Monday, August 29, 2011

House Calls Coming Back To Ontario

Medical Visits Mean The Care Comes To You

TORONTO, August 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontarians will be able to count on house calls from their family doctors and nurses under a new Ontario Liberal plan, London North Centre Liberal Candidate Deb Matthews announced today.

"House calls are coming back to Ontario so anyone who has difficulty getting to appointments will be cared for right in their homes," said Matthews, who is also Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government. "It makes it easier for them to stay comfortably where they want to be."

Matthews announced the proposed new program at the home of Barbara Burns, 83, whose mobility challenges make it difficult for her to travel to visit a family doctor. The proposed new program means that Mrs. Burns and any Ontarian who can't get to the doctor due to mobility issues or severe illness, will receive convenient, at-home treatment.

The program will offer services ranging from a health professional's visit (such as a doctor, nurse or occupational therapist), to phone and online consultations — all making access to health care easier, and more cost effective. Long-term care costs $150 per day per patient — and it grows to $1,000 per day in a hospital. Helping patients requiring complex care stay in their own homes while providing the treatment they need costs a fraction as much.

"This program is the next step forward, making it easier for doctors to provide this service, and easier for seniors to stay in their own homes," said Dr. Mark Nowaczynski, leader of a not-for-profit service called House Calls.

Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government and Ontario doctors and nurses worked together to make enhanced services possible for health professionals and patients. Only Ontario Liberals have a plan for moving Ontario forward, including improved health care for everyone.


Ontario Liberals have been working hard to enhance health care and make life easier for seniors and anyone who needs additional care.

We're redesigning the primary care system and home care system. In particular, we're going to make sure that those who can't get to the doctor due to mobility issues or severe illness have the care brought to them via telemedicine, phone consults or house calls.

This will improve care and reduce hospitalization rates and pressure on long-term care, reaching seniors as well as any complex patient who needs enhanced services.

Our plan builds on our success in health care — more doctors, new hospitals, lower wait times, family health teams and community health clinics. We're moving forward together, building a better Ontario for our children and grandchildren.


House calls are coming back to Ontario — we're ensuring that anyone who has difficulty leaving their homes to get to an appointment can get the full range of medical help they need, where they are most comfortable.

The program will provide a range of services such as:

...Regular, scheduled doctors' house calls

...Regular, scheduled home visits by nurses

...Enhanced provincewide telehealth home care — patients can call or go online and talk directly with a nurse practitioner or a doctor to get help.

House calls and enhanced services will also save our health care system money. Today, it costs about $150 per day for Long-Term Care and $1,000 per day in a hospital. Helping more patients stay in their own homes while providing them with the care they need costs a fraction as much.


Thanks to Ontario Liberals, nearly all Ontarians — and especially those with chronic conditions — now have access to a family doctor.

But there's more to do.

We'll make sure that patients have access to an entire care team responsive to their needs, if necessary, right at home. We'll do this through Ontario's Family Health Team doctors and nurses.

The Ontario Liberal government has devoted resources to health care and focused on a strategy that's delivering results.
Since 2003 we have 2,900 more doctors in Ontario, and we reached agreements with the Ontario Medical Association that provide incentives to make house calls

We opened 200 Family Health Teams and 25 nurse practitioner clinics — many of these practices are already offering easier ways for patients to connect with their care team such as email or phone consultations

Since 2003, more than 1.3 million Ontarians have family doctors who didn't have one before

By 2013 Ontario will have doubled the number of doctors coming out of medical school and into practice compared with 2003 — that means more doctors are available to make house calls

Wait times are down and we have built 18 hospitals — better for those who do need additional medical attention

MedsCheck at Home is a medication review program available now for patients who aren't able to get to their local pharmacy in person.

Only Ontario Liberals have the plan to move our province forward together.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Canadians Spending Too Much Time, Money Commuting

Workopolis encourages Canadians to show support for a National Work From Home Day

TORONTO, August 24, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Labour Day is less than two weeks away, and for Canadian workers, back to school and the return to 'regular' work means more cars on the road and more people commuting. According to a recent survey by Workopolis, the average Canadian worker is spending 42 minutes commuting to and from work from each day and $269 each month on associated costs working away from the home, with the largest cost being transportation at $146 per month. That's the equivalent of 182 hours each year and a cost of more than $3,000.

"We spend a lot of time and money getting to and from work each day - not to mention the environmental strain and stress that comes with commuting," said Kelly Dixon, President of Workopolis. "Today, working from home is a viable option for many. We need to continue to promote the benefits of telecommuting and encourage more flexible working arrangements for Canadian workers."

Just Getting to Work Can be Hard Work

Part of getting back into the daily routine of commuting can mean expecting public transit delays, busier stations and, of course, more traffic jams - all contributors of stress to the Canadian worker.

More common modes of commuting include:

...Two-thirds (69%) of workers commute by car on their own;

...One-in-five (19%) take public transit;

...One-in-ten (10%) carpool;

...12% walk ; and

...4% ride a bicycle

Commuting: By the Numbers

The latest Statistics Canada Census from 2006 reveals there are over 18 million people (over the age of 15) who are currently employed in Canada. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of Canadians polled said they commute by car on their own. That would equate to a savings of nearly $120 million for Canadian workers and more than 60 Kg of CO2 emissions if these workers were given the option to work from home for just one day a year.

Not surprising, the longest average commuters reside in provinces with Canada's most urban cities. Those in British Columbia and Ontario lead the way with an average commute time of 48 minutes each, while Atlantic Canadians and Quebecers spend the least amount of time commuting (31 and 34 minutes respectively).

Today, only four in ten (38 per cent) of Canadian workers work from home a few days per month even though many companies have the capability through emerging and secure technologies and practices to offer this as an option to their employees. Offering the option of working from home can also help to position a company as an employer of choice. In fact, seven in ten (68 per cent) of respondents indicated they have turned down a job prospect just to avoid a long commute.

"Grappling with gridlock is a terrible way to begin or wrap up any work day," said Dixon. "Offering Canadian workers the option to work from their own homes, even if it's just one day a year, would do wonders for our collective rush hour mentality."

"Found" Time

By working from home, Canadians are able to spend the time they would normally be commuting on doing the things they want such as spending time with family and friends. This is another one of the reasons that Workopolis is championing a National Work From Home Day with the goal of one day being recognized by the federal government.

The top five ways Canadians would prefer to spend their extra time are:

...Completing chores or housework - 83% (even higher for women at 86%)

...Spending time with family or friends - 79%

...Engaging in other recreational, hobby or leisure activities - 76%

...Preparing more nutritious meals - 74%

...Get more sleep - 71%

Interestingly, six in ten (58 per cent) said they would spend the extra time working more hours. This number is even higher for those Canadians who are already working from home some of the time (73 per cent).

To show support for a National Work From Home Day Canadians are encouraged to join the 77,000 people who have pledged their support on Facebook at You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following @workopolis and using the hashtag #WFHD.

About the Research

The Environics Research Group study results were collected through a custom, online survey between April 5-13th, 2011. This included a sample size of 1001 Canadian workers. The Environics Research National Omnibus Survey was conducted between April 12-17th, 2011. This included a sample of 1000 Canadians 18 years and over. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.

About Workopolis

Workopolis is Canada's leading careers and employment website, connecting the country's largest pool of candidates and employers online. Workopolis' fully-bilingual suite of services allows recruiters to post jobs, search resumes and manage their hiring needs. Candidates can post their resumes, search and apply for jobs and manage their careers online.

Canadian owned and operated, Workopolis has grown to 200 staff members across Canada since 2000. Workopolis is in an equal partnership with Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and Square Victoria Digital Properties Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada.

Workopolis was chosen as the first organization to be given the Best Emerging Organization distinction as part of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures program and was a recipient of the 2010 50 Most Engaged Workplaces award.

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Bike News: David Suzuki on Bike Lanes, The Guardian On Toronto's War on Bikes

Image credit Environment North

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

David Suzuki weighs in on bike lanes in Huffington Post Canada:

Most arguments against bike lanes are absurd. Consider this: We have wide roads everywhere to accommodate cars, most of which carry only one person. On either side of many of those roads, we have pedestrian sidewalks. In most large urban areas, we also have bus lanes and transit systems such as subways and rapid transit. When cyclists ride on roads, drivers often get annoyed. If they ride on sidewalks, pedestrians rightly get angry


But he notes that the backlash against bikes is subsiding as people learn about their value.

As oil becomes scarce and pollution and climate change increase, people are finally realizing that transporting a 90-kilogram person in two tonnes of metal just isn't sustainable, especially in urban areas.

Not in Toronto, they aren't. The war on the bike there has become so noisy that the Guardian in the UK has picked up the story. From the Bike Blog:

[Mayor] Ford has done his best to halt the "war on cars" and keep bike-riding "pinkos" on our toes. Last month, the city council approved the removal of bike lanes on a major thoroughfare in downtown Toronto, but not until a separated lane is installed on a smaller, parallel street. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who chairs the committee that recommended scrapping the Jarvis Street bike lanes, said: "The cars are going to move faster and I think that's a proper investment."

Minnan-Wong's statement strikingly reveals the city's inadequate support for cycling initiatives. In light of obvious environmental issues and Toronto's severe traffic congestion, why would the city approve policies that encourage its citizens to rely increasingly on cars? Could the city's marginalising of cyclists account for an increasing number who break the rules (by riding on the pavement, using their phones while cycling, not signalling their left-hand turns, etc)? This approach should not only be seen as misguided, but dangerous.

More in the Guardian

... read more story at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

HomEquity Bank Survey Reveals Majority of Canadians Intend to Stay in Their Home After Retirement

photo credit: fadedgenes via Flickr

TORONTO, August 10, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - HomEquity Bank, provider of CHIP Home Income Plan, Canada's leading reverse mortgage solution, today announced the findings of a national Ipsos Reid survey regarding Canadian's sentiments towards retirement and their financial stability. The survey, polling 1,054 Canadians aged 45 to 60, concluded that 61 per cent of retired Canadians intend to stay in their current home as long as possible after retirement. The figure was substantially higher (78%) for respondents that were already retired.

The survey also found that the average Canadian is eager to retire by the age of 61, but nearly half (48 per cent) do not feel as though they are financially prepared for a satisfactory retirement. Of the 61 per cent of overall respondents (retired and still working) who indicated they would like to keep their current homes throughout their retirement, 36 per cent indicated they would consider leveraging their home equity to make it possible.

Debt is a major factor affecting the financial stability and retirement plans of Canadians; 45 per cent of retired respondents carried debt into their retirement. Among this group, 28 per cent of respondents cited a mortgage as their primary source of debt, while 23 per cent had a line of credit and 16 per cent had high-interest credit cards as their main source of debt.

Similarly, roughly half (49 per cent) of respondents who have not yet retired expect to carry debt into their retirement, including a mortgage (19 per cent), line of credit (19 per cent) and credit card debt (24 per cent).

"There is an obvious disconnect between the ideal retirement goals of Canadian seniors and their current financial position," said Greg Bandler, Senior Vice President, HomEquity Bank. "Debt may be a major factor affecting retirement plans, but responsibly leveraging home equity can allow Canadian seniors to improve cash flow and eliminate high-interest debt, while maintaining ownership of their family home. In this way, homeowners can turn their home into a liquid asset that contributes to their financial plan."

Regionally speaking, of all respondents both currently retired and not yet retired, Atlantic Canadians (76 per cent) are the most likely to want to stay in their home during retirement, followed by those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (73 per cent), Ontario (62 per cent), Alberta (61 per cent), Quebec (56 per cent) and British Columbia (50 per cent).

In June, HomEquity Bank lowered the eligibility age of its flagship product, CHIP Home Income Plan, from 60 to 55. By lowering the eligibility age to 55, HomEquity Bank is positioned to help Canadian seniors better coordinate their retirement plans by making it possible to access equity in their homes to enjoy retirement on their terms.

Now in its 25th year of business operations, HomEquity Bank is the only national provider of reverse mortgages in Canada. Reverse mortgages are offered to Canadian homeowners under the CHIP Home Income Plan label and have no income, credit or health qualifications. Unlike traditional loans, borrowers don't have to service the interest or repay the principal for as long as they own their home and are living in it.

About HomEquity Bank

HomEquity Bank is a Schedule I Canadian Bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of HOMEQ Corporation (HOMEQ). HOMEQ's shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol HEQ.

HOMEQ's wholly owned subsidiary HomEquity Bank is the only national provider of reverse mortgages to homeowners aged 55 and over, Canada's fastest growing demographic segment. HomEquity Bank originates and administers Canada's largest portfolio of reverse mortgages under the CHIP Home Income Plan brand. As of March 31, 2011, the mortgage portfolio comprised approximately 8,000 reverse mortgages with an accrued value of $1.1 billion, secured by residential properties across Canada worth approximately $2.8 billion. HomEquity Bank has been the main underwriter of reverse mortgages in Canada since its predecessor, Canadian Home Income Plan, pioneered the concept in 1986.

For more information about HomEquity Bank, please visit Additional information on HOMEQ Corporation, including annual and quarterly reports can be viewed at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Time to Make Cycling Safer: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, August 10, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The most recent report on cycling injuries revealed that in 2009, there were 26,000 emergency department visits and over 1,300 hospitalizations in Ontario. With increasing interest in cycling across the province, Ontario's doctors are urging the provincial government to make cyclists' safety a priority.

"Two-thirds of Canadians are inactive, putting them at greater risk of chronic disease. Cycling is a great a way to stay fit and a way for people of all ages to add essential physical activity to their daily lives and improve their health." - Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

Dr. Stewart Kennedy, President of the Ontario Medical Association, released a comprehensive and in-depth report, "Enhancing Cycling Safety in Ontario," before he cycled through downtown Toronto to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Big Bike event. The report included a number of recommendations aimed at increasing cyclists' safety. Among the recommendations, Ontario's doctors are calling for:

...The provincial government to develop policy and programs, including funding, to facilitate safe cycling, and for municipal governments to redouble their efforts to build much-needed cycling infrastructure;

...Connected networks of roads with paved shoulders in rural settings, to allow for the much needed separation between cyclists and fast-travelling vehicles on rural roads;

...The Ontario Drivers' Manual to be revised to include a comprehensive section on vehicle-bicycle interaction, and furthermore that the Ontario's Drive Test include this in the examination of new drivers;

...Ongoing delivery of bicycle safety education for young children through such programs as Can-Bike, and that such training be mandatory for all Ontario primary school students;

...Education material for both drivers and cyclists that emphasizes intersection-specific dangers.

A safer environment for cycling is crucial to creating a healthier population. Ontario's doctors want to make sure that Ontarians feel safe when riding their bicycles.

For the complete list of recommendations from "Enhancing Cycling Safety in Ontario" please visit

"The debate about bicycle infrastructure is so often politically driven, but should really be about the health of the population and safety of those who choose to cycle. Ontario's doctors are committed to working with the province and municipalities to create a safer Ontario for our cyclists." Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

Quick Facts:

...Annually more than 2,000 cyclists are injured in vehicle-bicycle collisions alone;

...68 per cent of car-bike collisions happen at intersections and these most frequently involve children riding off of the sidewalk;

...In the past five years cycling fatalities from these collisions have averaged 20 per year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Tour is Coming to You!

Mobile electronics recycling centre continues its journey across Ontario this Fall, inviting Ontarians to "drive up, drop off, do good"

TORONTO, Aug. 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - More Ontario communities are about to get a visit from the tour and their chance to rid themselves of unwanted electronics. On the heels of a successful summer-long tour through northern Ontario that stopped in dozens of communities from Sault Ste. Marie to Sioux Lookout, the tour will now swing through Southern Ontario. Tour stops will provide a convenient drop-off point for residents and businesses to safely recycle old, used and unwanted televisions, computers and dozens of other items free of charge, while also offering games, giveaways and a chance to learn more about responsible electronics recycling.

This tour is run by Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES), which is tasked with diverting electronic waste from landfill to ensure hazardous components like batteries, leaded glass, and mercury-containing bulbs are safely and responsibly recycled while valuable components like metal, glass and plastic are reclaimed and used to make everything from water pipes to coins.

OES has partnered with Live Nation to bring the tour to festivals, fairs, concerts and sporting events throughout the summer and fall across the province, offering visitors the opportunity to learn more about the program while disposing of handheld devices, such as cameras and cell phones, for free.

"We believe that the work OES does in promoting safe and responsible recycling of electronics is part of building a sustainable future for all of us here in the province. We're happy to be part of their initiative to help educate and inform Ontarians about how to recycle their electronics," said Paul Corcoran, Executive Vice-President, Venues, Live Nation.

The team will be cheering on the Toronto FC at every home game and offering fans a drop-off point to dispose of unwanted cell phones, cameras and other small electronic items, while also offering games, giveaways and a chance to learn more about responsible electronics recycling. "We're proud to work with Ontario Electronic Stewardship to help promote safe and responsible recycling of electronics as part of our commitment to sustainability as an organization. We look forward to a successful partnership and encourage Toronto FC fans to learn more and join us in doing our part to keep used and unwanted electronics out of Ontario landfills," Paul Beirne, Sr. director of business operations, Toronto FC.

The next stop on the tour takes place Friday, September 2 - Monday September 5 at the Perth Fall Fair. Residents and businesses are welcome to stop by any time from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM and bring their electronics for recycling. The mobile electronics recycling centre will also be in dozens of additional communities in the coming months, including:

• Owen Sound • Port Hope • Glencoe • Metcalfe • Moore/Brigden • Walkerton • Toronto

"Together with our service providers and Ontario residents and businesses, we have diverted more than 50,000 tonnes of waste electronics from landfill to date," said Carol Hochu, executive director, OES. "Last year, our mobile tour collected over 350 tonnes of e-waste, and is on the road in the far North and rural South this year to raise awareness, generate enthusiasm and motivate people to action across Ontario."

The OES program now accepts more than 44 types of electronic items, including:

Amplifiers • Audio and video players & recorders • Cameras • Cell phones • Computers (desktop & laptop) and peripherals • Copiers • Digital cameras • Fax machines • Monitors • Pagers and PDAs • Printers • Radios • Receivers • Scanners • Speakers • Telephones and answering machines • Tuners • Turntables • Televisions • Video projectors

To keep track of the tour as it unfolds, and for locations, event details, photos, blog posts and more, please visit:

About Ontario Electronic Stewardship

Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) is a not-for-profit industry organization that oversees the responsible recycling of end-of-life electronics through hundreds of approved and affiliated collection sites across the province. The program began operations in 2009, and was developed with Waste Diversion Ontario on behalf of the Ontario government in compliance to the Waste Diversion Act.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

"From the Ground Up: Civic Engagement in Our Times" Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs celebrates 80th Annual Conference

Stephane Dion awarded this year's Public Policy Award for Leadership

Addresses the role of the individual and organizations in shaping civic life and public policy.

ORILLIA, Ontario, August 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - China is shutting down online and media debate on its high speed train crash, Syrians demand change, US partisanship threatens to derail economic recovery and the citizens in Canada's largest city are finding their voice in the face of service cuts. The ways individuals and organizations influence and shape civic life and public policy dominate the agenda at the 80th annual conference of the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs (CIPA), August 4-7, 2011.

This year's line-up includes such Canadian and international luminaries as Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Hon. Jim Prentice, P.C., Q.C., Senior Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman, CIBC, Ovide Mercredi, Former National Chief Assembly of First Nations, Jay Naidoo, former South African Minister of State in Nelson Mandela's government, and Mona Eltahawy, award winning Egyptian columnist.

"The diverse ways in which individuals and organizations engage in community issues and social change at the local, national and international levels and the ways in which these forms of engagement are changing are at the core of this year's Couchiching Conference." said Gwen Burrows, President, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs.

CIPA is pleased to announce this year's recipient of The Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership to Stephane Dion, P.C., M.P. The award was established to honour the accomplishments of a Canadian who has demonstrated leadership in public policy and recognizes the actions taken by an individual to create policy that has had a proven positive impact on Canada or a community within Canada, often in the face of public opposition.

The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs is Canada's oldest public affairs forum and is a crucible of provocative questions, creative ideas and divergent discussions that are the product of the collective contributions of all who attend. For more information, please visit