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Coffee Briefing Sept. 19 – Canada staggers in internet affordability in new report; ScotiaBank, JPMorgan team up; Amazon awards scholarships to 10 Canadian students; and more

Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!

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Canada continues to falter in internet affordability in new report

According to a new report by SurfShark, Canada has the second best internet quality in the world, but ranks 51st in affordability out of the 121 countries examined.

Canada was second in internet affordability in 2020, and has since been, alarmingly, tumbling in performance, going to 32nd in 2021 and 33rd in 2022.

The report shows that Canadians have to work 1 hour 17 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet, which is four times more than in Romania, which has the world’s most affordable fixed internet.

To afford mobile internet, Canadians have to work 1 hour 50 minutes a month, which is seven times more than in Luxembourg, which has the world’s most affordable mobile internet.

On the plus side, Canada boasts the second best internet quality in the world, with an average of 228 Mbps for fixed internet and 115 Mbps for mobile internet, placing it 54 per cent higher than the global average.

However, compared to the United States, Canada’s mobile internet is 20 per cent slower, while fixed broadband is 8 per cent slower.

Further, Canada ranked 37th – same as last year– in e-security (how well a country is prepared to counter cybercrime, as well as how advanced a country’s data protection laws are), outperforming the U.S. and Australia. Canada also performed well in the e-infrastructure category (how high internet penetration is and network readiness) and e-government category (how advanced the government’s digital services are and its AI readiness), ranking 10th and 12th, respectively. Its global rank is 22nd, jumping up 4 places from 2022.

Scotiabank and JPMorgan extend collaboration

Banking giants Scotiabank and JPMorgan Payments announced that they have teamed up to offer what they call the “best-in-class merchant service solutions to Canadian small business owners, commercial and corporate clients from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”

Through this collaboration, Scotiabank and JPMorgan’s Chase Payment Solutions will provide merchant clients with a payments platform designed to enable them save time, money and effort, with competitive rates, 24/7/365 live bilingual merchant support, and end-to-end merchant account services.

“Scotiabank and Chase have partnered to provide Canadian businesses with an integrated and scalable payments experience — ranging from payment processing and cash management services — to support them in the accelerated shift towards online commerce,” said Chris Manning, executive vice president, Global Business Payments at Scotiabank. “Together, Scotiabank and Chase are committed to investing in additional capabilities to enable and support Canadian businesses.” aligns its AI guardrails package with the government of Canada’s Treasury Board generative AI guidelines


Ottawa-based AI governance company has announced that its Generative AI Guardrails (GAIG) package is fully aligned with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Guidelines on Generative AI.

GAIG is integrated into the company’s NuEnergy Machine Trust Platform (MTP) which allows tech leaders to measure trust parameters including privacy, ethics, transparency, and bias, and protect against risks of AI drift. 

The GAIG package enables firms to develop policies around generative AI and ensure transparent registration and classification of uses and applications. It also assesses the impact and risk levels of each use case so as to provide configurable AI guardrails for public sector departments, the company said.

“Thank you, Minister Anand, President of the Treasury Board, for emphasizing the importance of governing Generative AI and clarifying the requirements for government of Canada employees,” said Niraj Bhargava, co-founder and executive chairman of “This leadership should serve as a model for all private sector and other public sector organizations.”

This announcement comes after NuEnergy met the criteria to sell its AI governance services to the government of Canada earlier this year.

Toronto-based Xanadu helps create South Korea’s first quantum-classical hybrid computing infrastructure


Photonic quantum computing company Xanadu has announced a partnership with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) to create South Korea’s first quantum-classical hybrid computing infrastructure.

Xanadu‘s open-source software library, PennyLane, and its high-performance quantum simulator, Lightning, will be employed as foundational tools for developing the quantum-classical hybrid circuit software development kit (SDK). The SDK will be used to establish the backend infrastructure to KISTI’s cloud service for connecting various classical and quantum hardware platforms.

“We’re excited to partner with KISTI to develop South Korea’s first hybrid quantum-classical infrastructure,” said Christian Weedbrook, Xanadu founder and chief executive officer. “PennyLane’s ability to run on all major quantum hardware makes it an excellent framework to base development on, and we look forward to seeing the projects that come of this.”

Since 1962, KISTI has spearheaded South Korea’s key technological innovations and has been involved in a wide range of quantum projects over the past decade.

Amazon Future Engineer awards scholarships to 10 Canadian students

Amazon Future Engineer has announced the winners of its third annual university scholarship program, awarding ten Computer Science and Engineering students from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario $30,000 each over four years. 

The Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program seeks to support graduating high school students from underserved and underrepresented communities who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance and leadership in school, work and community activities.

“The 2023 Amazon Future Engineer scholarship winners represent the bright future of Canada’s science and technology community, and we’re proud to help make their path easier to travel,” said Cynthia Caglar, head of Amazon Future Engineer Canada. “Amazon Future Engineer’s mission is to give all young people the opportunity to explore their potential, and our winners demonstrate that when they succeed, their broader community benefits.” 

The winning students also get the opportunity to complete a paid summer internship at one of Amazon’s Canadian Tech Hubs.

A video of the 2023 winners learning about their scholarship awards can be viewed here

More to explore

SAS unveils innovations and partnerships during Explore 2023

In a series of announcements and presentations at SAS Explore last week, SAS unveiled innovations and partnerships that aim to reshape industries ranging from data analytics to fraud detection to climate monitoring.

Microsoft chief product officer Panay leaving the company

Panos Panay, who led the development of Windows 11 and shepherded the Surface product line, is leaving the company after almost 20 years.

Canada cyber centre issues alert after government DDoS attacks

Distributed denial of service attacks against the websites of federal departments and several Canadian provinces and territories — including PEI, Yukon, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — have prompted the federal cyber agency to issue an IT alert.

Montreal to host ALL IN 2023, dedicated to Canadian AI

This month, Canada’s artificial intelligence (AI) expertise will be on display as SCALE AI, Canada’s AI global innovation cluster, presents ALL IN 2023 both online and live at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Attack surfaces still aren’t being managed fast enough by IT: Report

IT departments aren’t managing their organizations’ attack surfaces anywhere near the speed at which threat actors are finding and exploiting vulnerabilities.

Accolades and GenAI: Dell’s Dagher has experienced both this year

It has been quite a year for Rola Dagher, the global channel chief at Dell Technologies. 

Channel Bytes September 15, 2023 – Wi-Fi World Congress in Toronto next week; Thunderbolt 5 announced; New president at Schneider Electric Canada; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending

Hashtag Trending Sep.19- Microsoft chief product officer leaves company ahead of Surface event; UK regulator sets out seven AI governance principles; TikTok devises new RTO strategy

Listen to the latest episode of Cybersecurity Today

Cyber Security Today, Sept. 18, 2023 – How a deepfake voice caused a company to be hacked

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Tendances

If you live in Québec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.

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