Archives: Briefings

Tech companies issue statements of solidarity, make donations over George Floyd protests

Shopify is donating $500,000 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund and $250,000 each to the Black Health Alliance and to Campaign Zero, which campaigns against police violence in the U.S. Facebook will give US$10 million to “groups working on racial justice.” Verizon is also donating US$10 million, in part to the NAACP. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent a memo to staff calling for a Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations, as well as higher corporate and estate taxes to address racial and wealth inequality. (The Logic, CNN)

Dozens of Facebook employees stage virtual walkout to protest platform’s inaction on Trump

In failing to censor and fact-check U.S. President Donald Trump’s musings, the workers say, the platform is complicit in the spreading of misinformation, incitement to violence and voter-suppression rhetoric. Some employees have threatened to resign if CEO Mark Zuckerberg fails to reverse his decision to allow Trump’s often inflammatory words to go unchallenged. (The New York Times)

Bell Canada sells 25 of its 30 data centres to Equinix for $1.04 billion

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the second half of 2020, will generate $150 million in yearly revenue for the California-based company. The deal includes a strategic partnership between Bell and Equinix, the world’s largest data centre and colocation provider. (The Canadian Press)

Otto Motors closes $40-million Series C funding

The round, led by Kensington Private Equity Fund, will help the Kitchener, Ont.-based robotics firm scale its operations. Otto, a division of Clearpath Robotics, uses pallet-sized autonomous vehicles to transport goods to assembly lines on factory floors. Its customers include Toyota, GE and Nestlé. Other investors in the round included Inovia Capital, BMO Capital Partners and Export Development Canada, which participated through the fund-matching program it launched in response to the pandemic. (The Logic)

Suncor CEO says electric vehicles will disrupt oil industry on ‘a similar scale’ to coronavirus

“The temporary economic lockdown triggered by the 2020 pandemic is giving us a glimpse into a not-too-distant future where the transformation of our energy system could disrupt demand on a similar scale,” Mark Little wrote in an opinion piece also co-written by Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease for Corporate Knights, urging the energy industry to turn to new growth opportunities. (Corporate Knights)

Amid tensions with China, U.K. seeks to reduce reliance on Huawei 5G hardware

Britain wants to forge an alliance with the “D10” network of like-minded democracies, including Canada, to seek out alternatives to Huawei in building 5G network infrastructure. The move comes as COVID-19 and Beijing’s proposed security law for Hong Kong have strained relations between Britain and China. (The Times, Bloomberg)

Car-sharing company Turo will launch in B.C. this summer

The San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car-sharing platform said it has secured insurance coverage to operate in B.C. The company did not share an exact launch date, but said it expects to be available in the coming weeks. (The Logic)

Former Amazon warehouse worker in Ottawa alleges a culture of harassment and bullying

Rachel Westley claimed she was harassed by her manager and punished for reporting the incident. She alleged she was subsequently denied a promotion she said she deserved and compensation for a workplace injury. Westley quit after six months at the distribution centre. Amazon said “appropriate action was taken” in response to Westley’s complaints and that it has “zero tolerance for retaliation against employees who raise concerns.” (Ottawa Citizen)