Blogs list

Byron Pascoe - Brazeau Seller LLP - Byron Pascoe

Ensure Confidence in Your Contracts - Sponsored ArticleBefore you sign a contract on behalf of your business, read it and ensure you understand it. Not following this rule can lead to missed opportunities to protect your business, among other avoidable negative consequences.To assist with understanding your contract, below are broad comments about a number of contract clauses and considerations. Depending on the nature of your contract, the following, among other factors, may be considered by your legal counsel when reviewing a contract offered to your business or while preparing a contract that you will offer to another party. With an understanding of your business, industry, and the deal being considered, your legal counsel will write and / or negotiate your contract to ensure your priorities are met and your business is protected.Duties: If you want the power to hold the other party accountable to what they agreed to do for your business, ensure their responsibilities are clearly detailed.Terms of Payment: If one party is paying another, what amounts are being paid? When are the payments due? What penalties, if any, will there be for late payments? If your business is paying another, should some money be held back until milestones are successfully reached to reduce the risk that you are overpaying?Costs: Your business might be responsible for none, some, or all of the expenses related to the contract. Regardless of the arrangement, it should clearly be provided in writing to help avoid confusion.Definitions: Key terms used in the contract should be clearly defined. If your business must deliver a product or…

Photo : Byron Pascoe September 09, 2013

Marianne Kayed - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Marianne Kayed

Tips for Effective Cross-Cultural Interviewing - Sponsored articleLooking to hire? How do you avoid missing out on great talent? Let’s look at this scenario… the pressure in the room is palpable - both parties are exchanging information and assessing their ‘fit’ for an employer-employee relationship.  The recruiter– we will call her Barbara , says, “Tell me about yourself.” Across the table, Samir, an expert civil engineer and a newcomer to Canada begins his response with “Sure… well… I am the youngest of six children, married and have two young children.  I was raised in the outskirts of Tehran…” After learning the details of Samir’s ancestry and family life, a discouraged Barbara glances down at the interview guide in front of her.  She has written nothing on her paper.  The interview concludes shortly thereafter, and Samir doesn’t receive a call back.Everyone involved in a job interview strives to get it perfect. As an employer you obviously want to hire the right person for the job. Current demographic trends indicate that immigration is increasingly accounting for net growth in the Canadian labour force. This presents opportunities for employers but at the same requires that employers review their recruitment processes and tools in other that they do not miss out on great talent.  As an employer/recruiter it is important to recognize that: •     Some newcomer job-seekers have never been in a job interview before.  A job interview can be daunting for even the most experienced job seeker, but for many new immigrants, responding to interview questions is a brand new skill that has…

Photo : Marianne Kayed August 12, 2013

Bill Caswell - Caswell & Co.

A Team of Two - Sponsored ArticleConfusion exists in many enterprises about who is responsible for whom, who is to do what, who has authority over this or that, who is to blame, and which deliverables are needed to ensure a successful job.A simple concept called “A Team of Two” quickly reduces confusion down to a much better order.  Here is how it works.Every business situation is viewed as a team of two: worker and supervisor.1.    When a problem arises, the team of two must ask: “What does this team of two have to do to move things, problems or a situation forward?”  It is about ‘us’, not ‘you’ – a team of two.  There is no room for blame – but rather positive action to move things forward.2.    Since it is a team comprised of supervisor and worker, it is the job of the worker to please the supervisor – i.e. provide what the supervisor expects.3.    Therefore, it is the job of the supervisor to inform the worker, clearly as to what is expected.4.    Just as important, it is the job of the worker to figure out what the supervisor expects, to enquire, adjust, and adapt.  It is that simple.  Why the worker?  Because it is the worker that stands to suffer most if the job does not work out.  This is not ‘fair’ or ‘right’ but it is a simple fact of the hierarchical situation.  (Not unlike the contraception issue between men and women)5.    The supervisor should rate each employee weekly, if the supervisor is pleased or not,…

Photo : Bill Caswell January 13, 2014

Maria Belen - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Maria Belen

Reflections on Multiculturalism Day from an engaged employee - From an early age, I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and serve the public good.  In his life, he served as a politician at the municipal level, advocating for the land rights of the poor people in the Philippines.  The decisions that I made in high school and into university were all based on working towards this goal.  As a young professional in my twenties, I am proud to say that I have joined the ranks of the Canadian federal public service, an organization which I deem to be prestigious in every sense as I see and am immersed in the hard work, drive and passion that many of my peers bring into their day to day.The public service is a behemoth organization that touches so intricately the life of each Canadian. It strives in its hiring practices to recruit not only the best and most qualified candidates, but to also ensure that its workforce reflects the diversity that can be found across the nation.In my department, diversity is a valued aspect of work-life culture.  My organization boasts of robust communities and networks that support the growth and development of employees.  For example we have three separate networks for Managers, Young Professionals (Youth) and Student-Employees, as well as community networks for Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, Visible Minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.  Championed by top-ranking executives, these networks of belonging are places where employees can develop professionally, meet in social settings, engage senior management on a wide arrange of issues, foster…

Photo : Maria Belen June 10, 2013

William Hinz - Brazeau Seller LLP - William Hinz

Freedom Has Its Limits - Sponsored ArticleTestamentary freedom, namely the right to leave your property to anyone you choose upon your death, is a highly-valued and cherished concept in English common law.  The concept of testamentary freedom is based on a philosophy of the primacy of individual rights which has dominated legal and political thinking in common law countries.   It is interesting to note that, in contrast, in civil law jurisdictions such as France and many other European countries, there is no testamentary freedom.   One’s estate must pass on death in fixed proportions to various family members similar to what happens in Ontario if a person dies without a will.    In Ontario, the Family Law Act and the dependant relief provisions set out in Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act provide that a married spouse and other dependents of the deceased have a right to a certain share of the deceased’s estate otherwise the will can be contested. But what about an adult child or a common law spouse who is already financially independent?  Do such individuals have a right to receive a share of the deceased’s estate?    The court had to wrestle with this issue in the recent case of Morassut v. Jaczynski Estate (2013 ONSC 2856).  Danny and Bonnie lived together as common law spouses for 12 years.  Bonnie controlled one of the most valuable car dealerships in Ontario.  Danny, who had previously worked in Bonnie’s car dealership, described himself as Bonnie’s “house-husband”.  He managed the family household and acted as the project manager in the…

Photo : William Hinz December 16, 2013

Sean Fitzpatrick - TalentMap

Using Strategy to Drive Your Employee Engagement Survey - Many people in management don’t consider an employee survey to be a valuable tool for strategic planning. Instead, they think of a survey as “just an HR thing,” or just one more administrative task in their already busy schedules. And even though they try to get behind the survey project, they may never really commit the time and energy needed to make it a success. That kind of thinking is how organizations miss out on the value of this powerful engagement tool.Taking an administrative viewWhen an organization approaches a survey as an administrative task, it holds a few misconceptions. Namely, that surveys:- Are created and run by HR- Focus only on what’s wrong with the organization- Are a big burden to oversee- Are aimed at controlling an organization’s culture- Make employees feel frustrated and cynical- Don’t provide any actionable data or information- Give feedback to top management only, and leave everyone else out- Cause knee-jerk reactions to bad resultsTaking a strategic viewAn employee survey is a tool that offers a host of benefits and can really help to engage people, learn from them, and improve our organization. When you view a survey as a strategic tool, you see that surveys are:- Created and driven by executives, and approved and supported by managers and HR- Based on looking at the whole organization- A way to put people first and show that employees drive the bottom line- Focused on cause-and-effect relationships between leading (people) and lagging (financial) indicators- Satisfying, fair, educational, and insightful- Tools to emphasize strategic…

Photo : Sean Fitzpatrick April 14, 2014

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

‘Welcome Back’ – The Hardware Start-Up - Sponsored Article The hardware product renaissance is back and in a troubled market, both established companies and entrepreneurs are welcoming it with open arms.  The decade long gold rush to develop web software Apps is maturing.  Increasingly innovators are combining physical products with new Apps in their product roadmaps.  A suite of software platforms, wireless hardware modules, flexible manufacturing processes and low cost single item shipping are making the design, development and delivery of these products easier for even small enterprises and virtual companies.   “It's a shift that Silicon Valley has taken note of in the last couple of years. Hardware startups are increasingly sharing the spotlight with software companies.” Alex Chang – Wired It is good to see the pendulum swinging back towards an array of Gizmos, Gadgets and physical products that when combined with Apps provide new ideas for smart devices that deliver great value to the user and utilize the global digital network that connects us all. “The Hardware Renaissance” is unmissable. Paul Graham has noticed it and, certainly, my credit card has. Where once, entrepreneurs turned to software to form their ‘next big thing’, there is an increasing trend towards hardware in this space. – Richard Oakley VentureBurn There are many hardware opportunities and rich intellectual property opportunities for product ideas in a wirelessly connected world.  The last hardware revolution was the in 80’s and 90’s with infrastructure deployment of the landline and wireless telecom and data networks.  Once the network infrastructure and platform software was in place, the add-on…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey April 22, 2013

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

Made in Ottawa: An innovators dream city - Sponsored ArticleOttawa. Home to the world’s longest skating rink, the bricks and mortar of federal government and quite possibly the next big idea if a slew of successful inventors has anything to say about it.That’s right - Ottawa is ditching its image as a quiet public service city, and is becoming a creative core for every stage of the new product development game: from idea to design to engineering and manufacturing. People involved in the TIE CON event last week in Ottawa understand the new buzz in investor and entrepreneur thinking as we build on the effect of the internet and collaboration.Not only does the capital have some of the best minds in the business, but these creative entrepreneurs can see their product from beginning to end in their hometown. No outsourcing. Just home-grown, grassroots talent combined with access to investors and mentors.I’ve been in the business of product design for more than 25 years, and in the last two years I’ve seen a significant rise in the number of inventors from the Ottawa area approach Design 1st to help make their vision tangible. And even better, we’ve got more success stories to brag about.Design 1st has deep experience and process built on the marriage of art and engineering, and just like many of our clients and suppliers, we’re made in Ottawa too.We take that sketch on a crumpled napkin and make it a design destined for shelves around the world. We provide product solutions, market research on who really is the customer and help…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey November 25, 2013

George Vuicic - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - George Vuicic

Internships in Ontario: A checklist for employers - Sponsored Article Internships are playing a growing role in the skills development and integration of our city’s labour market entrants.  These experiences offer advantages to job-seekers as well as host- organizations, presenting an excellent opportunity for highly skilled newcomers to gain familiarity with the Canadian workplace culture, and strengthening host-organization mentoring culture and training programs, while bolstering the talent pipeline.   In human resources lingo, internships tend to be loosely classified as ‘formal,’ ‘informal,’ ‘paid,’ and ‘unpaid’.  Organizations can sometimes be perplexed when it comes to understanding their responsibilities when entering into an internship relationship, especially with regards to compensation.    I was recently approached by Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) to clarify some of the regulations which govern organizations as they plan an internship for newcomers to Canada, as well as what factors can contribute to a successful experience for both parties.   Here are some of the basics, and some resources to consult for more information. Most employment relationships in Ontario are regulated by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).  Under this legislation, an internship is considered a paid employment relationship and entitles the intern to minimum wage payments unless all six of the following conditions are met: 1) The training is similar to that which is given in a vocational school. This requirement indicates that in order for an intern not to be considered an employee, they must be learning employable skills or a caliber comparable to vocational schools – extending beyond errands and small tasks. 2) The training is for the benefit…

Photo : George Vuicic March 25, 2013

Stephanie Wilson - Hire Immigrants Ottawa

Connecting the dots to give employers a global competitive edge - Sponsored Article   Immigration is critical to increasing Canada’s productivity and mitigating skills shortages. In today’s global economy, employers are continually being challenged to find new and innovative ways to access the best and brightest talent in order to remain competitive.   Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) research estimates that an additional 106,000 core ICT positions will need to be filled in Canada by 2016. Organizations will need to invest in effective HR tools, practices and resources to recruit and integrate the right talent to grow their businesses. Diversity and inclusion have been proven keys to organizational expansion and success. Organizations like Fortinet understand: “Fortinet welcomes diversity in the workplace.  We recognize that each employee brings unique abilities and experiences which greatly enriches our organization.” – HR, Fortinet   As mentioned recently by ICTC President and CEO Namir Anani , “… the ‘Internet of things’ is shaping up bigger and better with increasingly connected, smarter, mobile devices that are making their way into our everyday lives. The widespread development and use of apps (‘The appification of everything’) combined with cloud computing are paving the way for smarter and increasingly more convenient services in mobile banking, e-health, media & entertainment, and many others.”   To mitigate the skills shortage, the Canadian economy must utilize all talent sources including its highly skilled internationally educated professionals and provide them with opportunities to contribute in their fields.  If you are looking to be an employer of choice here are a few questions that can help you to assess…

Photo : Stephanie Wilson March 18, 2013