Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WestJet's Christmas Flash mob takes centre stage at Calgary airport

Airline's employees spread the love with impromptu holiday celebration

CALGARY, December 11, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - WestJet today unveiled the company's first ever flashmob video on its YouTube channel. The three-minute WestJet Christmas Flashmob captures WestJet employees singing a variety of holiday favourites and spreading Christmas cheer throughout the D-wing boarding area of Calgary International Airport.

The celebration took place moments before the departure of WestJet flight 652, December 4 sold-out flight travelling to Toronto at 11:30 p.m. Prior to pre-boarding, guests were welcomed by elves, carolers, snowmen breaking into song and and even ballerinas exiting the bridge. There was a visit from Santa, all dressed in - well - WestJet's signature blue. After the songs and dances had finished, guests were treated to a photo with Santa and a stocking filled with gifts from WestJet, including a new iPod.

"We can't think of a better way to wish our guests the very best this holiday season than with the WestJet Christmas Flashmob," said Corey Evans, WestJet Manager, Sponsorship and Community Investment. "Events like these directly align with WestJet's fun and friendly image and our commitment to deliver a remarkable guest experience."

"I want to thank all WestJetters who volunteered their time and took part in planning this wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season. We believe we are the first airline to implement something to this level of planning and co-ordination at a secure area of an airport and we're thankful for all the support from the Calgary Airport Authority for making this possible," concluded Corey Evans.

To celebrate the success of the flashmob, WestJet's community investment program, WestJet Cares for Kids, will donate flights to reunite a family in need through one of the airline's partner charities, should the video generate 25,000 views on YouTube.

The airline hopes the video will mirror the viral success of Kargo Kids, it's April Fool's Day video from earlier this year.

About WestJet

WestJet is Canada's most preferred airline, offering scheduled service to 81 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Powered by an award-winning culture of care, WestJet has pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. Recognized nationally as a top employer, WestJet now has more than 9,000 WestJetters across Canada. Operating a fleet of 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft with future confirmed deliveries for an additional 35 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft through 2018 and plans to launch a low-cost regional airline in 2013, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.

Connect with WestJet on Facebook at Follow WestJet on Twitter at Subscribe to WestJet on YouTube at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Patient Care Not a Numbers Game

National health human resources plan badly needed, physician groups say

OTTAWA, December 6, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian associations representing doctors, residents and medical students agree that Canada needs a better way to anticipate the future supply of physicians. A new national health human resources plan is critical to ensuring that the health care system is able to meet the future needs of Canadians.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Association of Internes and Residents (CAIR) and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) see a number of contradictory trends, all of which underscore the need for better planning so that Canada has the right number, mix and distribution of health professionals.

New data indicates that the number of physicians in Canada has increased faster than the size of the population. Yet many communities across the country, particularly those in rural and remote areas, face shortages of family doctors and specialists. In another apparent paradox, many new specialists complete years of training only to face a lack of job opportunities.

"Total numbers of physicians don't tell the whole story," says Dr. Anna Reid, President of the Canadian Medical Association. "Whether we have an adequate supply of doctors depends completely on the demand for their services. We need better plans and strategies to meet changing and growing patient demands."

Fiscal constraints are also inhibiting the hiring of physicians to the point that the prospects for employment are a real concern in some specialties. A recent survey by the CAIR found close to one-third of resident physicians to be less than confident about their job prospects.

"We are seeing that residents in some specialties are having employment challenges," said CAIR President Dr. Simon Moore. "Job prospects are a growing concern for residents, but they should also be a concern for policy makers. If we want the right health care providers to match our future needs, we need a national response to health human resources now. Patients depend on access to specialists in their communities."

One of the problems faced by medical students and residents is a lack of information on the job prospects for the various specialties, said Canadian Federation of Medical Students President Robin Clouston.

"This is not only about finding ways to match how we train physicians and where they practise to meet the needs of patients," Clouston said. "It also makes good economic sense to not waste the extensive investment of time and money that go into physician training."

The CMA, CAIR and CFMS are working together to gather and share the most up-to-date data on employment prospects and other information on medical and surgical specialties to ensure that future physicians are able to find work where patients need them most.

Reid noted that getting the right number and mix of doctors, as well as of other health professionals such as nurses and physician assistants, is a complex issue that requires all levels of government, medical schools and national physician organizations to work together. The goal would be to develop a framework that would ensure Canadians have adequate health care services where they need them and that costly, high quality medical training isn't squandered.

"There's no question that the planning work being undertaken by associations representing doctors, residents and medical students must be matched by a commitment from the federal, provincial and territorial governments," Reid said.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Downloading disability support to municipalities "a disaster" for vulnerable Ontarians

TORONTO, October 24, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today's recommendations by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance to download the Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP) and integrate it into Ontario Works will leave thousands of vulnerable Ontarians without long-term income support and force people with disabilities into precarious, low-wage jobs says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that these recommendations are a disaster for people with disabilities and are a giant step backwards in improving services.

"When you look at these recommendations, it is plain that the only goal here is to take money out of the pockets of those who are the most vulnerable and can least afford it," Thomas said.

The Commission's recommendations include that ODSP services be individually controlled by municipalities who could set their own client asset limits, and puts an emphasis on forcing persons with disabilities into what will likely be minimum-wage, part-time jobs.

"What we are going to wind up with is a mishmash of services and rates across Ontario with no central oversight and a system that cares less about the individual and more about budgets," Thomas said. "It will also become another bureaucrat job-hiring program as each municipality puts in their own management structure. This is Local Health Integration Networks all over again."

Thomas is asking the government to set aside these recommendations and continue the current overhaul of ODSP that was designed to end delays and provide long-term seamless support to clients.

"The Ontario government must retain provincial control of a program that cares for our most at-risk people," Thomas said. "Duplicating services and bureaucracies across the province will only result in the loss of these services for those who desperately need them."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ontario's Doctors Urge Partners to Join the Fight Against Obesity

TORONTO, September 12, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Speaking on a panel of health care experts today in Toronto, Ontario Medical Association President Dr. Doug Weir called on the government and the food service industry to partner with Ontario's doctors in fighting the province's growing obesity epidemic. Specifically, Dr. Weir renewed Ontario's doctors' call for restaurants and school cafeterias to post caloric and sodium content on their menus to equip consumers with the information they need to make healthier choices for themselves and especially for their children.

Ontario's doctors know firsthand about childhood obesity and the negative impact it has on their quality of life. In Ontario, 75 per cent of obese children become obese adults, and there is evidence linking type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, certain types of sleep apnea, and the development of chronic kidney disease later in life to children who are overweight or obese. Overall, the health impacts of overweight and obesity are estimated to cost Ontario $2.2 to $2.5 billion per year.

However, Ontario's doctors believe the trend towards increased obesity is one that can be reversed. Menu labelling is an essential first step toward healthy eating, and will greatly help efforts to prevent the increase in obesity rates, by educating consumers about calories, and with efforts to control hypertension associated with excess sodium consumption.

"If you want to manage your weight, you have to watch your calorie intake. Calorie labelling is the only way to get us there. It is essential that people have the information that they need to make healthy food choices for themselves and their kids. Calorie counts and information about high-salt foods will help those trying to avoid obesity and high blood pressure.

We're not telling people to what to eat, but if you're watching your salt or your calories, this information may help you balance your food choices." - Dr. Doug Weir, President, Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts:

...A quarter of children in Ontario are overweight or obese;
...There is evidence linking type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, certain types of sleep apnea and the development of chronic kidney disease later in life to children who are overweight or obese;
...Over 75 percent of obese children become obese adults;
...Overall, the health impacts of overweight and obesity are estimated to cost Ontario $2.2 to $2.5 billion per year.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

National Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day is this Sunday, September 9. We honour our grandparents every day!

In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, initiated a campaign to set aside a special day just for Grandparents. In 1978, the United States Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. (September was chosen to signify the "autumn years" of life.)

The statute cites the day's purpose as:

" honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".

McQuade made it her goal to educate the youth in the community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to "adopt" a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime.

National Grandparents Day began in Canada in 1995. Motion Number 273 submitted in the House of Commons by Mr. Sarkis Assadourian read:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider designating the second Sunday in September of each year as grandparents day in order to acknowledge their importance to the structure of the family in the nurturing, upbringing and education of children.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Heart-to-Heart: Canadian Adults Wary of Having "The Talk" with their Parent(s)

New program helps to break the ice and get Canadian adults and their parent(s) talking about a serious heart condition that can lead to stroke

TORONTO, August 7, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Many parents feels anxious about the inevitable talk about the "birds and bees" with their children - sitting their kids down and explaining the facts. However, when the tables are turned and the "kids" become adults, having "The Talk" with their parent(s) about sensitive health issues can be really uncomfortable. A recent survey shows about 60 per cent of Canadian adults with living parent(s) regularly do not have "The Talk" about health issues with their parent(s) and almost a third (30 per cent) say they don't quite know how to start conversations with them about sensitive health topics.

Breaking the Ice

Having "The Talk" about health issues is very important - especially when it comes to a condition like atrial fibrillation (AF) and its link to stroke. If you have AF, a serious heart condition, your risk of stroke is considered three to five times higher than those without AF. Fortunately - with a physician's help and by taking some practical steps - you can take action to lower this risk.

"The survey makes it clear that Canadians understand how debilitating strokes can be, but for whatever reason it seems that they aren't talking about AF and stroke with their parents," says Dr. Frank Silver, Professor of Medicine (Neurology), University of Toronto. "We need to open the lines of communication to encourage Canadians 55 years and older to proactively raise the topic during their next doctor's visit to get checked and if needed, start treatment to reduce their risk."

To help break the ice, new tools are available at - an educational resource available to Canadians with information about AF and stroke. For Canadians who can't find the words themselves to have "The Talk" with their parent(s), they can send a customizable video featuring a barbershop quartet as a gentle door opener to start "The Talk". After all, everything sounds better set to music. Once sent, they can refer to the "The Talk" Tip Sheet which provides helpful advice on how to approach this tricky conversation.

Tongue Tied

When asked which common illnesses they believe would cause the greatest strain if their parent(s) were diagnosed, strokes (47 per cent) were the second most common behind cancer (74 per cent). However, strokes (15 per cent) were last on a list of conditions Canadians said they've talked about with their parents, behind high blood pressure (41 per cent), cancer (31 per cent) and diabetes (25 per cent). What's even more telling is that more than half of Canadians with living parents (54 per cent) admit they have never heard of AF and after receiving a definition of AF, most (77 per cent) admitted they didn't know that AF leads to an increased risk of stroke.

"Strokes, including those related to AF, can be devastating for the individual and for their family and friends," says Ian Joiner, Director, Stroke, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "It's important to get Canadians talking about AF. The more people know about AF and its link to stroke, the greater chance there is of people taking action and lowering their risk."

Tips for Starting "The Talk"

To help Canadian adults initiate "The Talk" with their parent(s) about AF and its link to stroke, they can follow the steps below:

...Start early. Knowing that a person's risk of developing AF increases with each decade of life beginning at age 55, it may be best to start the conversation right around that time. Better to have "The Talk" than risk them having a stroke and wishing they had raised the topic sooner.

...Be supportive and understanding. The parent may not know how to initiate a discussion about their health for fear of causing alarm among their adult children. What's more, health concerns can become more frightening as one ages. Add to that the concept of growing more dependent on your children, and it could tongue-tie even the most talkative person. One way to break the ice is to start by the adult child letting their parent know how much they care for them - this will help set the tone for the conversation and will put them at ease.

...Use everyday opportunities to initiate "The Talk." Parents may resist a formal talk, so it's good to use everyday opportunities as an occasion to start a discussion. For example, while in the car together, adult children can bring up a recent website they visited (, or television ad they saw about AF, and ask if they've heard about it and how it is linked to stroke. It's also important to gently suggest they raise it with their physician the next time they are in, as not everyone will experience symptoms of AF.

For more tips or to send a customized video to a loved one, Canadians can visit

About AF and Stroke in Canada

Approximately 350,000 Canadians are currently living with AF. People with AF are three to five times more at risk of having a stroke than those without AF, and twice as likely to die from one. After the age of 55, the incidence of AF doubles with each decade of life, and if left untreated, it can lead to stroke. After age 60, one-third of all strokes are caused by AF.

The irregular heartbeat caused by AF, which can be asymptomatic, leads to the heart pumping less efficiently. Sometimes it can pool and get stuck in the heart, which may result in the formation of a blood clot. A clot formed this way can be transported in the blood stream to the brain where it can cause a stroke. For those who survive a stroke, the disabilities can be significant, including: paralysis; loss of speech and understanding; effects on the memory, thought and emotional processes.

According to the Stroke Network, in Canada, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death with up to 15 per cent of strokes being caused by AF. Stroke costs the Canadian economy approximately $3.6 billion a year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages, and decreased productivity. In the six-month period following a stroke, the direct and indirect health care cost for each patient is about $50,000. People with non-disabling strokes spend up to $24,000 during the first six months. The acute period after a stroke accounts for 80 per cent of the overall six month costs. Families also take on a greater proportion of stroke related expenses including those associated with care giving, transportation, and lost income.

About the Survey

The survey was completed online from June 18 - 21, 2012, with a sample size of 896 Canadians aged 18+ with at least one living parent. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

About Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 145 affiliates and more than 44,000 employees.

Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine. As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim pledges to act socially responsible. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim's endeavours.

In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of 13.2 billion euro while spending almost 24% of net sales in its largest business segment Prescription Medicines on research and development.

The Canadian headquarters of Boehringer Ingelheim was established in 1972 and the Research and Development Centre located in Laval, Québec, Canada. Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. is home to more than 750 employees including 170 scientists across the country.

For more information please visit

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Public Health Agency of Canada has launched its video series Something you ate?

OTTAWA, July 30, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Public Health Agency of Canada has launched its video series Something you ate? The four-part series explains how the Agency detects and investigates outbreaks of foodborne illness, also commonly known as food poisoning.

The first two episodes are now available.

Episode 1: Outbreak Response - The Big Picture (response summary)

Episode 2: Tracking the Source (epidemiological investigation)

The videos were developed to help Canadians understand how an investigation into outbreaks of foodborne illness unfolds. They can be viewed individually, but together they tell the full story of our outbreak response and explain how people can protect themselves against illness.

The videos will be released on the PHAC website and YouTube channel on a weekly basis. We invite you to watch and share them with your audiences through your social media networks as well as through traditional streams.

Each video will be supported by extra web material, including links to our new fact sheets on pathogens, interactive material and the Government of Canada food safety web portal.

Watch for new episodes on these dates:

August 3: Episode 3: Tales from the Lab (lab investigation)

August 10: Episode 4: Protecting Yourself (food safety tips)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

All aboard! VIA Rail Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship collaborate to help Canada's newest citizens explore our country

photo credit: chibeba Via Flickr

New citizens to receive an exclusive VIA offer
through the ICC's Cultural Access Pass program

TORONTO, July 3, 2012 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) have collaborated to provide new Canadian citizens, who are members of the ICC's Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program, with a one-time, exclusive travel offer: a 50 per cent discount on the lowest available fare, any class, one way or round trip, no blackout periods, for CAP members and up to four of their children under the age of 18.

The Cultural Access Pass program fosters inclusion, introducing our country's newest citizens to Canadian culture and experiences by providing them (and their children) a year of free access to more than 1,000 Canadian attractions from museums and historic sites to national and provincial parks (even offering access to volunteer and employment resources). With an average of almost 100 registrations per day, more than 50,000 new citizens have become Cultural Access Pass members.

"We are thrilled to join the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to bring train travel to our newest fellow Canadians," said VIA Rail President and CEO, Marc Laliberté. "Travelling by train is a truly unique experience, one that connects travellers with Canada's historical, cultural and natural beauty. We look forward to welcoming many new Canadian citizens on board as they discover all of the wonderful experiences this country has to offer."

VIA Rail's significant travel offer complements the Cultural Access Pass's ability to engage new Canadian citizens with their country by discovering many of its remarkable attractions. With services from Vancouver to Halifax, VIA Rail connects some 450 communities across the country, giving CAP members plenty of travel experiences to choose from.

photo credit: where is andrew now Via Flickr

CAP members are an engaged audience, interested in exploring their new home from coast-to-coast. In a recent ICC survey, 80 per cent expressed a desire to travel within Canada over the next year, listing their top Canadian travel destinations as Atlantic Canada, Vancouver, the Rocky Mountains, Montréal and Ottawa.

"Our relationship with VIA Rail is a dream come true to someone like me who was once a new Canadian wishing to discover a new country," said The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Institute for Canadian Citizenship's Co-Founder and Co-Chair. "The opportunity it presents for our Cultural Access Pass members is truly wonderful."

Gillian Hewitt Smith, the ICC's Executive Director & CEO adds:

"Now, not only are we able to open doors to cultural attractions and parks, we can also provide new citizens with a wonderful way to travel. CAP is only possible because of organizations like VIA Rail Canada who work to meaningfully include new citizens in Canadian life."

CAP's ability to welcome and engage new citizens was recognized by the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism as well as the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport); both announced this exciting offer during Canada Day celebrations in Canada's Capital Region and Vancouver.

With the vital support of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Cultural Access Pass is introduced to every new Canadian citizen at the time of their citizenship ceremony (approximately 170,000 people per year). As the diversity and value of CAP experiences increase, so too will the pace and rate of new registrations - this year alone, the ICC estimates an additional 35,000 new members!

CAP is generously supported by the Canadian Museums Association and the RBC Foundation. Details about the Cultural Access Pass program, including the list of participating attractions as well as full details about the VIA Rail Canada offer, can be found here:

About the ICC

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship is a national, non-profit organization that engages Canadians in citizenship through innovative programs, campaigns and partnerships designed to ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals, to create meaningful connections among all Canadian citizens, to foster a culture of active, engaged citizens and to celebrate what it means to be Canadian. Our Building Citizenship program brings together new and established Canadians at community citizenship ceremonies; our Cultural Access Pass (CAP) offers new citizens the chance to visit more than 1,000 attractions across Canada for free for a full year from the time they're sworn in; and our annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium fosters a debate on the future of citizenship and Canada's civic culture. The ICC was founded and is co-chaired by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul. The ICC is supported by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). For more information, visit You can also follow us on Twitter (@ICCICC).

About VIA Rail Canada

As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's ( mandate is to provide safe, efficient, environmentally sustainable passenger transportation, in the country's two official languages. Every week, VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network. Winner of the 2011 RAC Safety Award, VIA transports over four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has provided VIA with nearly one billion dollars in capital investment funding. Follow the evolution of current projects at Join the Evolution Blog at

Follow VIA on Twitter @VIA_Rail. Visit VIA on Facebook at

Friday, June 29, 2012

Purple Day now legally recognized in Canada

Act promoting epilepsy awareness receives Royal Assent

HALIFAX, June 29, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - An Act representing a day to increase public awareness about epilepsy, Bill C-278, has received Royal Assent and is now a legally recognized day for epilepsy awareness in Canada. The Bill establishes March 26 as Purple Day, a day each year when Canadians wear purple to promote a greater awareness of epilepsy and support the 300,000 Canadians living with the disorder. Inspired by Cassidy Megan, Purple Day dispels the myths about epilepsy and helps people living with the disorder understand that they are not alone.

Hon. Geoff Regan, M.P. for Halifax West, wrote the Private Member's, Bill C-278 (The Purple Day Act), in late 2008. Since then, Bill C-278 has progressed through the necessary steps in the House of Commons and Senate, to become law.

"The swift passing of this Bill is a meaningful show of support for the 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy and their families," said Regan.

"I am so grateful that Mr. Regan and Parliament believed in me and Purple Day, and showed the 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy that they care and that we are not alone," said Cassidy Megan, Purple Day founder. "I also want to thank the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia and the other member agencies of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance for helping me make my dream come true."

According to a survey titled The Impact of Epilepsy on Canadians, conducted in late 2011 by Leger Marketing, many Canadians living with epilepsy experience social isolation, work barriers and relationship issues. Over half of the survey respondents (56 per cent) say that restricted independence due to epilepsy is their number one challenge. Stigma, discrimination and a lack of awareness about epilepsy is cited by 38 per cent as the number two challenge, along with the impact of the disorder on their social life. The third biggest challenge facing Canadians with epilepsy is maintaining employment, with half saying their job choices are restricted, and just under 40 per cent unable to get a job if they disclose their condition.

"On behalf of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance, I would like to thank Mr. Regan for writing the Private Member's Bill and Parliament for passing this legislation," said Deirdre Floyd, Chair of the Purple Day Campaign and Vice-President of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. "To my knowledge, this is the only legislation of its kind in Canada. I strongly believe that Purple Day will help to further our national mandate to support public awareness for epilepsy and research for those living with this serious neurological condition."

About Purple Day

Purple Day for Epilepsy is celebrated each year on March 26 and is dedicated to raising awareness about epilepsy. It helps reduce stigma and empowers individuals living with epilepsy to take action in their communities. Purple Day was founded in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, and named after the internationally recognized colour for epilepsy, lavender. Purple Day was launched internationally in 2009. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia and the Anita Kaufmann Foundation in the United States are the Global Partners for the Purple Day Campaign. For more information, please visit and to view Bill C-278, please visit

About the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance

The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA) is a Canada-wide network of 27 grassroots organizations dedicated to the promotion of independence and quality of life for people with epilepsy and their families, through support services, information, advocacy, and public awareness. As the voting member of the International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE), the CEA is the voice for those living with epilepsy in Canada and internationally. The IBE is the international organization that serves to develop, support and link national epilepsy organizations around the world and exists to improve the quality of life of all people with epilepsy and their families and caregivers. The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance works with the IBE and participates in global initiatives representing those living with epilepsy in Canada. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lack of qualified inspectors will place nursing home residents at risk - OPSEU

TORONTO, June 20, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is sending inspectors out to conduct investigations which they are not educated and trained to do says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Nursing home residents are being placed at risk to save money on inspection.

OPSEU says prior to July 2010, when new laws came into force, nursing inspectors would investigate complaints and critical incidents including issues of abuse or activities of daily living, such as continence care, hygiene, behaviour management, wound management or falls. The nursing inspections require a review of clinical records, progress notes, medication records and a resident's medical diagnosis.

The other two types of inspectors, dietary and environmental, would focus their inspections only on issues relating to their area of education and training.

"Now these dietary and environmental inspectors are being asked to evaluate the residents' care records - which are completely out of their scope of practice," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000 member OPSEU. "Not only that, but these inspectors have never had any training in how to navigate the various software programs the homes use in order to review the resident health records. They have little idea whether or not what they are looking at is relevant."

Environmental inspectors are certified public health inspectors with expertise in infection prevention and control. They look at such issues as maintenance, housekeeping, infection control, safety, building security and pest control.

Dietary inspectors are registered dietitians with expertise in nutrition care and hydration, food production, menu planning and clinical record reviews related to weights and food and fluid intakes for example.

Meanwhile, the nurses are being asked to do inspections that include issues related to pest control, door security, maintenance and environmental infection control - an area of expertise normally covered by the environmental inspectors.

The inspectors say they have to rely heavily on their specialty discipline colleagues for assistance with their inspection reports, to ensure they have captured everything correctly. The inspectors become ultimately accountable for these reports.

"The government is trying to save money by sending inappropriate inspectors out to conduct inspections they are not trained for," says Thomas. "This completely undermines the process."

Last year there were nearly 6,000 complaints and critical incidents the inspectors were asked to investigate. That's on top of the more detailed annual inspections - sometimes referred to as "resident quality inspections" (RQI) which take more than two weeks to complete. With the limited number of inspectors available, many homes will not receive a detailed inspection for years. Most homes in Ontario received their last full inspection prior to 2010.

Last week OPSEU reported the shortage of adequately educated and trained inspectors has led to lengthy delays in investigating these complaints and critical incident reports.

New legislation enacted in July 2010 requires the homes to report many different types of critical incidents such as abuse and injuries - all of which must be investigated. Coupled with increases in complaints regarding resident care issues, the number of inspectors has not kept up with the workload.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Launch of Forest Recovery Canada Ensures a Healthier Future for all Canadians

Forest Loss and Fragmentation Compromising the Health of Canadians
and Contributing to Biodiversity Losses, Prompting the Need
for a National Forest Recovery Program

TORONTO, June 8, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Forest Recovery Canada (FRC), a national tree planting program dedicated to enhancing Canada's environmental health and climate change adaptation through innovative and leading-edge forest restoration practices, was launched today by Trees Ontario.

Forest fragmentation has become increasingly common across the Canadian landscape by way of agricultural land uses, residential and commercial development, road construction, forest fires and invasive species. Loss of forest cover in the settled landscapes of Canada is contributing to an unstable ecosystem resulting in habitat loss, environmental degradation and an inability to adapt to the effects of climate change. With our forests in jeopardy, there is urgency in the need to expand and intensify tree planting and forest restoration initiatives nation-wide.

"Forest Recovery Canada works with partners across the country to identify tree planting opportunities that will establish contiguous and diverse forests that extend beyond the geopolitical boundaries of our cities and provinces," says Rob Keen, CEO of Trees Ontario, during the launch of the ENGO's new national program. "Trees Ontario has experienced incredible success in re-greening Ontario but the need for increased forest cover within settled landscapes is a national matter. Through the development of an extensive network of environmentally conscious individuals, corporations and tree planting agencies, FRC will enhance the resilience of our ecosystems, enabling them to adapt to the effects of environmental change while sustaining a healthier human population."

Video: Forest Recovery Canada has been launched to restore the fragmented landscape in the settled regions of Canada.

Healthy forests play an important role in the foundation of resilient ecosystems. Trees replenish our oxygen, absorb carcinogenic pollutants in our air and purify our lakes and rivers. Healthy and sustainable forests have also proven essential for economic development and diverse employment opportunities. As well, forests and green spaces have been linked to a significant decline in asthma, heart disease, diabetes and stress, decreases in the severity of attention deficit disorders in children, improved rehabilitation, faster hospital recovery rates and longer life spans.

"A growing body of evidence suggests that human mental and physical health is closely associated with the health of our forest ecosystems," says Steve Hounsell, President and Chair of Trees Ontario. "An investment in our natural environment is an investment in our own health and well-being. Poor environmental conditions will not only lead to an unstable ecosystem, but may also increase the incidence of a wide array of illnesses."

Forest Recovery Canada recognizes the relationship between the health of forest ecosystems and human health and the need to expand and intensify tree planting efforts nation-wide. This program aims to build consensus, leverage resources, raise awareness and stimulate action to plant trees and enhance urban and rural ecosystems. Increased forest cover will result in healthy and resilient watersheds that offer valuable natural goods and services essential for sustaining a healthy society and a prosperous economy.

Rob Keen, a Registered Professional Forester, urges all Canadians to join the recovery efforts.

"Canada's forests need us now more than ever. Whether you are a local tree planting agency, a socially responsible corporation or an eco-conscious citizen, you can support Forest Recovery Canada's efforts to restore the health of our environment."

About Forest Recovery Canada

Administered by Trees Ontario, Forest Recovery Canada (FRC) is a national tree-planting program dedicated to innovative and leading-edge forestry practices. FRC works with an extensive network of tree planting organizations and environmentally conscious individuals and corporations to enhance the health of Canada's ecosystems through scientifically based tree planting and forest management practices.

About Trees Ontario

Trees Ontario, working with its partners, is the largest, not-for-profit tree planting partnership in North America. It is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through a range of tree planting activities.

The goal of Trees Ontario is to restore Canada's tree planting capacity by providing funding and planning support for its tree planting partners. These include local Conservation Authorities, Ontario Stewardship Councils, First Nation communities, municipal governments and community volunteer groups.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Agroforestry Project Helping Improve Life in Ghana

photo credit: treesftf/via Flickr

GUELPH, Ontario May 15, 2012 - University of Guelph News Release - Using agroforestry to enhance livelihoods in resource-poor communities is the goal of a six-year-old collaboration by scientists from the University of Guelph and Ghana, backed by a $3-million Tier 1 grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The project partners hope to improve income generation and food security, and strengthen Ghana’s vision of becoming West Africa’s centre of excellence in agroforestry.

Researchers from U of G and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, will discuss the project during a public meeting May 22, 7 p.m., in Rozanski Hall, Room 102.

Much of Ghana is plagued by poverty, chronic food insecurity, and poor health and nutrition.

“The increasing degradation of the natural resource base relied upon by rural communities is a major contributor to a persistently low quality of life,” said Naresh Thevathasan, an adjunct professor in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES) and manager of U of G agroforestry research. He oversees the project with SES professor Andy Gordon.

Agroforestry land-use technologies (farming crops along with trees and/or animals) were identified in the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy among the most important aspects of environmentally sustainable cropping practices.

The U of G team has helped train students of agriculture and natural resources management in Ghana, established research projects, and supported sustainable farming practices to improve rural economies and community health in partner villages.

Speakers at the public meeting will discuss the project and promote further dialogue on international development, Thevathasan said.

The Ghana project marked the first time U of G had received Tier 1 funding. Tier 1 projects are managed by CIDA’s universities and colleges program and promote major development and institution-building projects.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Launching of an internet social network for the family!

NEW YORK and TORONTO, May 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - With already thousands of members from 20 different countries, WILBY.TV today officially launched its English version in the United States and Canada. "The Universe of WILBY™" is a fun, educational and 100% safe online social universe for children and their family, available free at

About the Universe of Wilby™

Founded by three entrepreneurs and fathers concerned about Internet use among young people, and education at school and in the home, "The Universe of WILBY™" is an online social universe helping children six and older and families around the world to flourish and grow healthily by offering effective personal development tools and a safe, fun and educational online entertainment environment.

An Ingeniuosly Designed Social Universe for Children

"The Universe of Wilby™" is designed for children aged 6 to 12 years. With parental support, its young members can create their own avatars, express themselves, communicate, learn other languages, earn points, watch videos, post their accomplishments, earn rewards and participate in multiplayer educational games already played in over 20,000 primary schools.

This online world also offers an educational animated TV series where the main character, a ten year old boy named Wilby, experiences the daily realities of today's children and tells his stories to correspondents who write to him from around the world.

A More Constructive Alternative

For parents, WILBY.TV represents a great alternative to other virtual worlds such, and Although very entertaining, they do not compare in the strength of educational and constructive support offered by "The Universe of Wilby™".

A Growing Social Movement for the Positive Development of Youth

Available for only a few months in French, WILBY.TV already has thousands of active members from around the world and its popularity is growing every day! Adaptations in Spanish and Mandarin will be available in the coming months. "The Universe of WILBY™" is much more than an online world! It's actually a fast growing social movement rallying children and families worldwide around a common cause: the positive development of the youth of today and tomorrow.

Wilby Affiliate Program

To accelerate its international expansion, the company has implemented a strategically designed affiliate program for web entrepreneurs who wish to become involved in marketing WILBY.TV in their area. For more information on the Wilby affiliate program, visit:

About the Company

Wilby Inc. was founded in 2010 by three Canadian fathers, David Banford, Jimmy Bouchard and Rejean Gauthier, who wanted to offer positive and educational entertainment to their children.

To learn all about the Universe of WILBY™ in just 2 minutes:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

United Church Releases Report on Israel/Palestine

TORONTO, May 1, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The United Church of Canada today released the report of its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy. The report will be considered by the denomination's 41st General Council, which meets in Ottawa, August 11-18, 2012. Until that time the working group's report is not policy of the church, and its proposals are solely recommendations.

The 26-page report was completed following extensive consultation and discussion, including a 12-day visit to the region in February 2011. During that visit the working group met with representatives of Palestinian, Israeli, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities in Israel and the West Bank.

Former United Church Moderator, the Very Rev. David Giuliano, chaired the three-member working group. He says the working group believes that the dignity of all peoples in the region must be at the heart of the policy directions set out in the report.

"Without dignity for all the people of the land, and for the land itself, justice that leads to peace is not possible," says Giuliano.

Giuliano says the working group listened carefully to many points of view in the conflict but did not shy away from arriving at its own conclusions.

"Simply put, Israel is maintaining a harsh occupation that must end so peace can emerge. The occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis. The occupation is being implemented by a democratic country and sustained and supported by Western governments, including Canada's," says the report.

The working group also

...calls for an end to the occupation, saying that it is the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region
...condemns actions and activities that seek to delegitimize or demonize Israel
...affirms that non-violent resistance to the occupation is justified
...calls on Israel to dismantle settlements within the occupied territories
...calls on Israel to dismantle the separation barrier in all sections where it crosses over the Green Line
...challenges Christian beliefs that theologically justify the occupation
...advises against a comprehensive boycott of Israel and Israeli goods and products
...calls for an economic boycott directed exclusively against settlement products that can be identified as produced in or related to the settlements or the occupied territories
...advises against the use of "the language of apartheid" when applied to Israel
...affirms Israel as a Jewish state, meaning a homeland for the Jewish people that "ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or gender"
...supports initiatives that work toward the creation of a viable Palestinian state as a homeland for the Palestinian people
...supports a negotiated settlement to the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees that maintains the demographic integrity of Israel
...calls for opportunities that will bring together Palestinian and Israeli/Jewish communities for growth in mutual understanding

"The future of Israel and of Palestine are intimately intertwined," says Giuliano. "Until Palestinian people experience justice, peace, and freedom of movement, Israel will be unable to fully claim its place among democratic nations."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cheaper By The Dozen at Fergus Grand Theatre

FERGUS Wellington County Ontario - April 27, 2012 - Having just won four awards and 10 nominations at the Western Ontario Drama League Festival in Sarnia, Elora Community Theatre is presenting its new show, Cheaper By The Dozen.

Featuring local actors, the play tells the classic tale of the large, loving but tumultuous Gilbreth family and looks at the unusual life of a large family during the 1920's when Father decides to apply his "industrial efficiency" methods to his home and children...resulting in much embarrassment and hilarity.

A 1920's family classic that is adapted by Christopher Sergel from the book by Ernestine G. Carey.

This family comedy guarantees to lighten up May with a bucket of laughs. Directed by Denise Gismondi, this production will be Elora Community Theatre's final show of the 2011-12 season of three productions.

Cheaper By The Dozen will play at the Fergus Grand Theatre May 4 to 6 and 10 to 12, with evening performances at 8pm and Sunday shows at 2pm. For tickets visit or call 519-787-1981.

For information visit

from the Wellington Advertiser April 27, 2012

Today is Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Day

Wear a Daffodil Pin to Show Support for People with Cancer

TORONTO, April 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today Sharon Ruth will be proudly wearing a daffodil pin to support her daughter Colleen, a cancer survivor. In 2003, six-year-old Colleen was diagnosed with leukemia, but now she is an active, healthy 15-year-old who says, "cancer motivated me to make the best of my life."

Sharon is thankful that her daughter is doing well, and she is taking special time on the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Day to reflect on her daughter's cancer journey, celebrate her survival and think of others who are living with cancer.

In May 2003, when Sharon and her husband, Daniel, took Colleen to the hospital because she had a rash, the last thing on their mind was cancer. After receiving their daughter's diagnosis, Sharon and Daniel did their best to maintain their hope throughout Colleen's three-year cancer journey. For Sharon, Colleen's diagnosis was especially difficult because both her mom and dad had died of cancer, and her sister had died of the disease only six months earlier. "I was devastated when I heard Colleen had cancer," says Sharon.

Thinking back on it now, Colleen says that her parents' positive attitude helped her during her illness. At the time, it was hard for Colleen to understand what was happening to her and why she had to spend more than 200 days in hospital for treatment that included numerous blood transfusions and needles. From her perspective she was being taken away from her friends, family and school.

When Colleen turned nine, she went into remission and today she is attending high school and helping raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. In September last year she and her mother participated in the Society's Relay For Life in Kemptville, Ontario.

Financial difficulties

Sharon recalls the ups and downs during Colleen's cancer treatment and remembers all too well the financial difficulties her family faced during this time.

Colleen's treatment would take two years, but the federal government's compassionate care program provided benefits for only six weeks. Sharon's workplace allowed her to take a year of compassionate leave, but without pay. Sharon eventually took a short stress leave from work, but when she returned to work, her husband left his job to care for Colleen.

"Daniel eventually got a part-time job driving a school bus to helps make ends meet," recalls Sharon. "He didn't go back to full-time work until Colleen was in remission and back in school. It was a very difficult time."

"This family's experience underscores why the Society is working hard to improve financial support for family caregivers," says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. "In Canada, some support exists, but much more needs to be done so people don't have to face the difficulties that Sharon and her family experienced."

Improving family caregiver support

The Society's advocacy leadership led to the announcement of a new family caregiver tax credit in the June 2011 federal government budget. While the organization says this is a good first step, it will continue to advocate for better financial support for family caregivers through improvements to the Compassionate Care Benefits, which are administered by the federal employment insurance program. These improvements include:

...Timeframe for financial benefits: Increase the benefit period from the current six weeks to 26 weeks, accessible during a 52-week period.

...More flexibility: Allow people to claim benefits for partial weeks taken over a longer period, rather than blocks of weeks at a time.

...Revise eligibility criteria: Change the terminology for people eligible for benefits from "significant risk of death" to "significant need of caregiving due to a life threatening illness."

Ignited by her first-hand experience, Sharon is now a passionate advocate for more support for caregivers, especially in increasing benefits for parents with sick children. She presented her views to a parliamentary committee on palliative and compassionate care, tells her story to media when she can, and wrote a book about her daughter's journey called The Guinea Kid.

On Daffodil Day, Sharon's message to caregivers is that they are not alone. "I know what they are going through, and I will be thinking of them as I continue my work to ensure caregivers get the support they need and deserve."

Daffodil Day helps wrap up the Society's campaign by designating a special day where Canadians can take a moment to reflect upon the thousands of people who are on a cancer journey and also to remember those who have died.

Peter Goodhand, CEO and President of the Canadian Cancer Society, says that wearing a daffodil pin on this special day provides a visible symbol of support for all cancer survivors. "United by the daffodil, we are showing people with cancer that no one has to face cancer alone and we won't give up until all forms of the disease are defeated."

To find out where you can get a daffodil pin go to or contact your local Society office. The pins are also available at participating locations of Curves, First Choice Haircutters, Laura Canada, JACOB, LifeLabs, MAC's, Pacrim Hospitality Services hotels, Pharmasave and WirelessWave/Tbooth. Although the pin is not being sold for a set price, the Society encourages Canadians to make a donation to help support its mission work across Canada.

By supporting the Canadian Cancer Society during Daffodil Month and on Daffodil Day, Canadians will be joining a team that works hard to fight cancer in Canada. Your donation will help the Society:

...prevent cancer research to outsmart cancer

...empower, inform and support Canadians living with cancer

...advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians

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 our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ontario Nurses' Association Officials in Guelph: President, Vice-President Meet with RNs for early Nursing Week celebrations

GUELPH, Ontario, April 22, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN will join registered nurses and Region 4 Vice-President Dianne Leclair in Guelph tomorrow for an early celebration of Nursing Week 2012.

The officials will make a series of site visits to ONA Local 15 members in their workplaces, including the Wellington Duffern Guelph Public Health Unit and Groves Memorial Hospital.

Nursing Week is held each year in Canada to celebrate the unique contributions that nurses make to the health care system. ONA has chosen the theme "Value the Invaluable" and will celebrate our hometown heroes - nurses - during the week of May 6 to 12.

Haslam-Stroud notes that even as budget pressures and workloads continue to mount for health care professionals, RNs remain - dollar for dollar - the best value in health care.

Ontario Nurses Association is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.


Visits to the Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit, Stirling Heights Long-Term Care, Forest Heights Long-Term Care, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit, Groves Memorial Hospital, North Wellington Health Care, and Groves Memorial Hospital.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crossroads Christian Communications Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Events, media productions, and the Crossroads Tours
for all to enjoy this special year

BURLINGTON, Ontario, April 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Crossroads Christian Communications marks its 50th Anniversary on June 2nd, 2012 and invites the public to participate in many of the special events happening at the Crossroads Centre during this significant year.

Crossroads has a strong legacy and on-going commitment to care for people, and impact culture through media, emergency response and 24/7 care centre.

What started as Founder David Mainse's 15-minute program following the late night news in Pembroke, Ontario, has grown into a multi-faceted communications organization that brings God's message to people all over the world. Crossroads is a producer of faith and value media programs including 100 Huntley Street a daily live broadcast to millions of people, and is the longest running daily television show in Canada. Crossroads also interacts with its viewers via 24/7 prayer lines, and it has been a highly respected and effective not-for-profit aid agency for over 25 years.

As part of the 50th Anniversary, Crossroads has commissioned several other productions, most recently a series of special documentaries called Canada Heart and Soul: Featuring Amazing People, Places, and Events that have defined a Nation. These documentaries are scheduled to run on Crossroads Television System (CTS) throughout the summer until the end of the year.

Between May 19th and September 3rd, Crossroads will be inviting its viewers to 50th Anniversary Tours of the Crossroads Centre in Burlington to include the exciting addition of a full-sized replica of the Old Testament Tabernacle and its broadcast studios! Those able to visit the Crossroads Centre in Burlington, Ontario, may also take in various events, feature talks and concerts by Christian authors and musicians and are open to the public. Tickets will be available beginning April 10th on the Crossroads 50th website: .

Also coming May 28th is Founder's Week on 100 Huntley Street, a special week of programming with Crossroads beloved Founder David Mainse as host.

For a list of events, special photos, and information regarding the Crossroads 50th Anniversary Tours, visit the website . The website will be consistently updated to reflect new information about the 50th Anniversary celebrations.

About Crossroads Christian Communications (Crossroads)

Crossroads is Canada's leader in providing faith and values media content for people of all ages. 100 Huntley Street, the flagship television program of Crossroads was founded by Rev. David Mainse and is the longest running daily Christian television program in Canada. Crossroads provides relevant messages of faith and inspiration for millions of Canadians and has done so for 50 years. Its mission is to convey the unchanging message of God's love to people around the world. Crossroads interacts with its viewers via 24/7 prayer lines, and it has also been a highly respected and effective not-for-profit aid agency for over 25 years, having responded in times of natural disaster worldwide, raising funds and partnering with on-site, non-government organizations for emergency relief and long-term rebuilding strategies.

Katimavik sets the facts straight

Government of Canada reneges on its word and abandons communities and youth across Canada

MONTREAL, April 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Government of Canada and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore abandoned Katimavik communities and Canadian youth wanting to volunteer with Katimavik to misinformation in its 2012 Budget last Thursday. The Government also repudiated its own three-year funding commitment to the program, which was designed to put Katimavik on a path towards funding diversification.

"This decision affects more than just the young Canadians who complete our programs," said Katimavik CEO Daniel Lapointe, "More than 50 communities we work in across Canada will no longer be able to count on Katimavik volunteers and some not-for-profits may be forced to shut down while the others will need to reduce service without this vital volunteer support. It is truly a sad day for Canada and the values we espouse of civic engagement and support for those in need."

The cohort that is currently in the field will be the last one sponsored by the Federal Government, pulling the rug from under the nearly 600 incoming volunteers who were expecting to begin their 6-month program in July 2012. These dedicated and committed young Canadians have been given little notice, and will find it difficult to find alternative schooling or job opportunities.

"We are requesting an urgent meeting with Minister Moore to discuss how we can fulfill the commitment made to the nearly 600 young Canadians now placed in limbo," said Daniel Lapointe. "We also want to discuss how we can alleviate any of the Minister's concerns to find a common solution to restore funding for Katimavik's mission."

Katimavik: The Facts

The Government suggested in its Budget that the Katimavik program concentrated funding on a very small number of participants at an excessive per-person cost. This is contradicted in the most recent summative evaluation drafted by an independent third party on behalf of Canadian Heritage staff. Senior federal officials concluded that Katimavik is relevant, valuable and important, and is consistent with government-wide priorities and strategic objectives.

The facts are that Katimavik is a non-partisan program that not only provides Canadian taxpayers with an excellent return on investment, but that it is also entirely consistent with the principles of self-reliance and volunteerism that all parties in Parliament share.

Katimavik delivers national programs that are universally accessible to Canadian youth between 17-21 from all walks of life, from all social backgrounds and from all over Canada. Our retention rate of 85% is excellent, contrary to what a recent article cites Minister Moore claiming. First year university retention rates are only 70%.

The value of the volunteer work performed by the more than 1000 volunteers each year is estimated to be worth nearly $12 million per year. The ratio of administrative costs in Katimavik is 12%, which means that 88% of its budget goes directly to projects.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Habitat for Humanity affiliates across Canada to collect 690 million pennies to help build 69 more homes this year

TORONTO, April 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Habitat for Humanity is collecting pennies from across Canada to fund the building of 69 more Habitat homes this year, one home for each of its local affiliates. This announcement comes days after the Federal Government's decision to discontinue production of the one-cent piece, and its suggestion that citizens donate their extra coins to charity.

Each of the 69 regional Habitat affiliates across Canada is attempting to collect ten million pennies, equaling $100,000, or the average cost of the materials needed to build one safe, decent and affordable Habitat home. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to collect a total of 690 million pennies in order to help each of Habitat's Canadian affiliates give the hand up of homeownership to one more low-income family.

"We are very excited to kick-off this nationwide campaign," said Stewart Hardacre, President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. "Through the simple donation of spare pennies, more low-income Canadians will gain access to homeownership that is affordable, igniting a transformation within families that will last for generations to come."

As part of this national initiative, Habitat for Humanity affiliate offices and ReStores, building supply and home decor stores run by local Habitat affiliates, will be accepting penny donations. Visit to find the affiliate office or ReStore nearest you. Contact Habitat in your community to confirm hours of operation and drop off times.

In Canada, Habitat has given the hand up of affordable homeownership to over 2,000 families since 1985. Habitat homes are sold to low-income families through interest-free mortgages with no down payment required, allowing families to break the cycle of poverty.

About Local Affiliate Offices:

Habitat for Humanity Canada's mission is carried out by 69 affiliates in ten provinces and two territories. These affiliates select partner families for homeownership, provide them with support, manage the building of Habitat homes, and work closely with volunteers and partners at the community level. Affiliates also coordinate events and activities designed to raise funds for the cause and awareness of the need for affordable housing.

About Habitat for Humanity Canada:

Founded in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national, non-profit organization working for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. With the help of over 50,000 volunteers every year and 69 affiliated organizations from coast to coast, their mission is to break the cycle of poverty through affordable housing and the promotion of homeownership. Visit to learn more.

Monday, April 2, 2012 disrupts retail landscape with Canada's first-ever virtual store

Commuters browse Canada's first virtual store in downtown Toronto. (CNW Group/

Innovative product displays enable consumers to make purchases with their smartphones in Downtown Toronto

TORONTO, April 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - is bringing the first QR-code virtual store in North America to downtown Toronto. Running from April 2 to 30, this exciting shopping experience allows users to skip the line ups and have their favourite health, baby and beauty products delivered to their homes.

" is excited to bring the future of shopping to Canada. At our mission is to break down barriers to online shopping. We've mashed together our love of smartphones, the convenience of e-commerce and free shipping to do something no other retailer delivers," said Ali Asaria, founder and CEO of

"Our website and this virtual store are perfect options for busy consumers who don't have time to wait in line for a box of diapers or a tube of toothpaste."

To participate in the virtual shopping experience, consumers begin by downloading the app, available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone. Once installed, consumers can visit the virtual store - a visual representation of the store shelves they are used to - scan the product QR codes and check out on their phone. The process is simple and hassle-free and includes free delivery across Canada.

"We applaud for this innovation that brings a new way to serve consumers where they live and work" says Gord Meyer, Marketing Director, Procter & Gamble Canada "Partnering with is a perfect match to our desire to have our brands at the forefront of the fast paced and ever-changing environment of consumer digital experience."

The virtual store will feature well known brands such as Tide, Crest, Head and Shoulders and Pampers. Those who are unable to visit the virtual store will be able to access the offers throughout the month of April at


Lower Level Brookfield Place - Corner of Front and Bay Streets in Toronto

From the 181 Bay St. entrance, proceed down the escalators and toward Union Station.

The Virtual store is located just outside the Union Station TTC Subway stop.

Parking is available in Brookfield Place's underground parking facilities.

About is the largest health, baby and beauty e-commerce retailer in Canada with offices in Guelph, Toronto and Waterloo. Founded in 2008 by Ali Asaria, carries more than 50,000 health, beauty, personal care and household products and offers free shipping to almost all Canadians. focuses on giving customers a simple and hassle-free shopping experience and provides a personalized touch to each package shipped. was recognized by Deloitte as one of the Technology Fast 50 Companies to Watch and Ali Asaria was a finalist in Ernst and Young's 2011 Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April is Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Month

Daffodil Day is April 27 photo credit: Canadian Cancer Society via Flickr

Wear a Daffodil Pin to Show Support for People Living with Cancer

TORONTO, March 28, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Every three minutes, another Canadian will hear the words "you have cancer" for the first time, and the Canadian Cancer Society wants them to know that they are not alone.

During Daffodil Month, and especially on Daffodil Day (April 27), the Canadian Cancer Society is asking Canadians to join the fight against cancer by making a donation to support its work throughout Canada and to proudly wear a daffodil pin as a symbol of support for people living with cancer.

"We want to create a movement across Canada and see thousands of Canadians wearing the daffodil pin," says Peter Goodhand, CEO and President, Canadian Cancer Society. "United by the daffodil, we will show people living with cancer that they don't have to face cancer alone, and we won't give up until all forms of the disease are defeated."

Throughout Daffodil Month, special events and activities will be taking place in communities across Canada to raise vital funds to prevent cancer, fund research, inform and support people living with cancer, and advocate for policies to improve the health of Canadians.

Daffodil Day on April 27 helps wrap up the campaign by designating a special day where Canadians can take a moment to reflect upon the thousands of people who are on a cancer journey and also to remember those who have died.

"We encourage Canadians to do something special on Daffodil Day for those living with cancer or to contribute in some way to the fight against cancer," says Goodhand.

On Daffodil Day:

...Tell a loved one or friend with cancer that you are thinking of them; let them know about the Society's information and support programs.
...Do something special for someone you know who has cancer. For example, make a meal, drive them to an appointment, or babysit.
...Sign up as a volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society and see how you can make a difference.
...Join a Relay For Life team or sponsor somebody who is participating.

"Whether it's through family or friends, we all have a story about how cancer affects us," says Paul Lapierre, Vice President, Public Affairs and Cancer Control, Canadian Cancer Society. "It's these stories that tie Canadians together and motivate the Society as it carries out its important mission work across Canada."

To donate online or to find out where you can get a daffodil pin go to or contact your local Society office. The pins are also available at participating locations of Curves, First Choice Haircutters, Laura Canada, JACOB, LifeLabs, MAC's, Pacrim Hospitality Services hotels, Pharmasave and WirelessWave/Tbooth. Although the pin is not being sold for a set price, the Society encourages Canadians to make a donation to help support its work.

By supporting the Canadian Cancer Society during Daffodil Month, Canadians will be joining a team that works hard to fight cancer in Canada. Your donation will help the Society:

...prevent cancer research to outsmart cancer
...empower, inform and support Canadians living with cancer
...advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians

During Daffodil Month Canadians can make a difference by:

...wearing a daffodil pin to show your support for people living with cancer
...attending a Daffodil Day event in your community
...buying fresh daffodils - the Society's symbol of hope
...donating to the Canadian Cancer Society when a volunteer canvasser knocks on your door
...participating in a Society fundraising event in your community

Contact your local Society office to make a donation and to find out what's going on in your community.

Cancer statistics

...In 2011, it was estimated that 177,800 new cases of cancer (excluding 74,100 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer) would be diagnosed, and about 75,000 Canadians would die from the disease. This meant that on average about 480 Canadians were diagnosed with cancer, and about 205 died from the disease every day.

...An estimated 2 in 5 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. An estimated 1 out of every 4 Canadians is expected to die from cancer.

...Today, over 60% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer will survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis. In the 1940s, survival was about 25%.

...The death rate for all cancers combined is declining for males in most age groups and for females under 70.

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 our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

Children four and under should move more, sit less and avoid screens

Canada's first-ever physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for the early years released

TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Children aged four and under should move more and sit less every day as recommended by the first-ever Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years. All children aged one to four should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity throughout the day, and children under the age of one should be physically active several times daily. Parents and caregivers should also limit prolonged sitting for more than one hour at a time and excessive screen time.

The Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (ages 0-4 years) are Canada's first systematic evidence-based physical activity guidelines and the world's first standalone sedentary behaviour guidelines for this age group, which puts Canada at the forefront of the emerging body of sedentary research. They are presented by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) and ParticipACTION, with support from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (CHEO-HALO).

Although children in the early years are assumed to be naturally busy and active, they spend 73 to 84 per cent of their waking hours being sedentary. In addition, despite the detrimental effects on physical and social development, most young children are exposed to screen time too early in life and for too long.

"Regular physical activity is essential at a young age as it contributes to bone and skeletal health, motor skill development, psychosocial health, cognitive development and healthy body weights," says Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director, CHEO-HALO. "It is also key to avoid the harms associated with excessive sedentary behaviour, in particular the negative effects of screen time exposure, in the earliest years of development. Lifestyle patterns set in the early years predict health outcomes later in life."

For healthy growth and development, the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for the Early Years recommend:

...Children under the age of one should be physically active several times daily - particularly through interactive, floor-based play. This should include supervised indoor and outdoor experiences such as tummy time, reaching and grasping, pushing and pulling, and crawling.

...Children aged one to four should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity spread throughout the day. This should include a variety of activities in different environments where children can develop movement skills, such as climbing stairs, playing outside and exploring the environment, brisk walking, running or dancing.

...By age five, children should progress towards at least 60 minutes of energetic play, such as hopping, skipping and bike riding.

Minimizing sedentary behaviour, including screen time, during waking hours is just as important as being physically active. Sedentary behaviours are characterized by little physical movement and low energy expenditure and include sitting or reclining for long periods of time. For healthy growth and development, the Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years recommend:

...Caregivers should limit prolonged sitting to no more than one hour at a time, for example, sitting or reclining in a stroller, high chair or car seat, and watching television or playing with non-active electronic devices like computers, video games or phones.

...Screen time is not recommended for children under the age of two.

...Screen time should be limited to less than one hour per day for children aged two to four.

"These guidelines place a high value on the benefits of physical activity that begin in a child's early years and accumulate throughout life," says Kelly Murumets, President and CEO of ParticipACTION, the national voice of physical activity and sport participation. "It is crucial for parents and caregivers to give young children regular opportunities to move more, and it can be as simple as getting outdoors to explore the neighbourhood rather than sitting in front of the TV, or by playing on a mat reaching, pushing or crawling rather than keeping children idle in a high chair."

To download a copy of the new Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years please visit and

About the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) is the principal body for physical activity, health and fitness research and personal training in Canada. CSEP fosters the generation, growth, synthesis, transfer and application of the highest quality research, education and training related to exercise physiology and science. CSEP is the GOLD STANDARD of health and fitness professionals dedicated to getting Canadians active safely by providing the highest quality customized and specialized physical activity and fitness programs, guidance and advice based on extensive training and evidence-based research. For more information, visit

About ParticipACTION

ParticipACTION is the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in Canada. Originally established in 1971, ParticipACTION was re-launched in 2007 to help prevent the looming inactivity crisis that faces Canada. As a national not-for-profit organization solely dedicated to inspiring and supporting healthy and active living for Canadians, it works with its partners, which include sport, physical activity, recreation organizations, government and corporate sponsors, to inspire and support Canadians to move more. ParticipACTION is generously supported by Sport Canada. For more information, visit: