Empowering the innovation economy in Toronto

International, Toronto | Marie Escaich on October 27, 2017

Dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the North”, Toronto is undergoing radical digital transformation as it establishes itself as the Northern centre of the innovation economy. The city’s vibrant start-up scene has stimulated growth of its tech workforce by over 33 per cent between 2011 and 2016.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that Toronto has been poised to become the next great hub of technology start-ups. The city boasts two schools with exemplary technical programmes, the University of Toronto and Ryerson, producing a world-class talent pool of graduates each year.

Toronto also benefits from governmental support, with both the Ontario’s provincial government and Canadian federal government bolstering innovation with grants and financial assistance programmes. As well as an established start-up network, Toronto is home to successful ventures including Shopify, SoapBox and KIK, in addition to an emerging local venture capital network.

But while a hotbed of innovative start-ups and technological potential, 95 per cent of office workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) say that internet outages or poor connectivity negatively impact their companies and themselves.

It is not only "tech" companies who are not having their connectivity needs met, many GTA workers are struggling with the fundamental services needed for their job. When asked about the impact of internet outages and poor connectivity to the individual and their company, 60 per cent report that they can’t access information on company services or cloud storage. In addition, nearly half can’t communicate internally using email, video conferencing or collaboration tools and, most worryingly, one fifth of respondents indicated that their clients can’t use their services.

One way that forward-thinking landlords, such as Menkes Developments and Hines, are working to support potential tenants in understanding the quality of internet connectivity of potential office spaces is through the demand for and adoption of Wired Certification in Toronto.

“We need to continue to adapt, embrace and implement these new ways to offer the best working living spaces for our valued tenants/customers, and obtaining the WiredScore certification for our properties ensures we are doing exactly that,” said Jonathan Pearce, Senior Vice President, Office Leasing North America, Ivanhoé Cambridge. “This technological reinvention in our industry will also enable us to best market our spaces to end users. We are proud to be the first new development to achieve Platinum Wired Certification in Canada for 81 Bay Street at CIBC Square.”

Launching in Canada in October 2017, WiredScore will help bring greater transparency and access to information around the digital capacity of potential office space so that tenants they know that they’re investing in workspaces that will meet their business’s needs, now and throughout their entire lease.

Commenting on WiredScore’s arrival in Canada, Councillor Michelle Holland, the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy said: “Toronto is a global centre of innovation and technology that continues to expand with unprecedented growth including the financial services sector. Our City must use our advantage to attract and retain talent and to continuously improve our competitiveness which also means adopting global standards related to the innovation economy. Wired Certification will assist Toronto as it moves forward within the innovation economy.”

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