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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.

Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

The electrical market is at the helm of innovation — from robotics and automation products that support advanced manufacturing to smart technology in homes and businesses, our industry leads innovation and competitiveness in Canada.

With advanced electrical and automation products shaping how we work, live and play, our industry is continually at the forefront of designing technologies that meet the needs of Canadians today.

 

 

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Merertu Mogga FrissaBy Merertu Mogga Frissa

Someone once asked me why we struggle with diversity and inclusion in Canada. My response was that we have never taken the time to discuss the value of both as a society. While Canada identifies itself as a multicultural country, the diverse make-up of the population itself is made to exist in a vacuum and outside of what multiculturalism seeks to achieve.

This oversight forces the discussion about racism to exist within the limits of communities impacted by it while completely removing it from conversations at social and institutional levels.

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Business Openings - March 2021In March 2021, the number of business openings increased by 1.6%, as public health restrictions were less restrictive in many provinces compared with earlier in the year. After rising steadily over the previous three months, the number of business closures edged down 0.7% in March. The number of active businesses in March was 1.3% below the level observed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decrease in business closures from February to March 2021 was relatively widespread across provinces and territories, with the exception of Yukon, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, where closures increased slightly.

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Catalyst For ChangeBy John Kerr

At this time of year my colleagues and I here at Kerrwil are in the final throes of producing Pathfinder, the annual benchmarking report we publish in collaboration with Electro-Federation Canada (EFC).

After reviewing the changes and the recent acquisitions and moves of the past year through the lens of COVID, I share below some notes on milestones of the past year. They provide context for what I see as a new direction the industry may be taking.

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David GordonBy David Gordon

As we transition from the pandemic many wonder about the future of sales, meaning, “What will the sales process (sales model) look like in the future,” and, essentially, “What is the role of / for outside salespeople?”

In reality, this question was asked pre-pandemic as management lamented that Sales wasn’t being as productive as they desired. Companies are always seeking to improve their processes, whether it is having salespeople better penetrate accounts, identify and call on new customers, use a different (new?) sales method...
 

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Changing Scene

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AD Spring Network Meeting  AD’s electrical team hosted the 2021 Virtual AD Spring Network Meeting April 21-22, welcoming over 300 member attendees from U.S., Canada and Mexico.

While the meeting itself took place over two days, AD hosted weekly strategic supplier webinars for several weeks leading up to the meeting, where AD members heard updates from supplier partners on market conditions, plans to win with AD and opportunities available in areas like training, unique products and AD program participation and engagement.

 

 

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Arkadiusz TuroczyArkadiusz Turoczy has joined ECS Electrical Cable Supply Ltd. as the company’s ECS team as Regional Manager of the Quebec region, reporting to Rick Vascotto, Executive Vice-President Sales, Eastern Canada.

Arkadiusz will be responsible for leading the sales organization in the Quebec region, working closely with Marie-Claude Marois and Rick Vascotto, to continue growing market share in the Quebec region and building business. Arkadiusz has industry experience working with Future Electronics as a sales manager and most recently as an international account manager. He will be located at his home office in Montreal.

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ABB RailWith passengers' safety, reliability and sustainability at the forefront, ABB delivered its traction power substation, the electrical heart of the Finch West LRT in northwest Toronto.

In collaboration with CYMI, a Grupo ACS company specializing in rail electrification systems, ABB successfully installed the traction power substation of the Finch West Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. After achieving this important milestone, ABB is on track to deliver the balance of the traction power substations that will ensure continued support for the new LRT line in 2023.

 

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EFCRegister today for this whole new virtual experience, featuring dynamic speakers, sought-after keynotes, concurrent learning tracks, expanded programming and more.

Learn from a dynamic group of speakers about change management strategies and execution, risk management and forecasting, and diversity and inclusion practices.

 

 

 

 

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Peers & Profiles

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Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ...
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Brett NicholdsBy Blake Marchand

Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ceiling troffer LED fixtures that utilize optical film technology to achieve a high level of performance and efficiency.

Their flagship product is the EcoWing, which is available for new construction and fixture in fixture retrofits. Their primary application target is office buildings, hospitals, and dealerships. Recent projects include the Department of National Defense building in Ottawa, AMPED Sports Lab, Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Surgenor Automotive Group.

 

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Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

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