Down the GenerationsAugust 9th, 2010

As many Canadians approach the retiring age, a new emphasis is placed on what the size and work trends of different generations means for the economy. Particularly with a large, dominant Baby Boomer population either beginning retirement or preparing for it, certain questions about the generational imbalances arise.

Because mandatory retirement has been prohibited in most provinces, except for bona fide non-discriminatory purposes, older people are postponing retirement beyond 65 years.  The speculated shortage of workers may, thus, be delayed a few years, but poses challenges nevertheless.

Source: PBO

One key indicator of this oncoming phenomenon is the old age dependency ratio, which denotes the number of working age people per retiree in the population. Although there are currently about 5 persons aged 15-64 per retiree, this number is expected to fall to about 2 per retiree by 2051. This trend is attributed in part to the boomer retirement and the slowed birth rate resulting in fewer young people.

Source: Statistics Canada

When the majority of healthcare and social expenditure is directed towards the older population, the impact this would have on a significantly smaller workforce that follows them becomes obvious. The burden of taxes and contraction of benefits will be borne mostly by the two generations following the Boomers— Gen X, the members of which prepare to take over from the boomers, and Gen Y, most of which are entering the workforce or in early stages of their careers.

Source: PBO

This is made worse by projections of labour force participation rates in the future. Statistics Canada asserts that the portion of working age people in the population, as well as their participation rate in the labour force, will eventually begin to decline this decade.

Source: StatCan

Source: PBO

As the proportion of seniors to the working age population grows substantially, retirements are expected to increase at a faster pace than jobs. Therefore, slower employment growth, declining participation and a greater non-working population means that an intriguing horizon looms before us.

With such challenges ahead, economists believe that the key to overcoming these circumstances will be high productivity, as population and participation growth is not forecasted to be sufficient in handling the demands of the boomer retirement.


Cheat Sheet when hiring IT professionalsAugust 4th, 2010

Programming Languages

With the variety of programming languages around today, the whole field seems so difficult to grasp. However, in order to ensure that you find the right candidate to meet the organization’s needs, some understanding of these languages is a must.

Below is a list of commonly used languages in the IT industry and related fields:

  1. C
    Following from the ‘B’ Language, C was designed with many command similarities to machine instructions, and thus was used for many applications that utilized assembly languages. However, its numerous compilers and machine-independent design means that it is a structured, high-level language, used extensively for system and application software.
  2. C++
    Developed as an extension of the previous dominant C Language, C++ built upon all the strong points of C, whilst ushering in the paradigm of object-oriented programming.  It remains one of the most widely used and supported languages today, especially for systems and embedded software, video games, and client and commercial applications.
  3. Java
    Java, defined by Sun Microsystems, is a high level language popular for portable applications. Java programs are mostly compiled to run on virtual run time environments, which exist for almost all operating systems. Despite being partially derived from C and C++, Java has less low level architecture, and thus considered more “straight forward” than C/C++. The large class libraries and broad implementation means it is amongst the most popular high-level programming languages, with diverse applications from web servers and browsers to portable phones.
  4. C#
    Microsoft, originally wanting to restrict certain Java application tools to Windows, created C# to run only on their OS. C# allows the use of constructs commonly found in languages such as C++, Python and Ruby.  C# is considered to be faster than Java’s run-time, but does not have as large a user-base or libraries, partly due to the lack of other system compatibility.
  5. PHP
    As an increasingly popular scripting language amongst web developers, PHP was originally intended to create dynamic, interactive web pages. Knowledge of PHP is generally sought after, and its uses include server-side scripting, command-line programming and GUI applications.

6. Visual Basic

Microsoft’s windows-only Visual Basic language was derived from BASIC and is one of the easier languages to learn. It is an event-driven programming language, allowing users to create applications in the graphical and component-based development environment.

Some programs and technical software used include:


  • QuickBooks Pro, Intuit Inc.
  • Simply Accounting, ACCPAC International Inc.
  • Peachtree Complete, Sage Software SB, Inc.
  • NetSuite Small Business, NetSuite Inc.

Desktop Publishing & Graphic Design

  • PagePlus, Serif
  • Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft
  • Adobe Creative Suite (incl. Photoshop), Adobe
  • Print Workshop, Value Soft
  • Publishing Studio, Greenstreet Software Specialists
  • The Print Shop, Broderbund
  • Design & Print, Avanquest


  • EMI Software, EMI
  • LabVIEW, National Instruments

Web Development

  • Adobe Dreamweaver (part of Adobe CS), Adobe
  • Microsoft Expression Web, Microsoft
  • WebPlus, Serif
  • NetObjects Fusion, NetObjects

Computer Aided Design and 3D Modelling/Rendering

  • AutoCAD, Autodesk
  • SmartDraw
  • SketchUp, Google
  • Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Media and Entertainment
  • 3DsMax, Autodesk Media and Entertainment
  • Lightwave 3D, Newtek
  • Renderman Interface Specification, Pixar Animation Studios

Past Releases