Monday, April 30, 2012

Novelist Patrick DeWitt Named Winner of 2012 Leacock Medal for Humour

Annual award celebrates the most humourous book
written by a Canadian and published in Canada

ORILLIA, Ontario, April 30, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Admired for its offbeat combination of neurotic humour, shocking violence, and traditional Western storytelling, one of this year's most talked about books, Patrick DeWitt's The Sister's Brothers, has earned the 2012 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and TD Bank Group's $15,000 cash prize.

Michael Hill, President of the Stephen Leacock Association, pronounced the winner before a standing room only audience which included nominated authors, representatives from Canada's publishing industry, honoured guests, sponsors and media.

The Sister's Brothers follows the exploits of two hard-bitten bounty hunters - the eponymous Ely and Charlie Sisters - through the trails and saloon towns of 1850s gold rush California. As they track the enigmatic and ultimately tragic Hermann Kermit Warm, an incomparable prospector/alchemist who holds the key to a mysterious gold finding formula, the reader is introduced to a rich pageant of bizarre and hapless characters. Interspersed with entertaining comic meditations on such subjects as the merits of one-eyed horses and new-fangled inventions like toothpaste, deWitt's humour finds a strange but recognizable humanity in the inhumane, an all-too-human absurdity in the coldly logical.

The other books nominated for this year's award were Susan Juby's The Woefield Poultry Collective, Rupinder Gill's On the Outside Looking Indian, Shari Lapena's Happiness Economics, and Robyn Michele Levy's Most of Me. Each of the other finalists will receive a $1500 prize, also courtesy of TD.

"As the 2012 winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, Mr. DeWitt joins an exceptional group of Canadian writers recognized for their ability to entertain Canadians," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group. "We congratulate him and all of the finalists for their contributions to Canadian literature."

The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour has been awarded since 1947 as a means to honour the dean of Canadian humourists and to perpetuate comedic writing in Canada. Some of our finest writers - Pierre Berton, W.O. Mitchell, Mordecai Richler and Robertson Davies - have all been recipients of the award over the past six decades. In addition to winning the silver medal, the winner also receives a $15 000 cash prize which will be presented at the annual Leacock dinner to be held June 12, 2010 at Geneva Park, near Orillia.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Over 900,000 patients still don't have a family physician: Ontario's doctors

Ontario still facing a shortage of over 1,000 doctors

TORONTO, April 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - New figures from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) reveal that over 927,000 patients in Ontario, including 132,000 children, still do not have a family doctor, and the province is short more than 1,000 doctors.

Speaking outside an emergency department in Toronto, Dr. Stewart Kennedy, President of the OMA, raised concerns about the impact of the government's plan to unilaterally impose fee cuts on physicians and the effect these will have on the province's ability to recruit and retain physicians.

The OMA believes that if the government's scheme is implemented, more patients will be unable to find a family doctor and will end up in emergency rooms unnecessarily.

Dr. Kennedy pointed to a recent report, "Primary Care in Ontario: Reforms, Investments and Achievements", which illustrates that having access to a family doctor decreases the number of emergency room visits for minor conditions. For example, the number of semi-urgent and non-urgent visits to the ER dropped by over 12% between 2007 and 2010 for patients enrolled with a primary care physician (Figure 1). This finding is consistent with a recent report from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), which noted that not having access to a family doctor resulted in more than 118,000 excess emergency room visits annually, and more than 17,000 excess hospital admissions.

Today's announcement comes just days after the government rejected an offer by the OMA to continue contract negotiations with the assistance of a Conciliator. The negotiations reached an impasse after the government rejected a proposal by the OMA to freeze physician fees for 2 years, and find an additional $250 million in savings in health care, on top of the $300 million already identified.

"We've clearly made some progress at keeping patients out of the emergency room. But it's disappointing that the government is prepared to throw it all away by cutting over $1 billion in programs and fees. Ontario needs more doctors, not less. Fee cuts and unilateral action will hurt the province's ability to recruit and retain physicians."

"We know that one of the ways the health care system can save money is by ensuring patients have a family doctor which will keep them out of the emergency room in the first place." - Stewart Kennedy, MD President Ontario Medical Association

Progress to improve health care in the last 8 years:

...2.1 million more patients now have a doctor, who didn't in 2003.

...40% more doctors are working evenings and weekends.

...Wait times in Ontario are some of the lowest in the country.

...8 million patients now have an electronic medical record being managed by 8,500 doctors.

Competing with other jurisdictions for physicians:

...The U.S. is projecting a shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2015.

...The Canadian Institute for Health Information ranks Ontario's fee schedule as 7th in the country.

...Alberta doctors received a 5% increase to fees this year and next year.

...Manitoba doctors will receive over 10% over the next three years.

...Saskatchewan doctors will receive approximately a 4% increase this coming year.

Details of the OMA's offer to government that was rejected:

...0% increase on fees for 2 years, effective April 1, 2012.

...$250 million in direct savings to the OHIP budget over the next 2 years, or the equivalent of a 2.5% discount to every doctor in Ontario.

...A renewed process to find additional, evidence-based savings that do not negatively impact patient care, which previously has helped identify more than $300 million in savings.

New Website to check out - Walk Score

Walk Score

If you're looking for a walkable community, is there a way to determine which neighbourhood might be best for you?

Interested parties might use the Walk Score to get a basic sense of nearby amenities, such as grocery stores, parks, restaurants, and so on. You can use either the map or streetview and it include transit information.

Visitors can type in a street address or neighbourhood, and they can find out the location's cumulative Walk Score.

Also, visitors can use the site to find out about potential nearby rental properties, if they are so inclined.

This site is compatible with all operating systems.

>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Better Care Faster wants to hear from Ontarians on health care

TORONTO, April 25, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - As Ontario begins to address budget challenges across an array of programs and services, Better Care Faster, a 17-member coalition of concerned organizations, is asking Ontarians to weigh in on the future of their health care.

"Our province is facing some tough choices," said Rob Oliphant, President and CEO of The Asthma Society of Canada. "We need to work together to find the best ways to meet future needs. A good place to start is by asking Ontarians—the people who use the health care system—what they think."

In the coming weeks, Better Care Faster's coalition partners will be reaching out to their members and constituents, and inviting all Ontarians to share their ideas, experiences and concerns through the website.

"As a province, we need to be talking about more than just how to contain costs," continued Mr. Oliphant. "It's critical that we identify both new and proven ways of providing better health care, faster. Ontarians have a lot to contribute to that conversation."

With a focus on chronic disease prevention and management, the coalition is drawing on its breadth and depth of expertise to identify and share solutions for ensuring access to care, treatments and medicines; getting people to the right level of care in their communities sooner; and implementing proven innovations and technologies.

"Collaboration and innovation are key to making sure Ontario's health care system is ready to meet future demands, which are growing as the incidence of serious chronic disease continues to rise," said Joanne Simons, Executive Director of The Arthritis Society. "The Better Care Faster partnership is here to work together with government and others to find and implement solutions, so Ontarians will have the care they need, when and where they need it."

Better Care Faster is a growing coalition that includes: Alzheimer Society of Ontario, Arthritis Society Ontario, CARP, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), Canadian SADS Foundation, CORD (Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders), Gastrointestinal Society, Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario, Ontario College of Family Physicians, Ontario Gerontology Association, Ontario Lung Association, Ontario Medical Association, Ontario Pharmacists' Association, and The Asthma Society of Canada.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Administrative Assistants: A Professional Revolution

On the 60th anniversary of Administrative Professionals Day, Randstad Canada talks about how the administrative assistant role has evolved over the years

TORONTO, April 23, 2012 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - As technology and corporate cultures continue to evolve almost daily, so too is the job of an administrative professional. Today the role of the administrative professional is light years away from the letter-typing and coffee-fetching duties seen on shows like Mad Men.

In a recent study conducted by The International Association of Administrative Assistants (IAAP), approximately two-thirds of administrative professionals report that their level of workplace autonomy and authority has increased in the last five years. About 80 percent say their overall contribution at work has also increased during the same period.

As the role has changed to include a whole new range of responsibilities, Randstad Canada has seen an increasing demand for support staff: in the first quarter in 2012, the demand for administrative assistants more than doubled compared to a year ago.

"Managers can do more themselves today with the help of tools and devices such as Blackberrys, iPhones and iPads. But, with the increasing amount of simultaneous and instantenous tasks comes the need for a different kind of support to help managers remain on track, stay organized and keep an eye on the big picture," says Marc-Étienne Julien, President, Staffing, Randstad Canada. "That's where the administrative assistant becomes a key partner: they handle data mining and record keeping, event and activity planning, and communications tools designing, while continuing to liaise with customers, clients and employees".

According to Statistics Canada, there are 476,000 administrative professionals employed today in Canada, including 365,670 secretaries, 26,390 executive assistants and 84,140 clerical supervisors.

In the Ten-Year Outlook for the Canadian Labour Market (2006-2015), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada states that "shortage pressures among human resources and business service professionals are expected to remain as employers continue to place greater emphasis on recruiting and retaining quality employees to handle the increasingly complex jobs of our economy''.

"In our fast-paced business world, a number of hot skills are sought-after by employers when recruiting administrative assistants: multitasking, excellent organizational and time management skills, ability to prioritize tasks, strategic thinking, ability to work with new technologies, etc. Recognizing this, Randstad is offering training sessions to make sure that administrative assistants have an up to date skills sets and are highly qualified to undertake a large amount of responsibilities'', explains Julien.

"At Randstad, we know how crucial the role of the administrative assistant is, and are proudly celebrating their contribution to every business's successes. They truly are, as expressed by the IAAP as the theme of the Administrative Professionals Day, the pulse of the office.''

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

OICR announces new funding for imaging research in Ontario to bring personalized medicine to patients

TORONTO, April 23, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), today announced new funds to further enhance imaging research in Ontario and to develop improved imaging tools for more personalized diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients worldwide.

"Ontario is a world leader in imaging research and OICR is proud to continue supporting the development of state-of-the-art imaging technologies that will advance personalized medicine," said Dr. Hudson. "This funding will help to keep Ontario on the cutting edge of imaging research worldwide and ensure that this research is quickly and efficiently delivered to patients."

OICR is investing a total of $18.3 million over the next four years into imaging research in Ontario through two OICR initiatives: The Imaging Translation Platform and Smarter Imaging Program. The objectives of both initiatives align with OICR's larger strategic goals to accelerate translational research and to facilitate the adoption of personalized medicine. Projects funded within the program provide potential solutions to problems that could benefit cancer patients within the next five years, including the over-diagnosis of prostate cancer, over-aggressive treatment of early breast cancer and high fatality rates associated with pancreatic cancer.

The Imaging Translation Platform focuses on the development of new tools to help the introduction and testing of new imaging systems designed to diagnose and treat specific types of cancer earlier. The Platform is building an environment to foster innovation in cancer imaging and to ensure that patients benefit from the advances in technology as soon as possible.

The Smarter Imaging Program focuses on developing new imaging tools that can provide improved diagnosis of specific cancers and guide the choice of therapy, allowing for a greater degree of personalization in diagnosis and treatment. Types of cancer targeted include breast, prostate, pancreas and liver.

Both OICR initiatives are co-led by Dr. Aaron Fenster and Dr. Martin Yaffe. Dr. Fenster is based at Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario and Dr. Yaffe is based at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto.

Selected Projects

Microbubble Contrast Ultrasound and Transient Elastography Imaging of DCIS/Assessing Tumour Angiogenesis in DCIS patients with CEDM - Principal Investigators: Dr. Martin Yaffe, Dr. James Mainprize

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS isn't life threatening, but can increase chances of developing a more serious form of breast cancer later in life. There is a need to identify more personalized approaches when diagnosing DCIS tumours in order to avoid over- or under-treatment. Dr. Martin Yaffe is doing this by examining cutting-edge tools such as microbubble contrast ultrasound and shear wave elastography, which could be used to better determine the aggressiveness of the disease. This could provide better, more personalized diagnostic standards and improved treatment options for women with DCIS.

In a related project, Dr. James Mainprize will assess the full size and characteristics of DCIS tumours prior to biopsy using contrast enhanced digital mammography. If successful, this will offer a diagnostic tool to reduce overtreatment of DCIS, therefore reducing costs for the health care system and vastly improving quality of life for many women diagnosed with DCIS.

Smarter Imaging Program - Prostate - Principal Investigators: Dr. Aaron Fenster, Dr. Glen Bauman

Despite a great deal of progress in diagnosis and treatment, prostate cancer remains the third most common cause of cancer death in Canadian men. Current screening tools such as PSA tests do not provide an adequate characterization of the aggressiveness of the cancer and may result in overtreatment. Drs. Aaron Fenster and Glen Bauman are leading an innovative project called SPIRIT (Smarter Prostate Imaging and Interventions) intended to reduce over-diagnosis of prostate cancer and reduce the morbidity of treatment. In its first year, the program will develop a suite of emerging imaging techniques to better distinguish aggressive vs. indolent cancer. It will then validate these techniques and test the most promising in prospective clinical trials, with a goal of developing new imaging approaches that have the potential to be rapidly and safely introduced in the clinic.

Quantitative Imaging for Personalized Medicine - Principal Investigator: Dr. David Jaffray

Personalized medicine holds the promise of revolutionizing cancer treatment. By measuring biomarkers unique to each individual patient, doctors could develop a tailored treatment plan for every patient. Imaging data could greatly contribute to characterization of individual cancers and response to treatment. Dr. David Jaffray will develop novel tools for collecting and archiving clinical imaging data, including an image viewing and archiving platform. He will also establish a clinical trial imaging research network that will be engaged in the application of imaging interventions to clinical trials. These tools will help to facilitate the development and deployment of image-based biomarkers in personalized medicine and help make the widespread adoption of personalized medicine a reality.


OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, launched by the Government of Ontario in 2005. The annual budget for OICR, its research partners and collaborators exceeds $160 million. This supports more than 1,500 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. It has research hubs in Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Toronto. OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing, from early stage research to Phase III clinical trials. For more information, please visit the website at

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bank of Canada's Debt Warning - The Ultimate Solution?

TORONTO, April 19, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Bank of Canada yesterday sounded major alarm bells about debt levels in Canada saying they could spell financial disaster in the not-too-distant future. Canadians are borrowing more than ever before - relying on debt to survive. But one Canadian is working on fixing the root problem.

Kevin Cochran, a financial expert who has worked for years on a formula to beat debt in this country, says there is a solution;

"Teaching kids how to manage their money is the only way to stop these situations happening in the first place."

In 2001, Canadians using Home Equity Lines of Credit owed $8 billion dollars - in 2010 that total had risen to an incredible $64 billion in HELOC's. Interest rates in Canada have remained steady recently, but according to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, even a small rise could lead to disaster - the same financial equation that homeowners in the United States found themselves in when thousands upon thousands of homeowners defaulted on their mortgages, triggering a worldwide economic meltdown.

"The business owners of the future are in school right now and they need to be taught about interest rates, debt and taxes and be given tools to make them financially responsible in the future," says Cochran. "I've worked for the past ten years to find a way to make teens listen when it comes to money - I bought my first car on my credit card and learned the hard way not to get into bad debt."

Canada's finance minister Jim Flaherty seems to agree and has a stark warning for borrowers:

"Interest rates are going to go up - get realistic about it and say 'will I be able to afford my mortgage at a higher interest rate or not?' Do the arithmetic and figure it out."

Do Canadians want more electronic services from their government?

PwC aims to find out with launch of Citizen Compass survey and idea forum

TORONTO, April 19, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Price/Waterhouse/Coopers (PwC) is launching new research to see if Canadians are ready to receive more services and information electronically through their phones, computers and tablet devices. The project, called Citizen Compass, begins April 18, 2012 and invites the public to participate, in either a survey format or an idea forum to make suggestions or discuss issues. The link to the site is

"We thought the time was right for a new debate on how governments could be increasing their use of e-services to communicate with the public and more effectively provide traditional services, such as issuing car licences and passport renewals," says Michael Jordan, Public Sector and Government Services Partner for PwC Canada. "New technologies are changing the way Canadians are doing business. At the same time Canadian governments want to do more to efficiently manage costs and keep up with consumer demand for different e-services."

On April 11, 2012, PwC ignited the dialogue - called Choicebook - with 2,000 randomly-selected participants from across the country. They will open the survey to all Canadians starting today, April 18th to May 18th through advertisements and social media. Participants can also contribute towards The Idea Forum, which allows citizens to express their opinions in more detail about e-transactions, privacy, and convenience as well as suggesting their own ideas.

"We hope to see a broad range of dialogue from across Canada on the issues to better understand the potential and challenges of changing or transforming how government delivers its services," says Jordan.

The results from the Idea Forum and Choicebook will be analyzed and shared with government decision-makers in late June 2012.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Northern Ontario communities lead the province in registered organ and tissue donors

New donor registration data shows wide variation across the province

TORONTO, April 19, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - For the first time in Ontario, organ and tissue donor registration rates by community are being made available online.

The new data shows that Northern Ontario has the highest registration rates, with 47 per cent in North Bay and 45 per cent in Timmins.

"Becoming a registered organ and tissue donor takes less than three minutes and can save up to eight lives. I encourage Ontarians, health care organizations, clubs, families and businesses large and small to set up a page for the Gift of 8 Movement and share it through their social networks to encourage more people to register as organ donors and save more lives." Deb Matthews - Ontario Minister of Health and Long -Term Care

To help increase the number of registered donors, Trillium Gift of Life Network is launching the Gift of 8 Movement at Through the website, individuals, organizations and community groups can now create personal web profiles to share their stories. The stories will help to inspire neighbours, friends and co-workers to register their consent for organ and tissue donation.

"Making organ and tissue registration information available by community, coupled with personal and inspiring stories of the Gift of 8 champions, will spur communities to increase their local registration rates and help save more lives. People can visit to register consent or check to make sure you are indeed a registered organ and tissue donor. You can now also join the Gift of 8 Movement by creating your own page on and encouraging others to register their consent to be donors." - Ronnie Gavsie President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life Network

One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives. With evidence of their loved ones' registered consent, almost all families honour this donation decision. In the absence of registered consent, only 50 per cent of families consent to organ donation.

"Making organ and tissue registration information available by community, coupled with personal and inspiring stories of the Gift of 8 champions, will spur communities to increase their local registration rates and help save more lives. People can visit to register consent or check to make sure you are indeed a registered organ and tissue donor. You can now also join the Gift of 8 Movement by creating your own page on and encouraging others to register their consent to be donors." - Ronnie Gavsie - President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life Network

Quick Facts

...April 22-28 is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week.

...Ontario's overall organ and tissue donor registration rate has risen slightly since this time last year, reaching 21 per cent.

...In April, there were 1,499 Ontarians on the organ donation wait list, 29 of these patients were under the age of 19.

...Last year, 222 deceased organ donors contributed to 985 lives being saved through organ transplantation and over 1,700 tissue donors enhanced lives of thousands of patients.

...Among Ontario communities with a population of more than 20,000, only five have a registration rate over 40 per cent. (Thunder Bay, Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Owen Sound). Communities with a registration rate less than 10 per cent were all in the Greater Toronto Area (Scarborough, Unionville, the old city of York, Woodbridge and Vaughan).

...You can register consent through your smartphone at and ServiceOntario's mobile friendly organ donor registry site.

Find your local community's registration rates at

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 for transplantation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Second Cup® and Free The Children Team Up to Brew Positive Social Change

TORONTO, April 18, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - There's even more love in every cup, as two leading Canadian-born organizations, Second Cup and Free The Children, announce a long term partnership to connect, engage and provide a space for Canadians to create positive change, domestically and internationally.

The announcement was made yesterday, April 17, 2012, at Second Cup's Franchise Partner Convention in Henderson, Nevada. Co-founder of Free The Children, Marc Kielburger, addressed more than 225 franchise partners on the new partnership.

"Our team at Free The Children is honored to have the dedicated support of Second Cup and excited to see this partnership come to life across Canada," said Kielburger. "Second Cup's passion and care towards making our local communities and the world a better place is truly inspiring and we can't wait to bring this message to life at Second Cup locations across the nation."

Through this relationship, Second Cup will offer a place for individuals to connect, meet, and become actively involved with Free The Children. The organization is an international charity and educational partner, committed to empowering youth domestically, through stadium events such as We Day, and internationally, through its long term sustainable development model.

"We are delighted to partner with Free The Children, working and supporting them on their local and global initiatives," says Stacey Mowbray, President and CEO of Second Cup. "Having an active role in our café communities is essential to the Second Cup brand. Partnering with a genuine and caring group that has such a great impact on so many people both locally and globally, we know that not only will our more than 4,000 employees be proud to be a part this movement, so too will our valued guests."

Free The Children provides the tools, resources and guidance to help individuals take action on the issues they are passionate about both at home and abroad. With more than 360 cafés across Canada, Second Cup will provide a foundation for individuals to connect, engage and inspire, further supporting this social movement.

This long term partnership will enable more than 4,000 Second Cup employees to participate in a tangible movement to make the world a better place. Over the coming months, Second Cup will be rolling out a number of different initiatives supporting Free The Children's domestic and international programs with opportunities for employee and guest engagement. Look for this partnership to come alive in Second Cup cafés across the country and on Facebook, with inspiring and engaging activations and initiatives, providing an enhanced experience to patrons year round.

About Second Cup

Founded in 1975, Second Cup® is Canada's largest specialty coffee franchise operating more than 360 cafés across the country. All 4,000 Second Cup® associates are trained Trusted Coffee Experts™ who handcraft over 1,000,000 coffee and tea beverages every week, and are committed to ensuring "there is a little love in every cup." For more information, please visit or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Free The Children

Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in our innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger, we are a charity and educational partner that believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. Our domestic programs educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and around the world. Our international projects have brought over 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to one million people around the world.

Free The Children has a proven track record of success. The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For additional information, please visit

Old Age Security at 67: a timid, belated adjustment

MONTREAL, April 17, 2012 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - For Yves Guérard, an internationally renowned actuary and the author of a new publication from the Montreal Economic Institution (MEI), the raising of the age of eligibility for Old Age Security program benefits from 65 to 67, as announced in the last federal budget, is an absolute must. Still, this belated adjustment remains timid, according to him.

Since 1951, life expectancy at 65 has increased substantially, going from 13 to 18 years for men and from 15 to 22 years for women. Meanwhile, the age of eligibility for pension benefits was reduced from 70 to 65 in the 1960s. The reform proposed in the last budget only partially corrects this anomaly. In order to avoid having a political controversy erupt over this issue with each new generation, Mr. Guérard suggests a more dynamic approach in which the age of eligibility increases automatically as a function of longevity.

Data from the OECD show that countries where the employment rate for older workers is high also enjoy a high employment rate for younger workers, and that where the one is low, the other is also low. This is at odds with the perception that the old are "taking jobs away" from the young. On the contrary, a society tends to be more dynamic when workers who have accumulated experience and developed skills remain active longer.

We need to find a balance between years worked and years of retirement. To keep the burden of pension benefits from becoming unbearable, increases in longevity must be accompanied by increases in years worked that nonetheless allow for a better harmonization of work, leisure and quality time with family. Furthermore, it is essential that we encourage ongoing training so that workers remain productive longer.

"The linear conception of the stages of life also needs to change. There used to be a fairly clear distinction between education, career and retirement. More and more, however, these stages overlap and retirement is being transformed into old age insurance. Already, 54% of Canadian workers see themselves working after the age of 65, either part-time or full-time. This represents a profound shift in the way people think about retirement," observes Mr. Guérard.

The Viewpoint entitled A new paradigm for retirement was prepared by Yves Guérard, an actuary who occupied the position of Secretary-General of the International Actuarial Association for thirteen years after having been Executive Partner at Ernst & Young Canada. The document can be consulted free of charge at

The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its publications and conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating reforms based on market mechanisms.

Monday, April 16, 2012

U of G Professor Helps Launch First Canadian Positive Psychology Association

GUELPH, Ontario April 16, 2012 - University of Guelph News Release

When you spend much of your time at work, it’s important to feel good about what you do, says Jamie Gruman, a professor in the University of Guelph’s Department of Business, who studies well-being in the workplace.

Helping improve workplace well-being is one purpose of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA), a new organization co-founded by Gruman to share knowledge and foster collaboration in positive psychology. In this field, scientists study personal characteristics, behaviours and relationships that help individuals and communities to thrive.

“Throughout history, people typically haven’t had the luxury of finding happiness in their jobs, but today, at least in the developed economies, this is often possible,” Gruman said. “Positive organizational psychology strives to understand how to make it happen.”

The “good life” has been the subject of inquiry since the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Positive psychology is the scientific study of the personal characteristics, behaviors, and relationships that enable individuals and communities to thrive. It is based upon the idea that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of happiness at work and play.

Positive organizational psychology, which explores, among other things, the impact of hope, confidence, and resilience on employee behavior, has long interested Gruman, who has published a number of academic papers on positive organizational topics such as work engagement and employees’ psychological capital.

The CPPA aims to advance the psychological health of Canadians through the research and application of positive psychology nationwide. Representing a network of experts who are engaged in rigorous research on positive psychology and practitioners ensuring a high standard in the application of positive psychology, the CPPA will provide reliable, evidence-based information about the nature of well-being and the application of positive psychology across disciplines, through the Internet, seminars, workshops and publications.

“The CPPA is a new platform for Canadian scientists to advance the knowledge of the science of well-being and for practitioners to explore novel ways to apply their knowledge,” said Gruman.

The organization will be launched at a conference in Toronto in July. The keynote speaker, Robert Vallerand, is president of the International Positive Psychology Association, an editorial board member of several pertinent journals and past president of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Société Québécoise pour la recherche en psychologie.

“We intend to host some of the biggest names in Canada as speakers at the inaugural conference,” Gruman said. “This will be the first time in Canada that researchers, practitioners, students and members of the general public can come together to learn about developments in this exciting field, and share their findings, best practices and knowledge of positive psychology.”

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Work Life Balance Dynamics Change: Global Survey says the Line Between Work, Home is Blurring

According to Randstad Canada's latest global Workmonitor survey, work and home lives are "blending" for many Canadian workers.

TORONTO, April 12, 2012 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Findings from Randstad's latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 29 countries around the world, reveal that many Canadian workers feel the line between work and home is becoming increasingly blurred.

The overlap between work and private time in Canada is substantial. 46% handle private matters during working hours, 51% handle work-related matters in private time, and 44% receive work-related calls or e-mails when on holiday. 53% receiving call/emails outside of office hours, 44% receiving calls/emails on holiday, 29% expected to be available 24/7, 43% feeling they fall short if not responding immediately, and counter-point of 46% handling private matters during working hours.

Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Randstad Canada says technology has merged our working and personal lives, creating a more unified experience.

"Technology has redefined the traditional workplace as we know it. For instance, employees are working at home, shopping at work, attending school at home, connecting to training webinars at work, and learning new job skills from their children and grandchildren. No generation has ever been this connected, and for good and bad, there is a fusion going on between home and work. We don't stop living when we go to work and, very often today, we don't stop working when we arrive home," she says.

But According to Parker, this kind of work-life conflict can become a serious problem that impacts both employees and employers.

"Today's workers have many competing responsibilities: work, children, housework, volunteering, and so on. Balancing all of these things can be stressful. Based on past research which ranked what 7,000 of Canada's job seekers where looking for in an employer, we have in fact found that almost half of the respondents (48%) indicated having a good work life balance as one of the most attractive qualities in a potential employer," says Parker.

Additionally, employers are becoming increasingly aware of the cost implications associated with over-worked employees, with things like operating and productivity costs, absenteeism, punctuality, commitment and performance all being negatively affected. In the end, it benefits employers just as much as it benefits employees to instil practices that will ultimately allow employees to achieve work-life balance.

Parker emphasizes that work life balance is all about creating and maintaining supportive and healthy work environments.

"Employees and employees should both take the initiative to take the necessary steps towards achieving a healthy balance between work and personal responsibilities," she says. "This helps strengthen employee loyalty, productivity, and overall happiness - making it a win-win scenario for everyone involved."

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

83 per cent of Canadians wish more of us would get inspired to give back to community charities

Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative lauds local heroes and encourages Canadians to get involved

TORONTO, April 11, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - How involved have you been with a community initiative or organization lately? Do you wish Canadians would spend more time supporting these important groups? You aren't alone. A recent survey conducted by Coca-Cola Canada asked 1,000 Canadians what they thought about community charitable programs. The majority, 83 per cent of those surveyed, said they wished more people would get involved with community programs. These activities make a difference every day, with 8 in 10 Canadians revealing that they see the direct benefits of contributing time and money, in communities that are safer, healthier and better overall.

A new campaign from Coca-Cola launching today aims to raise awareness of the importance of community involvement by profiling the efforts of local community heroes. Coca-Cola Canada has partnered with three leading Canadian organizations - ParticipACTION, Breakfast Clubs of Canada and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - to make a positive difference in communities across Canada.

Making it Personal - Local Heroes

The survey revealed that Canadians are more likely to get involved in programs that are personal to them. Canadians consider initiatives that inspire kids and teens to get more physically active, environmentally-oriented programs and breakfast programs for kids among their top priorities for community support.

Coca-Cola Canada has produced three, must-see, personal accounts of individuals involved at the heart of community programs offered by Breakfast Clubs of Canada, ParticipACTION and WWF. One film demonstrates how Breakfast Clubs of Canada helps 119,000 kids through the personal story of a young boy who starts his day with a healthy breakfast at school. Another segment features a teenage break dancer who discovered a new side of himself with the help of ParticipACTION, which supports more than 2,000 community groups across Canada. The third film provides a brief snapshot of the life of a WWF scientist working to help conserve the Arctic home of polar bears.

The short-film documentaries were created with the inspiring vision of Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Hubert Davis. They will air nationwide starting April 12 and can be found online at

Companies Play a Big Role

The survey revealed that Canadians see a strong role for corporations in backing community-based programs, with 8 in 10 stating that they feel companies should do more to support communities. For Coca-Cola this means both supporting key causes as well as using its voice to raise awareness. The company has adapted to help show Canadians easy ways of getting involved in their communities.

: "At Coca-Cola, we are firm believers that we can accomplish far more working with others than working alone, says Shane Grant, Vice President, Marketing at Coca-Cola Canada. "It's our hope that by profiling the people who are making a positive difference in communities across Canada we will inspire and enable more Canadians to join our efforts. Our partners are achieving tremendous results but they need help in order to reach more people in more communities."

Coca-Cola's commitments include a donation of $2 million over five years (with an additional $1 million donation in 2012) to WWF towards Arctic conservation, $10 million over 10 years to ParticipACTION to encourage teens to get active and through Minute Maid juice collaborating with Breakfast Clubs of Canada to help over 119,000 children start their day with a complete breakfast.

Additional Survey Results

The Coca-Cola Live Positively survey found that Canadians are more likely to get behind community-based programs if they know their donation will make a difference. In particular:

...Three-quarters (75 per cent) of Canadians surveyed would likely contribute more if they knew they could personally make a difference.

...Nearly 7 in 10 (65 per cent) Canadians surveyed say making community-based programs easier to support would encourage their involvement.

...More than 8 in 10 (81 per cent) Canadians surveyed say they'd likely get more involved in community-based programs, if they knew it would positively impact their own community.

About Coca-Cola Canada and Live Positively

Coca-Cola Canada operates in all ten provinces, employing 6,300 people in more than 50 facilities, including seven production facilities, across Canada. We offer a wide variety of non-alcoholic brands; these beverages include sparkling soft drinks, still waters, juices and fruit beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks, coffees and ready-to-drink teas. We're proud to offer some of the most popular brands in Canada including Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero®, Sprite®, Fanta®, Nestea®, PowerAde®, Minute Maid®, Dasani® and vitaminwater®. Coca-Cola in Canada is represented by Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada and Coca-Cola Ltd. Live Positively is Coca-Cola's commitment to making a positive difference in the world by redesigning the way -the company works and lives so that sustainability is a part of everything it does. Learn more at and show your support on Twitter by using #livepositively.

About ParticipACTION

ParticipACTION is the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in Canada. As a national not-for-profit organization solely dedicated to inspiring and supporting healthy and active living for Canadians, it works with its partners, which include sport, physical activity, recreation organizations, government and corporate sponsors, to inspire and support Canadians to move more. For more information, visit

About Breakfast Clubs of Canada

Breakfast Clubs of Canada is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing services and funding to school breakfast programs. The organization does this with the help of individual and corporate partners, all committed to the cause of feeding our children's future. Breakfast Clubs of Canada serves -more than 18 million breakfasts annually to children in 1,170 schools across Canada. Learn more at

About the World Wildlife Fund

WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ontario Hospital Association Welcomes National Hospital Reporting Project

Also Cautions Against Drawing Wrong Conclusions from Study

TORONTO, April 5, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario's hospitals deliver superior outcomes at the second lowest per capita cost in all of Canada the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) stated today in response to questions arising from yesterday's release of the national Canadian Hospital Reporting Project by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), which included comparative data respecting administrative costs and cost per weighted case.

"Ontario's hospitals are extremely efficient compared to hospitals in other provinces," said OHA Interim President and CEO Mark Rochon. "Compared to the average of all other provinces, the Government of Ontario spends $300 less per person on hospital care. This translates into a hospital efficiency dividend that benefits Ontario taxpayers by $4.1 billion dollars this year alone."

The CIHI's Canadian Hospital Reporting Project includes comparative information respecting administrative cost in Canadian hospitals. For Ontario and Quebec, the data is reported at the individual hospital level because only these two provinces retain independent hospital corporations. In all other provinces, the independent corporate status of hospitals has disappeared because of the creation of regional health authorities. This means that the administrative cost structure in hospitals within health authorities is fundamentally different. As a result, and in the view of the OHA, it is inappropriate to draw conclusions about hospital administrative costs by comparing jurisdictions.

"Comparing administrative costs using the CIHI study is an apples to oranges comparison," said Rochon. "But let's set that aside for a moment. What we want to drive home to the taxpayers of Ontario is that their hospitals are very efficient and that they are committed to making further efficiency gains while also improving performance."

The CIHI study reports that Ontario's overall cost per weighted case is high compared to other jurisdictions. However, it is wrong to conclude that these results mean that Ontario's hospitals are inefficient. Ontario admits far fewer patients per capita than other provinces while also emphasizing ambulatory care to a far greater degree. This means that patients who are admitted to hospital tend to be the most ill and most in need of intensive, higher cost treatment not accounted for in weighted cases. Ontario also has the largest number of academic hospitals in Canada, many of which provide services available in few or no other place in the country. Further, the wages and benefits for nurses in Ontario are higher compared to other jurisdictions.

"The OHA welcomes the Canadian Hospital Reporting Project because it adds to our knowledge of hospital performance," added Rochon. "But it is important not to rush to the wrong conclusion about how Ontario's hospitals perform either."

Each year 50,000 people respond to surveys designed to measure patient satisfaction with hospital care. 93% of respondent rate their experience as positive. Ontario has significantly lower wait times than other provinces. Ontario is one of only two provinces to complete 75% of their wait time procedures within established benchmarks.

About the OHA

The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is the voice of Ontario's public hospitals. Founded in 1924, the OHA uses advocacy, education and partnerships to build a strong, innovative and sustainable health care system for all Ontarians.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Unhealthy habits are costing Ontarians 7.5 years of life

Study examines impact of smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and stress

TORONTO, April 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Unhealthy habits are costing Ontarians 7.5 years of life. However, by reducing five unhealthy behaviours Ontarians could become the healthiest people in the entire country. New research from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Public Health Ontario (PHO), the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) shows 60 per cent of deaths in Ontario are attributed to smoking, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity and stress but suggests Ontarians could make remarkable gains in life expectancy if we all collectively made changes towards healthier living.

"Individually, if we all make one change like smoking less or being more physically active, then collectively we would be significantly healthier and live much longer," says Doug Manuel, lead author and Senior Scientist at ICES and Senior Scientist at OHRI.

Overall, Ontarians would gain 7.5 years of life expectancy if everyone were in the healthiest category for all five behavioural risks examined. Smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet each contribute 2 to 2.5 years of lost life expectancy. If everyone modified only their most important health risk, overall life expectancy would increase by up to 3.7 years.

"The evidence shows that these five risk factors steal both years from our lives and quality from our lives", says Dr. Vivek Goel, President and CEO of PHO. "If we want sustained improvements in health, we need to focus our collective efforts on reducing these risk factors, both individually and at a population health level."

The study found:

...60 per cent of all deaths in Ontario are attributable to five risks
...Almost all Ontarians have at least one of the five risks
...Increasing physical activity and improving diet are the most common changes that Ontarians could make to improve their health
...Improving healthy behaviour will not only improve length of life, but also the amount of healthy life

"The impact that modifiable behaviours have on our health is astounding. Not only will we increase our life expectancy but being healthier will mean there will be fewer demands on both formal care giving like hospitals and informal care like family," says Manuel, who is also affiliated with ICES@uOttawa and is an Associate Professor in Faculty of Medicine at uOttawa.

Author block: Manuel DG, Perez R, Bennett C, Rosella L, Taljaard M, Roberts M, Sanderson R, Meltem T, Tanuseputro P, Manson H.

Seven More Years: The impact of smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and stress on health and life expectancy in Ontario. An ICES/PHO Report is being published April 2, 2012.

More detailed study findings on the ICES website at: and on the Public Health Ontario website:

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of health care issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting health care needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

Public Health Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of all Ontarians and reducing inequities in health. As a hub organization, Public Health Ontario links public health practitioners, front-line health workers and researchers to the best scientific intelligence and knowledge from around the world. For more information about Public Health Ontario, visit

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the University's Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The OHRI includes more than 1,500 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Research at OHRI is supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.