get the data back.

Information of more than 15 million of customers in British Columbia and Ontario have been compromised. Data like the names, addresses, email addresses, customer logins and passwords, health card numbers and lab test results have been accessed by hackers.

The company states that the hack has occurred on November 1st 2019.

This is not the first time LifeLabs gets hacked. They had similar incident few years ago where hard drives with data of thousands of patients were stolen.

Lifelabs apologizes for the incident and says that it will offer one free year of identity theft insurance as well as dark web monitoring.

An Open Letter to LifeLabs Customers

To our customers:

Through proactive surveillance, LifeLabs recently identified a cyber-attack that involved unauthorized access to our computer systems with customer information that could include name, address, email, login, passwords, date of birth, health card number and lab test results.

Personally, I want to say I am sorry that this happened. As we manage through this issue, my team and I remain focused on the best interests of our customers. You entrust us with important health information, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We have taken several measures to protect our customer information including:

Immediately engaging with world-class cyber security experts to isolate and secure the affected systems and determine the scope of the breach;

Further strengthening our systems to deter future incidents;

Retrieving the data by making a payment. We did this in collaboration with experts familiar with cyber-attacks and negotiations with cyber criminals;

Engaging with law enforcement, who are currently investigating the matter; and

Offering cyber security protection services to our customers, such as identity theft and fraud protection insurance.

I want to emphasize that at this time, our cyber security firms have advised that the risk to our customers in connection with this cyber-attack is low and that they have not seen any public disclosure of customer data as part of their investigations, including monitoring of the dark web and other online locations.

We have fixed the system issues related to the criminal activity and worked around the clock to put in place additional safeguards to protect your information. In the interest of transparency and as required by privacy regulations, we are making this announcement to notify all customers. There is information relating to approximately 15 million customers on the computer systems that were potentially accessed in this breach. The vast majority of these customers are in B.C. and Ontario, with relatively few customers in other locations. In the case of lab test results, our investigations to date of these systems indicate that there are 85,000 impacted customers from 2016 or earlier located in Ontario; we will be working to notify these customers directly. Our investigation to date indicates any instance of health card information was from 2016 or earlier.

While you are entitled to file a complaint with the privacy commissioners, we have already notified them of this breach and they are investigating the matter. We have also notified our government partners.

While we’ve been taking steps over the last several years to strengthen our cyber defenses, this has served as a reminder that we need to stay ahead of cybercrime which has become a pervasive issue around the world in all sectors.

Any customer who is concerned about this incident can receive one free year of protection that includes dark web monitoring and identity theft insurance.

Yours sincerely,

President and CEO

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Charles Brown

LifeLabs