Blogs

  • 19 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    Some of our members have expressed concern that CMF funding appears to be biased toward Ontario and Quebec. DigiBC is going to work on addressing this issue in the coming months. If you would like to join our CMF task force then please communicate this interest to brenda@digibc.org. Thanks!

  • 18 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    In conjunction with the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology (JTT) and Creative BC, DigiBC hosted Mr. Chen Fafen, Senior Advisor, Cultural Industries Bureau, Tencent Holdings in Vancouver on July 6/7. Mr. Chen held one to one meetings with selected video games, animation, and visual effects studios and toured Double Negative, Archiact, and Electronic Arts. DigiBC Chair, Jon Lutz, took Mr. Chen on a tour of EA which included seeing the motion capture studio and meeting the team making FIFA Online Mobile for China. Huge thanks to everyone who participated and helped coordinate his two-day visit. We have since received feedback that Mr. Chen enjoyed his time here and was thoroughly impressed with the information we shared.  Well done all!
     

    Jon Lutz & Mr. Chen Fafen

  • 17 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    Animal Logic is a world-renowned animation and visual effects studio that was founded by Zareh Nalbandian and Chris Godfrey in 1991 in Sydney, Australia. Being that Chris is one of the country's top visual effects supervisors and Zareh is at the forefront of producing award-winning design, animation, and visual effects, it made for a great foundation to get the company off the ground.
     

     

    Since then they have branched out to create a global family with additional locations in Vancouver and Los Angeles. They describe this family as a collaborative, innovative, dedicated passionate, and creative bunch who all share the same philosophy - to make great work with great people. It's a place where the staff love what they do and have fun doing it. The company also ensures that they are always working on high-end, quality projects while still having a focus on staff training and career development. 

     

     

    Over the years, Animal Logic has produced a slew of award-winning films with their most prominent ones being Happy Feet (their very first animated feature film which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature), The LEGO Movie (where they partnered with Warner Bros., Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Chris McKay, and had a team of over 350 artists, technicians, and support staff working on the film for 2+ years), and Peter Rabbit (the studio developed innovative and groundbreaking technology in order to bring the complex characters to life).

    In 2017, the Animal Logic family grew to over 600 people from more than 30 countries and it is still an independent Australian company! Another exciting fact is that in 2016, the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) partnered with them to create the UTS Animal Logic Academy. The Master of Animation and Visualisation in a postgraduate program now in its second year. Applications are currently open for the class of 2019 and more details can be found here.

     

     

    The two projects they currently have in production are The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and Captain Marvel. A partnership with Imagine Entertainment and Warner Bros. to co-develop, produce and co-finance a slate of animated and hybrid family films was also recently announced. They are always looking for new team members to join their global family and have roles available in animation, visual effects, production, concept art and more! Further details on these openings can be found here.
     

    Notable Awards
    2014 BAFTA Award: Best Animated Film (The LEGO Movie)
    2013 AACTA Award: Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects (The Great Gatsby)
    2007 BAFTA Award: Best Animated Film (Happy Feet)
    2007 Academy Award: Best Animated Feature (Happy Feet)

     

  • 17 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    Does your company have a social media policy? Many of us are aware of the controversy facing ArenaNet (Guildwars 2) after they fired two employees for allegedly behaving poorly in social media interactions with consumers. Leaving aside the issue of whether or not the two should have been fired, a few obvious questions emerging from this fiasco are... does your company have a social media policy in place? If so, is it sufficient? Does it consider both professional and personal social media accounts? We began preparing recommendations for our members to consider then read the work that Jen MacLean at IGDA produced. Rather than re-creating the wheel, we asked her permission to link to the IDGA suggested guidelines. She agreed. Thanks, Jen!

     

    Game Devs on Social Media: Questions You Should Ask For Your Protection
    Posted By Jen MacLean, Monday, July 9, 2018
    igda.org/blogpost/1016423/305221/Game-Devs-on-Social-Media-Questions-You-Should-Ask-For-Your-Protection

    Two ArenaNet employees were recently fired because of their interactions with community members on social media. This incident makes very clear the perils of social media for game developers, especially when transparent and well-understood guidelines for staff members are not in place. Often, game developers love engaging with their player base and the interactions can be very helpful for both the developers and players. However, without clear information from an employer on social media use, interacting with people as a game developer can jeopardize someone’s job and career, and even their personal safety.

    The IGDA strongly encourages its members, both as individuals and as studios and partners, to clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts.

    Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities. Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles. With generous assistance from IGDA community members, we’veassembled an initial list of questions every game developer should ask, and every company should address, before interacting with players on social media.

    What are the rules for staff about engaging in company-controlled online spaces?

    • Is direct engagement with consumers a job requirement for non-community/customer support employees? If so, what training is provided to employees to help facilitate these interactions?
    • If non-CS staff is engaging directly in company spaces, are they allowed to disagree with consumers? If so, how much disagreement is acceptable? What sort of language (with examples) is acceptable and what isn't?

    • If a consumer is behaving toward non-CS staff in a way that the staff member feels is inappropriate/condescending/exhausting, is the staff member allowed to disengage? More importantly, is the staff member allowed to TELL them they're disengaging? Are they allowed to say WHY they're disengaging? Is there an escalation process the staff member should follow internally?

    What are the rules for employees’ personal social media accounts?

    • Are staff allowed to have personal social media accounts on which they identify themselves as an employee of the company, or on which they share their role at the company?  Is LinkedIn included in this?

      • If so, are staff allowed to have personal social media accounts that aren't locked to the public? Are they allowed to have personal social media accounts that ARE locked to the public?

      • Is it expected that staff include any disclaimers that they do not represent the company, or that their opinions are their own? Where should that disclaimer be included?

    • Are staff allowed to discuss non-confidential aspects of their jobs on their personal social media accounts?

      • If so, what sort of aspects of their jobs are they allowed to discuss? What feelings are they allowed to express? What sort of language (with examples) are they or aren't they allowed to use? Are they allowed to disagree with consumers?

    • Are staff expected or required to engage with consumers on their personal social media accounts? If so, how often, during what periods of the day, and to what degree?

    • Are staff allowed to tell consumers approaching them via their personal social media accounts that they won't engage? If the consumer won't leave them alone, what sort of language are they allowed to use/actions are they allowed to take to be left alone?  Is there an escalation process the staff member should follow internally? 

    What will the company do to protect its talent from internet harassment mobs?

    • What steps will the company take to deal with customer hostility toward non-CS staff in company spaces such as the message boards or company-controlled Reddit AMAs?

    • If a targeted harassment campaign is directed at a staff member or members, what steps will the company take to protect them?

    • What resources will the company devote to detecting and preventing the organization of targeted harassment campaigns directed at staff members?

    • What training will the company provide to staff so that the staff understands the expectations for engagement and what to do if they are targeted?

    • What is the “911” process for an employee who is being brigaded/harassed/threatened? What happens when it’s outside of company hours?

    • Who can employees contact to vet their social media posts, both those made in company-controlled spaces and those made from their personal accounts?

    What are the calibration/discipline/monitoring procedures?

    • Who monitors employees’ personal social media, and how much monitoring is to be expected?
    • Are managers responsible for monitoring their direct reports’ personal/private social media?
    • What is the review process if someone has concerns about an employee’s post, and who is involved?
    • What is the disciplinary process, if necessary, and who is involved?
       

    Are employees allowed to play the game (if the game is multiplayer)?

    •  Are they allowed to have non-company-tagged personal accounts?

    • What feelings are employees allowed to express while playing on company accounts? What sort of language are and aren’t they allowed to use?

    • What feelings are they allowed to express while playing on personal accounts? What sort of language are and aren’t they allowed to use?

  • 16 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    SIGGRAPH 2018 is taking place next month and there's still time to get your hands on a pass. We have been provided with a sign-up code that will get you a free Exhibit-Only pass, or it can be used to save $50 if you upgrade to any other level. To register and review all of the categories you can click here: https://s2018.siggraph.org/attend/register/
     

    Once you have decided which category to register under, click on Register Now, start the registration process and choose registration type (member, non-member, student, etc).  On the contact information page, you will be prompted at the bottom to enter a discount code. If you are a current DigiBC member and would like to take advantage of this offer, then please contact us to get your sign-up code.

     

  • 13 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduces new data protection obligations for businesses while providing increased data protection rights for data subjects. The GDPR also significantly increases fines for non-compliance. Are you impacted by GDPR? DigiBC members were invited to a call with a legal expert on this very topic last month (huge thanks to EA Vancouver for making this available). For those of you who were unable to attend, here is an excellent resource list that was provided in the meeting.


    Regulators’ Resources to Enforce - https://www.ft.com/content/aa156862-5f4f-11e8-9334-2218e7146b04

    “A survey conducted by Reuters finds the majority of European regulators will not be ready for the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Of the 24 regulators polled, 17 said they either do not have the necessary funding or the proper powers in place to enforce the GDPR. “We’ve realized that our resources were insufficient to cope with the new missions given by the GDPR,” CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said. Regulators do not have the enforcement abilities needed for the new rules as their countries have not updated their laws to include the GDPR. The majority of respondents said they will react and investigate complaints based on merit, while a few said they would take a proactive approach.” https://iapp.org/news/a/eu-regulators-say-they-are-not-ready-for-gdpr/


    Top 10 Operational Impacts of GDPR and Self-assessment Tools

    https://iapp.org/resources/article/top-10-operational-impacts-of-the-gdpr/

    https://assessment.microsoft.com/gdpr-compliance

    https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/resources-and-support/data-protection-self-assessment/


    DPO Responsibilities & Liabilities

    https://edps.europa.eu/data-protection/data-protection/reference-library/data-protection-officer-dpo_en

    https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/accountability-and-governance/data-protection-officers/

     

    Concise & Clear GDPR Guidelines

    https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/

    https://privacylawblog.fieldfisher.com/

    https://www.twobirds.com/en/hot-topics/general-data-protection-regulation

     

     

  • 12 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    BCIT and Microsoft Vancouver have partnered up to develop a first-of-its-kind VR/AR/MR curriculum. The program was created to set students up to enter the job market with the desirable skills that businesses are demanding in the growing tech industry. If you're looking to augment your software development skills then this program could be the right fit for you. For more information, you can check the BCIT website here.
     

     1. When was the program launched? Who created it and who are the instructors?

    BCIT launched the program in the fall of 2017. Two existing courses, COMP 1011 - UX/UI and COMP 1910 - Intro 3D Simulations and VR/AR were adapted to function as the prerequisites for two higher level xR courses. This statement of completion was developed by Kevin Cudihee (Program Head for BCIT Computing Part-time Studies), in conjunction with subject matter experts from the School of Computing and Academic Studies ( SoCAS ) Arron Ferguson and Maria Khan, Richard Morency, Bill Zhao (Centre for Digital Media), and Chris Welman (Microsoft Canada).

     

    2. How long is it? How much does it cost?

    The series of four hands-on courses are:

    • COMP 1011 - UX/UI Fundamentals
    • COMP 1910 - Introduction to 3D Simulations and VR/AR
    • COMP 2012 - Applied UX/UI for VR/AR
    • COMP 3919 - Applied VR/AR Project

    These courses are designed to be delivered part-time, at night, and on weekends. Each course has prerequisites for the follow-on courses. It will take a minimum of three terms or one year to complete all four courses if the student starts with completing COMP 1011 and COMP 1910 concurrently. COMP 2012 and COMP 3919 are not offered every term and must be completed sequentially. Each course costs around $599 CAD each. In total, the statement of completion will cost about $2,500 CAD (including books).

     

     3. Who would benefit the most from taking this program? Are there any prerequisites? Do students need to have any previous training or work experience in a certain field before signing up for this program?

    VR/AR courses are aimed at mature students with other post-secondary education and work experience. These courses will be of interest to established programmers who are already working as software and mobile app developers. Participants in these courses must be able to form and work in self-directed teams.

     

    4. Can this program be taken online? Or is it only on-campus?

    These four COMP courses are not available online. They are highly applied and delivered face to face with specialized hardware. Delivery is currently at the Burnaby and Downtown BCIT campus locations and they are looking into offering at least one of these courses at The Cube. There is a very strong interpersonal communication component using Agile development and small close functional teams of students collaborating together in person.

     

    5. What are some of the possible jobs someone could do after graduating?

    This statement of completion was designed to provide an introduction to these technologies. The goal was to show students' best practices, industry-standard methods and current tools used in this environment. These four courses alone are the first step in exploring this field. Ideally, those taking these courses would be already working in the field as software developers. "The aim is to provide working individuals with opportunities to advance into new and developing markets," says Bethany Edmunds, Associate Dean of Computing at BCIT.

     

     

  • 09 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    The First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) is looking for passionate instructors and technologists to teach in their Foundations in Innovation and Technology (FiiT) program which is launching in the fall. This is a new initiative that guides students on a path from entry level-certification through to advanced training and work experience opportunities. FiiT is creating a network of Indigenous innovators that are equipped with the skills and certifications required for the digital economy. Through FiiT, thousands of Indigenous students throughout the province will have access to industry-relevant training and creating pathways to having greater participation in the technology and innovation sectors.

    Developed with support from industry partners and community leaders, the FiiT program closely aligns labour market demand with areas of study, reflecting both current and projected in-demand careers within the technology and innovation sectors. Extended-length course delivery allows for meaningful learning to take place, while a range of support services (including financial aid, mentorship and academic advising for status and non-status Indigenous peoples) ensure that students have the tools they need for success. 

    NVIT and the Technology Council give high priority to Indigenous candidates. All applicants should be experienced in working with Indigenous people and be willing to travel.

    Employment is contract based on a 12-week cycle. Compensation is $ 6,316.35 per course (2- week section). If you have an interest in Indigenous education, economic reconciliation and the increased participation of Indigenous peoples in the digital economy, they would love to receive your application.

    For more information, you can go to their website - http://www.technologycouncil.ca/about-us/join-our-team/instructor

     

     

  • 09 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    The Entertainment Software Association of Canada’s (ESAC) fourth annual Student Video Game Competition drew in a record number of submissions for 2018. Competing against over 20 schools from across Canada, this year’s title was awarded to students from the University of Quebec Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) Centre in Montreal for their game, Minors, a cooperative game touching upon the reality of child labour in the mining industry. Minors was originally designed for Ubisoft Montreal’s 2018 Game Lab Competition, whose theme for 2018 was “Change the World”. The game was also the recipient of “Best Prototype” and “Best User Experience” at the Montreal competition.

     

    The ESAC Student Video Game Competition is a national contest and is designed to encourage game development skills that are crucial to the future of the domestic video game industry. Each year the winner travels to Los Angeles and showcases their game to industry and fans at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). A group of expert judges from Xbox Canada, Relic Entertainment, Other Ocean Interactive and Solutions2Go Inc. scored each participant based on originality, artistic expression, and technical proficiency.  

     

    The winning team consisted of nine students, including William Homs, Delyan Farashev, Eva-Léa Longue Ngambi, Felix Liberali, Lydiane Beaulne-Bélisle, Nicolas Crevier, Alex Battista, Sijia Mao and Léandre Monette. The UQAT students brought young Canadian talent to the forefront at E3 2018 by sharing their game on the showcase floor and notably surpassing 14K viewers on the live video streaming app Periscope. During the three day event, the students were able to benefit from valuable networking opportunities with their peers and with some of the largest video game companies in the world.
     

    Former winners of the competition include Vancouver Film School (2015), Sheridan College (2016), and Polytechnique Montréal/Centre NAD (2017). For information about the ESAC Student Video Game Competition, please visit: http://theesa.ca/resources/student-video-game-competition/

    For more information about ESAC, contact Jayson Hilchie at jhilchie@theesa.ca

     

     

  • 05 Jul 2018 by DigiBC

    Save the date!  G-STAR is the largest digital gaming show in Korea and is quickly becoming one of the largest in Asia. The conference will take place in Busan from November 15-17, 2018 and will feature an exclusive B2B hall. Last year, more than 2000 buyers attended the B2B portion of the show. All of the big Korean publishers (Nexon, NCSoft, Kakao, Smilegate, Netmarble, Samsung, etc), along with a number of smaller ones and tech companies will be in attendance. If you're looking to do business in Korea (and Asia) then G-STAR is the place to go and make contacts.

    The Embassy is planning to feature a Canada Pavilion again this year that will highlight all the great things the industry is doing. The Trade Commissioner Service will make introductions and help you to organize meetings with local contacts and potential partners so that you can make the most of your trip. The Canada Pavilion will have meeting rooms and there will be a couple of demo stations with a revolving list so that you can demo your games as well as participate in meetings. If you are interested in attending or would like more information on the show, contact us directly and we can put you in touch with the Trade Commissioner office. There is also a webinar scheduled for July 24 where a rep from the TC office will be talking more about plans for the Canada Pavilion. Please send us an email if you would like details on this.

     

     

    CanExport Funding Program

    The CanExport program can provide financial support and assist with your travel costs to help get you to G-STAR. The program provides direct assistance to SMEs registered in Canada who are seeking to develop new export opportunities and markets, especially in high-growth emerging markets (read: Korea). Some of the expenses eligible to be covered (at 50%) are travel costs for up to two employees or owners working directly for the Canadian SME applying for the CanExport contribution. Please check the website for complete details.

     

  • 15 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    DigiBC, in conjunction with the BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, was delighted to welcome a delegation of Korean VR/AR developers, investors, and other stakeholders led by the Gyeonggi Content Agency to British Columbia last month. The delegation was one of the first outcomes of the three-year collaboration agreement between DigiBC and the Gyeonggi Content Agency signed in January 2018 when James Hursthouse accompanied Premier John Horgan to Korea as part of his mission to Asia. Advancing collaboration in digital media and technology is a key focus of the overall action plan between the two sister provinces.

     

     

    Gyeonggi Province, which can be thought of as the 'Greater Seoul Region', is home to many leading Korean games and mixed reality companies and this delegation is an exciting next step in our longer-term plans to encourage cooperation and investment between our regions. The aims of the delegation were to meet with local VR/AR companies looking for co-development, investment, and partnership opportunities, learn more about how British Columbia is emerging as a key MR development hub and an ideal location to be the gateway to the North American market for Korean companies, and promote other avenues of cooperation that exist between Gyeonggi and British Columbia, including international incubation opportunities in the heart of the Korean Games and MR industries for BC companies.
     
     
    The delegation spent three days in British Columbia, beginning with a reception at Canada Place hosted by the BC Ministry of Jobs, Technology and Trade, attended by the Korean Consul General, Mr. Gunn Kim, Assistant Deputy Minister of JTT, Brian Krieger, and Executive Director of DigiBC, Brenda Bailey. Edo De Martin, Director of Microsoft Vancouver, gave a short presentation on why Microsoft has chosen BC to be one its main investment targets for its MRy business. Business in Vancouver covered the event and the resulting article can be viewed here - https://biv.com/article/2018/05/vancouvers-growing-vrar-tech-reputation-draws-interest-south-korea
     
    The GCA and DigiBC hosted a showcase and reception event at the BC Tech Hub Cube on May 30 with around 100 VR/AR local developers and other stakeholders in attendance to meet the Korean companies. On Thursday, the delegation was able to visit three leading BC-based mixed reality studios; Finger Food Studios, Stambol Studios, and Eyexpo and were able to enjoy product demos, as well as presentations from sector leaders on their thoughts on the current and future environment for MR development, both at home and globally. 
     
    The delegation is the first in a series of events that are planned as part of the collaboration agreement, and demonstrates DigiBC's commitment to helping our member companies and the broader interactive community here in BC to benefit from relationships with companies in international markets, as well as helping grow BC's digital media sector by attracting overseas investment and partnerships to our region.
     
     
  • 15 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Last month, DigiBC celebrated the May 'Two-Four' with a networking mixer event at our new office in Mount Pleasant. We wanted to create a fun night in a casual atmosphere for our members to socialize with their industry peers. Watching the night unfold, it proved to be a success! Dipping into various interesting conversations and witnessing many new connections being made showed how valuable these events can be. Brenda Bailey, DigiBC's Executive Director, spoke to the attendees highlighting our mission to promote, support and accelerate the growth of BC's interactive and digital media (IDM) industry to the benefit of current and future generations and to prioritize government relations, education, networking and community building.

     

     

    This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our wonderful sponsors. We would like to give a huge shout out to EA Vancouver (beer sponsor), Demonware & Fasken Martineau (gold), McCrea Immigration Law & Relic Entertainment (silver) and Liberty Wine Merchants (wine sponsor). We can't thank them enough! Be sure to join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all our future events here.

     

     

     

  • 12 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Skybox Labs is a game development studio based in Burnaby and was founded in 2011 by a group of former EA Vancouver employees - Steve Silvester, Shayang Kong, and Derek MacNeil. Their work spans across all of the major gaming platforms (console, mobile, and desktop) and they specialize in creating new game concepts from scratch, with design being one of their major strengths. Originally starting out with a team of eight, the studio has seen itself grow over the last seven years and is now sitting at around 115 employees. They pride themselves on being bootstrapped and fully independent, with no external financing. 

    Skybox has developed alongside some of the industry's best publishers on world-class franchises such as Halo 5, Halo Forge PC, Minecraft for Nintendo Switch, and Age of Empires, in addition to doing work in the VR/AR space. Their current roster of work includes products in the Halo and Minecraft universes, a few unannounced AR/VR projects, and their own internal IP. This diverse portfolio provides the opportunity to work with high-profile names in the industry and the ability to be creative on IP projects.
     

    Skybox has an awesome culture of passionate gamers where tons of activities happen in the office before and after work. Everything from console and PC games to board games, miniatures, and collectible card games. This, in turn, has helped to build a real sense of comradery in the studio, as well as mutual respect and trust between founders and staff. There is little employee turnover and the teams run very independently with a low level of bureaucracy. Over the past seven years, the studio worked hard to preserve their core values around transparency and openness which has resulted in having the best of both worlds - a maintained flat structure of a small company while being large enough to work on a variety of projects. 
     

    Skybox is currently hiring for a number of positions and further information on these roles can be found on their website - www.skyboxlabs.com/jobs/
     

     

     

  • 11 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

     

    BC Tech hosted the annual Technology Innovation Awards (TIAs) on June 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Current and past DigiBC members were featured prominently at the event, including nominations in the following categories:

    Finger Food Studios - Excellence in Technology Adoption

    East Side Games
    - Tech Culture of the Year

    Cloudhead Games
    & LlamaZoo Interactive - Startup of the Year

     

    Congratulations to the nominees! Your companies were well represented and the exposure you received was significant. We were delighted to be there to celebrate when Ayogo won the Spirit of BC Tech award, and send out congratulations to Michael Ferguson and his team. More than just a party and celebration of talent, the awards are an opportunity to highlight the creative tech sector to the many politicians who attend the event. Working to increase the IDMTC never ceases, and the TIAs presented an informal venue for networking with important decision makers. A win for us all.

     

     

     

    DigiBC’s Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, and board member, James Hursthouse, both had a strong presence at the #BCTECH Summit facilitating and moderating multiple panels. The summit was well attended with over 9,000 participants, 3,300 delegates, and 2,000 high school students. We saw many of our member studios on the expo floor highlighting the excellent work of our sector while engaging potential customers, partners, and employees.  
     

    Having 2,000 high school students in attendance created an opportunity to highlight the Play to Learn” program to them, as well as the 200 teachers who were chaperoning. Created by EA, this Steam based platform is currently in more than 50 classrooms across the province. DigiBC is working with Everfi and the Ministry of Education to expand creative tech outreach using this platform and other educational tools from member companies in the upcoming school year. For a two minute summary of the event, click here.

     

     

  • 08 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Minerva is working with Refinery Leadership, to develop a five-day program focused on inclusive leadership skills. This is part of their Face of Leadership BC Tech initiative. They are piloting the program and are looking for participants who:
     

    • are interested in becoming more inclusive leaders
    • work in tech or have a tech-focused job
    • can attend all the sessions in Vancouver
    • will give honest, constructive feedback

     

    Program Overview

    A recent report by the HR Tech Group noted that 94% of surveyed employees in the BC tech sector believe that diverse teams produce better outcomes and business results – yet only 33% offer diversity and inclusion training to leaders. It is increasingly important to build inclusive work cultures as, despite a projected shortfall of talent, there are low levels of diverse representation from key groups in the tech sector. In what ways are you and your organization already leading inclusively? In what ways could you be better, and where is your edge? In partnership with The Refinery Leadership Partners, Minerva is offering a transformative program on Inclusive Leadership for all leaders and all genders in the tech sector. Participants should have a readiness to explore ways to:
     

    1. Observe our personal biases and the impact these biases have on others
    2. Build more empathy, compassion, and curiosity towards others who are different than us
    3. Have challenging conversations by leaning into the discomfort
    4. Lead more inclusively to unlock potential and performance
    5. Influence other leaders to co-create a culture of belonging

     

    This program is based on the belief that to truly create an inclusive culture and yield its advantages, we need have real conversations that expands 1) how we think about each other, and 2) what we are willing to do to help everyone in our organizations show up as their best selves. We believe this takes courage, collective generosity, an expectation that we won’t always get it right. AND we value the importance of having fun along the way!

     

    Program Dates & Format:

    • Workshops (all participants must attend all workshops)
      • Workshop 1: June 26-27
      • Workshop 2: September 11-12
      • Workshop 3: October 16
      • Light pre-work and intercession work in between workshops
    • Lunches provided
    • Location: Vancouver BC, venue TBD

     

    Enrolment:

    All leaders in the BC tech sector are invited to participate. As spaces are limited, we are only receiving 12 leaders for this program. There is no cost to participate.

    To enroll, please contact Tina Strehlke (tinas@minervabc.ca) by Friday, June 15.

     


     

     

     

  • 06 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Come meet, interact and network with more than 500 VCs, corporate VCs, angel investors, investment bankers and CEOs of early stage and emerging growth companies at the prestigious New York Venture Summit being held on July 10 & 11 at the Convene, New York City.

    This exclusive event put on by youngStartup Ventures will feature more than 50 VCs on interactive panels, presentations from more than 50 top innovators and high-level networking opportunities. The summit is a highly productive venture conference that is dedicated to showcasing VCs, corporate VCs and angel investors committed to funding early stage and emerging companies. Whether you are an investor seeking access to new early stage deals, or a CEO or founder of a new venture looking for funding, visibility and growth, #NYVS18 is one event you won’t want to miss.
     

    Use the code (DIGIBCVIP) to get an extra 10% off the early bird rates. http://bit.ly/2IIUmOo


    Call for TOP INNOVATORS! Get Noticed > Get Funded > Grow Faster
    A select group of more than 50 top innovators from the technology, clean tech, ed tech, life sciences/healthcare sectors will be chosen to present their breakthrough investment opportunities to an exclusive audience of venture capitalists, corporate investors, private investors, investment bankers, and strategic partners.

    Apply to present or nominate a company - for more information or to be considered for one of the top innovator slots click here.

     

     

     

  • 18 May 2018 by DigiBC

    Are you concerned about the GDPR which comes into effect on May 25, 2018?

    What is the GDPR?
    The General Data Protection Regulation introduces new data protection obligations for businesses while providing increased data protection rights for data subjects. The GDPR also significantly increases fines for non-compliance. 
     

    How does it affect our members?
    The newly approved GDPR fundamentally changes the way organizations collecting data in the EU need to manage their people, policies, processes, and technologies. It is vital for organizations to understand how this new legislation will impact them and ensure they are equipped to properly manage privacy and data protection, and have the technical ability to do so.


    How can DigiBC help?
    DigiBC members are invited to participate in a phone call with a leading European interactive digital media lawyer assisting with GDPR compliance. This half hour Q&A will be scheduled for the end of May. Please contact brenda@digibc.org if you would like to participate or know more.
     

  • 16 May 2018 by DigiBC

    DigiBC's Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, participated in the Canadian creative industry trade mission to China last month. It was led by the Honorable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and took place from April 9-13. More than 50 cultural companies participated and those from the creative tech sector included Relic Entertainment, Go2 Productions, IUGO Entertainment, Hyper Hippo Games, G-Pak Technology Inc., and Studio X Labs. The opportunity to attend came about through Creative BC and coordination was provided by our truly excellent provincial and federal trade delegates.

    The mission included a broad range of creatives. For example, Corus Entertainment, Kids Can Press, Minority Media, National Ballet of Canada, TIFF, Cirque du Soleil, Alberta Music and Entertainment One attended. That animation, video games, and visual effects are now included in the definition of culture indicates a step forward on how the sectors are viewed by our federal government. The delegates spent two days in Shanghai and three in Beijing.  It was clearly apparent that our Chinese cultural counterparts are seeking new opportunities and are eager to build strong relationships with their Canadian counterparts. Currently, there are more than 20 million people working in the cultural industry in China.

     


    The following information highlights the opportunities opening up in China and was presented in a publication created for the mission titled, “A Snapshot of China’s Creative Industries”.

     

    Video Games / Digital Interactive Entertainment
    Between 2009 and 2016 the number of gamers in China has increased fivefold from 115 million in 2009 to 566 million in 2016. China now accounts for 25% of the global market, having surpassed the United States to become the biggest video game market in the world. Tencent and NetEase hold a majority of the market. In 2016, 49.5% of their gaining market share was mobile.

    The PC gaming landscape in China is complex. In 2016 Chinese users were the third largest group of users on the Steam platform, and numbers have increased rapidly in the past year from 10 million in May 2016 to 16 million in March 2017. Of the top 20 games, by sales, in the Steam China store as of March 2017, six were developed by Canadian game studios! However, games platforms not registered in China may be confronted with regulatory challenges from the government. The uncertainty created by the great firewall and state censorship pose risks to foreign platforms not registered in China which could be blocked any time.

     

    Animation and VFX
    China has 50,000 screens and that number is growing at a rate of 27 new screens per day. Animated productions such as
    'Journey to the West' and 'The Monkey King' have generated box office sales of more than one billion (RMP). Of the top 10 films in 2016, four were entirely foreign productions, five were foreign culture co-productions classed as domestic, and only one was entirely domestic. There is strong interest in co-production in this sector.

    Relative to Hollywood blockbusters, post-production budgets for Chinese films are low. When relative to Canada the Chinese VFX and animation sector is still at an early stage of development, the domestic industry is dominated by a small number of production companies that provide VFX services. To improve these services, Chinese companies are increasingly seeking out foreign expertise. Canada’s reputation as a world leader in VFX and the success of a number of existing high-quality collaborations between Chinese and Canadian companies has created a strong desire for further collaboration.

     

     

    Chinese Market Access Peer Group

    DigiBC is forming a peer group for studios who are interested in exploring the risks and benefits of accessing the Chinese market. We plan to bring together both experienced and companies new to this market to have frank discussions, share learning on market access, and expert speakers. Please contact brenda@digibc.org should you have interest in becoming involved in this initiative.

     

     

     Jason Dowdeswell (Relic Entertainment), Bentley Brar (G-Pak Technology Inc.), Paul Ruskay (Studio X Labs), Sam Fisher (Hyper Hippo), Prem Gill (Creative BC), Gemma Scott (Go2 Productions), Brenda Bailey (DigiBC), Adrian Scott (Go2 Productions)

     

  • 15 May 2018 by DigiBC

    Two Tall Totems is a premium software company based in Vancouver, BC. They design, develop, and deliver world-class software, complex websites, and mobile apps for startups and enterprise companies. It was founded in July 2011 by Chris Hobbs, David Hobbs, and Josephine Wong and since then they have grown to become a powerhouse in the Vancouver tech community. TTT are known to develop beautiful and effective software that combines a design-first philosophy with deep expertise in sophisticated communications, security, and web services integration. Since its inception, they have garnered a client list from over 20 different industries and have completed 150+ successful projects. Currently, they are working on a robust mobile app for FortisBC, an interactive app for the Logitech Revols earphones, and revamping the MortgageBOSS platform for The Mortgage Alliance Company.

     

     

    Recognized by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, TTT takes pride in cultivating a culture of openness and passion. This is evident with their belief that employees are the core of the company and every single person contributes to its overall success. They also empower the community by getting involved with local and international events as speakers, educators, and sponsors. In the office there are three faces you will see on a regular basis who help keep things in line… three puppy faces, that is! Roxy is the fuzzy office mascot who is highly specialized in begging for food, Mojo (Head of Security) is a sassy pomeranian who takes his job very seriously, and Diamond (Head of PR) can often be found sleeping on the job.

     

     

     

    The staff describe themselves as people who are approachable, skilled, artistic, and even a bit nerdy while supporting each other with positivity and understanding. If you like the sounds of that then be sure to check out their website as they are currently hiring for a number of open positions. https://twotalltotems.bamboohr.com/jobs/

     

     


     

  • 11 May 2018 by DigiBC

    Do you sell online to the USA?

    The internet has changed how business is conducted, especially in a cross-border context. The ease and relatively inexpensive access to the internet, the emergence of social media sites such as YouTube, and the proliferation of company websites that operate as virtual storefronts, has created business opportunities where none existed before. Now any Canadian business with a computer and a good idea can sell goods or services to US customers with little or no physical presence in the US. This leads to a fascinating question: how should governments tax e-commerce?  In the US, there are two vastly different approaches to this issue that lead to drastically different results.
     

    How is income from e-commerce taxed at the US federal income tax level?

    At the federal income tax level, the presence of “old school” rules requiring a Canadian business to have a physical presence in the US before it is subject to federal income tax results in many Canadian e-commerce businesses avoiding US federal income tax liabilities. If the Canadian business is not deemed to have a US trade or business, then the issue of what profits it might have from US customers becomes irrelevant – those profits will generally not be subject to US federal income tax.

     

    WHAT IS A US TRADE OR BUSINESS?

    The rules for determining whether a Canadian company has a US trade or business are largely based in US domestic law but are augmented by the Canada-US Income Tax Treaty (the “Treaty”). The Treaty slightly alters some of the language and rules used in the analysis, thus providing slightly more clarity, but otherwise does not fundamentally alter the underlying concept.

    Typically, a US trade or business exists if activities of a Canadian business in the US are considerable, continuous, and regular. Furthermore, the activities conducted by a Canadian business within the US must also generally be active (as opposed to passive investment activities), substantial, and closely related to deriving business profit. As such, back office and logistic functions of a business, such as clerical activities, collection-related activities, and the mere storing of inventory in the US will not by themselves result in a Canadian business being engaged in a US trade or business.

    In addition to the above requirements that are derived from US domestic tax law, the Treaty generally requires one of two additional requirements to be met before the US will consider a Canadian business to be operating a US trade or business: (1) that the Canadian business has a fixed place of business within the US (such as an office or another place of management); or (2) have a dependent agent in the US who has the power to habitually exercise the right to conclude contracts in the name of the Canadian business with US customers.

    As noted above, Canadian based e-commerce businesses generally do not trigger either of these two requirements as: (1) operating a website that is accessible from the US generally will not constitute a fixed place of business within the US; and (2) taking orders through such website from US customers will generally not be considered as concluding contracts within the US.

     

    How is income from e-commerce taxed at the state income tax level?

    In direct contrast with the federal income tax rules, at the state income tax level, most states have done away with physical presence based rules and have adopted rules to tax businesses based on whether such businesses have a substantial “economic nexus” with the state. Economic nexus is a facts and circumstances test and is often based on such factors as the dollar amount and number of transactions conducted by the business with customers located in the state. This focus on the amount of sales made to customers within a state for purposes of taxing out of state business has gone a step further in certain states such as California, Colorado, Ohio, and Michigan, as these states now have bright line sales thresholds for determining nexus (e.g., Ohio, California, and Colorado have a $500,000 threshold, Michigan has a $350,000 threshold).

    Once a state has determined that an out of state business has economic nexus within the state, the business will typically have to apportion a percentage of its profits to be taxed in the state based on an apportionment formula that varies by state. Many states, although not all, have gone to a “single sales factor” apportionment method whereby the apportionment percentage is based on the total dollar amount of sales to customers in the state divided by the business’ worldwide sales.

    For example, if we assume a Canadian e-commerce business has $1,000,000 of sales to California, and that its total worldwide sales is $10,000,000, 10% of the total net income of the business will be subject to the California state income tax.

     

    How is income from e-commerce taxed at the state sales tax level?

    Pursuant to the US Supreme Court case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (“Quill”), states have historically only been able to tax out of state businesses for sales tax purposes if the out of state business had a physical presence in the state.  The rule laid down by Quill had the unintended consequences of heavily favoring e-commerce businesses over local brick and mortar retailers.  In the last several years, numerous states have passed legislation adopting economic nexus and even bright-line tests in order to subject sales from out of state businesses to state sales taxes. Currently, the State of South Dakota is involved in a case before the US Supreme Court that could likely abolish the need for physical presence based taxation for sales tax purposes.   If the US Supreme Court rules in favor of South Dakota and abolishes the physical presence standard, Canadian e-commerce businesses with significant sales to US customers could be faced with state sales tax exposures in addition to state income tax exposures.

     

    Summary  

    Unbeknownst to many Canadian e-commerce businesses, it is entirely possible that such businesses are subject to US state income taxation even though they are not subject to US federal income taxation. Furthermore, with there being a strong likelihood that Quill will be overturned later this year, Canadian e-commerce businesses will likely also have state sales tax exposures to be concerned with.


    If you have any questions or would like to discuss any potential US tax issues that may affect your business, please contact
    Eric Trumbull of our US Tax Group.


    Written
    by Eric Trumbull, Juris Doctor

     

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