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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Web-based service accelerates access to information and decreases health care costs

McKesson Canada brings RelayHealth to Canada: new web-based service will transform the way health care providers and patients collaborate and exchange information

TORONTO, November 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Today at the Ontario Hospital Association's HealthAchieve 2011 Conference, McKesson Canada announced the launch of RelayHealth, a new web-based service that provides complete and secure information flow between patients and all of their health care providers coast to coast. Focused on the patient point of care, RelayHealth will accelerate information exchange, facilitate collaboration between health care providers, advance patient quality of care, and reduce overall health care costs.

"We live in a world where information can be shared openly and securely, regardless of location. When it comes to health care, a patient's quality of care can be jeopardized if their physician or specialist cannot access the most current and accurate information," says Dale Weil, Senior Vice President, Integrated Healthcare Solutions and Pharmaceutical Solutions, McKesson Canada. "By enabling information exchange among practitioners, laboratories and specialists, RelayHealth reduces duplication, provides faster diagnosis, decreases wait times and ensures that patient data is accessible anywhere, at any time. RelayHealth takes a patient-centred approach and puts the focus where it is needed - on the patient."

As noted by both Canada Health InfoWay and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Canada lags in the adoption of technology in health care. In its report "Healthcare Transformation in Canada", the CMA noted that health care information technology (HIT) must shift from multi-billion dollar investments at the hospital level to a renewed emphasis at the patient level (family physician consults) where the majority of Canadian patients interact with the health care delivery system. The report states that existing top-down investments have not yet resulted in significant benefits to providers or patients, due to the fact that all jurisdictions have focused their investment on large-scale HIT systems and architecture, with very little investment being made at the points of care where the actual benefits of HIT will be realized.

"RelayHealth promises to quickly automate and connect all ambulatory points of care to support clinicians, providing timely clinical value to patients and providers," says Diane Salois-Swallow, CIO at York Central Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre/ Stevenson Memorial Hospital within the Central Local Health Integration Network. "This service puts patients in the centre of care, with the potential of them becoming more self-sufficient and being able to make more informed decisions about their health and those of their family members."

RelayHealth is intended to be made available at no cost to patients through their health care systems and providers. It provides patients with the tools they need to better manage their own health and that of their dependents. All they need is a computer, Internet access and a password. It allows physicians and other health care providers, as well as patients to: share lab and diagnostic test results; make physician referral requests; book appointments; make prescription and refill requests; and reduce duplicate testing and medical errors.

"This innovative service truly fosters proactive collaboration between the different medical providers allowing patients to have one touch-point for all of their health needs," says Joseph Galli, Director and Co-founder of the Canadian Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation in Montreal, Quebec. "RelayHealth will help health organizations, governments and institutions to improve patient health outcomes, integrate health information, and deliver accessibility and cost efficiencies."

"RelayHealth can send and receive information by integrating with current provincial systems and databases which reduces complexity," adds Dale Weil of McKesson Canada. "The advantage of using this service is that it achieves savings in the shorter term for the health care system and it will help increase patient satisfaction. Also, because RelayHealth is delivered as a service, it accelerates implementation at a lower cost than other major health information technologies and it requires less maintenance. It is a convenient service that provides the same view, same patient information across the entire health network."

Founded more than 100 years ago, McKesson Canada is dedicated to delivering vital medications, supplies and information technologies that enable the health care industry to provide patients better, safer care. Our solutions empower pharmacies, manufacturers, hospitals and other health care institutions by enabling them to get closer to 12 million patients they serve every single day, while contributing to the quality and safety of care in Canada. For more information on RelayHealth, visit

Friday, November 4, 2011

Health spending in Canada to reach $200 billion in 2011

Compensation of health professionals, evolution in the use of services important cost drivers of past decade

OTTAWA, November 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Total spending on health care in Canada is expected to grow by more than $7 billion this year to reach a forecast $200.5 billion in 2011. This amounts to roughly $5,800 per Canadian, about $150 more per person than last year, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975 to 2011, one of two CIHI reports released today, shows that growth in health care spending is slowing down. Spending is expected to increase by 4.0% in 2011 over last year—the lowest annual growth rate seen in the last 15 years. In contrast, average annual growth in health care spending between 1998 and 2008 was 7.4%.

While health care spending continues to rise faster than inflation and population growth, it is expected to grow more slowly than the overall economy this year. Spending on health care is forecast to reach 11.6% of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, a slight decrease from the historic peak of 11.9% in 2009 and 2010.

"Like in many other countries in the developed world, health care in Canada has seen a period of tremendous growth and major reinvestments in the new millennium," explains CIHI's President and CEO, John Wright. "While the pace of that growth appears to be slowing down, it's important to understand how we reached the $200-billion mark this year. In light of global economic uncertainty and efforts here at home to address government deficits, it's important to examine what's been driving health care costs in order to better plan for the future of the health system."

Main factors that drove health expenditures since 1998

CIHI is also releasing another major study today, called Health Care Cost Drivers: The Facts. The report examines the key factors that contributed to the $200-billion milestone. It focuses on public-sector health care spending between 1998 and 2008—a boom period when annual health expenditure in Canada more than doubled—and identifies issues to monitor in the future.

The study shows that in Canada, as in many countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there was a tendency to spend more on health care during a period of economic growth and higher income. From a fiscal policy perspective, the period from 1998 to 2008 saw a reduction in the interest that governments in Canada had to pay on outstanding debt, which allowed them to divert resources to overall program spending and tax reduction. The major cost drivers of public-sector health care spending in the past decade were compensation of health care providers, increased use of services and an evolution in the types of services provided and used.

Compensation of health professionals a major cost driver

CIHI's data shows that compensation paid to health care providers has been one of the most significant cost drivers of public-sector health care spending. Hospitals represent the largest category of public-sector spending (37%), and compensation represents about 60% of total hospital budgets. Between 1999 and 2008, the number of hospital workers grew by 21%, while their compensation increased faster than that of workers in the general labour market. The hourly paid hospital employees wage index from Statistics Canada increased by an average of 3.3% per year, compared with an average annual wage increase of 2.7% in the general economy.

After hospitals, physicians represent the second-largest category of public-sector health care spending (20% in 2011). Between 1998 and 2008, physician expenditures increased on average by 6.8% a year. CIHI data shows that the price of doctors' services was the most important cost driver of spending in this category, with compensation for doctors' services growing by 3.6% a year—faster than that for other health workers and the labour market in general. However, physician compensation grew more slowly than the prices of other public goods and services from 1975 until 1998.

"Over the last decade, a host of factors may have contributed to the compensation hike for physicians and other health professionals," explains Wright. "For example, increased competition between provinces to recruit and retain health providers, tighter credentialing of health professionals and stronger bargaining positions due to increased government revenues may have all played a role."

With the number of practising doctors on the rise in Canada, CIHI data shows that spending on physicians is expected to be one of the fastest-growing categories of health expenditure in Canada in 2011, outpacing growth in spending on drugs and hospitals for the fifth year in a row.

Increased use of services and evolving types of services used

Over the past decade, population growth contributed about 1% annually to health care costs. Beyond the demographic factors, the data shows that Canadians are using more health care in some areas. For example, the volume of drugs sold in Canada contributed an average increase in spending of 6.2% a year between 1998 and 2007, even after accounting for population growth and aging. Overall drug spending grew by an average of 10.1% per year during this period. This makes increased utilization the single largest cost driver of drug spending over the past decade. The increased volume was driven largely by use of anti-hypertensive, cholesterol-lowering and gastrointestinal drugs.

Canadians are also seeing their doctors more often and getting more medical procedures. Over the past decade, use of physician services grew by 1.5% annually per Canadian, after adjusting for population aging. The 10-year period also saw a significant increase in the number of Canadians receiving priority-area procedures, such as hip and knee replacements; diagnostic imaging exams, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans; and cataract surgery procedures.

A change in the types of health services used by Canadians—such as the emergence of new drugs and new diagnostic and surgical tools—has also contributed to the growth in health costs. For example, changes in the types of drugs used were an important driver of drug spending, particularly during the last five years. New cancer drugs and immunosuppressants were two of the fastest-growing drug classes during this period. Investments in technologies, such as diagnostic imaging equipment, also grew significantly over this period. Between 1997 and 2010, the number of CT scanners operating in Canada nearly doubled (from 245 to 484), while the number of MRI machines increased more than fivefold (from 55 to 281).

Aging population a modest health care cost driver

CIHI also analyzed the extent to which the aging population is driving costs.

The report demonstrates that population aging is a cost driver of modest importance relative to other drivers, accounting for less than 1% of average annual growth in health care spending (0.8% per year) from 1998 to 2008.

"There is no doubt that as we grow older, we often need more health services and that this costs the health system more money. However, while the Canadian population is aging, it is aging slowly as a whole," says Jean-Marie Berthelot, Vice President of Programs at CIHI. "Over the past decade, the proportion of health dollars spent on seniors by provincial and territorial governments has remained relatively stable at 44%. This tells us that spending on seniors is not growing faster than spending for the population at large."

CIHI data shows, however, that the impact of aging on health care spending varies considerably by province. It is more significant in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, for example, than in Ontario and the west.

Health care spending not growing as share of provincial and territorial government budgets

Since health care delivery is a provincial/territorial responsibility in Canada, the vast majority of public-sector health dollars are spent by provincial and territorial governments. In 2010, the latest year of available data, health care is estimated to account for about 38% of provincial/territorial government spending. However, this proportion varies among provinces, from 30.4% in Quebec and 33.9% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 44.5% in Manitoba and 47.2% in Nova Scotia.

"Our study identifies several areas to monitor for the future in terms of health care spending," says Berthelot. "For example, increases in the number of health professionals, changes in their scope of practice and the introduction of new technologies—such as new cancer biologic drugs—may all continue to have a significant impact on what we collectively pay for health care. Canadian governments, and society as a whole, will need to balance the health needs of the population against overall costs to ensure Canadians have an efficient, effective and sustainable system."

About National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975 to 2011

This annual report provides an overview of health care spending trends from 1975 to 2009, as well as forecasts for 2010 and 2011. The report draws upon data compiled from CIHI's National Health Expenditure (NHEX) Database, Canada's most comprehensive source of information on health care spending. Where appropriate, the report provides data in both current and constant dollars. Current dollars measure actual expenditure in a given year. Constant dollars remove the effects of inflation to measure expenditure based on price levels prevailing in a base year (in this case, 1997). Real growth rates measure annual changes of data reported in these constant dollars.

About Health Care Cost Drivers: The Facts.

This supplement to CIHI's annual NHEX report analyzes the areas that drove health care spending in the public sector during the major growth period of the last decade (1998 to 2008), as well as issues to watch in the future. Public-sector spending represents 70% of the total health bill, a proportion that has remained relatively stable since 1997. The report examines factors within the three major categories of public health expenditure—hospitals, physicians and drugs—as well as those affecting health care spending overall.

The reports are available on their website at


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bill Gates Calls on G20 Leaders Not to Turn Their Backs on the World's Poor

Report Highlights Role of Innovation in Expanding Development Resources for the Future

CANNES, France, November 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a report about financing for development delivered today at the G20 Summit, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, urged leaders to commit to increasing the pool of resources dedicated to development or risk causing irreparable damage to the livelihoods of millions of the poorest people. Underlying these recommendations is the idea that innovation can multiply the impact of the resources devoted to development.

Gates' report, "Innovation with Impact: Financing 21st Century Development," was presented to heads of State and Governments in Cannes, France, at the request of G20 chairman French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"Leadership from the G20 is critically important, especially in these tough economic times. We must build on the unprecedented progress in health and development achieved in the last decade," Gates said. "We must spur on even greater progress in the coming decades to improve the lives of the world's poorest."

In his report, Gates stresses the need for rich countries to continue their generosity and meet their foreign aid commitments - which are generally between one and two percent of government's budgets - while ensuring that aid is spent effectively in areas such as health and agriculture.

"If the countries that have made promises stick to them, it will generate an additional $80 billion annually starting in 2015," Gates said. "Well-designed aid reduces poverty right now and accelerates poor countries' progress toward the moment when they no longer need it."

Beyond rich countries' responsibility, Gates says rapidly emerging economies represented in the G20 also play a growing role in driving progress in development. In his report, he proposes ideas for enabling speedier transfer of the innovations these countries are pioneering - particularly in the areas of health and agriculture, such as vaccines and seeds - to transform the lives of poor people in Africa and beyond.

"In the last decade, countries like China, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey have seen growth rates rise and poverty rates fall sharply. They are great examples of what we can do and achieve," Gates said.

He notes that these countries, which have recent experiences in reducing poverty and enormous technical capacity, bring unique insights and skills to create breakthrough tools for development

"I am particularly excited about the possibility of 'triangular partnerships' among rapidly growing countries, traditional donors, and poor countries, because they exploit the comparative advantages of many different countries," Gates says in his report.

Within the last week, the Gates Foundation announced two partnerships: one with Brazil to share expertise on agriculture, family health and vaccines with African countries, and another with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and Chinese companies to support innovative research and development and manufacturing of new products for global health and agriculture.

Gates' report also points to a partnership between Brazil, Japan and Mozambique that aims to help Mozambique adapt soybeans, rice and other crops to Mozambique's savanna, which has a climate and soils similar to Brazil's "Cerrado". Japan is helping Mozambique upgrade its infrastructure.

Gates stresses that growth had been very strong in a number of poor countries including in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Ultimately, developing countries' domestic resources will be the largest source of funds for development," according to Gates, who recommends measures the G20 could take to help poor countries' maximize their own resources to reduce poverty.

Ideas include directing foreign aid at helping developing countries better collect tax revenue, which could raise approximately $20 billion a year at today's GDP, and increasing transparency requirements for mining and oil companies. Gates calls on poor countries to focus resources on priorities which directly benefit poor people, like health and agriculture, and urged African leaders to meet the targets they had set in the Abuja Declaration to devote at least 15 percent of their budgets to improving health, and in the Maputo Declaration, which calls for devoting 10 percent of budgets on agriculture.

The report to G20 leaders also calls for adopting innovative ways to mobilize private sector finance and encourage private sector growth as a way to raise funds for development. Recommendations include making sovereign wealth funds available for infrastructure investments in poor countries, continuing to lower transaction costs of remittances by diaspora communities, and using pull mechanisms in agriculture to encourage innovation in agricultural technologies.

Gates also uses the report to identify new streams of funding, by directing a percentage of funds from a Financial Transaction Tax, Solidarity Tobacco Contribution, and an aviation and bunker fuel tax, to fund development and climate change.

"With its diversity and dynamism, the G20 is the key body that can bring these resources, innovative ideas and leadership together for greater impact in a new world of development," Gates said. "If the G20 takes up this challenge, I'm optimistic we can get through this economic crisis and save millions of lives and lift millions more out of poverty."

To access the full report, go to:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people--especially those with the fewest resources--have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
For further information: CONTACT: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, +1-206-709-3400, Web Site: