Season’s greetings from DigiBC! It’s been quite a year with a lot to be thankful for, much to celebrate and some things that still need work. Here at DigiBC, we were able to complete several important projects with the incredible support of our membership and funding partners.
Highlights include developing seven new creative tech-focused micro-credentials with our partner schools, launching the BC XR Survey and EDI Survey, advising on the FNTC’s Indigenous Digital Equity Strategy, and celebrating our 25th anniversary which involved the launch of Signals. Throughout the year, we also continued to work closely with federal and provincial government partners, advocating for the creative technology sector on topics ranging from tax incentives and immigration to securing funding for subsidized trade missions to various industry conferences. Further details on what we were able to accomplish over the last 12 months can be read in the summary below.
We have some exciting plans lined up for 2023, beginning with the completion of our year-long project to develop a growth strategy for BC’s creative technology talent pipeline. The Province of BC’s SLMP program is supporting this second phase and the strategy recommends several candidate projects to grow the BC talent pool. We also recently announced the Creative Technology Gallery at Science World, and we will be working with our project partners to see that this first-of-its-kind interactive experience is unveiled next summer.
In closing, we encourage you, if you're reading this and are not already a DigiBC member or you have let your membership lapse, to sign up or renew. Together we are stronger, so join us as we continue to grow and ensure a healthy future in the province for this fabulous sector.
~ The DigiBC Team & Board of Directors
Over the course of 2022, DigiBC continued to work closely with government partners as the voice of the creative technology industry. Our work included specific programs to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with plans for industry recovery and rebuilding post-crisis. We also had ongoing consultations with the government to ensure the continuation of the IDMTC which is up for renewal in 2023.
►Canadian Interactive Alliance / L ‘Alliance Interactive Canadienne (CIAIC)
DigiBC is a member of CIAIC which is a not-for-profit trade association that serves as the voice of Canada’s interactive digital media industry. It is made up of eight provincial industry associations from across the country (DigiBC, Digital Alberta, SaskInteractive, New Media Manitoba, La Guilde du Jeu Vidéo du Québec, Interactive Ontario, Videogames PEI & Interactive Society of Nova Scotia). One of the key highlights this year included working with CanExport to secure federal government funding for a trade mission to GDC 2022 that included coaching and subsidized registration.
►Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) Trade Missions
- Filmgate (Miami) & Immerse Global Summit (Miami)
- Nordic Game Show (Sweden)
- Ontario / BC IDM mission to Berlin
- Devcom / Gamescom 2022
►DigiBC & A/VFX Education Steering Committee
The committee strengthened industry relationships with the post-secondary ecosystem across BC which resulted in the development of seven micro-credential programs. We also connected our member companies with funding opportunities for work-integrated-learning (WIL), making it easier to welcome students and new grads into our industry.
►Play to Learn
In collaboration with EverFi, the Play to Learn program continued to be rolled out in schools throughout the province. This is an interactive program designed for exploring STEM careers for middle school students. The curriculum is built to empower learners with the knowledge they'll need to discover their career pathways.
►Micro-Credential Programs with Colleges & Universities
DigiBC partnered with Emily Carr University of Art + Design, University of Victoria, Vancouver Community College, Simon Fraser University, BCIT and Capilano University on seven post-secondary micro-credential programs for the creative technology sector. These were developed to create a bridge between the industry and British Columbians looking to upskill or reskill and take advantage of the opportunities in the sector. All the programs offered subsidized tuition if an applicant self-identifies as being from an underrepresented group in the creative technology industry (Indigenous peoples of Canada, racialized communities, women, LGBTQ2+ community and non-binary people, and people with disabilities). We would like to thank and acknowledge the important role BC’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training played in supporting the creative technology sector and underrepresented groups.
DigiBC and ICTC’s first ever Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) survey for the sector launched in the summer and wrapped up in September. This confidential survey was open to all DigiBC member companies, and the resulting data will provide greater insight into EDI across our sector, as well as inform policy and program development.
►XR in BC Survey
We partnered with Nordicity to launch the XR in BC Survey and the goal of this was to capture and determine the size and health of the industry after two years of pandemic. We gathered input from 36 industry members and organizations to learn about what XR companies in BC are creating and what they perceive the industry’s growth trajectory to look like over the next 1-5 years.
►Funding & Grant Programs
- CanExport SMEs Funding Program
- Innovator Skills Initiative
- Centre for Digital Media: R&D Projects with Master of Digital Media Students
- Mitacs x Emily Carr University: Animation & VFX Internship Grant Program
- Shred Capital Video Game Industry Acceleration Program
►DigiCamps for Underrepresented Youth
Following the success of the 2021 series, we partnered with UTG Academy again to create the DigiCamp: Online Video Game Coding Camp for Girls (ages 8-13) for spring break and the summer. The classes were structured so that students with beginner and intermediate levels of experience could participate in different teams at the same camp. Huge thanks to IUGO, East Side Games and the DigiBC members who contributed to our 2021 EDI budget. We’ll be planning even more camps for next year!
►Sector Labour Market Partnership (SLMP) Project 2.0
Following the publication of DigiBC’s first-of-its-kind report in October 2021, Benchmarking the Creative Technology Sector in British Columbia, we were delighted to announce in April that the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST) approved our application for funding to continue this important work for the sector. The second phase of the project focuses on strategy development to support key recommendations identified in the study, including increased visibility of creative technology career paths, improved collaboration with post-secondary institutions, development of mentorship programs, and tools and resources to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion across the sector. DigiBC has partnered with ICTC again to develop this strategy, and we aim for this phase of work to be completed by the end of the year, with a view to implementing programs as early as spring 2023.
►Creative Technology Gallery at Science World
In October, Science World announced they received $10 million in funding from the Government of Canada through the Tourism Relief Fund and $1.5 million of this will go towards the development and launch of the Creative Technology Gallery. This exhibit is being done in partnership with DigiBC and is set to be unveiled in 2023. The interactive experience will seek to inspire visitors to see creative technology as a powerful tool for positive change and explore the relationship between science, art, and technology.
DigiBC continued our commitment to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the sector by providing education for member companies and the community, establishing meaningful partnerships with EDI-focused organizations, developing policy and resources, and benchmarking and tracking EDI data for the sector.
►EDI Steering Committee
This was established to provide programming and resources to support our members’ EDI policy and commitments. The committee contributed to the Education team’s first ever sectoral EDI Survey. The committee has also formed strategic partnerships to help ensure opportunity for underrepresented groups and is developing a charter and action plan for 2023.
►Free EDI Memberships for Startups
Coinciding with Creative Technology Day, we announced we would be offering free memberships to support the advancement of creative technology startups led by the following underrepresented groups: Indigenous peoples of Canada, racialized communities, women, LGBTQ2+ community and non-binary people, and people with disabilities.
DigiBC’s Executive Director Loc Dao was an advisor on the First Nations Tech Council’s Indigenous Digital Equity Strategy and participated in the talent and tech circles.
►Women in Creative Technology Events
We continued with supporting the Diversity In Games (formerly WIGeh) Lightning Lunch online event series throughout the year.
►The Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge
DigiBC signed on to this and is one of 1,391 companies participating in the 50-30 Challenge. The goal of the program is to challenge Canadian organizations to increase the representation and inclusion of diverse groups within their workplace, while highlighting the benefits of giving all Canadians a seat at the table.
Membership, Community Building & Events
►We had 19 new members join the association this year, and we added two new membership perks by establishing partnerships with Rhum.hr (HR consulting services) and Bell Mobility (Exclusive Partner Program)
►DigiBC was proud to be a sponsor of the Spark CG Society and the 2022 Vancouver Asian Film Festival
►DigiBC's Executive Director Loc Dao and board members Natali Altshuler (EA SPORTS & RACING) and Kay Wong-Alafriz (Kabam) were named to the BIV BC500 2022 list
►Games From British Columbia Steam Page
We officially launched the Games From British Columbia Steam page in the spring and also held a page-wide sale over the BC Day long weekend. This features released and upcoming titles from a number of our independent and AAA developers of PC games, and we're proud to showcase their talent and range of development capabilities. The page was made possible with funding from Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia, and with the generous assistance of Kerberos Productions and Respeccd.
►DigiBC Sizzle Reel 2022
We updated our sizzle reel and unveiled it to coincide with Creative Industries Week & Creative Technology Day. This reel represents BC's entire creative technology sector from VFX and animation to video games and VR/AR/XR, while showcasing some of the spectacular content that is made by a number of our member studios.
02.09: S+F Group Benefits Info Session
02.10: Trade Commissioner Service Info Session
03.14-18: DigiCamp: Online Video Game Development Camp for Girls (Spring Break)
03.21-25: DigiCamp: Online Video Game Development Camp for Girls (Spring Break)
03.23: WIGeh Lightning Talks Lunch & Learn (DigiBC supported)
04.07: Neil Squire Society Info Session
05.16-20: Creative Industries Week
05.16: Creative Technology Day
05.25: WIGeh Lightning Talks Lunch & Learn (DigiBC supported)
06.09: ICTC EDI Panel
06.27: ICTC EDI Survey AMA Session
07.11-15: DigiCamp: Online Video Game Development Camp for Girls (Summer)
07.29-08.02: Games from BC Steam Page: BC Day Sale
08.04: VCC Micro-credential Program Info Session
08.15-19: DigiCamp: Online Video Game Development Camp for Girls (Summer)
08.22-26: DigiCamp: Online Video Game Development Camp for Girls (Summer)
08.31: WIGeh Lightning Talks Lunch & Learn (DigiBC supported)
10.01-02: Signal Exhibition (in collaboration with VIFF)
10.01: DigiBC’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
11.24: DigiBC 2022 AGM
►Creative Industries Week
The seventh annual Creative Industries Week took place from May 16-20 and this showcased BC’s dynamic creative sector which includes the book and magazine publishing, creative technology, film, and music industries. On May 18, we celebrated in Victoria at the Legislature with government, community and industry partners, and had a great turnout from our membership spanning across A/VFX, XR and Video Games. Animal Logic, Atomic Cartoons, Departure Lounge, Industrial Light & Magic Vancouver, Kano and Sony Imageworks all brought something to showcase to BC’s MLAs and industry stakeholders. Loc Dao (Executive Director, DigiBC) had the chance to speak about our sector, along with Tim Teh (Co-founder, Kano) who talked about audiences and connections in the work that our industry creates. Additionally, Michelle Grady (EVP, Sony Imageworks) spoke about how our sector is addressing talent demands through our education strategy and EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) work.
►Creative Technology Day
As part of CIW 2022, DigiBC presented Creative Technology Day on May 16 to showcase some of the incredible work from studios across the province, spanning animation, visual effects (VFX), video games, and virtual/extended/augmented reality (VR/AR/XR). In addition, we shared some of the key education programs and EDI initiatives that the creative tech industry is developing in partnership with educators and the provincial government to ensure that BC continues to train and retain world-class talent while enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion across the sector.
►DigiBC's 25th Anniversary Celebration & Signal Exhibit
This year was DigiBC’s 25th anniversary and the sector came together on October 1. It was our first in-person event since 2019, and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate the occasion with members from across BC’s incredible creative technology industry! The night kicked off with opening remarks from Loc Dao (Executive Director, DigiBC), and then Loc and Charles Creighton (President, Departure Lounge) welcomed T'uy't'tanat Cease Wyss and her daughter Senaqwila to perform the first-ever volumetrically captured cultural welcome. After which Jon Lutz (Board Chair, DigiBC), Brenda Bailey (Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation), Valerie Creighton (CEO & President, CMF) and Loretta Todd (Creative Director, IM4 Media Lab) spoke.
The event took place during the sold-out Signals, which was a first ever collaboration between the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and DigiBC. Special thanks to co-curators Debi Wong (re:Naissance Opera) and Loretta Todd (IM4 Media Lab) for putting together such a great program that showcased BC tech and talent. Signals displayed the creative power, playfulness, and storytelling potential of new technologies with a multi-day showcase of Canadian and Indigenous works. The exhibits ranged from real time 3D performances showcasing holograms and LED volumes to VR multiplayer gaming and a dome 360 film.
►Orange Shirt Day Fundraiser
In observance of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and in support of Orange Shirt Day, DigiBC worked with IM4 Media Lab to create an orange t-shirt for our members to purchase. The artwork was an original design titled Still Here that we commissioned from Coast Salish artist Zac George. We were able to raise a total of $1100 and this was donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.