AgTech Innovators of the Year – Canada

LABORA Workers

While to many the agricultural industry is one stuck firmly in the past, the hard work of organizations like LABORA have gone a long way to modernizing the sector. Recognized for their efforts in New World Report’s Agriculture and Farming Awards 2021, we thought it time to take a look at this team of AgTech innovators to see just what they’ve done to achieve their justified accolades.

 

Farm owners have often struggled with finding ways of paying their agricultural workers, with many working unusual hours and the administrative workload continuing to rise. The AgTech platform designed by LABORA makes the process easier for all, simplifying the process significantly.

 

LABORA offers a better way forward for owners and workers alike, providing online payroll services to farm owners and workers to keep their information up to date, and assisting in the filing of tax returns for those who need to. Temporary farm workers can send and track their remittance money at discounted fees and exchange rates if required. In short, this is a product designed specifically for the way the labor market works in the agricultural industry.

 

For those who come seasonally into the agricultural industry, it is historically incredibly hard to gain any benefits. One of the core motivations behind the design of LABORA was the improvement of financial conditions for temporary foreign workers. This is why the team’s solution provides access to banking and financial services, which allows them to build not only a credit history, but a way of accessing loans back home. This allows them to do their own agricultural activities in their own countries of origin.

 

One of the aspects that sets LABORA apart is the way in which it is a B2B service as opposed to B2C. B2C offers individual cash transfers with capped amounts, high fees and low exchange rates, but B2B provides workers with more favourable exchange rates that they otherwise do not have access to. This is only possible before LABORA is providing these services specifically to farm owners, on behalf of their temporary foreign workers. The benefits of using LABORA are clear to anyone who looks.

 

LABORA fits comfortably into Canada’s agriculture industry because of its innovative mindset. There is already a vibrant AgTech community supported by diverse programs offered by the federal and provincial government to support innovation and technology for the agriculture sector. Many of the obstacles affecting the region as a whole could be overcome through the use of technology and research, and LABORA is perhaps the perfect example of this. It innovates a 50-year-old system to improve the financial conditions and productivity of temporary foreign workers in Canada as well as making life easier for those who had to complete the administrative work involved.

 

Looking ahead, LABORA intends to continue expanding the range of services it currently provides to clients. When the firm first started operations in 2020, it only offered the B2B money transfer services. 2021 saw the additional of payroll and tax filing services and 2022 will see the provision of financial planning services for optimizing temporary foreign worker’s retirement. The aim for the team is to become a financial services marketplace for underserved and unbanked temporary foreign workers across Canada and in the United States and expect to become a company serving similar workers worldwide.

 

With such ambition for their company, and such success behind them, there is little wonder that the team has a great future ahead of them. We celebrate their achievements thus far and look forward to their accomplishments yet to come in this vital part of farming industry.

 

For business inquiries, contact Rene Blanco at LABORA via email at [email protected] or online at www.labora.ca.

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The Key to Lifetime Financial Security = Having a Holistic Plan

Lifetime Financial Plan

Life is full of important moments – following your passions, buying your first home, growing your family, giving back, reaching retirement. Then there are the events no one wishes for – fixing a leaking roof, being let go from a job or a critical illness that prevents you from earning an income. One of the key differentiators between those who achieve lifetime financial security and those that don’t? A financial plan. Yet, most Canadians are not making a plan their priority. A recent survey conducted by Sun Life found that over half of all Canadians (52%) do not have a financial plan in place. 

Of the 43% of Canadians who do have a plan, over one-third (33%) do not have life or critical illness insurance. Insurance protection is even lower among those aged 55 and up with 44% stating they do not have insurance. This is followed by those aged 35-54 (27%) and those 18-34 years of age (21%). When asked why they do not have insurance in their financial plan, nearly one-third (29%) said, ‘I don’t need insurance’. Men were significantly more likely to say they do not need insurance coverage than women at 41% versus 19%.

“Insurance is an important part of a financial plan that will support you and your loved ones for years to come,” said Vineet Kochhar, Senior-Vice President, Insurance Solutions, Sun Life Canada. “Life can be unpredictable – many of us may face challenges that leave us unprepared. Whether you’re married with kids or have a partner or relatives that depend on you financially, life insurance ensures they are supported,” Mr. Kochhar added. “Insurance can seem daunting to navigate on your own – advisors are here to help you understand the insurance solutions available to you and which products suit your needs and complement the rest of your financial plan.”

While many Canadians delay in creating a plan and purchasing life insurance, financial concerns remain top of mind. Sun Life asked Canadians their greatest financial concern – cost of living was ranked the top concern at 36%. This was followed by having enough money saved for the future and/or retirement (23%), paying off debt (17%) and affording a house (13%).

Canadians aged 55 and up rated ‘having enough money for the future and/or retirement’ their second highest concern after cost of living. Yet, that same age group has not created a financial plan. Of those aged 55 and older, the group that is closest to retirement, nearly half (47%) have not created a plan.

“At Sun Life, our goal is to equip every Client with a personalized financial plan and help them live their best life,” said Rowena Chan, President, Sun Life Financial Distributors (Canada) Inc. and SVP, Distribution. “A financial plan, combined with advisors’ unique ability to provide Clients with holistic advice, opens endless opportunities for Canadians. When an advisor helps Clients set up a holistic financial plan, they approach the conversation with three themes in mind – wealth, health and insurance needs – all equally important to reaching your goals,” Ms. Chan added.

Financial security is a key pillar of Sun Life’s sustainability strategy. By providing Clients with innovative products and services, we’re helping secure their—and their family’s—financial future. Sun Life recently announced a collaboration with Conquest Planning Inc. to provide its best-in-class, digital financial planning tool to empower Canadians to reach their life goals. Sun Life is the first Canadian organization to introduce the digital tool across all its wealth and insurance service platforms.

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DHL Express Invests $430K CDN to Launch Four Mobile Retail Stores Across Canada

DHL
  • The DHL mobile pop-ups offer customers a safe, convenient, and practical shipping experience
  • Winnipeg, MB location is the latest pop-up location to open, providing an added point of accessibility for residents

DHL, the world’s leading global express and logistics company, is expanding its vast network of Canadian retail locations by opening first-of-its-kind mobile retail stores in Canada. The company has invested more than $430,000 CDN to create four, electric-powered mobile pop-up locations, called DHL pop-up stores, to provide a safe and easy-to-use shipping option for customers and an added point of accessibility. The DHL mobile pop-up store location at the Grant Park Shopping Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba opened this week and is the latest location available for customers.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the industry over the past few years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with customers shipping internationally more than ever before,” said Andrew Williams, CEO for DHL Express Canada. “This increased demand is the reason we’re expanding our footprint in Canada with new, strategically placed, safe and easy-to-use pop-up locations to better service our customers here.”

Within the last six months, DHL Express has experienced a 41 per cent growth rate in Winnipeg. The company selects the locations for its new mobile pop-up stores throughout the country based on areas where DHL doesn’t currently have an owned or partner location, but where there is an increased demand for international shipping. DHL Express expects this new Winnipeg location will generate additional volume for its United States, China and Philippines trade lanes, and will be open for customers seven days a week at varied hours.

The first-ever, 2,200 cubic feet Canadian mobile pop-up store opened in Toronto, Ontario at the Cadillac Fairview Mall earlier this month. It was the first unit permitted in Canada, and was a critical first step in the launch of the retail pop-up concept in one of the largest target markets for DHL. This location allows the company to serve three large markets, as it experienced a retail volume growth of 35 per cent in 2020 vs 2019, and expect those numbers to continue rising ahead of the holiday season.

Both locations will be open and available to customers over the next six months, at which point the company will evaluate based on customer demand whether to extend. 

“We’re excited to bring the innovative pop-up store experience to customers in Canada, after seeing tremendous success from testing and launching in several U.S. cities,” added Williams. “Customers prefer the speed and convenience of pop-up stores to quickly create and send shipments – all without having to enter a physical store or office.”

DHL will continue expanding in the Canadian market with an additional two pop-up locations between October 2021 and March 2022. All mobile, 2,200 cubic-feet pop-up stores will be electric-powered.

In response to social-distancing concerns, the mobile pop-up store locations allow customers to easily access DHL’s shipping services, without having to enter a store. The pop-up locations offer customers a safe and practical way to utilize these DHL services and products, featuring everything a traditional DHL storefront would have, including the ability to process shipments, account holder drop offs and the option of accepting smaller Hold for Pickup shipments. An efficient point-of-sale system is capable of processing shipments to U.S. destinations as well as any of the 220 countries and territories DHL serves. Supplies such as bubble wrap, packing tape, and DHL-branded boxes are available at the mobile unit. Additionally, the DHL pop-up stores mitigate congestion and potential security risks at retail locations.

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The World’s #1 Anti-Food Waste App, Too Good To Go, Launches in Vancouver

Food Waste

Too Good To Go provides a simple solution that empowers businesses and consumers to reduce the 13,000 tonnes of food that goes to waste each year in Metro Vancouver

After successfully entering the Canadian market with a launch in Toronto in July, Too Good To Go is proud to bring its global movement to the west coast. Launching today in Vancouver, Too Good To Go is calling on all Vancouverites to start saving meals and help Canada become a nation of #WasteWarriors.

Too Good To Go is the world’s largest B2C marketplace for surplus food. The company and its app empower the public and local businesses to fight food waste by offering Surprise Bags of food that would otherwise go to waste at the end of the day.

The fight against food waste needs to be tackled at every level and in every country. Globally, 40 percent of all food goes to waste, which accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions yearly; for comparison, flight travel contributes 1 per cent, globally.

Nationally, Canadians throw out 35.5 million tonnes of food, equivalent to the weight of nearly 1.2 million humpback whales. Food waste has a significant economic impact as well, in British Columbia an estimated $1.3 billion worth of food is wasted per year in food store and food service businesses, which is 57 per cent more than the estimated profit in those sectors.

“Reducing food waste is the most immediate and effective way to fight climate change”, said Sam Kashani, Too Good To Go, Country Manager for Canada. “Imagine a world where all food that gets produced is consumed. We are very inspired by that. The Too Good To Go app is a tangible solution that brings everyone into the fight against food waste.” 

In Vancouver, Too Good To Go has partnered with over 90 businesses across the city with notable sustainability leaders such as Nada, Terra Breads, Flourist and Be Fresh – with more added every day.

Said Brianne Miller, Co-Founder and CEO of zero waste grocery store, Nada, “our team is thrilled to partner with fellow B-Corporation Too Good to Go to tackle one of the world’s most pressing climate issues: surplus food. Nada is on a mission to connect people to a more just and equitable food system. By participating in this program we’re excited to continue our food recovery initiatives by linking customers to surplus food, and making sure that the valuable resources used to grow, transport, and distribute food do not go to waste.”

“We have always considered ourselves responsible for the improvement of the communities we serve,” said Michael Lansky, President and Founder of Terra Breads.”It’s this purpose that drives Terra Breads to contribute to communities through partnerships with organizations such as Too Good To Go. We’re proud to demonstrate our commitment to improving our communities with this perfect partnership! To feed more people with the food we’re already making is good for everyone. Too Good To Go fits with our purpose perfectly”.

During the pandemic production has been upended and purchase habits have been unpredictable, often leading to increased food waste. Said Janna Bishop, Co-Founder and CEO of Vancouver-based, Flourist, “our goal is to have as little waste as possible. We’ve learned to creatively adapt during the past year by having new distribution streams for our products. Too Good To Go provides the perfect solution to connect us with customers to help ensure that surplus food is not wasted.”

“We are so excited to partner with Too Good to Go on this phenomenal food waste tool. Fighting food waste not only helps our planet in combating climate change, but also aids in supporting food security, one of our pillars of sustainability that we are extremely passionate about. It is an awesome way of helping customers become part of the solution,” Ashley Sugar, Manager of Organic Acres and Be Fresh stores in Vancouver.

Vancouverites will now join the more than 44 million people, globally, who have saved more than 91 million meals at more than 110,000 restaurants, cafes, grocery stores and food sellers on the Too Good to Go app. Since launching in Toronto, Too Good To Go has saved 20,000+ meals from 350+ partner restaurants and stores. The company anticipates an equally vibrant response from customers and business owners in Vancouver and is excited to continue to expand throughout Canada in the coming months.

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Cadillac Fairview Launches TikTok Campaign to ‘Rediscover’ Canadian Retail

Cadillac Fairview Tower

CF and TikTok creators Basement Gang, Shina Nova, James Jones and Mykenna Dorn invite
Canadians to “rediscover that feeling” of community and human connection

Cadillac Fairview (CF) is inspiring Canadians to rediscover that meet-you-at-the-mall feeling with a new TikTok campaign launched today. In a first for a Canadian retail shopping centre brand, CF has partnered with the popular video-sharing app for a joy-filled movement called “Rediscover” to dance away the blues of social isolation and ignite much needed social connection across communities nationwide. CF is welcoming all Canadians to its retail locations to engage in moments of cheer and rediscover that feeling of positivity and togetherness.

Directed by award-winning director-editor Sean Cartwright, the CF TikTok campaign features four popular creators serving “main character energy” and meme-worthy dance moves set to an original song. The lyrics “Rediscover that feeling” aim to inspire excitement for the return to CF destinations of retail, entertainment, cuisine and human connection. Canadians across the country are encouraged to participate in the movement by sharing their own “happy dance” on TikTok using the hashtag #MeetYouThere and tagging @cadillacfairview.

“Over the last year and a half, Canadians have craved a sense of community that has long been associated with CF shopping centres as vibrant spaces that foster connection and a sense of belonging. This campaign is all about how good it feels to reunite with the people we love, together in the communities we love. What better way to celebrate that than with a TikTok dance?” said Jason Anderson, Senior Vice President Brand, Marketing, Communications at Cadillac Fairview. “This year at CF, we redefined our position in the communities we serve as one that combats detachment and social isolation.”

 

THE GANG’S ALL HERE: Meet the CF-TikTok Creators

From their parents’ basements to the elevators and escalators of the iconic CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Canadian TikTok dance trio “Basement Gang” leads the national campaign with their signature “drip” and comedic style that have attracted nearly four million followers to the @basementgang TikTok page. The Toronto friends, whose videos have garnered more than 80 million likes on TikTok, are seen two-stepping in the Urban Eatery and dancing throughout landmark spots, including the bridge across Queen Street, in the campaign video.

“As a group that reps the Greater Toronto Area, CF Toronto Eaton Centre holds a special place in our hearts, so it has been awesome to represent the ‘six’ and bring our moves to a bigger dance floor,” said Kadeem Hemmings, a member of Basement Gang. “Our vibe is all about joy and positivity, and we can’t wait for our Canadian community to rediscover that same feeling at CF malls!”

The creative partnerships for the campaign also include Shina Nova (@shinanova on TikTok), an Inuk throat singer in Montreal; James Jones (@notoriouscree on TikTok), a traditional Indigenous hoop dance artist in Alberta; and Mykenna Dorn (@mykenna on TikTok), a lifestyle influencer based in Vancouver.

“Cadillac Fairview has committed to ‘Transforming Communities for a Vibrant Tomorrow,’ a purpose that puts positivity and human connection at the core of everything we do,” added Anderson. “In the age of TikTok, and everything we’ve gone through, dance has never felt more like a powerful medium of celebration and connection, and we’re proud to work with these emerging artists to reconnect our shoppers and communities.”

 

MEET YOU THERE: Welcoming Back Canadians

The TikTok campaign builds on a larger Rediscover advertising campaign currently in-market. Launched in early September, the campaign spans digital (in-mall signage, digital directories, newsletters) digital out of home, radio, video (YouTube, online news outlets and DirectTV), Google ads, as well as social media with paid support on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.

CF’s Rediscover campaign is one among a suite of initiatives launched by CF throughout the summer to support retail recovery efforts in Canada. CF has already introduced new retail experiences and helped Canadians rediscover all the things they have been missing, from retailer spotlights, spend and save perks, and special CF SHOP! card promotions to memorable community events, as well as surprise and delight moments for shoppers. Across Canada, CF has facilitated patio extensions, including the 30,000-square-foot highlight called The Lot at CF Sherway Gardens. CF also plans to host “VIP Shopping Nights” at select shopping centres for frontline workers, and has further major incentives planned to drive retail recovery in Canada in the fall and into 2022.

Throughout the pandemic, safety has been a top priority for CF and the company continues to follow local public health guidelines. Additional measures, including physical distancing, use of PPE and increased cleaning of high touch point surfaces have been implemented at CF properties, all in an effort to help fight the spread of COVID-19. 

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Canada’s Leading Organic and Natural Food Distributor Horizon Grocery + Wellness Starts Distributing Modern Plant Based Foods’ Products

Plant-based Food

Modern Plant-Based Foods Inc., an award-winning plant-based food company, is pleased to announce that Modern Meat, its meat alternative brand, has entered into a partnership agreement Horizon Grocery + Wellness to increase service to consumers throughout Canada. With a deep list of retail partnerships including Whole Foods, Save on Foods, Nesters and Choices, Modern Meat will have the opportunity to significantly expand its retail distribution in Canada.

Horizon Grocery + Wellness operates out of a combined 186,000 sq ft of facility space in south Burnaby, BC and is Western Canada’s leading distributor of organic and natural products in the dry, chill, and frozen grocery categories, in addition to natural personal care and nutritional health supplement categories. The company services a diverse customer base including major natural, grocery and independent grocery chains, independent natural health stores, buying clubs, restaurants, cafes and specialty retailers, and ships orders daily to large metropolitan areas and small towns across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Yukon. 

“We are excited to announce the addition of Horizon to our growing list of channel partners. Horizon has been instrumental to many Plant Based companies getting on large retailers shelves and mainstream distribution. Part of our strategic growth is to align ourselves with reputable and far-reaching distribution partners,” said Tara Haddad, Founder of Modern Plant Based Foods.  “Horizon has over 750 suppliers with many going back decades, yet they also support up and coming small, local and independent brands.  They pride themselves on building and maintaining relationships with brands they believe in, and we look forward to working and growing with them.”

Through the distribution partnership, Horizon will carry Modern Meat’s complete portfolio of meat alternative products including Modern Burger, Crumble, Crab Cakes, Meatballs, Breakfast Sausage and Gyozas.  Plans to sign on with large retail outlets will begin immediately.

“Horizon has a strong presence in the retail grocery channel, and we expect the addition of Modern Meat to Horizon will accelerate the interest in our plant-based meat alternatives nationwide,” explained Chris Parkinson, National Brand Manager for Modern Plant-Based Foods.  “With this partnership, our products will now be more accessible across the country expanding our reach to the health-conscious and environmentally conscious consumer.  We remain committed to executing on our strategy and firmly believe we are well on our journey to becoming a trusted household brand.”

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Cascades Launches Innovative and Industry-Leading 100% Recycled Packaging Across Its Cascades Fluff & Tuff Product Line

Recycled Packaging

Cascades helps consumers “Go soft on the planet” by standing out through its environmental commitment with its innovative packaging that positions the Cascades Fluff & Tuff® brand as a leader in its category.

Cascades, a pioneer in the circular economy, is pursuing its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint and is once again innovating by becoming the first company in its category in Canada to launch 100% recycled plastic packaging that is also recyclable, for the entire Cascades Fluff & Tuff® line. This announcement is accompanied by a promotional campaign featuring the brand’s charming bunnies, Fluff and Tuff, who highlight the company’s commitment to always doing more for the planet.

A leader in its industry and ranked 17th among the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, the Québec company is once again showcasing its environmental values combined with technological innovation. Creating this resistant, environmentally friendly packaging made from recycled materials has been a major project for the company, requiring several months of research and testing. Deployment of this new packaging will be completed by the end of 2021.

“We had to find a packaging solution that would meet the environmental standards of Cascades products. In addition to being 100% or partially made of recycled fibres, with 4.5 times less water and 2.4 times less energy than the average in the North American paper industry, our products hold the industry’s most stringent recognized environmental certifications (UL-Ecologo®, FSC®). It was only natural that this packaging should be eco-responsible as well. We are very proud to be the first company to develop a recycled polyfilm that is as effective as its virgin equivalent and that will certainly become an example to follow in the industry. At Cascades, we are committed to minimizing the impact of our products on the environment. It is therefore logical for our product packaging to have a small environmental footprint while achieving higher standards than the industry average,” said François David, Vice-President, Sales, Marketing and Innovation at Cascades Tissue Group. In addition to all these attributes were the results of a life cycle analysis conducted by an independent firm of Cascades’ polyfilm, confirming that the option containing 100% recycled resin reduces the impact on climate change by 76% compared with its virgin resin equivalent. These results clearly support the recycled option.

The research and development process for this packaging was not only inspired by Cascades’ values, but was also created to meet consumer expectations. Environmental impact is a fundamental value nowadays, so it is not surprising that 60% of consumers are willing to change their habits to reduce their environmental footprint. Cascades Fluff & Tuff® products are still the same products that Quebecers love and choose, but now they will be offered in more eco-friendly packaging.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards Adds Air Canada Aeroplan Loyalty Program to its Lineup of Point Transfer Partners

Air Canada

Chase, the largest U.S. co-brand card issuer and Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline and a Star Alliance founding member, are giving eligible credit cardmembers with Ultimate Rewards a new option to use their points with the addition of Aeroplan as the latest Chase Ultimate Rewards point transfer partner.

Starting today, eligible Chase cardmembers can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Aeroplan, and redeem for travel and flight rewards with Air Canada and their more than 40 airline partners, including the entire Star Alliance network. Eligible Chase cardmembers now have access to a total of 14 leading airline and hotel loyalty programs through Ultimate Rewards. 

“We are giving cardmembers more options to unlock value from their rewards,” said Matt Massaua, Head of Ultimate Rewards and Loyalty Solutions at Chase. “With Aeroplan, cardmembers will enjoy a seamless point transfer experience when they are ready to travel and have the flexibility to redeem for flights, upgrades and more with Air Canada’s extensive network of partners.”

Eligible Chase cardmembers, including Chase Sapphire ReserveSMChase Sapphire Preferred® and Ink Business PreferredSM, can now transfer Ultimate Rewards points to their Aeroplan account in increments of 1,000 at full 1:1 value – meaning one Ultimate Rewards point is equal to one Aeroplan point. Aeroplan rewards can be used for flights to more than 1,300 destinations across the globe.  Notable features include:

  • Points redeemable for every seat on every Air Canada flight, and for travel on over 40 airline partners;
  • Countless trip-building possibilities, including the ability to add a stopover to an international itinerary for just 5,000 points;
  • Aeroplan members can earn and redeem points, as well as enjoy premium benefits, when booking a scenic rail journey with Rocky Mountaineer;
  • Aeroplan Family Sharing, making it easy for families to combine points together – for free – to get where they want to go sooner;
  • Flexible options to pay for all or part of a trip with points, and peace of mind to plan using Aeroplan’s Points Predictor Tool™.

“We’re excited to become a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner and to give our U.S. members more opportunities to engage with Aeroplan,” said Scott O’Leary, Vice President, Loyalty Planning and Development at Air Canada. “With flight rewards starting at 6,000 points, and our extensive lineup of travel and retail partners, the newly transformed Aeroplan program has something for everyone and truly is the program that enables you to travel more and travel better.”

Separately, as previously announced, Chase will be the exclusive issuer of Air Canada’s Aeroplan U.S. credit card. In anticipation for the debut of the new Aeroplan Credit Card from Chase, consumers can now join a waitlist to be among the first to know when the card will launch. Plus, as an exclusive waitlist bonus, those who register will be eligible to earn 10,000 Aeroplan points in addition to the launch offer, upon card approval. For more information and to join the waitlist, visit aircanada.com/chase.

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ChainSafe Announces Acquisition of Node Factory

Blockchain

Toronto-based blockchain R&D firm ChainSafe announces the acquisition of Croatian blockchain partner Node Factory.

ChainSafe is a leading blockchain development and engineering solutions firm encompassing top engineering talent from around the world. The company is architecting official client implementations on Ethereum 2.0 (“Lodestar“), Polkadot (“Gossamer“), Filecoin (“Forest”), a Rust implementation of the Mina Protocol, and many more. ChainSafe rounds out their deep Web 3.0 portfolio with undertakings into product development via their privacy-first file storage solution ChainSafe Files, the ChainSafe Gaming SDK, as well as their flagship product ChainBridge. Today, they announce the acquisition of fellow blockchain development firm Node Factory.

“We could not be more excited to have Node Factory join the ChainSafe family. They have been integral partners in helping us build Lodestar for more than a year. Their work is always of the highest, most reliable quality, and above the code sits an even friendlier team. Adding their roster of talented developers into the ChainSafe mix gives us more depth and specific knowledge within the blockchain space. We look forward to building even greater things with Node Factory throughout the multi-chain tomorrow that we have envisioned since we took our first step in this journey,” states Aidan Hyman, CEO and co-founder of ChainSafe.

Node Factory is a blockchain R&D firm based in Zagreb, Croatia. They are a team of experienced developers that have made important contributions to dApp, infrastructure, and tooling development for Web 3.0 and networks such as Polkadot and Filecoin. The company has created products such as ChainGuardian, a desktop application for Eth2 validators, and FilSnap, a plugin for the MetaMask browser wallet enabling users to interact with Filecoin dApps. They have also helped a host of startups launch their own decentralized applications. Marin Petrunic, co-founder and CTO of Node Factory, first got involved with ChainSafe by being an external contributor on Lodestar, ChainSafe’s Eth2 TypeScript implementation. These open source contributions eventually led to conversations about ChainSafe’s acquisition of Node Factory to combine efforts.

“Node Factory’s priorities have always been on delivering quality work on the edge. Joining the larger ChainSafe crew will give our existing portfolio even more development resources to produce even more cutting-edge work, and allow both teams to cross-pollinate our learnings and research to meaningfully grow and build extraordinary things,” states Belma Gutlic, co-founder and CEO at Node Factory.

With ChainSafe intaking the Node Factory roster, it further bolsters their already deep pool of global blockchain developer talent. On the leadership front, Node Factory co-founder and CEO Belma Gutlic will join ChainSafe as Head of Solutions, while Marin Petrunic, co-founder and CTO at Node Factory will join as ChainSafe’s Europe Lead. This announcement is the first of its kind in ChainSafe’s history. Going forward, the organization will likely look to more strategic moves of this kind as their business scales up to include more blockchains and newer product offerings which leverage the same technologies they are helping to build.

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Accenture Expands Oracle Capabilities in Canada with Cloudworks Acquisition

Cloud

Accenture has acquired Cloudworks, a leading Toronto-based Oracle Cloud implementation service provider across North America. The deal further enhances Accenture’s capabilities to deliver Oracle solutions to clients on their journeys to the cloud. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Cloudworks, founded in 2016, specializes in strategy, business and technology consulting and has become well known for Oracle Cloud-based solutions in Enterprise Resource Planning, Enterprise Performance Management and Human Capital Management. Cloudworks has leading capabilities in robotic process automation (RPA), data analytics and AI, which help maximize the business value for clients’ investments in Oracle Cloud.

The company supports clients in several industries, including transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, mining, oil & gas, utilities and energy, telecommunications & media, financial services, real estate, public sector, and higher education. The majority of Cloudworks’ 100 employees are located in Toronto, with additional offices in Calgary, and other locations throughout the United States.

“As organizations across Canada continue to accelerate their technology transformation programs, we anticipate the demand for Oracle solutions to grow significantly,” said Jeffrey Russell, president of Accenture in Canada. “By acquiring Cloudworks, we add a highly talented team with industry-specific experience in combining the power of Oracle with the ingenuity of people to unlock new possibilities for clients.”

Jennifer Jackson, Accenture Technology lead for Canada, said, “Cloudworks is a well-known Oracle services provider that has worked with organizations across Canada and across industries. We are thrilled to grow our Technology practice in Canada with the Cloudworks team who strengthen our ability to meet the growing need from Canadian organizations to unleash the power of cloud, data and innovation to create truly future-ready organizations.” 

Samia Tarraf, Accenture Oracle Business Group lead for North America said, “The impact of the Cloudworks team and its experience working with clients in Canada and the U.S. bolsters our entire Oracle business in North America as organizations fast-track their cloud journeys and look to Oracle Cloud applications to create more value and make their businesses more resilient.” 

Jason Nott, cofounder and CEO of Cloudworks, added, “With Accenture’s in-depth capabilities, global scale and experience co-creating and co-developing Oracle solutions, we look forward to delivering greater value for clients, as well as opening up new opportunities for our people. Joining Accenture will also help Cloudworks provide more services to clients through its global team of experts in digital, cloud and robotic process automation.” 

Cloudworks marks the third acquisition for Accenture Canada over the last year. Accenture acquired Avenai, an Ottawa consultancy focused on public service organizations, and Callisto Integration, an Oakville, Ontario provider of consulting and technology services in digital manufacturing in food and beverage, chemicals, utilities and other industries, both in 2020. 

Globally, in 2021, Accenture has announced two Oracle-focused acquisitions: Nell’Armonia, a leading consulting and technology company specialized in enterprise performance management solutions, headquartered in Paris, France, and AppsPro, one of the leading Oracle Cloud implementation service providers in Saudi Arabia. 

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