Tom Sweeney

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Archive for March, 2011

Tech labour crunch looming in Canada

Posted by sweens on March 30, 2011

By Jameson Berkow, Financial Post

TORONTO. Canada is facing a “systemic” technology labour shortage, a new study has found.

Companies will be looking to fill 106,000 new positions in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in the next five years, according to the study released Tuesday by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). That would be good news for a recovering economy, were it not for a severe lack of qualified candidates to fill those positions.

As the sector returns to employment levels unseen since the tech boom of the early 2000s, the study said companies will be looking for applicants who are more than just “code-monkeys” but who also have a degree of business acumen and a diversity of skills. Women are also still severely underrepresented in the industry.

“We are quite comfortable in saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem,’ ” said Paul Swinwood, chief executive of the Ottawa-based industry group.

With demand for ICT professionals growing, annual enrollment rates for Canadian software and computer engineering programs appear to have flattened in recent years. Meanwhile, immigration of foreign workers with relevant ICT training and experience has recently been in decline. As a result, the study warns of “serious and pervasive” recruitment challenges in the coming years, with shortages being most severe for positions requiring several years of experience.

“The people with five to seven years experience just don’t exist anymore because we didn’t hire them five years ago,” Mr. Swinwood said. “The jobs have changed and the people that we need for them have changed.”

When the industry last peaked in 2001, the most sought after ICT workers were generally programmers who could be assigned to write specific pieces of software individually.

“But the skills in anticipation of what will be required going forward is certainly going to be different than it was 10 years ago,” said Evelyn Ledsham, global talent management leader at Open Text Corp. With about 1,200 Canada-based employees, Waterloo, Ont.-based Open Text is the country’s largest software company.

“In the past, people might have only looked for what I would call very silent functional skills, but in today’s marketplace that is just not going to be enough anymore and so many of us have to have the ability to adapt and be flexible,” Ms. Ledsham said.

That flexibility will require gaining expertise in other domains such as e-health, e-finance and digital media, the study said.

Unlike the previous tech boom, which was virtually exclusive to tech-focused companies, the one fast approaching will have its tentacles across the economy.

“This time around, it is the growth of the economy and the growth of information technology in the economy, and the employment is everywhere,” said Mr. Swinwood. “It is with Canadian Tire, it is with Canadian National, with CGI and Microsoft. All of Microsoft’s value-added resellers, the little fires as we know them out there, are just dying for people.”

Eric Gales, president of Microsoft Corp.’s Canadian division, said the software giant has long been aware of the limited talent pool in Canada and has been actively working to expand its outreach.

“There are not enough graduates entering our sector, that is a problem,” he said. “There are also not enough immigrants coming in with the right skills and there is going to be a battle if you like for the skilled professionals in the marketplace [for companies] to be an attractive destination for them,” he said.

Expanding recruitment to more diverse groups is one of several ways to close the gap recommended by the study. It notes that women in particular make up only 25% of all Canadian ICT employees, a figure that declined as recently as January.

” This gender imbalance limits the pool of workers industry can recruit from and compounds the skills shortage in Canada,” the report said, also noting that Aboriginal and First Nations people are underutilized as ICT workers.

© Copyright (c) National Post

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The Worst Resume Mistake EVER!

Posted by sweens on March 29, 2011

By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

What could possibly be the worst mistake you could make when it comes to your resume?

Not targeting it to the kind of job you’re looking for is a biggie. Leaving out keywords that a scanner can pick up is another no-no. So is failing to list your achievements in ways the reader will find meaningful.
But the biggest error of all in putting your resume together is simply this: being sloppy.
A spelling mistake here. Forgetting to leave out information that could be used to discriminate against you there. Sending it in the wrong format. Small bits of sloppiness add up quickly. They can end up getting your resume tossed into the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” pile in a flash. So here are three tips to prevent this from happening.

Tip 1. Don’t Rely Entirely on Spell Check When Proofreading
Think your word processing software will fix all the mistake on your resume? Well, mine couldn’t figure out that in the previous sentence I should have written “all the mistakes” rather than using the singular form of the word “mistake.” Instead, it told me to write “fix the entire mistake on your resume.” So much for letting your computer proofread your resume for you.
What should you do as an alternative? Check out how to get others to go over your pre-final draft and catch the errors. Either free or for a fee, a few more pairs of eyes on your work can spot what you – and that pricey word processor of yours – didn’t.

Tip 2. Customize Your Wording To The Job You’re Applying For
Generic resumes are a dime a dozen. You may be able to get away with a “one size fits all” approach if applying for lower paying jobs such as retail clerk or warehouse worker. But for the higher paying jobs, an employer expects you to put in some extra effort.
Try your best to match the requirements listed in the job ads you’re applying for. And create a dynamic Summary section atop the first page.

Tip 3. Send It In The Proper Format
In our era of electronic job postings and e-resume submissions (sending your application via e-mail and online form), don’t guess which format the employer prefers.

Follow their instructions on the job posting carefully. If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, include your resume as scannable text within the body of the e-mail itself; then attach a version with nice layout and fancier fonts too, just in case they want to show it around to other staff.

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Protus’s Ottawa staff levelled in wake of j2 takeover

Posted by sweens on March 23, 2011

Krystle Chow 
Ottawa Business Journal

More than 100 staff have been let go from Internet fax and communications services provider Protus’s local office since the Ottawa company announced its $213-million acquisition by Hollywood rival j2 Global Communications three months ago, a company official confirmed.

Steve Adams, Protus’s vice-president and general manager, said about 130 or 140 people are currently employed in the Ottawa operations. That’s down significantly from the 300-employee figure recorded in Protus’s latest Ottawa Technology magazine listing.

“When the initial announcement was made, there were layoffs, but that’s behind us now,” said Mr. Adams. “It’s a stable environment here and we’re hiring now; we have open positions in (customer) support and technical areas.”

The news adds detail to an e-mail acquired in early December, in which Protus’s then-CEO, Joseph Nour, wrote to employees that there would be an “immediate reduction” of overall head count.

Mr. Adams stressed that j2 has shown “real commitment” to the Ottawa area and to its e-mail marketing business Campaigner, which Protus acquired in 2008.

According to Mr. Adams, j2 is “keeping all the functions necessary” to run and support Campaigner in town – including sales, marketing, engineering and development, operations and customer support – although he confirmed the accounting department is migrating to j2’s California head office and there is no longer a legal team in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, the MyFax virtual faxing service – which brought in about 81 per cent of Protus’s total revenues in the 12 months leading to Oct. 31, 2010, compared to approximately 11 per cent for Campaigner – will also continue to survive.

“MyFax is a very strong product and a very strong brand, and j2 continues to invest in it and support it,” said Mr. Adams, who pointed out that j2 operates a number of brands in the Internet faxing space, including its own eFax offering.

MyFax and eFax were the subjects of a five-year battle between Protus and j2, with the latter accusing the local firm of infringing on its Internet faxing patents and of sending junk faxes to j2 customers.

Several other competitors in the fax-to-e-mail industry were also involved in j2 lawsuits, including San Francisco-based CallWave Inc. and Miami’s Venali Inc. However, CallWave settled its patent infringement lawsuit with j2 in 2007, with j2 buying its rival’s Internet fax assets in 2009. And like Protus, Venali was acquired by j2 in September 2010 as part of a buying spree that brought a total of eight companies under the j2 umbrella.

Despite the overlap between j2’s various e-faxing brands as a result of the acquisitions, j2 spokesperson Bill Threlkeld noted in an e-mail to OBJ that “MyFax will run as it always has from its Ottawa base” for the foreseeable future.

“Over time, components of the service may migrate to other j2 facilities for efficiency, just as some of j2’s other operations may migrate to Ottawa for efficiency,” he wrote, adding that Protus’s call centre in Ottawa has already begun to take calls for other j2 brands.

The one thing that remains uncertain is the fate of Protus’s my1voice virtual phone service, which Mr. Adams said is “not yet determined.” The business made up three per cent of Protus’s total sales at the time of the j2 acquisition.

“My1voice is important to j2 but … there is some product overlap,” he said.

Protus’s strong presence in the Ottawa tech scene and its second-place position in the Internet faxing industry made the company an attractive target for j2. MyFax reached 500,000 subscribers in 2010, although it trailed behind eFax’s 11 million users.


1997: Protus is founded.

May 2004: Protus introduces Internet-based virtual fax service.

August 2005: j2 Global Communications launches patent lawsuit against Protus.

February 2006: j2 accuses Protus and competitor Venali of sending unsolicited faxes to j2 customers.

2007-2009: Protus wins OBJ’s Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing a high level of job satisfaction among staff.

December 2007: Protus announces that j2 patent suit has been dismissed with prejudice in the central district of California.

June 2008: Protus acquires Campaigner and launches my1voice virtual PBX phone service. j2 files another patent infringement lawsuit against Protus and two other companies in the eastern district of Texas.

February 2009: j2 acquires Callwave’s Internet fax assets.

April 2009: Protus named one of OBJ‘s Fastest Growing Companies.

February 2010: Protus announces it has defeated j2 patents in Europe and the United States.

September 2010: j2 buys Venali.

December 2010: Protus acquired by j2.

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Federal contracts (Feb. 27-March 5)

Posted by sweens on March 17, 2011

Otis Canada Inc.

2480 Lancaster Rd.

Description: Elevator installation and maintenance

Buyer: PWGSC


Altis Human Resources (Ottawa) Inc. and Excel Human Resources Inc., in joint venture

102 Bank St.

Description: Informatices professional services

Buyer: PWGSC


Maplesoft Consulting Inc.

408 Churchill Ave.

Description: Informatices professional services

Buyer: PWGSC


Advanced Chippewa Technologies Inc.

84 Valley Ridge St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: DND


IBM Canada Ltd.

340 Albert St.

Description: ETL software solution

Buyer: RCMP


Otis Canada Inc.

2480 Lancaster Rd.

Description: Elevator installation and maintenance

Buyer: PWGSC


Valcom Consulting Group Inc.

85 Albert St.

Description: Naval architecture

Buyer: DND



150 Isabella St.

Description: ADP software

Buyer: DND


Interis Consulting Inc.

275 Slater St.

Description: Human resource services, business consulting/change management, project management services (supply arrangement TSPS)

Buyer: PWGSC


Systems for Research Corp.

300 Earl Grey Dr.

Description: Optical instruments, test equipment, components and accessories

Buyer: Natural Resources Canada


Advanced Chippewa Technologies Inc.

84 Valley Ridge St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Citizenship and Immigration Canada


Canadian Space Services Ltd.

2336 Craig’s Side Rd.

Description: Radar equipment, except airborne

Buyer: DND


DBA Akran Marketing

2000 Thurston Dr.

Description: Flags and pennants

Buyer: Canadian Heritage


Integrated Network Security Alliance 2005 Inc.

2725 Queensview Dr.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Treasury Board of Canada


Motorola Canada Ltd.

360 Albert St.

Description: Radio and television communications equipment, airborne

Buyer: RCMP


IBM Canada Ltd.

340 Albert St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: HRSDC


Stoneworks Technologies Inc.

2212 Gladwin Cres.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Natural Resources Canada


Bell Canada

160 Elgin St.

Description: Communications security equipment and components

Buyer: DND


Dalian Enterprises Inc.

151 Slater St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Correctional Service of Canada


DLS Technology Corp.

1376 Bank St.

Description: ADP software

Buyer: Treasury Board of Canada


Intergraph Canada Ltd.

1600 Carling Ave.

Description: Cameras, still picture

Buyer: DND


Johnson Controls L.P.

30 Edgewater St.

Description: Building automated control systems

Buyer: PWGSC


Maxys Staffing & Consulting

173 Dalhousie St.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


S.i. Systems Inc.

130 Slater St.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants Inc.

275 Slater St.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


Veritaaq Technology House

2327 St. Laurent Blvd.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


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