John Lyotier, the co-founder of Left and CEO of subsidiary company RightMesh, at a recent federal funding announcement. (THE NEWS/files)

John Lyotier, the co-founder of Left and CEO of subsidiary company RightMesh, at a recent federal funding announcement. (THE NEWS/files)

Left makes Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2019

Annual competition determines which employers offer exceptional workplaces for their employees

Left has been named one of the top companies to work for in the country, according to Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2019.

The 19th annual competition determined which employers offer exceptional workplaces for their employees.

Left, a Maple Ridge software development company, offers a pet-friendly policy that lets employees bring their dogs to work, one per day.

The company was started by Chris Jensen and John Lyotier in 2010 as a tech start-up.

They first met in 1998.

Chris was manager of Laurentian Bank in Vancouver, a position he held at a financial institution just outside Canterbury, England before moving to Canada with his first wife and daughter.

John was then heading up a foreign language school, catering to mature students with post-secondary degrees from around the world who wanted to improve their English skills. They would come for two to three months and during that time, Chris would employ some of them at the bank to do RRSP processing.

Both had started their own companies in the past.

Chris had started up a company that employed 19 people, but he sold the company assets.

John had started a company called Stepcast, an online gift registry, before Amazon.

They initially decided they wanted to go into business together in the domain name space industry.

Now Left is a multinational media and technology company with holdings in mobile and internet-based businesses.

Left currently has 150 employees total, with 36 at the Maple Ridge office. The company is based on Stewart Crescent, in the Maple Meadows industrial park, but also has offices in Bangladesh, Singapore and the United States.

Left’s goal is to use technology and innovation to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, one of those being connectivity in emerging markets.

Currently, Left is working on the RightMesh project to develop decentralized mobile mesh technology that can run on any Android smart pone or Java-enabled device. This means that users will be able to connect without the infrastructure.

On Nov. 2, the federal government announced funding for a $2.13 million research project to bring online connectivity to Canada’s northern communities, in partnership with the University of Guelph.

The funding for Left is the largest ever granted in western Canada.

“In a country as expansive as Canada, it is important to find ways to overcome communication and connectivity challenges. This infrastructure-less technology will provide better quality bandwidth and improved accessibility for remote communities in Canada, such as Rigolet, Nunatsiavut.

“I would like to congratulate all those involved in this exciting research. I wish you all the best, as you work to help bridge Canada’s digital divide,” read a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Lyotier hopes the research will have applications beyond Canada’s boundaries, including increased Internet access in countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia, and India.

He estimates the resulting economic activity could generate $2.2 trillion in gross domestic product and create more than 140 million new jobs, lifting 160 million people out of extreme poverty.

A tweet by Left expressed how thrilled it is to be one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2019.

“This nation-wide competition selects ‘the best employers who lead their industries by offering exceptional workplaces for their employees.’

“The Canada’s Top 100 Employers Award recognizes that Left provides its Lefties with an extraordinary culture, offers great benefits and wellness programs, and gives back to the community,” it read.

Editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers evaluated the winners in eight key areas: physical work space; work atmosphere; social, health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

Employers are then compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

Canada’s Top 100 Employers is an annual national competition and any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply regardless of size, or whether they are in the private or public sector.

Applications for the 2020 competition will be available early 2019.