Thursday, June 30, 2011

BestLifeRewarded Is The New Approach To A Healthier Canada

TORONTO, June 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - BestLifeRewarded, the first consumer loyalty program to reward Canadians for maintaining healthy lifestyles, has launched today across the country.

Created by Cookson James Loyalty Inc., BestLifeRewarded has the support of many health organizations such as Dietitians of Canada, Canadian Obesity Network, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Hypertension Canada, Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, Patients in Pain Association, Canadian Kinesiology Alliance and major pharmaceutical companies, in a coordinated effort to get Canada healthy.

"We are proud to launch BestLifeRewarded with so many national non-profit organizations," said Susanne Cookson, co-founder of Cookson James Loyalty. "They have partnered with us as major stakeholders in the health of Canadians."

Acting as a hub of credible health information, BestLifeRewarded coordinates information on conditions and healthy lifestyles with the added benefits of recognized consumer loyalty rewards. There is now an added incentive for Canadians to take charge of their personal health.

"We will reward Canadians for taking healthy steps to reduce their disease risk and improve their quality of life," said Cookson. "We are confident that extending the attractive loyalty programs for gas or airline purchases will prove very popular for something even more important, your personal health."

BestLifeRewarded will motivate Canadians for their efforts towards positive change in their health and lifestyle, versus just the change itself. Free of charge to join, members of BestLifeRewarded earn reward points for their healthy activities and can then redeem their earned rewards for health-related items such as fitness equipment, healthy food discounts, cookbooks, blood pressure monitors, gym memberships, and even golf equipment.

For further information:


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wireless customers can now support their favourite charities with text message donations

The Mobile Giving Foundation Canada Partners with Videotron

OTTAWA, June 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Mobile Giving Foundation Canada (MGFC), in collaboration with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), is pleased to announce a new partnership with Videotron that will offer customers of the wireless carrier the opportunity to support registered charities through text-to-donate initiatives. Videotron customers can now respond to a registered charity's call-to-action by texting a specific keyword to an assigned five-digit number to donate either $5 or $10, depending on the type of campaign. The amount donated by text will be charged to the donor's wireless phone bill, and is billed as a tax-exempt transaction. The carrier then remits 100% of the funds collected from mobile donations to the MGFC, who in turn remits 100% of this amount directly to the registered charity. Donors can also obtain official receipts for tax purposes by contacting

"Videotron is very pleased that this partnership can end up helping so many causes and so many Canadians," declared Videotron's Mobile Marketing and Product Development General Manager, Marie Ginette Lepage. "We today live a life of choices, and with these kinds of partnerships, we are able to offer support, as well as touch and help so many people."

"On behalf of the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada, I extend our appreciation to Videotron for their efforts in providing this new mobile channel for their customers to support their favourite causes," said Bernard Lord, MGFC Chair and CWTA President. "Canadians have overwhelmingly embraced the power of mobile giving, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for more than 100 registered charities in the past year alone."

For more information about the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada, visit

About the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada

The Mobile Giving Foundation Canada (MGFC) was founded in 2009 to create a "mobile giving channel" that empowers non-profit organizations and donors. MGFC provides the organizational layer, operational guidelines and technical infrastructure for registered charities and donors to use the incredible power and convenience of mobile technology. The mobile giving channel gives Canadians a simple and immediate way to respond to appeals from worthy causes and have their donation charged to their wireless phone bill. 100 per cent of the donation is then remitted to the designated charity. Mobile giving campaigns are supported by Bell, Fido, Koodo, Rogers, Solo, TELUS, Videotron, Virgin Mobile and WIND Mobile. For further information, please refer to the MGFC Web site at

Monday, June 27, 2011

New study finds patchwork of licence requirements for older drivers

Challenges loom as first of the baby boomers turn 65 this year

WATERLOO, Ontario, June 27, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - A national study shows that licensing polices for older drivers, which until now have not been fully documented, vary widely in Canada.

Requirements for licence renewal, reporting practices, appeals processes and options for restricted licences largely depend on where someone lives, according to the researchers, Anita Myers from the University of Waterloo, Brenda Vrkljan from McMaster University and Shawn Marshall from the University of Ottawa.

The study, funded by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and Transport Canada, found little agreement between the provinces and territories on the best ways to identify and regulate older drivers who may present a risk to themselves and other road users.

2011, the National Year of Road Safety, also marks the year Canadian boomers begin turning 65. Transport Canada data shows that in 2009 there were 3.25-million licensed drivers aged 65 and older, 14 per cent of the total driving population. The volume of senior drivers is expected to more than double in the next decade.

"This has huge implications for transportation planners, licensing authorities, health professionals and taxpayers," said Myers, a professor of health studies and gerontology at Waterloo. "While older drivers are involved in proportionately fewer collisions than younger drivers, they are more likely to be seriously injured or die as a result. The rate of fatal collisions starts to rise at age 70 and continues to increase for drivers in their 80s and 90s."

As drivers age, they are more likely to develop vision and other health problems that may compromise driving safety. In some provinces, but not all, drivers are subjected to medical review once they turn 70, 75 or 80. Mass screening, however, is costly and apart from in-person renewal, has shown minimal impact on fatalities.

Experts agree that the focus should be on identifying potentially medically-at-risk drivers regardless of age and thoroughly assessing each person's capabilities for continued safe driving. In most provinces, physicians are required to report patients they suspect are medically unfit to drive. This puts enormous pressure on doctors who have increasing numbers of older patients with chronic conditions and lack valid tools to determine fitness-to-drive.

Access to driver assessment centres, wait times and costs to drivers themselves also vary widely from province to province, according to the study.

For many seniors, driving is crucial for maintaining mobility and freedom. Surveys show that most would rather have restricted licences (such as no night or highway driving) rather than lose their driving privileges altogether. Licensing authorities are under pressure to expand restricted licences for older drivers, comparable to graduated licences for novice drivers.

Prior to the study, however, it was unclear which options were available across the country or how authorities monitor driver compliance with licence restrictions.

To make this information widely available, the Canadian researchers partnered with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to produce a comprehensive website on current practices and promising approaches regarding medically at-risk and older drivers. The site provides one-stop shopping for professionals and the general public looking for information on licensing regulations and resources.

"The public has a right to know what is being done in various parts of the country, while policy makers need these data to make informed decisions based on best practices," said Kent Bassett-Spiers, CEO of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. "This research is the first step in unifying policies and setting strategic priorities."

For more information on the study, visit

About Waterloo

The University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, is one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities. Waterloo is home to 30,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are dedicated to making the future better and brighter. Waterloo, known for the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world, supports enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. For more information about Waterloo, visit

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canada's Wonderland Celebrates 30 Years with Starlight Spectacular

VAUGHAN, Ontario, June 23, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canada's Wonderland will turn the lights on to 30th birthday celebrations this Saturday, June 25 with the all-new Starlight Spectacular. With innovative 3D projection mapping and LED design effects, Starlight Spectacular will enhance the International Street vista with 300,000 LED lights, a custom soundtrack, and exhilarating imagery.

The show begins with the Royal Fountain being lit up in an amazing display of lights and colour. Each of the 113 fountain jets will pulse with 180 custom lights, dancing in an incredible palette of rich colour. Flanking the fountain, the International Street promenade will glitter as 300,000 LED lights are woven into the landscape, twinkling from the Park's trees and buildings.

The highlight of Starlight Spectacular is an unprecedented production of animated effects that will bring Wonder Mountain to life with a spectacular display of lighting and 3D images. All three elements will combine for a state of the art show that will be a dazzling conclusion to a day at Canada's Wonderland.

Starlight Spectacular will take place nightly through September 3 at approximately 10:00pm, weather permitting. For more information on Starlight Spectacular and the 2011 season, check out

Canada's Wonderland is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN." In addition to Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, six water parks, one indoor water park resort and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif. under a management contract.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Increased activity and healthier eating can improve obesity rates, but aren't the only factors at play

Comprehensive new report examines how obesity varies across Canada, who's most at risk and possible actions to address it

OTTAWA, June 20, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Eliminating all physical inactivity among Canadian adults (defined as less than 15 minutes of low-impact activity a day) could avert the equivalent of 646,000 cases of obesity in women and 405,000 cases in men, according to an analysis included in a comprehensive joint report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Similarly, improving poor-quality diets—as measured by the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption—could result in the equivalent of 265,000 fewer cases of obesity among men and 97,000 fewer cases of obesity among women. However, people's ability to achieve higher physical activity levels and healthier eating habits is influenced by many interconnected factors.

"Not surprisingly, this report shows that improving lifestyle behaviours, such as healthy eating and physical activity, can have a significant impact on reducing the waistlines and improving the health of Canadians. However, obesity is complex, and there are many other factors that contribute beyond lifestyle habits," says Jeremy Veillard, Vice President of Research and Analysis at CIHI. "By shedding light on the factors most closely associated with obesity and how they play out across Canada, policy-makers and health providers can better target prevention and treatment options to meet the needs of the population."

"Reducing obesity levels and promoting healthy weights is critical to the prevention of ill health," says Dr. Judith Bossé, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Agency of Canada. "Obesity increases the risk of a number of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and some forms of cancers. That's why we're examining options to address the factors that lead to obesity, and we are working with various levels of government, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders on this issue."

Obesity in Canada provides an overview of the prevalence of obesity among adults, children and youth, and Aboriginal Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples); the determinants and impact of obesity across the country; as well as Canadian and international lessons learned in obesity prevention and reduction. Based on measured height and weight, more than 1 in 4 adults in Canada and just less than 1 in 11 children are considered obese. Between 1981 and 2009, obesity based on measured height and weight data roughly doubled across all age groups and tripled for youth (age 12 to 17).

Obesity rates vary widely across Canada; multiple factors contributing

Across Canadian health regions, there is a six-fold variation in adult obesity rates, ranging from lows of 5.3% of the population in Richmond, British Columbia, and 6.2% in Vancouver, B.C., to highs of 32.1% in Kings County, Prince Edward Island, and 35.9% in the Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabasca region of Saskatchewan. This variation mirrors the differences in obesity rates seen across developed countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

However, the CIHI-PHAC report found that regional variations across Canada were not due to lifestyle factors alone. In fact, only 50% of the populations in both Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabasca and Richmond reported being physically inactive.

Regional differences in obesity may be related to the following:

...Population base: In 2008, 17% of non-Aboriginal adults self-reported being obese, compared with 26% of off-reserve Aboriginal adults. Obesity was also found to vary within Aboriginal Peoples populations. Among children age 6 to 14, for example, 17% of Métis, 20% of off-reserve First Nations and 25.6% of Inuit populations were estimated to be obese. However, in First Nations populations, community consumption of traditional foods was associated with lower obesity levels.

...Gender and income: Women in higher income brackets were significantly less likely to be obese than their lower-income counterparts—a difference not found for men. This trend was seen for all Canadian women, although it was most pronounced among Aboriginal females, where 16.3% of Aboriginal women in households making $100,000 or more were considered obese, compared with 26.8% of Aboriginal women in households with incomes of less than $20,000 a year.

...Material and social resources where people live: Variations in obesity by socio-economic status were much more pronounced in some regions than in others. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, for example, 11% of the population in the highest socio-economic range was obese, compared with close to 26% in the lowest socio-economic areas. Similarly, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, 10% of the population in the highest socio-economic areas was obese, compared with 20% in the lowest socio-economic areas. While most cities had a gap, it was not always significant. Some cities, like Vancouver, B.C., and Oshawa, Ontario, showed almost no difference in obesity between the highest and lowest socio-economic areas. In addition, research summarized in the report has shown that access to recreational facilities and food retail outlets and the price of nutritious foods can all have an association with obesity.

Quick facts on obesity in Canada:

...Physical inactivity had the strongest association with obesity at the population level for both men and women. The equivalent of 646,000 cases of obesity in women and 405,000 cases of obesity in men could be altered or averted if inactive populations became active.

...Eliminating the consumption of a poor-quality diet, as measured by the frequency of low fruit and vegetable consumption, could result in the equivalent of 265,000 fewer men being obese and 97,000 fewer women being obese.

...Based on measured height and weight, more than 1 in 4 adults in Canada and just less than 1 in 11 children are considered obese.

...Between 1981 and 2009, obesity rates roughly doubled across all age groups and tripled for youth (age 12 to 17), though self-reported rates have remained relatively stable overall since 2000.

...Across Canadian health regions, there is a six-fold difference in obesity rates; this is a range similar to that seen across developed countries.

...Adult obesity rates varied from lows of 5.3% in Richmond, B.C., and 6.2% in Vancouver, B.C., to highs of 32.1% in Kings County, P.E.I., and 35.9% in the Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabasca region of Saskatchewan.

...In 2008, 17% of non-Aboriginal adults self-reported being obese, compared with 26% of off-reserve Aboriginal adults. Obesity was also found to vary between First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations. Among children age 6 to 14, for example, 20% of off-reserve First Nations, 25.6% of Inuit and 17% of Métis were estimated to be obese.

...Women in higher income brackets were significantly less likely to be obese than their lower-income counterparts. This trend was most pronounced among Aboriginal females: 16.3% of Aboriginal females in households making $100,000 or more are obese, compared with 26.8% of Aboriginal females in households with incomes of less than $20,000 a year.

The report and the following figures and table are available from CIHI's website, at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Health Canada is reviewing the safety of the diabetes drug piglitazone (Actos) - Studies suggest increased risk of bladder cancer

...from Health and Safety Watch

HSW June 17, 2011 - Health Canada is reviewing the safety of the diabetes drug piglitazone (Actos) - Studies suggest increased risk of bladder cancer

Health Canada reports that in light of studies suggesting an increased risk of bladder cancer with the diabetes drug pioglitazone, as well as actions taken by other regulatory agencies, it is informing healthcare professionals and Canadians that it is undertaking a review of the drug's status.
Pioglitazone is sold in Canada under the brand name "Actos" in addition to generic forms of the drug. It is used by itself or in combination with other diabetes drugs to control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, when diet and exercise have failed.

See Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items. (unofficial photo)
?Post-marketing reports of bladder cancer have been reported very rarely with the use of pioglitazone. This information is included in the Canadian Product Monograph. Health Canada has been closely monitoring this potential risk, and has been reviewing all relevant studies on an ongoing basis. Health Canada is taking these studies, including their strengths and limitations, into account as we continue to monitor pioglitazone safety.
Should the on-going review identify new safety information, Health Canada will take appropriate action as necessary. This can include updating Canadians with new recommendations regarding pioglitazone and the potential risk of bladder cancer.

Recommended Actions:

The benefits of pioglitazone are considered to outweigh the risks when used as directed in the Canadian Product Monograph. Patients with questions or concerns about their diabetes treatment should talk to their physician or pharmacist.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Confronting Aging - Inside and Out

TORONTO, June 16, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the baby boomer generation continues to increase in age, so does its passion to remain youthful, both inside and out. Beating the clock is now a multi-faceted, science-driven industry. From its age-old quests to find the elixir of life, to modern exploration of how microcellular activity contributes to metabolic breakdown, scientific research continues to advance its goals to enhance bodily energy, vigour and performance, and fade or stall the visible signs of aging.

Early research unveiled the fact that aging, technically cell damage, is caused by lifestyle and environmental influences — a result of 'wear and tear' on the body from overuse or abuse of poor dietary and lifestyle factors, such as excess sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fat and overexposure to sunlight. However, today we also know that there are many other metabolic factors implicated in the aging process, including inflammation, insulin resistance, mitochondrial dysfunction, and harmful free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules, a by-product of the metabolic process that creates energy in our cells. But as is found with many other beneficial functions, there can be a detrimental consequence. In this case, the cumulative effect of free radicals takes its toll over the years, resulting in both internal and external damage. What we can't see are the compromised membranes impeding the creation of hormones, protein, and enzymes, nor the affected DNA that can lead to reproduction of faulty cells. But what we do witness daily are the facial wrinkles, sagging skin, blotches, growths and spots, along with creeping chronic aches and pains, lack of energy, and other health issues.

The body has its own natural defense system of antioxidants to seek and diffuse the negative impact of free radicals. However, not all necessary micronutrients can be manufactured by the body so they must be supplied either by a nutritious diet and/or supplementation. Scientific research is focusing on a specific antioxidant program which may help control DNA-damaging free radicals. Researchers at McMaster University have demonstrated that a complex dietary supplement, containing 31 various ingredients including antioxidants, herbals vitamins and minerals, may be effective in improving aging or age-related pathologies.

Dietary supplements provide protection to the body as a whole. Working from the inside out, they aid in supplying elements to help reduce DNA damage, facilitate cell renewal, and increase circulation, as well as other powerful health benefits. Some potent antioxidants include green tea, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, vitamins A, C, E, selenium, and carotenoids like lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein. For instance, green tea which is rich in polyphenols can help protect against cancer, reduce cardiovascular disease, stroke, and appears to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis. And alpha lipoic acid, which helps to make cellular mitochondria more efficient thereby reducing free radical formation, also helps to fight insulin resistance and support neurological health. Although there is no one single nutrient that does it all, a combination of ingredients and products when paired together can provide the necessary benefits to keeping healthy both inside and out.

Conversely, creams and other topical preparations deliver their anti-aging benefits from the outside in. Research has shown that green tea polyphenols when used topically can help stimulate the proliferation of skin cells to assist in reversing the outward signs of aging, and in improving various skin disorders such as rosacea and psoriasis. Furthermore, green tea may protect against sun damage and sunburn, as it reduces inflammation caused by ultraviolet radiation and restores the levels of glutathione (GSH) which is the body's main endogenous antioxidant.

The vast amount of current literature and science supports the use of powerful antioxidants and critical nutrients to protect, prevent, maintain and sustain total well-being. Though the fountain of youth remains an eternal legend, a daily regime consisting of healthy diet and activities with the support of a comprehensive selection of warranted antioxidants is the common sense path to providing the foundation to youthful living.

Michele Sevier Biography

Michele Sevier, DNM, DAc, is an educator and advocate of natural health and healing. As an independent advisor to Nutrition House, she is actively involved in many facets of integrative medicine including research, the formulation of specialized supplements, and providing natural health solutions to the general public through Nutrition House's 'Ask Our Expert' service at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ontario makes it easier to become an organ donor

Ontarians can now become registered organ donors with the click of a mouse

TORONTO, June 14, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - For the first time ever, Ontarians can now register as organ and tissue donors online through a new web site, Every registered donor has the potential to save up to eight lives.

Previously, Ontarians could only register as organ and tissue donors in person at a ServiceOntario centre or by downloading, completing and mailing a Gift of Life Consent Form.

By logging onto Ontarians can also confirm their current status as an organ donor. Many Ontarians mistakenly believe that the signed donor card they carry in their wallet means they are registered, and that is not the case, as this card pre-dates Ontario's registry.

"Getting more Ontarians registered as organ and tissue donors is critically important to prevent needless deaths on the waiting list and to cut the wait time for patients in need of a transplant," said Dr. Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN). "By making it possible to register online, we've made it easier for Ontarians who haven't yet registered because they didn't know how or it wasn't convenient."

While over 80 per cent of Ontarians believe that giving consent to donate in advance of their death is an important thing to do, less than 20 per cent of eligible Ontarians have registered their consent to donate organs and tissue.

"As long as people are waiting for organs and tissue donations, it's important that we make registering to become an organ and tissue donor as quick and easy as possible. This online donor registry will give hope to over 1,500 Ontarians, and their families, who are currently on the waiting list." Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care.

"It is important for us to create an awareness and make it easier for organ donors to register. The new online donor registration service is another example of ServiceOntario's commitment to make it easier for Ontarians to access key government services, simply at the click of a button," said Harinder S. Takhar, Minister of Government Services.

By registering consent to donate, an individual's information is recorded and stored in a secure Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database so it can be made available to families at the right time, for the purpose of ensuring the patient's donation decision is known and respected. With evidence of their loved ones' registered consent, almost all families consent to organ donation.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

From the C.D. Howe Institute ... Expanding CPP is a Risky Bet

TORONTO, June 9, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a risky route to addressing Canadian concerns about low incomes in retirement, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Don't Double Down on the CPP: Expansion Advocates Understate the Plan's Risks," author William B.P. Robson says advocates of an expanded CPP as a solution to retirement income worries too often promote it as a plan with guaranteed benefits that are fully funded. "The CPP is a gamble, not a guarantee: expanding the plan would raise the stakes on a bet most Canadians do not know they have made," says Robson, who is President and CEO of the Institute.

The CPP looks like a defined-benefit plan, but it is not, says Robson. Its retirement benefits are targets contingent on its financial condition. Moreover, past and upcoming revisions - including lower pensions for those taking them up before age 65 in both the CPP and its sister Quebec Pension Plan - show that governments can change the targets.

Nor is the CPP fully funded in the normal meaning of the term: able to pay its obligations with assets on hand at a point in time, says the author. The CPP's ability to pay currently promised benefits at the 9.9 percent contribution rate now in force depends on investment returns well above those now available on Canadian sovereign-quality debt. Treat the CPP like a defined benefit plan that should match its obligations with appropriate assets - the best match being the federal government's real-return bond - and its contribution rate would need to rise above 11.3 percent, says Robson.

Adverse economics and demographics, combined with disappointing investment returns, are now forcing the Quebec Pension Plan to trim benefits and raise contributions, he points out. Expanding the CPP would expose other Canadians to a larger risk of similar disappointments.

For the report go to:

Canadian CEOs more likely to eye older workers as potential recruits

Majority (75%) challenged with recruiting younger employees: PwC report

OTTAWA, June 9, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadian CEOs differ from their global counterparts on their focus on tapping into the supply of older workers approaching retirement age. In fact, a new PwC report found 60% of Canadian CEOs plan to increasingly recruit and retain older employees, compared to just 42% globally.

This focus on older workers is in part explained by the challenges with hiring and keeping people under thirty. The majority of Canadian CEOs (75%) expect challenges in recruiting and integrating younger workers into their business, compared to just 54% of their global counterparts. Despite this, less than 40% are planning to change their people strategies to incentivize younger workers differently from others.

"In terms of attracting and holding onto the new generation of workers, companies haven't quite figured it out yet. As a result, they are focusing on the talent they know best—older workers," says Ellen Corkery-Dooher, National People and Change Leader, PwC. "At the same time, there is a growing thirst among older workers to either stay on or opt for a career change rather than retiring."

Overall, more than 60% of Canadian CEOs are expecting to add jobs over the next year, outpacing the global average of 51%. Moreover, 85% of Canadian respondents said they intend to make some or major changes to their strategies for managing talent.

However, in Canada there also appears to be less emphasis on growing a contingent workforce, including seasonal, casual and project-based workers. Only 20% of Canadian CEOs said they were planning to grow their contingent workforce faster than their full-time workforce, compared to 32% of CEOs globally.

"With confidence in revenue growth starting to return, this could mean more Canadian companies hiring more full-time staff, rather than supplementing their workforce with casual, contingent employees," says Corkery-Dooher.

The report found Canadian CEOs expect to face a number of talent issues in the near term. Over the next three years, 83% expect the limited supply of skilled candidates to be a key challenge, compared to 66% globally. A majority (65%) of Canadian CEOs are worried that competition will lure away their top talent. Another 58% expect to face challenges with technically-skilled talent who lack flexibility and creativity in the next three years.

"Younger employees play a big part in infusing creativity and ingenuity into an organization," says Corkery-Dooher. "CEOs will need to tailor recruitment, rewards and performance programs so that they are not only aligned with the business strategy, but also to the differing characteristics of their workforce."

The survey found Canadian CEOs are more committed than their global counterparts to help develop a skilled talent pool. In fact, 88% of Canadian CEOs plan to increase their commitment to create and foster a skilled workforce over the next three years. This includes working with government and education systems to improve skills in the talent pool.

Interestingly, the report also found Canadian CEOs are placing a high priority on risk management expertise. For example, 87% said they were allocating more senior management attention to risk management, while 61% were formally designating executive responsibility for risk management.

For more information or to download the full report, visit:

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Toronto's new waterfront neighbourhoods will feature cutting-edge ultra-high speed broadband network

TORONTO, June 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Toronto's new waterfront communities will be wired with the latest in smart technology infrastructure that will make them among the most connected in the world.

Waterfront Toronto is partnering with the pioneering telecommunications firm Beanfield Metroconnect to create Canada's first open-access ultra-high speed broadband community network. Following a competitive selection process, Waterfront Toronto chose the Toronto-based firm to build and operate an advanced fibre-optic broadband network throughout the new waterfront communities.

The open-access ultra-broadband infrastructure will transform the neighbourhoods into intelligent communities that revolutionize how residents receive telecommunications services, promote economic growth and development, and enable innovation.

"Broadband has become essential public infrastructure for 21st century communities, and the need for faster connections delivered over more robust networks has been intensifying since the dawn of the Internet age," said John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto. "This state-of-the-art network will help us establish a new hub of innovation and stimulate enduring economic growth to help Toronto remain competitive with other world-leading cities, such as Seoul, Stockholm, and Tokyo where similar broadband infrastructures exist or are now being built."

Every home and business in the new communities will be wired with fibre and provided with affordable and unlimited access to internet speeds up to 500 times faster than typical North American residential networks. The network will also provide full community-wide Wi-Fi service. The ultra-high speed network will deliver internet connections starting at 100 megabits per second for residential customers and up to 10 gigabits per second for commercial customers - all at an extraordinarily competitive cost. At present, broadband of this calibre is not available for residential users in Toronto, and commercial access is significantly less affordable in Toronto than in other leading world cities.

"We are a Toronto company, and we are excited to be working with Waterfront Toronto to build on our waterfront what will be one of the world's leading community networks," said Dan Armstrong, Founding Partner, President and CEO of Beanfield Metroconnect. "As the Internet continues to develop and revolutionize the way people live, work, play and learn, the tremendous capacity of the network will ensure that everyone on the waterfront is equipped to both use and potentially create the web-based technologies and applications of the future."

Waterfront residents and businesses will have the highest performance internet services in Canada and guaranteed "among the best in the world" network services for more than a decade. Beanfield Metroconnect is required to ensure that the network is on par with that of the seven top global intelligent communities for 10 years beyond when the last building is built.

"The network is being built without taxpayer dollars," said Campbell. "Waterfront Toronto has facilitated an arrangement where our private sector development partners will initially provide the upfront capital and Beanfield Metroconnect will also invest in building the network."

As part of their monthly condo fees, residents will pay $60 for unlimited 100 megabit per second internet service, neighbourhood-wide Wi-Fi, and access to a unique community portal service, which will be developed to reflect local needs and interests.

The network will be "open-access" and residents and businesses will also be able to choose from a wide variety of content and service providers for internet, high-definition and internet protocol television, telephone, safety and security systems and more.

"This open, robust community-wide infrastructure will make the waterfront a living laboratory that encourages and supports innovation," said Campbell. "The network we are building will enable the development of smart buildings, smart healthcare and smart education. Plus it can support new applications that promote better public safety and traffic management."

Beanfield Metroconnect brings significant local knowledge and expertise to the project. The pioneering company has built and operates a large fibre-optic network in downtown Toronto that provides service to more than 200 commercial buildings. It was also instrumental in helping to build the thriving technology and media hub in Toronto's Liberty Village.

Waterfront Toronto has made major strides in revitalizing Toronto's waterfront. In addition to building and improving 17 parks and public spaces, it has finalized development agreements with Great Gulf Group of Companies, Urban Capital and Hines for private sector projects on the waterfront, as well as with George Brown College for the development of their new state-of-the-art campus.

The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto's waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization.

City of Cambridge Selects IBM Analytics to Enhance City Operations and Services

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, June 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the City of Cambridge today announced a new, collaborative initiative that combines IBM research, consulting services and software to help the City improve city planning, operations and services across all municipal departments.

The new IBM Analytics for City Services and Safety (ACCESS) project at the City of Cambridge is part of IBM's "First-of-a-Kind" program that brings IBM researchers and clients together to test new technologies for business and develop software solutions to improve the way business works. The project will help the City foster greater collaboration by improving the quality of its information across all key municipal departments. Through the initiative, IBM's Global Business Services consultants and its research arm will combine IBM research innovation in asset management, predictive modeling, and geo-spatial analytics with IBM business analytics software to unify city asset and service management.

This pioneering collaboration will help the City develop a unified approach to quickly take relevant information from different departments and apply the insight gleaned across all city departments and private service providers. Through the project, Cambridge will be able to synchronize work to better understand how to apply limited resources to sustainably improve quality of service. This will help ensure roads don't get dug up multiple times, minimize disruption to the public and infrastructure and help the City better plan for future growth.

Like all cities, Cambridge has a network of complex systems which are managed by multiple departments. These departments perform several types of activities ranging from capital improvement planning and project execution through to the management of day-to-day city operations. They must also prepare for unplanned events like snow storms and traffic accidents. Budget restraints, coupled with growing demands due to rapid urbanization and aging infrastructure add further complexity.

These complex challenges require city departments to develop and deliver diverse technical skills, equipment and operational processes as they coordinate across multiple levels to support efficient operations.

As one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, the City of Cambridge is progressively tackling these urban challenges before they become major impediments.

Today's move extends the City's leadership as a smart city. In Sept. 2010, Cambridge reached a major milestone by applying federal gas tax monies and IBM software to better manage over 200,000 critical Transportation and Public Works assets such as buildings, sewer systems and roadways across 50,000 locations. This new project extends that work, using sophisticated analytics to integrate relevant information in real-time across all departments.

"This new initiative will help us transform from a sense and respond model that is mainly focused on one area to a more predictive model across multiple departments," said Mayor Doug Craig. "With technology innovation, we can reduce overall operating costs, improve quality of service and sustainably enhance operations, infrastructure and public safety for our citizens." Cambridge was named Canada's first 'smarter city' by IBM in late 2010.

The City of Cambridge ACCESS program will draw on insights from a recent IBM initiative with Washington DC's Water and Sewer Authority. This collaboration helped the US federal government's water department develop solutions to more efficiently manage work crews and infrastructure while enhancing revenue and streamlining water usage.

IBM's CFO study found that organizations that invest in analytics lead their peers with 49 percent higher revenue growth, 20 times more profit growth, and 3 percent higher return on invested capital.

"We live in an age in which analytics are an effective tool to help cities better monitor, measure and manage nearly any physical system at work," said Lisa Caldwell, managing partner, Global Business Services, IBM Canada. "By collecting and analyzing capital project planning information on everything from transportation networks to the electricity grid, the City of Cambridge will become a worldwide model on how to predict how changes to one system will impact others to substantially increase efficiency and productivity."

In the last five years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in organic investments as well as 25 strategic acquisitions and dedicated more than 8000 analytics consultants with industry expertise to build its business analytics capabilities worldwide.

To further help cities of all sizes improve services and reduce costs, IBM today launched the Intelligent Operations Centre for smarter cities. The work is based on what the company has learned from leading more than 2,000 smarter cities and insights from many first of a kind research projects similar to this one over the past two years. The Operations Center will infuse analytical insights into municipal operations through one central point of command so cities will be able to better anticipate problems, respond to crises, and manage resources.

About Cambridge

The City of Cambridge is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. It is strategically located astride highway 401 in Southwestern Ontario, part of Canada's Technology Triangle. In 2010, the population reached over 130,000 people. With a multicultural mix and a strong foundation of support services, Cambridge has a diverse economic base with leading industries in advanced manufacturing, automotive, high technology, pharmaceutical, business and financial services and hospitality/retail. The Corporation of the City of Cambridge is an employer with a progressive work environment that offers the opportunity to provide service to the community through creativity and innovation, and with opportunities for career growth and advancement.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DNA Barcoding Captures International Headlines

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

Prof. Paul Hebert has been featured in media across the globe for his work in DNA barcoding.

DNA barcoding is a molecular technique developed by the integrative biology professor that allows scientists to match up barcodes from specimens of unknown identity to those derived from expert-identified reference specimens.

Hebert was highlighted in a story in Tuesday's Globe and Mail discussing how DNA barcoding is being used to trace the origin of food and food contaminants.

The article focuses on how Hebert, who is the scientific director of the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project at U of G, has used DNA barcoding to solve all kinds of food mysteries from the mislabeling of fish sold in restaurants and supermarkets to pinpointing the source of certain contaminants found in food on the production line. The article also states that while discovering the source of contaminants allows manufacturers and retailers to determine who’s liable, the applications of genetic tracing for busting food fraud and alleviating consumer fears are possibly even greater.

Hebert says the biggest users of the technology so far have been wholesalers and retailers, consumer interest groups and journalists.

Hebert and DNA barcoding were also featured in the New York Times recently. The story is focused on using the technology to uncover the mislabeling of fish sold in restaurants and supermarkets.

Using the new genetic techniques, the gene sequence found in a fish sample is compared with an electronic reference library like that maintained by iBOL, which now covers 8,000 varieties of fish compiled by biologists over the last five years. iBOL involves more than 100 researchers from 25 countries who are working towards creating the world’s first reference library of DNA barcodes for use in species identification around the globe. The goal of the project is to barcode five million of the world’s specimens over the next five years in order to allow researchers to match up unknown species, including fish.

In the article, Hebert explains that this new type of scrutiny could allow hundreds of thousands of fish samples to be tested each year, rather than the hundreds that are now rigorously analyzed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

STROKE IS URGENT: The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011 Stroke Report warns stroke awareness is dangerously low among women:

Foundation launches free Smartphone apps to help turn the tide for all Canadians

OTTAWA, June 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011 Stroke Month Report warns that awareness levels of stroke warning signs and stroke prevention is dangerously low among all women, especially among women from Canada's two largest visible minorities - people of Chinese and South Asian descent.

The Foundation polling found that women are not aware that stroke and heart disease is their leading cause of death:

...For Canadian women overall, 53 per cent are unable to identify that stroke and heart disease are their leading cause of death - and responsible for one in three deaths.

...For women of Chinese and South Asian origin, 84 per cent are unable to identify that stroke and heart disease are their leading cause of death.

Awareness has improved steadily thanks to the Foundation's The Heart Truth campaign, which continues to inform and empower women to take action to reduce their risks. Before the campaign started three years ago, 68 per cent of women didn't know stroke and heart disease was their leading cause of death.

"Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in women," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson, Dr. Frank Silver. "The real tragedy is that 80 per cent of strokes are preventable, whether you're a man or a woman."

Stroke affects women and men of all ages. More than 50,000 strokes occur in Canada every year - one every 10 minutes. About 300,000 Canadians live with the effects of stroke. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, more women than men die from stroke annually. In Canada stroke kills 32 per cent more women than men.

A previous analysis of Canadian deaths shows that stroke death rates are highest among women of Chinese origin, intermediate among women of South Asian origin, and lowest among women of European origin.

Women need better stroke detectors

Women's awareness of stroke warning signs is poor. The Foundation poll found that only 53 per cent of South Asian women were able to correctly identify at least two of the five warning signs - lower than the overall Canadian average for women of 62 per cent.

When asked to identify at least three warning signs, only a third of all women polled could do so.

"Canadian women need to be better stroke detectors," says Dr. Silver. "We need to do all we can to build awareness of the warning signs and help women reduce their risk from death or disability from stroke."

"Stroke is urgent. Knowing and reacting immediately to stroke warning signs is essential," says Dr. Silver, who notes that there is a treatment for strokes caused by blood clots, the most common type of stroke. This treatment must be administered within the first few hours of warning signs to be effective. "Canadians must react urgently to the warning signs by calling 9-1-1 or their local emergency number," says Dr. Silver.

Women underestimate their risk factors when it comes to stroke

Equally concerning, 23 per cent of all women could not name even one risk factor for stroke. Only 29 per cent of Chinese women and 22 per cent of South Asian women identified high blood pressure, which is in fact the leading risk factor for stroke.

Women overall also had low awareness of stroke risk factors. For example, only 28 per cent recognized high blood pressure as a risk factor and only 20 per cent identified high cholesterol.

Following a lower-sodium diet and controlling high blood pressure, being physically active and smoke-free can significantly reduce stroke risk.

"The very face of our communities is changing. Heart disease and stroke are increasingly crossing age, gender, and ethnic lines," says Dr. Silver. "It's important that Canadians of all ethnic backgrounds be aware of how to prevent stroke."

Foundation launches two stroke apps to help Canadians lower their risk

To help all Canadians lower their risk for stroke, the Heart and Stroke Foundation created two new free Smartphone apps that will allow them to make simple lifestyle changes - wherever they are.

"The digital age has created a new avenue for healthcare - and the Foundation is embracing the technology to support the health of Canadians," says Dr. Marco Di Buono, spokesperson for the Foundation. "With a continued focus on reducing all risks, we can stop strokes from robbing us of valuable, quality years of life."

The My Heart&Stroke Health Check Recipe Helper Smartphone app

By eating a diet that is lower in sodium, Canadians can prevent and control high blood pressure, the number one cause of stroke. The new My Heart&Stroke Health Check Recipe Helper app provides Canadians with a quick and easy resource to help lower the amount of sodium (salt) in their diets. The app features dozens of heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes that come with grocery lists, main ingredient searches, and comprehensive nutrition information. Health Check™ is one way the Foundation helps Canadians make healthy choices and is based on Canada's Food Guide.

A 2007 Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canadian Stroke Network study showed that reducing salt intake by half would eliminate high blood pressure in one million Canadians.
"Our Health Check registered dietitians selected these recipes based on strict criteria for the amount of sodium and fat content," says Dr. Di Buono. "Canadians can trust that the recipes are healthy."
The recipes include a variety of options for salad, soup, vegetarian, meat, poultry, and seafood meals.

With the app, Canadians can create a grocery shopping list and rate their favourite recipes. It will be regularly updated with new recipes and features.

The My Heart&Stroke Blood Pressure Action Plan app

"High blood pressure - which is the leading cause of stroke - affects six million Canadians, and is known as the silent killer because of its lack of symptoms," says Dr. Silver. "The good news is that with proper diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40 per cent."

Developed by Foundation experts, the My Heart&Stroke Blood Pressure Action Plan app allows users to monitor and better manage their blood pressure. They will be able to assess their personal risk, track blood pressure readings over time, view graphs of blood pressure changes, share readings with their physicians, list their medications, set appointment reminders, and track their condition.

"The bottom line is that awareness of your risks, of the warning signs, and of prevention and treatment options are your best defences against stroke," says Dr. Di Buono.

The free apps - which are available in English or French - can be downloaded at the Apple, Android, and BlackBerry app stores. Or Canadians can go to

Heart and Stroke Foundation helps Canadians turn the tide on stroke

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is a committed leader in stroke research, health promotion, and advocacy. The Foundation works on many fronts to help all Canadians live longer, healthier lives:

The Heart Truth

The Foundation's The Heart Truth™ campaign educates women about identifying their risks and warning signs of heart disease and stroke. It provides women with the tools they need to take charge of their heart health: women can significantly reduce their risk — by as much as 80 per cent — by making simple lifestyle changes. (

A Canadian vision for stroke care

The Canadian Stroke Strategy is a joint initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network designed to support an integrated approach to stroke awareness, prevention, access to treatment, rehabilitation, and community reintegration in every province and territory. The Canadian Stroke Network fosters collaboration between more than 100 of Canada's leading scientists and clinicians from 24 universities. This strategy is already saving countless lives, while also having remarkable influence on secondary stroke prevention and recovery.

Multicultural HSF resources

Chinese is now the number three language in Canada - right after English and French. The new HSF poll found that over 80 per cent of Chinese and South Asian women were interested in stroke and heart disease information geared to them. Eighty-one per cent of Chinese women and 78 per cent of South Asian women said it would be useful to have this information in their languages. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has health resources in Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu to meet this need. Go to for more information.

A quivering heartbeat away from stroke

This year, the Foundation put the focus on a risk factor for stroke: atrial fibrillation. This condition causes an irregular heartbeat and increases the risk for ischemic stroke - stroke caused by a blood clot - by three to five times. It is estimated that up to 15 per cent of all strokes are due to atrial fibrillation.

Focusing on stroke research

The research initiative Focus on Stroke encourages new researchers and health professionals to train in the field of stroke and supports newly established investigators. Celebrated as one of the country's leading research partnerships, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Stroke Network received the first ever CIHR Partnership Award for this initiative in 2002.

Stroke knowledge saves lives

Recognizing stroke warning signs and getting immediate medical attention have a major impact on survival and recovery. The Foundation recently launched its Stroke is Urgent awareness campaign to help Canadians recognize warning signs and how to react to this medical emergency.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy. (