Better, Faster, Easier- Selkirk College Connects to Trust’s High-Speed Network

Better, Faster, Easier: Selkirk College Connects to Trust’s High-Speed Network

Better, Faster, Easier- Selkirk College Connects to Trust’s High-Speed Network

Students at Selkirk College are benefiting from faster Internet speeds thanks to the Trust’s broadband initiative.

10x the high-speed connectivity now available on Trail, Castlegar and Nelson campuses.

Selkirk College faculty and students are now benefiting from faster Internet speeds, thanks to a connection to the fibre-optic broadband network owned and managed by the Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation (CBBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbia Basin Trust.

“The ability to connect to high-speed Internet impacts many aspects of Columbia Basin residents’ lives, including education,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Director, Delivery of Benefits. “By steadily working to expand and utilize our regional broadband network, we continue to see concrete results like these that help improve the quality of life, well-being and prosperity of our region’s residents and communities.”

The Trust’s network—which has brought the College a 10-fold improvement in digital connectivity—also helps bring high-speed Internet to local governments, service providers and rural customers in the Basin.

“It’s night and day as compared to before,” said Justin Robinson, a Selkirk College graduate and instructor in the college’s School of Environment and Geomatics. “You can download a gigabyte of data per second. The Internet connection at Selkirk now is the same as you would get in downtown Vancouver.”

“Before, students had to worry about file size and lag times; it was frustrating and limiting. Datasets we rely on for student projects that we had to maintain locally and constantly update are now available to us in real time. Students now have access to information that is more reliable and more readily available.”

“The Trust has invested heavily in the area to develop high-speed connections,” said Darrell Hicks, IT Manager, Strategic Projects for Selkirk College. “We were able to leverage that investment to give an organization like ours a reach we could not otherwise have. It has changed the conversation from ‘we can’t’ to ‘what do we want to do’.”

Brendan Wilson, School Chair for Environment and Geomatics, added: “Students can remain in their home communities here while pursuing their studies; they can seamlessly connect with their campus, instructor and fellow students on their mobile devices as they access distributed learning. For instructors it means we can explore new ways in which to engage with our existing students while also attracting new students to our programs. It means we can retain and grow our student numbers in the region and that benefits everyone.”

News Release from Columbia Basin Trust.


Royal Roads University and First Nations Technology Council partner for tech education

Indigenous Tech Education Through Partnership Between Royal Roads University and First Nations Technology Council

Royal Roads University and First Nations Technology Council partner for tech education

First Nations Technology Council Executive Director, Denise Williams, and Royal Roads University President, Allan Cahoon, shake hands at the partnership event for FiiT at Royal Roads Feb. 23. (Dan Anthon/ Royal Roads University)

The First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) have partnered with Royal Roads University to expand access to technology skills training for Indigenous innovators.

The partnership has introduced a program called Foundations in Innovation and Technology (FiiT).

FiiT was developed by FNTC to allow and encourage opportunities for Indigenous people across the province to explore careers within BC’s growing tech and innovation sector. Royal Roads’ Centre for Teaching and Education Technologies will provide the platform to deliver the programs beginning in fall 2018.

The tech education program provides six technical and innovation streams to Indigenous groups

The program began four years ago, FiiT under the leadership of FTNC executive director Denise Williams.  While it has evolved – a revision of the model developed two years ago – the recent injection of funding has created a new level of excitement about the scope of possibilities available to the program.

There are currently six practical, project-based streams: web development and coding, GIS/GPS and mapping, social media, software testing, network technician, and MS Office professionals. For programs like web development the training is provided entirely through FiiT, and for other programs FiiT is the convener and students will be directed to partners and receive mentorship from indigenous-led organizations to help students move to the next academic or professional step, Williams said.

“The B.C. tech report that came out last year identified where talent shortages in the province will be,” Williams said. “So we built this in response to where we know there is going to be talent shortages in the tech and innovation sector at a foundational level.”

With connectivity and infrastructure issues in remote locations an ongoing problem for indigenous communities, the opportunities for new Network technicians are particularly important and promising.

One of the first graduates of the FiiT pilot web developer program, Bryce Sayers of Métis decent, found the program challenging, but was provided the support he needed and feels it was a very rewarding experience.

“A little less than a year ago I was in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan working a dead-end job, where it’s extremely cold and there’s barely any tech in sight,” Sayers said. “But today I’m happy to say I live and work in metro Vancouver as a web developer. This was achieved only with the help of the FNTC, they have allowed me to pursue a career path I enjoy, and with that opportunity, I have ended up in a place I couldn’t imagined I would be.”

Sayers is a full-stack developer at Predicted Property, which links buyers and sellers of real estate.

FiiT is divided into two segments: foundations and futures. Foundations gives students an introduction to all six programs in two weeks; and futures is the specialized stream, providing longer terms of study. Sayers’, for example, participated in an eight-week program, five days a week in the classroom and two days a week at an internship.

The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) is the third partner and founding member of FiiT. NVIT has been a public, post-secondary since 1995 with a specific Indigenous mandate that will help deliver in-person instruction. NVIT delivers post-secondary for Indigenous youth that don’t want to leave their communities, and has students from 65 per cent of B.C.’s 203 bands.

Allan Cahoon, Royal Roads president, said that through collaboration these three very different organizations are able to achieve something they wouldn’t be able to do individually.








Follow the MIDAS Fab Lab on Instagram

Follow the MIDAS Fab Lab on Instagram! #madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Follow the MIDAS Fab Lab on Instagram

We are looking to get the word out further about all the possibilities available at the MIDAS Fab Lab.

With so much going on at MIDAS, great courses and programs, it was time to jump into the popular visual social sharing app to give followers another way to find us and keep up to date with everything that’s coming up and all that’s being achieved in this state-of-the-art fabrication lab and maker space.

Makers, innovators, inventors, small businesses… it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’ve got a great idea, the range of learning and making opportunities at MIDAS can help you bring it to reality!

Courses, workshops, news, innovation, inspiration – follow us on Instagram!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake




#BCTECH Summit Business-to-Business (B2B) Matchmaking Program

#BCTECH Summit B2B Matchmaking Program

This May will see the third year of the largest technology conferences in Western Canada.  Not only is the #BCTECH Summit an incredible showcase for the innovation that is being achieved throughout the province, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity to connect and network with tech entrepreneurs, investors, key leaders in government and industry, and disruptors.

One of the most popular programs at the Summit is the Business-to-Business ( B2B ) Matchmaking Program.  B2B Matchmaking helps to identify the needs of technology buyers, innovation scouts and government procurement specialists and connects them with innovative, B.C.-based technology solution providers.

B2B meetings will take place May 15 and 16, 2018.

Opportunities for B2B at the #BCTECH Summit

Is your business or organization seeking a tech solution? The B2B Program will identify your challenges and match the tech companies best able to provide the solution you need.

#BCTECH Summit Business-to-Business (B2B) Matchmaking Program


For tech buyers/scouts:

  • Meet with innovative established and up-and-coming B.C. leaders with tech solutions that meet a defined need/challenge for your business.
  • Meet the founders and developers driving our dynamic tech community, who are leading innovative companies and creating solutions deployed in global markets.
  • Make smart investments.

For B.C. tech companies:

  • Expand your customer base, explore channel partnership opportunities, access global markets, and meet influencers who can help accelerate the growth of your business.
  • Access government procurement specialists with substantial buying power.
  • Open to small and medium sized B.C. tech companies at any stage of growth.

Learn more!













BC-Led Digital Technology Supercluster Awarded Federal Funding to Transform Canada ’s Fastest Growing Tech Sector

Initiative estimated to create 50,000 jobs and inject $15 billion in GDP into BC’s economy over 10 years

The British Columbia-led Digital Technology Supercluster is one of the funding recipients for the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative, Minister Navdeep Bains announced yesterday.

The federal government's flagship innovation funding initiative aims to create 'superclusters' to drive economic growth in high-potential sectors.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, speaks at a news conference in Ottawa in this file photo.

“It is an exciting and historic time for innovation in Canada. The Digital Technology Supercluster is a generational opportunity – one that holds significant promise for companies in BC and across Canada,” says Bill Tam, Co-Chair of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster consortium. “Now the important work begins. As a collective, we’ll apply data and use technology in new ways, such as mixed reality, which can digitally transform companies, solve industry problems and advance economic opportunities throughout BC, Canada and the world.”

In May 2017, Minister Bains announced a nationwide initiative to create up to five superclusters that will supercharge Canada’s regional innovation ecosystems and “build Canada as a global centre for innovation.” Superclusters are innovation hotbeds, designed to energize the economy and become engines of growth. Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster was created as a collaborative effort of over 200 organisations, including some of Canada’s biggest names in healthcare, telecommunications, natural resources, computing and transportation.

The following examples demonstrate how the Digital Technology Supercluster will contribute to life-changing advancements in precision health, natural resources and manufacturing:

  • A secure, anonymous Health and Genomic Platform will build the systems required to allow medical specialists to create custom, leading-edge cancer treatments that are personalized to the unique genetic makeup of each patient, building on Canada’s current leadership in this area.
  • An Earth Data Store will facilitate and improve data collection, sharing and visualization in the resource sector – enhancing how information about resource projects is shared between project proponents, Indigenous Peoples, governments and communities.
  • A Digital Learning Factory will help facilitate the development of virtual environments that enable design, rapid experimentation and testing of cost-saving approaches to address the most significant challenges in modern manufacturing.

These initiatives are among the estimated 100 projects that will be made possible by this infusion of federal funding.

Using data to drive sustainable long-term solutions across industries and sectors, the Digital Technology Supercluster will generate jobs, create new opportunities for Indigenous communities and support large-scale economic growth. It will allow startups and small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to shine globally, while expanding the productivity and competitiveness of Canada’s larger international firms.

“Leveraging the capability of Canada’s world-leading broadband telecommunications networks, our BC-led Supercluster will use advanced data collection, analytics and visualization to produce innovations that have tremendous local and global impact, including enabling advanced healthcare treatments and cures via precision health analytics,” says Josh Blair, Chief Corporate Officer, TELUS and Executive Vice President, TELUS Health. “As a founding member, TELUS looks forward to contributing to the breakthroughs our Supercluster will deliver for the benefit of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

 “The Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster is a powerful example of what we can achieve together as we build a globally-recognized technology hub along the Cascadia Innovation Corridor. The economic growth to be generated by the British Columbia-born consortium is a testament to how emerging technology will create new industries and jobs. Bravo to the Canadian Federal Government for making this bold investment in the future of Canada’s fastest-growing tech sector,” says Brad Smith, President, Microsoft.

“As a BC-born startup, we’ve experienced rapid growth through BC’s tech ecosystem. We’re proud to have been part of Canada’s Digital Technology Consortium. It is a pivotal time for BC as we develop and implement a convergence of technologies in IOT, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Mixed Reality. This innovation will solve some of the biggest productivity challenges facing businesses today,” says Ryan Peterson, CEO, Finger Food Studios.

This announcement represents an incredible opportunity to unleash the potential of Indigenous innovation across BC, transforming the technology sector and communities across the province,” says Denise Williams, Executive Director, First Nations Technology Council. “It is our hope that this Supercluster initiative achieves transformation of Canada’s digital landscape, empowering Indigenous innovators across all its focus areas while deepening the sector’s commitment to the meaningful advancement of reconciliation in a digital and connected age.”

“This investment will have a lasting impact on our economy, our graduates and our ability to create innovative solutions,” says Jamie Cassels, President of the University of Victoria and Chair of the Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia.

“BC resource and technology companies are working together to use data and analytics to enhance environmental performance, productivity and safety. This funding will allow for further collaboration between the resource and tech sectors to unleash new innovation and address sustainability and productivity opportunities and challenges here in Canada and around the world,” says Greg Brouwer, General Manager of Technology and Innovation at Teck.

The Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium extends their thanks to founding members AMPD, Augurex, Avcorp, Business Council of BC, BC Tech Association, Change Healthcare, D-Wave, Life Sciences BC, Microsoft, Providence Health Care (supported by St. Paul’s Foundation), Premiers’ Technology Council of BC, Research Universities’ Council of BC, Teck, Telus, Terramera, Timberwest, Urthecast and Wavefront.

The collaborative effort of this Supercluster set it apart throughout the application process. When short-listed as one of nine finalists in October 2017, new members from across Canada joined. We would like to thank Shoppers Drugs Mart, Canfor, GE Digital, Illumina, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network (supported by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation), SickKids and the Terry Fox Research Institute for coming on board. The commitment, talent, diversity and collaborative approach of this Supercluster is unique. As a result, Canadians will benefit from new skilled jobs, new products and new platforms. These developments will enable Canadian companies to scale-up, making Canada more attractive for startups, international talent and investment. It is a pivotal moment for Canada’s digital economy. As the Federal Government has demonstrated with this funding, the time has come for our country to invest in becoming a leading centre for innovation.

About Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium:

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster Consortium is a cross-industry inititiave dedicated to ensuring BC and Canada are leaders in the digital economy. It is proudly based out of British Columbia, with partners from (and benefits that will be felt across) the nation. The consortium includes founding members AMPD, Augurex, Avcorp, Business Council of BC, BC Tech Association, Change Healthcare, D-Wave, Lifesciences BC, Microsoft, Providence Health Care (supported by St. Paul’s Foundation), Premiers’ Technology Council of BC, Research Universities’ Council members (UBC, SFU, UVic, UNBC with Emily Carr and BCIT), Teck, Telus, Terramera, Timberwest, Urthecast and Wavefront. We also had new members join in late 2017 after we were shortlisted as one of nine applications in the running. New members include: Shoppers Drug Mart, Canfor, GE Digital, Illumina, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network (supported by the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation), SickKids, the Terry Fox Research Institute and more than 200 other organizations and post-secondary institutions collaborating to solve the biggest challenges facing the world today.

The Supercluster will advance projects guided by defined industry needs to advance solutions using virtual mixed/augmented reality, data analytics and quantum computing. To learn more, visit


Six B.C. Tech Startups Show Off Work in Provincial Government’s new ‘Startup in Residence (Stir)’ Pilot Project

After 16 intensive weeks collaborating on projects to improve government services for British Columbians, six B.C. tech startups are showing off their work.

Tech startups participating in the Startup in Residence (STIR) pilot project were joined by Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston and government partners this past November during a Demonstration Day event in Vancouver – pitching unique technology solutions to challenges identified by the province.

From modernizing the way people access land-use planning information, to providing social workers with real-time available housing options for children in need, each STIR project has given the six tech startups experience working with government. This also enables them to use the government as a client reference when bidding on future contracts.

“The STIR pilot program is a win-win for the B.C. tech sector and for all British Columbians,” said Ralston. “It creates opportunities for made-in-B.C. technology companies to be partners in innovation with government to help grow their businesses, while improving government service delivery for citizens.”

As the first provincial program of its kind in Canada, the pilot brings the ideas and expertise of startup tech companies together with government business areas to rapidly solve public sector technology challenges. The program makes it easier for B.C. technology companies to do business with government.

“STIR is about challenging tech startups to help government find new solutions – B.C. startups have the skills and ideas to meet that challenge,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Technology Rick Glumac. “Procuring government work can be complicated, and this pilot project helps make it easier for smaller B.C. companies to successfully compete for government contracts.”

The projects of the six participating companies and their partner ministries are as follows:

  • Vancouver-based Arkit teamed up with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNR) to modernize the way people access information about land-use planning throughout British Columbia.
  • Big Bang Analytics in Victoria and the Ministry of Education partnered to help school districts access and analyze information more easily.
  • Vancouver’s Design + Environment and App-Scoop teamed up with FLNR to deliver digital literacy training to public servants in an interactive and memorable way.
  • Latero Labs of Vancouver and the Ministry of Children and Family Development worked on a tool to help social workers match children in care with the best available housing options in real time.
  • Victoria-based Purpose Five teamed up with the government’s Digital Experience Division to create a tool that intuitively tracks all government services and guides internal decision-making on how to best deliver them.

“By participating in this pilot, these startup companies have been able to collaborate with the B.C. government and access many resources that contribute to increasing their competitiveness in the market. Most importantly, this program gives companies the experience and confidence to compete with bigger companies, aligning with our vision to strengthen and support B.C. startups,” said James Maynard, president and CEO, Wavefront.

STIR helps B.C. startups overcome barriers faced in the past, allowing them to compete for government contracts through a more flexible and innovative problem-based procurement method. It was launched through the #BCTECH Strategy to give local tech companies a chance to sell to government by making the process easier and more transparent.

The trial period for each project runs until March 31, 2018. Each project has the potential to continue for four years through annual contracts.

For STIR project company bios, full challenge descriptions and product vision statements, click here:

Quick Facts:

  • The technology sector directly employs over 106,000 people, and wages for those jobs are around 85% higher than B.C.’s average.
  • B.C. has seen a 3.3% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2016, growing to over 10,200 businesses.
  • Employment in the tech sector rose 4.1%, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 3% and national tech sector employment growth of 0.3%.
  • B.C. tech wages and salaries hit a new all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, climbing 7.4% to just under $9.4 billion.
  • The tech sector produced approximately $28.9 billion in revenue in 2016, a rise of 9.2% from 2015.

Learn More:

To watch the Demonstration Day livestream, visit:

B.C. Startup in Residence program:

Originally posted at T-Net.