Blogs list

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

Employee Engagement Benchmark Norms - Sponsored Article Knowing your engagement score helps you see what unique aspects drive engagement at your organization. Most organizations operate in two competitive environments – one for customers and one for talent – and knowing how your organization stacks up against your closest competitors is crucial. You need a survey partner with extensive benchmark data to serve as additional guideposts to help identify your best areas for improvement.During the past dozen+ years, TalentMap has developed one of North America’s largest and most robust databases on employee engagement. Our extensive norms compare your feedback from new hires, your current workforce, and exiting employees directly to your closest competitors’. Our data set is drawn from hundreds of client projects and millions of completed surveys. In addition to the work we do in Canada and the U.S.A., we also host and run some national best-employer awards programs. Here are some examples of TalentMap’s benchmark data:- Industry-specific benchmark: TalentMap works with small, medium, and large employers across Canada and the United States. Our industry-specific benchmark is drawn from a wide range of North American’s progressive organizations, including financial (banking and insurance), energy, health care, technology, engineering, logistics, consumer and retail, not-for-profit organizations, and many more. TalentMap can configure a benchmark specific to your sector, enabling you to compare your results directly to your closest competitors’.- Public sector benchmark: TalentMap works with all levels of government – federal, provincial/state, and municipal/city – where we have built an extensive public sector benchmark.- Top-employer awards: TalentMap hosts and runs some of Canada’s…

Photo : Sean Fitzpatrick May 12, 2014

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

US StartUps Looking at Canada for Design Help - Sponsored Article Low Dollar, Low Wage, Expert Teams: There is a boom going on with product design and development in North America.  The gold rush from idea to product is rapidly bringing on new entrepreneurs with the latest science and engineering knowledge. Canada is known for our expertise in many technical areas including intelligent power, energy storage, medicine and next-generation sensors.  New and trending product categories such as; wearable devices, 3D printing and the Internet of Things are driving many new opportunities for B2B and B2C.  Internet software platforms combined with a hardware component are enabling easier and faster design and development solutions to create new business tools and engaging products.  It’s clear that if you start with a good idea it attracts investors and funding. Combine that with expert business help and and an experienced design development team and your shot at success goes way up.  Good idea  +  Funding  +  Great Product  =  Higher Chance of Success Great Product Success  =  Business Execution  +  Development Execution  (Fast + No Wasted $$) 1 - Good ideas attract money.  Angel investment groups are very active, microVCs are finding a niche providing early stage funding to startups with good ideas.  Mid-size companies re-inventing their product portfolios are also being looked at.  The investors that get involved want to add their expertise and network to the opportunities they fund to help them succeed.    2 - Expert Business help is essential.  Once a product is designed and tested it takes an experienced business team to rapidly launch and…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey November 25, 2014

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

The ‘Glee’ Club for Geeks – it’s the Maker Movement – can it change the way we Learn? - Sponsored Article The Maker movement has recently exploded on the world and I think I understand why.  Maker is a term to describe anyone who just loves to build things and create interesting gadgets of all kinds.  The Maker Culture is a technology based extension of DIY backyard hobbyists (think Red Green) – where mechatronics, electronics, robotics, software thinking is paired with artistic integration of metal, wood and other materials, arts and crafts.  And some good news, both genders are taking interest.  Makers emphasize learning through doing in an informal interactive community environment called hacker spaces where knowledge can be shared while making these interactive works of art.  Schools, Libraries and Universities are scrambling to create maker spaces and give quick ‘how-to’ workshops – in Ottawa a few of them are: Ottawa Public Library’s Image Space, Art-Engine’s Mod Lab, True Innovators Community Makerspaces The demand for maker spaces and workshops is ballooning as the wave of interest grows. High Schools and Universities are providing workshops and robotic starter kits to speed the learning process.  Parents are directing their children to these spaces as both boys and girls find great enjoyment in participating and learning at their pace.  I have to confess, I am a geek and love engineering, I get a great kick out of building things that do something interesting and useful.  In the 80’s I bought a book and put it on my shelf that showed me how to build a robot.  It was about 1000 pages long and I needed to find…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey June 17, 2014

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

R. Samuels - AgoraPublishing.com

Ottawa: Will new Casinos be constructed? - Big players in the gambling industry, including MGM and The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp have been trying their best to get approval for new casinos in Ottawa with Jim Watson the mayor of Ottawa backing the idea of constructing new casinos in the nation's capital. In Mr. Watson's calculations, the city would benefit greatly from the revenue that will be generated from more land casinos.  His office has speculated that many jobs would be generated if these casinos are constructed, and these estimates have been affirmed by at least one big player in the casino industry.  Casino giants like MGM estimate that such casinos can provide jobs to thousands of people within a few years. Recently, MGM organized a job information session in the city of Toronto, on 16 March 2013. The U.S.-based company urged local residents to support their efforts and MGM asked Torontonians to encourage their city councillors, to vote in support of getting their project approved. MGM is pitching a massive casino complex with a 1,200 room hotel and shopping mall in Canada. It says its proposed development will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, if the project is approved. However, the company did specify that the jobs will not be created overnight, and the process will certainly take a few years. In these hard economic times which involve federal budget cutbacks, the city of Ottawa would surely benefit from the addition of new jobs, and Jim Watson has sought to gamble on casino job creation as a likely…

Photo : R. Samuels March 28, 2013

Mike Runia - Deloitte

Getting the right advice for your business - I was pleased when our marketing group recently approached me about an opportunity to write an “Expert Blog” for the OBJ as part of a series of Deloitte profiles.  The big question was “What should I write about?”. I’ve been the Managing Partner of the Deloitte Ottawa office for close to a year now.  During this time we have experienced many significant events that have had a tremendous impact on our both our clients and our people.  We have experienced significant highs as Canadians united to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics, watched our clients tread very carefully through the global recession and political uncertainty and have had to deal with continuous change in business rules, regulations, and tax laws – including HST, IFRS, Private Company GAAP and the continued discussions regarding a National Securities Regulator.However, the more I think about how much is changing, the more I realize that there is one thing that always stays the same—the importance of a strong relationship in providing quality business and financial advice. In an industry that’s often grounded in complexity, it’s an insight that’s refreshingly simple: the better I know you, the better I’ll be able to take your goals, challenges and growth opportunities into account when advising you. In fact, giving sound business advice hinges on understanding key business and personal goals. How much time is an owner willing to devote to their company? Where do they want to be in five years? Where is the industry trending? And since everyone is in a different situation,…

Photo : Mike Runia February 27, 2013

Matthew Dufresne - IDS Systems

Five Rules of Automating a virtual data center - So we're all tired about talking about cloud. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where we’re tired about talking about how people are getting tired about talking about cloud! The reality is that for the most part, organizations have already passed the point of no return, and are now looking for real ways to realize the benefits that the virtualization paradigm delivers. As it turns out, some of the most immediate benefits in the virtual datacenter are achieved through automation. According to Wikipedia, Automation is the use of machines, control systems and information technologies to optimize productivity in the production of goods and delivery of services. The correct incentive for applying automation is to increase productivity, and/or quality beyond that possible with current human labor levels so as to realize economies of scale, and/or realize predictable quality levels. I really like the second part of this definition, because it reminds me that most of us are interested in technology and are truly amazed at the possibilities it presents - so much so that we often forget the most practical incentive of applying automation: because it saves organizations time and money.  More importantly, it can make my life as an IT administrator much easier by automating repetitive tasks and ensuring that complex tasks are performed consistently. As a result, potential problems are reduced and I am able to extend this functionality to much less sophisticated users while still maintaining control. Of course automation is not new. Those of us experienced with test automation have been through some of…

Photo : Matthew Dufresne February 11, 2013

Clarence Lochhead - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Clarence Lochhead

Leveraging Immigrant Talent for Business Development - Sponsored ArticleSo I recently purchased an environmentally friendly humidifier for my home – called the Rumidifier – you may have heard of it. It’s a great innovation, requires no energy to run, and it works really well. What’s that got to do with immigration and business development you say? Well, it turns out that the Rumidifier was developed by a local immigrant entrepreneur. It’s a terrific success story, and one that illustrates how the skills and talents of newcomers can lead to exciting new Ottawa based business ventures, creating jobs and growing the region’s economic base. To be sure, business development objectives are at the forefront of local efforts to ensure continued prosperity in the Nation’s Capital. Invest Ottawa for example, is leading the way with innovative programs and resources that promote and support entrepreneurialism, investment and business growth in the capital region. With downsizing and adjustments in the federal public service, this focus is both timely and welcomed.Along with this focus on growth and diversification, there is a widely held view in Ottawa that immigrants will play an important, perhaps even critical role in the future success of the city. The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) for instance, tells us that “successful attraction, settlement, and integration of immigrants is essential for Ottawa’s future prosperity and vitality.”  So is there a relationship between immigration and the broad objectives of economic growth and diversification? Can immigrant talent be leveraged to advance and optimize Ottawa’s business development objectives? I’d like to suggest a few of the ways in…

Photo : Clarence Lochhead February 17, 2014

Mélanie Drouin - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Melanie Drouin

Communications tips to reach ALL of your audience - Sponsored ArticleDid you know that almost one-quarter of Ottawa’s population is born outside of Canada? The growing diversity of our city presents an opportunity for organizations to leverage the skills of its diverse workforce to boost productivity and insights into the demands of a changing local market. Being a clear communicator in order to reach ALL of you audiences – employees, clients and stakeholders is essential.DiversityWhen I began my work in communications, diversity was for me, not much more than a concept to keep in mind when producing brochures that were representative of Canada’s population. However, since volunteering as a career mentor with newcomers, I now understand diversity as an important consideration that guides much of my communications work. To the PointOne of the biggest challenges to communications today is clear language. Have you ever heard of anyone being criticized for being too clear?  More than 200 languages were reported as spoken at home or as mother tongue in Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey. In fact, 20.6% of Canadians or 6.8 million people reported a mother tongue other than English or French. This considerable language diversity should signal to your organization the importance of using clear and concise language to cater to your stakeholders, clients, and customers.   What is in a word?Through my volunteer mentor experience, I learned that it is especially hard to get noticed as a potential employee when you do not speak the lingo (specific language) for a specialized field. For example, communicators or public affairs professionals are often called “spin…

Photo : Mélanie Drouin October 15, 2013

Susan Brigitte Blain - Ottawa Business Events

How to WIN with Sponsorship Marketing - Well, this is my very first blog and I feel the need to confess, I’m not much of a writer. I write like I speak, so hopefully I will keep your attention despite my lack of abilities. Working in an environment surrounded by skilled writers, one can feel at times somewhat intimidated. But lucky for me I have a few skills of my own.  Mine are in the areas of marketing, business development, negotiating, and sales. Not sales in the traditional sense but more in a non-traditional way; being 100% customer centric, helping them, if I can, to build their business. Now that sounds good to say (or in this case, write) but genuineness is the key.  I have a curious nature so I am naturally wired to be inquisitive. I’m curious about people, how they tick, who they really are, and how I might have a positive impact, how I may be of service.  It may sound corny or cliché but it is my truth. So why am I writing a blog and why should you read it? For almost a decade I have been fortunate enough be associated with and working for a great local company, Ottawa Business Journal.  I’ve had four different roles, through three different ownerships, and learned a little along the way about OBJ’s value proposition and the audience we serve. OBJ’s audience is comprised of managers, owners, professionals and executives in the small to medium-size enterprise space. We affectionately use the acronym MOPEs. My role for the past seven…

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Photo : Susan Brigitte Blain January 14, 2013

Kyle Toppazzini - MCO Business Group Inc.

Incorporating Critical Thinking into Lean Six Sigma - The three value concepts of my new lean Six Sigma model are based on the Chinese terms shin, gunaxi, and zhi. The third term, zhi, means to know or understand. Confucius believed that for most people, learning was ongoing. One of the philosophies of Confucianism is that everything a person learns is subject to evaluation and reflection, and it is through this iteration process that people move toward righteousness.Thus Confucius believed that only a “small man” would try to think without learning, or not reflect on what he has learned.Critical reflection and thinkingIn my model, the idea that learning is continuous and subject to evaluation isn’t significantly different from other quality management frameworks; however, the concept of reflection is significant. In particular, I focus on a concept referred to as “critical reflection,” which goes further than the normal definition of reflection. It includes the following four activities, as defined by Don Clark:1. Assumption analysis. The idea is to think in a way that challenges our own beliefs, values, and social norms.2. Contextual analysis. This is a realization that our assumptions are formed based on our personal beliefs and values.3. Imaginative speculation. This is conducted by imagining alternative ways of thinking that challenge our beliefs and values.4. Reflective skepticism. This is the ability to think about a subject in such a way that the evidence is temporarily rejected in order to prove its validity.In any training or formal education, it is rare that reflection is taught in a way that instills deeper critical thinking. In the…

Photo : Kyle Toppazzini January 07, 2013

Jeysa Martinez - Brazeau Seller LLP - Jeysa Martinez

Environmental liability - Beware! - Sponsored Article Innocent and blameless property owners may be exposed to significant environmental liability risk.When assessing environmental liability one might think that, if a land owner did not create nor contribute to an environmental spill or contamination, fault and fairness would be taken into consideration before a cleanup order is issued against an otherwise innocent party. In May of 2012, in the case of The Corporation of the City of Kawartha Lakes v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, the Ontario Divisional Court concluded that an innocent party can be held liable for the pollution on their  property, even though that pollution was caused by someone else.  In this case, the Court upheld the decision made by the Environmental Review Tribunal in 2009.   The Court focused on the purpose of the Environmental Protection Act and, although the Court did not go so far as to exclude the fairness factors from being considered (as they were in the Appletex case, a previous decision which set out the “fairness factors”), the Court did confirm that the Ministry of the Environment’s Compliance Policy allows the Ministry to exercise their authority and issue cleanup orders against innocent owners.  The Divisional Court further noted that the Environmental Protection Act specifically contemplates that innocent owners can be held responsible for environmental cleanup costs regardless of fault and, accordingly, the Director is not required to consider the fairness factors before issuing a cleanup order to one or more parties.   We have stepped away from the days where the size of the deal dictated…

Photo : Jeysa Martinez September 23, 2013

Brian Munroe - IDS Systems

How troubled are your projects? - How do well do projects run in your organization?  Are they just trotting along happily or are there a number that are “troubled”? And, if they are indeed troubled, just how much are they actually costing your organization? There are many statistics available. PM Solutions Inc. conducted a survey in 2011, and in a list of projects valued at over $200 million, those claimed to be at risk of failing were valued at over $74 million.  Undisclosed were the projects that were in the process of being salvaged and those that were being pushed through, regardless of time and budget constraints.Failed projects do greater damage than costing a lot of money without achieving the desired results – they leave a huge negative impact on the project team which, in turn, spills over into the customer environment and the internal organization.  Staff morale takes a hit and team performance suffers.  Troubled projects also have negative financial implications due to extended costs, overtime, stress leave, loss of good will and reputation and even employee turnover.  Often, these costs go unseen initially, and then erupt when not expected – weeks, months or years later.So now what?  How do you deal with troubled projects? It is critical to identify a project that is in trouble before it hopelessly spirals out of control, destined to total failure. Through the projects that I’ve managed, assessed and reviewed, I have compiled a number of lessons learned.  In fact, I have a “Top Ten” list of symptoms of projects that are spiralling out…

Photo : Brian Munroe November 12, 2012