In honour of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Government of Ontario is pleased to invite you to attend the annual Opportunity Locks event. This year’s event will focus on Tackling the Cybersecurity Talent Challenge.

In recent months, we have seen an unprecedented acceleration of digitization of business operations and the advent of digital-first both professionally and personally. Reliable data protection and cybersecurity have become cornerstones of economies around the world, and consequently, we have seen significant increases in the demand for cybersecurity products and services.

Even before the pandemic, the cybersecurity sector experienced a global talent shortage. Many industry leaders agree that tackling this cybersecurity talent challenge is crucial to ensure continued growth in the sector in Canada.

This event will be an excellent opportunity to network virtually with peers and meet some of the icons from the cybersecurity industry. You will also hear from Ontario’s leading experts on how to address the issues surrounding the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals. Secure your future, today.


9:00 A.M.

Opening Remarks

Anne Bermonte, Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation, Scale-Up and Regional Economic Development Division, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

9:10 A.M.

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Musson, Executive Director, Coding for Veterans

9:25 A.M.

Industry Leaders Panel Discussion

Moderator: Charles Finlay, Executive Director, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Ryerson University

  • John De Boer, Senior Director for Government Affairs and Public Policy, BlackBerry
  • Jonathan Gagne, Chairman and CEO, F8th Inc.
  • Jenna Magnus, Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Communications, Digital Boundary Group
  • Sem Ponnambalam, Co-Founder and President, xahive

9:50 A.M.


Philipp Kornitzky, Senior Account Executive, Innovation, Scale-Up and Regional Economic Development Division, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

10:00 A.M.

Closing Remarks

Speaker Bios

Jeff Musson

Executive Director, Coding for Veterans

Jeff Musson is an accomplished entrepreneur who established the Coding for Veterans program in 2018 to help military veterans to transition into tech sector jobs and help solve the shortage of talent in the Cybersecurity sector. He is president of, a leading software development company specializing technologies including connected car, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. In addition to, Jeff is also the founder of the tech organization, North of with the mission to connect tech entrepreneurs across North America. There are over 12,000 Northof41 members. He has been a provincially appointed arbitrator in the Province of Ontario since 2013, settling disputes in various areas related to his expertise, including tech, cyber and privacy. He holds a Master of Laws from Osgood Law School at York University and a Bachelor of Commerce and Political Science from the University of Windsor.

Charles Finlay

Executive Director, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Ryerson University

Charles founded the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst in 2018 with a vision to build Canada’s leading hub for cybersecurity innovation and collaboration. Charles oversees all aspects of the Catalyst’s program delivery and strategic growth. He has been instrumental in developing nationally unique programming in cybersecurity training, commercialization, public education, and policy development. Prior to founding the Catalyst, Charles served as chief of staff and director of policy to the Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth. In this role, he worked closely with private sector and government leaders to develop and implement the province’s strategy to make Ontario a global leader in technology innovation and commercialization. Before joining government, Charles practiced law at BMO Capital Markets and Torys LLP, worked as a technology researcher at Forrester Research, and was a freelance business journalist for The Globe and Mail and Canadian Business Magazine. Charles has served on the boards of The Gerstein Centre, Social Planning Toronto, and Houselink Community Homes. He holds degrees from Queen’s University, University College London, and the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.

John De Boer

Senior Director for Government Affairs and Public Policy, BlackBerry

John de Boer is Senior Director for Government Affairs and Public Policy at BlackBerry, where he leads government relations for BlackBerry in Canada. Prior to joining BlackBerry, John was Principal at the SecDev Group, a digital risk consulting firm, where he advised corporations, G7 governments, the World Bank, the OECD, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations on digital risks and transformation. John has also served as Senior Policy Advisor at the United Nations University, was Team Lead for Governance on the Canadian International Development Agency’s Afghanistan Task Force, and was Program Leader for Governance, Security and Justice at Canada’s International Development Research Centre. He has a Ph.D. in Area Studies from the University of Tokyo, a post-doctoral fellowship from Stanford University, was a visiting lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, and an affiliated expert at Harvard’s Humanitarian Initiative.

Jonathan Gagne

Chairman and CEO, F8th Inc.

Jonathan Gagne is a technology evangelist who has dedicated his life to building world-class cyber security systems using artificial intelligence technologies to protect applications, platforms and identities for corporations and individuals around the world. Currently Chairman and CEO of F8th Inc., Jonathan founded the company in 2019 in Toronto, ON, Canada to create artificial intelligence-based BBA tools and cyber security systems. He has partnered with world leading cloud providers such as IBM and Amazon to bring innovative technologies to market. As a full stack developer with deep expertise in cyber security, software engineering, and data science, Jonathan leads F8th’s development of cutting edge cyber security technology and solutions for 2FA/MFA/SCA, risk-based authentication as well as for fraud prevention, identity verification, and remote working platforms. Additionally, Jonathan is a philanthropist, and a privacy activist. As a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Source Initiative, Stack Exchange, and other communities, he enjoys being involved in initiatives that make a positive impact on society.

Jenna Magnus

Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Communications, Digital Boundary Group

Jenna Magnus is a Human Resources Professional with 9 years of experience in HR including recruitment, onboarding, employee engagement, training and development. She is the Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Communications at Digital Boundary Group, an IT security assurance services firm providing IT security auditing and compliance assessment services to clients worldwide. Jenna has recruited for highly technical positions and understands the challenges of finding great technical talent in the cybersecurity industry and the importance of building relationships with colleagues, supporting them along their career path. Prior to her career in HR, she worked in book publishing setting up the company's eBook program. Jenna holds a degree in English language and literature from the University of Windsor and completed graduate and post graduate certificates at the Sheridan and Humber College.

Sem Ponnambalam

Co-Founder and President, xahive

Sem Ponnambalam is the co-founder and President of xahive, a cybersecurity company providing Patented secure and compliant end-to-end data transmission for enterprises & IoT, along with enterprise education and governance management tools. At xahive, Sem is primarily responsible for global operations, including cybersecurity education, training, audits, business, and market development. xahive has offices in California, New York, Ottawa and London. With 18-plus years' experience in private and public sectors, Sem has been instrumental in building relationships between xahive and London & Partners, P20 Payments, New York Academy of Sciences, HIMSS, BlackBerry, RedHat and IBM globally. Sem was a panelist, representing xahive at the World Economic Forum, speaking about the importance of cybersecurity. Also, Sem was part of a trade mission to Italy with the Prime Minister of Canada. Sem was selected as a delegate and panelist to represent Canada at the G20 Youth Summit in Berlin. Recently, Sem received a special US Congressional Recognition for having been selected as a cybersecurity panelist for the World Summit on the Information Society. She has obtained a MA in Legal Studies from Carleton University and is also a proud mother to a 3-year-old daughter.