Monday, February 26, 2018

3,300 Shaw Communications workers accept buyout offer

Shaw Communications announced that 3,300 of its employees or about one quarter of its total workforce have accepted a buyout offer.

Shaw Communications
Shaw is a Canadian telecommunications company providing telephone, Internet, television and mobile services backed by a fibre optic network. It is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. It provides most services in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia but has smaller systems in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and even northern Ontario. However it also provides mobile service in southern Ontario, BC and Alberta through Freedom Mobile.
In all, Shaw has about 15,000 employees
Numbers leaving far above estimates
The number leaving was far above the company estimate of just 650. The company had previously announced that it intended a transformation of its business over several years.
Those who bought out will leave the company over an 18 month period. Among those leaving will be the chief financial officer Vito Culmone who will be leaving on May 4. He will be replaced by Trevor English who has been with the company two decades.
Shaw had previously estimated that only 10 percent of 6,500 eligible employees would accept the buyout after they were announced two weeks ago.
Company expects operations to continue normally
However, president of Shaw, Jay Mehr said that the numbers still are within scenarios the company had considered. He said he expected the company could continue to operate normally and that there would be no impact on customers' experience.
Mehr claimed that the departures would be managed in an orderly fashion. Most of the departures are in areas where Shaw feels it can optimize its services through the use of new technology and develop a more efficient delivery system.
Costs of the restructuring
Shaw will incur a one time $450 million restructuring charge in the second quarter of this year, mostly related to severance costs. The payments will be spread out over 18 months and will start this April.
Mehr said: “We made the difficult but necessary decision to modernize our wireline and satellite businesses by offering a generous package to those people who helped us build Shaw and chose not to join us in this transformative period of growth. We thank all our employees for the contributions they have made to this organization and we thank each of them for their dedication to our customers.”
Mehr also said: “Shaw has built decades of success by being a company that adapts well and shapes its future. We determine how we can improve, choose a path, and act on it. We are making the necessary changes to better serve our customers through a lean, integrated and more agile workforce..."

Published earlier in Digital Journal

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ontario's Liquor Control Board will use Shopify platform for marijuana sales

The Ontario government will use Shopify's e-commerce platform for cannabis sales online and also in stores. The province intends to be the only distributor of legal recreational cannabis.

Online and mobile sales will be through the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
George Soleas, the CEO of the LCBO said: “Our top priority is fulfilling the province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis for when it is legalized by the federal government.”
READ MORE: Blockchain for Canadian cannabis industry
Shopify technology will be used not only online but also to process payments on iPads and to display product and health information in brick and mortar locations.
Another big win for Shopify
Shopify was chosen to provide the sales platform for cannabis sales back in late 2017. The announcement comes as another feather in the cap for Shopify, which has had many things to celebrate in recent years. The company claims that it has more than 500,000 merchants using its program and the total gross merchandise volume the platform handles is more than $45 billion per year.
Loren Padelford vice-president of Shopify Plus, the division the focuses on big clients, said: “Bringing this differentiator to the LCBO on this historic project to consumers of legal age across Ontario is a great example of a made-in-Canada innovation, which we are proud to be a part of,” said Loren Padelford, vice-president of Shopify Plus, the division that focuses on big clients.
Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)
The LCBO has a quasi-monopoly of liquor sales in Ontario, Canada's most populous province having over 13 million people or about 40 percent of the country's total population. As a result LCBO is one the largest purchasers of alcohol in the world.
As of September last year the LCBO was operating 651 liquor stores.
The cannabis subsidiary OCRC said that Ontarians will have the same access to product information, use guidelines and social responsibility information online and in stores.
OCRC planning to have system ready for July of 2018
The OCRC is in the process of designing the user experience, in the hope of having operations ready for the launch of legalization of cannabis sales in July this year. As well as the online sales the OCRC plans to have 40 stores. This is expected to grow to 150 by the end of the year 2020. Unlike some other provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia sales will only be through the government online or in stores with no private sales.
Legalization bill has already passed the House of Commons
The bill was passed largely along party lines but gained the support of the opposition NDP and also the Green Party. The final vote was 200 MPs in favor as contrasted with just 82 against. One Conservative opposition member, Scott Reid, voted for the bill after polling his constituents and found a plurality favored the bill.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further study and debate.
While the Liberal government expects the bill to be approved before July it recognizes that it may take some provinces 8 to 12 weeks to roll out a system that will allow consumers to purchase legal recreational cannabis.

Previously published in Digital Journal