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jobby: Ottawa scene

I’ve been struggling for a week with this.  I want to write a simple post about the job market in Ottawa, with specific emphasis on some unique opportunities.  Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but here’s the thing: I don’t want to shill.  About two weeks back, I noticed a bump in job posts here on the site.  They’re mainly in Ontario, and a couple of them are here in Ottawa.  In considering the bump, I’m seeing two ingredients: First, the site is growing in popularity, readership, and has genuinely become the go-to point for our animation job market here in Canada.  Awesome.  Could not be more stoked about that.  Second, people are just straight-up hiring more.  Also awesome.  Also could not be happier about that.  I thought I would spotlight a few of the jobs posted and really look at the unique opportunities available right now here in my home turf, Ottawa, namely, at Mercury Filmworks and Crowdwave Games, two very different companies.  But here’s the thing, Mercury is a sponsor, and a big one at that.  You can all see that by the banner ad running across the top of this page.  And, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m now doing some work with Crowdwave.  I’ve recently accepted the position of Director of Production for the Ottawa startup.  It’s exciting for me, getting involved in the company as it ramps up production and builds the team that will carry them forward, exactly the kind of challenge that’s too hard to pass up.  I’ve also been getting more involved in the world of Flash games, so this is a great opportunity to put some of that knowledge to work.

So, that being said, I still want to write this piece, and what I want to write is really simple:

There are some pretty cool jobs available in Ottawa right now.

Have you read the job descriptions?  Mercury’s hiring a Director.  They’re a stable employer, doing some of the highest calibre work I’ve seen in TV since animation came back to our shores, they’ve got a rocking facility, work with A-List clients, and are offering a very attractive salary that they were willing to disclose up-front.  Makes me kinda wish I’d spent more time focusing on the drawing side of my skill set.  Clint Eland, Mercury’s head honcho, tells me they’re in the middle of interviewing for the gig, so if any of you have been fence-sitting on this one, get off your asses and apply.  They’re also looking for experienced animators to round out their crew.  This is great news.  Mercury has already hired the lion’s share of this past year’s graduating class at Algonquin, and now they need the more experienced talent  as well.  They’ve already got plenty, but they need more.  It’s a great sign for our town that the talent pool is gainfully employed and we’re trying to add to it.

Alright, I do sound like I’m gushing a bit, but this is the kind of shit that gets me excited.  We’re running at a very healthy capacity right now.  We’ve got PIP, Kratts, and Big Jump also working steadily.  I just saw that Fuel has posted some more jobs too.

Crowdwave is a different animal.  It’s a small game shop working on a big scale, just starting out, and they’re looking to build a solid core group of creatives.  The animator/illustrator position is kinda unique.  They’re not looking for a production line animator.  This gig requires artistic versatility: art, story and technical skills.

Again, I don’t know how to write this without sounding like a cheerleader, but this was really meant to be a simple observation regarding the quality of jobs currently being offered in my own little corner of the Canadian animation industry.  I stand by my gut reaction to the job posts that have been coming down the pipe here.

There are some pretty cool jobs available in Ottawa right now.

And that’s good news.  Any way you cut it.  I’m hoping it’s a sign of good times in general.  I know Toronto is busy as hell.  BC seems to be picking up.  The East Coast is a different story, with some very specific ingredients.  I’m working on a piece about that as well.

But for now, if you’re looking for a cool job, look in Ottawa.

I promise I’ll try to be more jaded and grumpy in my next piece.



  1. Kallisti Kallisti August 23, 2010

    What’s with all the job offers requiring you to be a resident of Ontario or Ottawa? Is this a tax related issue? Do they want to keep the Ontario race pure, are they afraid of the sheer awesomeness of the Vancouver qualified taking der jerbs?

    • Mike Valiquette Mike Valiquette Post author | August 23, 2010

      Hi Kallisti.
      This is a point that has come up a lot, but basically, it has to do with how the funding is structured for pretty much every show or game or what have you that gets made these days. Financing is largely based around provincial tax credits, a requirement of which is that the productions employ workers who are residents of that province. The real flaw, in my mind, is how they define resident. You have to have been living in, and filing taxes in, the province in question as of the previous new year’s. Every province has them, just some give bigger credits than others, which often determines where the service work is going from year to year.

  2. sir warren b leonhardt sir warren b leonhardt August 24, 2010

    Yeha, it hits across all provinces, too, Kallisti. I enquired about a tv board gig at a Vancouver studio and they had wanted to know if I was a BC resident for a full year BEFORE the job would have started. It’s kind of a horrible setup, and impractical for our line of work. Here’s an article from last month’s Vancouver Sun:

    Media industry fears new rules will kill jobs

    What’s interesting to note is that by the sounds of the article the BC provincial gov’t seems willing to build in a loophole, but I’m wondering if other provinces are.

  3. Grant Moore Grant Moore August 24, 2010

    There’s definitely some exciting opportunities popping up in our city. I would personally love to see some more animation, CG, VFX and interactive media productions pop up in our city. It’s such a nice place to live and it’s a shame to see a lot of talent moving away from Ottawa. However, as you’ve pointed out, things are growing here, so hopefully the trend will continue!

  4. Joel Joel August 24, 2010

    Mercury has been posting jobs here for some time now. Not to take anything away from “jobs” in general, great! But is there something about Mercury I don’t know about? There’s plenty of people looking for work. Are they having that hard a time?

  5. Trevor Trevor August 24, 2010

    Hi Mike,

    In BC they’ve changed the rules so that you aren’t required to have lived in BC for the previous year in order to qualify for Provincial tax creds. If you are a Canadian who has paid taxes in Canada for the previous year (resided in Canada) you are ok for Federal taxes.

    Not sure if other provinces have followed suit or not.


  6. Kallisti Kallisti August 24, 2010

    Wow, that’s pretty bad. Thanks for the information and thanks for the link, appreciate it.

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