Toronto Places Second for Amazon HQ2, New Study Says

Amazon is getting ready to pick its second head office from the list of 20 cities they have shortlisted just few months ago.

Amazon officials have been visiting the 20 different cities and going over various stats for each city. If chosen, the city is bound to receive $5 billion dollars (that’s with a B) and 50,000 jobs. No one is quite sure who will get it though.

Toronto, the only Canadian city chosen, have been vying to be selected but unfortunately unlike its American counterparts is restricted from offering tax incentives.

But it is not gave over just yet, a new study published by Resonance, sees Toronto as #2 city on the list after New York. Their own analysis was based on cultural community fit, quality of life, housing affordability, recreational opportunities, business environments and the availability of talent.

However the report warned that even though Toronto is #2 on the list there are other factors that could be in play

“Canadian cities like Toronto, a place that scored very well in our analysis and has both the people and the land… are prohibited from offering the tax incentives that U.S. cities can.

Amazon’s announcement last week that they will be expanding their team in Vancouver to around 5,000 employees also makes it less likely that they would choose another Canadian city for HQ2.”

I guess we will have to wait and see.

Three Provinces Giving Out Up To $14k To Buy Tesla

UPDATE #3 LAVAL QUEBEC: Laval, a city in Quebec, will give additional $2,000 subsidy – see details below.

UPDATE #2 RE ONTARIO: Ontario judge reversed Conservative ban on subsidy, but only until September 10, after that date, the subsidies will expire. You need to be registered and car delivered by that day to qualify.

UPDATE #1 RE ONTARIO: After a recent election, the new conservative government in Ontario has decided to stop the rebates in that province. Tesla in its turn has decided to sue the Ontario government claiming:

“The Minister of Transportation’s decision suddenly left hundreds of Tesla Canada’s Ontario customers in the unfair position of no longer being eligible for the rebate they had expected to receive when they ordered their vehicles. While purchasers of other brands and from other dealers will still receive the rebate during the transition period.”


Tesla has been in the news a lot as of late due to its popularity as a nice looking car with very efficient electric consumption. But it also comes across as a very expensive car – Model S for example will set you back almost $86,000.

But do not worry with the new launch of Model 3, you can buy Tesla for only $46,000 and achieve 354 km of range on one charge.

Not sure about Tesla or other electronic vehicle? Just look at total CO2 saved by Tesla vehicles, you want your children to breath fresh air , right?

The good thing is that provincial governments recognize that electric cars are good for environment and have decided to give out incentives – some big some not so big – to entice customers to buy electric vehicles.

That’s right – no gimmicks – it’s free money as long as you live / buy the car in the “right” province, they will give you free money to subsidize your car.

The only drawback is that Tesla 3 been having some issues with production and you might need to wait about a year or 2 before it gets delivered to you. But hey you will get your subsidy locked in as described below and only need to pay $1k down-payment to reserve yours.

Blomst / Pixabay

So how does this electric vehicle subsidy work across difference provinces in Canada?

Let’s start by saying that only 3 provinces subsidize electric cars and of course Alberta is one province that does not (why should they with all that cheap gas.)

British Columbia – up to $6,000 subsidy

 

Just watch out though before you go out buying that Tesla S model  vehicles with a MSRP of over $77,000 are not considered eligible for the program.

Quebec – up to $8,000 subsidy 

Belle Province decided to join the game to protect their environment as well. Please see the list of eligible electric vehicles here as per Quebec subsidy program – Tesla 3 is one of them.

Vehicle type Additional conditions Rebate Amount
All-electric vehicles If the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is less than
$75 000:
$8 000
If the MSRP of the vehicle is between $75 000 and
$125 000:
$3 000
Plug-in hybrid vehicles If the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is less than
$75 000:the amount of the rebate is calculated according to the electric battery capacity.
$500, $4 000
or $8 000
Hybrid vehicles For the 2017 or earlier model years: no rebate starting with the 2018 model year. $500
Hydrogen-powered vehicles If the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is less than
$75 000:
$8 000
If the MSRP of the vehicle is between $75 000 and
$125 000:
$3 000
Low-speed electric vehicles $1 000
Electric motorcycles $2 000
Limited-speed electric motorcycles (electric scooters) $500

 

Quebec is almost the same as BC, but a bit more generous, even though all vehicles over $125k are not subsidized, the vehicles over $75k are still subsidized with $3k subsidy.

City of Laval in Quebec will give out additional $2,000 first-come, first-served municipal incentive. The New Vehicle Information Sheet and MVPA must show the base price of the car as $45,600 and list the options purchased.

Ontario – The Winner – drum roll please – with up to $14k subsidy

  • Incentives of up to $14,000 will be provided for eligible Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCVs)
  • Incentives for eligible battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are now determined based on each vehicle’s all-electric range and seating capacity. The updated incentives vary from $5,000 to $14,000

You can see the list of eligible cars here and Tesla 3 is eligible for $14k subsidy.

You know what that means you can own your precious little Tesla 3 for only around $31kThat’s about $500 in lease a month for 4 years.

Unlike Quebec and BC, Ontario does not subsidize at all cars over $75k. Maybe it’s for the best if you can afford $100k car, why would you need $14k subsidy, right?

It’s also a good time to act now: the more people interested in owning electric vehicles, the sooner governments will void these amazing subsidies.

Hold on a second, I am a bit confused – what do all these different HFCVs, BEVs and PHEVs acronyms mean – I thought electric car was electric car – well not so fast, buster, here is a quick intro for you to know the difference.

Source http://synergyfiles.com

Do not fancy Tesla 3 that much? Maybe consider all-electric Volkswagen e-Golf – it is few thousand cheaper in Ontario than its all-gas equivalent. However it only gets you about 200km or so vs 350+km with Tesla. But once again – sold out all across the province – but you might be able to reserve it. Price? $36k-$14k = $22k.

Or another good option could be Honda Clarity – basically a plug-in equivalent of the Honda Accord.  It is a PHEV version and only has range of up to 76 kilometres on battery alone, according to Honda. It’s a bit pricier at $40k but with $13k subsidy in Ontario – it is still pretty good deal at $27,000.

You decide – what car do you like? Recommend? Will you be buying electric car or will wait? Did you buy electric car already – are you liking it? Leave us your comments below.

Canada’s Tech Going Down South

Brain Drain – here we are again. Just like in the 1990s – early 2000s, when living was easy south of the border in California with its nice weather year around, the exchange rate US Canadian dollar is extra 35% top up, salaries are double what you make home (in Toronto at least, more than that when compared to Montreal / Vancouver), and taxes are lower (by about 3% lower in California vs Ontario on $100k USD).

So it’s not difficult to see why the new study published, led by Zachary Spicer, a senior associate with the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Innovation Policy Lab at University of Toronto, revealed that an alarming rate of young graduates head south of the border for work as soon as they finish their degrees here in Canada.

The study found that at least 25% of recent science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates from three of the country’s top universities – University of Waterloo, University of British Columbia and U of T were working outside of Canada within few years of finishing school. The study surveyed 3,162 graduates from 2015 and 2016 in 22 STEM programs at the three universities based on their LinkedIn profiles and select follow-up interviews.

The numbers are much higher as seen from the graph below when it comes to Software Engineers. It shows that 66% of new grads in that field end up in the US. That’s 2 out of 3 recent grads.

This study was surprising due to the fact that for the last few years many media outlets paint Canada as rising tech star and place where people want to live and work.

And why not? If you can have endless summers, you are young (no health care issues) and can get double the pay as per recent study by Indeed.com that pointed out average salaries in Toronto around $73k vs $142k in San Francisco and almost the same real estate cost, and have skills to back it up and have no family to support (ie no need to pay for healthcare, daycare, school, etc.) Than moving to the USA is no brainer.

Tech Salaries in San Francisco, California, USA vs Toronto, Ontario, Canada

That’s a big concern for the Canadian government that is in the business of heavily subsidizing university education. Computer Science degree at University of Toronto for example for Canadian students will only costs you around $5k USD vs around $50k USD a year for Ivy League schools in the US.

Some LinkedIn were calling on the Canadian government to “react to this brain drain problem fast and effectively.”

But the problem is maybe simple economics, Canada is a country which has politeness, shyness and under ambition when it came to money as pointed out by recent KPMG report. Instead of growing Canadian startups into billion dollar corporations, a lot of founders decide to exit via acquisition. The average exit is only $8m. With almost 2 million Canadian companies in existence, the ones that scale up and go the distance and achieve true scale can be counted on your fingers.

Also in some places like Montreal, you will end up paying 17% more in taxes when comparing to places like Austin, Texas on salaries over $130,000 (41% in Quebecs vs 24% in Texas).

Sheldon Levy, former education minister told Globe and Mail

If two-thirds of our very best people [are leaving] because they don’t see the equivalent opportunity of developing a world-beating career in Canada … then yes, we have a problem.

The founders of the study call on the Canadian government to create “national talent retention strategy” and help pay back the loans, asking Canadian companies to pay more to compete with the US and hire more students faster.

But as summarized by the study’s own author Adam Froman

I’m not expecting we’ll turn this around [completely]. If you’re a 24-year-old kid, it’s kind of exciting to get paid $100,000 to go down to the Valley.

Collision Conference is Moving To Toronto in 2019

Toronto has another thing to be proud of. One of the largest tech conferences is moving to Toronto in 2019.

The conference will be taking place over 4 day period at Enercare Centre in May 20-23, 2019. Collision has grown to over 25,000 attendees in five years. Originally hosted in Las Vegas, then moved on to NYC for few years, and then New Orleans, it is now coming to Canada.

Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, was happy with the announcement

Welcome to Canada, Collision. I’m happy you chose Toronto to host North America’s fastest growing tech conference. Collision will bring even more energy and vision to Toronto’s tech scene.

The reason organized chose Toronto was for its diversity, its strong AI startup scene and the sheer size of IT companies operating in Toronto. By last count, there were 401,000 people employed in over 18,000 tech companies.

Paddy Cosgrave, CEO & organizer at Collision Conference pointed out

We are delighted to announce that Collision is moving to Toronto. There is such energy in the city, such an open, cosmopolitan and global atmosphere.

A new wave of Canadian founders are building companies not just out of Canada but all over the world. At the very moment when some countries around the world seem to be shutting their borders, when intolerance is on the rise, Toronto stands for diversity and inclusion.

 

The conference organizers said they will focus on AI, automation, connected vehicle, big data, software development and investment (possible block chain). They expect to bring over 90,000 attendees to Toronto over 3 years and have economy impact of around $147m.

Here are some high lights below from this year’s conference in New Orleans.

Montreal App Hopper Gets Cut by Westjet / Air Canada

Hopper, Montreal startup, that provides travel deals, is in hot water this week due to their faulty PR campaign that landed them in trouble with both Westjet and Air Canada.

Hopper advertising PR campaign claimed (still claims?) that it will provide you, the user, with “secret fares” on its app at discounts of up to 35% off regular fares. They said that you can save up to $500.

Westjet and Air Canada denied that claim, saying that prices given to Hopper are the same prices they give to all their partner providers.

Severing Ties

Westjet said that are not happy with this false advertising and will no longer be working with Hopper:

“What WestJet is providing Hopper is the same fares and discounts our other partners have access to. This is a standard and long-standing practice in the commercial aviation industry. WestJet has always offered our guests low fares and we will continue to do do so through all of our selling channels.”

“Due to the confusion this has created in the marketplace, WestJet is severing ties with Hopper.”

WestJet said that even though it will cut parner ties with Hopper, Hopper still can access their published fares.

Air Canada said that they do not provide any special prices to Hopper that their other partners do not have access to. Air Canada has severed ties with Hopper as well.

Duncan Bureau, Air Canada’s VP of sales said:

“For someone to say that we have a secret fare and that it applies to all of our network is totally incorrect, it doesn’t happen.”

ACTA non-profit, membership-based organization representing the retail travel sector of Canada’s tourism industry, commended Air Canada and Westjet for severing ties with Hopper.

Hopper Not Backing Down

Hopper continued with their claim that they have access to “secret fares” with various airlines and have new ones like Air China and Turkish joining soon.

Hopper was not backing down , saying they have done nothing wrong. The email below was sent from Hopper spokeswoman Brianna Schneider to Huffpost to clarify:

“Airlines offer distinct fares to specific types of agencies, in our case online travel agencies, and they are marketed under a range of different brand names. We are currently contacting relevant parties to clear up any confusion.”

Amazon to Bring 3,000 Jobs to Vancouver

Amazon announced that it will be adding 3,000 tech jobs in Vancouver. The jobs that Amazon will be trying to fill would be among e-commerce technology, cloud computing, and machine learning.

The new Amazon office will be located at Canada Post headquarters, at 349 West Georgia Street in Vancouver. Approximate opening date will be sometimes in 2022.

This new office will be a 3rd Amazon office in Vancouver in addition to TELUS Garden office opened in 2015 and Dunsmuir Street office to be opened in 2020.

Alexandre Gagnon, vice-president of Amazon Canada and Mexico said

“Amazon is excited to create 3,000 more highly skilled jobs in Vancouver. Vancouver is home to an incredibly talented and diverse workforce, and these thousands of new employees will invent on behalf of our customers worldwide.”

Amazon is employing over 6,000 employees in Canada, most of them are in tech. By 2022 it seems like Amazon will employing over 10,000 (or maybe even more if Toronto gets selected for HQ2).

BC Premier John Horgan was happy to hear the great news

Unlike Toronto, Vancouver was not selected for the 20 shortlist vying for Amazon HQ2. But nevertheless Vancouver is a very strategic city for Amazon as it is only few hours drive away from Seattle, Washington where Amazon HQ is located as well as short flight from Silicon Valley where most leading tech companies are located.

 

Microsoft has also been considering opening potential offices in Vancouver as proximity to the their offices in Redmond are almost the same as Amazon’s.

In case you missed it, Washington and British Columbia have recently announced plans for high speed train as well as seaplane that will get you around these cities in about an hour.