Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Social Network Christmas an Inspirational Video from GodTube

Social Network Christmas - This video is an artistic take on how the story of the nativity might have read had a social network existed at the time of Jesus's birth. Follow this historical period as it unfolds as a digital narrative. This vignette is great for highlighting the truths and circumstances of our Savior's birth in a fresh, unique way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Church Leader Says Stephen Harper Fails Test of Leadership

TORONTO Ontario, December 14, 2010 United Church of Canada Release: - The news last week that Canada was ranked the fourth worst of 57 countries evaluated for their climate change performance is a shameful ranking for a country that could do so much better, says the Moderator of The United Church of Canada.

In a commentary published in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Moderator Mardi Tindal calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to exercise accountable leadership on climate change.

Tindal describes accountable leadership as accountability to truth, accountability to democracy, and accountability to our children.

“When the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) was defeated in the Senate after being supported by the House of Commons, Prime Minister Harper called the bill ‘irresponsible’ and argued that its targets would throw ‘possibly millions of people out of work.’ This was a failure of leadership on at least three counts,” comments Tindal.

She argues that, while ultimately in a democracy all of us are called to exercise leadership, a prime minister has a unique position of leadership, and there are some actions that only government can take.

“Now is the time for the prime minister to introduce urgently needed legislation to replace the Climate Change Accountability Act,” says Tindal.

The full text of Tindal’s commentary, “PM fails the tests of accountability on climate change,”appears in the December 14, 2010, issue of the Ottawa Citizen.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Canadians plan on sending an average of 15.6 cards in the mail this year

When it comes to holiday greetings, Canadians prefer cards in the mail

OTTAWA, December 13, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The tradition of the holidays still resonates strongly with Canadians. In a survey conducted by Harris/Decima on behalf of Canada Post in early November, 8 out of 10 Canadians expressed a strong preference to receiving a holiday card in the mail. This is an increase compared to 2008, when a similar survey showed 71% of Canadians prefer receiving cards in the mail.

According to the survey, Canadians will send an average of 15.6 cards this year, with 23% of them sending more than 21 cards each. For those planning to send cards electronically, the average drops to 5, while a large proportion (60%) are not planning to send holiday greetings electronically. Women are more likely to send greetings by mail (75%) compared to men (62%). As expected, younger Canadians were more open to receiving electronic cards.

The survey also showed regional differences. For example, Atlantic Canadians were most likely to send mail (83%) and by far preferred receiving a card in the mail (92%). Quebecers and Ontarians were more open to sending electronic greetings.

"While Canadians are communicating electronically more than ever before, there is still nothing better than sending and receiving a card in the mail, especially at this time of year," says Mary Traversy, Senior vice- president, Transaction Mail. "We're ready to deliver all those greetings and recommend getting them in the mail by Friday to avoid disappointment."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How irrational thinking is harmful to our future

OTTAWA, December 1, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians enjoy one of the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supplies in the world and yet farmers are constantly forced to defend the choices they make to deliver these benefits.

Michael Specter, a staff writer at The New Yorker, will explore the ways irrational thinking about scientific advancements like plant biotechnology may present unique concerns to the world.

"This is the greatest time there has ever been on this planet, by any measure that you wish to choose," Specter says. "And yet the chilling effect caused by denying the scientific evidence on a whole range of topics, including genetically modified foods, may actually prevent useful science from coming to fruition."

Specter has been a writer for the New Yorker for more than a decade, where he writes about science and politics. His new book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives, dives into the complex science bias and critical issues in making the right choices for our future.

"Plant biotechnology benefits Canadian farmers by offering them a tool that can help increase yields and enhances on-farm sustainability by giving farmers the option to reduce or eliminate tilling, which improves soil quality and reduces erosion," said Trish Jordan, president of the Council for Biotechnology Information, which sponsored Specter's lecture. "It's absolutely imperative that when it comes down to making choices about how we're going to feed the world and protect the environment that facts - not urban myths or manufactured worries - are what we base our decisions on."

GrowCanada(R) is a partnership of agriculture's most influential associations that works together to ensure Canada is a world leader in providing new products and solutions for agricultural, nutritional, health, energy and environmental challenges in Canada and around the world. The annual GrowCanada(R) conference celebrates the role of agriculture and all that agriculture does to better the lives of Canadians.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Weather Network's Winter Outlook: the Return to a Stormier Winter Season

Active Weather, HD and Winter Programming in the Forecast

OAKVILLE, Ontario November 24, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Weather Network has just announced its winter outlook for the months of December, January and February. After a mild season last winter, La Nina conditions, which have developed in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, will result in a stormier season for most Canadians across the country, marking a return to more typical winter conditions from coast to coast. Look for some extremes in weather this winter across many sections of the country, separated by spells of less inclement and more stable conditions.

In order to keep Canadians in the know about the stormy season ahead, The Weather Network offers online and mobile applications to provide immediate active weather warnings by region across the country. Active weather alerts will inform Canadians of severe weather headed their way with notifications to their mobile device or their email. Mobile applications can be downloaded at and email applications at

So, what can Canadians specifically expect this winter?

Western Canada Conditions

Canadians living in or visiting mountainous areas of British Columbia and Alberta can expect more snow this winter than on average. The Lower Mainland of British Columbia can expect above normal precipitation for the season. Below normal temperatures are anticipated for northern areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and most of the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Eastern Canada Conditions

For Canadians living east of the Ontario/Manitoba border, large swings in temperature are expected throughout the winter. Overall, though, the temperature swings are expected to balance out to near normal for the season. Near normal precipitation is expected for eastern parts of the country, with the exception of extreme Southwestern Ontario and most of Newfoundland and Labrador where above normal precipitation is expected.

And for those looking to get a head start on holiday shopping or travel for the Thanksgiving Holiday to the U.S., conditions look favourable across most of the country. The snowy and very cold weather across the Prairies and northern plains states will be easing by the end of the week, but chillier weather with lake-effect snow is likely across the Great Lakes.

The Weather Network's Winter Outlook is now available online at

High Definition and Winter Programming

This winter, The Weather Network will be broadcast nationally in High Definition, and will debut a new look for consumers on analog or standard definition television, with revitalized maps and backgrounds.

On December 6th, winter programming will return on The Weather Network. In addition to the forecasts available year-round, The Weather Network will once again provide Canadians with Highway Conditions (also available online) and the Driving Hazard index on television. Additionally, Ski & Snowboard Conditions will be broadcast on the television network and will be available on, as well as through the mobile site. As always, the latest conditions and forecasts are always one click away with the online application, WeatherEye.

"The weather affects people at the most local level, and once again this winter we are helping to keep Canadians safe and informed of the latest winter weather conditions and forecasts," said Mitch Charron, Vice President of Television at The Weather Network. "From the transition to HD programming to weather warnings, we want Canadians to know they can count on us to give them reliable and up to date weather information for their region."

Canadians can contact their local cable or satellite provider to inquire about the availability of The Weather Network in High Definition for their region.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!

On Nov.13 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a big surprise while enjoying their lunch. Over 100 participants in this awesome Christmas Flash Mob. This is a must see!

This flash mob was organized by to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Special thanks to Robert Cooper and Chorus Niagara, The Welland Seaway Mall, and Fagan Media Group.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Small Voice, Big Dreams - Global Survey of Children in Developing Nations Finds Them Hungry to Learn - and Just Plain Hungry

Children from 30 developing countries tell Canadians how they can help this year

MARKHAM, Ontario November 17, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the end of the 2010 tax season approaches, many Canadians are thinking about how they will spend this year's donation dollars. Canada is the second most charitable country in the world, according to the World Giving Index. But Canadians don't want to give blindly. In a new, global survey - released in conjunction with Universal Children's Day on November 20 - children tell us in their own words how they would like Canadians to help.

When asked, the majority of 10-12 year olds living in poverty throughout the developing world revealed that if they had the opportunity to be leader of their country, they would improve or build more schools. And if they had a dollar, they would spend it on food; one in three children report going to bed hungry at least one night a week.

The findings are part of the Small Voices, Big Dreams survey - an ambitious, multinational survey of nearly 3,000 children ages 10 to 12 in 30 developing countries. [A summary of survey results can be found at]

The survey was sponsored and conducted in the field by ChildFund Alliance, a global alliance of child development organizations, and compiled and tabulated by Ipsos Observer, an international research company. Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), the Canadian affiliate of ChildFund Alliance, was committee co-chair for this global survey. The survey is the first of its kind for the Alliance, whose roots extend back more than 70 years. The Alliance currently reaches 55 countries, with a combined global revenue of over $500 million (CAD).

"This survey amplifies what we hear in the thousands of villages where we work - that children living in poverty want to be educated, and hunger is a sad fact of life," said Mark Lukowski, Chief Executive Officer, CCFC. "It's essential to share the voice of the children with Canadian donors."

The survey found an overwhelming sentiment among the world's poorest children toward improving their lives through education. More than half of those surveyed (57%) said that, were they given the opportunity to be the leader of their country, they would educate all children, improve the quality of schools and/or construct more of them. When asked what they need most in their lives, one in three (34%) said more or better education.

While most children are hungry to learn, the survey also found that a great many of them are just plain hungry. When asked what they need most, one in three (33%) said food. To the question, "What would you spend a dollar on?" almost half (45%) said food and/or water. If they were leader of their country, one in five (19%) said they would help people get food.

The emphasis on food is understandable given this finding: one in three children (32%) say they go to bed hungry at least once a week.

The survey also sought to quantify the amount of time these children work outside of school. Twenty-six percent of the boys and girls surveyed said that they spend at least half a day each day working on household chores or other work.

"One of our guiding principles is to listen to those living in poverty, focus on how we can help, and empower communities so they can lead their own development," said Lukowski. "We are especially attentive to the voices of children so we can identify their concerns and develop solutions through our global programs."

About the Small Voices, Big Dreams Survey

The Small Voices, Big Dreams Survey was undertaken by the ChildFund Alliance from July through September 2010. Identical six-question surveys were administered to approximately 100 children ages 10 to 12 in 30 developing nations. A total of 2,970 children were surveyed. ChildFund translated and submitted the results to Ipsos Observer, a global research firm, which tabulated and compiled the results. The margins of error, at 95 percent confidence, is: total survey (+/- 1.7%).

About Christian Children's Fund of Canada and the ChildFund Alliance

For more than 50 years, Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) has helped children and families of all faiths break the cycle of extreme poverty around the world. CCFC is a member of ChildFund Alliance, a network of 12 child development organizations whose work encompasses more than 15 million children and their families in 55 countries with a total revenue of more than $500 million (CAD). Visit

About Universal Children's Day - November 20

First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, Universal Children's Day was established to encourage all countries to institute a day to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children as well as to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Food Banks Canada's HungerCount study reports highest level of food bank use on record

HungerCount 2010 provides unique, essential information on levels of food bank use in Canada, profiles people in need of food assistance

OTTAWA, November 16, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The results of the HungerCount 2010 survey released today show food banks across Canada helped 867,948 separate individuals in March 2010, an increase of 9.2%, or more than 73,000 people, compared to March 2009. This is 28% higher than in 2008, and is the highest level of food bank use since 1997.

Of the 867,948 people helped in March this year, 80,150 - 9.2% of the total - stepped through the front door of a food bank for the first time. The survey also shows that food bank use grew in every province in 2010.

"This is a reality check. Food banks are seeing first hand that the recession is not over for a large number of Canadians," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, which coordinated the annual national study.

"We are hearing that it is really tough out there," Ms. Schmidt said. "Many people who lost their jobs during the recession have now exhausted their unemployment benefits, and are looking to self-employment or to temporary and part-time jobs for income. Others have been forced to fall back on social assistance. These options aren't paying the bills, and people are accessing food banks to fill the gap."

As in past years, the profile of those assisted by food banks is highly varied:
38% of those assisted by food banks are children and youth under 18 years old.

Half of assisted households are families with children.

17% of households that turn to food banks for help each month are living on income from current or recent employment.

7% of assisted households report a pension as their primary source of income.

"Coming to a food bank is not an easy decision for people," said Bill Hall, Executive Director of the Battlefords and District Food and Resource Centre, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. "Unfortunately, there continues to be a need for help in our community, and we have expanded our efforts to meet that need - when the overall goal should be to address the causes of hunger more broadly, and to be able to reduce our services and even close our doors for good."

"Though the recession has made things worse, the causes of hunger and low income run much deeper than the recent economic crisis," said Ms. Schmidt. "The need for food banks is a result of our failure as a country to adequately address a number of social issues, including a changing job market, a lack of affordable housing and child care, and a social safety net that is ineffective."

The HungerCount provides recommendations on how the federal government can work to increase people's ability to be self sufficient. Food Banks Canada's recommendations include the following:

...Implement a national poverty prevention and reduction strategy, with measurable targets and timelines.

...Create a federal housing strategy to increase and monitor investment in affordable housing programs in Canada's cities, towns and rural areas.

...Maintain current levels of federal cash and tax transfers to provincial, territorial, and First Nations governments.

...Address the unacceptable rates of low income among our most vulnerable seniors - those who live alone, without other means of support.

About the HungerCount Survey

HungerCount was initiated in 1989 and is the only comprehensive national study of food banks and affiliated food programs in Canada. Since 1997, data for the study have been collected every March. The information provided by the survey is invaluable, forming the basis of many Food Banks Canada activities throughout the year. For a full copy of the HungerCount 2010 report and associated graphics, and for more information, please visit

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85% of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

For the first time in history, Canada Post asks Canadians to submit and vote on stamp design

OTTAWA, November 9, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - For the first time in its 159 year history, Canada Post is asking Canadians to submit and vote on the design that will become a Canadian postage stamp. Starting today, until January 10, 2011, Canadians are invited to submit designs online to The submission that proves most popular online will become one of 20 semi-finalists to be submitted to the Stamp Advisory Committee (SAC). One of those designs will become the 2011 Mental Health stamp.

"A stamp design will be seen by millions of Canadians; it has an incredible power to invite conversation," says Mary Traversy, Senior vice-president, Transaction Mail, at Canada Post. "We're asking entrants to convey important themes about mental health in a single image and make the winning stamp an ambassador for awareness."

The SAC will choose five designs from the 20 semi-finalists. These five designs will be voted on by the public from February 14 to March 14. The winning design will be announced in April 2011.

Canada Post made mental health its cause of choice in 2008. Since then, customers, employees, suppliers and the public have raised more than $2.5 million for the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health. Some $600,000 of that was from sales of the 2008 and 2009 mental health stamps. Canada Post recently issued this year's mental health stamp, which is intended to help the company reach its $2 million campaign goal. A dollar from every booklet sold supports the Foundation.

The Foundation provides critical funding to community based, non-profit groups helping people living with mental illness - a growing legacy of support for the more than 7 million Canadians who will need help with mental health problems this year. Over $2.5 million in grants have been distributed, to organizations across the country, by the Foundation.

Details on the Canada Post Mental Health Stamp Design Competition

Eligible Canadians have until January 10, 2010 to enter the competition to design Canada Post's 2011 Mental Health stamp. The website includes instructions and the full contest rules.

Entrants will be asked to include a short essay, up to 100 words, about their design and why they feel it will raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

Entrants can promote their submissions using social media. The submission that proves most popular online will become one of the 20 semi-finalists, and its designer will win an iPad. The other 19 semi-finalists will be chosen by an advisory panel including mental health experts, representatives from the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health and stamp and design experts from Canada Post.

Canada Post's Stamp Advisory Committee, a national committee that guides Canada Post in selecting stamp subjects and designs, will select five designs from the 20 semi-finalists. The committee is made up of knowledgeable Canadians from across the country selected for their historic, design or philatelic knowledge. It reflects English-speaking and French-speaking populations and the changing ethnic diversity of the country.

On February 14, 2011, Canada Post will unveil the five finalists to the public and open the voting. Canadians will be able to vote for their favourite submission on or Facebook until voting closes on March 14, 2010. The design receiving the most votes will be declared the winner, to be announced in April 2011.

In addition to having their original artwork produced by a professional design firm and the resulting stamps issued for sale in September 2011, the winner will receive a framed commemorative enlargement of the stamp and a $500 honorarium will be donated to a mental health charity of their choice.

As with all stamps, Canada Post will hold the copyright to the winning design.

The PERMANENT™ domestic rate semi-postal stamp will be issued with a 10-cent surcharge to generate funds for the Foundation.

For full contest rules and regulations, please visit

GO Transit is expanding train service to Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Acton

TORONTO, November 12, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - GO Transit will be expanding rail service on the Georgetown line to Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Acton, with service scheduled to begin by the end of 2011.

"We are pleased to be offering GO train service to Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Acton," said GO Transit President Gary McNeil. "In partnership with the Province of Ontario and these regional municipalities, we can encourage existing commuters to leave their cars behind and use transit. This is also good news for existing Georgetown and Brampton customers who will have improved service as a result of this expansion."

To begin offering train service by the end of next year, GO will be constructing new infrastructure - a storage facility in Kitchener and ticketing service at new stations in Acton, Guelph and Kitchener, as well as bringing an additional 54 new route-kilometres into to the system. This infrastructure will support two morning and two evening trains.

"This $18 million investment in expanded transit will ensure that the residents of Guelph, Acton, Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas have more transit options when they travel between these communities or into the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)," said Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig. "We appreciate the continued support from the Province of Ontario to deliver Metrolinx's important mandate to provide transit solutions."

An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the expansion of train service from Georgetown to Kitchener-Waterloo was completed in 2009 and approved by the Minister of the Environment in January 2010.

GO Transit is the Province of Ontario's regional public transit service linking Toronto with the surrounding regions of the GTHA. GO carries over 55 million passengers a year in an extensive network of train and bus services that spans over 10,000 square kilometres. GO Transit is a division of Metrolinx, the regional transportation authority for the GTHA.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poverty is about more than a lack of money

A new, Canadian funded human development measure helps us to dig deeper into the nature of global poverty

OTTAWA, November 5, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - by Rohinton Medhora - When is the person with more money poorer than the person with less money? This is not an ancient Greek riddle or the beginning of an African folk tale. It is a question the United Nations Development Program has tried to answer in this year's Human Development Report.

The report answers the question by using a new index that Canada helped to create, the Multidimensional Poverty Index. This new tool for understanding what being poor really means gathers data on ten indicators, ranging from child mortality and nutrition levels, to years of schooling, access to electricity, clean water and proper flooring. The ten factors are combined, and the resulting score for each country is compared to the standard monetary measure of poverty, life on less than $1.25 a day.

The differences between the new and the standard, monetary measure are revealing. In many cases, those differences show that there are indeed countries where people who have some cash in their pockets are actually poorer than people in other countries who have less money. China and India, the giants of the developing world, can help us to understand why.

In India, despite strong social cohesion and a tradition of some publicly funded services, the poverty rate based solely on how much money people have is actually less than the multidimensional rate. And the difference is not trivial: India's poor population grows by 135 million people when you count it the multidimensional way.

By contrast, in China, a strong State has ensured rising incomes and social services to the masses. That means that monetary poverty and poverty measured using the multidimensional criteria are about the same in China (though the difference still amounts to about 50 million people.)

At the extremes, perhaps as a lingering Communist-era legacy, the central Asian country, Uzbekistan, contains very many income-poor people who, nonetheless, are at least decently literate and healthy. In Ethiopia and Mali, on the other hand, the poor may have more cash in hand, but that money does not buy them very much in the way of access to health and education.

Why are such distinctions important? Precisely because different approaches produce different results. The Multidimensional Poverty Index results tell us which countries are better than others in getting clean water and good schooling to their citizens. In a significant number of countries even money in hand does not translate into better access to such services.

Breaking down the new index into its components also reveals the concrete sources of poverty. In India, the poor tend to have relatively higher levels of education than they do good health. In China, it is the lack of education that dominates this measure. Such information should lead to better policies. And so this new index helps us to understand that confronting the challenge of poverty lies in creative thinking and different ways of doing things rather than just throwing more money at it.

When introduced twenty years ago, the United Nations Development Program's by now famous Human Development Index was considered revolutionary. The Human Development Index added life expectancy and literacy to the income measure, and the result has been that countries with lower per capita income are often ranked much higher than others with higher incomes.

This year, for example, Singapore, which has one of the world's highest per capita incomes - $48, 893 - is ranked 27th, while New Zealand - with a per capita income of only $25,438 - is ranked third. (Canada's per capita income is $38,668 and we're ranked eighth.) Historically, a relatively poor country such as Cuba would place well above its per capita income ranking, because of its impressive schooling and health systems.

Leading up to this year's report, Canada financed underlying work at Oxford University and in partner institutions throughout the developing world. This new measure is meant to supplement the Human Development Index by drilling further down into the real life facts of poverty, as experienced by billions of people.

Ultimately, no single Index can provide a complete guide to well-being across countries. In this respect, the authors of this year's Human Development Report are spot on in suggesting that what is needed is not a single "meter reading" but a human development "dashboard". Future work should address innovation strategies (or, more broadly, future productive capacity); environmental degradation; and - perhaps foremost - the role that freedom and democracy play in determining the quality of life.

It is only through the careful background work that the Human Development Report so capably summarizes each year that we will all be better informed about how we as a global community are doing, and how we might do even better in future.

Rohinton Medhora is the Vice President, Programs, of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Canadian Patient Safety Week Launches Across Canada

Campaign encourages open communication between patients and providers

EDMONTON, November 1, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - 'Don't just think it, say it' - this is the message the Canadian Patient Safety Institute is getting out to patients, their families and healthcare providers during Canadian Patient Safety Week, November 1-5, 2010.

Every year, between 9,000 and 24,000 people die as a result of preventable adverse events or harm in the Canadian healthcare system.

"Patients and family members may not always feel like they should question their care, or speak up if they think something's not right," says Hugh MacLeod, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "But whether it is the patient, resident or client, a family member, the healthcare provider, or decision-makers at the executive table, everyone has a role to play. We are hoping that through increased awareness, the importance of communication in healthcare will be recognized at all levels, leading to better outcomes for the patient."

To help highlight the importance of communication in ensuring safe care, thousands of patients, healthcare providers and organizations from across Canada will be hosting events and activities related to patient safety.

One of more than 1,200 registered participants in the week, William Hill, principal of clinical quality and patient safety, Medavie EMS, says his organization will be taking the opportunity to highlight the importance of patient safety for paramedics across the country, including the unique challenges paramedics face in an ever-changing environment. "We often provide care in a perilous environment, so understanding and addressing the unique risks involved for the patient, paramedic and public are of utmost concern for us."

CPSI provides patient safety tools, resources, information and support to ensure the week is a success for participants across the country.

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) was established in 2003 as an independent not-for-profit corporation, operating collaboratively with health professionals and organizations, regulatory bodies and governments to build and advance a safer healthcare system for Canada by inspiring extraordinary improvement in patient safety and quality.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

World Bank: Annual Report 2010

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2010.

The World Bank's Annual Report and the website that accompanies the report are full of data about the world's 79 poorest countries that the World Bank aids through its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association.

The 32-page report covers the period from July 2009 to June 2010. Visitors will find that the website for the Report contains a lot of interactive features for a better understanding of the global poverty situation which the World Bank is trying to help alleviate.

The "Data & Research" tab near the top of any page has an "At a Glance" section that features several "Analytical Tools". Visitors won't want to miss the "iSimulate", which allows for performing macroeconomic simulations; "ADePT", which is a software platform for automated economic analysis; and "PovCalNet", which is a poverty analysis tool that "assess[es] global poverty incidence figures."[KMG]

Friday, October 29, 2010

Raising a Digital Generation: Media Awareness Network Launches New Tutorial for Parents

OTTAWA, October 29, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Media Awareness Network (MNet) today released e-Parenting Tutorial: Keeping up with your kids' online activities, an online resource to help parents better understand and become actively involved in their children's online lives.

Made possible through financial contributions from Inukshuk Learning Plan Fund and Bell, this engaging interactive tool helps parents increase their awareness of the ways that children and teens are using the Internet for learning, entertainment and socializing, and the issues they may be encountering along the way. Through the exploration of five key themes - homework, cyberbullying, marketing, online relationships and excessive use - parents can develop the knowledge and skills they need to help their children navigate the Internet safely, wisely and responsibly.

"Parents often feel unprepared when it comes to helping their children manage their online lives," said Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MNet. "e-Parenting Tutorial is designed to instill the confidence they need to help their kids become thoughtful cybercitizens."

This practical resource takes a light-hearted approach while tackling serious issues, with downloadable tip sheets and links to further resources to help parents out. The key message throughout is that parents need to talk with their kids about their online explorations and work together to develop ground rules that everyone can live with.

e-Parenting Tutorial is available for free on Media Awareness Network's Web site ( It is also available on Be Web Aware (, an Internet safety Web site for parents developed by MNet in partnership with Bell.

The e-Parenting Tutorial development and promotion partners are the Alberta School Councils' Association, The Alberta Library and the Canadian Home and School Federation.

Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for media literacy. Its vision is to ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media. MNet's programs are funded by its public and private sector sponsors, donors and partners, who include: CTV • Canwest • TELUS • Canadian Internet Registration Authority • National Film Board of Canada • Bell. (

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

National UNICEF Day - Celebrating Canada's Philanthropic Spirit - October 31st

TORONTO, October 26, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - While many think of Halloween as a time for costumes, candy and celebration, it's important to remind Canadian's that October 31st has been declared National UNICEF Day by the Government of Canada. An occasion to celebrate Canada's generous contributions to the children around the world, it's also a timely reminder that thousands of children rely on UNICEF's support for their very survival. Twenty-two thousand children die every day from mainly preventable causes. UNICEF believes that number should be zero.

"Canadians have supported UNICEF for over 55 years, providing funds for the world's neediest children," said Sue Larkin, UNICEF Canada. "We are extremely grateful to Canadians for their continued generosity, but also want to stress that the need for fundraising is greater than ever. This October, Canadians have the opportunity to participate in National UNICEF Day and help us achieve our goal of zero preventable deaths."

By supporting National UNICEF Day Canadians can make a meaningful difference with the click of a button. Donations have the capacity to significantly change a child's life. Examples of what donations can achieve include:
$10 buys a life-saving bed net
$25 provides therapeutic milk to save a malnourished child's life
$87 purchases a bicycle that can help fetch water and do chores
$509 will buy a community water pump to provide life-giving water
$1,420 will purchase a school tent
$5,200 will provide education supplies for an entire school

The traditional Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign raised more than $100 million in funds since its inception in Canada in 1955. What began with the iconic orange collection box has evolved into a comprehensive fundraising program that extends throughout the month of October, culminating in National UNICEF Day on October 31. While the orange collection box is no longer in use, Canadians can get involved through their schools, communities and workplaces or by visiting By taking the program virtual, all Canadians can participate and reignite the nostalgia associated with the orange box.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF Canada and its work visit:

Monday, October 25, 2010

As cholera outbreak spreads, World Vision deploys teams to distribute emergency health supplies, focus on preventative measures

- Malnourished children, people with HIV and AIDS and the elderly are the most vulnerable, aid agency says

- World Vision health workers are reminding families that hand washing can save lives, prevent spread of cholera

PORT-AU-PRINCE, October 24, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the cholera outbreak continues to spread in the Artibonite region of Haiti, World Vision is increasing its response in affected areas, pre-positioning much-needed health supplies and preparing residents in its displacement camps in Port-au-Prince with critical, life-saving health and hygiene messages.

On Wednesday, the international relief organization deployed a team of 12 nurses, a doctor, and about 50 community health workers to Mirebalais, a community approximately 50 miles southeast of St. Marc, where the group developed and carried out a rapid awareness campaign at seven schools, reaching an estimated 3,000 students. They discussed how the illness is caught and what to do to avoid it.

A team has also been sent to Mirebalais to supplement World Vision's relief efforts. The team is assessing water sources, sanitation facilities and latrines, while simultaneously providing messaging about prevention and distribution of oral rehydration solution, soap, and aquatabs. World Vision's health manager in Port-au-Prince, Dr. Reginald Lubin, noted that cholera is caused by a bacterial infection which can cause people to lose more than 30 liters of fluid in a single day.

World Vision is conducting a mass distribution of soap in Port-au-Prince, as well as cleaning and desludging all of the latrines in camps where the organization is present. Staff are also continuing to check the chlorination levels on all water that they supply. Additional hand washing stations are being installed in camps, and World Vision is educating residents on the importance of hand washing and hygiene.

World Vision has identified sites within its camps to serve as quarantine areas in Port-au-Prince should the outbreak reach the city. Staff are being trained to identify the symptoms of cholera and are positioning trucks that will be able to take suspected cases to the hospital for treatment. World Vision is also working to make sure its staff are protected by providing them with face masks and gloves.

"While we can't be sure the direction this will take, we're preparing for challenging weeks ahead. Right now, the priority is to continue doing everything we can to stop the spread of this fast-moving disease. Malnourished children, people living with HIV and AIDS and the elderly are the most vulnerable right now. We are doing everything we can to let people know that simple measures like hand washing can save lives. We are coordinating with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and other agencies to respond effectively and efficiently. Quick identification and treatment is vital to containing the outbreak." - Sabrina Pourmand Nolen, World Vision's program director in Port-au-Prince

"If this hits our camps we are going to need a lot of support. It could spread very rapidly and so we must be ready to react immediately. This is why we are stepping up prevention efforts, pre-positioning supplies and establishing contingency plans." - Dr. Reginald Lubin, World Vision's health manager in Port-au-Prince

World Vision is a leading Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by our Christian values, we are dedicated to working with the world's most vulnerable people. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness - November 12th, 2010

The Guelph Community Foundation is holding the city’s first Random Acts of Kindness Day on Friday November 12, 2010. The day encourages each of us to do something kind for another person and is an opportunity to appreciate our fellow citizens and build our community.

Random Acts of Kindness Day is NOT about fundraising or giving money – just a day to celebrate simple acts of kindness like buying someone a coffee, congratulating someone on a job well done, driving someone to an appointment, holding a door open, carrying someone’s groceries, etc…

25,000 Random Act of Kindness Day cards are available in Guelph and Wellington County. The cards encourage the holder to perform a simple act of kindness for someone and then hand over the card so that person can “pay it forward”.

Get involved! Place posters and cards in high traffic spots at work and around our community – give them to friends, family, co-workers or people you’ve just met.

Started in 2008 by The Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation, this year Guelph joins Cambridge & North Dumfries, London, Brantford and Orillia.

Click here for 101 Random Acts of Kindness: 101 Random Acts of Kindness PDF

Randon Acts of Kindness cards available at:

Brisson Leis & Associates
Meridian Credit Union, 200 Speedvale Ave. West
Meridian Credit Union, 370 Stone Road West
Meridian Credit Union, 2 Clair Road East

RLB Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, 15 Lewis Road, or call Kim Carpentier at (519) 822-9933.

The Co-operators, Darren Scott and Dan Burnham, Agents 2-247 Eramosa Rd.
The Co-operators,Paul Moran and Brad Barbrou, Agents 101-649 Scottsdale Dr.
The Co-operators, David Bruce, Agent, 218 Silvercreek Pkwy N

KH&A Printing - 355 Elmira Road North, Unit 121

City of Guelph locations:
West End Community Centre – 21 Imperial Road South
Victoria Road Recreation Centre – 151 Victoria Road North
Sleeman Centre – 50 Woolwich Street
Guelph Museums – 6 Dublin Street South
River Run Centre – 35 Woolwich Street
Service Guelph – 1 Carden Street
Evergreen Seniors Community Centre – 683 Woolwich Street
Library (Main Branch) – 100 Norfolk Street

Meridian Credit Union, 100 MacQueen Blvd
The Co-operators, Craig Janzen, Agent 4-860 Tower St S

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food Banks Canada encourages Canadians to take action against hunger on World Food Day

TORONTO, October 15, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - On Saturday, October 16, people around the world will be marking the 30th anniversary of World Food Day. The theme for 2010 is "United Against Hunger," and the goal is to bring attention to efforts made to reduce and prevent hunger around the globe. Food Banks Canada is calling on Canadians to make an impact on hunger locally by supporting their community food banks and other food assistance programs.

In 2009, one billion people experienced hunger globally, and Canada did not escape the problem. Nearly two million Canadians report being food insecure - they often worry about not having enough food, can't afford to eat the foods they would like, or go without food because they don't have enough for themselves and their families.1 Each month, nearly 800,000 Canadians are assisted by a food bank - 37% of those helped are children.2

Canadian food banks provide what has become an essential service in their communities. Not only do they offer food to those in need, many also provide services and supports such as nutrition education, referrals to other community services, and assistance in the search for employment, affordable housing, child care and health services. Food banks are, for many, the first step on a path back to financial health - they allow those experiencing difficulty to stop, take a breath, and make a plan to get back on track.

Unfortunately, with the effects of the 2008-09 recession still being felt across the country, food banks are struggling to meet the increased need for their services. Food bank use grew by 18% from 2008 to 2009 - the largest year-over-year increase on record - and we are hearing across the country that food banks continue to assist individuals and families at higher-than-normal levels.

On World Food Day, Saturday, October 16th, Canadians can take a number of actions to address hunger in Canada and around the world:

...Donate food and funds to your local community food bank so that your less fortunate neighbours will be able to access help when they require it.

...Make a cash donation to your provincial food bank association, which is supporting food banks and other food assistance programs across your province. (For a list of community food banks and provincial associations, visit here).

...Make a secure online donation to Food Banks Canada here.

...Learn more about World Food Day and sign a petition supported by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization at

...Host or participate in a Kitchen Table Talk for the People's Food Policy Project (, an effort to create a comprehensive federal food policy for Canada.

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85% of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. We continue to work to find short term and long term solutions for the close to 800,000 hungry Canadians who are assisted by a food bank every month.

About World Food Day

Launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the goal of World Food Day is to raise awareness of those living with food insecurity around the world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Religions Gathering in Waterloo on October 16th, 2010

Theme: Keeping Faith Alive in Contemporary Society
Scholars from 8 theological perspectives
Multi Faith Presentations and Songs
30th Anniversary Celebration - World Religions Conference in Canada
Waterloo, Ontario, October 16, 2010

WATERLOO, Ontario October 14, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - In a society driven by media, high technology, scientific advancements and entertainment - the conference will explore how different faiths can strive to keep faith alive.

The World Religions Conference (WRC) has been serving for the last 30 years in Canada as an invaluable means for bringing different religious and ethnic communities together in a manner which breeds tolerance, peace, cooperation, and understanding amongst the different religions within our society. This event is now the largest Multi-faith events of its kind in Canada.

The event is expected to draw several hundred from the region. Distinguished speakers will be representing Christianity, Judaism, Aboriginals, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Humanism (Atheists and Agnostics) and Islam at the conference. Organizations will present poems and songs and set up an Exhibition.

Several Local, Provincial and National leaders of Canada, are scheduled to deliver greetings.

Complimentary Lunch and dinner. Free Admission. For details visit

Artist and Author Shares Her Childhood Memories of the Depression

Wellington County Museum OCTOBER 14, 2010 ABOYNE – On exhibit from October 16, 2010 to February 20, 2011 the Wellington County Museum and Archives is pleased to present Allie’s Kids: Illustrations by Lois Beams MacKenzie.

Inspired by Ms. MacKenzie’s published memoirs in 2009, fifteen original framed illustrations highlight her family life in the Depression and her mother Allie’s struggles raising a large family.

In the 1990s, Lois joined the Elora Memoir Group and began recording the story of her life. Her illustrations are a remarkable expression of those memories and we are delighted to share some of them in this exhibition.

Born in 1923, Lois’ father was killed in a sawmill accident in Fergus when she was just five years old. Her mother remarried and bore several more children in the 1930s. Life with Lois’ stepfather was harsh and jobs were non-existent. During the Depression, the family moved twenty-two times in twelve years, each dilapidated house worse than the last. Lois’ memoirs present vivid and honest recollections of the hardships of poverty. Her great zest for life allows her to embrace the warm memories of simple pleasures and family love.

Though untrained, Lois is a gifted artist and writer with the unique ability to bring memories alive in visuals and the written word. Copies of her book, Allie’s Kids, are available at the Museum’s gift shop.

The Wellington County Museum and Archives is located on Wellington Road #18 between Fergus and Elora, and it is open weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm on weekends and holidays.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

TORONTO, October 13, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, one of the leading congregations of the United Church of Canada, will celebrate the centennial anniversary of its historic founding with special worship services on Sunday, October 24 at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

The 10:30 service will include a message from Dr. Stirling honouring the occasion, a special choral presentation composed by Andrew Ager and written by Janet Mason. The music will be augmented by guest musicians and conducted by Julia Sankey. There will also be displays of artifacts and historical memorabilia reflecting our church's past and an unveiling and dedication of the new centenary plaque.

The 7:00 p.m. service will include a special liturgy reflecting the language and style of the earliest services at TEMC as well as modern expressions of our faith. Our special guest preacher is Dr. Michael Quicke from Chicago. Dr. Quicke was appointed C.W. Koller Professor of Preaching and Communication at Northern Seminary, Lombard in 2000 and continues to serve in that position to this day. Dr. Peter Holmes, senior minister of Yorkminster Park Baptist church will participate in the service, along with their choir and organist, William Maddox and members of their congregation will join our own.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Green Pledge Sees Moderator Riding the Rails

TORONTO, October 10, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - When Mardi Tindal was elected Moderator of The United Church of Canada in August 2009, she vowed to do as much travel as possible using "green friendly" transportation.

Well, this week the rubber hits the road—or rather hits the rails—as Tindal heads off early Tuesday morning on a train journey called the Spirit Express. During the first leg of this journey, Tindal will travel by train from Toronto to northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Tindal's month-long journey is a first in terms of how a Moderator's travel is usually scheduled during the three years she or he serves as the church's spiritual leader. Most often a Moderator's visits are planned over a 6- to 10-day period in each of the church's 13 regional Conferences. Tindal's travel by train means she will schedule multiple Conference visits back to back at least twice during her term as Moderator. In the spring and fall of 2011, Tindal will head east through Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime provinces.

"The non-stop pace may be tiring, but I am looking forward to being able to practise what I preach in terms of encouraging all of us to participate in God's work of healing and mending creation," comments Tindal.

She says she knew that managing her carbon footprint would be difficult during a three-year term where she would be expected to travel extensively. To date Tindal estimates her air travel as Moderator has burned approximately 11 tonnes of carbon. She has challenged the church to help her reduce the impact of that travel by taking actions that offset the carbon emissions she knows will accumulate as a result of fulfilling her role as Moderator. One congregation, St. Paul's United Church in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, reports that they have reduced their carbon emissions output by almost 34 tonnes per year, which more than offsets the Moderator's first year of air travel.

But Tindal wants to do more, so she has pledged to limit her travel by air as much as she can by intentionally planning her Conference visits in a way that accommodates travelling primarily by train. As she travels the country, Tindal will be hosting a series of town-hall meetings where she will carry her message of how we can find ways to live abundantly within the natural limits of God's creation. She sees the town hall meetings as opportunities for kitchen-table-type conversations about the state of our environment.

"We need to be able to celebrate people's stories of hope—their green achievements—as well as hear their stories of suffering and concern about climate and ocean change," says Tindal.

People interested in tracking the Moderator's travels on the Spirit Express can do so by visiting

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Norfolk United Church ‘miffed’ after thieves make off with antique hitching post

Guelph Mercury October 08, 2010
Drew Halfnight, Mercury staff

GUELPH — Members of Norfolk United Church are upset after someone entered their place of worship and made off with a weighty lawn ornament.

The antique horse-head hitching post had been temporarily shifted to inside the church before it disappeared on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Church administrator Sharon Huska said it was made entirely of cast iron and weighed at least 75 kilograms.

“It was so heavy,” she said, adding it took two muscle-bound contractors to haul it inside the church in the first place.

“You’d have to have a couple of people. You’d need a vehicle. I think this was planned out,” she said of the theft.

Huska said she and her fellow churchgoers are feeling “a little miffed” and “kind of violated,” especially considering the culprit or culprits stole it from within a House of God.

“Who does this? How could they come and take something from the church?” she said. “The church welcomes people. It’s kind of like an abuse of that when you turn around and take something.”

The hitching post, which looks like a black chess knight mounted on a pillar, had stood sentry at the Norfolk Street entrance for 25 years, Huska said. “It welcomes people into the church. It’s a piece of history.”

Before that, it stood in front of a 100-year-old manse on Liverpool Street where, Huska suspected, anyone paying a visit to the church minister could hitch his steed to a ring through its mouth.

The post was to be displayed prominently in a landscape redesign the church commissioned in preparation for its 175th anniversary next year.

After it was moved to a landing inside the church last month to accommodate the landscaping, several people noticed and praised it, Huska said.

Like most churches, Norfolk United is unlocked for large stretches at a time.

Church officials called police, who filled out a report over the phone.

Huska said she expected the post was gone forever, unless “the police find it dragged off some place and they bring it back.”

Anyone who sees a black antique horsehead hitching post — Huska said only a few original hitching posts remain in Guelph — is asked to call Norfolk United at 519-822-6165.

... read full story at the Guelph Mercury

Friday, October 8, 2010

Canada Post reminds customers of international mailing dates for the Holidays

The earliest date is next week - October 12!

OTTAWA, October 7, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Even though the holiday season seems far away, Canada Post would like to remind everyone that it is already time to think about planning international holiday mailings. As they do every year, foreign countries have notified Canada Post of the optimal time to send holiday cards and parcels to ensure delivery in their country in time for the holidays.

The earliest suggested deadline for the most economical parcel service is October 12 for Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand. Parcels for Central and South America, Asia and Australia should be sent by October 18; and October 25 for Carribean and European destinations. Parcels shipped to the US should be sent by December 8. Canada Post does offer priority services for those who cannot meet these early-bird special rates.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Particulate Air Pollution Strongly Linked With Increased Diabetes Prevalence in US Study

by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY

A new study published in Diabetes Care finds that there is a strong link between particulate air pollution and the rising prevalence of adult diabetes in the United States. Pollution was found to be a serious risk factor even after other risk factors, such as obesity and ethnicity, were adjusted for. What's more, the relationship between pollution and diabetes occurs at levels below current EPA limits.

The report opens, commenting on the connection between particulate air pollution and diabetes:

Environmental pollution, especially particulate matter between 0.1 and 2.5 micrometers in size (PM2.5), may be a neglected risk factor for diabetes. As a main component of haze, smoke, and motor vehicle exhaust, PM2.5 is dangerous in part because of its small size and ability to invade critical human organs in the respiratory and vascular systems. Exposure to higher levels of air pollution exaggerates adipose inflammation and insulin resistance in a mouse model of diet-induced obesity. In diabetic patients, plasma inflammatory markers increase in response to higher PM2.5 exposure.

Previous laboratory studies have found precursors to diabetes resulting from exposure to particulate air pollution, but this is among the first efforts to examine the connection on a large scale, examining actual human populations.

To do so the scientists examined EPA data on PM2.5 pollution from the entire contiguous US between 2004 and 2005 and checked it against Centers for Disease Control and US Census data on prevalence of adult diabetes and what other risk factors might be at play... read more story at

Mitchell Frederick Hepburn honoured through Premiers' Gravesites Program

ST. THOMAS, Ontario, October 1, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled a marker commemorating the gravesite of the Honourable Mitchell Frederick Hepburn, Premier of Ontario from 1934 to 1942.

"Mitchell F. Hepburn was a charismatic politician and a gifted orator who led the province through a challenging period in its history," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "We are proud to honour his years of service with this gravesite marker."

Ontario's eleventh premier was born near St. Thomas in 1896. He was elected to federal parliament in 1926. In 1930, he accepted the leadership of the Ontario Liberals. Premier from 1934 to 1942, Hepburn was in power for the latter part of the Depression and the beginning of the Second World War. Hepburn carried out cost-saving measures and challenged Prime Minister Mackenzie King over what he felt was an apathetic war effort. In 1942, Hepburn resigned as premier, but retained his seat until 1945, when he retired to his farm. He died in 1953.

"Many innovations were introduced in Ontario during Hepburn's premiership," said Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan. "Through his efforts, the province saw changes ranging from improvements to highways and hydro service to an overhauled pension system."

The Premiers' Gravesites Program honours Ontario's former premiers and their service to Ontario by marking their gravesites. Specially designed bronze markers inscribed with the individual premier's name and dates of service are installed at each gravesite, along with flagpoles flying the Ontario flag, where possible.

This program is administered by the Ontario Heritage Trust with funding support from the Government of Ontario. The Trust is an agency of the government dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. The Ontario Heritage Trust also administers Doors Open Ontario. From April to October each year, communities open the doors to some of their most intriguing and charming heritage sites. Admission is free. Doors Open St. Thomas runs October 2-3, while Doors Open Port Stanley-Sparta runs October 2, 2010. Visit for event details.

Quick Facts:

...Eighteen premiers will be commemorated through the Premiers' Gravesites Program.

...This is the 11th marker to be unveiled through the program since it began in 2008.

Learn More:

For more information on the Premiers' Gravesites Program, visit

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Staff Changes at the General Council Office

United Church of Canada -General News and Announcements
September 22, 2010

Significant staff changes were announced on September 21, 2010, at the General Council Office as part of a comprehensive plan to build a faithful and sustainable future for The United Church of Canada.

A number of positions are being refocused or eliminated as a result of decisions the Executive of the General Council made at its May 2010 meeting. These steps are being taken to redirect work, reorganize the work of the General Council Office, and address budget constraints. These organizational changes were implemented after prayerful consideration of how best to live into the directions of the Executive and support the work of the United Church in a rapidly changing world.

As part of these changes, 16 valued colleagues have left or will be leaving the General Council Office. We thank them for their faithful service and hold them in our prayers in these days of change. We acknowledge the loss felt by General Council Office staff as they say goodbye to friends and colleagues.

The work of a number of other staff members will change to better support the directions the Executive has set for the General Council Office.

These staff transitions are part of a wide-ranging plan the Executive approved in May to ensure the United Church remains relevant and faithful in a changing context. This plan, which was developed after broad consultation throughout the church, also directed reductions in grants to mission support, global partners, theological schools, and education centres. At the same time, the Executive approved several new initiatives to encourage and revitalize ministries and simplify church processes. These initiatives include the Network for Ministry Development, which will provide services and support for congregational transformation and ministry development, and the New Ministries Fund, directed toward new and innovative ministries.

Today’s changes fulfill the staff reductions related to 2011–13 budget requirements authorized by the Executive in May 2010. As we continue to live into the Executive’s decision and plan for revisioning the future, further staff changes and reassignments may evolve.

The General Council Office supports the ministry and mission of congregations, presbyteries, mission units, and Conferences, and is the national expression of The United Church of Canada, working ecumenically and in global partnership. It is funded by voluntary givings to the Mission and Service Fund.

The Executive of the General Council acts on behalf of the General Council between General Council meetings, and generally meets twice a year. The Executive is composed of 50 voting members elected from across the country. Members are lay or ministry personnel, and represent all 13 Conferences, francophone, ethnic, and Aboriginal constituencies, and various national committees.

Friday, September 24, 2010

University of Guelph Launches BetterPlanet Project, Aims to Raise $200 Million

GUELPH, Ontario September 23, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ The University of Guelph today launched The BetterPlanet Project, an ambitious plan to help improve the quality of food, environment, health and communities here and around the world.

The BetterPlanet Project spells out a vision of what the University wants to accomplish, a $200-million fundraising campaign to help build human capacity and a strategy for accelerating innovation. Guelph alumnus Tye Burt, president and chief executive officer of Kinross Gold Corp. and vice-chair of the University’s Board of Governors, will lead the campaign.

“The Better Planet Project is a call to action for the University and concerned citizens everywhere to work together to improve life on this planet,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. “The world is at a critical point, and the University of Guelph is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution.”

For nearly 150 years, Guelph has excelled in areas of teaching and research that are essential for finding solutions to today’s global crises, Summerlee said. “We have the interdisciplinary expertise to make a difference, but we need to accelerate the pace of change — we must transform the way we are contributing to make this a better planet.”

The BetterPlanet Project was unveiled to the public today via a website, advertisements in national media and videos that detail the vision and fundraising effort.

The campaign, which has already attracted close to $88 million, will provide the people and tools required for discovery and for translating U of G innovation into practical, useful applications, Burt said.

“We are mobilizing minds and knowledge in ways that make a difference by addressing urgent issues facing us in the 21st century,” he said.

“Everyone from individuals to organizations, business and industry knows that dealing with these issues is vital to sustainability. The BetterPlanet Project will empower people and motivate them to get involved in helping bring about change.”

Burt graduated from the University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in history. He and his family have made a personal gift of $1 million to The BetterPlanet Project to support first-year learning seminars. These smaller classes transform the way students learn and engage them in thinking about how to contribute to improving the world.

Other significant gifts supporting key areas of The BetterPlanet Project include:

...Leadership support of no less than $1 million from the University of Guelph Alumni Association;

...An academic chair in sustainable food production, a North American first made possible by a $3-million donation from Loblaw Companies Ltd.;

...A $9.5-million legacy gift from the late Mona Campbell, a tireless advocate for animals, to support animal welfare research at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC);

...A faculty chair aimed at improving life for Canadian families and communities, supported by a $1-million gift from the Stephen Jarislowsky family;

...A $5-million gift from Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. for a primary health and education centre at OVC;

...A $3-million donation from Royal Canin Canada to help support an endowed chair in canine and feline clinical nutrition.

“There will be many more announcements of substantial support,” said Joanne Shoveller, vice-president (alumni affairs and development). “I fully expect we will achieve our $200-million target by 2014 and perhaps exceed it.”

The campaign will fund student programs, infrastructure across the campus and faculty positions.

“We hope to name 50 chairs by 2014,” Shoveller said. “These dedicated positions will help to accelerate the pace of Guelph innovation and the transfer of knowledge into practical applications.”

The campaign will also seek funding for student scholarships and bursaries, travel grants and learning initiatives. There will be opportunities to renovate facilities and build infrastructure for the School of Engineering, the College of Management and Economics, and the OVC Health Sciences Centre.

“We believe the bigger our ambition, the bigger our results will be,” Summerlee said. “We invite everyone to stand with us — and support us — as we develop the essentials for a better quality of life for everyone.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Food Banks Canada Launches Program to Assist Families in Need

Food Banks Canada Executive Director Katharine Schmidt and McCain Foods (Canada) President Darryl Rowe sort food at the Mississauga Food Bank to launch the Feeding Families Program. (CNW Group/Food Banks Canada)

Food Banks Canada providing resources to support families in need across Canada

TORONTO, September 22, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Food Banks Canada announces the launch of Feeding Families, a new program developed to directly provide resources to food banks in their efforts to assist families with school aged children. Food banks provide support to hundreds of thousands of Canadians in need each month, and families are a large portion of clients assisted. Food Banks Canada's 2009 HungerCount reported that 50 per cent of households that turn to a food bank for help are families with children.

The Feeding Families program was established to share with member food banks educational resources and funds that will have a direct impact on families. In its inaugural year, several new initiatives will be launched and made available to food banks including a $25,000 fund for food banks to access for family focused programs.

"We know that thousands of families are struggling in communities across the country and they find themselves turning to food banks for assistance" says Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. "We are pleased to be able to provide new support for our member food banks that will assist in their work to reduce hunger."

McCain Foods (Canada), a leading global food manufacturer headquartered in Canada, is the founding sponsor of this program. McCain's sponsorship has enabled Food Banks Canada to immediately initiate several new programs to support food banks. As part of the launch of Feeding Families, an educational factsheet, titled 'Doing More With Less' that provides relevant information on how to eat healthily on a limited budget, will be distributed to over 50,000 food bank clients nationwide.

"McCain Foods is proud to be a founding sponsor of Feeding Families and to be part of a program that can have a direct impact on low-income Canadian families" says Darryl Rowe, President, McCain Foods (Canada). "Reducing hunger and the need for food banks requires creative solutions, and our goal is to be a significant partner with Food Banks Canada in its work to assist families."

Close to 800,000 Canadians turn to a food bank in an average month and 37 per cent are children. Food Banks Canada works to provide support and leadership with the goal of reducing hunger across Canada. For more information visit:

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85% of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit for more information.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Anglican Bishops to Invite Thousands of GTA Commuters 'BACK TO CHURCH'

TORONTO, September 20, 2010 /CanadaNewsWire/ - On the morning of Thursday, September 23rd, Bishops from the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, dressed in their ecclesiastical vestments and mitres, will reach out to thousands of commuters across the greater Toronto area to invite them 'Back to Church'.

The outreach is part of an international Christian initiative, which has designated Sunday, September 26th as 'Back to Church' Sunday. On that day, thousands of Anglicans and other Christians throughout the world will be accompanying their friends and relatives back to church.

"Some habits are good!" says the Archbishop of Toronto, Colin Johnson. "Many of us have fallen out of the habit of going to Church. Many have never done so. Here's an invitation to try it again, or even for the first time. My colleagues and I are looking forward to greeting commuters and letting them know they will be warmly welcomed at the Anglican Church in their community, on this Back to Church Sunday or any other. We want to encourage everyone to visit their place of worship ? Anglican or not ? this weekend."

The Bishops will be handing out a simple invitation to all who will accept one. They will be visiting Go stations in Oshawa, Clarkson, Richmond Hill and Barrie South as well as Union Station.

WHAT: Bishops from the Anglican Diocese of Toronto will be inviting thousands of commuters 'Back to Church' or to their place of worship.

WHEN: Thursday, September 23rd, between 5:00am and 8:30 am.

WHERE: Oshawa, Clarkson, Richmond Hill and Barrie South Go Stations as well as Union Station.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Signing on to Save the Soul of Canadian Democracy

TORONTO, September 17, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - With Parliamentarians set to return to the House of Commons on Monday, the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, Mardi Tindal, is encouraging United Church members to follow her lead and sign the Raise Your Voices Declaration.

Tindal explains the declaration calls on the Canadian government: respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression act in accordance with Canada's democratic traditions and values be transparent

Tindal signed the declaration as a Canadian faith leader, along with representatives of many other human rights, women's, labour, environment, student, and development organizations. The declaration was publicly launched on June 17 and can be found online at

"I added my signature to this declaration because I believe that the quality and health of democratic life in Canada is under serious threat," says Tindal.

She adds, "Too often voices that are critical of government policies are finding themselves marginalized."

She cites in particular the example of the 2009 funding cuts to KAIROS, a faith-based ecumenical organization that for decades has served as an advocate for social justice.

Tindal says she is also very concerned that Canada's international standing as a leader in human rights is suffering as a result of government policies related to such issues as the global protection of Indigenous Peoples' rights and the continuing violations of Omar Khadr's human rights.

She hopes that as the House of Commons begins its work next week the Raise Your Voices Declaration will ring loud and clear on Parliament Hill.

"It is time for all Parliamentarians, regardless of their political affiliation, to listen to the voices of Canadians who are asking them to govern in a manner that reflects this country's rich history of respect for democracy, free speech, and human rights," comments Tindal.