Statistics Canada predicts economy preparing to roar

Upward Trend
Good news on the economic front: 2010 is going to be a year of good fortune and wealth according to the Chinese five elements astrology calendar. Yes, it’s the year of the Tiger – and latest GDP results from Statistics Canada indicate that the economy is preparing to roar. Following a steep decline early in 2009, Canada’s real gross domestic product advanced 0.4 per cent in November, a third consecutive monthly increase. As was the case in September and October, most major industrial sectors increased their production. The goods-producing industries (+0.6 per cent) grew for a third month in a row, while the services industries increased 0.4 per cent. Mining and oil and gas extraction, and wholesale trade accounted for about 60 per cent of the overall growth. Several other sectors also recorded increases, such as finance and insurance, construction and the public sector (education, health and public administration combined). Conversely, retail trade and utilities declined in November, while the manufacturing sector remained unchanged.

PEI Software Company Changes Hands

DeltaWare, one of the most well-known and highly decorated software companies in Atlantic Canada, has been bought out by MAXIMUS (NYSE: MMS). According to DeltaWare founder Ed Lawlor, the change in ownership won’t adversely affect jobs in the firm’s Charlottetown’s office. “DeltaWare will remain a Canadian, Prince Edward Island-based company. All jobs will remain in PEI, (the) staff complement will continue to grow and existing management will stay in place for the long term,” the company reported on cbc.ca.

DeltaWare, formed in 1992, specializes in custom software solutions for the healthcare industry. The firm has approximately 90 employees and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Employers in Canada. In November 2009, DeltaWare was honoured with a Corporate Citizenship Award during the Canadian Health Informatics Awards and CEO Ed Lawlor was named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs in 2002 by Atlantic Business Magazine. MAXIMUS, based in Reston, Virginia, has more than 6,500 employees located in more than 220 offices in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Israel. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Secure Data Centre opens in Halifax

Halifax-based telecom firm Internetworking Atlantic Inc. (IAI) has expanded its service offering with the opening of a Tier III Data Centre. IAI is a privately owned company that operates over 600 kilometres of fibre-optic infrastructure servicing business, institutional and government customers throughout the region.  Specializing in the provision of high-bandwidth fibre-optic telecommunications services, the 1,800 sq. ft. Data Centre will provide high security hosting services.

Since 2002, IAI’s fibre-optic networks have provided critical, high speed, fibre-optic interconnect services for customers such as the IWK Health Centre, Capital Health, HRM, the Halifax Port Authority and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. The company’s entry into the Data Centre sector represents a natural progression of IAI’s fibre-optic telecom and IT service offerings.

President Bruce MacDougall commented on the company’s expansion, “The new facility is designed to provide high quality IT hosting services to enterprise, government and medium size businesses.”  MacDougall added that, “this, combined with IAI’s extensive fibre-optic network in HRM, will provide a secure, carrier neutral facility for hosting client computer servers, data storage operations, and telecommunications equipment”.

What’s in a Name?

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce is hoping its city council will soon start using what the Chamber calls the municipality’s real name – Halifax, not HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality). “If you ask someone in Toronto or Vancouver what the capital city of Nova Scotia is, they don’t say HRM, they say Halifax,” said Chamber president Valerie Payn in a published release. “Encouraging everyone to use the city name of Halifax will bring together our business community and create a more united city front within the rest of Canada and on the international stage.” A Chamber-conducted survey in 2007 found that 68 per cent of respondents refer to the city as Halifax, not HRM. Council is reportedly considering the issue.

Lawyer joins Marine Stewardship Council

McInnes Cooper counsel Wylie Spicer, Q.C. is one of three new appointees, and the only Canadian, named as Independent Adjudicators of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Based in London, UK, the MSC is the world’s leading non-profit organization set up by the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever to promote solutions to the problem of overfishing. As an Independent Adjudicator, Spicer will ensure specific concerns on the fishery certification meet the expected principles and criteria of the MSC standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.

“Living in Nova Scotia and having extensively practiced maritime law, I understand the importance of fisheries and the marine industry in our province,” said Spicer. “It’s an honour to be appointed to a position that works to ensure the sustainability of fisheries on a global scale.”

Spicer is recognized in many publications as a Leading Practitioner in Maritime Law in Canada and has advised clients on all aspects of the Canadian off-shore industry, both East Coast and Arctic, for over 25 years. Along with his appointment to the MSC, Spicer has recently been elected to the Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia (OTANS) board of directors.

Retailer wraps up national award

Sandra Avery, owner of specialty gift store A Special Touch in St. John’s, has been named 2009 Canadian Retailer of the Year by the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association. It is the first time the award, considered the highest retail honour in the country, has been won by a Newfoundlander. She is the only Atlantic Canadian among this year’s award winners.

Each year, a panel of judges analyzes each Retailer of the Year entry on criteria vital to retail success, including visual merchandising and store design, business achievements, advertising and public relations, community involvement, innovation and originality. The judges’ review is followed by a visit from a secret shopper. “A Special Touch perfectly exemplifies what the CGTA Retailer of the Year award stands for,” says Margo Warren, special events manager for the CGTA Gift Show. “Not only is the store visually stunning with a strategic and compelling product mix, but Sandra Avery’s commitment to supporting her community and her demonstrated business acumen make her a role model for retailers across the country.”

Avery uses her 2,200 square foot store as a “stage” to showcase her product arrangements. Two large display windows, spanning 43 feet across, mark the entrance to the store. The windows’ deep display spaces are frequently updated with seasonal and thematic vignettes that entice shoppers to enter, where a complement of 13 sales staff work to provide a unique shopping experience amid a setting of warmth, colour and charm. The customer database shows the store attracts repeat visitors from all over the globe, in addition to a large and loyal local clientele.

In the Running

The Bay of Fundy is one of 28 remaining entries, and the only remaining Canadian entry, vying for inclusion in The New 7 Wonders of Nature. The international contest started in 2007 with 440 entries from over 220 countries. The winners will be declared in 2011, following a global vote (new7wonders.com).

The Bay of Fundy is a 270 km (170 mile) long ocean bay that stretches between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is best known for the highest tides in the world and has been compared, in marine biodiversity, to the Amazon Rainforest. The Bay is the summer feeding area for half the world’s population of endangered North Atlantic Right whales and 12 other whale species. It is home to the world’s most complete fossil record of the “Coal Age” (300-million years ago) as well as Canada’s oldest dinosaurs. The Bay of Fundy is home to two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (Bay of Fundy & Southwest Nova) as well as the Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is investing $45,000 in a marketing campaign to support the Bay of Fundy’s bid to make the final list. The campaign is also funded by New Brunswick Tourism & Parks, Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture & Heritage, as well as tourism business operators from throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Other international finalists include the Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos, and the Amazon Rainforest. The contest is being organized by The New7Wonders Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Switzerland.

Attracting migrants

According to the Conference Board of Canada’s report City Magnets II: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of 50 Canadian Cities, only six Canadian cities have the attributes migrants are looking for when they’re choosing where to locate – and the oldest city of North America is one of them. “St. John’s has achieved a strong productivity level that even surpasses that of Calgary and Edmonton. It is also a stellar performer in health and environment categories,” said the report.

The 50 cities included in the study were ranked on their performance on 41 indicators grouped across seven categories: society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation, and housing. The challenge in determining overall attractiveness is that when individuals are choosing a new city, they value attributes of city living differently. Weights were computed for each of the seven categories. For migrants with a university degree, the Education category matters the most (21 per cent) in the decision to locate, followed by Society (20 per cent), Innovation (19 per cent) and Economy (13 per cent). Migrants without a university education consider, in an overwhelming fashion, that the Economy category matters the most (33 per cent) and followed by Society (20 per cent).

“In deciding where to live, university-educated migrants prefer cities with higher Education and Society outcomes. Migrants without a university education place more value on a city’s economic strength,” said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. “However, the study shows that a city that is attractive to a certain type of migrant ends up being attractive to all, so policy makers must be cautious in crafting policies aimed at attracting university graduates only.”

City Attractiveness to Migrants
City All Migrants Grade University Educated Migrants Grade Non-university Educated Migrants Grade
Calgary A A A
Waterloo A A A
Ottawa A A A
Richmond Hill A A A
Waterloo A A A
Vancouver A A A
St. John’s A A A
Edmonton B B A
Victoria B B B
Markham B B B
Vaughan B B B
Kingston B B B
Oakville B B B
Guelph B B B
Toronto B B B
London B B B
Halifax B B B
Lévis B B B
Regina B C B
Québec City B B B
Burlington B B B
Sherbrooke C C C
Winnipeg C C C
Gatineau C C C
Missauga C B C
Richmond C C C
Kitchener C C C
Burnaby C C C
Coquitlam C C C
Barrie C D C
Saskatoon C C C
Moncton C C C
Abbotsford C C C
Brampton C D C
Kelowna C D C
Montréal C C C
Thunder Bay C C C
Peterborough C C C
Surrey C D C
St. Catharine’s C C C
Sudbury C C C
Hamilton C C C
Cambridge D D C
Laval D D D
Trois-Rivières D D D
Windsor D D D
Brantford D D D
Saguenay D D D
Longueuil D D D
Saint John D D D
Oshawa D D D

Source: The Conference Board of Canada.

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