23rd August 2011

CRTC Continues Crackdown On Telemarketing Violations

CRTCThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today that GoodLife Fitness Centres has paid a penalty of $300,000 to the Receiver General for Canada as part of a settlement over its telemarketing practices. The CRTC issued a notice of violation after its investigation found that GoodLife had used automated calling devices (robocalls) to solicit its members without obtaining their prior express consent.

“We appreciate GoodLife’s cooperation during our investigation,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer. “Telemarketers that inundate Canadians with unwanted phone calls are not engaging in a legitimate marketing practice. We expect the business community to follow the rules at all times, and we will vigorously investigate breaches.”

GoodLife was making robocalls to inform its members of new club openings and invite them to grand opening events. In addition to paying an administrative monetary penalty, GoodLife has agreed to:

  • immediately cease using automated calling devices for telemarketing purposes without obtaining its members’ prior express consent
  • organize a business education event with the CRTC at the Can-Fit-Pro Consumer and Wellness Show to foster compliance with the telemarketing rules
  • publish corrective notices in newspapers and on its website, and
  • review its compliance policies to ensure ongoing adherence with the CRTC’s telemarketing rules.

The CRTC applies the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules in order to reduce unwanted calls to Canadians. According to its enforcement process, the CRTC can discuss corrective actions with telemarketers, which may lead to a settlement that includes a monetary penalty or monetary payment.

To date, the CRTC’s enforcement actions have resulted in over $2.1 million in penalties collected on behalf of the Receiver General for Canada and $740,000 in payments made to post-secondary institutions.

Reference documents:

Key facts for consumers

Key facts for telemarketers

How does the CRTC enforce the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules?

Consumers may register on the National Do Not Call List or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625).

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23rd August 2011

Canadian Advertising Industry Releases Self-Regulation Framework For Online Behavioural Advertising

IAB CanadaA coalition of eight of the leading advertising industry trade associations in Canada today announced a framework for industry self-regulation regarding Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) in Canada. The initiative, which is similar to those adopted by groups in the US, Europe and Australia, is the culmination of over 2 years of work; including regular submissions, dialogue, research and status updates to The Office Of The Privacy Commissioner Of Canada (OPC). Although the programme will be coordinated by IAB Canada (Interactive Advertising Bureau), it is also fully-supported by the Members of the following industry associations:

The framework includes the following four elements:

Transparency – Providing Consumers with immediate notice when the Websites that they are visiting are supplying them with Online Behavioural Advertising. This would be done via an “icon” placed on the Online Behavioural Ads themselves/or in other prominent areas on the Websites being visited.

Education – Providing Consumers with one-click access to clear and concise Web-based educational information about Online Behavioural Advertising, so that Consumers can understand the nature of these practices; how and when their privacy is protected within various targeted advertising processes; and to learn how to protect themselves in areas on the Internet which represent security risks to their privacy.

Choice – Consumers can already control cookies via altering their Web browser’s preferences — essentially determining whether or not an individual Publisher’s Website, Ad Network or other 3rd-party service can collect and record information about their Websurfing habits/or interactions with Online ads.

The industry’s self-regulatory initiative goes a step further, by providing Consumers who may not be familiar with how to change their browser’s security settings, with one-click access for a full opt-out of Online Behavioural Advertising, should they desire to do so. While many Online Publishers and Ad Networks already provide such an opt-out option, the coordinated initiative will extend this practice across the Canadian Online advertising industry.

Accountability – An accountability program that ensures that Consumers’ opt-out of preferences are retained over the long-term is being developed utilizing a variety of providers, as well as an independent consumer complaint mechanism in consultation with Advertising Standards Canada.

“With Canada’s framework now finalized, the scope of the self-regulatory initiative regarding Online Behavioural Advertising is now truly global in nature,” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada. “Canadian Online Publishers and Ad Networks are moving forward within the framework even as we speak, and in fact, because so many of IAB Canada’s Members also have operations in the US and across the globe, many are already well on their way to completing all four steps within the process.”

Bob Reaume, Vice President, Policy & Research, Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) confirms the readiness of Advertisers to implement their part of the plan: “We’re pleased to see the work of the all-industry group ready to go forward, as this initiative enhances Advertisers’ commitment to advertise responsibly in all media.”

“Agencies are also working to ready clients for the self-regulatory program,” notes Arthur Fleischmann, CEO of John St. and Chair of the ICA’s Interactive Committee. “The ICA and its Member Agencies endorse and strongly support the initiative, and are committed to ensuring that the OBA self-regulatory framework is rigorously delivered in Canada.”

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23rd August 2011

Introducing MTL DGTL

MTL-DGTLAlliance numérique has announced the launch of Montreal Digital (MTL DGTL), a new festival dedicated to the interactive digital content industry, and presented by the Canada Media Fund. This first edition, which will take place on October 31st,  November 1st and 2nd, will include four different events with programs focusing on mobility, the Web, video games, as well as research and development in partnership with media technology.

“Montreal is a key platform at the heart of major innovations within the digital industry,” says Pierre Proulx, CEO of Alliance numérique. “Montreal Digital will help in the outreach of all market spheres, both locally and abroad, through its role as the centre of world excellence with respect to creation, production and distribution of interactive digital content. We are proud to be leading this initiative which aims to bring together various players of the industry.”

MTL DGTL strives to unify professionals of the digital industry at the provincial, national and international levels by using conferences that encourage meetings, networking and sharing.

In order to meet the needs of the industry, programming has been divided into four portions:

Mobiz – a whole new event that is entirely dedicated to mobility and will allow attendees to network, as they learn more about the latest leading edge developments, as well as industry best practices.

Web-In - aims to help industry professionals in breaking new ground and reinventing the Web of the future by encouraging them to be a step ahead of common observation, leave their comfort zone and question their certainties through micro-conferences.

Consortium en innovation numérique du Québec (CINQ) – Innovation Symposium is a networking space for entrepreneurs and research specialists to foster the development of technical, scientific, financial and commercial partnerships.

The Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS) – is an international event that offers continuous training and networking opportunities for professionals, and contributes to the outreach of the video game industry. It values sharing and the development of new business partnerships.

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23rd August 2011

Flatter World Announces Launch of Flat Stanley Mobile App

flat stanleyFlatter World, the new educational venture behind the Flat Stanley franchise’s move to the Web, has released Flat Stanley for iPhone. Flat Stanley is free to download and enables children to share content in a safe way with their friends, teachers and families.

The Flat Stanley App is the mobile version of the beloved Flat Stanley Project, a pen pal program that Dale Hubert, a third grade teacher in London ON invented in 1994 to promote international literacy and community building for children ages 13 and under. The character itself dates back to a beloved children’s book published by Harper Collins in 1964.

Children can quickly sign up and bring Stanley or Stella (the new, female Flat character) with them wherever they go. In minutes, they can customize their creation (by choosing skin and hair color, facial expressions and clothing), take photographs and insert Stanley/ Stella into them with either front or rear-facing camera, write their character’s biography and “like,” comment on and share photos with their friends across the Flatter World network, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.

The app also plots popular Stanleys on a Wall of Fame as well as those near a particular user on a world map, helping users track where their friends and families’ Stanleys travel. It’s a quick and easy way for kids to see the world and make new friends outside of their hometown with a familiar and friendly character leading the way.

To encourage exploring Stanleys outside of one’s network, the app unlocks special pictures from exciting locations.

The app works in both online and offline modes so that users can take and save Flat Stanley photos irrespective of Internet connectivity.

“This app marks the launch of Flat Stanley moving online in a way that’s mobile and social, catering to future generations of pen pals around the world,” said Flat Stanley Project founder, Dale Hubert. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg and will help introduce users to what’s coming next: a robust Flat Stanley social network built on the principles of sharing content in safe and fun ways.”

The Flat Stanley app presents wide range of educational possibilities for teachers, and beta app users have already been actively sharing pictures of their personalized Stanleys in scenes from history, alongside political leaders and celebrities, on their vacations, and more.

Over the past 16 years, schools and teachers across the world have incorporated the Flat Stanley Project into their curriculums to promote exploration and community building and to strengthen writing skills:

  •     4,500 schools across 88 countries are registered with the Flat Stanley Project
  •     It’s part of the official curriculum for counties in most of the Unites States
  •     It has been incorporated into Harper Collins books to MTI musicals
  •     Hundreds of thousands of Flat Stanley’s have been exchanged around the world
  •     1M+ people are exposed to Flat Stanley each year
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23rd August 2011

LeanIn Launches Social Video Player

leaninToronto’s LeanIn has officially launched. LeanIn is an online media player that can plug into existing video technology like Brightcove, thePlatform, Ooyala and Kaltura to name but a few in minutes, or publish videos on YouTube and use the LeanIn Player on your site. Alternatively, you can also host and manage your video on your own servers if you like. The basic player is free and advanced features start at $30.00 per month.

LeanIn installs in minutes and offers:

Viewer Engagement – Viewers can share interesting scenes on social networks
Social Discovery – Viewers can see what their friends have been watching
Comments – Time coded comments are linked to actual scenes of a video
Navigation – Viewers can easily find interesting scenes with the LeanIn intelligent scrubber
Analytics – Publishers get advanced analytics on viewer behaviour, preferences and level of influence
SEO – Time coded comments can easily be converted into Google friendly XML
HTML5 fall back modeleanin splash

“The LeanIn online video player provides publishers with the best of both worlds. They can have a branded social player on their site, and across the web, while taking advantage of free hosting and video management on YouTube. The LeanIn, YouTube combination is the most cost effective way for companies to offer a professional branded online video experience.” Luke Davies, President LeanIn.

Anyone with online video can use LeanIn, whether they are a major media company with hundreds of millions of streams per month, or a smaller company with hundreds of streams per month, LeanIn has a package to support a variety of needs.

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23rd August 2011

Toon Boom Studio Oasis Animation is Hiring

Toon BoomAs one of Toon Boom’s flagship studios in Québec, Oasis Animation has announced that in view of its upcoming project Lucky Fred, a 52 episode eleven-minute series for 6-12 year olds to be aired on Disney Channel in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, India & Australia, the studio will double its workforce and space. Lucky Fred has also pre-sold in over 150 territories including TF1 for France and Nickelodeon in Benelux, Scandinavia, Latin America, Asia & South Korea.oasis animation

Scheduled for delivery in January 2012, this 2D animated series is the first Disney project done in Québec. Entirely produced using the Toon Boom Harmony pipeline, this high quality project will create 70 new jobs at Oasis. The entire animation production will be done in Montreal. “We are quite thrilled to be working on Lucky Fred, considering the very challenging state of the Quebec animation production industry”, comments Jacques Bilodeau, President at Oasis Animation. “We hope this project will be the first step towards making Québec the animation hub it used to be”, he concludes.

Lucky Fred is co-produced by Imira Entertainment, Spain’s leading production and distribution company specializing in youth programming with Spain’s Televisió de Catalunya, RAI Fiction in Italy and Top Draw Animation in the Philippines.

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23rd August 2011

Klipfolio Invited To iOpener Innovation Conference

KlipfolioKlipfolio Inc has been invited to participate in the iOpener 2011 conference, focusing on mobility and the cloud. Klipfolio will be represented at the Chicago conference by CEO Allan Wille and CTO James Scott. Wille and Scott are honoured to be invited to attend this special event and plan on showcasing the companies new web and mobile KPI dashboard. Klipfolio Dashboard is a real-time dashboard that is being delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution to enable browser and mobile access to key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards.

Klipfolio Dashboard provides access to dashboards on any mobile device including the iPhone and iPad, Android, and BlackBerry smart phones and tablets. Klipfolio is excited to share its experience and success regarding mobile business intelligence (mobile BI) with the other attendees of the conference.

“The popularity of smart phones and tablets is placing greater demand on business intelligence that is accessible anywhere. By leveraging the cloud, we have begun to deliver on that promise,” CEO and President Allan Wille says. “Moving forward, today’s enterprise needs to make sure that the information delivered on mobile devices is meaningful and actionable.”

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23rd August 2011

TimeControl Goes Subscription

HMS Software has announced that its timesheet system, TimeControl, is now available as a subscription model. Since its first commercial release in 1994 TimeControl has been recognized around the world as one of the most popular and flexible multi-purpose timesheet solutions to meet today’s business challenges. TimeControl can be deployed to meet several timesheet requirements at once, time and attendance for payroll, vacation approvals and tracking for human resources, task updates for project management as well as financial requirements all from a single interface. Now with TimeControlOnline, clients are able to install TimeControl on-premises or subscribe to TimeControlOnline as a hosted service.

TimeControlOnline comes complete with all of the features already offered in TimeControl:

  • A multi-browser timesheet interface
  • Expense tracking
  • TimeRequest to request and track vacation approvals
  • TimeControl Mobile for timesheet entry from a smartphone
  • Email notifications and missing-timesheet reporting
  • Links to project management systems such as Microsoft Project, Oracle-Primavera and Deltek’s Open Plan and Cobra
  • Links to Finance, HR and Payroll systems such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, ADP, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards
  • Integration with Microsoft SharePoint

“We are thrilled to be able to be able to offer Timesheets as a Service (TaaS) with TimeControlOnline,” says Chris Vandersluis, President of HMS Software. “This will allow existing and prospective clients the opportunity to focus on enjoying the benefits of TimeControl without having to worry about the technical installation, infrastructure or support of the system. It is an ideal solution for companies who want to get up and running with a timesheet instantly.”

Subscribers to TimeControlOnline do not need to purchase server hardware, operating system licenses, databases or even TimeControl licenses nor will they need to hire or train technical personnel to install the system, do technical support, upgrades and maintenance of either TimeControl or any of the components.

“TimeControlOnline represents months of hard work and dedication from the HMS development staff,” notes Stephen Eyton-Jones, Director of Technical Services. “For the past 17 years we have been committed to ensuring that TimeControl remains on the cutting edge of technology. TimeControl was one of the first timesheets available on Windows, one of the first available on a client-server database, one of the first available on a browser and will now be available in the cloud.”

Clients will continue to enjoy the option of purchasing TimeControl. HMS is committed to supporting both on-premises installations of TimeControl and online subscriptions of TimeControlOnline. Subscriptions to TimeControlOnline are priced on a per user per month basis.

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22nd August 2011

CRTC Reaffirms Commitment To Official-Language Minority Communities

CRTCThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has published two reports in which it reiterates its commitment to official-language minority communities (OLMC). The reports highlight recent CRTC decisions, which will lead to improved access to broadcasting and telecommunications services, and increased OLMC representation within the broadcasting system.

Over the past three years, the CRTC has taken steps to encourage OLMCs to participate in its public processes. “OLMCs have increased their participation in processes that affect their development. They have shared their viewpoints and priorities,” said CRTC Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “As a result, the Commission can systematically take OLMC interests into account in its analyses and deliberations.”

For example, the CRTC required Shaw Communications to provide satellite receivers and antennas, including installation and free programming to qualifying households across Canada, including those in OLMCs. This requirement will ensure affected viewers continue to receive the signals of their local and regional stations through Shaw Direct after the transition to digital television. In addition, as a result of the review of CRTC’s satellite distribution policy, OLMCs will enjoy additional regional stations, including CBLFT Toronto and CBKFT Regina, as well as increased coverage of these stations.

The CRTC will continue to keep OLMCs appraised of issues that affect them and seek their participation in relevant public processes through its website and dedicated working groups.

Annual report on results – Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (2010-2011)

Results-Based Action Plan – Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (2011-2014)

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22nd August 2011

KidZoomer Offers Mom and Teacher Approved Deals

kidzoomerProviding customized deals for parents and caregivers, KidZoomer offers exclusive deals on camps, after-school activities, learning resources and educational products. New to the market this year, KidZoomer is one of the leaders in a growing trend to offer promotions geared towards a specific audience.

Toronto teacher Samara Schnurbach and mom of three Melissa Grossman work together to run all aspects of KidZoomer – from securing vendors and promotions, to managing the website, to ensuring each subscriber is entirely satisfied with their purchase. As a teacher, Samara understands the many resources busy parents need when children are in school, and that the expenses add up quickly.

“I realized there was a gap in the market for providing promotions that were specifically targeting parents with young children,” says Samara. “KidZoomer is the solution – we aim to bring quality, relevant promotions to families so they can try trusted products and services at a discounted price.”

“Right now KidZoomer is focused on the Greater Toronto Area, although some of our deals are web-based and available nationally. In the future we hope to expand our website with deals unique to cities across Canada,” explains Melissa. “We always ensure that before offering any promotion, we would purchase it for our own families – quality is our first priority.”

This back-to-school season, KidZoomer will be offering a variety of deals, including:

  • Reading programs to help children transition from summer to school
  • Themed birthday parties that make throwing a celebration simple
  • First Aid classes for caregivers
  • Art Programs for children looking to explore their creative side
  • Play camps for young children who may not be in school full-time

Unlike other deal websites, KidZoomer does not spam users with daily emails; promotions from KidZoomer come two to three times a week, and all promotions are customized from vendors with exclusive offers that cater to families with young children. Many subscribers are repeat customers, checking back regularly for new deals that fit the needs of their families.

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