Technology is everywhere these days, from our kitchen table Zoom calls to the peak of the stock markets
Technology is everywhere these days, from our kitchen table
Zoom calls to the peak of the stock markets. COVID has forced the world
to shift to virtual communications and fast track medical products and
services that rely on complex technologies. Tech IPOs are on fire and
the stock price for companies such as Shopify are shooting past
Perry Dellelce of Wildeboer Dellelce LLP lived through the tech bubble years of the 1990s and says this time it is different. Most companies being financed now have substantive business plans and operations, Dellelce says.
But there are still big challenges for Canadian tech. There has been less U.S. venture investment in Canada since the pandemic, Jamie Firsten of Goodmans LLP says, because the U.S. venture capitalists can’t travel to meet with founders. The pandemic has also created
problems in admitting foreign workers, with the Canada Border Services
Agency preventing workers from entering the country even with visas.
tech companies are also finding it difficult to scale to the level of
the big tech, which is often due to a lack of intellectual property
protection, says Roch Ripley of Gowling WLG.
“You look at our GDP per capita and our productivity relative to the
Americans, and it’s not trending in the right direction. And I think, to
a very large degree, it’s because we don’t do a good job of
commercializing intellectual assets, which is really the asset of the
And perhaps most significantly for the long term, Canada has just introduced a radical overhaul of its privacy regime.
While part of the impetus for this legislation is for Canadian
companies to compete in an increasingly global world, says
Laila Paszti of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP,
“it will negatively impact companies . . . because they will have to
grapple with how this will affect their processing of personal
information and how it will require them to retool their data
But tech entrepreneurs, and the legal experts who advise them,
are accustomed to change. COVID and new legal regimes are just the
latest challenges in their ascendency that shows no sign of stopping.
Tim Wilbur, Editor-in-Chief