Business

Sustainability

Sustainability

Speedier transition needed to achieve clean energy’s full potential
With the world’s population on track to reach 10 billion by 2050, the drive towards a more sustainable global economy has become an imperative. Arguably, few people recognize that imperative more than University of British Columbia (UBC) professor Walter Mérida.

Next-generation ideas driving business revitalization

Next-generation ideas driving business revitalization

Intergenerational succession is a hot topic for the Canadian family business community as many leaders belonging to the boomer generation are looking to hand over the reins. Relinquishing control over a business into which a leader has invested indeterminable hours, efforts, hopes and dreams can be challenging – but it can also present opportunities for revitalization.

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Climate Change

Climate Change

Business leaders face many questions with the impacts of climate change creating new and emerging operating landscapes.  

Those questions include: Is climate change affecting my business or could it in the future? Could severe weather events occur in places where my organization operates facilities or cause disruptions to my global supply chain? Could government policy responses to climate change to meet targets under the Paris Agreement create new business risks and opportunities?

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Fraud Prevention Month

Fraud Prevention Month

The shame and embarrassment of being caught by a scammer is one of the main reasons why only about five per cent of fraud is reported to the authorities, according to Josephine Palumbo, deputy commissioner of competition, deceptive marketing practices at Canada’s Competition Bureau.  

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AIRPORTS TARGET SECURITY SCREENING INVESTMENT FOR BUDGET 2019

AIRPORTS TARGET SECURITY SCREENING INVESTMENT FOR BUDGET 2019

The underfunding of government services needed to support strong growth in air traffic is the single biggest issue facing Canadian airport operators, with security screening at the top of the list, says Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council (CAC).

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Fuelling green growth

Fuelling green growth

In considering the best location to grow produce in Canada, Saint-Félicien, situated at a latitude of 48.65° north and about 280 kilometres north of Quebec City, would not necessarily be the first place to come to mind. Yet the town is now home to the Toundra Greenhouse project, which currently produces some 45 million cucumbers per year and aims to contribute to making Quebec self-sufficient and reduce high-carbon footprint imports.

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At the intersection of technology and insurance

At the intersection of technology and insurance

Rapidly evolving technology and the societal changes it brings carry a number of implications for the insurance industry. New business models, as evident in Uber and Airbnb, are evolving, autonomous cars take to the road, and cyber security risks are proliferating. While challenges continue to crop up alongside technology advancements, they are also sources of valuable tools for day-to-day business operations and can help to identify and track trends, say Doug Grant and Patrick Vice, partners at Insurance-Canada.ca Inc., a Toronto-based organization that provides consumers and insurance professionals with independent information about technology and the business of insurance in Canada.

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Do business like a Canadian

Do business like a Canadian

Doing business responsibly can be a competitive advantage for Canadian companies, but it involves overcoming some tremendous challenges. The question to ask is not whether we know enough or have enough influence to overcome our greatest barriers but, rather, whether we are good enough.

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Built for a carbon-constrained future

Built for a carbon-constrained future

The goal is well defined: to stop the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. With the Canadian government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, all emission sources come under scrutiny. Buildings – and the energy use associated with their construction, maintenance and operation – account for about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), who believes that efforts to improve the sustainability parameters of buildings need to focus on their carbon footprint.

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Shining a light on solutions that make a difference in the world

Shining a light on solutions that make a difference in the world

Investigations at the intersection of light and matter can provide answers and solutions in a wide range of fields, including mining, energy, health and life sciences, and advanced manufacturing, especially when researchers have access to the kind of brilliant and highly focused light that is available at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  

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Plan for a stress-free future

Plan for a stress-free future

A professional financial planner can help provide insight, encouragement and peace of mind

Cary List, president and CEO of the Financial Standards Planning Council (FPSC), knows through extensive research and experience that Canadians who plan properly are more in control and less stressed about their financial futures.

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Fun incentives in bill payment apps improve financial habits

 Reliable, convenient and even fun – apps and other alternatives to banks are a growing segment of the payments landscape. istockphoto.com

Reliable, convenient and even fun – apps and other alternatives to banks
are a growing segment of the payments landscape. istockphoto.com

Mortgage, tuition and cell phone payments eligible for Paytm Canada’s rewards

Voting and driving are two of the most exciting milestones of reaching adulthood. Paying tax or gas bills that accompany these special rights is not quite so thrilling, and becomes even less so after years of remembering (or not) to mail cheques or make bill payments online.

Nowadays, 50 per cent of us pay bills through our online bank accounts. Another option, tiny but growing in Canada, are the agile apps available from fintechs that avoid the administrative fees and processing delays typical of banks.

Other parts of the world (69 per cent of the digitally active population in China; 52 per cent in India) have been quick to give these alternate providers a shot. However, only 18 per cent of Canadians have tried two or more fintech services in the past 18 months, according to Ernst & Young LLP’s FinTech Adoption index.


Lead Harinder Takhar - Profile Pic - 2017.jpg
A dedicated bill-payments tool is an effective way to keep track of expenses and stick to savings goals, partly because it simplifies the task and partly because the built-in rewards encourage good habits.
— Harinder Takhar is CEO of Paytm Labs

Without the semi-captive market enjoyed by banks, these startup providers have an uphill battle, but one they are motivated to win. Reliable, convenient and even fun – digital alternatives are earning trust and growing this payment segment faster than any other.

The Paytm Canada app, for example, manages all bills from one simple interface, including utilities, rent or mortgage payments, car loan installments and even personal transfers to friends. Users can set due dates and reminders to keep budgets on track. They also receive alerts for any unusual increases, so they won’t be caught out by sneaky “introductory” rates.

Along with greater control, Paytm also motivates timely habits with an expansive rewards program, allowing users to buy popular chain gift cards at an automatic three per cent discount when they pay $500 in bills each month – an easy threshold to reach with housing and insurance payments included.

Paytm Labs launched the Paytm Canada app in March 2017. Its Delhi-based parent company has considerable financial experience, having delivered business services in India for 17 years. Moving to the consumer arena in 2011, Paytm has over 200 million users in South Asia and processes approximately 50 million transactions per day. Canada, with a population of only 35 million, may seem like a surprising new target market. In fact, Canada’s tech-savvy citizens first attracted the financial powerhouse’s attention, not as consumers but as potential employees.

“Canada is a very underrated asset in terms of technology,” says Harinder Takhar, CEO of Paytm Labs. “Toronto has world-class talent if you are trying to set up an app business.”   

This research and development arm of Paytm opened in Canada in 2014, hoping to recruit some of Toronto’s best engineers and data scientists to improve on its superior service in India. It soon realized that Toronto not only provided a highly-educated talent pool, it was also financial capital for a whole nation of smartphone-lovers with a growing taste for mobile banking. Thus, Paytm Labs began designing a Canadian-specific offering in late 2016. The trick would be convincing Canucks to trust a flashy app over their familiar banking platform, a step unnecessary in India where debit and credit card payment infrastructure is less available.

Paytm Labs first motivated Canadians to switch by solving common irritations, such as eliminating time-consuming forms and unnecessary fees. It then added rewards to make this financial chore more of a treat. Over the launch weekend, Mr. Takhar says the company was delighted to handle $100,000 worth of transactions with virtually no advertising beyond Twitter and word-of-mouth.

“Apps such as these are a natural fit for those who love to be top of their game tech-wise,” said Mr. Takhar. But the company is also interested in reaching Canadians who want to improve their financial know-how.

“A dedicated bill-payments tool is an effective way to keep track of expenses and stick to savings goals, partly because it simplifies the task and partly because the built-in rewards encourage good habits.”

Canadian financial habits are certainly influenced by the new digital conveniences. While online transfers through non-bank venues such as e-wallets and other apps still comprise only 0.6 per cent of the total volume of Canadian transactions, they are actually the fastest growing segment at 43 per cent annually since 2011, according to a 2015 report by Payments Canada.

It seems that fintechs, such as Paytm Labs, are proving correct in their belief that this northern population, while small, is heavily weighted toward solving common annoyances with modern technology.


BY THE NUMBERS

100
Canadian financial-sector startups in 2016*

1,000
Estimated financial-sector startups by 2021*

70%
of Canadians own a smartphone**

35%
of Canadians used mobile banking in the past year**

48%
of Canadians primarily pay bills through online bank accounts**
*Business Development Bank of Canada
**Payments Canada