COVID-19

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Trudeau says discussions continue on extending the Canada-U.S. border closure see more

    Source: cbc.ca

    Author: Ryan Patrick Jones 

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today the federal government is extending the emergency wage subsidy program to December of this year.

    The program covers 75 per cent of wages, up to a weekly maximum of $847, for workers at eligible companies and non-profits affected by the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "This week we'll be announcing an extension to the wage subsidy program until December, to give greater certainty and support to businesses as we restart the economy," said Trudeau. 

    Continue Reading Original Article 

     

     

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    BC's tech companies pivot, collaborate, and innovate to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. see more

    Source: BC Business

    Author: Raghwa Goptal

     

    Across Canada, our approach to flattening the curve has been a communal effort between our governments, communities, and private sector. And these efforts have been enhanced and accelerated by our country’s world-renowned tech sector.

    In B.C. specifically, we’re seeing our tech companies pivot, collaborate, and innovate to provide hands-on support to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. The most prominent example is AbCellera, who secured a whopping $175M investment from the federal government to identify antibodies that could be used to create a treatment for COVID-19. The B.C.-based Digital Technology Supercluster has also stepped up to the plate, funding several local projects through their COVID-19 Program.

    But as we expand our scope outside the Lower Mainland, it becomes clear that our province’s COVID-19 relief efforts have received a significant boost from all of our regional tech communities, most notably in Vancouver Island.

    Victoria’s tech sector, which accounts for $5.22B in economic impact for the region, represents one of the country’s fastest growing tech hubs. Since this pandemic began to take hold in early March, some of the city’s top tech companies have quickly mobilized to provide direct support to hospitals, governments, and Canadians across the country.

    StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical-device design company, is working with the Federal Government to manufacture 30,000 ventilators in an effort to curb expected medical device shortages across the country. Fellow Victoria medtech standout, Telmediq, is leveraging their extensive reach across North America to give healthcare systems complimentary access to their software to provide distance support for patients and families dealing with COVID-19. And not to be outdone, one of Victoria oldest tech firms, ImmunoPrecise Antibodies, is working with the World Health Organization to develop coronavirus vaccines.

    Dan Gunn, the CEO of Innovate BC-funded VIATEC, notes that while some of the city’s biggest companies have tackled the pandemic head on, the entire Victoria tech sector has come together to share resources and experiences to help their peers navigate the changing landscape.

    “While our community has been apart physically, we have never seen it come together more in spirit,” says Gunn. “A sense of community is always important but during a crisis the value of coming together is even more tangible and appreciated."

    Continue Reading Original Article

     

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    SunTracker is currently developing lighting design software specifically for ultraviolet disinfectio see more

    Source: SunTracker Technologies Ltd. Date: June 1, 2020

     

    SunTracker Technologies (Victoria, Canada) is a global leader in the development of lighting design software, having licensed its award-winning OEM software for use in such products as Lighting Analysts’ AGi32 and ElumTools (Boulder, CO) and Glamox AS (Molde, Norway) for their OptiWin 3D Pro architectural and marine lighting design software, with over 20,000 users.

     

    Medical experts in the field of infectious diseases and photobiology understand the benefits and risks of ultraviolet radiation exposure, however, they do not fully understand the engineering aspects of designing effective and safe ultraviolet disinfection systems.

     

    As a world leader in architectural lighting design software, SunTracker Technologies understands both the medical issues and the design requirements for modeling safe and effective ultraviolet disinfection systems. SunTracker is directly involved with the Illuminating Engineering Society in developing guidance for the public on the issues of ultraviolet disinfection (https://www.ies.org/standards/committee-reports/). 

     

    With four decades of experience, SunTracker’s Senior Scientist, Ian Ashdown,P. Eng. (Ret.) FIES is a lighting research scientist and engineer who knows how to realistically model and assess whether a consumer product is safe. Below are just a few of his credentials.

     

    • Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society                                      
    • Lighting research scientist since 1990
      • Philips Ledalite (Langley, BC)
      • Philips Research (Burnaby, BC)
      • Cooledge Lighting (Burnaby, BC)
      • SunTracker Technologies (Victoria, BC)
    • 140+ patents and patent applications in lighting technology
    • 160+ articles and papers
    • Specialist in mathematical modeling of lighting
      • Architectural
      • Horticultural
      • Health Care
    • Author of “Ultraviolet Disinfection for Consumers”
    • 29/05/2020 Article in IES Released: Covid-19 Response - “Designing an Ultraviolet Disinfection System"

     

    SunTracker is currently developing lighting design software specifically for ultraviolet disinfection systems (both static and mobile). This software will enable professional lighting designers and electrical engineers to work with mechanical engineers in designing and assessing the effectiveness and safety of new or retrofitted ultraviolet disinfection system that will make public spaces and surfaces safer from contaminants. Included spaces are hospitals and healthcare facilities, hotel and bank lobbies, restaurants, movie theatres and playhouses, sports facilities, airport lounges, airplanes, cruise ships and other modes of transportation, and anywhere else where there are public gatherings in enclosed spaces.

     

    SunTracker is committed to developing effective and safe engineering solutions for the current Covid -19 crisis, while at the same time countering the onslaught of misinformation regarding ineffective and sometimes dangerous ultraviolet disinfection technology that is being promoted online and in the media.

     

    SunTracker’s Senior Scientist, Ian Ashdown is available for interviews by telephone or e-mail to discuss further details of this story.

     

    For all Media Inquiries and to arrange an interview, please contact Shirley Lang, VP Communications & Marketing at 250-893-3645 or shirl.lang@suntrackertech.com

             

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    With new health and safety office protocols, VIATEC offers a free guide and checklists see more

    VICTORIA, BC (May 21, 2020) - Over the coming weeks and months, employees will begin returning to offices as part of BC’s Restart Plan and things will be different. Orders from Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Bonnie Henry and guidance by the BC Centre of Disease Control, represent the minimum standard that employers and businesses must meet, to comply with obligations to ensure worker health and safety. 

    To help their members and all business offices meet and exceed the minimum standards, VIATEC has created a handbook to assist in determining what is required by authorities. It also includes a checklist complete with examples to help reopen an office, so that employees can return to the workplace feeling safe and healthy.

    VIATEC’s goal is to provide specific actions to help its members ensure they understand what is required based on the resources included in this document, and provide a practical guide for next steps.

    VIATEC’s Back to the Office Handbook includes: 

    • Guide for creating your own “COVID-19 Safety Plan” (required)
    • Master Re-Entry Plan Checklist
    • Deep Clean Checklist and more.

    “We’re optimistic that equipped with the right approach and procedures, we can ensure the coming months are full of encouraging milestones,” says Dan Gunn, CEO of VIATEC. “We are pleased to do what we can to help our community navigate through the re-entry process and we hope that by compiling a step-by-step approach combined with examples and checklists, offices will save time and have a clear way forward. At times like these, it is more important than ever that communities come together.”


    Visit the resources page to download the Free VIATEC Back to the Office Handbook 

     

    MEDIA CONTACT: 

    Paula Parker
    Community Manager
    pparker@viatec.ca
    Cell: 604-440-2686
     

    ABOUT VIATEC:

    VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. VIATEC's mission is to cultivate the most cohesive tech community in the world by providing resources to tackle shared opportunities and challenges while boosting a sense of belonging and shaping our region. (Victoria's biggest industry is tech!).

    We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs.

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Apply for funding through the Regional Relief and Recover Fund RRRF see more

    (May 13, 2020) Message from: Western Economic Diversification Canada

     

    The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for businesses and their employees. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of our economy and our communities. As a source of local employment and pride, they play a key role in our national well-being. 

    Today, the Government of Canada announced that western Canadian businesses can now apply for the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

    Businesses are encouraged to visit the WD website to learn about eligibility criteria and determine which funding stream is right for them.

    All applicants are encouraged to consult the Program Guidelines prior to submitting an application, and to contact WD should you have additional questions.  Inquiries via email are encouraged and can be sent to wd.bc-cb.deo@canada.ca:

    A high volume of applications is anticipated.  WD is accepting applications on an ongoing basis and will review them on a first-come, first served basis.

    For more information about additional support offered by WD and the Government of Canada, please visit the WD COVID-19 response page.

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Develop a health and safety working at home policy see more

    Source: worksafebc.com. May 11, 2020

     

    Returning to Safe Operation

    Employers preparing to resume operations will need to have a safety plan that assesses the risk of COVID-19 transmission in their workplace, and develops measure to reduce these risks. You are not required to submit your plans for approval by WorkSafeBC but you may be asked to provide them during WorkSafeBC inspection. 

    You will need to develop a health and safety working at home policy which includes at minimum, the topics below:

    • Hazard and risk assessment of the at-home workplace
    • Procedures for working safely at home, including ergonomics
    • Evacuation from the home in an emergency and emergency contacts
    • Education and training
    • Worker’s duty to follow safe work procedures
    • Reporting workplace injuries
    • Check-in procedures

     

    Visit worksafebc.com for:

    •Working from home: A guide to keeping your workers healthy and safe

    •Setting up, organizing, and working comfortably in your home workspace

     

    What Employers Should Do

    a. Determine who should be at the workplace.

    b. Create policies that are in line with the recommendations and emergency measures laid out by the provincial health officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

    c. Consider engineering controls (e.g. plexiglass barriers).

    d.  Implement physical distancing measures

    • Reconfigure how the workplace is set up
    • Stop in-person meetings and revise shift schedules
    • Change work processes and practices

    e. Enhance cleaning and hygiene measures:

    • Provide supplies
    • Put up reminders for personal hygiene practices
    • Remove shared items
    • Disinfect high -contact areas and items

    f. Train, supervise, and document.

    g. Ensure staff can raise safety concerns.

    h. Work with joint occupational health and safety committee (JOHSC) members or worker representatives to:

    • Identify and find solutions to workplace health and safety issues.
    • Includes concerns about exposure to COVID-19.
    • Joint committees must continue to meet regularly as required under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

    i. Limit essential work travel and ban non - essential travel. For instances where work travel is required, consider practices to encourage physical distancing between workers.

    j. Follow other preventative measures related to cleaning and hygiene

     

    What Workers Should Do:

    • Know when not to come to work.
    • Follow preventative measures while at work.
    • Comply with the employer’s instructions around minimizing exposure.
    • Practice physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, and personal hygiene.
    • Report hazards and refuse unsafe work.
    • Take steps to minimize exposure to COVID -19 while away from work.

    Visit worksafebc.com

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Complimentary coaching offer for tech leaders. see more

    April 27, 2020 Author: Paula Parker, Community Manager

     

    VIATEC is very pleased to share complimentary coaching with our members...

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, leaders face increased challenges both as individuals making tough decisions and within team management. Morale, engagement and communication have all been impacted with the transition to remote work. 

    To help support members during this time, we’ve partnered with H2H Coaching to provide you a safe space in which to equip you mentally and emotionally to not only survive, but thrive during this crisis. 

    Starting now until May 30th, you can set up a complimentary 30 minute coaching session with Jesse Galvon Reid, Executive Coach | Emotional Intelligence Assessor at H2H Coaching. 

    I had the pleasure to talk with Jesse for a Q&A session to learn more about her and give you an idea about what you can expect.

     

    Q: Who are you and what do you do?

    I am a recovering perfectionist who is a self proclaimed knowledge seeker and happens to connect well with the logical academic type. I am also a genuine and authentically caring person who is passionate about helping people find the best in themselves. Most people find me pretty easy to talk to and can use humor to disarm and charm most. I am also the president of Autism Victoria and believe in building caring supportive communities. These kids are near and dear to my heart and always amaze me.

     

    Q: How did you first get involved in the tech community?

    When I met some leaders in tech I became fascinated with the fast paced world of tech startups. I saw and understood the unique challenges they face, coupled with the type of people who are attracted to this world - lots of logical straightforward people here. It was an easy transition to begin working with passionate leaders in the tech startup community to help transition them from entrepreneurs to CEOs. 

     

    Q: How do you help leaders in tech specifically? 

    The gap I help fill is moving leaders to shift from focusing on just “left-brain” analytical and execution skills that helped them excel at being an entrepreneur to becoming more practiced and aware at right-brain capabilities like leadership presence, communication, political savvy, and emotional intelligence - the soft skills.

    Very early I became very interested in human behaviors, potential and leadership styles and have been studying it for over a decade now. Through my career over the past 6 years I have added on other certifications that include emotional intelligence and the neuroscience of change. Blending theory and science has enabled me to bring human development and potential to the forefront of my practice. Helping leaders in education, technology and health care define, enhance and engage with their roles in a more fulfilling way personally and professionally.

    Some of these leaders have young and inexperienced teams and transitioning to a leadership role utilizes different skills.

     

    Q: What types of problems have people been coming to you with since the COVID-19 crisis began? 

    Clearly there is an impact all around the world and the human side of business is being impacted the hardest. Humans like to be comfortable and change is not usually welcome, even the good kind. So walking my client through their new reality has been a big conversation. The emotional and physical challenges working from home have been topics. The connection with people has been disrupted and managing teams has a new monkey wrench to deal with. So I have been working with them to get grounded and figure out what comes next from themselves and their staff. We cover approach, management style and expectations vs reality a lot in our conversations.

    Company culture is dependent on contribution, communication and synergy. During a time of disruption such as this, things tend to get put on the back burner and the laughter and social part of the connection are lost. That can make teams feel disconnected. So I work with the leadership team to help ensure everyone feels like they are contributing in a meaningful way. 

    Communication is key, not just reading email after email or chats on slack, that can lose a lot of engagement and interpersonal trust. 

    Because there is so much uncertainty and hurdles for the executives and leadership team to navigate right now just having someone as a trusted sounding board can make it a little less stressful. It's often busy and lonely at the top.

     

    Q: How do you go about helping them (walk me through your process?)

    What are they trying to achieve - define the gaps - what are the stops that prevent them from getting there?

    To keep things simple, my clients use me as a "sounding board", to be an attentive, intelligent, non-judgemental and supportive voice. Leaders are often faced with having to “be strong” and not “show weakness”. They are reluctant to share their real thoughts and opinions with staff, peers, their boards and even their spouses, and speaking to a trusted and objective professional can be most useful, especially given the uncertain times we’re faced with right now.

     

    Q: Why is coaching an effective tool?

    It's a collaborative effort. Coaching isn’t counseling, nor is it consulting. I don’t tell my clients the answers or focus on past problems. We have real conversations about their current state and I enable them to find the answers that they need for their business and personal well-being. When people come to their own conclusions, it creates new awareness and creates accountability to themselves and their team.

    My role is to help them stay accountable to their goals, while ensuring they show up as the leader their teams need to succeed.

     

    Q: Who typically benefits the most from coaching?

    1. Someone who is open to grow, sees value in feedback and learning more about how they operate in their world. Leadership reflects top down. As the driver of the vision and purpose of an organization, if you are off, it can throw the organization off.
    2. Anyone confronted by sudden change, growth, leadership development.

     

    Q: If you could give some practical advice to a business leader or tech professional facing uncertainty during this crisis, what would it be?

    Get support. 

    Whether it’s with myself or another professional. Our current state is uncharted territory for everyone. The best thing a leader can do right now is make sure they are getting the proper support, so they can show up for their team.

    Tools like empathy and compassion, for yourself and others also assume positive intent.

    Everyone is trying their best right now. Accept the new reality, it might not be ideal and it's not forever.

    Acknowledge the emotions. They are just messages and there is a reason you feel them. They will continue to come up and rule if you don’t at least acknowledge them, and start to take the power away from the negative ones. 

    Get a routine going. It helps with some grounding and normality. 

    Finally, look at what you can and can't control. Gain some perspective and see what options and opportunities are available.

     

    Q: How can someone learn more about you and your work?

    It’s going to take a community to get through this. What I am offering right now for any VIATEC leader is a 30 minute laser forced coaching session to figure out your next steps. For my fellow VIATEC leaders, I’m offering this for free until May 31st.

     

    CONTACT

    For those interested or if you have any questions, please email Jesse directly at jesse@h2hcoaching.co or connect on LinkedIn 

     

     

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Delivery of rental assistance for businesses see more

    Source: News Release April 24, 2020

     

              What: 

    • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
    • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.

      Who:
       
    • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
    • This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
    • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will administer and deliver the CECRA, a collaboration between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
    • Provinces and territories have agreed to cost share total costs and facilitate implementation of the program. They will cost share up to 25 per cent of costs, subject to terms of agreements with the federal government.

      When:
       
    • It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.
    • Further details on CECRA will be shared in the near future once final terms and conditions are available. The federal government and provincial and territorial governments urge property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.

      Notes:
       
    • Under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes a moratorium on eviction, the mortgaged commercial property owner would reduce the small business tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75 per cent. The tenant would be responsible for covering 25 per cent, the property owner 25 per cent, while the federal government and provinces would share the remaining 50 per cent. The forgivable loans would be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender.

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Starfish Medical's progress on designing ventilators in the fight against COVID-19 see more

    Source: CTV News Author: Robert Buffam

    SAANICH -- A team of engineers in Saanich has been working at a feverish pace designing ventilators in the fight against COVID-19.

    Kenneth MacCallum is an electrical engineer with Starfish Medical. He is one of 30 engineers at the Saanich-based company working tirelessly to create the life-saving devices.

    “It’s a super tight timeline, and yeah every week that we might be late is a week of people who would have needed this thing,” he told CTV News. The family-owned, island-based company has already developed a prototype device based on a ventilator designed decades ago in Winnipeg. Now, its team is racing to fulfill the Prime Minister’s announcement two weeks ago that the company would be one of four Canadian businesses responsible for creating 30,000 ventilators. Starfish Medical says it is responsible for 7,500 of those ventilators.

    Hundreds of the ventilators will built at Starfish Medical’s Saanich headquarters. Most, however, will be built by a different company in Ontario using Starfish’s designs.

    Scott Phillips is Starfish Medical’s founder and CEO. He says the company’s task is even more daunting because the COVID-19 pandemic has most staff members working remotely.

    “This is crazy that we’re doing a program of this magnitude this quickly with everyone working from home,” said Phillips. “So, we’re learning a lot but it’s working amazingly well.”

    Continue Reading Original Article

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Over 300 organizations have submitted a project proposals to help fight the pandemic. see more

    Source: borndigital.com

    April 21, 2020

    Need to Know

    • Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has announced it is committing $60 million towards the fight against COVID-19.
    • The Supercluster consists of a network of over 500 organizations across Canada.
    • Projects include using AI to find an existing medication that could treat the virus and e-grocery shopping solutions to support vulnerable communities.

    Analysis

    Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has announced it will be investing $60 million into delivering solutions to health and safety problems caused by COVID-19. 

    The Supercluster, a network of over 500 organizations in a wide range of sectors, have joined together to submit over 300 ideas and proposals to address COVID-19 issues.

    “Canadian businesses are answering the call to pull together and drive hard with solutions that will help us through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are deeply grateful to the hundreds of organizations that are answering this call, showing the world what a united ‘Team Canada’ can do,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster. “Through innovation, Canadians will create and deliver leading technologies to overcome issues created by COVID-19 and to position us well to rebuild our economy in the future.”

    The Supercluster is currently moving forward with four projects that will contribute to the health and safety of Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Continue Reading Original Article

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Free Virtual CFO advice during COVID19 see more

    Virtual CFO Solutions is a licensed CPA firm providing cloud-based part-time CFO and Controller services to tech and creative startups that are looking to grow. We are located in Victoria, BC but provide remote services to companies nationwide, as well as internationally.

    We understand that during these times of growing uncertainty amidst the COVID19 crisis, taking a close look at your finances might seem daunting.  However, organization of your financials and focus on cash flow is more important than ever right now. To help get you started with this, we will be offering free virtual 1 hour consultations!

    These consultations include, but are not limited to:

    • Advice on cash flow planning 
    • Seeking out financial resources that are currently available to your company
    • Finding ways to cut costs that are specific to your business
    • Recommendations on financial apps and tools

    Interested in taking us up on our offer? Contact us to book your consultation: https://www.virtualcfo.ca/contact-us/

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    If your company hasn't qualified for funding yet, register now for IRAP see more

    April 20, 2020 NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program 
    See April 22 addendum below.

     

    Starting on April 22, 2020 at 4 am PDT small and medium-sized Canadian businesses unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Business Credit Availability Program can apply for financial assistance.

     

    IMPORTANT: We advise you to register immediately if you plan to seek support through this program/evelope prior to the April 22 opening. 

     

    Need to know:

    • There is now an additional $250 million in funding to this program to help innovative companies. Funding will help a wide range of companies, not just current IRAP clients.
    • The IAP is designed to support firms that DID NOT qualify for other federal subsidies (e.g. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP(If you’re eligible for the wage subsidy, you will not get access to this IRAP funding; no double-dipping)
    • IAP support is NOT additional IRAP project funding, and is not intended to support current or future projects. There will not be any additional IRAP project funding from this program.
    • You should register immediately on the NRC website. You then have more info emailed to you when the program opens on April 22. Registration requires your name, email, province and postal code. 
    • The number of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQPs) on the payroll will be the key metric in determining how much support a company will get.

     

    Nice to know:

    • The goal is to flow money to eligible companies within 4 weeks.
    • The application form will be super-streamlined to enable fast-processing 
    • NRC-IRAP will focus on reaching the tech companies that have fallen through the cracks vis-a-vis the measures that have been announced to date, such as the wage subsidy (e.g. pre-revenue startups) 
    • NRC-IRAP will lean on the Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) in determining which companies will be helped.

     

    Some background:

    The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) is a Canadian government funding program designed to accelerate the research and development projects of Canadian innovators. Businesses who are developing and implementing process improvements are the primary targets to receive research funding contributions through IRAP, however, large-scale technology adoption projects that lead to new capabilities are also considered.

    IRAP is administered and managed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). NRC-IRAP funding contributions are funded through the Government of Canada; this means that applicants from across the country can apply to receive funding support. If performing a technology-driven research and development project in Canada, IRAP funding contributions should always be considered during the planning process.

     

    April 22 Addendum:

    Note: applications for the IRAP funding go live Today here. They will be open only until April 29. 

     

    President of the National Research Council, Iain Stewart, provided an overview of the new $250 million Innovative Assistance Program (IAP). This program is designed to assist early stage and scaling companies that cannot access other federal supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).
     
    Program Summary

    • IAP will service amounts of money matching the high end of the CEWS program. For each employee, the program will provide $847 a week for 12 weeks, totalling $10,164 per employee.
    • All members of staff as of March 1st who will receive a T4/T4A at the end of the year are eligible to be supported by this program.
    • If an employee is laid off then called back, they will be supported by this program if they were on payroll as of March 1st.
    • Additional hires after March 1st will not be supported.
    • IAP will only support people named on the payroll, not backfill hires
    • Payment structure:  First payment of 80% for a 12 week period in May to confirm that people are still on payroll. Second payment in June to get the last 20%.
    • Targeting to make payments the week of May 11th.

    Application Overview

    • IAP is a complement to CEWS: you must attest that you have attempted to use CEWS and been denied.
      • CEWS will have a tool to see quickly if companies are eligible to receive funding. Anyone who wants IAP should use this tool first, then use that for the attestation (no formal CEWS rejection is required).
      • If you are eligible for CEWS now, you will not be eligible for IAP later. IAP is a one-time thing.
    • The total envelope of support cannot exceed total payroll.
    • In order to be eligible for IAP you must meet the IRAP company eligibility definition:
      • Incorporated and profit driven Canadian small and medium-sized businesses
      • 500 or fewer full-time employees
      • Commitment to the development and sales of technology driven and innovative services, products, or processes in Canada
    • You will be required to answer 8 merit-based questions, which will act as a ‘paper’ interview of the company. Acceptance will take into account the quality of tech and the position in the innovation space.
    • The website will go live on April 22nd at 7:00 am and close a week later on April 29th.

    Additional Notes

    • There will be no matching fund requirements, this is a minimum payment philosophy equivalent to CEWS.
    • IAP is independent from the classic IRAP programs. Companies can apply to both IRAP programs if eligible. However, all federal funding will impact the company's SR&ED claims. The NRC recommends that companies use accountants to determine which programs to apply to.
    • Money in tranches - the NRC is are working on placing budget earlier in fiscal year, will run out of money
    • The NRC is trying to push out as much of the $300M under classic IRAP given the downturn of the economy. The $250M under IAP will be paid out on a monthly basis now.
    • There will be no special consideration for medtech or any other special sectors.
    • Products manufactured in Canada will not get priority treatment.
    • Companies of 1 or 2 people will be eligible for support.
    • Highly-qualified person - individual contributing in a significant way to the innovation that is building the business - technical employees as well as sales and marketing.

     

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Can you help provide students with high-powered computers during COVID19? see more

    A high school Drafting & Design teacher at Mt. Douglas Secondary recently reached out to see if our community can help. During COVID 19, his students must use home tech resources to continue with course work. In some cases, students do not have access to higher powered computers needed for CAD program design work and The School District is only authorizing loans of Chromebooks.

    If you or someone you know is in a position to help, please see the computer requirements below:

     

    CAD System requirements (Minimum)

    Operating Systems:
    macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
    macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
    macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)
    macOS 10.12 (Sierra)
    Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)

    Windows 10 64-bit
    Windows 8.1 64-bit
    Windows 8 64-bit
    Windows 7 SP1 64-bit

    Processor:
    64-bit Intel Core i5 (or AMD equivalent) or better

    RAM:
    4GB or more

    Graphics Card:
    OpenGL 2.1 compatible graphics card with 1GB of VRAM or more
    Some integrated graphics cards such as Intel Iris graphics are acceptable for simple models/drawings, but a dedicated graphics card is preferable.

    Display Resolution:
    1440 x 900 or higher

    Hard Disk:
    10GB free disk space is required for the installation. 30GB or more is required for a full installation with all libraries.


    Please Contact:
    Graham McLaren
    gmclaren@sd61.bc.ca
    778-977-1463 (mobile)
     

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    A COVID19 service support portal for BC businesses see more

    April 16, 2020 BC Gov News Release

    To help B.C. businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. government, through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness and the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, have partnered with Small Business BC (SBBC) to launch a new B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service.

    SBBC is British Columbia’s premier resource centre for small business information and services, including business planning, financing, registration and any other issues related to starting and growing a business in B.C.

    The service was announced this morning (April 16) and will serve as a one-stop resource to answer pressing questions about support available to businesses from the provincial and federal governments, industry, and community partners during this time.

    As part of the support service, a dedicated website – https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca – will feature announcements from industry and community partners, as well as a variety of important resources, including webinars and practical tools. Advisors can be reached by phone toll-free at 1-833-254-4357, by email covid@smallbusinessbc.ca and live chat.

    Hours of operation are Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Support will be available in several languages and a call-back feature will be in place to help manage high call volumes.

    SBBC will also continue to provide usual services, like access to expert business advisors, educational services, and free easy-to-use resources in the context of COVID-19. 

    Finally, a summary of all identified supports for B.C. businesses affected by COVID-19 is being updated regularly and is available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/employment-business-and-economic-development/business-management/small-business/covid-19_small_business_supports.pdf

     

  • Paula Parker posted an article
    Dan Gunn, CEO VIATEC sees silver linings during a crisis. see more

    Source: Times Colonist Author: Dan Gunn, CEO VIATEC

    A commentary by the CEO of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council. 

     

    Every morning, I watch our prime minister update the nation on Canada’s COVID-19 response. “Save lives by staying apart,” he pleads. That’s the least we can do.

    He goes on to say: “Everything we face will be directly linked to how people behave today.”

    I think we all know that this applies at the national level as well as at the street level of our neighbourhoods and community.

    Physical distancing is imperative to getting through this and it has its side-effects.

    Like many of you, my grandparents, great aunts and uncles endured monumental shared suffering due to the Great Depression and world wars. As I grew up, they went out of their way to help me understand how hard those days were and how it shaped them.

    Nothing brings people together like an external threat. We are all making sacrifices and it can be tough, but I can’t help but see some silver linings. The bonding power of shared suffering leads to a greater sense of unity. While we are physically apart, we are more together as a species, a nation and as a community.

    I’ve never been closer to my friends, neighbours and family. I’m having long conversations with my neighbours, I’m on the phone with my parents every few days and I’m logging many hours of video conferencing with friends, colleagues and peers every day. Compassion and empathy seem to be at an all-time high.

    As with the generations before us, this moment right now is shaping us. I spend a lot of time pondering what influence these weeks and months will have on nations, societies and our communities going forward. We are all doing things quite differently today and it will be fascinating to see what changes will stick and what needles will move.

    How much more will we work remotely in the years and decades to come? How often and far will people travel? How supportive of the concept of Universal Basic Income will we be? Will the short-term environmental benefits change our future behaviour?

    We love imagining a better future in my line of work, but help is needed now.

    I work with local tech companies. Switching to working remotely is likely easier for our sector than any other. We are already using video conferencing, chat channels and other platforms and have the right hardware to get connected quickly. We are fortunate to be built to adapt how we work, but I don’t think any organization was built to endure this type of uncertainty.

    While some companies are enjoying an increase in demand for their tools and products, most are still trying to figure things out. Sales and business developments have been turned on their heads, orders are being cancelled or slowed, our governments announce new supports daily and tech leaders are trying to assess how many staff they can hold onto and for how long.

    This uncertainty is challenging for our sector, but much tougher for many.

    At VIATEC, we are inspired by the Rapid Relief Fund that the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and Times Colonist kicked off, and we are proud of those tech leaders that came to the table to offer hundreds of thousands of matching dollars to encourage donations.

    Thanks to the generous support of our members, the VIATEC Foundation had a busy year, contributing $300,000 to the Food Rescue Project in partnership with the Victoria Foundation, and another $130,000 in support for the Mustard Seed Food Bank, the Gender Equity Fund, the Greater Victoria Public Library, Junior Achievement of British Columbia and the Independent Media Producers Network Society.

    We have $10,000 left in our fund, and today, we are committing it all to the Rapid Relief Fund. Soon, we will set out on another campaign to replenish the fund.

    The VIATEC Awards is our biggest fundraising event each year. We recently had to reschedule to Dec. 10 and you better believe that we plan to leverage what we expect will be a very memorable night as a platform to enable and encourage the tech community to do what it can to help those in the community that need it most.

    In the meantime, VIATEC, as owner of Fort Tectoria, has waived the rent for the 25 startups that call our building home. We are deferring all membership renewals for at least three months, and we’ve made our online job board free during the crisis to help connect people with jobs.

    It is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but, for a small not-for-profit like ours, it is consequential and difficult — and the least we can do.

    My elders imprinted on me what it was like to go through the hardest of times. I’m certain we will all be telling tales of this one to our future generations and, when we do, I hope we all can point to how we gave.

    While we are apart, let’s come together. Give if you can.

     

    HOW TO DONATE

    Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

    • Online: RapidReliefFund.ca

    • Phone: 250-381-5532

    • Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation, 200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2

    The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation, and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.

    Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation.