Tag Archives: canada

Ottawa Requests Wireless Providers to Lower PriceS

Canadian government says that it now requires cell phone companies like Rogers, Bell and Telus to lower its cell phone bill by 25% within the next 2 years or face consequences.

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains says that unlimited talk-and-text plans that offer two gigabytes, four gigabytes and six gigabytes of data need to be reduced by 25% further from their current prices.

That means that the six-gigabyte plan that is now $60 would go down to $45. The two-gigabyte plan that is now $50 should be $37.50.

If cell phones’ bills are not reduced by 25% , Bains said, that Ottawa will introduce regulation that might force carriers to open their networks to wireless re-sellers.

Ottawa will start compiling cell phones’ pricing information and publish it every quarter for the next 2 years.

“Canada is at an exciting turning point in the future of connectivity. Wireless services are no longer a luxury. They are a critical necessity—for working, for learning at school and for engaging in modern society. We heard Canadians when they asked for more affordable options for their wireless services, and we have delivered.

Canadians shouldn’t have to choose between having a cellphone or heating their home. These new tools build on a number of initiatives we already set in place to help lower prices, improve access and ensure affordable, high-quality wireless services in every corner of our country.

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Navdeep Bains

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister

Bell Canada spokesperson Marc Choma said that right now is the worst time to regulate the industry as they are spending millions of dollars to roll out much needed 5G across the country and will put jobs and innovation at risk.

Foodora’s Couriers To Unionize in Ontario

Part time delivery employees at Foodora, online food delivery company, have decided to unionize. The Ontario Labour Relations Board said today that since Foodora part time employees are dependent contractors they can unionize.

Until today, Foodora employees were considered independent contractors, and had no legal right to unionize and did not have the same benefits as full time permanent employees.

Foodora workers were unhappy how Foodora has treated them due to lack of health and safety protection as well as poor compensation model.

The Board has carefully reviewed the evidence called by the parties using the factors historically considered by the Board from Algonquin Tavern, supra in the interpretation of the statutory definition of dependent contractor. The couriers are selected by Foodora and required to deliver food on the terms and conditions determined by Foodora in accordance with Foodora’s standards. In a very real sense, the couriers work for Foodora, and not themselves.

This is the Board’s first decision with respect to workers in what has been described by the parties and the media as “the gig economy”. However, the services performed by Foodora couriers are nothing new to the Board and in many ways are similar to the circumstances of the Board’s older cases. This is not the Board’s first case examining the relationship of couriers. The Board has been tasked with the same questions about dependent contractors in various sectors including transportation and construction. Such cases have always been fact based inquiries that require a balancing of factors. This case is no different in many respects.

Ontario Labour Relations Board

Foodora said that it is reviewing this decision in Ontario. They said they will see how it plays out when the union is formed and what to do about it after it is formed.

Just last November the Supreme Court of Canada heard the case about Uber and whether it should allow to classify its workers as contractors. Uber has asked the judge to stop the proceedings due to the arbitration clause – the federal judge has allowed it. However Province of Ontario decides to proceed without the arbitrator. Uber is trying to overturn the Ontario’s decision to make sure its workers are not classified as employees.

UPDATED: Canadian Privacy Agency to Investigate US Facial Recognition Firm

Update #1: The company in this story, Clearview AI, has just been hacked and more than 2,200 organizations spanning law enforcement to universities have their information accessed. Clearview has clients such as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, the FBI, Macy’s, Best Buy. In Canada multiple police agencies have used them such as Ontario Provincial Police, Ottawa Police, RCPM, Durham Police, etc.


Canadian privacy agency has launched an investigation into NY-based Clearview AI firm to see if its facial recognition technology complies with Canadian privacy laws.

Clearview uses millions of images across the internet to screen for potential terrorists and criminals. Many law enforcement agencies in US and Canada , like Durham Regional Police in Ontario, have used or have tested the technology.

Critics in both US and Canada said that just pulling images from internet provides no consent , and can be used misused.

The indiscriminate scraping of the internet to collect images of people’s faces for law enforcement purposes has significant privacy implications for all Ontarians. We have made it clear in the past that my office should be consulted before this type of technology is used.

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Brian Beamish

Ontario privacy commissioner

Privacy regulators in every province in Canada have agreed to work together to develop guidance on usage of bio-metric data when it comes to facial recognition.

Some twitter users expressed their dissatisfaction with this facial recognition data used by the police.

Police chief in Ontario said that even though they have used the technology to on trial basis , they will discontinue the use of it until further guidance.

The Durham Police Chief ordered that the use of such technology (facial recognition) be stopped immediately until the matter is reviewed and further direction is received from the privacy commissioner.

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Dave Selby

Police spokesperson, Durham Regional Police Service

CRTC To Regulate Tech Firms like Facebook and Google in Canada

Canadian government is set to introduce a new law, where it will give special powers to CRTC, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications, to regular tech companies in Canada.

Government said that it will provide updates to the new legislation, to give more power to CRTC, which will include letting CRTC issue licences, fine companies that do not comply and force companies to provide commercially sensitive information.

It’s about the future of the entire industry. It’s not about any one particular streamer or studio. That’s why we encourage the government to have as many tools available as possible so that we have flexibility in a new-and-improved Broadcasting Act that can adapt to this fast-changing, dynamic market.

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Reynolds Mastin

President of the Canadian Media Producers Association

The current Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act is outdated the way it is now, as it was written before the internet. Canadian government said that Canadians are afraid that their culture is being threatened by big tech giants like Netflix and Facebook.

Because firms like Facebook and Netflix are digital, they do not require license to operate in Canada, and do not have to play specific percentage of Canadian content to viewers.

letterkenny
This Canadian television sitcom comedy series showcases the antics of the residents of Letterkenny, a small rural community in Canada.

While it is nice to see Canadian government to play active role to ensure that Canadians across this beautiful land can login to stream their shows like Letterkenny and Tout le monde en parle, they have to be careful as well.

It is interesting to see new power to police by CRTC being announced shortly after Google’s announcement of creation of 5,000 new jobs in Canada.

The problem is if Canadian government provides unlimited powers to CRTC and CRTC starts imposing fines left and right, some tech firms might pull their products away from Canada.

This is exactly what happened with political ads few years ago. Canadian government changed the election laws when it comes to advertising. Facebook decided to comply while Google said that it will disallow any politic ads in Canada on its platform.

While Heritage Ministry is giving more powers to CRTC, the Finance Department is set to start requiring foreign tech companies in Canada to collect and remit federal sales taxes. This media tax is already being collected in both Quebec and Saskatchewan.

Liberal government is in its minority right now in the parliament, so it will need another party’s support to pass the laws above. The way it stands right now, both Bloc Quebecois and NDP , are willing to support the Liberals.

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.

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.

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.