Thursday October 10 , 2019



Researchers find way to harness AI creativity

Researchers have found a way to marry human creativity and artificial intelligence (AI) creativity to dramatically boost the performance of deep learning.

A team led by Alexander Wong (right), a Canada Research Chair in the area of AI and a professor of systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo, developed a new type of compact family of neural networks that could run on smartphones, tablets, and other embedded and mobile devices. The networks, called AttoNets, are being used for image classification and object segmentation, but can also act as the building blocks for video action recognition, video pose estimation, image generation, and other visual perception tasks. “The problem with current neural networks is they are being built by hand and incredibly large and complex and difficult to run in any real-world situation,” said Wong, who also co-founded a startup named DarwinAI to commercialize the technology. “These on-the-edge networks are small and agile and could have huge implications for the automotive, aerospace, agriculture, finance, and consumer electronics sectors."

Exchange Q4 Edition

Future of Work

It’s to big to be an election issue?

This issue of Exchange Magazine, titled "The Future of Work", is seizing the opportunity to really wake up our political leaders to the challenges facing labour, and what the future might have in store for employers and employees alike. An ongoing theme with Exchange Magazine originates back in the early 90's, as a lesson learned from University of Waterloo Economics Professor Larry Smith. In the 1992 Exchange Magazine feature, titled "The Apostle of Optimism," Smith introduced what I found as a useful mantra - "adapt or die". This mantra is as relevant today as it was back then. I would wager that its meaning is more significant today than ever before, as changes in Ontario's work force have become more complex and challenging, and future change is unknown.

Health Team

Cambridge-North Dumfries team submits full application to become an OHT

A team representing 32 local and regional healthcare partners announced they have submitted their full application to become an Ontario Health Team (OHT) on October 9, 2019. The proposed Cambridge North Dumfries OHT will collaborate and work together to provide seamless health care services in Cambridge and North Dumfries. This will include primary care, hospital services, long-term care, mental health & addictions, home and community care and more. The goal will be for patients to move seamlessly through a connected health care system. “Our team has a rich history of collaboration and finding practical solutions. From the award winning Connectivity Table that wraps health services around our most vulnerable patients to innovative addictions programming to integrated specialty services for cardiac and stroke rehabilitation, our application is both strong and compelling. We have a five-year plan that will transform our local health care system for the better, with a year-one focus on eliminating hallway health care, increasing access to primary care services and bolstering access to mental health services for residents of Cambridge and North Dumfries,” says Bill Davidson, executive director of Langs and a member of the core team for the Cambridge-North Dumfries OHT application.


Home prices continue to rise in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge

Region remains affordable, despite decreased inventory for entry-level homes

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey1 released today, the aggregate price of a home in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge increased 2.5 per cent year-over-year during the third quarter of 2019, reaching $519,692. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a bungalow showed a gain of 5.2 per cent year-over-year, rising to $484,837. The median price of a condominium increased 5.8 per cent year-over-year to $323,185. During the same period the median price of a two-storey home increased 1.7 per cent year-over-year to $547,275. "Buyers from the larger cities continue to look our way for affordability," said Keith Church, broker and owner, Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty. "Although inventory for homes in the mid- to entry-level price range has dipped, you can still get a 1,200 square foot house with a garage for $500,000."


Canadian housing starts trended higher in September

The trend in housing starts was 223,507 units in September 2019, compared to 218,782 units in August 2019, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts. "The national trend in housing starts increased in September," said Bob Dugan, CMHC's chief economist. "Higher trending single-detached starts in urban centres since July, following several months of declines combined with higher-trending multi-family units in September to push the total starts trend to its highest level since April 2018".


CEO urges caution with election promises aimed at stimulating housing demand that lack concrete plans to address supply shortages

Housing recovery gains strength with national aggregate price forecast to rise 1.5% during the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to same period in 2018; Price gap between condominiums and houses shrinks as median condo price in the City of Toronto surpasses $600,000 mark

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released today, the aggregate price of a home in Canada has continued to post steady year-over-year gains during the third quarter of 2019 as the real estate market sustained its recovery from the significant downturn of 2018 and early 2019, following the introduction of the federal mortgage stress test. "It is encouraging to see our political leaders devote thought and time toH housing issues during the federal election," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. "With the fastest growing population among advanced economies worldwide, providing adequate shelter for Canada's rapid pace of household formation presents an economic opportunity and a social challenge.


Long-Term Care Costs in Canada Projected to Triple to $71B in Only 30 years

Baby boomer generation facing risk of unsustainable systems of care, unmet care needs in future

The National Institute on Ageing (NIA) released a report projecting that long-term care costs will more than triple within 30 years, from $22B today to $71B by 2050. With baby boomers starting to turn 75 next year, time is running out to improve system sustainability and the availability and quality of long-term care options in Canada. A generation of Canadian seniors is at risk of going with unmet care needs as they age. This projected increase in cost would amount to 19 per cent of personal income tax by 2050, up considerably from 9 per cent today - expressed as proportion of total provincial and federal personal income tax revenue.


Laurier’s Lazaridis International Case Competition draws top business students from around the world

The Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University will host its second annual Lazaridis International Case Competition from Oct. 13 to 19, attracting students and faculty from 12 leading business schools in North America, Europe and Asia. Students will compete against each other to come up with unique and creative solutions to real-world business problems. Students will also have the opportunity to learn from and network with leaders in the technology sector, including representatives from sponsors such as TD Bank, Pearson, Foresters Financial and Communitech.


Region of Waterloo Council declares climate emergency

By declaring a climate emergency, council plans to provide continued support to climate action at the Region and in the community. Council directed staff to work with Climate Action Waterloo Region to investigate tools to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions including the possibility of implementing a carbon budget. The Region previously committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 2010 levels by 2050.


Perimeter congratulates Canadian cosmologist James Peebles on Nobel Prize in Physics

James Peebles’ groundbreaking insights into the radiation leftover from the big bang laid the foundation for the transformation of cosmology from speculation to science. Canadian cosmologist James Peebles has won half of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for his theoretical discoveries about the evolution of our universe. The win makes him the third Canadian in five years to be honoured by the Nobel committee, joining Queen’s University Professor Emeritus and former Perimeter Institute Board member Art McDonald and University of Waterloo Professor Donna Strickland as Nobel laureates in physics. Since the prize was first awarded in 1901, six Canadians have won in total.


Weight stigma affects gay men on dating apps

Weight stigma is an issue for queer men using dating apps, says a new University of Waterloo study.

The study found that Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual, two-spirit and queer men, had a negative effect on men’s body image, especially when it came to weight. Three out of four gay men are reported to have used Grindr.
“Dating apps have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade or so and have radically transformed the ways individuals connect with one another,” said Eric Filice, a public health doctoral candidate and lead author. “We were surprised to find that weight stigma is perpetuated by individual users and embedded within the app’s information architecture.”


Waterloo Region approves affordable rental housing projects

Region of Waterloo Council approved two affordable housing projects worth almost $5.5 million in federal and provincial funding. • MennoHomes Inc. will construct a multi-use development at 544 Bridgeport Road, Kitchener. It will include 45 affordable rental units, flexible worship space, a commercial kitchen, a community room, and offices space. The Region will provide capital funding for 30 of the 45 units with $3.8 million. • Maxwell Building Consultants will construct a 13-unit apartment at 18 Guelph Street, Kitchener. The three storey stacked townhouse will have 10 one-bedroom, two three-bedroom, and one five-bedroom units. The Region will provide capital funding for 13 units with just under $1.7 million.

Ageing Population

Highview Residences opens second home specifically designed for people with dementia in Kitchener

Two years after building the first residence in the Kitchener-Waterloo region specifically for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Highview Residences has built a second. And they’re inviting the public to visit during a Community Open House. The doors of the new Cedar Creek home, located at 20-C Reichert Drive in Kitchener, will be open to the public from 7 am to 4 pm on Thursday, October 24. “It really is one of the best options for dementia care that we have in our region,” said Michelle Martin, Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Waterloo-Wellington. Because of Highview’s special person-centred approach to care, residents feel like they’re at home. And that takes a huge load off their families.

Ground Zero

Laurier researcher to measure the impact of the Brantford Downtown Outreach Team pilot program

Since July, the Brantford Downtown Outreach Team (BDOT) has been focused on outreach with people in the downtown core who may be experiencing addiction, mental health or housing challenges to connect them with the support services they need. Wilfrid Laurier University has been an important partner throughout the project and is working with the City of Brantford to evaluate the impact of the pilot program.

Global Economy

The $10 Trillion Question: How to End a Lost Decade of Global Productivity

One decade and $10 trillion of fiscal stimulus on from the global financial crisis, the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 finds most economies are still locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth; Economies that have channelled investments into human capital, improving institutions, innovation capability and business dynamism will be best placed to revive productivity and withstand a global slowdown

Geneva, Switzerland - Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the global economy remains locked in a cycle of low or flat productivity growth despite the injection of more than $10 trillion by central banks. While these unprecedented measures were successful in averting a deeper recession, they are not enough on their own to catalyse the allocation of resources towards productivity-enhancing investments in the private and public sectors. The Global Competitiveness Report 2019, published Tuesday, points to the path forward.

Global Trade

World Trade Report sees increasing role for services trade, need for global cooperation

The 2019 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report highlights that services have become the most dynamic component of international trade and that its role will continue to expand in the coming decades. It stresses the need to enhance cooperation in the international community to support this expansion. The report was launched during the WTO Public Forum on 9 October 2019 by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.

“From logistics, to finance, to informatics, services have become the indispensable backbone of our economies. Services generate more than two-thirds of economic output. They account for more than two thirds of jobs in developing countries, and four-fifths of employment in developed ones. “But services also play an increasingly important role in international trade. Global value chains for merchandise could not function without logistics and communications services. And thanks to digitalization, services that once had to be delivered face-to-face, like education, can now be delivered remotely.Yet services are often overlooked in discussions on global trade, and the extent of their contributions to global trade is not always fully appreciated. This report attempts to remedy this oversight.”, said DG Azevêdo in his opening remarks.

Quality Time

Weston Foods launches revolutionary product that clears the table of unwanted guests – Our mobile phones

ACE Bakery steps outside of the bakery to create the breadblox™: A modern take on the breadbox, designed to hold devices to encourage real connection

ACE® Bakery introduces breadblox™, a modern take on a breadbox, created to allow consumers to truly connect with moments that matter by choosing to fully disconnect from their phones. Since 1993, for Ontario's number one artisan bread brand*, time has always been the most vital ingredient to creating remarkable bread for our tables. And yet, no matter how you slice it, research shows that a significant barrier to time well-spent around our tables is our mobile phones. According to a recent study, Canadians check their phones every ten minutes.† "It's no longer enough to put our phones on silent or flip them over to block out distractions," says Rachel Leung, Senior Brand Manager at Weston Foods, "In fact just having a phone within sight causes us to not be present for the moments that matter."


Oktoberfest Long Weekend

Annual Oktoberfest festivities kick off Thanksgiving long weekend in Kitchener

The 51st annual Oktoberfest festival kicks off Friday, Oct. 11 at 70 King Street East (King and Frederick Street). Opening ceremonies for North America’s largest Bavarian festival will begin at 11 a.m, followed by Grillefest. Enjoy a traditional Oktoberfest sausage, a cookie and a cold drink for only $5, served to you by city council and staff. All proceeds from Grillefest will be donated to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. Non-perishable food items and canned goods are appreciated. With music, dancing and countless cultural events, the nine-day festival will run from Oct. 11-19. Visit Kitchener Willkommen Platz, located in Downtown Kitchener, in the Crabby Joe’s parking lot to enjoy daily entertainment, displays and activities, food and beverages, as well as official souvenirs and visitor information.

Oktober 11-19, 2019

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Festhallen Tickets On Sale

Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada – Get ready to dust off your dirndls and lederhosen and celebrate Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival at your favourite festhalle. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, a not-for-profit organization, has ticket for most accredited Festhallen. The Festhallen take pride in providing an authentic experience and hospitable atmosphere to over 700,000 fest-goers who visit the region annually during the nine-day festival. Festhallen tickets are limited and often sell out in advance of the festival, so buy your tickets early to experience the spirit of Gemütlichkeit.

October 23, 2019

Partners in Prevention regional health and safety conference is coming to Kitchener! Hear from leading experts and motivating keynote speakers that will teach and inspire. Stay current with the latest updates in health and safety and visit the trade show to get all the news on trending health, safety and wellness products. Register today!

November 13-15, 2019

Sixteenth Annual Ontario Economic Summit to Address Competitiveness Challenges for Ontario Industry

Ontario’s business community to gather in Toronto to drive Ontario’s economic agenda forward

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) announced advance access registration for the sixteenth annual Ontario Economic Summit (OES), “Our Economy. Our Future. Our Ontario.” OES will be hosted in Toronto for the first time in almost a decade at Hotel X and Beanfield Centre from November 13 to 15.

Not a Subscriber? Receive more articles on business issues

contact us

Publisher is Exchange Business Communication Inc.
No part of this article may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
Email Publisher

ISSN 0824-45
Copyright, 2019