Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's common for Canadians to hold on to unwanted holiday gifts for up to five years

Canadians may hold on to more than five million unwanted gifts this year

TORONTO, December 23, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - New research reveals that, based on past behaviour, 75 per cent of Canadians may hold on to their unwanted holiday gifts this season - considered a burden by most - even though they are comfortable with the idea of re-gifting. In fact, compared with last year, more Canadians think re-gifting is acceptable (55 per cent versus 47 per cent) once the presents are unwrapped.

So what's causing Canadians to hold on? According to the annual research commissioned by Canada's largest online classifieds site,, nearly half of Canadians continue to hold on to unwanted holiday gifts out of guilt and shame. In fact, a comparison with 2010 data reveals that one third of Canadians feel guilty about not keeping an unwanted gift and slightly less (two-in-10) would be ashamed to admit to the gift giver that they gave away or sold their present.

"Canadians continue to let their emotions get in the way," said Allyson Smith, a comedian and Kijiji Canada's gift-giving therapist. "We're too concerned about the gift giver's feelings. Our research shows many of us will go to extreme lengths to pretend we like a gift by displaying it every time the gift giver is present, sending a photo of the gift being used to the gift giver, and even buying a similar item for the gift giver to show our appreciation."

Most commonly, Canadians hold on to unwanted gifts for up to five years before getting rid of them. However, Canadians are quick to admit that if the gift giver never found out, they'd ideally exchange the item, re-gift or re-sell it, or give it to charity. Only eight per cent of Canadians would still store the item but never use it.

"It's a fact that the overwhelming majority of Canadians have never been caught giving away an unwanted holiday gift," added Smith. "At the end of the day, not using the unwanted gift is simply worse than giving it away or selling it."

With more than 60 per cent of Canadians indicating that they could use some extra cash after the holidays to pay off their debts, there's even less reason to hold on. Selling the unwanted gift also means the gift giver's money doesn't go to waste, according to nearly 6-in-10 Canadians.

The survey revealed some other interesting information about holiday gifting:

...The most common characteristics of a bad holiday gift are based on the recipient's personal taste. Some of the most common items include clothing, like a sweater in the wrong size, and home accessories, including a toaster and a vase, that can easily be sold for cash.

...Nearly two-in-10 Canadians have considered giving an unwanted gift back to the gift giver.

...The majority of Canadians (56 per cent) say that unwanted holiday gifts become a burden after the holidays are over.

...When it comes to immediate family, in-laws tend to be the worst gift givers.

When it comes time to let go of unwanted holiday gifts, Canadians should visit to get started.


These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between December 20 and 21 on behalf of Kijiji. For this survey, a sample of 1,007 adults from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled.

About Kijiji Canada

Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili, is the number one classifieds site in Canada, connecting ten-million buyers and sellers each month. offers Canadians a free, easy, and local way to buy, sell, and trade goods and services in their community. With local sites for more than 100 cities and towns across the country, Kijiji makes it easy for Canadians to find exactly what they're looking for in their own community. Kijiji Canada is part of the eBay Classifieds Group, the global leader in online classifieds with a global presence in more than 20 countries and 1,000 cities.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Government of Canada Adds 41 Hazardous Substances to Emergency Regulations

OTTAWA, December 21, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, today announced the addition of 41 unique substances to the Environmental Emergency Regulations. The substances include styrene, an explosive chemical used to make polystyrene plastic containers, and ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer.

"The Government of Canada continues to meet its commitment to protect Canadians and safeguard our environment," said Minister Kent. "These amendments to the Environmental Emergency Regulations will further protect Canadians where it matters most: at work, in their homes and in their communities."

Thirty-three substances in use in Canadian commerce, in several physical states, and some substances classed in their different forms are now added to the Environmental Emergency Regulations, for a total of 41 unique listed additions.

Facilities that handle these 41 listed substances at or above regulated quantities are required to develop environmental emergency (E2) plans, if they are not already in place.

E2 plans require that individuals and industrial facilities using or storing regulated hazardous substances listed in the regulations have plans for and can manage the consequences of an unintended release of the substance into the environment.

The amendments include an exemption that reduces administrative burdens for some facilities in the propane gas sector. Facilities with propane in storage containers are excluded from the E2 regulations if their storage containers of less than 10 tonnes are located at least 360 metres from their property boundaries.

Other uses of propane are already controlled under the existing Environmental Emergency Regulations.

The complete list of substance and details of the amendments to the Environmental Emergency Regulations can be found here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Health & Safety Watch - Button batteries pose a serious hazard to children and the elderly

Severe injury can occur within 2 hours of ingestion

December 19, 2011 - Health & Safety Watch - Button batteries pose a serious hazard to children and the elderly - Should be treated as an emergency

Health Canada and other health authorities report that cases of people swallowing button batteries reported to manufacturers and health officials that result in serious internal injury and death are on the rise. These small disc-shaped button batteries store lots of energy in a tiny space. They are commonly found in a wide range of products around the home that children have access to, such as remote controls, musical greeting cards, watches, calculators, flashing jewellery and shoes, key fobs, books, and other small electronic devices.

The size, shape and energy storage properties of button batteries make them hazardous if swallowed. A swallowed button battery can block an airway or can cause serious internal chemical burns in the oesophagus in as little as two hours. The 20 to 25 mm diameter lithium button batteries result in the most serious injuries, especially where young children are involved. In cases of swallowing, the batteries were found loose on the floor by young children, in garbage bins, or on countertops, taken directly from a package, or removed from household products. Even adults, particularly seniors, have unintentionally confused button batteries with pills or food and been injured.

Children who swallow "button" batteries, commonly found in toys and consumer products around the home, can suffer internal injuries within two hours of ingesting one, according to a recent U.S. study.

A review of button battery safety by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority summarizes the risks and provides parents and caregivers with advice on what to do if a child swallows a battery or places one in the ear or nose, and how to best protect children from small batteries. Highlights of the WRHA article and the original US study are provided here.

A U.S. study reported that in the past 18 years there have been over 8,500 cases reported to the American Battery Ingestion Hotline, with 73 cases of serious injuries from battery ingestion and 13 deaths. Sixty-two percent of these cases occurred in children who were younger than 6 years of age. Injuries (e.g., severe burns, esophageal stenosis, bilateral vocal cord paralysis) occurred as soon as 2 hours after ingestion. The study also found that at least 27% of serious outcomes and 54% of fatal cases were initially misdiagnosed, usually because of nonspecific presentation.

[Foreign body lodged in oesophagus] Injuries typically occur when a battery becomes stuck in a child's oesophagus. Once lodged, the battery can create an electrical current that burns the surrounding tissue. Children have also put small batteries in their noses and ears. This can also cause a burn and so they need to have the battery removed immediately. Button batteries that are not removed and remain in the oesophagus can cause burns and even perforation of tissues, causing life-threatening and sometimes fatal injuries. Depending on where the battery is lodged, it may be removed either using a scope or surgery.

"Our advice is to go immediately to go to Emergency and have an X-ray taken. If the battery is in the oesophagus, it needs to be removed as soon as possible," says Dr. Lynne Warda, a medical consultant with Impact, the Winnipeg Health Region's Injury Prevention Program.

Button batteries do not all pose equal risk. The smaller batteries may be ingested and passed without a person knowing it. It's the bigger ones that are more likely to become lodged and cause permanent tissue damage - or even death.

Parents are encouraged to look for toys that help protect children from batteries by having a compartment for the battery that may only be accessed with a tool or screwdriver. But button batteries are everywhere. A glance around your house will show the common ways they may be found, in household products like remote controls, garage door openers, cameras, calculators, key chains, jewellery with flashing lights and even greeting cards. And they're much easier to access in these types of products.

With the elderly, poor vision may contribute to mistaking the button batteries for other objects - a hearing aid, medication or food, for example. A surprising 15% of people who ingested a button battery mistook it for a pill, according to a US study. There are accidental reasons adults may ingest button batteries - using your mouth to hold a battery, putting the battery in a glass that you drink out of before properly disposing of it and drinking from the glass to name a few. Store button batteries away from food and medicine. Take care when changing the button batteries in a product that they do not get mixed in with any pills, medicine or food. Realize that to anyone with poor eyesight, button batteries look just like pills or candy. more story at Health and Safety Watch

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vision loss the most feared complication of diabetes, patient poll reveals

About 70,000 Canadians affected by vision loss resulting from diabetic macular edema

DORVAL, Quebec, December 19, 2011 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - A new poll of persons with diabetes across Canada shows that vision loss is the most feared complication of the disease.

The poll found that almost half (46%) of persons with prediabetes or diabetes feared vision loss the most as a complication of their disease. This was more than twice as many (21%) who said they feared losing limbs and three times as high as the 15% who said they most feared cardiovascular complications.

Most Canadians, 84%, are aware that vision loss can be a complication of diabetes. The poll also found that 78% of Canadians consider themselves very or somewhat familiar with the disease and 70% say they either have or know someone with prediabetes or diabetes. Four in 10 Canadians (40%) say they are very or moderately concerned they will develop diabetes, but this ranges from three in 10 (30%) in British Columbia to nearly half (49%) in Quebec. Ontario is close to the national average at 39%.

Vision loss is an important complication of diabetes because of the impact of the disease on the small blood vessels at the back of the eye. Longtime, elevated blood sugar levels can result in fluid leaking from these vessels in the macula at the back of the eye which is responsible for central vision. The fluid causes swelling, referred to as diabetic macular edema (DME) which can result in steadily deteriorating vision over time. It is estimated that vision loss resulting from DME affects approximately 70,000 Canadians, making it one of the major causes of adult-onset vision loss.

"Ophthalmologists previously used laser to treat DME to reduce the vision loss," said Dr. David Wong, a retina specialist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "The newer treatment that's been approved by Health Canada is different from the older treatment in that it is a needle injected into the eye and it is effective in stabilizing and improving vision in diabetic macular edema."

A patient who has recently received the new treatment for vision loss from DME is Kashiram Joshi, who lives in the Toronto region. Diagnosed with diabetes in 1994, several years ago he started having troubles with blurry vision, which continued even after cataract surgery, until he received the new treatment.

"I noticed an improvement after the first injection, and it's kept on getting better," he said. "I had given up reading, except for short times with a magnifying glass. Now my eyesight is almost 20/20 and I read and do everything else without a problem. The difference is like night and day."

The key to preventing such vision loss in diabetes is getting an early diagnosis of the disease and ensuring treatment brings blood sugar levels under control, added Dr. Wong.
"Patients with diabetes or at risk of getting diabetes should control their blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol and live an active normal healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of diabetic complications."

About diabetic macular edema

Diabetes prevalence in Canada is growing at epidemic levels. Currently, one in four Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes and if trends continue this will rise to one in three by 2020.

DME is a common complication of diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina and is the leading cause of vision loss in working-aged adults in the developed world. In people with diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels can lead to problems with the blood circulatory system. These problems can result in symptoms in various areas of the body, such as extremities, but also including the small blood vessels in the retina of the eye. These vessels then leak, which causes swelling (edema) of the macula, the centre of the retina responsible for sharp and straight ahead vision. Therefore, DME can lead to significant visual impairment.

The first symptoms of DME are most often "floaters" or spots in the line of vision, then blurry vision. DME usually progresses slowly with worsening symptoms and is a lifelong condition. DME with visual impairment affects 2.6% of diabetics in Canada.

The Vision Critical / Angus Reid Forum poll

From Nov. 15 to 16, 2011, an online survey was conducted among 2,215 randomly selected Canadian adults, including 168 individuals with diabetes or prediabetes, who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error for the whole sample, which measures sampling variability, is +/- 2.08% 19 times out of 20. The results were statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field, is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2010, the company invested close to $100 million in research and development in Canada. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs more than 600 people in Canada. It was named for the seventh time as one of the "50 Best Employers in Canada" for 2011. For further information, please consult

The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "can," "commitment," "potentially," "ongoing," "will," or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential approvals to sell Lucentis* in additional markets or regarding potential future revenues from Lucentis* You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results with Lucentis* to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that Lucentis* will be approved for sale in any additional markets. Nor can there be any guarantee that Lucentis* will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. In particular, management's expectations regarding Lucentis* could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; the company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis Group's assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group's consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are you protected?

New survey shows that adult Canadians are unaware of how vaccines can help protect against serious diseases

TORONTO, December 12, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A new survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, a division of Vision Critical, reveals that adult vaccinations are not on the radar of most Canadians and that many Canadians are unaware that some serious diseases can be prevented through routine adult vaccinations. Despite the benefits of vaccines for the good of society, only about half of those surveyed (55%) feel that it is critical to keep up-to-date with their vaccinations and even less (46%) feel vaccines are as important as diet and exercise in maintaining their overall health.1

"Parents are advised of the benefits of vaccinations for their children, but adults don't generally think about vaccines for themselves," says Dr. Vivien Brown, family physician from the University of Toronto. "Adults, especially individuals over 65, or those who have underlying medical conditions, should consider vaccinations as an important component of their overall health management, alongside diet and exercise."

According to the Canada-wide survey, very few (16%) of Canadians aged 45 to 74 feel that they know a lot about adult vaccination and only two-in-five (41%) report ever speaking with a doctor about them. Even more astonishing is that when asked about pneumococcal disease, almost half of Canadians surveyed don't know what adult vaccines they need to protect themselves against this disease, despite how serious it is.2

"I am 65 and I have had pneumococcal pneumonia several times," says Deborah Douglas, patient from Toronto, Ontario. "Two winters ago I was deathly ill and was hospitalized for weeks with pneumonia. This was the first time I had heard of this disease - I had no idea I was at risk because of age and my diagnosed weak immune system. I was not aware there were adult vaccines options to help protect me."

The most common form of pneumococcal disease in adults is pneumonia. In Canada, pneumonia and influenza were the eighth leading cause of death in 2006, according to Statistics Canada. Not surprising, only 55 per cent of Canadians surveyed knew that pneumococcal disease is a serious illness that can cause hospitalization and death, 67 per cent5 reported that they had not been or were unsure if they had been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, and 29 per cent reported that they had never heard of the disease. Lack of familiarity with the vaccine (49%) is the most commonly reported reason for not getting vaccinated among those who have not been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.6 The seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines do not protect Canadians against pneumococcal disease. Confusion is common since it is not always clear what these vaccines protect you against.

Being able to diagnose and treat pneumococcal disease quickly will help reduce the severity, duration and potential long-term complications. The signs and symptoms of pneumococcal disease vary depending on severity and can include; fever, shaking, chills, headache, productive cough, muscle pain and weakness.7

"Although pneumococcal disease can affect people at any age, older adults and children have a higher risk of contracting the disease than others," says Dr. Brown. "If you are 65 years of age or older, or have underlying medical conditions, such as a suppressed immune system due to treatment or illness, chronic heart, liver or kidney disease, or diabetes, speak to your doctor about pneumococcal disease vaccination and other adult vaccines that are right for you."

While vaccines are an important element that works with your immune system to help ensure serious diseases are prevented; many people are not aware that childhood immunization does not provide lifelong immunity against some diseases, such as pneumococcal disease (pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, bacteraemia).

Vaccination can help prevent pneumococcal disease; however, it is also important to live a healthy lifestyle, especially as you get older. Below are some tips that can help you live life to its fullest:

...Eat well.
...Be active and include others in your activities.
...Get enough sleep.
...Don't forget to take your medication(s) regularly.
...Talk to your doctor on a regular basis and don't skip your check-ups.
...Talk to your loved ones or caregiver about how you're feeling. It's important to let others know if you aren't feeling well. They can help determine if you need to seek medical advice.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alzheimer Society Of Ontario Welcomes Proposed Caregiver Leave Legislation

Number of family caregivers to increase with dementia prevalence

TORONTO, December 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Alzheimer Society of Ontario applauds the Ontario Government's introduction of legislation to create a Family Caregiver Leave as announced today by Minister of Labour Linda Jeffrey and Minister of Health and Long-term Care Deb Matthews.

"Today's legislation, if passed, would be a welcome solution for many caregivers and families living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias," says David Harvey, Chief Public Policy and Program Initiatives Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

Ontarians with dementia will require more and complex care as the number of cases increase by 40 per cent in the next 10 years. The responsibility of care falls largely on the shoulders of family members who will provide 144 million hours of unpaid care per year by 2020. Many caregivers are forced to give up their jobs to care for someone full time at home or develop health issues as a result of the pressures of caregiving.

"The Alzheimer Society has been working diligently with all political parties on behalf of caregiver rights," adds Harvey. "Today's announcement is a positive step towards strengthening caregiver support but other measures such as flexible respite and non-refundable tax credits would further ease the burden."

In a 2009 caregiver poll conducted by the Alzheimer Society, 62 per cent of respondents said direct payments and tax credits would best help reduce some of the financial burden and other challenges they face in their role.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It is fatal brain disorder that impairs memory, language and day-to-day function. As the disease progresses, the person diagnosed will require 24-hour care.

While dementia is not a natural part of aging, age remains the biggest risk factor. After 65, the risk doubles every five years. According to Statistics Canada, 9.6 million Canadians will be at least 65 by 2029.

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario is the province's leading care and research charity committed to helping people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. With a network of 38 local Societies, it offers Help for Today through programs and services and Hope for Tomorrow…® by funding research to find the cause and the cure.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

First Ever Blood Glucose Meter to Help Patients Identify Blood Glucose Patterns On-Screen

Now Available in Canada:

BURNABY, British Columbia, December 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Research indicates that the majority of patients on insulin self-report not achieving glycemic control. While regular self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is an integral part of diabetes management, obtaining a single reading helps people using insulin make adjustments in the moment and does not help them identify trouble spots over time. Pattern management is a key practice that helps people living with diabetes - especially those taking insulin - identify these trouble spots, interpret, and act on high and low blood glucose patterns to make more informed adjustments and achieve better control. Canadians living with diabetes can now feel empowered to easily spot high and low blood glucose patterns with the new OneTouch® Verio™IQ System, now available in Canada. This features the first meter ever with PatternAlert™ Technology that looks for patterns of highs and lows and provides alerts right on screen, when it finds them.

The OneTouch® Verio™IQ System includes the Test Smart® Pattern Guide, a quick reference tool to help people living with diabetes interpret and resolve high and low patterns.

"Patterns in blood glucose control can be identified when three or more tests are done at the same time of day over several days. It is particularly important to address blood glucose patterns that are above or below target as these patterns identify areas of concern that need to be addressed," says Lori Berard, RN, CDE, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Health Science Centre Winnipeg, Diabetes Research Group. "The new OneTouch® Verio™IQ System now affords people living with diabetes - especially those taking insulin - the ability to easily identify their blood glucose patterns and will also provide guidance on what actions can be taken to enhance their glucose control."

The new OneTouch® Verio™IQ System works exclusively with OneTouch® Verio Gold Test Strips with SmartScan™ Technology. The meter also features a colour LCD screen with large, easy to read numbers and strip port light and automatic backlight for testing in the dark.

People living with diabetes can find out more about the new OneTouch® Verio™IQ System by talking to their pharmacist or healthcare professional and by visiting

About LifeScan Canada Ltd.

LifeScan, the manufacturer of OneTouch® blood glucose monitoring products, is dedicated to creating a world without limits for people with diabetes. For information about diabetes care and OneTouch® products and services, visit

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Canadians want strategic approach based on common principles to improve health care

OTTAWA, December 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The results of a new public opinion poll conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) show overwhelming support (85%) for inclusion of the principles developed by the Canadians Nurses Association (CNA) and the CMA in discussions around a new agreement between federal and provincial/territorial governments on health care.

The CMA and the CNA together have defined a set of principles to guide health care transformation in Canada ( To date, over 60 organizations have endorsed the principles, the goal of which is to guide the discussions that will lead up to a new health care accord between federal, provincial and territorial governments. The principles outline direction for the creation of a high quality, patient-centred health care system that is universal, equitable and sustainable.

"Governments have begun negotiations in advance of the looming end of the 2004 health accord and Canadians clearly support using the CMA/CNA principles to guide those discussions," said Dr. John Haggie, CMA President.

Further poll results show that over three-quarters (76%) of Canadians identify improving health care as the number one priority for the federal government, ahead of issues such as reducing the national debt and deficit (62%) and reducing taxes (45%). Among other findings, a strong majority (77%) of Canadians supported the creation of a national aging strategy to address the needs of our aging population through increased support for home care and long-term care services.

"We know that 80% of the disease burden in Canada right now is chronic disease management and right now our acute services-focused health care system can't adequately meet those needs because it was not designed to do provide that sort of care," said Dr. Haggie. "Transforming health care is about doing things better - better for patients; better for quality; better for the sustainability of our system."

The Ekos Research Associates survey findings are the result of a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,001 Canadians 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 76,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The baby boom effect: caring for Canada's aging population

New report examines how seniors use the health system and where improvements can be made

OTTAWA, December 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the baby boom generation begins to turn 65 this year, the aging of Canada's population will accelerate. As a result, the health care system will need to adapt to meet the future needs of a growing senior population, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Health Care in Canada, 2011: A Focus on Seniors and Aging shows that, while Canada's seniors (age 65 and older) are living longer and are healthier than ever, they are frequent users of the health system, costing more than any other segment of the population. Representing just 14% of the population, seniors use 40% of hospital services in Canada and account for about 45% of all provincial and territorial government health spending.

"Although the impact of population aging on health costs has remained relatively stable over time, health care planners and providers are rightfully looking at ways to meet the needs of a growing senior population," says John Wright, CIHI's President and CEO. "The number of Canadians age 65 and older is expected to nearly double to 25% of the population by 2036. Understanding where gaps exist and where efforts can be concentrated will help ensure that the system remains strong and efficient for Canadians of all ages."

CIHI's report identifies opportunities for the health system to meet these changing needs, including improved integration across the health care continuum, an increased focus on prevention and more efficient adoption and use of new technologies.

Improved integration across the health care continuum

Canada's seniors often require care from different providers across various settings, including a family doctor's office, a specialty clinic, a home care service, a pharmacy, a hospital and/or a long-term care facility. However, the study identifies gaps in the continuity of seniors' care.

As with Canadians of all ages, seniors who become acutely ill may require care in hospital, where they could encounter issues related to patient flow and appropriateness of care. Seniors who arrive at the hospital may first make contact with the emergency department, where they are likely to stay longer than non-senior adults do. CIHI's report shows that seniors spend more time in emergency departments than their younger counterparts before being admitted to hospital (3.7 hours compared with 2.7 hours in 2009-2010).

Also related to patient flow for hospitalized patients is alternate level of care (ALC) stays. Patients are considered ALC patients when they have completed the acute care phase of their treatment but remain in an acute care bed. Seniors account for 85% of all ALC patients—approximately 85,000 cases a year. CIHI data shows that nearly half of all senior ALC patients (47%) were waiting to be moved to a long-term care facility.

"Our health system can no longer afford to operate in silos. Ensuring continuity of care across the continuum will not only lead to a more efficient use of resources, it can potentially lead to better care and in turn better quality of life," explains health policy researcher Marcus Hollander. "This is particularly important in the senior population, because they receive care from many different care providers in various settings."

The study also highlights the fact that improved integration can help promote safe and appropriate drug use in seniors. Many Canadian seniors take several prescription drugs, and the number of seniors taking multiple drugs is on the rise. In 2009, almost two out of three (63%) Canadians age 65 and older took 5 or more prescription drugs from different drug classes, with close to one-quarter (23%) taking 10 or more—up from 59% and 20%, respectively, in 2002.

It is not only the number of different medications, but also the specific medications seniors are taking that present challenges. CIHI data shows that, in 2009, 1 out of 10 Canadian seniors was taking a drug from the Beers list, an internationally recognized list of prescription drugs identified as potentially inappropriate for use by seniors. The use of these drugs has declined over the past decade. Seniors also take more over-the-counter medications and vitamins or other supplements than any other age group, possibly adding to the risks associated with multiple medications.

"As medications may be prescribed by different health care providers, without an accurate account of current treatments, seniors can be at increased risk of potential interactions or adverse events," explains Dr. Pamela Jarrett, a geriatrician in New Brunswick. "While all health care providers do their best to ensure seniors are not taking medications that may negatively interact with each other, regular medication reviews with their family doctors or pharmacists can help reduce the risk of medication interactions."

John Wright explains:
"Team-based approaches to delivering primary care may help ensure seniors are receiving appropriate care. Physicians and pharmacists working together in the same practice can lead to increased communication on prescribing and lower the risk of a senior experiencing adverse drug interactions or side effects."

An increased focus on prevention

Multiple chronic conditions—more than age—are associated with high use of the health care system. As the risk of developing chronic conditions increases with age (76% of seniors reported at least 1 of 11 major chronic conditions in 2008), prevention plays a key role in healthy aging, both to manage existing chronic conditions and to delay or prevent the onset of new ones.

Research shows that good primary health care in the community can help patients with chronic conditions—such as asthma, congestive heart failure or diabetes—avoid costly hospital admissions. The report estimates that 1 out of every 11 emergency department visits by seniors is for a chronic condition that can potentially be managed in the community. Of these seniors, nearly half (47%) are hospitalized.

Many health professionals may have a role in supporting and promoting prevention strategies. Family physicians often act as an initial contact, and although 95% of Canadian seniors have access to a family physician, some reported challenges accessing primary care. In 2009, less than half could get same- or next-day appointments, and more than one-third (34%) reported waiting six or more days for an appointment. This could result in potentially avoidable visits to emergency departments or walk-in clinics for care.

Seniors also visit other primary health care providers—such as psychiatrists, social workers and dentists—less often than younger adults, potentially reducing the amount of preventive care received. In 2008-2009, nearly half (44%) of Canada's seniors had not had a dental check-up in the previous year. Studies have shown that poor oral care can contribute to poor health in older age, affecting nutrition, body weight and the progression of many diseases.

Preventing falls is another important strategy to keep seniors healthy. Falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization among seniors, accounting for 9% of all emergency department visits and almost 80,000 hospital admissions in 2009-2010. The study highlights an opportunity to prevent falls in several settings across the continuum of care. About 1 out of 14 (7%) seniors hospitalized in complex continuing care beds fell within a month of assessment, compared with about 1 out of 8 (12%) in residential care facilities. More than one-quarter (28%) of seniors receiving home care services experience a fall within 90 days of assessment.

Efficient use of new health technologies

The use of new health innovations and technologies can help ensure that seniors are receiving appropriate care. For example, widespread adoption of electronic health records could facilitate physician decision-making by ensuring access to complete information on patients' medical conditions and medications.

The vast majority (93%) of Canadian seniors live at home—and technological advances can allow them to stay at home for longer. For example, for seniors receiving home care services, a medication monitoring system equipped with a sensor-trigger system allows family members to monitor which medications were taken when from anywhere in the world.

"We know that the growing proportion of seniors in Canada's population is going to impact the health care system," says Jean-Marie Berthelot, CIHI's Vice President of Programs. "Collecting more comparable data, on a variety of settings across the care continuum, can help policy-makers identify and understand key issues across sectors of care and ultimately better plan and prepare for the future."

The report is available on their website at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blowing the lid off your winter emergency kit


TORONTO, November 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - There are lots of winter driving tips out there and lists of what every Canadian should pack in his or her vehicle. But here is the ultimate Canadian winter question: If you were stuck in your vehicle this winter, is your emergency kit going to work and will it really save you?

Young Drivers of Canada Instructor Rachel Hesson-Bolton was stuck in her vehicle on a cold winter's night. This is the scenario we all hope we will never get into. When you're freezing cold and it's dark, that's not the time you want to be reading instructions. The 24 Hour Challenge Video Series shows Rachel testing the items in her kit with mixed results. Great you have water in your kit, but it's -16°C and your water is frozen. How should you pack your water? Should you leave the mitts out of your kit and just depend on hand warmers? We'll cover that. What is the #1 tool Rachel found you must have in your emergency kit?

When the 24 hours is all said and done, Rachel gives us 15 episodes on the real goods of what should go in the emergency kit and why. And it will all fit in your vehicle. Promise.

Young Drivers of Canada talks about the importance of being prepared for winter driving. Now we put our emergency kit to the ultimate test and we want to share our results with you.

There are 15 episodes in the 24 HOUR CHALLENGE video series. Watch. Learn. Laugh. Prepare.

The full video series will launch December 1st in honour of Safe Driving Week on the Young Drivers of Canada website

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Public transit ridership shows impressive increase in first half of 2011: CUTA

TORONTO, November 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian public transit ridership statistics for the first six months of 2011 show an increase of 4.93% as compared to the same January to June period in the previous year, according to the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

"This ridership growth is impressive and shows a strong demand for service," says CUTA President and CEO Michael Roschlau. "Improvements to increase the capacity and the quality of service are having a notable impact."

This rise in Canadian transit ridership represents an addition of just over 45 million new trips taken by Canadians on public transit in the six month period, a trend that builds on the growth of previous decades.

"Canadians are benefitting from service improvements as a result of increased investment, and are choosing transit more often," says CUTA Chair John King. "It demonstrates clearly that an increasing number of Canadians want to use transit as their preferred travel choice, but only with a steady continuation of transit investment will future ridership demands be met."

CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.

For association information, visit:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

$18 Million Gift from Peter and Melanie Munk Builds On Past Support at Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

Lead gift launches $100 million campaign in support of cardiac care

TORONTO, November 24, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Dr. Robert Bell, President and CEO of University Health Network (UHN), announced today that the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation is donating $18 million to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at UHN. This new gift brings the total investment by Peter and Melanie Munk in UHN to $65 million.

"Peter and Melanie's new gift builds on their tremendous support over the 18 years they have been involved in creating a world-class cardiac centre," said Dr. Robert Bell. "Their generosity will continue to transform the standard of cardiac care in Canada, North America and around the world. At the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, heart surgeons, vascular surgeons, radiologists and cardiologists all work and train together on an integrated team - something that is setting the standard for the care of heart patients."

The gift will support innovation, recruitment and retention of top cardiac talent by leveraging the incredible patient care and research discoveries already taking place. It will help recruit, retain and train top minds in cardiovascular medicine, surgery and imaging from around the globe.

The gift will also provide training in this new approach to cardiac care which breaks down the traditional barriers amongst the various specialties and creates the environment necessary for collaborative care.

"Given the outstanding success achieved and compassionate care delivered, it didn't take much more than a heart beat for Melanie and me to support the Cardiac Centre again," said Peter Munk. "This facility - and more importantly the excellence and innovation of its caring professionals - has put Canada's cardiac care on the world map."

The Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation's latest gift also serves to launch a $100-million fundraising campaign at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre called Building the Future - from the heart. A primary focus of the campaign is building and sustaining the Centre's greatest strength - people. This exceptional team of specialists and medical staff is responsible for the emergence of extraordinary medical discoveries and the development of innovative treatments for heart diseases and disorders. More information is available at

Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, believes the potential for the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is unlimited.

"This campaign will help the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre to move cardiovascular care in innovative new directions and to deliver the best patient outcomes in the world," says Dr. Rubin. "With the help of our donors, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre will lead the way in new frontiers of cardiovascular patient care, and will also lead the way in the dissemination of this knowledge worldwide."

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, over 1.3 million Canadians are living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Over 40,000 people die annually from sudden cardiac deaths and arrhythmias. Nine in 10 Canadians (90%) have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes).

Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is the premier cardiac centre in Canada. Since it opened in 1997, the Centre has saved and improved the lives of cardiac and vascular patients from around the world. Each year, approximately 37,000 patients receive innovative and compassionate care from multidisciplinary teams in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and the Centre trains more cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons than any other hospital in Canada. The Centre is based at the Toronto General Hospital and the Toronto Western Hospital - members of University Health Network.

University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret Hospitals, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation raises funds for research, education and the enhancement of patient care at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital as well as their respective research arms, Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupational therapists launch new guidelines to help stop elder abuse before it starts

OTTAWA, November 23, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) is pleased to have officially launched "Strategies for occupational therapists to address elder abuse/mistreatment, " a resource tool developed for occupational therapists that will build health human resource capacity to address and manage elder abuse.

The project was made possible through funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), who recognized the vital role occupational therapists play in managing elder abuse.

"Occupational therapists are in a unique position to detect and manage elder abuse due to the strong working relationship they develop with an older adult through having an intimate knowledge of their daily life and routines," said Rosemary Lester, Chair of the Elder Abuse Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador and External Member of the CAOT Board of Directors. "This tool will support this relationship and be an important resource in the ongoing effort to combat elder abuse."

The resource tool provides a set of guidelines that strive to assist occupational therapists across Canada in understanding what to look for (indicators), first steps to follow when suspecting abuse (e.g. What do I ask? Look for?), and strategies for discussing the situation with the older adult.

The Minister of State for Seniors, the Honourable Alice Wong attended the event in support of the new documents and the positive impact occupational therapists have on managing and working to prevent elder abuse.

"Our government is committed to support the well-being of seniors," said Minister Wong. "Elder abuse should be everyone's concern and that is why our government is ensuring that Canadians are aware of the issue and can take the necessary preventative action or seek support."

This year the Government of Canada awarded nearly $567,000 to the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, to develop tools to measure elder abuse, which could support the development of strategies for prevention, detection and treatment. This initiative in addition to the release of the guidelines provides an optimistic future for seniors.

Strategies for occupational therapists to address elder abuse/mistreatment is available for download off the CAOT website by all practicing occupational therapists across Canada.

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists - Strategies for Dealing with Elder Abuse

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Benefits of Hiring Mature Workers

Randstad Canada discusses the benefits of attracting, retaining and engaging mature workers.

TORONTO, November 22, 2011 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Let's face facts: Many employers often hold the misconception that mature workers are too expensive, difficult to train, quick to retire, or prone to become ineffective as they age. And although workers over the age of 50 might not be as experienced with the latest apps as their younger colleagues, Randstad Canada says job applications from older candidates are worth considering.

Leandra Harris, Senior Executive Vice President of HR for Randstad Canada says companies need to ignore the stereotypes and consider the many benefits of hiring mature workers.

"Negative stereotypes about older workers remain deeply entrenched. These stereotypes include unwarranted assumptions that older workers are more costly, harder to train, less adaptable, less motivated, less flexible, more resistant to change and less energetic than younger employees," she said. "It's time to look beyond these negative age-based stereotypes."

According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 10.9% of those aged 65 years or older had jobs in 2010. These "silver collar" employees are expected to continue to work either for their own enjoyment (the social interaction and stimulation of the workplace) or for economic reasons (they haven't saved enough for retirement and need to work).

Harris believes it's important for businesses to recognize the need to tap into this demographic to secure the supply of workers, especially during an expected worker shortage.
"Older workers are a resource we cannot afford to waste. Projected tight labor markets require us to better use our experienced mature workers. Many older workers have the skills companies are seeking. They are armed with experience, a strong work ethic and they can typically relate well with customers and identify their needs. They are also loyal and less likely to hop around from job to job," she says.

"Employers need to keep in mind that since many seniors won't have to work, they will be picky about where they choose to work," she says.
According to the results of a recent ICMA International survey sponsored by Randstad Canada, older generations say they are attracted to companies that are financially stable and indicate that the importance of comfort and strong values increases as they get older.

According to Harris,
"Companies would be well advised to seriously think about their future employment needs in order to be better positioned to seek out, hire and retain quality workers, including mature workers, who will help them compete in tomorrow's workplace."

About Randstad Canada: Randstad Canada is the Canadian leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services. As the only fully integrated staffing company in the country, we understand the recruitment needs and demands of employers and job seekers across all levels and industries. Through our insightful knowledge of local markets, employment trends and global network of recruitment experts, we are shaping the Canadian world of work. Visit

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"I'll be home for Christmas"… sort of

"Video chat bridges the distance (CNW Group/Intel)"

Technology bridges the distance this holiday season

TORONTO, November 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - While we think of holidays as a time to be with friends and family, the majority of Canadians aren't able to spend time with all those they love. According to a new survey commissioned by Intel Canada, nearly three quarters of Canadians (74 per cent) have family and friends that they want to see over the holidays but can't. The two biggest barriers keeping Canadians away from those they love are distance (cited by 80 per cent of those surveyed) and financial constraints (cited by 53 per cent).

However, Canadians are definitely staying connected. They are sharing holiday cheer across great distances with the help of their computers. Canadians are connecting with video chat, such as Skype, email and social media. Thirty-three per cent of Canadians say the next best thing to sharing the holidays with someone in person is connecting with them using video chat; 23 per cent of Canadians say they are now using more video chat compared to 2009.

Not just for the young, people of all ages are turning to computers to connect with family in meaningful ways. Only 17 per cent of Canadians consider technology to be an impersonal way to connect with family and friends. This can explain why the traditional means of connecting are declining with Canadians foregoing greeting cards. Only six per cent of respondents use letters and cards as their primary way to connect with family and friends over the holidays and 41 per cent send less letters and cards than they did in 2009.

"It's not a surprise that Canadians are embracing technology as a meaningful way to connect with family and friends over the holidays," says Elaine Mah, Canadian country manager, Intel Corporation. "Technology has come such a long way and tools like video chat make you feel like you're right there in person."

Thirty-six per cent of Canadians said they face no barriers to using technology to connect with family and friends. However, 34 per cent complain that the person they wish to connect with doesn't have the right technology on their end. Having the right technology can be the key to creating lasting holiday memories.

Mah explains that computers with 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ technology give people the flexibility to connect and share in ways that are personal and visual. Sharing holiday memories with family and friends is made easier with Intel® Wireless Display 2.0 (WiDi) technology allowing users to wirelessly stream content from the laptop to the TV. It's an exciting new viewing experience, ideal for everyday use and when sharing video chats, movies and photos with holiday guests. When making holiday videos to share with family and friends, Intel® Quick Sync Video takes the wait out of editing and sharing videos with astonishing performance that once took hours now is completed in minutes.

Become a fan of Intel Canada on Facebook:

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About Intel

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world's computing devices. Additional information about Intel is available at and

About the survey

From November 7th to November 8th, 2011 an online survey was conducted among 1,017 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New poll reveals striking consistency between the values of newcomers and those of native-born Canadians on key immigration issues

Culture over cash—Public says adopting Canadian values should be a higher priority for immigrants than achieving financial self-sufficiency: Trudeau Foundation Poll

MONTREAL, November 16, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians almost unanimously expect new immigrants who want to live in Canada to adopt Canadian values, but are much more forgiving about how long it might take to become economically self-sufficient, according to a new survey commissioned by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation in collaboration with Dalhousie University. Interestingly, newcomers themselves feel the same way, and their opinions on other key immigration issues also closely align to those of native-born Canadians. The poll results are being released at a conference on immigration being held by the Foundation in Halifax, November 17-19.

"Canada was built on immigration. It defines our history, which is why it is critical to pause and take a closer look at how it could - and should - shape Canada's future," said Dr. Pierre-Gerlier Forest, President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. "The Trudeau Foundation Conference, underpinned by this type of research, creates an informed arena for some of the world's leading experts to advance our understanding of vital public issues such as immigration."

When asked by the poll what immigrants should be expected to do as a condition of being accepted into the country, 97 percent of Canadians stressed the adoption of the Canadian values of gender equality and the tolerance of others. Ninety-six percent of immigrants surveyed agreed with this sentiment. In contrast, fewer than six-in-ten (59%) believed that newcomers should become economically self-sufficient within their first year, with 60 percent of immigrants saying the same.

The poll comes at a time when the federal government has proposed to initiate a national reflection about Canada's immigration policy. The poll's findings about Canadians' opinion on immigration could help redefine the current policy.

For example, about half (51%) of Canadians surveyed feel that Canada should place higher priority on accepting applicants who qualify for immigration based on education and employability. Forty-two percent of respondents say that immigrants in this category should be given the same priority as they receive now, and just four percent say they should be given lower priority.

In contrast, over a third (35%) of those surveyed for the Trudeau Foundation say that those who have family members living in Canada should be given higher priority, and 55 percent say that they should be given the same priority as they receive now. Just eight percent suggest that they should receive lower priority.

Similarly, public opinion about easing obstacles for temporary foreign workers is decidedly mixed: three in ten (33%) say that they approve of the decision to accept an increasing number of foreign workers, compared with one-third (35%) who disapprove and a comparable portion (32%) who have no clear opinion.

While newcomers have historically settled in major urban centres such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, creating popular enclaves known as Chinatown and Little India, three quarters (74%) of Canadians believe immigrants should be more evenly distributed across the country. Seventy-two percent of immigrants share this view, the poll reveals.

In general, the poll demonstrates that Canadians are much more likely to be positive than negative about the overall impact of Canada's longstanding tradition of accepting newcomers. By a three-to-one margin, the public says that immigration is making Canada a better place (47%) rather than a worse place (16%); the remainder says that it makes no difference (29%) or is unable to offer a definitive response (8%). Similarly, the Canadian public is more likely than not to believe that immigrants are fitting into their new community in terms of finding jobs (58%), participating in civic institutions like voting (57%), and adopting Canadian values (55%), although sizable minorities disagree.

The Trudeau Foundation Conference - The Making of Citizens: Beyond the Canadian Consensus on Immigration—takes place in Halifax, NS, on November 17-19, 2011. The conference features keynote speeches and panel discussions with renowned specialists on critical issues related to immigration. Topics include immigration policy, multiculturalism, integration, economic impact, social and cultural implications and the environmental impact of immigration.

About the Foundation

A Canadian institution with a national purpose, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is an independent and non-partisan charity. It was established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former Prime Minister by his family, friends, and colleagues. In 2002, the Government of Canada endowed the Foundation with a donation of $125 million following a unanimous vote in the House of Commons. In addition, the Foundation benefits from private sector donations in support of specific initiatives. Through its Scholarship, Fellowship, Mentorship and Public Interaction programs, the Foundation supports outstanding individuals who make meaningful contributions to critical public issues. More at

About the research

The results are based on a telephone survey conducted by the Environics Research Group with a representative sample of 2,000 Canadians 18 years and older between October 11 and 22, 2011. The sample was stratified by province and community size to ensure adequate coverage of jurisdictions for analysis purposes. A sample of this size produces a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is greater for results for regional and socio-demographic subgroups of the total sample.

The survey questions were designed by Environics senior researchers in conjunction with representatives from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and Dalhousie University.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ontario Optometrists Help People with Diabetes See into the Future

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, November 9, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is reminding the public about the importance of routine eye exams—especially for those living with diabetes.

Approximately 1.2 million Ontarians have diabetes and as many as 200,000 people are unaware they have it. In fact, according to the Canadian Diabetes Association by 2020 1 in 3 Canadians will have diabetes, putting them at an increased risk for serious health complications such as eye disease and potential blindness. Eye disease can be managed and often prevented by visiting an eye care professional every year.

"Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness among adults," said Dr. Anju Clement, optometrist and member of the OAO. "Patients with eye disease may not notice any changes in their vision, especially during the early treatable stages of the disease. That's why visiting an optometrist is essential for early detection and timely treatment."

Statistics show that only about 50 per cent of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes had their eyes checked in the last year, even though annual eye examinations are covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Those most likely not to have had an eye exam in the past year were people aged 20 to 64 and those living in urban areas.

Under the Ontario Diabetes Strategy, the OAO is partnering with the Ministry of Health and the Diabetes Regional Control Centres to ensure that people with diabetes have necessary tests for optimal diabetes management, including a comprehensive eye exam.

While people with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, they are also more susceptible to retinal complications that can threaten vision.

By dilating the eye, optometrists can detect diabetic retinopathy, a damaging eye condition that causes the blood vessels at the back of the eye to leak or swell. If left untreated, it can result in loss of vision or blindness. Comprehensive eye examinations provided by optometrists are insured by the Ontario government every year for people of all ages with diabetes, and a referral is not required.

Patients with diabetes who are able to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels have fewer eye problems than those with poor control. Research has proven that good control can slow the onset of eye complications, such as diabetic retinopathy. Diet and exercise also play important roles in the overall health of those with diabetes. But the best way to catch early eye problems is to visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist every year.

Dr. Clement adds that other health issues may be discovered during an eye exam. "A dilated eye exam is the only time blood vessels can be seen in their natural state. Sometimes, this allows us to uncover signs that may save someone's life."

To learn more about comprehensive eye examinations or to find an optometrist, please visit the OAO website at or call 1-800-540-3837.

For over 100 years, the OAO has been the voluntary professional organization representing optometrists in Ontario in matters of advocacy, community and education. The OAO represents over 1,500 optometrists who practise in over 200 towns and cities across Ontario and are the main providers of primary eye care in Ontario.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Canada's Environment Minister Declares Polar Bear Species of Concern

OTTAWA, November 10, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, has declared the polar bear as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.

"Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bear population and we have a unique conservation responsibility to effectively care for them," said Minister Kent. "Our Government is demonstrating leadership in protecting this iconic species. Listing the polar bear under the Species at Risk Act represents an important contribution to protecting our environment and the animals that live in it."

As a result of the listing, a management plan must be prepared within three years. It should be noted that the plan will not result in prohibitions. The ultimate aim of the plan will be to alleviate human threats in order to remove the polar bear from the Species at Risk list.

This management plan will build on the National Polar Bear Conservation Strategy. In a recent meeting held in Iqaluit in October, Canada—in cooperation with the United States, Russia, Norway, and Greenland—presented our National Polar Bear Conservation Strategy. This Strategy will act as the cornerstone of the management plan. It aims to illustrate, strengthen and formalize Canada's existing polar bear conservation measures.

"At Environment Canada, our business is protecting the environment," said Minister Kent. "We collaborate with our partners at home and abroad to realize concrete progress on initiatives that will protect the health of our people, our species and our planet. By listing the polar bear as a species of concern, we are doing just that."

Environment Canada held extensive consultations with provincial and territorial governments, regional wildlife management boards, Aboriginal peoples and other stakeholders. The vast majority supported the listing. It can be found in the Canada Gazette Part II here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

World Diabetes Day 2011 Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of Insulin!

C.H. Best and F.G. Banting in 1924 - photo credit: Wikipedia

World Diabetes Day (WDD) is an official United Nations World Health Day, annually celebrated on November 14. This date marks the birthday of Canadian Sir Frederick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin in 1921 at the University of Toronto.

Together, JDRF and the Canadian Diabetes Association are celebrating WDD with the theme of recognizing the 90th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Since this innovation, Canadian researchers have been world-renowned for their leadership to cure, treat and prevent diabetes. This year, we honour Canadian Diabetes Champions like researchers Banting and Best.

Starting November 1st, you're invited to join the circle of WDD celebration. You can showcase how you are a Canadian Diabetes Champions in the fight against diabetes by sharing your story on Show us on our map of Canada where youre celebrating, and take our survey to win 1 of 5 blue Apple iPod Shuffles. Share your share blue photos and comments on the WDD Canada Facebook page.

While research breakthroughs continue toward curing this disease, its important to take action and learn as much as possible about diabetes know the signs, symptoms and risk factors so you can control and make informed decisions about your health.

The 2011 WDD celebration is made possible through the generous support of WDD Founding Sponsor, Novo Nordisk, and Silver Sponsor, Eli Lilly Canada.

Did you know?

...type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a persons pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.

...type 1 diabetes affects approximately 300,000 Canadians.

...Canada has the sixth highest incidence1 rate of type 1 diabetes in children 14 years of age or younger in the world.

...Living with type 1 diabetes requires approximately 1,460 needles a year (based on four injections per day) and 2,190 finger pokes a year to test blood sugar levels.

...Diabetes is one of the costliest chronic diseases. People with diabetes incur medical costs that are two to three times higher than those without diabetes. A person with diabetes can face direct costs for medication and supplies ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 a year.

...By 2020, it's estimated that diabetes will cost the Canadian healthcare system $16.9 billion a year.

...285 million people worldwide are currently living with diabetes. With a further 7 million people developing diabetes each year, this number is expected to hit 438 million by 2030.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How Canadians can retire wealthy—no matter WHAT their current situation

MoneySense book offers smart, practical advice to get Canadians of all ages on track for a prosperous retirement

TORONTO, November 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Yes, you can have the retirement of your dreams—even if, right now, you're not where you think you should be financially.

Retire Wealthy: A Financial Plan for Canadians of All Ages provides a lively and easy-to-follow roadmap that shows you what you need to do to secure your future. Bursting with proven and practical retirement advice delivered in a friendly, straightforward manner, the 200-page volume comes from the trusted experts from MoneySense magazine—Canada's most-read personal finance magazine.
Retire Wealthy: A Financial Plan for Canadians of All Ages is organized by life stage and includes real-life stories from Canadians—including overwhelmed thirty-somethings and late-blooming boomers—who got their finances in order using these proven financial strategies.

Highlights from Retire Wealthy: A Financial Plan for Canadians of All Ages:

Your 20s: Building Potential

• Starting to save • Buying a vehicle • To rent or own? • Being credit-card smart

Your 30s: Under Pressure

Saving for your child's education • Embracing good debt • Can you afford to stay home with the kids? • Why it's OK not to contribute to your RRSP now

Your 40s: Catching Up

• Bouncing back from divorce • Investing in rental property • How you can take a year off work • A 10-minute guide to your pension • Crunching the numbers: calculating how much you will you need to retire

Your 50s: Suddenly Super Saving

Playing catch-up • Three traps to avoid (investments gone bad; interest rate nightmare; health-care scare) • Getting out of the rat race

Your 60s: Sweet Freedom

How far can you stretch your retirement savings? • Working in your 60s • Retire in luxury on $2,000 per month

Your 70s: A simpler life

Withdrawing from your RRSP •The up side of retirement homes • Plan your legacy


Six Steps to a Wealthy Retirement

How long will you live? Could the market crash again? If you're confused about how much you need to save, follow these six simple steps to a comfortable retirement. And don't worry: You don't need a million dollars.

Self-test: Are you on track?

Find out how your net worth compares to people just like you.

Retire Wealthy: A Financial Plan for Canadians of All Ages ($19.95) is available now at Chapters, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, London Drugs, Walmart Canada, Presse Commerce, BC Ferries, Hudson News, Paradis and at bookstores and newsstands across Canada.

About MoneySense:

MoneySense, Canada's personal finance and lifestyle magazine, was named Magazine of the Year by the National Magazine Awards in 2011. Packed with smart features, practical advice and easy-to-follow financial tips on everything from home improvement to mutual funds, MoneySense attracts Canadians nationwide on the lookout for new ways to save, invest and spend. is Canada's best all-around personal finance website.