Monday, June 16, 2014

What About Gay Seniors? Diversity, Issues and Challenges of LGBT Seniors in Long term Care/

Seniors in the LGBT community face challenges as they move to long term care facilities
TORONTO, Ontario June 12, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - As we approach World Pride, there's a renewed focus on many of the issues that are of pressing importance to the LGBT community. One issue that is rarely addressed, however, is the subject of elderly and aging LGBT individuals who require the services of a long term care facility. LGBT seniors who require nursing home care worry about negative or diminished treatment if their sexual identities become known. Many of these seniors, who have remained closeted, have to now worry about being "found out," or about making the decision to come out and dealing with potential backlash from caregivers, family and friends, after many years of hiding their sexual identity. The Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) will open up a discussion on the importance of creating a culture of caring for LGBT seniors in a panel event and workshop on Monday, June 16, 2014.
The session will include discussion on some of the pressing issues, particularly as they relate to seniors in the community. Participating in this panel event will be the following:
  • A social worker from True Davidson Acres who will discuss how the facility has made itself welcoming to the aging LGBT community
  • A Care Coordinator with a case study which highlights some of the challenges she faced in providing care to a transgendered client, and the strategies and steps she employed to overcome them
  • An LGBT caregiver and client
  • Care Coordinators and clients will be in attendance to discuss and share their perspectives on how comfortable (or uncomfortable) they feel regarding care of this demographic
About Toronto Central CCAC:
Toronto Central CCAC connects people across Toronto with quality in-home and community-based health care. We provide information, direct access to qualified care providers and community-based services to help people come home from hospital or live independently at home. In any given month we serve a population of nearly 1.5 million residents of the Toronto area with their care needs in the community. In any given month, we support:
  • More than 19,000 people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds
  • 1,700 kids getting support at their schools
  • 23,000 information and referral inquiries
  • The transition to a long-term care home for 240 clients
  • 600 individuals to die at home with dignity
  • Saving 1000s of hospital days by transitioning 7,000 clients home for care
  • 400 adults receiving rehabilitation services
  • For more information, go to

Thursday, March 20, 2014

World Water Day: The importance of maintaining water quality and availability

OTTAWA, Ontario March 20, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - In recognition of the upcoming World Water Day, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Minister for the Arctic Council, with the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, issued the following statement:
"On March 22, World Water Day, we have an opportunity to reflect on the importance of water and what we can all do as individuals and governments at all levels to work together to protect this fundamental, essential resource.
"Maintaining water quality and availability is one of four key themes in our Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Environment Canada collaborates with the provinces and territories to monitor aquatic ecosystem health and the quality and quantity of our water resources. These efforts help to sustain our municipal drinking water needs, protect Canadians from flooding, and ensure jobs and economic growth, particularly in the transportation and tourism sectors.
"As part of our government's comprehensive overall approach to protect Canada's water, we are taking targeted actions in a number of key watersheds, including the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin, the Lake Winnipeg Basin, and the Lower Athabasca River. Last month, for example, we celebrated our achievements under Environment Canada's Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund, recognizing the accomplishments of 59 community projects which received federal funding of over 5 million dollars over the past six years.
"Under this approach, Canada is taking a number of concrete and measurable actions and working to reduce pollution, toxic and harmful substances, enhance monitoring and research, and develop new regulations.
"These measures, combined with additional, collaborative provincial and territorial water efforts, ensure that all Canadians have access to clean, safe, reliable, secure and healthy water. Water resources will continue to be used wisely, both economically and ecologically," Minister Aglukkaq added.
"Our health and that of our environment, aquatic life, fisheries and economy, are deeply tied to the health of our waterways, and water management is a shared responsibility, said Minister Shea. The viability and sustainability of our waterways for future generations are always a priority.
"Through our government's investments, we have advanced our network of Marine Protected Areas, which serves to protect and conserve important fish, marine mammals, endangered marine species and their habitat in our oceans."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

10 Canadian community-based organizations receive $194,000 from The‍ Co-operators

GUELPH, OntarioMarch 5, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ten organizations across Canada have received funding to support and strengthen the vital services they provide to their communities. The Co-operators announced grants totalling $194,057to 10 organizations that provide training and employment opportunities to help local residents overcome barriers to employment and become more self-reliant.
The funding provided through The Co-operators Foundation Community Economic Development (CED) Funds, will go to support the following organizations:
Eco Equitable Inc., Ottawa ($20,000)
EcoEquitable is a charitable social enterprise that provides the sewing skills and experience needed for immigrant and underemployed women to join the Canadian workforce, while at the same reducing textile waste destined for landfills. The grant of $20,000 will support graduates of the "Sowing for Jobs" program with mentoring and co-op placements.
Community Opportunity and Innovation Network Inc. - Peterborough, Ont. ($14,750)
Community Opportunity and Innovation Network Inc. (COIN) is a family of social enterprises that support and train people who face barriers to employment. The grant of $14,750 will be used to increase the number of eligible participants beyond those on government assistance, to develop six training modules, and to expand its services to businesses in the community.
Fred Victor - Toronto ($20,000)
Fred Victor fosters long-lasting and positive change in the lives of homeless and low-income people living in Toronto. It operates Friends Catering, a social enterprise that assists people who are experiencing significant, life-limiting barriers to employment such as mental instability and addiction, by providing six-months of training and work experience in food services. A grant of $20,000 will allow Friends Catering to increase its sales and to train 12 people in 2014.
Scadding Court Community Centre - Toronto ($19,307)
Scadding Court Community Centre (SCCC) is a community-based organization with programs and services geared toward under-serviced, culturally diverse groups. SCCC seeks to offer an intensive one-year program to ten at-risk youth living at Atkinson Housing Co-operative. The youth will be hired part-time, either at the centre or with other community partners, and will receive a range of supports. A grant of $19,307 will allow SCCC to hire one of these young people at the centre.
Working for Change - Toronto ($20,000)
The mandate of Working for Change is to provide employment and training opportunities to people who have been marginalized by mental health and addiction issues, poverty, homelessness, violence and newcomer/immigration challenges. It operates four social enterprises and recently opened a café. The $20,000 grant will be put toward the salary of a Lead Hand of the project as well as to the training budget. 
Reaching our Outdoor Friends (ROOF) - Kitchener, Ont. ($20,000)
Reaching our Outdoor Friends (ROOF) is committed to providing for the safety and well-being of homeless or at-risk youth, aged 12 to 25, in the Waterloo Region. It provides them with job skills and employment opportunities through two social enterprise programs: the Lunchbox, which provides catering; and Street Designs, which designs and heat-presses t-shirts. A grant of $20,000 will support the programs' administration costs.
Regina Work Preparation Centre - Regina ($20,000)
Regina Work Preparation Centre provides employment services and training to communities that are under-represented in the workforce. A $20,000 grant will support a new training program that targets the hospitality sector. This program will provide 20 participants with various certificates suitable to the industry, as well as group-based employment skills, and facilitated connections to employers.
Momentum Community Economic Development Society - Calgary ($20,000)
Momentum is an award-winning Community Economic Development organization formed in 1991 to provide programs to Calgarians living on low incomes. Given that many new businesses struggle to achieve stability, especially in the first year, Momentum will use its $20,000 grant to strengthen the delivery of "post-launch" supports for the entrepreneurs who participate in its Business Development programs.
Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg Inc - Winnipeg ($20,000)
SEED's mission is "to reduce poverty and assist in the renewal of primarily inner city communities by providing capacity building services that help low-income individuals, groups, organizations and economically distressed neighbourhoods improve their social and economic vitality". This year's funding of $20,000 supports the Business Development Services program, which aims to increase the number of businesses launched or sustained, to continue to contribute to job creation and retention, and to market and increase services to at-risk groups in Winnipeg.
Common Thread Cooperative - Vancouver ($20,000)
Common Thread is a non-profit co-op of organizations that offers sewing programs and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people living in Vancouver. This year's funding of $20,000 will support a project called "Stretching Our Fabric: New Products and New Skills", through which the co-op will provide training and expand its product line.
"These 10 organizations provide vital services that help make their communities stronger," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "Their programs help residents find meaningful work and in turn their communities benefit socially, economically and environmentally."
The CED Funds were developed in 1995 to commemorate The Co-operators 50th anniversary, and through it, The Co-operators has granted $4.3 million to 105 organizations. The CED Funds are part of The Co-operators Foundation, which supports community-based organizations and other worthy causes throughout Canada. For more information on the Fund and its recipients, please visit:
About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $34 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ontario colleges experience highest-ever first-year enrolment

TORONTO, Ontario January 20, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Final calculations have confirmed that enrolment at Ontario's public colleges is at its highest level ever with a nearly five per cent increase in first-year, full-time programs.

"This is a strong indicator of the appetite that exists for the career-focused programs at the colleges," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "It's a difficult job market and students understand the need to be as prepared as possible to pursue meaningful careers."
Enrolment in the first-year programs has increased to more than 125,000 students, with more than 220,000 students enrolled in all programs. Franklin said the increasing numbers of students entering college is important as the province works to address the skills mismatch that is hurting Ontario's economy.
Currently, many people seeking work can't fill the positions that are available because they don't have the right qualifications and advanced skills. The Conference Board of Canada estimates the skills mismatch costs Ontario as much as $24.3 billion a year in lost economic activity and the provincial government loses $3.7 billion annually in tax revenues.

"Colleges are known for their strong relationships with industry and local businesses," said Franklin. "We have the flexibility to adapt our programs to the rapidly changing needs of the marketplace and ensure that graduates have the knowledge and skills to achieve long-term success."
The colleges serve a diverse range of people seeking higher education, training and retraining. Increasing numbers of university graduates are among the increasing numbers of people pursuing college programs. In the last five years, the number of university graduates applying to college has increased 40 per cent.
Ontario's colleges serve 220,000 full-time students and 300,000 part-time students and clients. The colleges offer a range of programs including advertising, business, paramedicine, hospitality, game development, biotechnology and much more.
The most recent Key Performance Indicators released by the province show that even in the height of the recession nearly 84 per cent of college graduates found work within six months of graduation.

"In the years ahead, there will be an even greater demand for college graduates," Franklin said. "It will be essential that students have access to the career-focused programs available throughout the province."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Institute to Explore Improvisation as Key to World Harmony

U of G professor Ajay Heble

GUELPH, Ontario June 4, 2013 - University of Guelph Release - How can people learn to live together in an increasingly global world? An important clue may be found through improvised performance practices, says University of Guelph professor Ajay Heble.

Somehow, musicians who have never rehearsed together or even met, who play different instruments, and who may not even share a common language can come together and make magic happen, he says.

“There’s something going on in the moment, something that resonates with musicians and artists adapting to each other,” said Heble, an English professor, musician, and artistic director and founder of the renowned Guelph Jazz Festival.

That “something” might translate to other venues and issues, providing lessons about co-operation, negotiating differences, fostering trust and meeting social obligations.

In fact, musical improvisation just may hold the key to building successful communities, here and around the globe, he says.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) seems to agree. The federal agency awarded Heble and his research team a $2.5-million Partnership Grant to launch an International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. The announcement was made Friday by Gary Goodyear, minister of state, during the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Victoria.

Following extensive peer review, Heble’s initiative was ranked No. 1 among finalists for the grant, which was one of 20 awarded nationwide. The new award builds on an earlier $2.5-million SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) grant.

“This is incredible news and well-deserved recognition of the groundbreaking work of Ajay and his team,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

“This prestigious grant is testimony to their creativity, ingenuity and innovation. They’ve established a new field of interdisciplinary study and firmly positioned Guelph as the leader in research on improvisation.”

The new institute stems from the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (ICASP) research project directed by Heble, now in the seventh year of a seven-year SSHRC MCRI grant. ICASP uses musical improvisation as a model for building successful communities.

Heble plans to broaden the scope with the new partnered International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. Using improvisation as a teaching and learning tool, he aims to improve society by bringing together the arts, scholarship and collaborative action.

The institute will involve 56 international scholars from 20 institutions -- including McGill University, University of British Columbia, Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of Regina – as well as more than 30 community partners.

“Our MCRI grant established such tremendous momentum – nothing like it existed previously – and we were looking for ways to sustain it in the long term. This institute at Guelph is the next phase in the development of our work,” Heble said.

“To know that our proposal was ranked first is fantastic. It’s wonderful when the work you are doing is recognized and appreciated.”

Institute programs will bring together people from different backgrounds and help build and sustain co-operation, change and adaptation, including in countries all around the world, focusing on three key research priorities: community health and social responsibility; practice-based research; and digital technology.

The venture will build on the successes of ICASP, including forging partnerships with varied groups, facilitating programs for children and at-risk youth through workshops, and creating novel software programs.

“What we’re doing is unique in the world. We’ve propelled Guelph into a world centre for improvisational music as a form of social practice, an engine for change,” Heble said.

He emphasized that conceptualizing the institute and developing the grant proposal was a collaborative effort.

“I’ve benefitted tremendously from the input, support, and involvement of many amazing people,” he said. “In so many ways, our project seems to me to represent an exemplary instance of what a vital, resilient, and socially engaged community can be.”

The team includes Prof. Daniel Fischlin, University Research Chair and professor in Guelph’s School of English and Theatre Studies; Prof. Frederique Arroyas, School of Languages and Literatures; Kim Thorne, ICASP project manager; Prof. Eric Lewis, McGill University; Prof. Ellen Waterman, Memorial University of Newfoundland; and Musagetes, a Guelph-based organization fostering community and culture through art.