Thursday, June 30, 2011

Muslims Gather for the Largest Indoor Canada Day Celebrations

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will celebrate Canada Day at its 35th Annual Convention

VAUGHAN, Ontario, June 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - More than 15,000 delegates will gather at the International Centre in Mississauga to participate in the largest indoor Canada Day Celebrations (Friday July 1st at 4:30 pm).

In addition, delegates from across Canada will take part in the 35th Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Canada (Friday July 1st to Sunday July 3rd).

Each year, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hosts Canada Day celebrations across the nation. This year Canada Day coincides with the first day of the 35th Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada.

"Over 15,000 Ahmadi Muslims, in unison, will affirm their loyalty to Canada; their homeland. This will be an amazing experience", said Lal Khan Malik, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada. "I am grateful to God that we will be fulfilling a commandment of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) who reminded us that 'Loyalty to the Homeland is Part of the Faith", he added.

In addition to Canada day celebration, the three-day convention will include presentations on spiritual and contemporary issues. Need for the Muslims to excel in spiritual and secular knowledge, Islamic perspective on Blasphemy, Commonalities of Faiths, and the ever-important relationship between Islam and the West, are some of the key presentations at the Convention.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (official name Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at) is a global religious organization founded in 1889. It has tens of millions of followers in more than 190 countries. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at categorically rejects all forms of extremism. The founder of the community Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi, declared that extremism and an aggressive "Jihad with the sword" has no place in Islam. The best way to defend Islam is through an intellectual "Jihad with the pen". The motto of the community is "LOVE FOR ALL- HATRED FOR NONE". The community is known for its unique approach to interfaith dialogue and active engagement in charitable work; such as running schools and hospitals in the developing countries where the need is most acute.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Volunteering to take part in the Ontario Health Study a Patriotic Way to Celebrate Canada Day

Wellington Advertiser photo

More than 32,000 Ontarians have pledged to make a difference for future generations

TORONTO, June 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Outstanding public health care and community spirit are as emblematic of Canada as hockey and the maple leaf. So what better way to celebrate Canada Day this year than by participating in the Ontario Health Study?

By filling out the Study's online questionnaire - and agreeing to complete occasional follow-up questionnaires - participants will share valuable health information that could help guide researchers in the development of strategies to prevent and treat diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's disease and depression.

As of June 27, more than 32,000 Ontarians have joined the Ontario Health Study ( Every Ontario resident aged 18 and older is invited to participate in the Study, the largest long-term online health study ever conducted in North America. The questionnaire, which takes 20 to 30 minutes to sign up for and complete, examines environmental, lifestyle and familial factors associated with both disease and good health. If participants agree to it, they will be asked to fill out a yearly follow-up questionnaire on their health and occasional questionnaires on topics like psychosocial health, diet and physical activity.

More than 200 scientists and clinicians at universities, hospitals and research institutes across Ontario are overseeing the not-for-profit Study. The Ontario Health Study is a long-term research study initially funded by four organizations: the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Cancer Care Ontario, the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The OHS is also part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, which is made up of five regional health studies across the country.

Those interested in filling out the online questionnaire or learning more about the Study should visit

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Canadian Cancer Society Statement about Betty Fox's Death

TORONTO, June 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Cancer Society was extremely saddened to hear about the death of Betty Fox today. Society volunteers and staff across Canada send their sincere condolences to the family. Our thoughts are with the Fox family at this time.

Betty Fox and her son Terry were remarkable Canadians who made unprecedented contributions to Canada. Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope and all of the Terry Fox Runs over the past 30 years have helped create a vibrant and productive Canadian cancer research community. As one of our country's leading national charitable funders of cancer research in Canada, the Terry Fox Foundation has ensured progress continues in the fight against cancer.

"Betty Fox will always be remembered for her strong commitment to her son's legacy, which continues to have a significant impact on the lives of Canadians," says Peter Goodhand, President and CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. "She was a relentless champion for Terry's dream and she steadfastly pursued Terry's goal of finding a cure for cancer. She was an inspiration to all of us and she will be greatly missed."

The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join the fight! Go to to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Drama Professors have been nominated for Dora Mavor Moore Awards

GUELPH, Ontario June 10, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release

Two University of Guelph drama professors have been nominated for Dora Mavor Moore Awards. The Grace Project: SICK! by Judith Thompson is up for two awards and The Situationists by Sky Gilbert is nominated in three categories.

Nominees were announced Thursday and the winners will be named June 27 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto.

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, hosted by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, honour creators of almost 200 theatre, dance and opera productions annually. They are named for Mavor Moore, a teacher and director who helped establish Canadian professional theatre in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Grace Project: SICK! was nominated for outstanding production and outstanding performance in the theatre for young audiences category. The play explores disability, illness and challenge, and what it means to be considered “sick” by the rest of the world.

“I am thrilled that the stories of the young performers, told in their own words, have been honoured by this nomination,” said Thompson, who also directed the production. “It was such a privilege to bring their stories to the stage.”

In her documentary-style production, 14 people aged 14 to 30 who have been labelled as “disabled” or “sick” tell their stories on stage. The performers include 14-year-old diabetic twins, an 18-year-old with Down syndrome and a 30-year-old actor with an aggressive form of cancer. The play is presented by The Sick Collective/Jack Greenhouse and Sarah Miller-Gavin/Next Stage Festival.

Thompson said her project was inspired by a young acquaintance with a chronic illness. She organized workshops for her cast – about half of them with professional performing experience – to talk about their lives. She then shaped their thoughts and experiences into the play.“This was one of the greatest learning experiences of my professional and personal life,” she said.

A U of G professor since 1992, Thompson won the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. In 2008, she was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Awards and was the first Canadian to win the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has been nominated twice for a Genie Award, was a finalist for the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award. She was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005.

Gilbert’s play is nominated for outstanding new play, outstanding set design and outstanding performance by a male in a principal role in the independent theatre production category.

The Situationists was written and directed by Gilbert and stars Gemini Award-winning actor Gavin Crawford. It’s produced by The Cabaret Company. A modern and challenging intellectual drama, it explores the relationship between left-wing politics and sexuality, and challenges a new Victorianism that has arisen with digital technology and the disappearance of the body.

The play is based on a group of artistic/political agitators in France between 1947 and 1968 who used performance to challenge the political systems of the time. The Situationists were also involved with the Paris riots of 1968, and the union uprisings of the same period. Though largely forgotten now, their influence on European politics was enormous.

In Gilbert’s The Situationists, an older professor (Crawford) is attempting to apply Situationist politics and principles today, assisted by a former student who is clearly in love with him. They invite a third member to join their group and the result is a hyper-sexual “situation.”

An award-winning playwright, filmmaker, poet, author and director, Gilbert was co-founder and artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (North America’s largest gay and lesbian theatre) for 18 years.

He is the author of poetry collections, novels and a theatre memoir, and his plays have been produced around the world. Gilbert was awarded the Silver Ticket Award in 2005 by the Toronto Theatre Alliance for his career accomplishments and for nurturing the development of Canadian theatre. He has received two Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the Pauline McGibbon Award for theatre directing. His next novel, Come Back, is to be published in 2012.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Students launch campaign encouraging young voters to take over the Ontario Election

TORONTO, June 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, students launched Take it Over, a province-wide campaign to engage students and youth to vote in the Ontario Election. The campaign aims to increase youth voter turnout and to promote students' priorities in the Ontario Election on October 6.

"As a result of low voter turnout among youth, issues affecting students, such as high tuition fees and student debt, may be ignored by election candidates," said Sandy Hudson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Students across the province will be taking over this election through aggressive registration drives, mobilizing students to vote, and calling for commitments from all political parties to make progressive change to post-secondary education policy."

Under the McGuinty government, Ontario has become the worst in the country in several key areas of post-secondary education. Ontario has the largest class sizes and the lowest per student funding in Canada. Ontario's tuition fees are the highest in the country and have increased at double the rate of inflation in recent years.

"Students are frustrated that years of underfunding have resulted in high tuition fees and have priced college and university education out of reach for many Ontarians," said Krisna Saravanamuttu, Ontario representative for the Canadian Federation of Students. "Students are calling for change in this election and will be holding all parties accountable to come up with concrete plans to address the crisis of underfunding and inaccessibility."

Students across the province will be organizing actions on the sixth day of each month leading up to the Election on October 6. As part of today's launch, a video has been released and can be viewed here.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000 students at the diploma, undergraduate and graduate levels at universities and colleges across Ontario.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Social Housing Wait List Numbers on the Rise

Economy may be recovering, but housing numbers show thousands still struggling

TORONTO, June 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The number of households on social housing waiting lists across Ontario has jumped nearly 18% to 152,077 over the last two years, according to a report released today by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA).

The findings of ONPHA's 2011 Report on Waiting List Statistics for Ontario shows that the number of households waiting for social housing continues to grow despite the modest economic recovery in Ontario. As of January, 152,077 households were on waiting lists for financially assisted housing in Ontario - a 7.4% increase since 2010 and an almost 18% jump (22,824 households) from the 129,253 seniors, singles and families on waiting lists in 2009.

"Despite discussion of economic recovery, it is clear that many households are struggling to find a stable home they can afford," said Sharad Kerur, ONPHA's Executive Director. "While employment numbers may be improving, many Ontarians are living through an uneasy economic recovery characterized by reduced work hours, lost jobs or new jobs at lower wages."

Many workers undergoing employment transitions need immediate housing assistance, but find that they will likely wait years to be housed. Discouraged by lengthy waiting times, in some cases up to 15 years, many households in need walk away without applying.

"In reality, the actual number of people requiring assistance is even higher than these statistics suggest," said Kerur. "Over 260,000 households spend more than half of their income on housing and virtually all of them would be eligible for financially assisted housing - the numbers we see on waiting lists are really just the tip of the iceberg."

The 2011 report found that waiting list applications in all three groups studied - seniors, non-senior singles and families - have increased. In particular, the number of seniors in need is rising quickly, with active applications in this group up 10% since last year. As Ontario's population ages, more and more seniors will require access to community-based housing, making it a significant long-term issue that will need to be addressed if the province is going to meet the needs of aging parents and grandparents.

"Housing is the foundation of inclusive communities, strong economies and healthy families," says Kerur. "The provincial Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy provides a starting point, but the on-going needs of an aging population and a changing workforce will require lasting and consistent funding for new affordable housing development. Our members and other concerned citizens will be calling on candidates of all political stripes to articulate their vision for Ontario's affordable housing infrastructure in the months ahead."

For over 20 years, ONPHA has been the voice of non-profit housing in Ontario. Our 760 member organizations operate more than 160,000 non-profit housing units and provide housing for approximately 400,000 people such as the elderly, low-income families with children, the working poor, victims of violence and abuse, people living with developmental disabilities, mental illness, HIV/AIDS or addictions and the formerly homeless/hard-to-house.

ONPHA's members include municipal and private non-profits of all sizes, with all types of funding. A copy of the report can be found at:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Survey of recent immigrants shows they thought all Canadians would speak both French and English

Immigrants expect Canadians to be bilingual

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, June 2, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A survey of recent immigrants in Calgary shows many of them arrive expecting Canadians to be able to speak English and French as a matter of course. And while they are confused by Calgary's overwhelmingly English-speaking reality, many say bilingualism is something they aspire to - for themselves or their children.

The survey was conducted by Albert Galiev, a doctoral student at the University of Calgary studying second-language teaching. He is presenting the results at the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Galiev says his survey shows immigrants generally arrive believing that bilingualism in Canada is what he terms 'personal bilingualism' - that is, that individuals themselves speak both official languages.

"They don't see bilingualism as something the federal government is supposed to do," he said. He explained that the way that Canada promotes itself abroad has led to a perception that all individual Canadians are bilingual.

For example, he quoted one person he interviewed as saying that "in Mexico, when somebody talks about Canada, we know everybody speaks French and English."

Immigrants landing in Calgary are therefore confused by the dominance of English in that city, and express puzzlement that they don't hear much French spoken on the street or in buses. They wonder, under those circumstances, why Canada calls itself bilingual.

"They want their children to learn French for reasons of employment," he said, adding this was particularly true of people who did not want to limit their employment options to one part of the country.

Galiev says it may be productive for the debate on bilingualism to include immigrants and their experiences in the discussion.

Get more from the 2011 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences brings together scholars, graduate students, practitioners, and policy-makers to share ground-breaking research and examine the most important social and cultural issues of the day. This year's Congress is co-hosted by the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University and runs from May 28 to June 4.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stephen Lewis to Speak at U of G Climate Change Conference

GUELPH, Ontario June 01, 2011 - University of Guelph News Release

Stephen Lewis, one of the world’s most influential speakers on human rights, social justice and international development, is among experts who will speak during the Climate Change and Implications for Plant Science Symposium at the University of Guelph, June 7 and 8.

The event will bring together international researchers to explore climate change science and the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Best-known for his efforts to highlight the AIDS crisis in Africa, Lewis will discuss connections between health and food systems under global climate change.

His public talk will be held June 7 at 9 a.m. in Rozanski Hall. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door.

More than 100 researchers are expected to attend the two-day symposium hosted by the Ontario Agricultural College, the Department of Plant Agriculture and the School of Environmental Sciences.

“We have made an effort to bring together the most qualified people internationally,” said plant agriculture professor Clarence Swanton, co-organizer of the event. “Participants will have the opportunity to learn from world experts about the most current information.”

Symposium topics will address climate change effects on crop yields and how agriculture can prepare for the next 50 to 100 years, including:

...future climate
...climate change impacts
...climate change strategies for agriculture
...agricultural productivity
...invasive alien pests
...farmland biodiversity
...sustainable crop protection
...improving crop productivity for food security.

“We hope this conference will lead to networking and collaboration among scientists as well as provide an opportunity for future research and an opportunity to explore policy implications,” said Swanton.

For more information and to register for the symposium or buy tickets to the talk by Stephen Lewis, visit