Tag Archives: toronto

3 Reasons Why Toronto Tech Scene is Thriving

Toronto has been in the news a lot due to its growth when it comes to technology businesses. American and Canadian companies have been investing heavily into Toronto, for example just in one month alone, September 2018, more than $1.4 billion dollars was invested into the city.

So what drives companies to come and invest into the City of Toronto?

Tech Talent is Abound

Toronto tech scene employs over 240,000 workers. When it comes to cost and quality of tech workers in North America, Toronto comes in the lead.

Toronto is so HOT that it had more tech job growth than the US cities of San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. combined.

Immigration has been a big success as well, with over 51% of Toronto population born somewhere else. And unlike other places, Toronto nurtures and appreciates its immigrants.

Ontario and Canada has Toronto’s back

Federal and provincial governments have provided various investment into tech hubs as well as developing programs to make it easier for immigrants with the right background to come to Toronto for tech jobs as well as allows international students to stay in Canada and work right away on open work permit.

Toronto is Cheap

CBRE recently posted a study which suggests that renting office space in Toronto is a lot cheaper / pretty much half than renting the same space in New York or San Francisco.

After NYC Loses Amazon’s HQ2 – Toronto Tries Again

As you probably have already heard NYC lost its Amazon HQ2 due to much publicized debate in New York City about why a city should subsidize a company with billions of dollars in profits when they can put money to better use to address issues such as shortage of housing and poverty.

Amazon decided to pull out of New York on Thursday last week due to tremendous pressure put by local government. Amazon was supposed to invest billions of dollars and hire 50,000 high-paying mainly tech jobs.

“A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.”

Amazon Inc.

This development might help Donald Trump to get reelected in few years as Republicans can paint Democrats as anti-business and not open for business.

Some local companies were not happy with this announcement.

“I’m really upset because I don’t think they realized what they did. And they’re proud of it? They think they did something lovely? They wanted the political gain, they should have done it in a different way. They get put into office for us, not to work for themselves.”

Gianna Cerbone, Restaurant Owner in interview with New York Times

Within hours of Amazon’s announcement that they are pulling out of the city, Toronto Mayor was quick to try to entice them to come to Toronto again.

I remain so proud of the Toronto Region's Amazon HQ2 bid and the opportunities I'm confident it has opened up for our…

Posted by John Tory on Thursday, February 14, 2019

Amazon said in a statement that it did “not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” Even if they would even consider Toronto, some Toronto residents like John Tokatlidis were not so happy about this idea.

“Never mind Amazon. How are you improving our public transit?For one, why is Dundas West Station and the Up Express/Go Station not connected? It’s also not accessible for some citizens. We need you to prioritize and fix the issues. Homelessness on the rise. You are pushing runaway development to make this your Mega city that you have forgotten your election promises. Get to work Mr Tory, do the job you were elected to do! “

John Tokatlidis, Toronto’s resident in Facebook comment

Netflix to add Production Hub in Toronto, To Create 1850 Jobs

Netflix just announced that it will be launching film and production hub at Toronto’s waterfront studio district.

They will have 84,580 square feet of space, that they are currently leasing, and will start filming within the next few weeks.

In 4-5 months Netflix is expected to move to even bigger venue with 164,000 square there.

This will help them with their production of series and films, including the horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro Presents Ten After Midnight, the film Let It Snow and others. Netflix claims that the new hub in Toronto will add 1,850 jobs per year.

Mayor John Tory has recently been talking and hinting about the Netflix studio over the last few months but it only got confirmed this week.

“I’ve been excited from day one about the interest Netflix has shown in establishing a much bigger presence in Toronto. Great crews, great studio space, great customer service and great companies like Netflix make Toronto the best place in North America to make television shows and movies.”

John Tory

Netflix has been in the news in Canada a lot lately due to their decision to invest $500 million into Canada and Quebec’s decision to tax foreign media companies including Netflix.

Toronto Beats Out Seattle to Be One of the World’s Best Tech City

According to the new study conducted by Savills, real estate property management firm, New York City is the Word’s #1 Tech City. Amazon had a good hunch when they decided to open HQ2 there.

New York did well scoring #1, while San Francisco was right behind #2, and London was #3. Savills Tech Cities index measures what makes the cities successful. The index scores cities on the costs of living and doing business, investment opportunities, real estate prices and access to transit, among other things.

According to the report access to amazing talent and NYC reputation as a centre of commerce makes New York the global leader.

Toronto was the only Canadian city on the list placing #11 right before Seattle #12.

Report also pointed out that Chinese cities made a big jump this year. VC investments in Chinese cities account for more money than the US cities. Beijing, for example, recorded an average $34 billion of VC p.a. in the last three years, higher than New York and San Francisco.

Toronto did not score that well on VC investments when compared to other cities like Beijing or New York.

Toronto did not do so well on the cost of real estate as well. It is much more expensive to rent an office as well as a dwelling when compared to other cities. Toronto’s Mainstream residential rent (Per week, USD) is $360 and Coworking cost (desk in a private office, per month, USD) is $960. The rates are on par with New York City and San Francisco.

Toronto also did poorly on mobility ranking, the ease a city’s population can get from A to B is an important consideration. Toronto was #25 out of 30 when it came to commuting, public transit. Something that we need to improve on to overhaul existing infrastructure over years to come. London, Stockholm and NYC took top 3 spots when it came to mobility.

Amazon’s Fight with Toronto Drivers’ Union

According to The Logic, in-depth reporting publication, Toronto’s Amazon Drivers Union says that Amazon’s anti-union tactics made drivers lose their jobs and made one courier company go bankrupt.

Union says that under existing conditions with Amazon, drivers are powerless to negotiate their working conditions. Amazon says that drivers are not direct employees and are contractors only.

Union, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW), is not happy with that explanation and has decided to lodge a complaint with the board. They allege that by denying drivers’ full time employee status and just consider them contractors yet directing all of the work Amazon creates unfair labour practice.

In 2017-2018 one courier company, DEC Fleet Services, used to operate in Mississauga and Scarborough to deliver for Amazon exclusively. They have decided to unionize while delivering for Amazon. Due to unionization the operating costs went up. Soon after the unionization Amazon has cut their usage of the firm and a year later DEC has declared bankruptcy.

Amazon and DEC did not have a fixed contract, meaning that Amazon could end its contract for any reason. Amazon denies that DEC’s drivers are Amazon’s employees.

DEC’s president Sandy Montgomery said that with working for Amazon:

“I saw a ton of low-margin, major-effort work. Everybody wants free delivery; everybody wants cheap. On the other hand, they want to earn top dollar. It’s a challenging line of work.”

DEC’s president Sandy Montgomery

Another company All Canadian Courier, has decided to unionized. They wanted the more senior drivers to select their own routes and schedule while working for Amazon.

However that has not been allowed due to a clause in Amazon’s agreement: “Amazon has specific operational and or other requirements that are beyond the control of the company and are a requirement of maintaining the business. These requirements are subject to change without notice and are as determined by the customer. “

The union has since rejected that wording.

Toronto loses Amazon HQ2, but gains 600 tech jobs

Amazon said it will be looking to hire 600 technology professionals over the coming years. This is on top of 800 they already employ in Ontario’s capital.

This news comes to addition of many other tech companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Shopify opening new offices and hiring thousands of new employees combined. Toronto can not build office towers fast enough.

Amazon is hoping to hire professionals in software development, machine learning and cloud computing fields.

Toronto office is one of the 18 tech hubs Amazon has around North America. Toronto was shortlisted down to Top 20 to be on Amazon HQ2 list but unfortunately (or fortunately) lost out to the City of New York and Arglington, Virginia.

Toronto Mayor said he was happy that hundreds of jobs are being created.

Netflix to Open Production Hub in Toronto? It’s a Strong Possibility according to Mayor Tory

Netflix perhaps will soon be opening its production hub in Toronto. That’s at least what Mayor John Tory told The Canadian Press.

“I have a very high level of confidence, without betraying confidences that aren’t yet concrete, that they’re going to. They’ve been in active discussions with our industry, with me, about wanting to create one of their hubs here.”

John Tory, Toronto’s Mayor

This new potential production hub will be in addition to recently announced hubs in New Mexico, US and Madrid, Spain.

Netflix declined to comment but Tory said that he will go meet with them again in February or March to see if it is possible to make it happen.

In September 2017, Netflix has committed over $500m to Canada to fund Canadian production.

Because it is not based in Canada, Netflix is not required to collect Canadian taxes or contribute to Canada Media Fund. This would change if they would open an office or production hub here.

Tory said his job is to get this deal done and he thinks Toronto is an idea place for Netflix to come next.

“Their message to us has been very consistent in the four years I’ve been there: Don’t mess with the money, meaning the tax credits; build more studio space; get us an even deeper pool of talent by working to have more people available behind and in front of the camera; and give us good customer service.” 

John Tory, Toronto’s Mayor