Greenest School in Canada 2018: Trinity College School and Lacombe Composite High School

Case studies on the 2018 winners of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)’s Greenest School in Canada competition.

Click here to download PDF of the full case study.

Demonstrating long-term commitment towards sustainability and making their communities greener through a variety of environmental projects and activities, this year’s winners of Greenest School in Canada competition are nurturing the next generation of green building leaders.

First Place Winners (Tie)

Lacombe Composite High School in Lacombe, AB

A key goal for Lacombe Composite High School, an 850-student school located in a small central Alberta city, is to cultivate student leaders and provide them with the opportunity to make a difference for the environment, their school and community. With this in mind, the school offers green programs as part of its curriculum and encourages students to create their own innovative, sustainable projects.

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Case Study: Cintas Toronto Distribution Centre

Case study on a TRUE Zero Waste certified project, prepared for the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) / GBCI Canada.

A comprehensive, employee-led strategy leads to one of Canada’s first TRUE certifications

Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Certification level: Gold
Per cent of overall diversion achieved: 93.59 per cent
Certification date: October 2017

When Richard (“Doc”) and Amelia Farmer founded business supplies provider Cintas in 1929, the Great Depression was just beginning and they were out of work. Doc Farmer came up with a plan to collect, launder and reuse soiled shop rags from local factories, a simple green idea that started a rich heritage of environmentally sustainable practices still continuing nearly a century later.

Click here to download PDF of the full case study.

The Cintas Toronto Distribution Centre (DC), which became Canada’s second TRUE certification in October 2017, traces its roots to that humble beginning. The 60,000 sq.ft. Mississauga facility achieved its zero waste goals through innovative vendor partnerships, the dedication of its Green Team, and complete engagement among its 56 employees, or “partners” as they are referred to within Cintas. A combination of large changes to overall processes and individual partner actions contributed to the distribution centre’s success, lending itself as an excellent example of how a zero waste strategy can be implemented in any type of organization.

The result of this work was a TRUE Gold certification, which acknowledged the distribution centre’s work in diverting 93.59 percent of waste from landfill. It is one of five Cintas facilities so far to achieve TRUE Gold certification in North America, with more planned in the near future.

The following case study provides a closer look into the strategies, challenges and specific actions involved in Cintas’s Toronto DC’s achievement.

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Case Study: Mountain Equipment Co-op Head Office

Case study on a LEED-certified project, prepared for the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

With a focus on sustainability and innovation throughout its business, it’s fitting that Mountain Equipment Co-op’s head office in Vancouver has achieved LEED Platinum certification. Spanning 112,000 square feet over two intersecting three- and four-storey buildings, the office features the post-and-beam construction that has become a hallmark of the outdoor lifestyle retailer’s architectural brand, with a wood, steel and glass superstructure on a concrete basement foundation. The building, which is on a former brownfield site in the False Creek Flats area, is designed to create a collaborative, active workplace for its staff of roughly 450 employees and to be an energy-efficient site with minimal impact on the environment.

The building received its LEED Platinum certification in November 2017. CaGBC spoke with Tim Southam, Public Affairs Manager at Mountain Equipment Co-op, about how the new head office embodies the retailer’s corporate values and culture.

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2011-12 EMPLOYEES’ CHOICE AWARDS (excerpt)

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Jan. 23, 2012 (& Jan. 24 on

(The following three profiles are part of a collection of 10 articles written by Krystle Chow, Elizabeth Howell, Peter Kovessy and Greg Markey, highlighting the best workplaces in Ottawa as chosen by their employees.)

Ernst & Young LLP: Accounting for employee goals

Ernst & Young employees.
From left: Angel Estrada, Deanna Monaghan, Natalie Proctor, Carlos Lewis and Amy Yang.
Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the Ottawa Business Journal.

Founded: 1906
Employees: 163
ECAs: 3

For three-time Employees’ Choice Awards winner Ernst & Young LLP, the key to having happy employees is constant communication and ensuring that workers’ needs and long-term aspirations are met.

But perhaps one of the most distinctive initiatives Ernst & Young has is its counselling program, in which each employee is assigned a coach to help with career planning and achieving their mid- and long-term professional goals.

“It’s important for us to understand people’s objectives and goals from a professional perspective and make sure that is what we can offer to them,” says Ms. Monaghan, adding this has helped the company attract and retain skilled staff in a tight labour market.

Ernst & Young’s global reach means employees also have the opportunity to take advantage of overseas training and work terms, giving them new challenges and variety in their work. For instance, the firm has taken on staff for a two-year transfer from the Middle East, Italy and Switzerland, while Ottawa employees have done exchanges to Chicago and New York City, among other locations.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn different cultures and see other parts of the world, while continuing in the same professional capacity,” says Ms. Monaghan.

Understanding employees’ needs also includes offering employees the flexibility to adjust their hours or work from home, she adds.

It all helps to foster an environment where people feel their ideas and views are welcomed and valued, Ms. Monaghan says.

“One thing staff tell us all the time is how there’s a positive, strong culture where people enjoy working with each other. It’s very co-operative and people team well, with a strong culture of respect, and there’s a variety with the work performed so it’s not repetitive and people are challenged by the work they do.”

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Lifetime Achievement Award: Durrell’s dynasty

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Nov. 14, 2011 (Nov. 18 on

Former Ottawa mayor’s lasting legacy in sporting, tourism, business and beyond

Jim Durrell.
Jim Durrell, OBJ and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement
Award recipient.

Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the
Ottawa Business Journal.

Name most of Ottawa’s major landmarks, and it’s likely you’ll hear one name repeated throughout their histories – Jim Durrell.

In fact, many of the framed images lining the staircase leading up to Mr. Durrell’s offices at the Capital Dodge auto dealership are a testament to this fact, from the photo of an airplane taking off, to the various United Way certificates, to the picture of the Ottawa Convention Centre being built.

The former mayor had a hand in the construction of the capital’s airport and new convention centre, and his influence has loomed large over the city’s sporting infrastructure. As well, he’s played roles with the Ottawa Hospital and various other charitable organizations.

It’s all part of Mr. Durrell’s philosophy of building up the city’s “cornerstones”: health care, recreation and sport, culture, and education, with a healthy economy at the centre.

“(Those) essential things keep everything moving,” he says.

In celebration of Mr. Durrell’s Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of the Ottawa Business Achievement Awards being presented Dec. 1, OBJ took a look back at his manifold achievements in the National Capital Region.

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HONG KONG: Waking the ‘sleeping giant’ for Silicon Valley North

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Sept. 5, 2011 (Sept. 12 on

China’s five-year focus on ICT, clean tech gets Ottawa firms fired up

Bernard Herscovich, CEO of BelAir Networks.
Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the Ottawa Business Journal.

For many of Ottawa’s technology companies, the Hong Kong market is but a starting point for an enormous opportunity.

As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong is uniquely positioned as the economic gateway for the massive Asian country, says OCRI’s Mike Darch. And that’s especially important given the four trillion renminbi, or roughly C$800 million, China has pledged towards IT and low-carbon technologies as part of its five-year strategic plan.

“There’s a joke that (with Chinese projects) you take the largest project you’ve ever seen and add six zeros at the end,” says Mr. Darch.

Among the strategic emerging areas on which it wishes to focus, China has identified three clean energy-related areas – namely new energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear, energy conservation, environmental protection initiatives, and clean-energy vehicles – and next-generation information technology surrounding the convergence of conventional communications, broadcast and Internet, Mr. Darch explains.

Undoubtedly, opportunities abound for the residents of Silicon Valley North. But for many of Ottawa’s technology firms, particularly the smaller ones, it can be a challenge to dive into the Chinese market, given its size, the obvious cultural and language barriers, and distance from North America.

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Xceedium buys Cloakware technology, sets up shop in Ottawa

Published on the Ottawa Business Journal website.
Sept. 8, 2011

A Virginia security technology company is in the process of opening its very first Canadian office in Ottawa following its purchase of Cloakware’s password management business from Irdeto.

Herndon, Va.-based Xceedium Inc. announced Thursday that it’s bought the Cloakware Password Authority product, along with a perpetual licence to Irdeto’s patented white-box cryptographic libraries, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition includes the transfer of 14 local employees to Xceedium’s staff roster, with no layoffs.

As a result of the deal, the company is also opening a new research and development facility in Ottawa, which will work closely with Xceedium’s 28-person R&D team in Jersey City, N.J.

Xceedium CEO Glenn Hazard told OBJ in an interview that the acquisition would allow his company to Continue reading →

Local firms tune in to changing viewer habits

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Sept. 5, 2011 (Sept. 7 on

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Internet television market projected to grow to US$49 billion globally by 2015

Jaison Dolvane.
Espial CEO Jaison Dolvane.
Photo by JOËL CÔTÉ-CRIGHT for the
Ottawa Business Journal.

The entertainment industry is going over-the-top – and that’s not necessarily a reference to how there’s too much violence in the movies.

Rather, it’s a term used to describe a new breed of content providers that are making a dent in the business of traditional cable companies, telecommunications providers and bricks-and-mortar video stores, and creating opportunities for Ottawa firms in the process.

Over-the-top, or OTT, refers to services that ride over existing networks, without having any affiliation with those network operators. In the video space, it’s a niche that’s being shaped by U.S.-based Netflix, which began streaming movies and older television programming in Canada last year.

And it’s just one aspect of a changing entertainment delivery landscape, as service providers rush to find new ways to compete for eyeballs for their content.

That suits Jaison Dolvane, and his Ottawa-headquartered company Espial, just fine. The firm, which provides software and services to support on-demand television, in 2010 recorded its first positive operating earnings since going public in 2007, a development it attributed to the “Netflix factor.”

Espial also saw revenues rise 22 per cent in its second quarter, and it now counts Continue reading →

SMEs call for clarity on Shared Services Canada strategy

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Aug. 22, 2011 (Aug. 29 on

Click here to view this article on

Jeff Lynt.
CABiNET’s Jeff Lynt.
Photo by ETIENNE RANGER for the
Ottawa Business Journal.

Several local tech firms are cautiously optimistic the federal government’s new Shared Services Canada initiative will bring fresh business opportunities, but questions remain about how it will all play out.

After years of discussion and some early work with the centralized provision and management of IT services through Public Works’s Information Technology Services Branch, the federal government announced the establishment of a broader-based department that will begin consolidating the bureaucracy’s disparate tech systems.

While the new Shared Services Department said it’s contemplating public-private partnerships to aid the process “where it makes sense to do so,” the role of the private sector is still unclear at this point, observers say.

“There’s a need to really define the strategy … about how they want to move forward. Release what they know, get the speculation out of the air, let people understand what they’re working with,” said Jeff Lynt, president of inRound Innovations and spokesperson for the Canadian Business Information Technology Network, or CABiNET, industry association.

“We often see when things are announced that everybody’s wondering what’s going to happen, and the quicker they can get past that, the faster people can get to work on solving the problems.”

Louis-Martin Parent, policy analyst for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, noted it would be helpful to have a clear list of timelines and goals, as well as an idea of what platforms the government plans to move to.

“Public-private partnerships could mean a lot of different things; in the past, one problem our members have had is if they bring an innovative solution that doesn’t fit the checkmark list of requirements, the solution gets dismissed,” he said. “We support the concept, but it’s a devil-in-the-details kind of situation.”

Indeed, when asked about how the private sector would be involved in the process, an e-mail to OBJ from Shared Services Canada president Liseanne Forand said only that Continue reading →