Thursday May 30, 2019


Ground Breaking innovations

Top Up-and-Coming Canadian Entrepreneurs Recognized for Breakthrough Innovations in Food, Health, Aviation and Environment

Five up-and-coming Canadian researchers-turned-entrepreneurs, and one company, were recognized for their ground-breaking innovations that are strengthening Canada’s economy and improving the lives of Canadians: The awards, presented by Mitacs — a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia — celebrate start-up companies founded by outstanding former Mitacs interns, postdoctoral fellows and training participants, who have gone on to lead their respective fields as independent business owners.

Big City Mayors

Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors gather to advance nation-building agenda

City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, along with the Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) have been driving real progress nationwide – including modernizing the federal-municipal partnership and fiscal tools. As the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Annual Conference kicks off, mayors from the nation’s largest cities gather to discuss how to build better lives ahead of this year’s federal election.

High in ... taxes

New research suggests sugar taxes and labelling are effective

Taxes on sugary products and labels on the front of packages can help reduce sugar consumption, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

The study, which included more than 3,500 people aged 13 and over on their purchasing behaviour last spring, also found that taxes could have the greatest impact if 100 per cent fruit juice was included in reduction efforts. “Governments don’t need to wait to implement these policies; they’re already used in many other parts of the world and are successful in helping people make healthier food choices,” said Rachel Acton, a doctoral student in the School of Public Health & Health Systems. “Many people don’t realize that fruit juice can have just as much sugar, or more, as regular pop, and these types of drinks aren’t always included in a tax when evidence shows that maybe they should be.”

Global Education

We Can Overcome All Our Global Challenges if We are Willing to Build and Scale New Models for Lifelong Learning

by C.M. Rubin

The OECD’s Learning Compass 2030, launched today, urges nations to take action and reevaluate the knowledge, life skills, values and attitudes learners need to flourish and contribute to the well-being of their communities and their planet. Experts have argued that global education systems have not changed in hundreds of years and that a factory model no longer works. Whether we’re talking about the 265 million children currently out of school, the children in school but doing poorly or the children entering “quality” programs currently, what competencies needed to thrive and how learning systems develop them require reflection and reform.

Public Safety Messages

Local partners to test Alert Waterloo Region

Municipalities partner with app provider Everbridge Secure Messaging to distribute important safety messages to residents

The Region of Waterloo, local area municipalities and the Waterloo Regional Police Service will be running a test of Alert Waterloo Region (AlertWR) on June 3, 2019. AlertWR is a service that allows residents to receive important public safety messages in the event of large scale emergencies such as floods, severe weather, or significant power outages. Residents and businesses near an emergency can be informed using geo-mapping technology. Notifications can be delivered to home phones, mobile phones, text and email.


No change in policy rate, and BoC remains in neutral

The Bank of Canada left its policy rate unchanged at 1.75%. The consensus expectation was for no change; The Governing Council concluded that the current policy rate remained appropriate, and that future decisions are data dependent; The policy statement noted improved domestic data, as well as greater down-side risks from escalating global trade uncertainty - by David Watt

As expected, the Bank of Canada left its policy rate unchanged at 1.75%. The policy statement noted that recent domestic data releases have been consistent with the Bank's view that the slowdown in 2018 Q4 and 2019 Q1 is likely to be temporary. Positive developments include the surge in job creation in April (which was the largest one-month increase in employment), and the removal of US tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from Canada that will help improve the prospects that CUSMA (NAFTA's replacement) will be ratified. However, the statement also acknowledged that global trade risks have increased, and that trade friction between China and Canada is having a negative effect on exports.

Construction Survey

Waterloo Wellington and Dufferin Construction Workforce Insights 2019

In 2018, 74% of Construction businesses who participated in the survey in Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin had hard to fill positions. Learn what Construction businesses shared with the Workforce Planning Board in this year's EmployerOne Survey.

Canada's Competitiveness Slips

Singapore topples United States as world's most competitive economy

Singapore rises from 3rd to top spot, switching places with USA; Hong Kong remains 2nd, UAE enters top five for the first time; Canada slips 3 positions to 13th spot form 10th in 2018

Singapore has ranked as the world's most competitive economy for the first time since 2010, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, as the United States slipped from the top spot, while economic uncertainty took its toll on conditions in Europe. Singapore's rise to the top was driven by its advanced technological infrastructure, the availability of skilled labor, favorable immigration laws, and efficient ways to set up new businesses. Hong Kong SAR held on to second place, helped by a benign tax and business policy environment and access to business finance.

NSERC Funding

Laurier researchers receive $3.3 million from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Wilfrid Laurier University faculty members and graduate students have secured nearly $3.3 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support research in a broad range of scientific fields. In total, 20 Laurier faculty members will receive more than $3 million in NSERC funding over five years. Their research is also supported by the federal government’s Research Support Fund. Three Laurier master’s students will receive one year of funding while two doctoral students will receive three years of funding. “Laurier researchers have ambitious and bold ideas,” said Jeffery Jones, Laurier’s interim associate vice-president: research. “This funding for research in biology, chemistry, computer science, kinesiology, mathematics, physics and psychology will help established scholars break new ground and assist emerging researchers to develop into leaders in their field.”

Outlook Study

Trans people in Waterloo Region face high levels of discrimination, Laurier-community study shows

Trans people in Waterloo Region feel less safe in public places, face greater barriers to health care, experience higher rates of unemployment, have lower levels of family support and feel less like they belong to the community than their cisgender LGBQ counterparts. These are some of the findings of a wide-ranging study conducted by researchers at Wilfrid Laurier University and a coalition of community organizations. The OutLook Study is the first comprehensive study to analyze the needs of the LGBTQ+ community in Waterloo Region, and is one of the largest such studies in Canada. Data collected as part of the study were recently published in the fact sheet “Experiences of trans people in Waterloo Region,” which includes a list of recommendations to make health-care services more trans-inclusive and accessible.


Montreal Summit on Innovation: More than 300 people, including leading experts from the scientific community, contribute to a collective reflection on new ways of advancing science for the benefit of society

Co-organized by the Quartier de l'innovation de Montréal, the Fonds de recherche du Québec and Aligo Innovation, the Montreal Summit on Innovation (MSI), one of Montreal's most important research and innovation conferences, returned May 24th for an 8th edition on the site of the C2 Montréal conference. The MSI brought together more than 300 participants, experts and leaders in science and technology to rethink current research practices and reflect upon future challenges.

Clarity and Purpose

3 Ways To Head Off Employee Turnover – And Produce A Better Workforce

Sometimes a good salary isn’t enough

Companies that want to attract and keep the best talent are finding that – perhaps more than ever – they need to understand just what it is today’s employees want out of work and then find ways to provide that. While a great salary and good benefits are important, employees also desire such things as flexible schedules, a way to let their talents shine, and work that gives them a purpose, according to the 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer. And, with the unemployment rate so low, it’s easier for employees to find work elsewhere if they become discontented. That makes it even more important to keep them happy, since replacing employees can prove expensive.


Walmart Canada Unveils New, State-of-the-Art, "Urban Supercentre Concept"

New "Urban Supercentre Concept" in Toronto integrates eCommerce, third-party licensees, state-of-the-art technology, and an updated assortment into a new bricks-and-mortar store design and layout for urban markets

Walmart Canada unveiled its new "Urban Supercentre Concept" in Toronto, Ontario, allowing the retailer to better address the evolving needs of its current and future customers. Walmart has chosen its Toronto-Stockyards location to bring new "Fast Lane" checkout technology to the store and to fully integrate the My Walmart app to allow customers to scan their own products as they shop. Store associates – including new full- and part-time associates – work alongside state-of-the-art technology to help make shopping as easy and convenient as possible for customers. A second Supercentre Concept will launch in Thornhill next year and best practices will be used in future store renovations.

Monitor Micro Climates

Transport Genie Ltd. partners with Prodavi SA to test smart sensor technology on poultry trucks in Switzerland

Transport Genie captures real-time data to improve animal welfare during transport

Guelph agri-tech innovator Transport Genie Ltd. has teamed up with Prodavi SA, one of the largest integrated poultry companies in Switzerland, to conduct field trials using Transport Genie smart sensors on poultry transport trucks. Beginning in June 2019, Transport Genie sensors will be installed on Prodavi trucks used to haul day-old chicks from the company’s hatchery to its network of contract rearing farms across Switzerland. Transport Genie sensors monitor microclimate conditions inside poultry and livestock trailers and employ blockchain technology to store and share that information with truck drivers and other users along the supply chain. Transport Genie provides accurate real-time data to drivers who can then take immediate action to resolve any issues before they become a serious problem.

Participation Sought

Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion seeks participation from citizen volunteers

Fifteen citizen volunteers, with a passion for building a better and more caring Kitchener for everyone, are being sought to lend their voices to the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. These individual community members will join representatives from a diverse range of community organizations, City staff and Council members, to develop a strategy that identifies and addresses barriers to equity diversity and inclusion within the City of Kitchener.

Technology & Food

Food delivery apps bite into Canadian marketplace

User rates for food delivery apps are much higher west of Quebec, but the number of app users may peak over the next year, only to begin increasing again in 2022 due to more access and a larger demographic inclined to use apps - By Sylvain Charlebois

Food delivery apps are changing the Canadian restaurant landscape – and more changes are on the horizon, according to a recent survey. The user rate for food delivery apps reached record levels in May. A recent survey conducted by Angus Reid Global, in partnership with the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, suggests that 29 per cent of all Canadians have used a food delivery app at least once. Data was collected across Canada from May 17 to 19; 1,500 Canadians were surveyed. Findings suggest that food delivery apps are more popular west of Quebec than in Eastern Canada. Atlantic Canada and Quebec have the lowest use of the apps at 15 per cent.

Mitigating Risk

World Economic Forum Inaugurates Global Councils to Restore Trust in Technology

Six councils formed to design how emerging technology can be governed for the benefit of society; Top decision-makers and experts from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia participate in inaugural Global Fourth Industrial Revolution Council meeting in San Francisco; Leaders of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Dana-Farber, European Commission, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Uber, World Bank among chairs; Major global summit on technology governance announced, to take place in April 2020

To help policy-makers and businesses strike the right balance between enabling emerging technologies and proactively mitigating the social risks that can result, the World Economic Forum launched six Global Fourth Industrial Revolution Councils yesterday. Covering the most pressing technology areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, blockchain, drones, internet of things and precision medicine, global councils bring together more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia from around the world. Council members will work together to develop policy guidance and address “governance gaps” or the absence of well-defined rules for emerging technology. They met for the first time today at Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.


This bacteria eats plastic

Bacteria, bugs, germs — Morgan Vague loves to get in the dirt (literally) to explore solutions to pressing problems.

Humans produce 300 million tons of new plastic each year -- yet, despite our best efforts, less than 10 percent of it ends up being recycled. Is there a better way to deal with all this waste? Microbiologist Morgan Vague studies bacteria that, through some creative adaptations, have evolved the unexpected ability to eat plastic -- and could help us solve our growing pollution problem.

Union Changes

United Steelworkers Announces Changes in Leadership

International President Leo W. Gerard among four USW leaders announcing retirements.

The United Steelworkers (USW) union announced changes in its leadership as a result of a series of retirements, including USW International President Leo W. Gerard (right), Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson and Vice-Presidents Carol Landry and Jon Geenen. The union's International Executive Board (IEB) passed a resolution approving the plan and the transition, which will take place between now and mid-July when the changes become effective. "The decision to announce these changes together will ensure that a capable and experienced group of trade union leaders will hit the ground running as a team," said Gerard. "It will also pave the way so that the union continues to be on solid footing and that the transition is seamless and serves the best interest of our membership."

Growth Surge

Private Equity Deals Key to Scaling Up Small Firms, Economy

Private equity deals are key to fueling the growth of small firms, as well as the Canadian economy, according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Growth Surge: How Private Equity Can Scale Up Firms and the Economy,” Daniel Schwanen, Jeremy Kronick and Farah Omran examine the role of private equity as a stepping stone for growth by home-grown firms and recommend governments implement measures that can help firms grow, or gain a more solid footing, beyond the initial venture stage.

Investor Opportunity

How to spark innovation and growth in Canada's agri-food sector

Unless you intend to grow cannabis in a greenhouse, it’s close to impossible to get capital from investors. It’s time Canadian investors showed some patience - By Sylvain Charlebois

Agri-food is seen by many investors as a good space to park their money for the first time in a very long while, at least in the United States. Now we need to find a way to spark the same interest in Canada.

Uber, once hailed as the largest initial public offering (IPO) of the year, is now known as a Wall Street flop. The stock remains below its IPO price of US$45 (all prices in U.S. dollars) and many people have heaped fault on the bankers who believed Uber could be worth $120 billion. The stock is struggling to stay at US$40 a share. The market is telling us its real value.


June 2, 2019

Making Moments Matter…one step at a time

The annual Hike for Hospice takes place Sunday, June 2nd and is a major fundraiser for Lisaard House and Innisfree House, which are currently the only residential palliative care hospices in the Region. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the hike officially starts at 10:15 a.m. at the beautiful McLennan Park, 901 Ottawa Street, Kitchener. We will release 24 doves to honor those who passed away in 2019 and then have ‘The Piper in the Burg’ lead us on our hike.

June 7, 2019

June 12 & 13, 2019

Big Data and AI Toronto Returns for its Fourth Year

The annual two-day conference and expo is the largest event of its kind

The Big Data and AI Toronto Conference and Expo returns on June 12 and 13, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Over 5000 attendees will take advantage of an expanded exhibition floor and new conference tracks tailored to both Big Data and AI professionals. With over 150 expert speakers and 90 sponsoring brands, the conference will address today's leading topics in data science, analytics and machine learning.

June 15, 2019

Food Trucks are taking over DTK again in support of local youth!

Saturday June 15th The City of Kitchener’s Official Food Truck Festival 4pm to 11pm Proceeds directly support local youth in need of Mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region programming.

The region's tastiest food trucks are taking over 3 blocks of King Street between College Street and Ontario Street. Grab a bite and enjoy live music on every block, fun activities, and for the first time - an outdoor craft beer garden! Ready your bellies for King StrEATery! Taste the treats, hear the beats, play some games and have some drinks! All proceeds support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.

June 18, 2019

Women in Engineering STEM and Diversity

On behalf of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), we would like to invite you to attend the 17th annual Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Fall Forum entitled It’s Time We Build. This annual conference is the province’s most significant event for women in engineering and advocates for diversity and inclusion in STEM.

June 19, 2019

Phil Monture gives talk at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum in honour of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day

WATERLOO REGION: In anticipation of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which falls on June 21 each year, the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum is pleased to announce that Phil Monture, from Six Nations of the Grand River, is giving a talk called Understanding our Region and the Territorial Acknowledgement. The talk takes place at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Museum on Wednesday, June 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. and the event is free to this event.

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Copyright, 2019