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Most Shopify employees won’t return to office after coronavirus pandemic, CEO says – Globalnews.ca

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Employees at Shopify will continue to work from home even after the novel coronavirus pandemic ends, the booming Canadian tech giant announced Thursday.

The e-commerce platform developer, headquartered in Ottawa with more than 5,000 employees in Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, Vancouver and around the world, will keep its offices closed until the end of 2021 to prepare for the company’s permanent work-for-home reality, CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted Thursday morning.

When those offices do reopen, most employees will continue to work from home.

“Shopify is a digital by default company,” Lutke tweeted.

“Office centricity is over.”






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Coronavirus and the workplace


Coronavirus and the workplace

Shopify, which surpassed more than 1,000 employees in its hometown of Ottawa last year and briefly overtook RBC as Canada’s most valuable company on the Toronto Stock Exchange a few weeks ago, was an early adopter of remote working amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The company asked its entire staff to work from home starting March 11, with Lutke noting then that a large portion of the company’s workforce already worked remotely.

Lutke said in his tweets Thursday that every Shopify employee will now have the same experience no matter where they work.


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Working from home because of coronavirus? Here’s how to stay productive

He noted it will also help the company connect to the merchants it serves, as many direct-to-consumer businesses that use the Shopify platform to power their online stores also work from home.

Lutke said Shopify hasn’t figured out all the details yet around operating a remote-first business but that the company has always been good at change.

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Shawn Hamilton, a senior vice-president with real estate services firm CBRE in Ottawa, tells Global News that the local e-commerce giant has long been a trendsetter in the city’s office market, and if anyone can make a leap like this work, it’s Shopify.

“If it were any other company I would take it as a venting of frustration. But these guys have always been the thin edge of the wedge in leading the way,” Hamilton says.

The technology to enable a fully remote operation is already in place, Hamilton says, but what will make or break Shopify’s remote experiment is the sociological dimensions of working in an office and meeting others face to face.

In other words, the coronavirus pandemic has proven tech companies can work from home — now they have to decide if they really want to.

Lutke’s decision to have employees permanently work remotely comes after Shopify started beefing up its real estate with a new office in Toronto at the King Portland Centre, steps away from the company’s first office in Canada’s largest city.

It also announced that it would lease about 23,597 square metres (253,995 square feet) of space at The Well complex in Toronto to be built at Front Street West and Spadina Avenue.

In January, the company said it would open its first permanent office in downtown Vancouver at the Four Bentall Centre by late 2020.

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READ MORE:
Burnout is real — even when working from home

And back in Ottawa, Shopify operates from its 150 Elgin St. headquarters with another office around the corner at 234 Laurier Ave.

But what will happen to these offices if Shopify no longer needs to fill them with employees?

In a statement to Global News, a Shopify spokesperson said the company will be “re-designing” its existing offices and is “committed to retaining recruitment hubs” in its major Canadian markets.

Should Shopify opt to downsize any of its offices in downtown Ottawa, Hamilton believes there will be sufficient demand to snap up any vacant space.

New private-sector players with a “different philosophy” on office space might take over a few floors from the e-commerce firm, or the federal government, which was already growing in size before the pandemic hit, could swoop in to boost its own downtown portfolio, he suggests.

While Shopify has been a trendsetter for years to other urban tech companies in Ottawa, Hamilton suggests other startups tread carefully before tearing up their leases.

“I would caution companies to make changes, not borne out of frustration, but because it is a strategic, measured complement to their business,” he says.

Shopify’s latest news comes just a day after it unveiled a slew of new products to support merchants through the COVID-19 pandemic during its online Reunite conference.

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The company’s stock now regularly reaches more than $1,000 in trading, and the company says more than one million businesses now use its offerings.

— With files from Canadian Press






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Shopify continues to grow amid Toronto’s evolving tech scene


Shopify continues to grow amid Toronto’s evolving tech scene

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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CPA Canada hit by cyberattack, affecting data of more than 329000 – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, June 4, 2020 4:15PM EDT


Last Updated Thursday, June 4, 2020 5:41PM EDT

TORONTO – A cyberattack on the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada website has affected the personal information of more than 329,000 members and stakeholders, the organization said.

The information includes names, addresses, emails and employer names, but passwords and credit card numbers were protected by encryption, CPA Canada said.

It warned the data could be used in email phishing scams and encouraged those affected to “remain vigilant.”

The attack by “unauthorized third parties” occurred between Nov. 30 and May 1, according to an internal investigation carried out with the help of cybersecurity experts.

The organization said it beefed up its security measures and contacted the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and privacy authorities after learning of “a possible security incident” the week of April 20.

“Upon discovering this, CPA Canada took immediate steps to secure its systems and conduct a thorough analysis to determine what information may have been involved,” the group said in an email.

“There is no evidence that the encryption keys were affected in this incident and we have no reason to believe the encryption was compromised.”

The personal information relates mainly to the distribution of CPA Magazine and everyone affected has been notified, the organization said.

Hacks against a wide range of companies since 2018 have included medical test laboratory LifeLabs and credit union Desjardins, which combined saw the theft of the personal information of more than 19 million Canadians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.

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Canada's trade deficit doubled to $3.3B in April as COVID-19 walloped imports and exports – CBC.ca

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Canada’s exports and imports plunged in April on falling oil prices and as the coronavirus pandemic shut down factories and retail stores, Statistics Canada said on Thursday, adding that the reopening of most auto assembly plants may help trade in the coming months.

“We are really getting hammered with respect to cars and crude,” said Peter Hall, chief economist at Export Development Canada.

Total exports fell 29.7 per cent to $32.7 billion in April, the lowest level in more than 10 years, and imports declined 25.1 to $35.9 billion, the lowest since February 2011, Statscan said.

The April trade deficit widened to $3.25 billion from a revised $1.53 billion in March, Statscan said, larger than the $2.36 billion forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Exports of energy products fell $3.6 billion, the largest decrease on record, Statscan said. Crude oil exports led the decline, plunging 55.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, exports of passenger cars and light trucks slumped 84.8, while imports plunged 90 per cent.

The slump in auto and energy exports because of shutdowns was also reflected in Canada-U.S. trade data, where total trade fell by $23.4 billion, representing more than 90 per cent of Canada’s trade activity decline. The neighbouring countries’ automotive and energy sectors are highly integrated.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and forced officials in Canada to shutter non-essential businesses and urge people to stay at home. In recent weeks, Canada’s 10 provinces have gradually begun to restart their economies.

“While some factories and retailers began to reopen in May, it’s likely to take until the June data to see any material signs of rebounding economic activity,” said Royce Mendes, a senior economist at CIBC.

“With the focus now shifting to the recovery stage, and with many economies gradually re-opening since May, the worst is hopefully in the rearview mirror,” TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman said.

The Canadian dollar extended its decline after the release of the data, falling to 73.88 cents US.

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Canada's mortgage insurer tightens rules as it forecasts home-price drop of up to 18% – Financial Post

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TORONTO — The government-backed Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said on Thursday it would tighten rules for offering mortgage insurance from July 1, after forecasting declines of between 9 per cent and 18 per cent in home prices over the next 12 months.

The move would make it harder for riskier borrowers, who offer down payments of less than 20 per cent, to access CMHC’s default mortgage insurance.

CMHC is establishing a minimum credit score of 680 instead of the current 600, the group said in an emailed statement.

It will also limit total gross debt servicing ratios to its standard requirement of 35 per cent of annual income, compared with a threshold as high as 39 per cent currently, and total debt servicing to 42 per cent versus as much as 44 per cent now.

The measures will help curtail “excessive demand and unsustainable house price growth,” CMHC Chief Executive Evan Siddall said in the statement.

He said COVID-19 has exposed longstanding financial-market vulnerabilities, and “we must act now to protect the economic futures of Canadians.”

Some 35 per cent of Canadian banks’ mortgages are insured, their financial statements show. CMHC is the top mortgage insurer, while Genworth MI Canada and other private companies also provide similar products.

Despite evaporating activity in the housing market due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prices have continued to rise as listings have fallen off alongside demand.

Home prices across the country rose 1.3 per cent in April from March, and data from Toronto and Vancouver real estate boards showed increases of 3 per cent and 2.9 per cent in May, respectively, from a year earlier.

The CMHC has taken a more bearish view of the housing market than others. Last week, some of Canada’s biggest banks forecast maximum price declines of about 7 per cent.

Siddall last week responded to critics of its more dire outlook, saying on Twitter they were “whistling past the graveyard and offering no analysis.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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