VIATEC posted an articleThe tech sector in Greater Victoria has a total economic impact of $5.22 billion and employs 16,775 see more
VIATEC releases Economic Impact Study of the Technology Sector in Greater Victoria
There is a total economic impact of $5.22 billion and the sector employs 16,775 people.
VICTORIA, BC (October 15, 2018) - The Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC), has surveyed local technology companies and commissioned an independent researcher (Alan Chaffe, senior economics lecturer at the University of Victoria), to collect and analyze the data - releasing a brand new Economic Impact Study.
The study shows there has been a growth of 30% since the last study was released in 2013:
The technology sector in Greater Victoria has a total economic impact of $5.22 billion and employs 16,775 people.
The tech sector contributes significantly to employment and economic output in both the local community, as well as throughout the Province of British Columbia. Growth in revenue and the number of technology firms for Greater Victoria outpaces the national average.
Greater Victoria is home to a vibrant, diverse, and successful technology sector that has been a major driver of innovation and economic growth for the BC economy. The technology sector in Greater Victoria has experienced significant growth over the past decade—with industry revenues (direct impact) increasing from $1.0 billion in 2004 to $4.06 in 2017. This represents a more than fourfold increase over this period.
The combined direct ($4.06 billion) and indirect ($1.16 billion) economic impact of the technology sector in Greater Victoria for 2017 was $5.22 billion—a 30% increase from the $4.03 billion estimated in 2013. The technology sector is responsible for a substantial portion of the region’s employment. In 2017, there were 16,775 employees in the sector.
The technology sector in Greater Victoria is expected to continue to grow. The number of technology firms in Greater Victoria is expected to increase, reaching over 1,000 before 2020. VIATEC recently adopted a strategic plan focused on supporting the region’s tech sector in growing to $10 billion in annual revenues by 2030. Based on the findings of this study, it is expected that this goal will be achieved if not surpassed in that time frame.
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. Our mission is to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector (Victoria's biggest industry).
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.
Our Focus Areas are: Regional and Sector Promotion, Networking and Connections, Talent and, Education and Mentoring. www.viatec.ca
"My focus in Vancouver is on product and design, whereas in San Francisco it’s more on investors..." see more
Is Slack a harbinger of tech riches for Vancouver?
The arrival of Slack in Vancouver seems to indicate full steam ahead for B.C.’s tech sector. If things change south of the border, however, all bets are off.
The enterprise software phenomenon Slack [(app built by Victoria company, Metalab)] has been in its Hamilton Street offices for almost a year now. But with extensive renovations just complete, CEO Stewart Butterfield hosted a media unveiling this September. As only befits a seven-year-old company valued mid-2016 at $3.8 billion, the place makes most offices look very ordinary indeed. The Michael Leckie-designed space features brick walls and dark timbers, kitchen and bar, lounge areas with lots of throw pillows, gauzy balloon-like light fixtures and a six-metre wall at the top of the main stairs that’s covered in bright green mummified moss.
An evidently proud Butterfield characterized the Vancouver office, now employing 82 people, as his favourite, noting: “The San Francisco office has a great location. But it wasn’t entirely built out by us. So it’s much less us.”
That Butterfield would champion his Vancouver office is perhaps to be expected. The 42-year-old founder of Flickr, later sold to Yahoo, started life on a commune in rural B.C. with the original given name Dharma. You could say he’s emphatically homegrown. But his enthusiasm might also reflect the anticipation that, poised at the dawn of 2017, the B.C. tech sector is set to boom.
Slack isn’t the only driver of that potential phenomenon. Microsoft invested $120 million in its Vancouver facility this past year, where it eventually intends to employ 750 people. Hootsuite officially became cash-flow positive mid-2016, and its awaited IPO now seems likely for this coming year. According to numbers recently released by the province, the B.C. tech sector now employs over 90,000 people—more than mining, oil and gas, and forestry combined.
All of this activity can also be seen as part of a bigger plan, which is to expand the economic ties and coordination between Seattle and Vancouver. Separated by a snarled freeway and a plugged-up international border, the cousin cities have long attracted the attention of local planners seeking to bring their communities closer together. In September we got an emblem of that in the form of B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s and Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s signatures on an agreement to coordinate economic development of the technology sectors in both places.
The motive for American companies is clear. Canada has a speedier immigration environment than does the U.S. That’s important in a sector with a seemingly insatiable demand for engineers, many of whom are being schooled at the tech-friendly educational institutions of China and India. Getting them into Canada, by some estimates, takes less than half the time required to get them into the States.
Butterfield himself anticipates close to 40 new hires in Vancouver, including in “customer experience” and front-end engineering. “Engineering is the second-biggest team here,” he says. “And this is where most of the design leadership is, the core of the front-end development team. So my focus in Vancouver is on product and design, whereas in San Francisco it’s more on investors and executive recruiting.”
Executive recruiting may be easier in the San Francisco area because there would be much greater depth in people with experience in enterprise software companies in the first place. But it may also be easier because of the housing demands of people being hired at the most senior levels. Sure, a younger workforce—Butterfield looked to be the only person over 40 in the Hamilton Street facility—may be willing to live in small or shared quarters in what is widely considered one of the least affordable cities in the world. If you’re looking to hire senior people, on the other hand, who will likely be older and may well have families, then you need to have places for them to live that don’t cost millions of dollars.
But maybe real estate prices are, in the end, a red herring. San Francisco and New York, both thriving tech hubs, have more expensive downtown real estate than Vancouver. The risk factor for the Vancouver tech boom may come down to a piece of paper: the U.S. H1-B visa. A non-immigration work permit allowing U.S. companies to hire foreign nationals in specialized sectors including technology, the H1-B is capped at 65,000 persons annually. Were that head cap to be lifted, as it is rumoured it might be, a key Vancouver competitive advantage would fall away. And then the Slack-indicated tech boom might well be in jeopardy.
Butterfield isn’t worrying about that—not at the moment, anyway; 2017 is coming, and he thinks Slack’s drawing power will be ample to attract the people he needs. “Just look at how beautiful our office is!” he exclaims. Then, more seriously, he offers the following prognosis: “I think that being at Slack right now will be similar to having worked at Google from 2005 to 2007, or Facebook from 2007 to 2009, or Apple in the mid 2000s.”
If he’s right, a lot of people will be having a happy New Year.
Biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community is our ability to attract exp. talent see more
Author: Dan Gunn - CEO, VIATEC
Getting Victoria's Tech Sector to $10billion by 2030
VIATEC's strategic goal is focused on getting Victoria's tech sector from $4 billion to $10 billion in revenues by 2030. We call it the 10/2030 plan. We believe that the biggest thing holding back the growth of our tech community (just like everywhere) is our ability to attract experienced, senior talent. We need people who have scaled big, know what it takes and how to do it.
That said, those people are rare and have lots of options. Our companies have appealing opportunities for them but, in the eyes of those desired candidates, we do not have enough breadth and depth. As such, great candidates often look to larger cities where they feel more confident that there are a long list of viable companies that can use and would want their talents. It's a safer bet.
To create more of the critical mass and awareness we need, the development of locally grown anchor companies are key. We call them Whales and are aiming to support the emergence of a $1b company with 1,000 staff. We would consider four new $250m or ten new $100m companies also a success. It's not so much about adding a $1b in revenue to the total as it is what companies like that can bring. The critical mass provided by bigger companies create attention, spinoffs and leadership that knows how to build great companies. This benefits every part of the ecosystem...big and small.
The emergence of more locally founded and built anchor companies is a long-term goal. So, what do we do in the meantime? We set out to identify the highest potential leaders and companies and we provide them with advanced skills training. We're not turning our back on medium size companies, lifestyle ventures or start-ups. We're focusing on building great leaders and every organization needs those. Programs that support our highest potential leaders and ventures will benefit the entire community.
Imagine our $4.06b tech sector and its 16,775 employees were one entity. That would make it a Fortune 500 company (or at least close). The vast majority of companies that size have programs designed to identify their top performers and their highest potential team members so that they can provide them with professional and personal development and training.
That's what we want to do at VIATEC. Offer a Top Talent program to our members so that we can build the leaders we need to take us to $10b.
Launching careers and strengthening businesses see more
The Victoria tech sector’s growth has outpaced its labour pool. It posted 30% growth the past 4 yrs. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Businesses struggle with labour shortages, bosses pitch in on frontlines
The labour crisis that has held Greater Victoria in its grip for the last several years shows no signs of abating, and continues to force company executives and business owners to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty on the front lines.
“It’s definitely all hands on deck,” said Al Hasham, owner of Maximum Express Courier.
Hasham, who employs 35 people between his offices in Victoria and Vancouver, said he’s short as many as five employees right now. With the busiest time of year approaching, he is constantly looking for part-time and evening workers to pick up the slack.
That has meant Hasham has been on the road a lot, delivering packages for Maximum clients as well as overflow from Amazon and Purolator. In between, he’s personally looking after the company’s overall operation.
“The last few years it’s been tough,” Hasham said. The company has asked some full-time, permanent staff to take on additional weekend and evening work that would normally be farmed out to part-time and casual staff. “It really is all hands on deck ... we have to do whatever we can, but everyone is hurting.”
Hotel Grand Pacific general manager Reid James is no stranger to loosening his tie and rolling up his sleeves as he and his executives have had to pitch in and clean rooms and take on other front-line tasks wherever necessary. This year, facing the prospect of another banner visitation year, Hotel Grand Pacific managed to hire early and retain enough staff to handle the crush of tourists at the height of summer. Other properties have not been so fortunate, James said.
“People are doing more with less,” said James. “At some smaller properties, I know managers who are cleaning rooms and bussing tables.”
James said the Hotel Grand has been forced to operate most of this year without a full complement of staff. At its best, the hotel had six vacant positions.
“I’ve heard of some places where the vacant positions are double that, and some larger hotels where it’s as high as 40 positions,” James said.
“We continue to struggle with the more skilled positions like the kitchen and in some areas like bellmen and guest services,” he said. “The good ones are hard to find and to keep.”
Victoria businesses have been feeling the squeeze for some time.
The regional economy has hummed along for the last several years, and Victoria has consistently had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. In October, it remained at 3.9 per cent, the second-lowest unemployment rate, behind only Guelph at 3.3 per cent.
Despite solid net migration numbers to the province (in 2017 B.C. had a net gain of 20,000 people, 5,000 of those coming from other provinces), economic growth and demand for workers has continued to outstrip the labour supply.
“Right now there is a real war for talent,” said Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting, which works on human resources issues. “At the higher-paid professions, it’s not that bad. But in Victoria where there’s a construction boom and we have a burgeoning tech sector, it’s brutal.”
Bourree said the problem is the demographic mix, not just in Victoria but across Canada.
“Growing economies like Canada and the U.S. have an aging population, while countries like Spain and France have a much younger population. Spain has something like 40 per cent youth unemployment right now,” he said.
Bourree said Victoria will have to continue to encourage older workers to remain in the workforce longer and tap into younger workers over the age of 15 to a greater degree. “And we can work on more in-migration from other provinces.” He noted that it falls to the federal government to act. “The feds opened up 40,000 more spaces for immigration this year with new programs, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we need across the country.”
The province’s recently released labour outlook study showed there will be 903,000 job openings between now and 2028, including the creation of 288,000 new jobs due to economic growth.
The study also revealed while most of the job openings would be in the Lower Mainland, 17 per cent would be on Vancouver Island, meaning 153,820 job openings.
“While we do have a shortage, this isn’t a Victoria problem, this isn’t a tech problem. This is a global problem in the technology industry at least,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council.
Gunn said the Victoria tech sector’s growth has outpaced its labour pool. It posted 30 per cent growth over the last four years.
“As a result, our companies are having to look far and wide to find the talent they need to keep up with the opportunities in front of them,” he said.
One arrow in the tech sector’s quiver could be a planned road show involving VIATEC, the City of Victoria and the South Island Prosperity Project, which early in 2019 intends to tour Western Canada to entice tech workers to the Island.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi led a similar tour to Vancouver recently to entice workers from the mainland to head to Alberta, highlighting the fact the labour shortage is not isolated to B.C.
“The nice thing is we can compete in many ways with our quality of life and cost of living, which in Victoria is quite low for the character and quality of life it offers on a global scale,” said Gunn.
But it can be a tougher sale when some workers are looking at the relative cost of living and working on the Prairies.
Rory Kulmala, chief executive of the Vancouver Island Construction Association, said that cost, housing availability and affordability makes it hard to compete for skilled trades.
Kulmala said the shortage of labour may have slowed the pace of building in the region, but “I believe we have punched above our weight.”
“Despite all that, we seem to be getting things done. There always seems to be another crane gong up,” he said. “The sector seems to have aligned itself to the tempo of how to work in this busy environment.”
The construction sector still sees value in continuing its work to reach high school students early to get them to consider a career in the trades.
There is plenty of room for growth in that area, as Kulmala notes only one in 70 students chooses to go into the trades.
As technology continues to reshape work, new talent gaps will pop up that will need to be filled by see more
Author: Ashley Goldsmith
HR Outlook 2018: Preparing our Workforces for a Different World [Blog]
In the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the year ahead and what 2018 holds for those of us in HR. We all know technology will continue to impact the way people work and how our organizations are run, just as it has over the past decade. Yet I have a feeling we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg.
Already, the very concept of a worker has changed—mobility and connectivity have made it easier for people to work on a contingent, part-time, or freelance basis, spawning what we now know as the “gig economy.” Technology has also made it easier for companies to expand geographically without necessarily incurring the costs of new locations, allowing them to engage virtually with workers anywhere on the globe.
As technology continues to reshape work, new talent gaps will pop up that will need to be filled by people with the right skills.
In addition, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, machine learning, and predictive analytics have the power to change the fabric of our organizations, making us smarter and more productive, but also making some job functions obsolete.
All of these developments require us to plan now for how we utilize technology to our advantage in the workplace. In this era of automation and advancing AI, HR professionals should be more focused than ever on helping to reskill and develop employees whose jobs may be impacted—and not just because it’s the right thing to do. As technology continues to reshape work, new talent gaps will pop up that will need to be filled by people with the right skills.
That’s why organizations need to assess what their learning environments look like today and where they can provide greater support. One method we’ve discussed is leveraging learning approaches that have been successful in the consumer world. But there are other approaches outside of an organization’s standard learning approach that can also be highly effective.
Taking a Fresh Look at Reskilling
Additional at-work programs can provide valuable learning opportunities that don’t involve a computer screen. At our European headquarters in Dublin, we’ve been piloting a program we call Career Growth Experience. First, we identified the capabilities and skills that have enabled people to achieve success in specific jobs. Now we’re helping Dublin-based employees connect the skills they want to develop with specific career experiences that demonstrate mastery in those capabilities.
We should also explore nontraditional reskilling models that can help companies expand their talent pool by tapping into parts of the population that have significant potential but have been out of the workforce for a period of time. In a session at Workday Rising in October, Sheila Marcelo, CEO of Care.com, spoke about how Care.com has been encouraging the reentry of stay-at-home mothers into the workforce by recruiting them to help run its online marketplace. Marcelo is excited by the results they are seeing.
In a similar vein, at Workday, we’ve rolled out the Career Accelerator Program, which provides technical training and internships to military veterans who are challenged with transitioning from military life to meaningful careers in civilian life. During the pilot program in 2016, 83 percent of participants joined Workday full time, and 100 percent of participants told us they would recommend the program to other veterans transitioning to civilian life.
Advances in technology will continue to change the way we view talent and organize our workforces. In the face of this, it will be HR’s responsibility to provide the leadership necessary to ensure workers have the new skills required for our organizations to remain agile, efficient, and prepared for whatever disruptions the future brings.
“Growing 30 per cent sounds like a lot, but honestly I think the sector’s potential was higher..." see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Greater Victoria’s tech sector still booming, but recruiting a challenge
Victoria’s high-tech industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past five years, but it’s still likely under-performing, according to the head of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council.
Dan Gunn, chief executive of VIATEC, said the sector might have grown 30 per cent since 2014, but it could have grown bigger and faster.
“Growing 30 per cent sounds like a lot, but honestly I think the sector’s potential was higher than that,” he said. “We under-performed and we under-performed for one specific reason — we haven’t been able to find enough skilled and experienced talent.”
Gunn was reacting to a new economic impact study commissioned by VIATEC and written by Alan Chaffe, senior economics lecturer at the University of Victoria. The study, which VIATEC will release publicly on Monday, shows the tech sector has a $5.22-billion annual economic impact on the region, with combined annual revenue of its 955 companies of $4.06 billion, and employing 16,775 people directly.
“We were under the impression and pretty confident we were at $4 billion in revenue based on the level of activity since our last study, but it’s great to have that reaffirmed,” said Gunn. “We are confident of the numbers and we know there are a number of ways we could have used higher numbers to get a big story, but we wanted something accurate and conservative.”
The study, which predicts there will be in excess of 1,000 tech firms in the region by 2020, suggested the sector is on target to meet its goal of combined annual revenues of $10 billion by 2030. “We wanted to set a big, hairy, audacious goal to motivate the sector,” said Gunn. “This study revealed that not only is that attainable, but highly likely that we are going to hit that level of growth before 2030, which is fantastic.”
But it also comes with problems. Gunn said that kind of growth likely means as many as 15,000 more people working in the sector, leading to the questions of where those people will be found and how they will be housed when they are here.
The study pointed out housing availability, affordability and a skills shortage have been limiting factors to growth among the region’s tech firms.
Gunn said the region needs more breadth of opportunity — more companies and larger companies offering a variety of roles in order to attract talent.
But despite the challenges, the study revealed a highly optimistic sector in the region.
It noted the firms responding to the VIATEC survey estimated total revenues are expected to increase by nearly 13 per cent this year alone, while 77 per cent of all respondents indicated they expect to hire additional staff over the next two years.
If that happens, total employment in the technology sector would be expected to hit 18,280 by the end of 2019.
The study suggested that optimism is because of Greater Victoria’s quality of life, access to an educated workforce and close economic links within the Pacific Rim.
Gunn said studies like this are important both within and outside the sector.
“It shows the sector the value of what they are offering in their community, and seeing if they are ahead or behind pace,” he said. “And it gets the attention of policy makers to understand the value of it.”
Gunn said despite its growth and increasing profile, tech remains a pretty quiet industry, taking up anonymous real estate in the second floors of downtown buildings.
If you want a job in Greater Victoria, there is likely one waiting for you. see more
Source: CHEK News
As Greater Victoria businesses struggle to fill jobs, some are cutting hours
WATCH: If you want a job in Greater Victoria, there is likely one waiting for you. The unemployment rate in Victoria is the fourth lowest in Canada, and the lowest in B.C. But as Mary Griffin reports, businesses are struggling to find workers.
But they are outside soon when they find out the shop is closed.
The cafe at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is experiencing a shortage of workers. So it now closes hours earlier than usual.
Tourist Glen Rabuka was sitting outside Friday, sharing a coffee because he didn’t know the shop was closing early.
The coffee is good, and there is no one to serve it, I guess. And that is so unfortunate,” Rabuka said.
The economy in Greater Victoria is booming and that contributes to a worker shortage, according to Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting of Victoria, a business and human resource consulting firm.
“We’ve been involved in employment business for about 25 years, here, and we’ve never seen it this severe in terms of shortages,” Bourree said.
He believes that the region is facing an employment crisis.
“It’s pretty much across all sectors. We’re seeing a lot of competition now between sectors for higher, and higher wages. So, people are leaving the tourism industry, and going to high-tech, or construction for higher wages often,” Bourree said.
Victoria’s unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, lower than Vancouver’s, and significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of six percent is the lowest in the province.
That translates into difficulties for employers.
“This is a structural problem. We’ve got a demographic challenge. We don’t have enough kids coming into the system. We’re not getting the migration, as I said, for a number of reasons. And we’re not getting enough immigration to this region. And that’s really the only solution to our labour shortage problem,” Bourree said.
According to Statistics Canada, the construction industry created 5,900 jobs from January 2017 to January 2018.
Another 2,900 in retail, and wholesale jobs. 2,400 jobs in finance-related positions, and 2,700 more jobs in education.
But the high cost of housing, transportation and childcare are challenges for workers and the companies that are cutting hours due to a lack of employees.
Outside the coffee shop, tourist George Sears says something is wrong when a business has to close in the middle of the day to deal with a staffing shortage.
“It’s a real twist, isn’t it? People want to be here. Visit here. And so, to not have a facility open after three p.m., or it’s two o’clock, isn’t it? It’s hard on the business,” Sears said.
Del Staveley is a tourist who intended on enjoying an afternoon coffee but was turned away.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the cost of living, the cost of getting a place to live is preventing people from getting jobs. Which is what it is,” Staveley said.
Canada’s gaming industry contributes $3.7 billion to Canada's GDP, a 24% increase from 2015. see more
Author: Amira Zubairi
Report: Canada's Gaming Industry Contributes $3.7 Billion to Economy
According to a new report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), Canada’s gaming industry plays a major role in the country’s economy.
The “Canada’s Video Game Industry 2017” report indicates that Canada’s gaming industry contributes $3.7 billion to the country’s GDP, representing a 24 percent increase from 2015. The industry also created 40,600 direct and indirect full-time jobs in 2017.
To compile the report, ESAC looked at gaming industry-related job postings and searches in Canada on job site Indeed.com between December 2015 and December 2017. Specifically, ESAC assessed which gaming-related jobs are growing and which jobs are gaining interest from job seekers.
“Gaming is big business in Canada—and it’s also a big employer, with openings for game designers, producers, programmers, artists, not to mention business, sales, and marketing roles,” said Jodi Kasten, managing director at Indeed Canada. “There’s no doubt that behind the glamor and excitement, gaming is a serious business subject to ups and downs like any other major industry. New technologies bring innovation and a demand for talent and new skills which leads to the creation of new job opportunities.”
According to the report, the demand for artificial, virtual, and augmented reality experts in Canada has grown significantly since December 2015. The searches for AR and VR jobs has grown by 148 percent.
ESAC’s report also found that since 2015, job seekers’ interest in eSports and game designer jobs has grown by 134 percent and 96 percent, respectively. However, employers’ demand for these jobs has decreased by 57 percent and 33 percent, respectively. When it comes to game testing and quality assurance jobs, the report revealed that employers’ searches for game testing talent have grown by 114 percent, while job seekers’ interest has only grown 3 percent since 2015.
ESAC’s study of game-related jobs revealed that Montreal is home to 41 percent of Canada’s gaming job opportunities, followed by Vancouver, which makes up 20 percent of gaming job opportunities, and Toronto, which makes up 13 percent. This does not come as a surprise as the Startup Genome’s Global Startup Report 2018 also showed that Montreal is the centre of Canada’s gaming industry, hosting nearly 35 percent of all gaming studios and publishers in the country.
“Montreal has emerged as Canada’s leading hub for gaming job creation, and that comes as no surprise since it’s home to one the world’s largest video game industries,” said Kasten. “With 41 percent of Canada’s gaming job opportunities found here we can expect to see continued job seeker interest in this exciting industry.”
View the full report here.
I felt worse and excused myself. That memory is the last that I have for much of the next two years. see more
Written by: Dave Neufeld
The day I almost died and living with disabilities [Blog]
tl;dr Some things in life have the capability of crushing you. If you are lucky, you survive and get the chance to live again. If you can, give people with disabilities the chance to show what they can do for your company. If you read this and you think you know someone that could use the encouragement, please share it on.
It was a Saturday night in January 2009. I had just finished another good week at a small software company in Victoria, BC, a smaller Canadian City on the West Coast. The weather was pleasant (by Canadian standards) and my wife and I had settled in to watch a movie in our newly renovated small house. The only bad part of this idyllic scene was that I had been sick most of the day with what I thought was the flu. What a crappy way to spend a Saturday. During the movie, I felt a bit worse and excused myself to go to the washroom.
That memory is the last that I have for much of the next two years. The rest of the story are pieces that I have tried to put together from small snatches of memory I have and based on the stories that others shared with me. That night, after I excused myself and went to the washroom, I vomited and then the room started to spin.
Then I had a full body seizure.
My wife heard the noise and rushed into the bathroom. I cannot imagine the scene that she witnessed. Her husband, who just one minute was making stupid comments about the movie was now flailing out of control. When the seizing stopped, she called 9-11 and I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital.
At the hospital, I was examined. There were no obvious signs of trauma that might have triggered the seizure and nothing that I could recollect from the day that might have hinted at the cause. There was talk of me going home given the lack of other symptoms (this was my first seizure that I had ever had), but luckily my wife insisted that I be kept in for observation. An odd twist of fate in this story is that my wife is a Physician, so that the fact that she had observed enough odd behaviour in her career helped to clarify for the other attending Physicians what she observed and a possible cause. I cannot imagine what might have happened if I had been self-admitted or if the seizure had not been witnessed by someone else. Sometimes you just get lucky.
Once admitted, I continued to have seizures. Further tests were administered and it was not long before the diagnosis was made. I was experiencing Encephalitis ( Encephalitis is an acute inflammation of the brain.Encephalitis is an acute inflammation (swelling) of the brain usually resulting from either a viral infection or due to the body's own immune system mistakenly attacking brain tissue). Via an MRI, the swelling caused by the viral infection could be seen by the Doctors and a course of treatment to fight the infection was started. For three days I moved in and out of consciousness. When I was conscious, I wasn’t necessarily lucid (but that story is for another post) but luckily medication administered aided the body in its fight against the infection in my Brain. At the five day mark, things seem to turn for the better as I stabilized. With the medicine prescribed, the body fought the infection and ultimately defeated it. I was hospitalized for nearly two weeks.
After the initial medical emergency passed, I returned home but to a life that would never be the same. I was on high doses of anti-seizure medication (seizures are a common result of brain damage). Part of my left-temporal lobe was damaged. I was not physically impacted (I maintained my ability to speak and my motor skills were not affected, my speech was the same). To the outside observer, I looked like the old Dave unless you tried to have a conversation with me.
After a relatively short time of recovery I attempted to return to work, but I was no longer able to manage my team of Software Quality Assurance analysts on our project. Even testing software (a complex skill-set requiring use of memory and intuition) was nearly impossible. My ability to control my mood or affect was difficult and I could not adapt socially into my role. When it was clear that I could no longer do my job, I was dismissed.
I didn’t work again for another 3.5 years. I spent those years trying to carve out a piece of my life again. I attended Brain rehab clinics and out-patient services. I attempted re-training (to try and re-acquire marketable skills given my disability). After 2.5 years, I started applying for work locally but the process (hard for anyone unemployed and looking for work) was made difficult by my time absence from the fast-moving technical market. My resume had a glaring hole that people wanted to ask about and given my previous experience hiring, I didn’t know how to approach.
I got my first job again in Summer of 2012 at a small tech startup as a junior QA analyst. It was hard but I gave it my best. After a while, a vacancy opened up and I had the chance to try managing again. Small successes led to more and I eventually had a chance to take on a new role for me of Development Manager. Since that time, I have had the chance to lead another QA Team in a local tech company (a team of 7 full-time and 3 coop QA analysts). I have presented at the local Agile Software Meetup, been present in a number of different software development groups and shared my experience with the CanAssist team up at the University of Victoria.
More important than all of the work, I have had the chance since the injury to become a parent and to experience the joy that children bring to a household (and mess, but hey, the good with the bad). I have had a chance to build a new life, albeit different than the one before and it is good.
This isn’t the whole story, of course, but you have to get back to work, right?
I have summarized my story here, in the venue of LinkedIn (versus Facebook) in order to encourage those in the role of hiring to reconsider how they might give those with disabilities a chance. Missing time in resumes can be there for many reasons, not necessarily nefarious. People being dismissed from jobs may have nothing to do with events under their control. For myself, I had no idea how to explain my absence from the workplace without disclosing my disability and the cause. No one taught me that in ‘resume school’. As the primary screening tool, the resume can cause a hiring team to detect ‘false negatives’, to rule out people because of missing data. Not HR’s fault, but if you have never been through a period like this in your life, you may not naturally empathize either. As someone who interviewed and hired twenty interns/coops over the last 2.5 years, that is always something that I considered as we evaluated candidates. Grades do matter and previous experience does matter but how people approach problems and their determination to overcome adversity is hard to see on a resume.
For those with disabilities, whatever they are, who are attempting to get into or back into the work force after time away, I hope that my story can offer hope. No one knows what the future holds, what you are capable of, or what opportunities will be afforded to you. My only advice (as shitty as it is) is to try and take each day as it comes. Watch for the demon Depresession. Watch a lot of ted-talks on youtube and find a local community of people who you can share your challenges with. Find ways to make today a bit better than yesterday.
If you are supporting someone with a disability, in life or in work, remember the basic human lesson that we cannot truly know what another experiences or how they perceive their struggles. Ask questions, pray for patience and encourage them through your support and love and care.
Finally, and most important, I want to thank my wife (whose name I withhold here to give her a modicum of privacy in an over-connected world). The day of my illness you helped to save my life. In the years that followed, you helped me to recover some part of my humanity and to continue to live a life of meaning. I truly cannot imagine the burden that you have carried, but I am grateful that you choose to be with me. You are an amazing person and I am lucky to have ever met you. Love you.
If you want to randomly keep reading, check out the story of these people.
“To find skilled and experienced talent has been difficult and it’s probably the biggest thing... see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Andrew Duffy
Greater Victoria struggles to fill jobs
Greater Victoria is facing an employment “crisis” and it will take a multi-pronged attack to deal with it, according to a human resources consultant.
Statistics Canada reported the country had an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent — a 40-year low — in December and that Victoria now has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.4 per cent.
Frank Bourree, principal of Chemistry Consulting in Victoria, said inaction is not an option as businesses scramble to attract workers.
“This can only be solved through immigration, workforce housing and better transportation and daycare, or it’s only going to get worse, because I don’t see the economy going south anytime soon,” said Bourree.
His firm oversees Work B.C.’s employment centres.
“It is a crisis. We have been tracking this for the last six years and our caseloads have been dropping dramatically, and they took a real dip last year.”
Bourree said a booming economy that has raised most sectors and a shift in demographics as Baby Boomers continue to leave the workforce has played a role in exacerbating the problem of finding workers.
“And in each of the sectors, we are not getting migration from other provinces anymore because they are doing well,” Bourree said. He noted that potential workers are also put off by the cost of housing in Victoria, as well as barriers such as lack of childcare spaces and overburdened transportation infrastructure. “Here, the workforce is in the West Shore and the work is downtown.”
The biggest issue, however, is that immigration has not kept pace with the shrinking workforce, said Bourree, noting some effort has been made to open the gates. “It’s now easier to bring skilled workers, but harder to bring in two-year temporary foreign workers and to be honest, that’s what we need.”
Victoria’s 3.4 per cent unemployment rate represents a slight change from the 3.3 per cent recorded in November, and is well off the 5.0 noted in December 2016. According Statistics Canada, the total number of people employed in Victoria increased to 193,300 in December, up from 186,600 in December 2016, while the Greater Victoria labour force grew to 200,100 from 196,500 the year before.
While the unemployment rate is very low, it’s still well off the lowest Victoria has seen. In May 2008, the rate hit 2.8 per cent.
“I would say [the lack of skilled workers] isn’t a 2017 or 2018 problem, but it’s been an ongoing challenge for the growing tech companies in Victoria,” said Dan Gunn, chief executive of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council. “To find skilled and experienced talent has been difficult and it’s probably the biggest thing holding back growth.”
Gunn said while the city — and tech sector in particular — has never focused as much attention on the problem as now, it still has to compete with a strong national economy that demands workers.
Locally, the tech sector has seen steady demand for workers. The VIATEC job board has posted more than 1,100 jobs over the last year and has consistently had about 100 jobs on its board each month. “When the economy was overheating in 2007, we saw between 140 and 170 jobs, and we don’t want to see that again, so we have to keep working to attract more people,” Gunn said.
Statistics Canada’s survey found that the biggest gains over the last year were seen in retail and wholesale trade, which boasted 26,500 jobs in December, up from 24,000 the year previous. The finance, insurance and real estate sector added 2,300 new positions and the accommodation and food-services sector added 3,500 positions.
Those gains were offset by a decline in the business, building and support-services sector, shedding 4,600 positions since December 2016, and information, culture and recreation sector, losing 2,000 positions.
Canada’s low unemployment rate was due to 13 straight months of job creation, but it has economists warning it could push the Bank of Canada to raise its key overnight interest rate by 25 basis points later this month to 1.25 per cent.
Statistics Canada reported the largest employment gains in December were observed in Quebec and Alberta, with the former adding 27,000 jobs for a 4.9 per cent unemployment rate and the latter generating 26,000 jobs for a rate of 6.9 per cent.
B.C. closed out the year with an employment growth rate of 3.4 per cent, with 83,000 additional jobs, with almost all of the gains in full-time jobs.
In the 12 months to December, the unemployment rate in B.C. fell by 1.2 percentage points to 4.6 per cent, the lowest among all provinces.
Job-creation numbers follow Canadian economic signals that have been positive for some time, said TD Economics senior economist Brian DePratto.
“If you go back and look at the economic growth figures Canada was putting out late last year, early this year, we saw very, very robust growth across effectively all sectors of the economy,” he said. “I think to some extent we’re seeing catch-up activity from the output of the economy on the employment side.”
Matthew Stewart, director of national forecast for the Conference Board of Canada, said he is concerned about a tight labour market going forward but added business should be pleased with wage increases shown by the statistics. “Slower, more sustainable job growth is in store for the year ahead,” he said in a statement.
Booths will be open 1-4pm with about 350 students visiting with more than 40 industry hosts on Feb 8 see more
Connect With Top Talent: Royal Roads launches fifth annual Career Development Conference
Victoria, BC – Employers can connect with Royal Roads University’s experienced and innovative students at the university’s fifth annual Career Development Conference Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. The conference welcomes employers to join the university and its students for an interactive event where both students and employers can make new industry connections and glean business insights.
The conference features guest speakers, human resources and industry panels and student-employer networking booths. Booths will be open from 1 to 4 p.m., with about 350 students visiting with more than 40 industry booth hosts.
There is no cost to host a networking booth or attending any of the day’s sessions and activities.
Royal Roads University, a public university established in 1995, offers a progressive model of post-secondary education, delivering applied and professional programs. The university offers a blended learning experience combining online and on-campus instruction, as well as full time intensive on-campus instruction for undergraduate and graduate degrees, a doctoral degree, certificates and diplomas. It also offers progressive, professional continuing studies programs.
Natasha Dilay, Manager, Career Learning and Development
For media queries, contact:
Cindy MacDougall, Communications Officer
P 250-391-2600 x 4021
BC's studios generate creative and cutting edge games that have developed a loyal following globally see more
7 Excellent reasons why Interactive gaming is thriving in British Columbia
A leading creative hub at the forefront of interactive technology British Columbia, Canada, is home to a creative cluster of world-class companies specializing in game development. As an international centre for console, social, and mobile game production, as well as an emerging hub for virtual reality technology, British Columbia offers highly skilled talent, a cost-competitive and convenient west coast location, and targeted incentives. Join leading companies including Capcom Game Studio, EA (Electronic Arts), Microsoft, Sega, Eastside Games, and over 120 more studios that make up British Columbia’s creative cluster of game developers. With strong links to the U.S. west coast, Asia, and Europe, our interactive games sector is integrated with world markets and can handle the full range of development from concept through production.
British Columbia’s dynamic interactive cluster
British Columbia’s studios generate creative and cutting edge games that have developed a loyal following around the world.
- THRIVING CREATIVE ECOSYSTEM
Benefit from British Columbia’s dynamic, highly skilled, and multicultural pool of designers, engineers, and artists. Our workers have experience in the entire range of interactive productions, from console games to the fast-paced development of mobile tools. All of British Columbia’s major educational institutions are engaged in digital media, providing comprehensive training and outstanding facilities. A steady stream of new graduates and innovation flows into the sector from our prolific educational programs and research centres. British Columbia’s interactive games sector also enjoys strong relationships with film, television, animation, and virtual reality producers. This fuels a collaborative and community-based approach to projects, resulting in innovative productions.
- STRATEGIC LOCATION
As Canada’s Pacific Gateway, British Columbia is ideally located with a business day that conveniently overlaps with afternoon working hours in Europe, morning work schedules in Asia and is synchronized for the full day with California and Washington State. Vancouver’s reputation as a global tech hub has been steadily growing, with the city already internationally renowned for its liveability and spectacular location. In 2016, Mercer rated Vancouver as the top North American city for quality of living, and number five in the world. Vancouver is also ranked 3rd in the Economist’s Global Liveability Report out of 140 cities. These studies reflect B.C.’s high level of stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Other major cities in British Columbia, such as Victoria and Kelowna, have also developed as strong game development hubs, attracting international players such as Disney’s Club Penguin and GameHouse Canada.
- SUPPORTIVE GOVERNMENT
B.C.’s general corporate income tax rate is only 11%. When combined with the federal rate, businesses pay a combined rate of 26%. Enjoy the lowest provincial personal income taxes in Canada for individuals earning up to $125,000. Employer health care coverage for employees is optional and affordable. The #BCTech strategy is led by government with a targeted focus on talent, capital, and market access as the core pillars to continuing to grow the technology sector. The $100 million dollar BC Tech Fund, a venture capital fund-of-funds, was launched to invest in emerging technology companies in B.C. and support the development of a strong venture capital system.
- EXCEPTIONAL TALENT
B.C.’s large, flexible and educated workforce of 100,000+ across the broader tech ecosystem is well represented by young, diverse, and energetic talent. And although wages are rising, B.C. remains cost competitive.
- CREATING THE INTERACTIVE FUTURE British Columbia is home to one of the oldest video game clusters in North America, established in the early 1980s. Building on that strong foundation, today the province hosts a thriving game development industry full of large-scale game developers as well as indie game studios. British Columbia is also playing a major role in the development of virtual reality technology, with Vancouver and Seattle at the centre of the Pacific Northwest hub of VR development. British Columbia’s VR firms, including Microsoft, Cloudhead Games, and Archiact Interactive, are already looking beyond entertainment to create the future of computing, using VR and Mixed Reality to build practical tools to enhance education, health care, and other sectors.
- COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
-Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
-Skilled labour force
-High quality of life
-Strategic West Coast location
-Low corporate and personal income taxes
-Targeted tax incentives
- ENJOY STRONG INDUSTRY SUPPORT
British Columbia is committed to providing a competitive environment for the interactive digital design industry. Industry-led associations work hand- in-hand with government to provide a wide range of supports, including marketing events, forums for investors and producers, and award celebrations.
- DigiBC (The Digital Media and Wireless Association of BC) fosters community, networking, and partnerships in the digital media industry by providing members with market intelligence, first notice of business opportunities, and promotional support. DigiBC is a member-supported non-profit organization. Visit www.digibc.org
- Creative BC supports and stimulates the development of British Columbia’s creative industries including film, television, animation, digital, virtual reality, and conventional media. It is an independent organization established by the provincial government with the mandate to expand and diversify the film, television, and media sector in British Columbia. Visit www.creativebc.com
- BC Tech Association delivers programs that help technology companies collaborate, learn, and grow. BC Tech Association helps members attract top talent, connect with partners and investors, learn from experienced coaches, and advocate to nurture the creative ecosystem. Visit www.wearebctech.com
- VR/AR Association is an international organization with a Vancouver-based chapter, designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem. Visit www.thevrara.com
- VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) serves as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector. Visit www.viatec.ca
Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
999 Canada Place, Suite 730 Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, V6C 3E1
Phone: 604 775-2100
Fax: 604 775-2197
- THRIVING CREATIVE ECOSYSTEM
Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game... see more
Source: Business in Vancouver
Author: Tyler Orton
Victoria video gamers grapple with HR challenges amid growth
Vancouver Island’s smaller talent pool pushing some developers to recruit from outside video game sector
It’s been nine years since three University of Victoria (UVic) grads launched their first video game aimed at Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) users.
Viking Clan was monetized almost instantly and managed to gain 250,000 players within weeks of its launch, and by the end of its first year on the market, Kano/Apps CEO Tim Teh said the Victoria-based company was profitable after generating $1 million in revenue from the game.
“We try to create games that are built around communities that last for a really long time,” said Teh, who met his co-founders on their first day at UVic.
Kano/App’s latest game, Free Rider HD, is the fifth game the team has developed for iOS after expanding beyond Facebook games. The company recently moved into its second office after growing from the initial UVic trio to 25 developers.
Despite Kano/Apps’ significant growth, Vancouver Island-based video game developers still face talent recruitment challenges.
There are 5,500 full-time employees at 128 companies in B.C.’s video game industry, according to a 2015 Entertainment Software Association of Canada report.
Vancouver Island accounts for “roughly” 250 of the province’s developers, according to Eric Jordan, a DigiBC board member who also serves as CEO of Victoria-based Codename Entertainment.
The talent pool is significantly smaller, which makes recruitment from within the industry tricky.
But Jordan said the broader tech industry has usurped tourism as Victoria’s main economic driver.
BC Stats’ 2016 profile of the B.C. tech sector estimated the tech industry accounts for 20,000 jobs on Vancouver Island.
“Certainly there’s a love of video games in the broader tech community, so we can recruit people out of the broader tech industry,” said Jordan, whose company just released Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed game.
Codename Entertainment CEO Eric Jordan, left, says his company is recruiting from Vancouver Island’s broader tech industry | Submitted
Kano/Apps has been using the same tactic of recruiting from the broader tech industry already living on Vancouver Island.
“The rising cost of Vancouver definitely helps in terms of trying to drive talent Island-side,” Teh said, adding Kano/Apps also recently recruited a game designer from India.
Meanwhile, Jordan said flattening distribution channels – app stores, for example – has made it easier to develop and release games into the market anywhere in the world.
“And so that then combined with, ‘So if I don’t have to be in Vancouver, well, where would I like to be?’ You have studios in Victoria, of course, but then you’ve got some really interesting stuff happening up-Island, too.”
Jordan added that Vancouver Island developers like Cloudhead Games are in locations “that make Victoria look astronomically large.”
As for future growth, Jordan said gaming is acting as a “natural bridge” between the public at large and the tech sector.
“And the tech sector’s really growing so much here in Victoria, it’s been a real boon for video game companies.”
The increased interest provides an opportunity for Canada to harness some serious talent see more
Source: Times Colonist
U.S. tech workers more likely to job hunt in Canada, study shows
VANCOUVER — A new study shows U.S. technology sector workers are more likely than those in other industries to job hunt north of the border, and have increasingly been doing so after Donald Trump secured the presidency and assumed office.
"I think it's potentially a really big opportunity for Canada over the next couple of years," said Daniel Culbertson, an economist with Indeed, the job search site that produced the report.
The company's search data shows the average American looking for work on their site in a foreign country clicks on Canadian job listings for roughly 12 per cent of their total search.
For tech workers, the company says, that figure jumped to nearly 30 per cent for the six months ending May 2017. That's up about seven per cent from the same time last year.
The prospective employees gravitate to Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver and Montreal.
The only place they're looking more frequently is India, which netted nearly 40 per cent of clicks, said Culbertson. After Canada, there's "a pretty big drop off," he said, with almost eight per cent of clicks going to jobs in the U.K.
American tech workers' growing interest in Canada is significant, said Culbertson, and likely due to Canada's strong economy and America's controversial president causing some tech industry insiders to at least entertain a move to the Great White North.
Searches spiked near the U.S. presidential election Nov. 8 and Trump's inauguration Jan. 20, the company's data shows.
While that interest fades as time moves farther past those high-profile dates, Culbertson said the political drama out of the White House continues to stay in some job seekers' minds.
The increased interest provides an opportunity for Canada to harness some serious talent, he said, as the prospective employees are seeking jobs that require high skills, like senior software engineer, or specialized abilities, like cloud engineer.