Thursday January 9, 2020



Canadian Space Technology Startup SkyWatch Raises $7.5M USD ($10M CAD) to Make Satellite Data Easily Accessible

SkyWatch has completed a $7.5M USD Series A round of financing to provide companies with affordable and reliable access to satellite data.

SkyWatch Space Applications Inc., a Waterloo-based space technology startup, announced it has completed a $7.5M USD ($10M CAD) Series A round of financing to provide companies with affordable and reliable access to satellite data. Bullpen Capital led the investment round with participation from existing investors, Space Capital, Golden Ventures, Techstars Ventures, SK Ventures, and Angel Round Capital, and new investors BDC Industrial, Clean, and Energy Technology Venture Fund. The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for SkyWatch, which saw its roster of clients grow more than 10x, highlighting the appetite for Earth Observation data from the private sector. The market for Earth Observation satellite data and services is projected to represent a $56B cumulative revenue opportunity over the next 10 years, growing to $7.2B annually in 2028 (source: NSR). Arguably, the largest hurdle in achieving this potential is reaching new, non-traditional customers in the private sector.


Meta Growth Announces Kitchener Retail Store with Ontario Cannabis Lottery Winner

National Access Cannabis Corp., today announced that it has entered into an agreement (the "Agreement") with Patricia Gertrude Donnelly, one of the winners of the Ontario cannabis store lottery, relating to a new Kitchener cannabis retail location. META anticipates that this will be the first legal cannabis store to open in Kitchener, Ontario. The winner submitted 589 Fairway Road South in Kitchener as the store location. Pending regulatory approval by the AGCO, and pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, the retail location will be independently owned and operated by the winner, with Meta Growth acting as a consulting partner and service provider, for a 5-year term, to support the store's operations. "The Kitchener store is an opportunity to introduce the city's cannabis consumers to the new Meta Cannabis Co. brand," said Mark Goliger, CEO of Meta Growth (photo). "With our first to market advantage in the region, combined with our newly announced Toronto META location, we have a solid foundation for a successful rollout of META stores across the province."

Funds Available

Social Purpose Organizations - Grow Your Positive Impact

Applications are now open for local Social Purpose Organizations to grow their positive impact in Waterloo Region, Guelph, Centre Wellington, Stratford, Perth South, and Woodstock through social enterprise

Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) is offering eligible organizations that are working to do more good in Waterloo Region, Guelph, Centre Wellington, Stratford, Perth South, and Woodstock the opportunity to access non-repayable capital through the Investment Readiness Program. This is part of a national initiative led by Community Foundations of Canada and funded by the Government of Canada that will provide $50 million across Canada to seed and grow social enterprise. The Investment Readiness Program is open to a diverse range of organizations and businesses including charities, non-profits, co-ops and for-profit social enterprises. The program can provide $10,000 to $100,000 in non-repayable capital to design, plan, measure, and scale social enterprises in order to get ready to accept investment.


Catholic Board Announces Long-Term Lease Extension for Downtown Kitchener St. Louis Adult Learning & Continuing Education Centre Campus

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board announced plans to maintain its St. Louis Adult Learning & Continuing Education Centres campus at 80 Young Street in downtown Kitchener, potentially until 2035. The opportunity to remain at the very heart of the Waterloo Region community comes as a result of a new lease agreement with the Catholic religious order, the Congregation of the Resurrection (CR) — which has owned the site for more than 150 years. The school board’s current 25-year lease with the CRs was set to expire in 2020. St. Louis has operated at the site since 2002. Catholic educational institutions (most notably the former St. Jerome’s High School) have existed there since 1866.


Equitable Life of Canada begins 100th Anniversary Celebrations!

Equitable Life of Canada is turning 100 this year, and we’re kicking off a year of exciting centennial celebrations with our employees, partners, clients and communities! Equitable Life began operations November 19, 1920, as the Ontario Equitable Life and Accident Insurance Company in a rented, two-room office on King Street in Waterloo, Ontario. Founder Sydney Tweed used a rented typewriter and purchased $150 worth of furniture for the space that he shared with a clerk. Over the last 100 years, through significant historic and financial challenges – two World Wars, the Great Depression, economic crises in the 80s and 90s, regulatory challenges and significant growth and expansion in the face of stiff industry competition – Equitable Life of Canada has become one of Canada’s largest and most financially stable mutual companies. With more than 750 employees and a network of 10,000 independent producers across Canada, our head office is still in Waterloo – just 1.5 kilometres from where we started.


Guelph Young Professionals Network Becomes Committee of Guelph Chamber of Commerce

The Guelph Chamber of Commerce announced that the Guelph Young Professionals Network (YPN) will now be housed as a working committee under the organization. The Guelph Chamber is also thrilled to announce that RLB LLP, a local and leading-edge accounting firm is set to be the official YPN sponsor. The Guelph YPN has been an active non-profit in the community for several years, and is known for monthly networking events that invite young professionals, students and entrepreneurs together to expand their networks and get plugged into the local business community.


BPA Replacement Hinders Heart Function, U of G Study Reveals

BPA’s counterpart replacement BPS can hinder heart function within minutes of a single exposure, according to a new University of Guelph study. The study is the first to show the instant effects bisphenol S (BPS) can have on the heart. “We expected to find similar effects from BPS as we have with BPA, but not at the speed that it worked,” said biomedical sciences professor Glen Pyle (photo), who conducted the study with former master’s student Melissa Ferguson. “This replacement chemical seems to be more potent.” Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in plastic products, was banned from baby bottles in Canada in 2010 over concerns that it may leach into foods and cause hormone-related side effects. More manufacturers are now using BPS as a replacement in their products and labelling them as BPA-free. When mice were given bisphenol BPA or BPS in amounts that mimicked typical human levels, their heart function worsened, especially in females, within minutes of exposure.


Marketing student earns first place win at case competition

First-year Business Administration - Marketing (co-op) student Kara Fleiszig placed first in the fashion and retail management stream at a recent DECA Edge case competition held at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. She was just one of two college students participating in the event. DECA is an internationally renowned non-profit organization with more than 200,000 members that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools, universities and colleges around the globe. Fleiszig discovered DECA in grade 11 when one of her business teachers suggested she join her high school chapter. She was hooked after the first practice and found herself loving activities like “Throw me a pitch” where she had to pull a random product, target market and price and then develop a pitch on the spot.


Survey Reveals Job Search Trends in Canada for 2020

Promoting an online portfolio or personal website is the top way candidates can get a leg up on the competition, Using cartoons and excessive colour on application materials are the biggest turnoffs for employers; Most senior managers find cover letters very valuable

How can professionals stand out from the crowd and score a job this year? According to a new survey, senior managers in Canada are most impressed when candidates provide access to an online portfolio or personal website (43 per cent), highlight accomplishments in an infographic (39 per cent) and add personal details unrelated to the position (e.g., hobbies) on their resume (39 per cent). The tactics that hurt workers' chances most are including cartoon images like Bitmojis or caricatures (42 per cent) and using colourful fonts or backgrounds (23 per cent) on application materials.

High Impact

Overwhelming Public Support for Ban on Fishing for Endangered Species, Poll Finds

New global survey shows three out of four adults say we should ban fishing of endangered species (77%) and stop government fisheries subsidies that lead to overfishing and illegal fishing (73%); It comes as World Trade Organization members face pressure in 2020 to end fisheries subsidies that deplete fish stocks and threaten food security for millions of people; Among G20 countries surveyed: support is high for a subsidy ban in Argentina (81%), Mexico (82%) and China (79%); and lower in India (66%), Japan (48%) and Saudi Arabia (65%); Over $2.5 million per hour – $22.2 billion a year – of public money was spent on harmful fisheries subsidies last year.

Geneva – More than seven in 10 adults who regularly buy seafood (77% worldwide) support a ban on the fishing of endangered species, according to a new survey commissioned by the World Economic Forum and conducted by Ipsos Group. Consumer support for policies to curb overfishing is also widespread: 73% agree with a ban on government subsidies to fisheries that contribute to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal fishing – a key target of the Sustainable Development Goals. More than seven in 10 adults also support a ban on selling endangered species of fish in shops and restaurants.


Canadians can expect a vibrant spring real estate market, with home prices rising modestly

Royal LePage recommends a regional approach to mortgage stress test if federal government goes ahead with changes in 2020; Greater Toronto Area home prices heat up as demand outstrips supply; Greater Montreal Area sees strongest appreciation rate in almost a decade; 2.1% Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge $545,906

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released today, the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada increased 2.2 per cent year-over-year to $648,544 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Similar to the third quarter, potential buyers are continuing to come back to the real estate market. In the first half of 2019, buyers had remained largely at the sidelines waiting to gauge the potential impact of the federal mortgage stress test. "We have successfully navigated the first significant national housing market correction since the Great Recession a decade ago," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. "While the drop in the number of properties bought and sold during the 2018-19 downturn was large, the value of homes in Canada held up remarkably well, with only minor, single-digit declines in the areas of Ontario and B.C. that had experienced the most aggressive price inflation in recent years, and of course those regions still suffering from a downturn in the oil and gas sector. "The federal government has signaled that changes could come to the mortgage stress test mechanism in 2020," said Soper. "The stress test pushed people out of real estate markets across Canada temporarily. For the most part, buyers have adjusted, yet it still represents a significant hurdle as families pursue the dream of owning their own home."

By Comparison

An Exceptional End to the Year in the Montreal CMA With the Most Active Month of December on Record

The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) has just released its most recent residential real estate market statistics for the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), based on the real estate brokers’ Centris provincial database. In total, 3,533 residential sales were concluded in December 2019, a 26 per cent increase compared to December of last year. "Montreal's residential real estate market had an exceptional year in 2019. Momentum continued into December as sales jumped by 26 per cent, thereby suggesting there will be a dynamic start to the year 2020," said Julie Saucier, president and chief executive officer of the QPAREB. “The real issue is the constant and widespread drop in active listings in all sectors of the city, which further accentuates the already significant pressure on prices," she added.


Competition Intensifies as Earth Observation Market Evolves

Cheaper imagery empowering multiple ambitious startups to deliver next-generation intelligence to new customer groups, finds Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis, Global Earth Observation Market, reveals that heightened demand for enhanced intelligence, entry of cheaper imagery products from small-satellite operators and the development of integration platforms leveraging artificial intelligence and big-data capabilities are key trends transforming the earth observation industry. While surveillance and analytics solutions are being derived from massive data mines delivering diverse solutions across markets, multiple start-ups are poised to deliver specialized intelligence-as-a-service to diverse customer groups such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities and governments. "New geospatial solutions covering diverse data sets are set to enter the market, bringing in fresh competition along with new customer groups and business models," said Arun Kumar Sampathkumar, Senior Research Analyst, Space, Frost & Sullivan. "Pay-per-image pricing and subscription-based business models will rise as the burden of data storage, distribution, and processing will be upheld by solution providers."


Accenture Announces C$1.1 Million Grant to ACCES Employment in Ongoing Commitment to Help Canadian Job Seekers

ACCES will use grant to develop an AI-powered bot to enable the organization to help more job seekers and deliver more customized services

Accenture has made a cash and in-kind services grant of more than C$1.1 million to ACCES Employment, a Canadian non-profit that helps connect employers with thousands of qualified workers from diverse backgrounds each year. ACCES will use the grant to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot to improve services for job seekers, many of whom are newcomers to Canada. The digital solution will help skilled newcomers secure jobs that align with their training and experience. Although nearly 300,000 people immigrate to Canada every year, only about 24% of foreign-educated immigrants find work in their professions, according to Statistics Canada.


Potential GRT service disruptions

Discussions are continuing between the Region of Waterloo and UNIFOR, Local 4304, representing workers employed by Grand River Transit and MobilityPLUS. The Union will legally be in a position to strike as early as 12:01 a.m., on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Should there be a strike, conventional bus, Bus Plus and MobilityPLUS services will be disrupted. ION train service will continue to operate.


January 31, 2020

Alone in the world?

Economic Outlook with Larry Smith

A discussion of how the current assault on the structure of post-war trading arrangements by the U.S. and China challenges Canada, a highly trade-dependent economy. Adding to this stress is the effect of global tech companies whose IP and acquisition strategies limit Canada’s ability to grow its own tech enterprises. Event held at the Tannery Event Centre, 151 Charles St W, Kitchener Registration and More Information

February 19, 2020

Picklers Unite! St. Mary’s Pickleball Cardiac Classic aims to perk your pulse this Heart Month

The Waterloo Pickleball Club will host players of all skill levels in a fun & friendly tournament supporting St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre February 19th – 21st, 2020, on the courts at RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex. “Playing Pickleball provides a boost to the entire cardiovascular system, which helps to lower blood pressure and prevent stroke or heart attack. As well, the smaller court format of pickleball gives you a good aerobic workout without much stress and strain on joints and muscles, which can be a concern with other racquet sports.” Endorses Dr. Matt Chamberlain, Medical Director of St. Mary’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

February 20, 2020

Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce 2020 Business Excellence Awards Nominees!

The Business Excellence Awards Gala is a celebration that recognizes Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber members who have made exceptional contributions through their involvement and leadership in the community. AND THE NOMINEES ARE...

March 26, 2020

St. Mary's She Shares

Personal finance expert, Kelly Keehn will share wisdom related to the unique financial journey of women at St. Mary’s She Shares luncheon. By 2024, three generations of women in Canada are destined to control an estimated $3 trillion or 46% of personal wealth, are they ready? On March 26th, better equip yourself with a solid financial foundation, now, and in the future. Join women from across Waterloo Region for a luncheon with speaker Kelley Keehn, Canadian finance educator, award-winning author, and consumer advocate for the financial planning standards council. Learn more and get tickets at

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