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Dec 17, 2018

Automation Labor ForceBy Blake Marchand

When it comes to automation and its associated fields debate certainly remains as to its future direction, as well as the subsequent affects it will have on the workforce. However, there is consensus that education and cross-sector co-operation will be key factors to maximize that innovative potential.

Subsequently, talent is becoming a key factor in the decision making for manufacturers when it comes to choosing locations for manufacturing. From that perspective, if governments bolster their education related policy it can have a positive affect on their local markets, as well as the commercialization of new innovations. Similar to off-shoring trends that have taken place in the past, ‘next-shoring’ – when manufacturers locate operations relative to their access to skilled labour and innovative centres – will need to be observed by education and government stakeholders in order to fully realize the benefits automation presents.

The development of talent is crucial in positioning countries and regions to commercialize new technologies. Although, governments also need to facilitate the connection between the innovation taking place in universities and the businesses that will implement those technologies in the market. An example of this is the Easy Access IP Initiative, a global initiative launched by the UK in 2010. The initiative allows access to IP from participating universities for start-ups free of the typical legalities when it comes to licensing intellectual property and the associated costs. This encourages companies to commercialize innovative technologies, as well as universities to continue to develop those technologies once they have left the intellectual sector. Currently, The University of Ottawa and École de Technologie Supérieure are Canada’s only participating universities. Policies such as this will be necessary for Canada to facilitate a return on its R&D investments.

There are also independent organizations in Canada like TandemLaunch and TEC Edmonton that work with universities and entrepreneurs to develop tech start-ups. These organizations support entrepreneurs by facilitating access to markets, technology, talent, investment, as well as mentorship and operational support.

Currently, Canada is among world leaders when it comes to education, boasting several world class engineering programs. Although, according to the Centre for international Governance Innovation, Canadian Universities are ill-equipped to take these innovations to market themselves. Similarly, Professor Alan Manning of London School of Economics, says, “I don’t think you can just leave it to the market and believe it will deliver the right level of innovation,” (Automation Readiness Index, 7).

At this stage of automation’s progression, education remains a catalyst. As the Automation Readiness Index report issued by The Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by ABB suggests, no country is completely equipped to handle the next phase of automation. The countries that are the most equipped, like Germany, South Korea, and Singapore, have put emphasis on education and policies encouraging innovation. And that, in most cases, needs to be facilitated by government policy.

The University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia have been leading the way as Canada’s top schools for engineering, while also popping up on world rankings (U of T is ranked 29th by The World University Rankings, and UBC is ranked 62nd). U of T has 8,000 engineering students in graduate and undergraduate programs across eight core study areas, while also offering unique specializations at the graduate level including Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Systems Engineering. While UBC similarly offers 21 specializations within their Applied Sciences department. UBC has also established itself as a premier research university. The University of Western has an accelerated Masters program that allows students to complete graduate courses while obtaining their undergraduate degree, which allows students to obtain their Masters of Engineering in five years.

Canadian colleges like Fanshawe and Algonquin in Ontario, also offer courses in areas like electromechanical engineering. Canada has 54 institutions that offer Electrical Engineering programs, and 89 that offer Engineering programs.

Overall Canada ranks fifth on The Economist’s readiness index, which is in large part due to the leadership shown by its educational institutions. In particular, the provinces have adapted their “educational systems and teaching approaches to the demands posed by advanced technologies” (Automation Readiness Index).

Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta are leading the way for Canada when it comes to ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). As of 2017, Ontario is outpacing the rest of Canada by a considerable margin, contributing $34.8 billion to Canada’s total ICT output, while Quebec contributed $16.9 billion. Alberta and BC produced $9.1 billion and $9.7 billion, respectively (ICTC Digital Economy Annual Review 2017).

Although, despite their achievements, Karima Bawa of The Centre for International Governance Innovation explains, “Canadian universities fail to optimally leverage their research output to advance productization of innovation and hence economic outcomes.”

“This is, in part,” Bawa continues,” because in Canada, as in many other countries, there is an expectation that universities, the producers of the research, will advance innovation by starting up companies and by filing and licensing patents. There is evidence, however, that Canadian universities are not equipped to do this” (Centre for International Governance Innovation).

This appears to be the next step for Canada’s progression as an automation/ICT leader, developing policies that will bridge the gaps between research and application.

As technologies progress and the demand for skilled workers increases, Canada, and in particular Ontario, should be well situated to attract manufacturers looking to gain the geographical edge when it comes to talent acquisition. However, Canada and its provinces will have to continue to develop their educational policies and frameworks as automation and ICT continues to progress.       

Sources:

Bawa, Karima. 2017, April. After Failing to Commercialize, Universities Learn to Set Ideas Free. Centre for International Governance Innovation. https://www.cigionline.org/articles/after-failing-commercialize-universities-learn-set-ideas-free.

Digital Economy Annual Review 2017, The Information and Communications Council. https://www.ictc-ctic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ICTC-Annual-Review-2017-EN.pdf.

The Automation Readiness Index: Who is Ready for the Coming Wave of Automation?. The Economist Intelligence Unit Sponsored by ABB.

Jean-Pascal TricoireBy Jean-Pascal Tricoire

The challenges facing industry at the moment are tough: supply chain disruptions, recurring lockdowns and lingering travel restrictions, to name just a few. We’re all trying to find the balance between overcoming these challenges while working to a future where we are more resilient, sustainable and efficient.

But today’s efforts are not enough. We’re being too conservative. More of our collective energy needs to be spent on the practical “how” — the “how can we get there with immediate actions.” 

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RittalIt is April 1, 1961, when an international success story begins in a small weaving mill in central Hesse — the standardization of enclosures. Rudolf Loh founds the Rittal company and changes the industry with one idea. The standard enclosure is used in millions of product solutions in over 90% of all industries worldwide. Rittal is the innovation and world market leader for enclosure technology and IT infrastructure.

10,000 employees worldwide work on new innovations, industry solutions and business models. A small steel manufacturing company has become a global digital enterprise. 

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David GordonBy David Gordon

Electrical distributors are at a unique moment in time where they have an opportunity to leverage technology to utilize the data it can unleash to accelerate profitability and sales cost-effectively.

Being in an information age is only beneficial if the information is utilized. Enhanced sales models, sales opportunities and servicing systems are combining to help differentiate distributors. Aside from a distribution divide being created by digital and supplier selection, analytics can either widen or tighten the divide.

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GDP - January 2021Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.7% in January, following 0.1% growth in December. This ninth consecutive monthly increase continued to offset the steepest drops on record in Canadian economic activity observed in March and April 2020. However, total economic activity was about 3% below the February level before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both goods-producing (+1.5%) and services-producing (+0.4%) industries were up in January as the 20 industrial sectors were nearly evenly split between expansions and contractions.

 

 

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Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

April has been a flagship month for new milestones: it has been one full year since many of us began working from home; Zoom and other such virtual platforms have been in play for a year to keep us connected – and the reliance on digital systems has heightened over the past year to populate the influx of online catalogues and eCommerce sites.

April also marks one year since I took over the reins of EFC’s Supply Chain Network to support the electrical industry’s digital transformation journey. 

 

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Changing Scene

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Leviton

The Atlantic & Ontario YPN regions have joined forces to present YPNs with this professional development webinar. 

Date : May 5, 2021
Time : 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm EST
Location Zoom meeting
Cost : $20 (plus taxes)

More than ever, interpersonal relationships are a crucial factor in the success or the failure of an organization but also in the fulfillment of its individuals. Far away from being an easy competence to develop, soft skills might be the determining factor that will make the difference in your professional career. This webinar will give you tools to help boost your motivation and your performance in order to reach your goals, both professionally and personally.

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Bogdan BotoiE.B. Horsman & Son has transferred Bogdan Botoi from his PAC BC Manager position to lead EBH’s newly formed Industrial Services Group (ISG) as Manager.

With his vast knowledge and experience from the PAC world and his engineering background, Bogdan will lead the ISG team in continuing to provide value-added services such as proof of concept design support, MCP design, training, and other technical services and support for our customers.

 

 

 

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Canada's International Investment Position, Fourth Quarter 2020Despite ongoing current account deficits and the corresponding need for foreign borrowing, Canada's net foreign asset position continued its upward trend in the fourth quarter to reach an unprecedented level of $1,360.6 billion. For a third consecutive quarter, the increase (+$248.1 billion) was attributable to higher foreign equity prices and was moderated by the revaluation effect resulting from fluctuations in exchange rates.

Over the quarter, changes in market prices led to a $345.3 billion increase in Canada's net foreign asset position. Major foreign stock markets outperformed the Canadian stock market in the fourth quarter. 

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VerozzaUnderstanding the challenges of time-sensitive job situations, VEROZZA has introduced a Quick Ship Program for their most popular high-performance downlight collections. The program includes the ARIOBASIC and TAKEO 4.0, products, which will ship within 5-business days of receipt of order.

The process of selecting the correct fixture is easy. Select a housing and trim that include a few customized features to create the fixture Product Code. Orders can be placed at orders@verozza.com or by phone at 833.VEROZZA.

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BridgeportBridgeport Fittings’ patented Mighty-Align® Steel Slip EMT Couplings eliminate the need for additional components when installing Prefab EMT racks. The couplings can also be used to join two lengths of conduit in tight, limited space applications.

Bridgeport Fittings’ center set screw feature provides the UL-required conduit stop while a convenient sight window allows for visual inspection of proper assembly. The steel slip couplings’ ability to back out the center screw allows the coupling to be temporarily placed on one conduit end while the other conduit is moved into position. The slip coupling can then be slid into place, joining both conduits.

 

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Peers & Profiles

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As of February 2021, Martin Stephenson is the new President and CEO of Signify Canada. Given that ...
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David NathanielBy Line Goyette

Six years ago in February 2015, I interviewed David Nathaniel and called the profile I wrote “A Talent for Being There at the Right Time.” We met again this past February, this time virtually (without a cup of his wonderful expresso coffee). What follows is a summary of our conversation — “A Talent for Still Being There at the Right Time — Part 2.”

My first question to David was, what has happened in those six years? “Everything,” he said, and he started to laugh. “Obviously, we faced a lot of disruption from LED technology. 

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Rob DewarBy Line Goyette

Rob Dewar is President of AD Canada as of this past January, when AD announced it had made the strategic decision to establish AD Canada as a distinct business unit, serving the more than 150 members of its three Canada-based divisions. I recently had the chance to virtually meet Rob. I met a passionate leader about his new challenges.

“There are many projects in progress and specific to the Canadian industry and industry players. Interesting initiatives for the fall of 2021 will be announced shortly”. As Rob Dewar confirmed...

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