Thursday, July 3, 2014

University of Guelph Professor's New Play Explores Myths of Living With a Disability

A new play written by a University of Guelph professor along with nine wheelchair users will be performed in Toronto this month. Judith Thompson’sBorne will run at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts until July 19.
This is the second offering by her Rare Theatre Company in association with Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre. Her company creates unique pieces with people who have been marginalized, Thompson said.
In Borne, the actors tell their stories in their own words, and explore the myths and preconceptions of living with a disability.
“These performers are not professional actors, but they are simply brilliant -- provocative and radical,” Thompson said.
The stories are only a part of the experience, she added. Also important are the complicated and powerful emotions expressed through voice, eyes, hands and breath, and even through the movements of wheelchairs in sync.
“And every story is a radical expression of what it means to be disabled in this world,” she said.
“Everything I thought I knew about not walking, plus all the other issues, is exploded and shattered and in pieces.”
A respected playwright, director, screenwriter, actor and producer, Thompson writes complex and sometimes disturbing plays that give voice to human failings and accomplishments.
This spring, she portrayed three characters in her own one-woman play,Watching Glory Die. That work was based on the story of Canadian teenager Ashley Smith, who committed suicide while in a women’s prison.
Thompson also wrote and directed Rare, a docudrama about Down syndrome that featured nine cast members with the disorder. The first offering of her Rare Theatre Company, the production won “Best of Fringe” at the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival.
A faculty member in U of G’s School of English and Theatre Studies since 1992, Thompson has won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and was the first Canadian to win the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
She has been nominated twice for a Genie Award and for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, was a finalist for the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, and is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Thompson was also the subject of a book,The Masks of Judith Thompson, by U of G theatre studies professor Ric Knowles.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Young People Need to Change Goals for Employment

GUELPH, Ontario June 19, 2014 - University of Guelph News Release -  As universities hold spring convocation ceremonies and new graduates enter the workforce, a University of Guelph professor is calling on students, parents and employers to revise their plans and expectations for graduates’ employment prospects.
Prof. Sean Lyons, Department of Management, was lead author of a study recently published in the book Generational Diversity at Work. The study, “Launching a Career: Inter-Generational Differences in the Early Career Stage,” was named as the best paper in the human resources division at the 2013 meeting of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada.
The study investigated the early careers of three generations of workers and found that millennials (those born after 1980) crave advancement and variety and are willing to move on if their needs go unmet. But those high early career expectations could lead to dissatisfaction, feelings of failure, and even depression and anxiety, said Lyons.
The goal of being better off than one’s parents -- common from the 1960s to the 1980s -- is less likely to be met today, he said. Baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964) who grew up in a time of prosperity may see their children struggle early in their careers and take longer to launch into adulthood with careers, houses, marriages and families.
“Today, jobs are increasingly scarce, education is a necessity, and job security is a thing of the past,” said Lyons.
“People need to know success in the current economy must be framed within present reality. A degree is no longer a ticket to great opportunities: it’s the price of admission into the labour market.”
Lyons said students need to start planning for careers as soon as they enter university.
“So many students are already behind the curve. When students only start thinking about their future in third or fourth year or say they don’t know what they want to do after university, I feel they’ve wasted opportunities to figure out what they’re good at, what they want out of their careers and what options are most likely to get them there,” he said.
“A lot of grads apply to law school, teachers’ college or other programs because they don’t know what to do. In many cases, they’re just delaying decision-making. Self-development, self-awareness and clarity with career goals is critical.”
He said co-op programs and volunteering provide valuable experience for students to acquire competency in a range of areas and build a portfolio to show employers.
Lyons said employers can also learn from the study. Some employers struggle to accommodate diversity, and younger workers tend to “job hop” more frequently.
“Companies that are flexible and adaptable to diverse values and needs are best positioned to accommodate generational differences as well. There is simply no one-size-fits-all HR approach that will work in today’s workplace. HR systems that are not flexible and customizable will be less effective at meeting their objectives as diversity increases,” Lyons said.
He hopes to do more research into career prospects for current graduates.
“We want to know the exact challenges they face and how they deal with them successfully. We need to help young people make sense of careers and what they can do to improve their chances of success. That knowledge will help educators, policy-makers and employers understand what today’s youth is up against, and hopefully inspire some solutions to help them transition into their careers.” 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alastair Summerlee Named Executive Director of Food Fellowship

GUELPH, Ontario - June 18, 2014 - University of Guelph Campus Bulletin  - University of Guelph president Alastair Summerlee was named today as the executive director of a new fellowship designed to address global food security issues.
He will take on this new role with the Kirchner Food Fellowship while remaining on faculty at Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College. Summerlee completes his term as U of G president this summer.
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is designed to attract students from top North American universities and provide them with academic training, business mentors and financial capital to help address food security.
The fellowship program was created through a partnership of the Kirchner Group, The Hunger Solutions Institute and Universities Fighting World Hunger, of which Guelph is a member.
The program funds entrepreneurial agri-businesses to develop ground breaking technologies that are environmentally and economically sustainable.
“This new initiative is exciting. By linking academic training, business acumen and exposure to real-life investment, students will have the opportunities to fund global food security issues in a meaningful way,” said Summerlee.
“I am keen to be involved in this innovative effort, and look forward to working with the fellows chosen for the program.”
For more details on the fellowship program, visit

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Business School Dean Reappointed at the University of Guelph

GUELPH, Ontario - June 16, 2014 - University of Guelph Campus Bulletin - Prof. Julia Christensen Hughes has been reappointed dean of the College of Business and Economics for a five-year term, effective immediately.
The decision follows an extensive review by a committee of faculty, students and staff led by Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic).
“The University has been working hard to establish itself as a leader in business-related programs since the business school opened in 2006,” she says.
As dean, Christensen Hughes has built the school’s reputation for innovation in business education and social enterprise; launched an undergraduate major in accounting and an MBA in sustainable commerce; and better aligned the College's vision with the University's mission.
“It’s now critical that we focus on building the College’s external reputation, especially in academic research and graduate teaching, and Julia understands the importance of this,” Mancuso says.
Expanding the College’s research activity and profile will be front and centre. Mancuso and Christensen Hughes agreed upon a set of priorities for the next five years, including:
  • Establishing an optimal structure for the business school’s graduate programs and research enterprise;
  • Identifying and implementing measures to build the school’s external reputation in academic research and graduate teaching through improved advocacy;
  • Developing concrete strategies to address and improve performance on Integrated Planning metrics;
  • Aggressively fundraising to support renovations to Macdonald Hall;
  • Pursuing accreditation for the business school’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
Mancuso also thanked members of the search committee and the University community for their input and involvement.
Christensen Hughes says that she is proud of what the business school has achieved over the past five years and is looking forward to its next stage of development.
“This has been a team effort. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such committed and talented colleagues and students, and for the confidence they have shown in my leadership,” she says.
“Business and economics research and education have never been more important to the well-being of society. Guelph’s business school has a unique opportunity to connect these disciplines with the University’s commitment to changing lives and improving life.”
A U of G faculty member since 1987, Christensen Hughes served as director of U of G's Teaching Support Services for 10 years. She was also president of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and was appointed chair of the Department of Business in 2007.
Her scholarly interests include organizational effectiveness, strategic human resource management, employee and student engagement, academic integrity and curriculum reform. She is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles and co-edited the 2010 book Taking Stock: Research on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
In 2008, Christensen Hughes received the University's John Bell Award for outstanding educational leadership. In 2007, her work on academic integrity earned her the Edward F. Sheffield Award for research excellence.
She earned a bachelor's degree in commerce from U of G and an MBA and a PhD in organizational behaviour from York University's Schulich School of Business.

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, June 12, 2014

New research results show that the Housing First approach contributes to ending homelessness

MONTRÉAL, Quebec June 12, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Mental Health Commission of Canada's landmark research project on homelessness and mental health - At Home/Chez Soi - today released the results from its Montréal project site. The results are clear: the Housing First model works. It gets people off the streets, there are clear economic benefits, and people who are homeless and living with mental illness can aspire to a better quality of life.
"In Montréal, the number of homeless people continues to rise, despite various programs and investments. We wanted to know whether using a new approach could produce a different outcome. After four years, we can affirm that the Housing First model makes it possible to help people experiencing homelessness, including those who have been homeless for many years and are dealing with major mental health problems; it enables them to gain stability in their lives with housing of their choice and at minimal cost to society," explained Eric Latimer, PhD, lead investigator for the At Home/Chez Soi Montréal research project, researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University.
"To have your own apartment not only represents a level of safety, it also promotes dignity and hope for the future," adds Sonia Côté, former project coordinator for the At Home/Chez Soi Montréal project. "With proper housing, people are in a much better position to take care of their physical and mental health, to reconnect with their families, to contemplate entering the job market, and to fulfill projects and ambitions."
Key conclusions
  • Housing First is feasible in Montréal. 
    The At Home/Chez Soi team recruited 73 owners of rental properties located in several Montréal neighbourhoods and successfully housed 276 people in the space of 20 months.
  • Housing First is effective.
    • During the last six months of the study, 60 per cent of participants classified as having high needs were in stable housing, compared to the 31 per cent of high-need participants who continued to receive usual services. The differences were more pronounced among participants with moderate needs; 72 per cent were housed all the time during that period, compared to 29 per cent of participants receiving usual services.
    • Participants improved their quality of life on many levels: they claim to have better mental health, to have experienced less stress, to have restored relationships with members of their families, and also to have reduced their use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Housing First resulted in lower costs associated with other services. 
    For every $10.00 invested in the Housing First model, $8.27 was saved in money spent on other services such as hospitalization, shelters, police services, and the judicial system for high-need participants and $7.19 was saved for moderate-need participants.
"The success of the Housing First model in Montréal and in the other four cities in Canada shows that we have a winning strategy for helping people move away from homelessness," stated Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. "We are proud to have worked with a number of partners in Montréal on this innovative project."
An overview of the At Home/Chez Soi project and Housing First model
The At Home/Chez Soi project is a randomized, experimental study funded by Health Canada and conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. In 2008, the Canadian government allocated $110 million to the project which was established in five cities: Montréal, VancouverWinnipegToronto, and Moncton.
The aim of the project was to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the Housing First approach, as compared to the range of usual services available to people who are homeless and living with mental illness.
Housing First provided people experiencing homelessness and mental illness with immediate access to subsidized housing of their choice and clinical services adapted to meet their needs, without preconditions. This approach differs from the traditional continuum of care model that requires homeless people to demonstrate a level of behaviour deemed adequate in order to move towards housing with increased autonomy.
The Montreal At Home/Chez Soi study was conducted between 2009 and 2013 and 469 participants were recruited, 306 of whom were classified as having moderate needs and 163 as having high needs. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a Housing First intervention or usual services provided to people who are homeless in Montréal.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Millennials Not As Respectful to Seniors But Firmly Committed to Aging Parents and Grandparents

Bayshore HealthCare survey shows 18-34 cohort quicker on car horn yet keen to care for loved ones       
TORONTO, Ontario June 11, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - A quarter of Canadians aged 18 to 34 will switch checkouts at the grocery store if a senior is ahead of them and one in seven will honk at a senior who they think is driving too slow. Yet, the same group – the millennial generation -- is more committed to caring for aging parents and grandparents than older groups, says a new survey by Bayshore HealthCare to mark Ontario's Seniors' Month.
Millennials are showing signs of growing intolerance toward seniors, with a third believing that seniors should not get any special treatment. Sixty-one per cent are willing to help a senior with a heavy bag and only 37 per cent strongly agree that they would go out of their way to help a senior in need.
Impatience skews toward male millennials, with 20 per cent of men 18 to 34 happy to lay on the horn if they are stuck behind a slow-driving senior. Only 6 per cent of people in older generations admit to honking at seniors.
On a positive note, 69 per cent of millennials believe it is their responsibility to care for elderly parents and grandparents, compared with 58 per cent of Canadians who are 35-plus.
Recognizing the importance of living independently, 78 per cent of millennials want to help keep their parents and grandparents living in their own homes as long as possible. Two-thirds are willing to make lifestyle sacrifices, such as fewer restaurant meals, to afford services such as home care. Just over half (56%) of older Canadians are as willing to make the same sacrifices.
"The growing impatience over seniors is worrisome, and not the results we were hoping for when we commissioned the Seniors' Month survey," says Stuart Cottrelle, President of Bayshore HealthCare Ltd. "But I am relieved to see that the current generation is deeply committed to helping aging parents and grandparents enjoy the highest possible quality of life, recognizing the importance of helping them live independently in their own homes as long as possible."
A quarter of millennials are already caring for elderly loved ones and 14 per cent are budgeting for longer-term needs such as home care. While a third of them look forward to an inheritance, 58 per cent are not expecting any money.
About the survey
From May 30th to June 3rd 2014 an online survey was conducted among 3,041 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
About Bayshore HealthCare
Bayshore HealthCare Ltd. is one of the country's leading providers of home and community health care services and a Canadian-owned company. Its services are purchased by government care programs, insurance companies, workers' compensation boards, health care organizations, the corporate sector and the public. The Bayshore brand extends across four business divisions: Bayshore Home Health (medical and non-medical home care and staffing services), Bayshore Specialty Rx (specialty pharmacy, infusion and pharmaceutical patient support services), Bayshore Therapy & Rehab (physiotherapy and rehabilitation services) and Bayshore Dialysis (dialysis centers). The company's goal is to enhance the quality of life, well-being, dignity and independence of Canadians of all ages. Bayshore HealthCare has been a recipient of Canada's Best Managed Companies award since 2006. For more information, call 1-877-289-3997 or visit