Wedia Group: Delivering better content experiences

Wedia Vice President of Sales and Operations, North America Sebastien Bardoz in The Canadian Business Quarterly

One of the top ten Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors in the world, global ICT company Wedia helps to efficiently manage, customize, and deliver marketing for business success to over 250 brands worldwide.

A seasoned executive with 15 years in computer software, Vice President of Sales and Operations for North America at Wedia, Sebastien Bardoz helps brands and retailers tackle their marketing operations and digital transformation challenges, including Marketing Resource Management, Digital Asset Management, Digital eXperiences, and Distributed or Channel Marketing platforms. Sebastien spoke with us recently to discuss the foundations of Wedia Group, and the specific services a Digital Asset Management vendor offers clients.

Digital Asset Management

“Wedia started back in 2001,” Sebastien explains, “but we really started selling martech solutions to global enterprises since 2010. We started operations here in Canada in 2020 after the signing of our first client, Hydro-Québec, and after a few years in the North American market. We have about 150 people in multiple countries. Our technology has been recognized by research firms like Gartner and Forrester at multiple occasions since 2016.”

A truly global company, Wedia has offices in the heart of New York City, Paris, and Frankfurt, as well as the recently opened office in Toronto, a few blocks from the CN Tower. The firm works with over 250 enterprise clients, each servicing their own global portfolios.

Wedia solves a multitude of issues for its clients, but tends to the see the following four pain points among its clients: managing the volume and variety of assets, delivering better customer experiences, localizing content while maintaining brand consistency, and making sure all content is in line with particular regulations.

Wedia Vice President of Sales and Operations, North America Sebastien Bardoz in The Canadian Business Quarterly
One of the top ten Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors in the world, global ICT company Wedia helps to efficiently manage, customize, and deliver marketing for business success to over 250 brands worldwide

“We have clients such as a home improvement retailer that has more than 5m assets of all the products that they are selling, from lawnmowers to screwdrivers, and they have to manage all of these assets, like images, videos, how-tos and documents in one place, and make sure that its accessible to everybody.”

Another challenge our clients face, like one of our clients in the sporting goods, is that with such a proliferation of e-commerce sites today, they need to make sure they deliver powerful customer experiences and contextually personalized content automatically across all touchpoints. Clients have to showcase their products in all possible outlets, making sure that they are of the best quality to encourage sales. Wedia males this possible by helping them deliver billions of assets every month.

“The third objective is particularly important for global companies, such as our client, an iconic motorcycle brand – they have to make sure that they localize their content to all local needs. It’s translation, but also the specifics of all the markets, like regulation and cultural differences. They want to give the capability to their sales and local teams to customize marketing content in a single place in a simple manner while maintaining brand consistency.”

The last pain point – making sure all regulations are complied with – is most important for highly-regulated industries such as life sciences, banks, financial services and insurance companies, which must adhere to extremely stringent regulations.

“When we started back in 2010 in the Digital Asset Management market, the solution was meant initially only to simply manage a few documents or images and store them in a single place, but over time people and marketers had additional needs.”

These additional needs include creating and delivering personalized content experiences, integrating with the company ecosystem, mastering omnichannel strategies, and measuring the effectiveness of content. Over the years these capabilities have been built into the DAM system.

Wedia Vice President of Sales and Operations, North America Sebastien Bardoz in The Canadian Business Quarterly
By combining artificial intelligence, computer vision, cognitive networks, and video management, Wedia goes above and beyond to provide the best user experience

In April of 2022, Wedia announced the acquisition of Tripnity, creator of Iconosquare, a powerful social media analytics tool that allows Wedia to offer a seamless solution to manage all marketing content and visuals, and dynamically distribute them on all social channels.

“Today, the performance and efficiency of content is key for all marketers. They want to make sure that whatever they are producing is generating value and sales. As such, the acquisition of Iconosquare helps our client to better understand how the asset is performing on the various social networks.”

The longer term goals for the company will begin with strengthening its presence in the Canadian market, growing that arm of the business faster and bringing in an influx of new clients.

Wedia Vice President of Sales and Operations, North America Sebastien Bardoz in The Canadian Business Quarterly
A truly global company, Wedia has offices in the heart of New York City, Paris, and Frankfurt, as well as the recently opened office in Toronto, a few blocks from the CN Tower

“In terms of technology, we are looking at increasing and going deeper into all analytics capabilities in order to make sure that we provide a full dashboard with regards to the assets of our clients. We are also engaged in improving the way artificial intelligence is used to help our clients gain in efficiency.”

Wedia helps large organizations efficiently manage, customize and deliver their marketing assets for more relevance, impact and overall business success. By combining artificial intelligence, computer vision, cognitive networks, and video management, Wedia goes above and beyond to provide the best user experience. Find out more about Wedia Group by visiting www.wedia-group.com.

Vytality at Home: Providing exceptional home care experiences in Calgary

Vytality at Home Co-President Nicole Dyer & Brad Lohman in The Canadian Business Quarterly

Pairing a family focus with innovative technology to create a transparent approach to care, Calgary-based home care service Vytality at Home aims to create exceptional experiences and an enhanced quality of life for all its stakeholders.

As co-Presidents and co-Directors of Vytality at Home, Brad Lohman and Nicole Dyer’s passion for seniors allows them to lead their growing team in creating exceptional experiences for their clients, families, and partners. Mr Lohman is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and holds a Masters of Nursing in Health Administration. His passion for assisting seniors and their families has shaped his 30 year nursing career and led him to complete well over 10,000 geriatric assessments. Mrs Dyer is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources and holds an Associate Trainer certification from the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. She has worked with seniors and within senior living since 2003, and was named as one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine in 2020. We spoke with the co-Presidents recently about the innovative products that help Vytality provide care, expansion plans for the future, and the overall goal for creating exceptional experiences to help senior clients age at home.

Creating exceptional experiences

“Vytality at Home was founded in 2018 by both Brad and I,” Mrs Dyer explains. “We both have a strong background in seniors and senior housing. What we really started to see was that seniors were lacking choice in the homecare sector, and we really wanted to create something that was innovative and gave seniors and their families choice and transparency.”

When the company was created, the decision was made to make it a fully private company, which allows Vytality to remain flexible in its service offerings, without the need for government funding.

Vytality at Home Co-President Nicole Dyer & Brad Lohman in The Canadian Business Quarterly
With a foundation of creating exceptional experiences, Vytality has been able to grow significantly, and looks forward to continuing to grow and provide services to even more Canadians over the coming years

“What we do offer is the ability for our clients to age in place successfully, wherever they live,” Mr Lohman adds. “Whether it’s their home or in long-term care. We do this by offering a wide-range of services and support which can include homemaking, meal preparation, laundry, cognitive activities, personal care – whatever the client requires.”

Since the company began in 2018, it has been growing continuously, and now employs just over 100 staff who help to service around 70-80 senior clients in the goal of ageing in place and leading a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Vytality at Home Co-President Nicole Dyer & Brad Lohman in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Vytality at Home also designed and developed this very innovative mobile app for clients and families, giving them peace of mind and transparency

The company has a number of key differences that distinguish it from competitors in the space, not least the diversity of background and expertise of the co-Presidents in senior care, as well as the fact that the team is employed rather than contracted.

“We’ve also designed and developed this very innovative mobile app,” Mr Lohman says, “that our clients and families really love, because it gives them peace of mind and transparency, and communication with our team, which is not done in the industry.”

In addition, a number of key partnerships allow Vytality at Home to create a circle of care around its clients, providing a variety of needs designed to keep them safe and happy as they remain in their homes.

“We’re both really excited about expansion plans,” Mrs Dyer adds. “We’ve dipped our toe in the water out in Vernon, British Columbia, and started a satellite location out there. We’re currently looking at options of expansion in other Alberta cities, both Lethbridge as well as Edmonton, and look forward to looking at the Prairie Provinces in late 2022/early 2023.”

Vytality at Home Co-President Nicole Dyer & Brad Lohman in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Since the company began in 2018, it has been growing continuously, and now employs just over 100 staff who help to service around 70-80 senior clients in the goal of ageing in place and leading a happy and healthy lifestyle

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined an interesting light on the homecare industry, with Mrs Dyer and Mr Lohman understanding well before the start that individuals who are ageing want the option to be able to age in place, with one study saying that 83% of seniors would do whatever it takes to live out their golden years at home.

“I think the media has really showcased a lot of the challenges for seniors during covid, as far as forced isolation requirements in long-term care and supportive living. These challenges have created a chance for families to discuss the importance of looking at options to allow their loved ones to stay at home as they age.”

Added to this, seniors are becoming far more vocal about their needs and expectations as they age. Where in the past, many would have been complacent about the kinds of services that are available to them, most now want to ensure they have a choice.

Vytality at Home Co-President Nicole Dyer & Brad Lohman in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Pairing a family focus with innovative technology to create a transparent approach to care, Calgary-based home care service Vytality at Home aims to create exceptional experiences and an enhanced quality of life for all its stakeholders

“Current seniors, and future seniors, are now saying not only do I want to choose who’s coming to the door, but I want to choose when they are coming and I want to outline exactly what they’re going to do for me while they’re there. These are all elements that we’ve really built into the foundation of Vytality at Home.”

The core value of the company is to stay true to its purpose of creating exceptional experiences for its clients, and it recognizes that there is no ‘one size fits all’ offering for in home care services.

“We really customize our services to each and every client that we support,” Mr Lohman says. “Some clients want basic housekeeping, and some clients want us to be there 24 hours a day to help them through their palliative care experience. We recognize that by focusing on the customer experience and staying true to our purpose we remain able to assist in a wide range of services and supports, and allow that individual to age successfully in their home.”

With a foundation of creating exceptional experiences, Vytality has been able to grow significantly, and looks forward to continuing to grow and provide services to even more Canadians over the coming years. Find out more about Vytality at Home by visiting www.vytality.ca.

Ansarada (ASX:AND): Developing software for companies to protect and realise their potential in their most critical activities

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly

A global B2B SaaS company, ASX-listed Ansarada (ASX:AND) develops technology to solve the problems and frustrations caused by legacy tools, processes, and ways of thinking, enabling businesses to know, raise, and realize their potential.

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley’s vision is to help millions of businesses raise and protect their potential so they can grow sustainably and have a positive impact. Ansarada was established with just $30k in capital and now is publicly listed (ASX: AND). With more than 500,000 professionals using Ansarada’s platform, the company has been a winner of Great Place to Work Awards for 11 consecutive years. Mr Riley is passionate about leadership, simplicity, challenging the status quo, and serving those less fortunate. We spoke with him recently about the formation of the company, the unique products it offers to help customers realize their potential, and the sustained success it has seen since becoming publicly listed.

M&A deal

Starting off the back of a Mergers & Acquisitions deal, Ansarada is a growing company with a unique name, devised as a formation of the first names of the company’s four founders – CTO Andrew Slavin, CEO Sam Riley, CFO Rachel Riley, and COO Daphne Chang.

“In 2005, Rachel, my sister, was working for KPMG preparing a company to be sold,” Mr Riley explains. “Andrew was the Chief Information Officer of that company, and Daphne was the financial controller. During that process they had to get due diligence information ready, which was very stressful and they discovered all these issues in the business.”

When it came time to take the company live, all this information was disclosed to potential buyers. Back then, buyers would do due diligence in person, flying in to the location and physically looking through stacks of paper documents for the information needed.

“The advisors at the time said they should get a virtual data room, because it’s going to be quicker and cheaper, and you get a bit more control. So Andrew ended up building one on his own for that particular deal, and as the deal completed they thought there must be a business in this.”

It was at this point that Mr Riley became involved. With Andrew taking care of software engineering, and Rachel and Daphne being accountants, the group needed somebody with sales and marketing skills to round out the company.

“There was a lot of time and stress involved in these deals. There’s a lot of risk, there’s a lot on the line. So the four of us got together, and our original goal was just to make life easier for those people, save them some time, reduce some stress, give them some analytics to make a confident decision.”

The company is dedicated to getting to know clients well enough to be able to adapt to their problems and therefore help them as well as possible. After many years of doing deals it has been able to identify the gaps in the business that due diligence can illuminate.

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly
With over $1 trillion in deal value transacted on its platform since 2005, Ansarada has accumulated over fifteen years of experience on 24,000+ critical deals, helping raise and protect every company's potential

“It’s often too late to fix them in a few weeks or a month, and we see a lot of businesses fail or really get an adverse outcome. To be honest there are some investors and advisors out there that would take advantage of those gaps in the company to serve their own needs.”

Mr Riley admits this never sat well with him, and this was a driving force behind the company’s offering – to help companies become more aware and prepared to fill some of these gaps and improve day-to-day operations.

“That would make a huge difference to their potential, and that would protect them from adverse things and help them grow sustainably. So that’s where we started diving in, to governance, and risk, and compliance, because usually it’s those things that are neglected in a company’s day-to-day operations, but they’re so important.”

In addition, industry trends dictate that deals involve more risk and compliance activity, with businesses getting more complex. It’s no longer sustainable to manage this kind of information manually on spreadsheets, and that’s where Ansarada comes in.

“It’s almost like a hidden tax – if they don’t fix it today then they’re going to have to pay it later anyway. So that’s where we started building products for people to do governance, risk, and compliance, and we made a couple of acquisitions.”

Another area Ansarada’s products are used in is to help major infrastructure delivery, such as the building of airports or public rail systems, where there’s a big tender process, a lot of due diligence and questions asked, and it has to be a fair and equitable process.

“All the functionality we built for people to do that in M&A, we extended that into tendering and procurement, particularly in high-value, high-risk projects. Trillions of dollars of major infrastructure delivery runs on our platforms, which is a very fast growth area of the economy.”

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly
The company has now been ASX-listed for just over a year (ASX:AND), and has reported six times to the market

The company has a number of products in addition to the impressive Tender Platform, with the major offerings being Deal Preparation, Board Management, and a specific product to help with Risk & Compliance and ESG Management and Reporting.

“The deals product can be used to do targeted acquisitions, and the integration work. Post-merger there’s a lot of integration of companies, so we’ve got an excellent workflow tool that helps companies do the integration. If you’re raising capital, like debt-based, equity, you’re doing an IPO, you’re going to sell an asset – our deals product runs all of that.”

The board governance product is useful for keeping things organized during board meetings, as well as committees such as Audit & Risk and Renumeration, all of which can be managed through that product.

“We are very unique, there’s no one company that does all of these things on one platform. There are individual solutions within each of those categories, but what makes us unique is we’ve looked at the problem holistically.”

The company’s core market is the lower-middle market companies that are growing, but the CFO has all of these Risk & Compliance issues on their plate in addition to running all of the finance needs.

“Those companies are our overall target market, because we give them the software capability and automation that can often help them when they need it, instead of having to hire ten people to do all that work.”

The company has now been ASX-listed for just over a year (ASX:AND), and has reported six times to the market. Each time it has reported improvement in revenue, customer growth, and profitability, with the company trading at 50% revenue growth YOY.

Ansarada CEO Sam Riley in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Ansarada CEO Sam Riley’s vision is to help millions of businesses raise and protect their potential so they can grow sustainably and have a positive impact

“We’re in a great shape. The milestones that led to it were solving customer problems, which they see as valuable, and expanding our customers into all those solutions that I spoke about. The major strategy we have is to offer everything in bitesize chunks, and we make that use initially free. So there’s no risk for the customer to use any part of our product.”

This ‘freemium’ strategy allows customers to assess the value in a product, being able to convert it into a paid customer if and when they identify value in it. This also means that every deal it is involved in, the company is exposed to a number of other organizations, making it an excellent expansion channel.

“The long term goal is we want millions of businesses operating with a high degree of confidence, and growing sustainably and having a massive impact, and we want to do that by helping them with all their governance, risk and compliance needs. We also want to bring a great ESG solution to the market.”

Being able to express Environmental Social Governance capability to the market is increasingly important for companies, and there aren’t many solutions in the space, all of which are incredibly complex. Ansarada wants to make that easy for companies.

“I really recommend everyone dive on our website,” Mr Riley concludes. “We have ansarada.com/tv, and we’ve got 2-3 minute films around our customers who tell their story in their own language. So if a lot of this work that we do is foreign to you, just check out some of those videos and you’ll hear various people’s experiences and the value we bring to them.”

With over $1 trillion in deal value transacted on its platform since 2005, Ansarada has accumulated over fifteen years of experience on 24,000+ critical deals, helping raise and protect every company’s potential. Find out more about Ansarada by visiting www.ansarada.com.

Property Solutions Real Estate Group: Delivering flexible and positive real estate solutions

Property Solutions Real Estate Group Broker/Owner Kerry Hunter in The Canadian Business Quarterly

A Calgary-based real estate and property management company that promises a positive experience for every customer, Property Solutions Real Estate Group helps clients maximize cash flow and reduce the stress associated with investing in real estate and rental properties.

Combining a passion for helping people, entrepreneurial spirit, and background in negotiations, legislation, and contracts, Property Solutions Broker/Owner Kerry Hunter brought her vision of a full-service Property Management and Real Estate brokerage to life in 2013. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Kerry has grown the brokerage into the successful company it is today, managing over 600 properties in that time, and producing top selling realtors. We spoke to Kerry recently about her beginnings as a realtor, the major issues currently affecting the industry, and the relationship-building approach that defines the company’s offering.

Building relationships

“When starting as a Realtor, I noticed a gap in the market,” Kerry says. “At the time, not many brokerages provided both the property management side and the real estate side of the business, so I really wanted to provide more options for consumers, as well as realtors to be able to offer more solutions to their clients.”

At Property Solutions, Realtors can be involved with the leasing and communication with owners and tenants. This helps the firm provide personal assistance for an owner wanting to purchase additional properties to add to their portfolio or sell their existing investments, or for a tenant looking at buying their own home.

Kerry’s route into Real Estate came about from a number of what she describes as “sliding doors moments”, with her previous legislative work leading her into a job that started her on the path to Property Solutions.

“I had a background in criminal justice and legal contracts, and I was then hired in a position overseas in Brunei Darussalam, working as a housing manager. I worked for a company providing homes for teachers, and I just loved the diversity. Every home was different, every landlord had something different to offer, and I really began to love the Real Estate process.”

Property Solutions Real Estate Group Broker/Owner Kerry Hunter in The Canadian Business Quarterly
At Property Solutions, Realtors can be involved with the leasing and communication with owners and tenants. This helps the firm provide personal assistance for an owner wanting to purchase additional properties to add to their portfolio or sell their existing investments, or for a tenant looking at buying their own home

On her return to Calgary, Kerry used personal and family property investment and management to start her own company. Once she became licensed, she worked with a franchise brokerage, and then expanded to a full-service brokerage.

The driving principle of Property Solutions is to recognize that each property and owner situation is different, allowing the team to prioritize responding to the individual needs of each client.

“Ultimately, it’s about taking the time to find the best solution for each client, and that is what makes us different. I feel every client deserves a Property Manager and a Realtor they can trust. We ask a lot of questions, finding out the short and long term goals, as that’s important in making a decision.”

In a constantly changing market, it pays to look carefully at what those solutions might be. By working with investors to find appropriate properties that fit their diverse needs, the company builds relationships with the owner and the tenant, further protecting their investment and maximizing profits.

Property Solutions Real Estate Group Broker/Owner Kerry Hunter in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Kerry has grown the brokerage into the successful company it is today, managing over 600 properties in that time, and producing top selling realtors

“Our Administrators and our Realtors are fantastic, and an exceptional brokerage cannot run without an amazing team. Day-to-day responsibilities range from assessing properties for sale, working with tenant issues, trying to find the best tenants for specific properties, and protecting the properties – looking at minor repairs or renovations that might be needed.”

Protecting the investment property and maximizing profits are essential from a business perspective, and that requires exceptional relationship building and trust and communication with property owners and tenants.

“Right now, in Calgary specifically, home sales are on the rise, and this is reflective of the market really over the last two years, when some homeowners became unintentional landlords. They had a home, their situation changed, they couldn’t sell it at that time, so they rented it out for a while – they’re now able to sell their homes at a good price.”

Another issue in the industry is relocation for work, with many owners moving out of the country and wanting to keep hold of their homes. Property Solutions therefore works with many non-residents of Canada, supporting them through that change.

“One of the things we’re seeing recently is a lot of outside province investors, and of course they need good Property Management to take care of their investments, they’re not there just to see what’s happening. So that trust has to be there.”

The issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to work remotely and perform virtual inspections when it wasn’t possible to enter a home. By adapting electronic delivery of services, the team can now easily switch from office mode to remote work. Clear communication has been essential during this time.

“The last couple of years have been a challenge for sure,” Kerry says, “but I’m really proud of the way the team has worked together with their landlords and tenants, having those difficult conversations with respect and kindness.”

Property Solutions Real Estate Group Broker/Owner Kerry Hunter in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Right now, in Calgary specifically, home sales are on the rise, and this is reflective of the market really over the last two years

In an ever-changing market, keeping on top of shifts in the business landscape is particularly important, something Property Solutions is committed to doing in order to help clients get the very best of its services.

“We’re working to build our Realtor team as well, making sure that our Realtors are well-versed at Real Estate and Property Management, so they can offer the different solutions to our clients and reducing that stress for homeowners, regardless of their situation, whether it’s to sell now or invest in a difficult buying market and what that might look like in the future.”

Property Solutions Real Estate Group Broker/Owner Kerry Hunter in The Canadian Business Quarterly
By recognizing that each property and owner situation is different, and prioritizing and responding to the needs of each client individually, Property Solutions is making a real difference in the Calgary Real Estate market

Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the turbulence of ever-changing markets, good business always comes down to respect, relationship building, communication, and trust, and these remain key components in Real Estate.

“It’s not just about the properties,” Kerry concludes. “It’s about people, their homes, their investments, sometimes emotional attachments to that, and planning for the future. Every situation is different, every person is different. At Property Solutions we genuinely want to listen, and offer sound, flexible, and positive solutions. Really, that’s what we’re about.”

By recognizing that each property and owner situation is different, and prioritizing and responding to the needs of each client individually, Property Solutions is making a real difference in the Calgary Real Estate market. Find out more about Property Solutions Real Estate Group by visiting www.propertysolutionsrealestate.ca.

Ride Time: The Brothers of Bargains

Ride Time Co-Owners Doug & Andrew MacIver in The Canadian Business Quarterly

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, used car dealer Ride Time provides innovative credit solutions and quality vehicles, and is committed to creating a positive experience for customers, even under the toughest circumstances.

Co-Owners Andrew and Doug MacIver – otherwise known as the ‘Brothers of Bargains’ – are the head and the heart at Ride Time, an independent dealership in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As third generation car dealers, Andrew and Doug have been around vehicle dealerships all their lives, and have leveraged technology, social media, and video content to create a brand that is recognized across North America and beyond. They were subjects of a national reality TV show called ‘Bargain Brothers’ and have both received Auto Remarketing Canada’s ‘40 Under 40’ award. The brothers spoke to us recently about growing up in a family of car dealers, the freedom gained from foregoing the franchise model to become independent, and the commitment to a customer first business that has brought Ride Time incredible international recognition.

Riding high

As third generation car dealers Andrew and Doug are once had six franchise stores inside the family. Their father was particularly successful in the franchise business, at one point being the largest Chrysler dealer by volume in Canada.

“Ride Time really started back in 2007,” Andrew explains. “I started it with my dad after I graduated from Georgian College, and we really wanted to start from scratch. If we didn’t have a franchise dealer to tell us what to do, how could we recreate the business, and we’ve done that with some of our unique processes.”

After having worked within the franchise model for such a long time, the family came to a point where this model had become restrictive, and Ride Time grew out of a desire to break free of these restrictions and become independent.

“My dad was tired of the handcuffs that the franchise model put around you from marketing, or choosing what inventory you had to carry,” Doug says. “Having a used car dealership where you’re 100% in charge of your future was really appealing to him.”

The brothers’ paths into the industry were surprisingly different considering their family ties. Doug played professional hockey for nine years, spending six of those with in the US Minor Leagues and three in Europe, before joining his father and brother Andrew, who had a much more straightforward journey, in the business in 2010.

“I knew that I wanted to be in the car business my whole life,” says Andrew. “I had a passion for it. I remember at six years old begging my dad to allow me to come into work on Saturdays. My first job in the dealership was a greeter – I stood by the front door and anyone that walked in, I would thank them for coming to visit my dad and hope that they buy a car.”

From there, Andrew began answering the phones, and once he had obtained his driver’s license started washing and driving cars. After High School, he took a year out before going to study to make sure this was really the business for him.

Ride Time Co-Owners Doug & Andrew MacIver in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Ride Time and the ‘Brothers of Bargains’ are well set to take advantage of the bright future for used car sales in Canada

“I felt blessed my whole life that I always knew what I wanted to do. I always thought it would be a shame that you would go through four years of post-secondary education to get out and find that you hated what you did every day.”

In 2012, the brothers’ father sadly passed away, signaling a change in both their lives and the direction of the business. Doug and Andrew were suddenly thrust into leadership roles in the dealership, and decisions needed to be made on how to move forward.

“We hired an advertising agency out of New York,” Doug says, “and they were going to help us with digital marketing and some different things. When our dad passed away we had a meeting with them and they said we’ve got to brand ourselves – in conjunction with them, we came up with the ‘Brothers of Bargains’.”

This unique rebranding led to a number of TV spots promoting the dealership, with new commercials every month helping create a following for the business, with the brand beginning to grow significantly as a result.

“The automotive industry suffers from a perception issue,” Andrew says. “My firm belief is one of the biggest problems traditional dealerships have is they force customers into their sales process, and their sales process is developed to benefit the dealership, not necessarily to benefit the customer.”

At Ride Time, the true competition comes not from other dealerships, but the perceptions of customers in other industries they deal with. Andrew cites Amazon as a perfect example of a company that has spent time and money reducing any friction in the sales process, making the sales process it as easy as possible for the consumer.

“If you’re forcing your customers through a traditional sales process at a dealership, you are creating friction, and that friction hampers the customer experience. So when we created this business, what we really tried to create is a customer-first business.”

In practice, this looks like a single point of contact for customers, who look after their best interests, with none of the traditional rigmarole of having to contact the manager and retell their story before any deals can be made.

“All of our salespeople are non-commission, which means the customer can have the peace of mind that whatever we’re trying to help them with, is the best fit for them, not necessarily the vehicle that makes the salesperson the most money.”

Ride Time is always looking to offer the best value to the customer, running services such as complementary oil changes for life, and a heavy focus on merchandising inventory so that customers can see exactly what they are looking for before they even enter the dealership.

“Our consumers, from no matter where they are in the world, can see forty-plus High Definition photos of each vehicle,” Doug adds, “as well as videos of the vehicle, and we have three different 360 immersive views of each piece of our inventory.”

When the dealership put up a new facility was built in 2016, it was built around a state-of-the-art photo studio, so that no matter the weather, Doug and Andrew can always take unbelievable photos of their inventory.

The power of video

The growth of the dealership over the years since the ‘Brothers of Bargain’ rebranding has been astonishing, with the success of Ride Time’s YouTube channel helping to promote the business across the world.

“It all goes back to the power of video,” Andrew says. “At this point we’ve got millions of views on our YouTube page, and that really had to do with us making a video of each vehicle that we have for sale. We started posting that on our YouTube channel and our viewership grew from there. It’s the power of the internet being able to shrink the world.”

Ride Time Co-Owners Doug & Andrew MacIver in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, used car dealer Ride Time provides innovative credit solutions and quality vehicles

This ability to shrink the world has seen the dealership sell vehicles in the United States, Germany, Lebanon, and the Bahamas, as well as extending its reach across Canada and into the Northern Territories. This has been achieved through utilizing the tools available and making service and price point desirable to overseas consumers.

“We joke that we’re addicted to technology,” Doug adds. “We price our inventory through a third-party technology partner, to make sure we are the most competitive price out there. Obviously, if you’re shopping from different parts of the world, you’ve got to have a reason why you’re going to do business with somebody. Our pricing is second to none.”

The automotive industry has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, just as every other industry has, with the big talk being about the shortage of vehicles being sold into the used market.

“Used cars are created from rental car companies, repos and lease returns,” Doug explains, “and when a vehicle is sold. A lot of new car sales have used car trade-ins, and that’s how these used cars are created. Well, if new car supply is off or non-existent, there’s going to be no trade-ins.”

The Canadian government did a decent job of protecting and feeding the automotive economy throughout the pandemic, and as a result repossession dropped to the lowest it has been for a very long time.

“Travelling globally came to a screeching halt; manufacturers quit selling rental car companies vehicles, because they didn’t have enough to supply their own retail customers, so there were no rentals coming back. It’s really put a strain on supply. Also, if new car dealers don’t have new cars to sell, they’re going to get more active in the used car market.”

With new car dealers typically holding around 70% of their inventory as trade-ins, without those trade-ins they end up fishing in the same pond as independent dealers such as Ride Time. The hope had been that this issue would be resolved this year, but all signs look like it will continue into 2023.

Ride Time Co-Owners Andrew & Doug MacIver
Co-Owners Andrew and Doug MacIver – otherwise known as the ‘Brothers of Bargains’ – are the head and the heart at Ride Time, an independent dealership in Winnipeg, Manitoba

“What we do find is,” Andrew says, “the price of a new car has got so expensive. Since 2017, the average new car price [in the US] is now up $11,581, or roughly 33%. That number in 2017 was up 35% in the last 20 years. That means new car prices have gotten so expensive that you’re going to push a lot of people out of that new car market.”

With the coming interest rate rises in Canada, new vehicles are only going to get more expensive. For Ride Time, this creates a great opportunity to sell more used vehicles to people getting priced out of the new car market.

“Vehicles in general are a need, especially in the Prairies,” Doug adds. “We travel greater distances. Consumers still need vehicles. We made a commitment that we’re always going to stock inventory. We’ve done our best to keep our inventory levels high, because people in our community and across the country are going to need used cars.”

All the signs are pointing to the used car industry continuing to grow, as more and more consumers decide that the high prices of the new market are just not worth it for the value they offer. Which means the future for dealerships like Ride Time promises to be bright.

“The car business is an interesting industry,” Doug concludes, “because no two days are the same. There are always challenges, there are ups-and-downs forever, and it’s an exciting, exhilarating industry to be involved in.”

With its commitment to selling used cars on the customer’s terms, Ride Time and the ‘Brothers of Bargains’ are well set to take advantage of the bright future for used car sales in Canada and across the world. Find out more about Ride Time by visiting www.ridetime.ca.

Sproule Insurance: Straightforward insurance products, advice and prices

Sproule Insurance Owner Jay Sproule in The Canadian Business Quarterly

A full service, boutique, general insurance brokerage in Calgary, Alberta, Sproule Insurance sells and provides advice for automobile, property, commercial, and life insurance products for all Albertans.

Company owner and Broker Principal Jay Sproule is an entrepreneur with a background in hospitality, retail, sales, and management, and an insurance professional. In 2013, he had the idea to create a new insurance brokerage, focused on referral marketing and a unique customer experience designed to deliver products, services, and advice tailored to the individual customer. Mr Sproule spoke to us recently to tell us about how he built the business, the unique offering the company has in the industry, and the resurgence of Alberta as a great place to do business.

Building a business

“I started in the business back in 2003,” Mr Sproule says, “just fell into the business in a customer service role with a different brokerage, and learned the ins and outs of the insurance business, and all the products and the services and understanding the customer.”

Mr Sproule soon moved into a sales role with this brokerage, spending his time meeting new customers and learning all about their businesses and what they needed to help them grow. This later led to a move into a management role, and the opportunity to buy in an equity position in his existing list of clientele

“By 2012, I could see changes happening in the industry, and I had a real vision of what I wanted to do and bring to the table. I was at an age where I could take on a bit more risk, and was pretty excited about maybe what I could do in the industry. To that end, I made an offer to purchase my book of clientele.”

From there, Mr Sproule met with various top ten insurance companies operating in Canada and was able to obtain contracts to place his business. By May of 2013, he was able to open Sproule Insurance Inc. as a full-service general insurance brokerage.

As a full-service brokerage for products and advice, the company offers automobile insurance (personal or commercial), personal property insurance (homes, condos, rented and seasonal dwellings), commercial insurance (small, medium and large businesses), and term life insurance.

“One of the newest products that we have to offer that we’re incredibly proud of is a high-valued homeowners insurance product. It’s a very specialized, niche product. We have the availability of a few unique products, and we’re one of the few brokers that have access to this line of business.”

Sproule Insurance Owner Jay Sproule in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Full-service brokerage for products and advice, the company offers automobile insurance, personal property insurance, commercial insurance, and term life insurance

The insurance space in Canada is big, and there are a lot of different ways to operate within it. Sproule Insurance takes a flexible approach, doing business whichever way the individual customer wants to.

“Insurance started as a brick-and-mortar situation, and really over the last ten years or so there’s been a switch to the digital, online space. I think moving to the digital space our competitors have tried to make insurance seem very simple, and it can be in some respects, but these are very complicated products.”

Customers need trained staff to help navigate these complex contracts, and Sproule Insurance aims to sit in the middle of the digital and traditional spaces, bringing both a hand-holding approach and an online offer.

“Whether customers want to meet us face-to-face,” Mr Sproule adds, “either at our office or their place of business, or complete the process online, we can certainly accommodate all those facets.”

Industry issues

As with most industries, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has created some interesting effects when it comes to insurance, with Sproule Insurance encountering several different issues in terms of staff, customers, and the company as a whole.

“Luckily with our staff and team, we had already put the infrastructure in place prior to covid hitting, which we’re certainly thankful for, having the ability for staff to work outside of the office. So we were able to really just flick a switch, so the learning curve for us was very simple. I think the customers had a harder time with it.”

Sproule Insurance Owner Jay Sproule in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Sproule Insurance moved their office to downtown Calgary just before Covid hit, but they're now looking forward to a return to normalcy and the city's rejuvination

As a result of the industry serving several different demographics, issues arose from the difference in age ranges and comfort levels in doing business online. This resulted in the need to spend more time with customers, teaching them how to use the online infrastructure and communicate with the company in a different way.

“If we look at it from a provider’s standpoint, it actually had some positive impact in certain ways. We can talk about less frequency of claims, less vehicles on the road. Also with staff working from home, they’re able to mitigate problems that were happening at home, so we’re actually seeing a little bit of a decline in claims frequency on property insurance too.”

In the vast insurance space in Alberta, Sproule Insurance is a mature business moving through an ever-changing industry, with one of the most significant recent changes being the move to a direct compensation model for automobile insurance.

“We’ve had to navigate these changes, and certainly it brings an importance to dealing with a good insurance company. We’re really having to communicate to customers some of these changes.”

Another big issue in the industry is the continuing impact of climate change, which has made a big difference in the availability and cost of insurance, as the frequency of extreme weather events rises.

“As urbanization continues to happen, especially in western Canada, with two large cities in Calgary and Edmonton, bad things tend to hit significant areas. Insurance companies are trying to navigate how to provide a high level of coverage and mitigate the increase in costs.”

Sproule Insurance Owner Jay Sproule in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Company owner and Broker Principal Jay Sproule is an entrepreneur with a background in hospitality, retail, sales, and management, and an insurance professional

Another big change has been the recent huge consolidation in the brokerage industry, with an influx of capital to larger brokerage corporations helping them make big moves in the industry, which has come with both positive and negative impacts.

“Some of the larger players are buying up a lot of the smaller Mom-and-Pop brokerages. In generations past, some of these brokerages would be handed down to future generations or sold to other individuals. We’re finding a lot of customers don’t want to be caught up in that mix, so as a medium-sized brokerage we’re finding some real advantages in that.”

A resurgent Alberta

As a referral-based marketing business, the future goals for Sproule Insurance hinge on making more connections with referral sources such as like-minded and complimentary businesses such as real estate agents, car dealerships, and lawyers.

Sproule Insurance Owner Jay Sproule in The Canadian Business Quarterly
Sproule Insurance has been in business since 2013 and has recently introduced a new specialized, high-valued homeowners insurance product

“We also want to bring to market more specialized services for our clients, and create a situation where we’re providing specialized products for a number of people. In terms of growth and expansion, we’re definitely Alberta-based, there’s lots of room to grow in this province, but long term hopefully there’s the opportunity to work outside the province.”

The future for the area itself in Alberta, and Calgary in particular, looks equally bright, after years of the province being known primarily for oil and gas, and struggling to expand into other sectors.

“It’s really exciting to see our mojo coming back. We moved our office to downtown Calgary just before covid hit, and we started to see some excitement happen, with other types of businesses coming downtown to repopulate. We’re seeing finance, IT, green energy and these kinds of things. Alberta is up and coming again.”

With its straightforward insurance products, advice and prices, Sproule Insurance is providing the insurance advice that Albertans need. Find out more about Sproule Insurance Inc. by visiting www.sprouleinsurance.com.

Altasciences: Fully integrated problem-solving solutions

Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin in The CBQ

Headquartered in Laval, Canada, Altasciences is an integrated drug development solution company offering sponsors a one-stop solution for all their early phase drug development needs.

Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin has over 50 years of experience in the CRO industry, having started his career as a toxicologist for a preclinical CRO in England and worked his way up the ranks. Since Chris took on the leadership of Altasciences in 2010, he and his team have transformed the company from a CRO that supported only generic drug development to an integrated solution that supports novel drug development for small and large biopharmaceutical companies. For his leadership at Altasciences, he was named ‘One of the 100 Most Inspiring Leaders in the Life Science Industry’ by PharmaVOICE magazine for four consecutive years, and was made a Red Jacket honoree in 2019. Chris spoke with us recently about the origins of the company, the shift in dynamics in the pharmaceutical industry due to the so-called ‘patent cliff’, and the integration model at the heart of Altasciences’ DNA.

Collaboration and trust

“Altasciences actually started off as a different company,” Chris explains, “Algorithme Pharma was a fairly small clinic and laboratory focused entirely on generic drugs. When I joined in 2010, it was facing significant price competition out of India, and we started transforming the company by repositioning it as an innovator drug testing clinic.”

This transformation led to the company’s first acquisition in 2013, an innovator drug clinic in Kansas. This was the start of the development of the idea behind Altasciences – a full-service, integrated, early phase CRO.

“In 2017, we had new owners, and under them we added a preclinical CRO, which was a key piece in that plan, and a CDMO, which was also a differentiator. Then in 2021 we had another set of new owners, and they acquired Altasciences on the basis of showing that our plan was viable, and we have added two more preclinical facilities and a clinic in Los Angeles.”

At the same time, the company made a number of organic changes, such as building large and small molecule bioanalysis laboratory capabilities, and adding Program Management services to help provide the integrated comprehensive early drug solution that had been envisaged.

“We also implemented cross-selling, rethought the org chart to ensure our vision of integration was mirrored by the reporting and the responsibilities at the senior level. Then in 2019 we changed to the Altasciences name, and positioned ourselves as a solution provider for early-stage drug development.”

Chris’ journey to the top of the company has been a long one. Forty-seven years ago, he began working with Huntingdon Life Sciences in England as a toxicologist. He stayed in the field of preclinical testing until 2010, in both CROs and the pharmaceutical industry, where he had been moving up the seniority ladder since arriving in Canada in 1988.

“When the Montreal CRO where I was working was acquired by Charles River Laboratories in 2004, for the next six years I managed all their North American facilities, and we built one in China.”

Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin in The CBQ
Chris Perkin cutting the ribbon at the ligand binding laboratory’s second expansion in November 2021

Working his way up the ranks in this way helped Chris develop a management style that prioritizes collaboration and trust in working relationships. He is a true believer in the power of communication, a founding principle on which Altasciences was built.

The pharma industry

The CRO industry replaces internal capacity in both large and small pharmaceutical and biopharma companies, providing in-depth services which are expensive to build and staff, helping drugs through the research phases and regulated requirements for any country, which are very stringent, and finally bringing it to market.

“Our goal is to become the solution for outsourced, early-phase drug development, from the time that the lead candidate is identified, through to the studies which show it actually works in a small group of patients. We’ve put together the pieces that are traditionally offered by separate CROs. Nobody else to date has done that in an integrated fashion.”

Whether it is one study or a whole program, Altasciences aims to provide a simple, integrated, outsourcing solution with a focus on customer service, that removes the need for multiple service providers during the early stages of drug development.

Part of the original idea that the company started putting together in 2013 was to approach early drug development in the way the client approaches it, rather than in the way that a provider would normally approach it.

“It’s assigning a single program manager to a client, to manage their whole program for them across Altasciences, centralized scheduling tools that actively manage multiple studies, no matter in which facility or which discipline or capability is involved.”

One of the major issues identified by clients was that they had to provide information too many times across the different areas of the business. With communication as a founding principle, Altasciences built a tool to ensure that the client only has to share key information once.

Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin in The CBQ
Headquartered in Laval, Canada, Altasciences is an integrated drug development solution company offering sponsors a one-stop solution for all their early phase drug development needs

“It doesn’t matter how many studies they are doing, or how many facilities or departments are involved, we actively cross-sell our services to become more of a problem-solving solution. By putting together the whole early development process, we can actually reduce early development time by up to 40%, and reduce costs by performing all those services in a single, integrated CRO.”

Integrating all these pieces has been built into the company from day one, a core requirement of the business model. Chris doesn’t believe in retrofitting integration – it must be a part of the DNA and culture of a company in order for it to be successful.

“Before we even started implementing this idea, we did a lot of road testing. We talked to a lot of clients and marketing firms, we had surveys done. There was a lot of interest, but a lot of skepticism. When you offer something unique in an industry not really known for its innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, you get a lot of questions, which result in hesitancy.”

The real turning point for the company came with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of a sudden travel was next to impossible, with a huge number of issues stemming from the fact that supply chains stretched across continents.

“A single CRO solution became much more attractive. We’ve seen and continue to see a significant increase in clients interested in using the multiple capabilities and with everything that integration means, particularly in those small to mid-size biopharmas.”

The pharmaceutical industry is now increasingly reliant on small to mid-size biopharma for early-stage development, following the reorganization after the ‘patent cliff’ that started in 2010 – a sharp decline in revenue or profitability after a patent’s expiry, opening companies up to competition.

“Big pharma realized that shots-on-goal wasn’t working, and just acquiring the small start-up biotechs wasn’t a sustainable solution. They now tend to leave them to do that early development, take it to proof of concept, and then they will step in for the later stages of development. And it’s working very well, it’s a very synergistic relationship.”

In addition, new drugs are getting more complex to evaluate, with new molecules, indications and mechanisms. This makes it more difficult for the larger clinical CROs to maintain the infrastructure needed to assess tolerance and safety, key for early stage development.

Later stage clinical development is therefore becoming increasingly separate, handled mostly by the larger CROs, meaning that early-stage development CROs are taking a different and critical role within the whole organization.

Identifying synergies

“We’ve got very active owners, who are very supportive of this model, and quite excited by it actually,” Chris says. “So, we have a growth plan: keep building the capabilities – both by acquisitions and organically – and the capacity to enhance that integrated full-service early drug development model.”

This will involve adding more capabilities and, crucially, more geographical reach. There are already plans to move into Europe, with active pursuit for geographical growth currently in progress.

“We will continue to focus on that lead candidate selection to proof of concept area of development. Everything that we add will plug on to that. Every client that comes to Altasciences is potentially a client for every one of our services, whether they are using them or not.”

Since 2020, the company has completed four acquisitions, adding the former Alliance Contract Pharma, WCCT Global, Calvert Labs, and Sinclair Research. There are more acquisitions currently in discussion.

 

Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin in The CBQ
Since 2020, the company has completed four acquisitions, adding the former Alliance Contract Pharma, WCCT Global, Calvert Labs, and Sinclair Research

“Over the years we have developed a very elegant integration process, that identifies and realizes true synergies really quickly by establishing cross-functional teams from day one, for each department to evaluate and adopt best practices.”

Many of the tools that have become key to this model have come from companies that have been added to Altasciences. These synergies have never been about cost-cutting and headcount reductions, rather helping develop and grow the model.

“For over 30 years now, I could never understand the logic behind early drug development being so siloed,” Chris concludes. “As far as a drug is concerned, it’s a single pathway from lead candidate selection to clinical proof of concept.”

After the emergence of the patent cliff and the re-evaluation of the role big pharma would play in drug development, there became a significant gap in the market, exacerbated by the larger CROs getting even larger, decimating the mid-level CRO tier that traditionally serviced small to mid-sized biopharma.

Altasciences CEO Chris Perkin in The CBQ
The pharmaceutical industry is now increasingly reliant on small to mid-size biopharma for early-stage development

“I, and a number of other senior operations, scientific, and business development staff, decided it was our opportunity. The unique mix and range of CRO experience in our management team has made it not only possible, but it’s created a significant barrier to entry, and that’s really allowed us to grow significantly to date and will enable us to continue to do so in the future.”

Having expanded from one clinical site to eight locations across North America, and offering preclinical, clinical, bioanalytical, formulation, and drug manufacturing services in one integrated model, the future looks bright for Altasciences. Find out more about Altasciences by visiting www.altasciences.com.

It’s impossible to tackle climate change without nuclear

Canadian Nuclear Association and President and CEO John Gorman in The CBQ

The task of tackling climate change is mammoth. It requires an ‘all-in’ approach among Canada’s business leaders, governments, and the clean tech industries. But done right, not only can we mitigate environmental catastrophe – we can drive economic growth by building a sustainable green economy and leveraging our unique position as a global leader in clean energy.

It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our planet resides in the palms of today’s business and political leaders. We are all too aware that we are running out of time to mitigate catastrophe before it is too late. While climate change must be addressed through a global approach, Canada must act now if it has a chance of reaching its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Reducing our carbon footprint is a key challenge for corporate Canada. As a nation we face unique challenges and opportunities. We have one of the highest energy consumption rates per capita in the world – and we are warming at twice the average global rate. The backbone of our economy is built on natural resources, with fossil fuels currently serving 80 per cent of all energy needs in Canada. Oil and gas represented around $105 billion in GDP in 2020, but it also accounts for a large share of Canada’s emissions. Meanwhile, analysis by Royal Dutch Shell projects that global energy demand will triple by 2050. And we still face significant challenges with many of Canada’s 170 remote and Indigenous communities being ‘off the grid’ and forced to rely on costly and high-emitting diesel.

The task ahead is mammoth – but there is a proven path

We have a monumental task ahead. One that requires a massive energy system transition leveraging the full mix of low-emitting energy sources if we are to be successful. There is no perfect – or easy – solution. But there is a proven viable path. And the reality is that we have no choice but to pursue that path if we have a chance of mitigating climate catastrophe.

That path must include all viable clean energy technologies, and that means renewables working together with nuclear.

It’s hard to fathom the extent of global scientific research that has gone into helping understand the path to fight climate change. Based on that research, scientists, governments, environmentalists, and climate change experts across the world have concluded over and over that it is just not possible to get to net zero without nuclear in the mix. This is a fact, not an opinion.

Why nuclear?

Nuclear energy is a clean, energy-dense, carbon-free, reliable energy available around the clock.

Nuclear power produces less CO2 emissions over its lifecycle than any other electricity source, according to a recent report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The commission found that nuclear power has the lowest carbon footprint measured in grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) compared to any other electricity sources – including wind and solar.

Nuclear is also the most land-efficient means of producing clean energy; at least 15 times more efficient than renewable sources like wind and solar. And it serves as one of the most affordable electricity sources worldwide.

As someone who spent much of my career in renewables, I am a true proponent of maximizing the full potential of solar, wind, hydro and other renewables. But the fact is that 20 years ago, when I started in the renewables sector, 36 percent of the world’s electricity supply was non-emitting. Today – two decades later and following huge investments ramping up wind and solar – we’re still at 36 per cent non-emitting electricity on the world’s grids. We just cannot get to net zero through renewables alone.

New nuclear innovation through SMRs

There is significant focus on the role SMRs (small modular reactors) must play, leveraging innovative technology for safe, cost-effective small-scale fission reactors that can be built in factories and easily transported on-site. Not only do SMRs provide clean electricity, but they can also play an integral role in decarbonizing Canada’s heavy industry, including the oil and gas sector that represents such a significant part of our economy. And they can serve small or remote communities, including the many Indigenous communities that currently rely on diesel. Unlike most renewable energy sources, they can also provide high-density, zero-emission energy around the clock.

Nuclear contribution to a green economy

The nuclear industry contributes over $6 billion in revenue annually in Canada and represents 76,000 jobs. But we have only scratched the surface of its potential to drive economic growth. The projected growth of the nuclear industry means an early leadership position for Canada in SMRs. According to the SMR Roadmap, the estimated total global export potential of SMRs is approximately $150 billion per year for 2030 to 2040.

Nuclear is decarbonizing the world

Nuclear is the only technology that has achieved deep decarbonization of entire economies in adequate timeframes. Places such as France, Sweden, and the province of Ontario have been able to decarbonize their electricity grids and limit or phase out coal generation thanks to nuclear.

Roll-out of investments in nuclear across the world

Several countries have recently announced significant investments in nuclear technology as part of their net zero path, including $200 million in SMR investments in the UK, $1 billion in France, and $2 billion in the U.S. This is on top of the $6 billion the U.S. has committed to reinvest in existing reactors and the billions that will be invested in France’s plans to build new large reactors. Meanwhile in Canada, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) just announced it will work together with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to deploy a small modular reactor at the Darlington new nuclear site, with completion as early as 2028.

Nuclear plays a vital role in producing clean electricity

Creating clean electricity will be a key component of Canada’s path to net zero. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that electricity generation will be about 2.5 times higher in 2050, stating that “Spreading the use of electricity into more parts of the economy is the single largest contributor to reaching net-zero emissions.” Nuclear is one of the largest producers of clean electricity around the world and in Canada, and already accounts for about 15 per cent of Canada’s electricity. But it has the potential to do so much more.

Nuclear technology can support a clean hydrogen economy

There is increasing focus on how the hydrogen economy will be a critical part of our clean-energy future. The Hydrogen Council estimates that by 2050 hydrogen will represent 18 per cent of the energy delivered to end users, avoid 6 gigatonnes of carbon emissions annually, enable U.S.$2.5 trillion in annual sales, and create 30 million jobs globally. When hydrogen gas reacts with oxygen it releases clean energy, and the only by-product is pure water. Like SMRs, hydrogen has the potential to help Canada transition remote communities away from high-emitting diesel and to decarbonize heavy-industry operations, transport, and community infrastructure. Today, almost all hydrogen comes from high-emitting fossil fuels. However, nuclear technologies make hydrogen gas a more practical fuel for a carbon-free energy system. Economical production of hydrogen would usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered vehicles that would create no more emissions than walking.

Canada’s nuclear medicine saves millions of lives

Nuclear medicine is used to help diagnose and treat millions of Canadians every year. Through exports, Canada’s nuclear healthcare innovation saves millions of lives each year in 80 different countries, with significant economic benefits. For example, more than 50 per cent of the world’s supply of cobalt-60 isotopes is produced at Canadian nuclear power plants, within a global business estimated to grow over U.S.$17.1 billion by 2023.

Canada is uniquely positioned to take a global leadership role

Canada can drive environmental, social, and economic advantage on the global nuclear stage. For many years Canada has been a leader in nuclear technology, exporting reactor systems developed in Canada as well as supplying a high proportion of the world’s medical radioisotopes. We also have the largest reserves of high-quality uranium in the world and are the second largest producer and fourth largest exporter of uranium. Canada’s nuclear industry has an impeccable safety record spanning 65 years, and we are proud to have world-class regulatory oversight.

Now is the time for industry and political leaders to work together to build a green economy

The socio-economic cost of climate change is huge – and growing. Business and industry leaders across Canada know that this is not an issue we can pass on to our next generation leaders to resolve. We are at a pivotal moment in time. Canada needs to take decisive action to mitigate catastrophe and to avoid falling behind other countries who are accelerating their path to net zero through clean nuclear. We cannot afford to lose out on the unique advantage Canada has in nuclear innovation.

Having targets is imperative, but we need tangible plans and actions that unite the public and private sectors and acknowledge the need for the right investments, infrastructure, and regulatory oversight. Corporate Canada must work in partnership with the government to build out a concrete and ambitious plan to incent fuel-switching and to signal to the clean energy sector what’s required.

The task in front of today’s business and political leaders to fight climate change is no doubt daunting. But the opportunity to work together to build a better and more prosperous future is far greater.

John Gorman is the President and CEO of Canadian Nuclear Association, www.cna.ca.