Thursday, May 31, 2012

US Heath and Human Services launches national campaign to educate older adults on registering as organ donors

People in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond can save lives by becoming donors

May 22, 2012 - US Heath and Human Services - An effort to educate adults 50 and older about the importance of registering to be organ, eye, and tissue donors was launched today in observance of Older Americans Month. The campaign was developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in partnership with the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging.

More than 114,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list for an organ, and more than 100 of them die each week waiting for an organ that never comes. In 2011, people 50 and older accounted for 32 percent of donors but 60 percent of the total number of transplants.

“It’s important for everyone to know any age can be the right age to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor,” said Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Imagine how many more lives we could save if the majority of the more than 99 million Americans 50 years old, or older signed up to give the gift of life.”

The 50 plus campaign was developed to dispel the myth that there are age limitations for giving the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation or for being a transplant recipient. Adults well into their 90s have successfully donated organs, extending the lives of recipients. Campaign materials include a brochure in English and Spanish; an article; radio and print public service announcements; and web banners.

“A poll conducted of adults in the United States shows that the majority of them believe organ donation is the right thing to do, but many of those have not yet taken the next step of signing up on a donor registry,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. “Together we can add to the more than 100 million people who have signed up.”

To learn more about the campaign, visit and click on the 50+ campaign button, and continue the conversation on Facebook at

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Invites Ontarians to "Get On Board for Breast Health"

"The Pink Tour" hits the road for summer-long education program

LONDON, Ontario, May 23, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Communities across the province will be seeing pink this summer as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, with the support of CIBC and Shoppers Drug Mart, hits the road for a summer- long bus tour, inviting Ontarians to come out and get the facts about breast cancer screening. Today, The Pink Tour made its first official stop at Covent Garden Market in London where women, their friends and family got on board for breast health.

"Research shows that regular breast cancer screening can save lives. Since 1986, breast cancer mortality rates in Canada have declined by almost 40% as a result of increased mammography screening and improved treatments. Even though we know that finding breast cancer sooner means a greater range of treatment options and a better chance of survival, only 67% of eligible women were screened in 2010," says Sandra Palmaro, CEO, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Ontario Region.

Joined by Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-term Care, Palmaro and representatives from the tour's partner sponsors - CIBC and Shoppers Drug Mart - welcomed visitors on board where they learned about breast health and breast cancer screening through hands-on, interactive tools. Minister Matthews and other visitors had the privilege of being among the first to sign the bus as their pledge to support the cause.

"Keeping Ontarians healthy is a priority for our government and we are putting our efforts into promoting healthy habits like comprehensive screening programs," says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for Ontario. "I want every woman who is eligible to be screened for breast cancer, because we know that early detection can help save lives."

The Pink Tour will make over 90 stops in communities across Ontario from May through October, with a goal of reaching more than 30,000 people. Eligible women will be able to sign up for a mammogram with the Ontario Breast Screening Program, a joint program of Cancer Care Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, right on the bus.

"We are pleased to be part of the Pink Bus Tour. Offering a booking system on the bus is a great way to support more women to be appropriately screened through our high quality Ontario Breast Screening Program", said Neil Johnson, Regional Vice President, South West Regional Cancer Program, Cancer Care Ontario.

"Breast cancer is a cause that is very close to our hearts at CIBC because it affects so many Canadians," says Christina Kramer, Executive Vice-President, CIBC, a co-sponsor of The Pink Tour. "We are very excited to be helping bring this innovative and educational program to communities across Ontario. With one in nine women still being diagnosed with breast cancer our goal is to start this important conversation with as many people as possible so we can raise awareness."

The tour will be travelling to cities and towns all across Ontario, including Sioux Lookout, Kenora, Windsor and Ottawa, and is scheduled to visit community events, town squares and other locations.

"Shoppers Drug Mart is putting the resources and passion of our employees, Associate-owners and their teams behind Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN - our commitment to the health of all Canadian women in body, mind and spirit. Further demonstrating that commitment we are very proud to be a part of The Pink Tour, an innovative program designed to empower women to learn about their breast health and breast cancer," says Mary-Alice Vuicic, Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President Human Resources, Shoppers Drug Mart, co-sponsor of the Pink Tour.

The tour will continue on the road throughout southwest Ontario for the remainder of the week. People are invited to find out when it will be making a stop in their community by visiting the website at

Follow The Pink Tour's journey at and (#PinkTour).

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation:

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1986 as the first volunteer-led organization in the country devoted exclusively to breast cancer research, breast health and breast cancer education and advocacy. Our goal is to reduce the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, and to improve quality of life for those affected. We fund world-class researchers and clinicians who are making groundbreaking progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Since 1986, the Foundation's Ontario Region has awarded over $84 million in funding for nearly 600 grants, supporting research projects, fellowships and community health initiatives.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, our employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. In 2011, CIBC contributed more than $35 million to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada to support national, regional and local organizations.

You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at

About Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation

Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing. The Company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec). With 1,206 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the Company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada. The Company also licenses or owns 57 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec) and eight luxury beauty destinations operating as Murale. As well, the Company owns and operates 63 Shoppers Home Health Care stores, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home health care products and services. In addition to its retail store network, the Company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Technologies Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to long-term care facilities.

About Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN

Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN represents the organization's commitment to improving the health of all Canadian women in body, mind and spirit. Brought to life through five partnership programs, created with leading experts and institutions in women's health, this national initiative connects women to health information and resources that help ensure their health only gets stronger. More information can be found at

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Forum will bring hoarding experts to Ontario landlords

Event will focus on individuals' mental health and landlords' opportunities and responsibilities

TORONTO, May 22, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is excited to host landlords and community-based support providers at its Hoarding Forum, June 7 and 8, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel. The event will provide vital training on working with, and housing, tenants who are hoarding to landlords from across the province.

The keynote speaker will be hoarding expert Dr. Randy Frost. Dr. Frost is a researcher and author of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. In addition, the Forum will feature Mary Boushel, Manager, Successful Tenancies, from Toronto Community Housing (TCHC), Doug Levitt, Partner at Horlick Levitt, Di Lella LLP, and a fire safety and community mental health experts. Our presenters will outline the impacts that hoarding has on community services and affordable housing landlords and what can done about it.

"Hoarding is a huge challenge for landlords across the province" says Jenn St. Louis, ONPHA's Manager of Local Networks and Member Support, "they want to help their tenants to live successfully in their home. But, in many cases, landlords don't have the financial or human resources to really help the individual and there may not be mental health and community services available in their area."

Hoarding is a complex issue that can have devastating consequences in a multi-residential context. There can be a significant risk of fires, like the one at 200 Wellesley St. E. in Toronto, which cause extensive damage to property, upset lives, and may be fatal. Until more funding for mental health services to help people who hoard becomes available, it will continue to fall to landlords to patch together services for tenants in order to avoid evicting them.

"We'll connect people and let them learn from the experts so that they know how to recognize a problem and who to call for help" says St. Louis, "our goal is make sure that landlords understand when and how they can help and when greater action is required. It's a balancing act that they have to navigate between the needs and safety of the individual who is hoarding and their neighbours."

For more event information visit:

For almost 25 years, ONPHA has been the voice of non-profit housing in Ontario. Our 770 member organizations operate more than 160,000 non-profit housing units and provide housing for approximately 400,000 people such as the elderly, low-income families with children, the working poor, victims of violence and abuse, people living with developmental disabilities or mental illness and the homeless/hard-to-house.

Further information about ONPHA and non-profit housing can be found at:

Rates of avoidable deaths reduced, yet significant room for improvement remains

Fewer avoidable deaths suggest timely health care and disease prevention are having an impact

OTTAWA, May 24, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The rate of deaths that could potentially be avoided through timely and effective health care and disease prevention dropped from 373 per 100,000 Canadians in 1979 to 185 per 100,000 Canadians in 2008. Health Indicators 2012, the most recent edition of the report produced annually by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and Statistics Canada, includes updates on more than 40 measures for Canadian regions, including a suite of new avoidable mortality indicators.

"When we look into pan-Canadian results for avoidable deaths," says Jeremy Veillard, Vice President, Research and Analysis, CIHI, "we can determine the respective impact of prevention efforts and of health care improvements."

The report reveals that the rate of deaths that could be avoided by preventing disease from developing or an injury from occurring has decreased by 47% over a 30-year period. The rate for Canadians went from 225 per 100,000 in 1979 to 119 per 100,000 in 2008.

Meanwhile, deaths that could have been avoided through timely and effective health care intervention were reduced by 56%. This rate went from 149 per 100,000 Canadians in 1979 to 66 per 100,000 in 2008.

The drop in avoidable deaths between 1979 and 2008 was mainly due to reductions in deaths related to circulatory diseases such as heart disease, which decreased by 72%. If death rates for these illnesses had remained unchanged for the 30-year period, the overall reduction in avoidable deaths would have been only 19%, based on gains related to other conditions, and not the observed 50%.

"Declines in some areas of avoidable mortality, such as circulatory diseases, demonstrate that great results can be achieved through collaboration across the health care system and other sectors," says Veillard. "But, there is still work to be done."

Provincial and territorial variations were observed for both the rates and trends over time. While rates of avoidable deaths have declined in almost all jurisdictions, some experienced greater reductions than others. Moreover, provinces with lower avoidable death rates in 1979 were among those with the highest rates 30 years later. A relatively smaller reduction in deaths due to injuries was one of the key drivers of this finding.

According to Health Indicators 2012, Canada's rates of avoidable mortality are the third lowest (behind Japan and France) of the G7 countries. Learning from the best, nationally and internationally, may provide insights on the successful strategies for reducing untimely deaths and help to identify areas for more detailed investigation.

Avoidable death rates vary greatly based on sex and income

Between 1979 and 2008, rates of avoidable mortality among men dropped by more than half (55%), compared with a 43% reduction among women. Men have higher rates of avoidable deaths than women, even after substantial reductions over the past 30 years. Circulatory diseases continue to be the number one cause of avoidable deaths among men, whereas cancers (such as lung and breast cancer) are the main cause of avoidable deaths among women.

Rates of avoidable deaths varied significantly by socio-economic group (as measured by neighbourhood income quintile). For example, people living in the least affluent neighbourhoods were twice as likely to die from preventable causes as those in the most affluent neighbourhoods.

About Health Indicators

CIHI's Health Indicators annual report, produced in partnership with Statistics Canada, presents more than 40 comparable measures of health and health system performance by health region, province and territory. For the first time, this year's report features a section on avoidable mortality that serves to focus attention on the influence of the health system on population health. In addition, the report introduces a suite of new acute-care readmission indicators, which will facilitate comprehensive evaluation of readmissions for all patient groups.

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Minister Matthews wows Ontario Home Care Association crowd at Symposium

TORONTO, May 25, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario's Minister of Health & Long-Term Care, the Honourable Deb Matthews attended the 5th annual Symposium hosted by Ontario Home Care Association (OHCA) yesterday. Minister Matthews thanked an attentive audience of 200 for the work that they do and said that "home care's time has come".

The Minister introduced Dr. Samir Sinha, also in attendance, who will lead the development and implementation of the Seniors Care Strategy, an important component of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care. Dr. Sinha will consult broadly on how to support seniors at home and reduce hospital readmissions and pressure on long-term care homes. His recommendations will be provided to the Minister in the fall of 2012.

In her remarks the Minister committed to ensuring that seniors have access to the right care, at the right time and in the right place. Evidence has demonstrated that home care supports the frail and vulnerable in their homes and generates value for money. The Minister asked providers to be open to change in order to be partners in transforming the system.

OHCA President Stuart Cottrelle committed to work collaboratively with Minister Matthews and all health system partners to develop high quality responsive health care in the community.

On behalf thousands of Ontarians receiving home care, OHCA thanks Minister Matthews for the vision and the courage of her convictions to create a system that helps people to age with dignity at home.

About the OHCA

The OHCA, the voice of home care in Ontario, is a membership association representing providers of quality home care services from across Ontario. OHCA members represent an estimated 25,000 staff collectively serving 300,000 Ontarians per year. OHCA works with families as integral partners in the delivery of home care services and as such estimates that 1.2 million Ontarians are impacted by members. OHCA is dedicated to promoting the growth and development of the home and community health care sector by helping to shape health care policy, supporting members to excel, and being a leading source of information on home and community care. OHCA members are accredited through Accreditation Canada, CARF, and/or registered with the International Standards Association (ISO).

For the latest in news and information about the home care sector in Ontario, subscribe to the Ontario Home Care Association's "House Call" at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Howcast Launches Video Website, Shows You How To Do Anything

photo credit: Howcast/Screen capture

from by Jaymi Heimbuch - Technology / Gadgets

Do-it-yourself and repair culture are two important components of the green movement. Because of this, any how-to site is a precious resource for us. From Instructables to iFixit, we are in love with DIY tutorials, so it is exciting that Howcast has launched a new website chock full of videos on how to do stuff.

In the Tech section, there are videos for laptop fixes, troubleshooting your iPod, saving money on gas and how to make basic repairs on your car, how to make the most of your cell phone, how to understand computer hardware and other awesome tutorials that teach you how to be self-sufficient and smart in the tech world. By learning how to do things yourself and get comfortable with gadgets and machines, you're also learning how to keep devices running better longer. And that's very green.

Mashable writes:

You can also read more about the “experts” featured giving advice in the videos. Vice President of Product Development at Howcast, Tom Bender, told Mashable the new site will be able to better show-off the content.

“We try to find the best possible experts to work with,” he said. A crew shoots 30-40 videos on a given topic — “how to make the best coffee,” for example — and the videos are grouped together.

Now, with the new layout, this content will be easier to navigate.

There are lots of other categories on Howcast, from Recreation to Relationships to Money to Food. Take a look, poke around, learn something cool.

Meanwhile, here are a couple fun gadget videos:

How To Avoid Cell Phone Scratches on Howcast

How To Extend the Life Of Your iPod Battery on Howcast

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Self-management support should be routine part of primary health care delivery

photo credit: (CNW Group/Health Council of Canada)

Health Council of Canada releases report on self-management support for Canadians with chronic conditions

TORONTO, May 15, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today the Health Council of Canada released Self-management support for Canadians with chronic health conditions: A focus for primary health care. The report explores how self-management support can improve patient outcomes and calls for health systems across Canada to provide self-management supports in a more systematic way. It profiles a range of practices and recommends targeted investments in self-management support strategies.

Chronic disease in Canada costs more than $90 billion a year in lost productivity and health care costs. And with half of Canadians reporting at least one chronic condition, these costs will continue to rise. Successful self-management can help save health resources and keep patients out of hospital for preventable incidences.

Self-management refers to the things a patient does to live well with chronic conditions, like monitoring symptoms, taking medication as prescribed, and recognizing what health-related behaviours will help manage their conditions. New research shows that patients who successfully self-manage tend to have reduced disease-related effects and may make better use of health services because they monitor symptoms effectively and can prevent or respond to problems before they become a crisis.

Self-management support includes education and health coaching and is key to ensuring patients manage their health successfully. In Canada, 95% of adults with multiple chronic conditions have a regular primary care provider - making this a clear area in which to anchor self-management support. Primary health care providers should be an ongoing source of self-management support to follow up with patients and link them to community services and specialists. The problem is that this support role is not yet a routine part of care in Canada.

The report discusses how primary health care providers can better assume this support role for patients with chronic conditions. Self-management support can start at routine primary care visits where providers can empower patients to confidently ask questions and get involved in making decisions about their health. The provider can assist with self-management education and technical skills, and can support personal goal-setting with the patient. Another important role for providers is to link patients to community-based programs. There are many promising programs that exist to support self-management, but patients may need their provider to point them in the right direction and follow up with them on their progress. Providers can also improve aspects of their practice environment in order to better serve patients with chronic conditions. Making better use of all members of a health care team can ease time pressures on physicians and provide patients with the expertise and coaching they need. Health care professionals like nurses, social workers and pharmacists can play a role (especially when many family doctors only have 15 minutes, on average, to devote to patient visits). Offering group visits and integrating self-management support programs directly into primary care settings can also yield positive outcomes.

Given their access to Canadians with chronic-disease, primary health care providers need to be enabled to deliver self-management support. We must invest in ongoing education for providers in self-management support, and encourage the expansion of primary health care teams which can use a variety of health care providers to deliver self-management support. Supporting and creating better links between primary care providers and community-based self management programs will help increase participation and engagement by patients in their own care.

"Self-management has great potential for patients, providers and Canadians," said John G. Abbott, CEO, Health Council of Canada. "Patients and their families will enjoy better quality of life. Primary care providers will have the tools to help their patients succeed."

Investing in ongoing, long-term support for self-management support needs to be a key priority for governments. Collaboration among governments, health care providers and chronic disease organizations can help fill gaps in service and create an integrated, system-wide approach to self-management support. Further recommendations to enable self-management support in a more systematic way can be found in the report.

About the Health Council of Canada

Created by the 2003 First Ministers' Accord on Health Care Renewal, the Health Council of Canada is an independent national agency that reports on the progress of health care renewal. The Council provides a system-wide perspective on health care reform in Canada, and disseminates information on leading practices and innovation across the country. The Councillors are appointed by the participating provincial and territorial governments and the Government of Canada.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The "People's Games" — Accessible, Affordable for Families

Toronto 2015 Footprint
photo credit: CNW Group/Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

Toronto 2015 Games to Create Jobs and Much-Needed Sports Infrastructure

TORONTO, May 11, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) today announced the locations that will host the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. The "People's Games" will be accessible and affordable, and will benefit communities throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe region and attract visitors from around the world.

Games organizers also released the updated budget for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games, and committed to ongoing regular public status reports, including budget updates beginning in the fall.

They also announced that, pending approval in July from the Pan America Sports Organization (PASO), the Toronto 2015 Games will host an additional eight Pan Am-only sports, as well as the 28 Olympic Summer Games sports, for a total of 36 sports.

The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games plans will be announced in the coming weeks.

The following are the core destinations, or clusters, that will host a minimum of two sports:

Toronto Pan Am Park

As the Games' largest cluster, Toronto Pan Am Park will host more than a dozen sports, such as cycling (road), triathlon, squash and rugby sevens.

University of Toronto (Scarborough) Pan Am Complex

This cluster will host aquatic sports such as swimming and diving as well as field sports such as modern pentathlon. It will also become the new home of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario which will support athletes and sport organizations throughout Ontario and Canada.

Mississauga Pan Am Complex

This cluster will serve as the Games' centre for combative sports.

Markham Pan Am Complex

This cluster will host numerous events including water polo, badminton and table tennis.

Etobicoke Pan Am Complex

This cluster will host archery, cycling (BMX) and bowling.

University of Toronto (Downtown) Pan Am Complex

This cluster will host field hockey, roller sports and handball.

York University Pan Am Complex

This cluster will host athletics and tennis.

"Clustering enables us to stage Games that maximize access for people in communities throughout the region and keep costs down during a period of fiscal restraint," said TO2015 Chief Executive Officer, Ian Troop. "We're using a combination of new construction and repurposing of existing facilities. That means affordable, accessible Games as well as an important legacy of new facilities throughout the region."

"This approach is really about creating a People's Games," added Troop. "Events in communities where people live, work and play. Affordable ticket pricing so an average family of four can attend competitions. Sites that are open and accessible so people can mix easily with athletes. Cultural celebrations of our vitality and diversity. And a living legacy for future generations to enjoy. "

As well, Pan Am competitions will take place in these locations throughout the region: Hamilton (soccer), Toronto (basketball), Caledon and Orangeville (equestrian), Welland and Minden Hills (canoe/kayak), Oro-Medonte (cycling—mountain), St. Catharines (rowing), Oshawa (boxing) and Toronto Island (sailing).

Negotiations are underway with the Town of Milton for the construction of a four-season velodrome for track cycling with an infield for community sports. TO2015 is currently reviewing proposals for an eighth cluster to host baseball and softball competitions. Over the summer, Golf Canada will be seeking proposals from golf course operators in the region to host golf during the Games. Finally, TO2015 is in discussions for a site to host shooting sports.

Construction is already underway on the CIBC Pan and Parapan Am Games Athletes' Village in Toronto's West Don Lands. This project alone is creating 5,200 jobs. The Village will live long after the Games as a brand new, mixed-income community in the heart of Canada's largest city.

These Games are also being supported by some major projects, such as the Union Pearson Air Rail Link that will be in service for the Games. The revitalization of Union Station is underway with substantial completion planned in 2015.

"Hosting the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games will bring economic prosperity throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario and ultimately our country as a whole," said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance. "From construction to tourism, the local and regional economy will be supported through job creation and growth for Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs before, during and after the Games."

"The Government of Canada is proud to make a significant investment in the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "Not only will our contribution provide our world-class athletes with the opportunity to compete in state-of-the-art sport facilities during the Games, it will leave behind lasting legacies for the Canadian sport system and the region for years to come."

"The McGuinty government led the bid to host the People's Games to stimulate the economy, create jobs and build much-needed sport infrastructure for our athletes to train and compete at home," said Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister responsible for the Pan/Parapan American Games. "The People's Games have also accelerated projects, such as the revitalization of Toronto's waterfront through the construction of the Athletes' Village and the Air Rail Link, which will benefit our children and grandchildren."

"The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Games will provide new and redeveloped infrastructure across the Greater Golden Horseshoe," said the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "The legacy of these Games will bring great opportunities for our talented and aspiring athletes for years to come. The venues will provide the necessary facilities to train and compete, and will increase sport participation across the region as our children and families enjoy access to much-needed recreation facilities."

The revised Pan Am Games footprint announced today, pending final agreements with municipal partners and PASO approval, involves 11 municipalities and three universities hosting 36 sports. The original 2009 Toronto 2015 Bid Book involved 16 municipalities hosting 36 sports at more than 40 venues.

About the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

The Pan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The Games comprise all Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports. The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will draw 10,000 athletes and officials and feature more than 40 Pan and Parapan sports in municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10-26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14. For more information about the Games, please visit

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Camping without a car made possible by the Ontario Parkbus Initiative

Parkbus passengers are being picked up at Lake of Two Rivers Campground in Algonquin Park after a weekend of camping. Photo taken by Parkbus staff. (CNW Group/Transportation Options)

TORONTO, May 10, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - A non-profit group is making camping without a car possible with a regular bus service between Toronto and key national and provincial parks in Ontario. Starting June 29, the Ontario Parkbus Initiative will be running buses between Toronto and popular campgrounds, canoe access points and backpacking trailheads in Algonquin, Killarney and Grundy Lake Provincial Parks as well as Bruce Peninsula National Park.

Started as a grassroots initiative by two York University graduates and outdoor enthusiasts, the program runs in cooperation with Ontario Parks and Parks Canada. Financial backing is provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, along with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

"Parkbus is bringing social, environmental and economic benefits to our province" said Steve Bruno, Partnership Coordinator at Ontario Tourism. Past passengers are equally impressed with the service: "It's about time, I'm surprised no one thought of this before" said Eric Nguyen, an Annex resident who took Parkbus with his fiancée during the project's pilot stage in 2011."

Buses are operated by Muskoka's Hammond Transportation, with one-way adult tickets ranging between $35 and $40. Complete schedule and pricing information can be found at

About Parkbus

Parkbus is a project of Transportation Options (T.O.), a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering sustainable tourism and transportation in Ontario. Since 1992, T.O. has worked on numerous successful projects, including award-winning Bike Train Initiative and the Welcome Cyclists Network. Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Ontario Ecotourism Society are the collaborative partners of the Ontario Parkbus Initiative.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Discovery May Lead to Targeted Heart Disease Treatments

photo credit: Martin Schwalbe - Guelph researchers who are joining forces in the study of cardiovascular disease are, from left: Todd Gillis, Tami Martino, Glen Pyle, John Dawson and Ron Johnson. Missing from the photo is Prof. Jeremy Simpson.

GUELPH, Ontario May 09, 2012 - University of Guelph News Release - University of Guelph researchers have found the location and effect of abnormal heart proteins that can cause cardiac failure, a discovery that points to potential new ways to treat the most costly health problem in the world.

The study appears today in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed international journal published by the Public Library of Science.

"In order to cure heart disease, you have to understand its fundamental properties," said study author John Dawson, a molecular and cellular biology professor.

"So we looked at variants of naturally occurring proteins that are found in people with heart disease."

The research team included graduate students Maureen Mundia, Ryan Demers, Melissa Chow and Alexandru Perieteanu.

Heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death in Canada, killing tens of thousands each year. Treating cardiovascular disease costs more than $20 billion a year in physician and hospital costs, lost wages and reduced productivity.

The study examined gene abnormalities for the actin protein and its role in heart failure.

As the most abundant protein in the body, actin helps in vital processes including muscle movement.

Abnormal actin genes are linked to heart diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). HCM causes excessive thickening of the heart muscle and can lead to sudden cardiac death. Under DCM, the heart weakens and enlarges, and cannot pump blood efficiently.

Scientists had already linked HCM and DCM to 14 actin gene abnormalities.

"But this is the first time that many of these variants have been studied at the molecular level," Dawson said.

"Understanding the molecular deficiencies of actin variants is a starting point for figuring out the underlying mechanisms of heart diseases," he said.

The researchers inserted human genes into insect cells to make heart muscle proteins for study. Dawson's lab is one of the few in the world able to do this work.

They then mapped where on the abnormalities occurred and their effects. Three were in spots that resulted in problems with heart contractions; three others were in locations that affected stability and efficiency.

Dawson hopes their work will help in developing more targeted treatments.

"Heart disease has many different forms and variants. If we can design specific therapies that address the precise mechanisms of the things going on — treat the root cause rather than the whole system — then we can improve the quality of life for people."

Dawson belongs to a growing cardiovascular research group at the University of Guelph, one of few such groups worldwide studying cardiovascular disease from single molecules to animal models.

"It makes Guelph a unique place to do this research," he said.

Polytechnics Canada welcomes federal funds for new college applied research

OAKVILLE, Ontario, May 8, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Polytechnics Canada's welcomes today's $36 million announcement by Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear for 60 innovative partnerships with colleges and businesses across Canada. The chosen projects emerged from a peer-review selection process under the College Community Innovation Program, administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Minister Goodyear delivered the announcement at the close of Polytechnics Canada's annual conference hosted by Sheridan College. The two-day conference theme was "Polytechnic Education Works: Talent and Innovation for Employers."

The project selections demonstrate that Canada's research-intensive colleges and polytechnics continue to display innovation leadership in applied research and commercialization. Several of the initiatives fall under four programs specifically championed by Polytechnics Canada—Industrial Research Chairs for Colleges, Technology Access Centre grants, College-University Idea to Innovation grants, and Innovation Enhancement grants.

"Polytechnics Canada is energized by seeing its advocacy for applied research come to fruition through these new competitive programs within the College Community Innovation Program," said Nobina Robinson, CEO. "Even more gratifying is the fact that so many of our members won these competitions."

Added Jeff Zabudsky, President of Sheridan College and Board Member of Polytechnics Canada,

"These programs represent a double win—a win for our industry partners to access the innovation skills of our students and a win for our students who apply their learning to firm-level research and development along with commercialization challenges."

Polytechnics Canada is the voice of leading research-intensive, publicly funded colleges and institutes of technology. Located in Canada's key economic regions, the current Polytechnics Canada members are: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), SAIT Polytechnic, NAIT, Conestoga, Sheridan, Humber, George Brown, Seneca and Algonquin.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Food Banks Canada Asks You To "Give it Up" for Hunger Awareness Week

Join Food Banks Across the Country and Take Action to Reduce Hunger in Canada from May 7-11

TORONTO, May 7, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, Food Banks Canada and its network across the country launch the first annual Hunger Awareness Week, from May 7-11, 2012. Formerly Hunger Awareness Day, Hunger Awareness Week is a week-long initiative that challenges Canadians to learn more about the issue of hunger in our country and to take action to make a difference for those in need. Across the country, Canadians are being asked to "Give It Up" for hunger awareness. Join Toronto Argonauts Vice-Chair Michael "Pinball" Clemons and ET Canada's Senior Entertainment Reporter and host of Food Network Canada's Family Cook Off, Kim D'Eon, at the Second Annual "Lunch-In". The event will also feature lunches prepared by Top Chef Canada competitor Ryan Gallagher.

Canadians can help in three simple ways - Give It Up, Give a Shout, and Give It Out:

...Give It Up: Give up your meals for a day, lunch for a week, or a staple food item. Walk in the shoes of hunger to begin to understand what it means to go without food, experiencing the effects of hunger first hand.

...Give a Shout: Share your experience by going online to show your support via Facebook, Twitter or blogging.

...Give It Out: Donate food, funds or your time to a local food bank.

On Wednesday May 9th, more than 140 federal Parliamentarians and staff will fast as an act of solidarity with Canadians in need. On May 10th, they will come together to discuss the issue of hunger at a breakfast in the Parliamentary restaurant. For a complete list of Parliamentarians and staff participating, please visit: Special thanks to Breakfast Sponsor, Turkey Farmers of Canada.

"Nearly 900,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 38 per cent are children.* Together we can help reduce hunger in our country," said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. "It's important for Canadians to understand that hunger is easily hidden and often overlooked, but inevitably lives in all of our communities."

The 2012 Lunch-In takes place on May 10th at St. Andrews Playground in Toronto. Torontonians can enjoy Chef Ryan Gallagher's one-of-a-kind packed lunches, for a small donation, together as a gesture of frugality and solidarity to reduce hunger. Canadians across the country are also encouraged to hold Lunch-Ins in their own communities with friends, family and co-workers during the week of May 7-11.

Hunger Awareness Week would not be possible without the support of some of Canada's leading corporate citizens. Food Banks Canada would like to thank this year's Corporate Hunger Heroes who are vital to raising awareness for the cause and are executing a number of events across the country, including Bernardin Ltd., Campbell Company of Canada, Canadian Pacific (CP), General Mills Canada Corporation, The Great-West Life Assurance Company, Investors Group Financial Services Inc., Kellogg Canada Inc., Kraft Canada Inc., Loblaw Companies Ltd., McCain Foods (Canada), Purolator Inc., Sodexo Foundation Inc., Sony of Canada Ltd. and Shaw Media.

Food Banks Canada would also like to thank its Community Hunger Heroes whose continued support, countless volunteer hours and inspirational stories help raise awareness and provide much needed assistance across Canada. Together, we can have an impact on the solvable issue of hunger in Canada and take action to help reduce those affected in our own backyards.

For more information on Hunger Awareness Week visit Please show your support by following us on Twitter at @foodbankscanada, and joining our Food Banks Canada Facebook page.

About Hunger Awareness Week

Hunger Awareness Week was created to provide food banks with an opportunity to educate Canadians about the hunger need in our country, and encourage all Canadians to help those in need. Close to 900,000 individuals turn to food banks for support each month, and nearly two million Canadians are food insecure, struggling with not knowing where their next meal may come from. Today, more than 900 food banks and 2,900 affiliated agencies distribute groceries or provide meals to Canadians in need. Since 2006, Food Banks Canada has dedicated one day each year to raising awareness around the issue of hunger in Canada. This year marks the first full week set aside for hunger education.

About Food Banks Canada

Food Banks Canada is the national charitable organization representing the food bank community across Canada. Our Members, Affiliate Member food banks, and their respective agencies serve approximately 85 per cent of people accessing emergency food programs nationwide. Our mission is to meet the short-term need for food and find long-term solutions to reduce hunger. Please visit for more information.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Environmental groups launch major campaign to defend nature and democracy

Black Out Speak Out groups will darken websites nationwide in protest against efforts to silence Canadians

TORONTO, May 6, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The federal government's attack on nature and democracy means "silence is not an option" for Canadians according to a national campaign, being launched Monday, May 7, by the country's leading environmental organizations.

"These changes—hidden in a budget bill in the hopes that Canadians wouldn't notice—are threatening the core values all Canadians hold dear: nature and democracy," said Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Equiterre. "We are compelled to speak out and we're inviting Canadians from all walks of life to join us."

Known as Black Out Speak Out (or Silence, on parle, in French) the campaign will invite organizations, businesses and citizens from across Canada to darken their websites on June 4, and speak out against changes introduced in the federal government's budget act (C-38).

The government is putting the future of our land, water and climate at risk with the recent federal budget implementation bill. Over a third of the budget is dedicated to weakening Canada's most important environmental laws, including measures to make it more difficult for environmental charities to participate in the public policy process. The groups are asking Canadians to join them in speaking out and letting the government know that silence is not an option for those who care about what could be lost.

"The attacks on environmental charities and gutting of environmental review processes aim to silence Canadians of all sectors and many backgrounds who participate in decision-making about large-scale industrial developments," said Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation. "This is not only undemocratic—it will undermine the government's ability to make sound policy decisions and to protect the environment."

"Powerful oil interests aren't just changing the rules—they're disqualifying any player not on their team," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence. "We're going black for a day, but we'll be speaking out for as long as it takes."

The budget bill, C-38, replaces the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, empowers the federal government to crack down on charities, including environmental groups, that advocate for better laws and policies, overrides National Energy Board decisions, rushes projects through a weakened environmental review process to speed up approvals, and shut citizen groups out of environmental reviews for pipelines.

Black Out Speak Out begins Monday with full-page ads in the Globe and Mail, La Presse and Ottawa's Hill Times. It also includes a website, Over the next four weeks, environmental groups will build support for the campaign, inviting other organizations, community and social justice groups, and individuals from across Canada to join them in expressing their concern about the erosion of core Canadian values.

Participating environmental organizations include CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, and WWF Canada.

Canadians wishing to support the campaign can sign up at ( en français).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tracks on Tracks and VIA Rail

VANCOUVER, May 4, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada and Green Couch Productions will host a musical train journey this June, 2012. The project, called "Tracks on Tracks" will feature Canadian musicians performing on the Canadian train, and various station platforms, as they travel from Vancouver to Toronto to perform at the NXNE Festival.

"The inspiration for this project came from our desire to combine Canadian landscape with musical inspiration and the train was a natural choice for us in this project", said Michelle Alan, Creative Producer for Green Couch Productions.

"VIA Rail is pleased to be involved with this project to assist Canada's up and coming musicians and to expand our social networking opportunities with a younger audience who are Canada's future rail riders", says Pierre Santoni, Sr Director of Domestic & International Sales.

CBC Radio 3 is involved with Tracks on Tracks as the media host. Renowned presenter Grant Lawrence will travel with the Tracks on Tracks train to interview the musicians and to provide commentary about the train journey.

Canadians can travel with the Tracks on Tracks train by purchasing tickets for the Canadian, traveling June 8th from Vancouver and arriving in Toronto on June 12th.

A special discount code offering a 10% discount is being offered for this train. Please quote 12363, under Other Special Discounts, when making your booking on

Please visit the Tracks on Tracks website at for more information on this musical train journey, or follow the journey on Twitter at #TracksonTracks.

About VIA Rail

VIA Rail Canada operates the national passenger rail service on behalf of the Government of Canada. An independent Crown Corporation established in 1977, VIA Rail Canada's ( mandate is to provide safe, efficient, more environmentally sustainable and cost effective passenger transportation, in the country's two official languages.

Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities from coast to coast and north to Hudson Bay across its 12,500-kilometre route network.

Winner of the 2011 Railway Association of Canada's Safety Award, VIA transports over four million passengers annually. The demand for VIA services is growing as travelers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, hassle-free and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports. Follow VIA on Twitter at Visit VIA on Facebook at

VIA in Western Canada

VIA provides passenger services mandated by the Government of Canada. These include rapid intercity services, cross-Canada services, and services to remote communities.

In Western Canada, VIA provides year-round, all-weather services, including the legendary Canadian train operating between Toronto and Vancouver three times per week. VIA also operates regional services in the West, between Jasper, Alberta and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and between Winnipeg and Churchill, Manitoba.

More information about VIA Rail and its services is available online at:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Drug spending continues to slow

Growth in drug spending lowest in 15 years

OTTAWA, May 3, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - While drug spending continues to increase in Canada, overall annual growth has slowed to its lowest rate in 15 years, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Total drug expenditure is estimated to have reached $32.0 billion in 2011, an increase of 4.0% over 2010; this was equal to $929 per Canadian in 2011. The share of total health dollars spent on drugs is forecast to have been 16% in 2011—the same percentage that was spent on drugs 10 years ago.

"In the late 1990s and early 2000s, we saw double-digit increases in prescribed drug spending," says Michael Hunt, CIHI's Director of Pharmaceuticals and Health Workforce Information Services. "Spending is slowing down, which may reflect recent patent expirations of blockbuster brand name drugs used to treat common ailments like high cholesterol and hypertension. We've also seen the implementation of generic pricing policies by provincial drug programs."

The latter half of the past decade also saw slowed growth in the use of cholesterol-lowering and antihypertensive drugs.

Drugs account for the second-largest share of total health spending, after hospital expenditures. Drug Expenditure in Canada, 1985 to 2011 is the country's most comprehensive report on spending trends in prescribed and non-prescribed drugs. It includes breakdowns by province/territory and source of funds (public versus private), as well as international comparisons.

Public/private split for prescribed drug spending remained stable

CIHI's report shows that prescribed drugs accounted for almost 85% of total drug spending in Canada, at an estimated $27.2 billion in 2011. Spending on prescribed drugs is forecast to have increased by 4.7% over the previous year.

Over the past 10 years, the public/private split for prescribed drug spending has remained relatively stable. An estimated 45% of prescribed drugs are financed by the public sector, with the remaining 55% financed by the private sector. In 2011, public-sector spending on prescribed drugs reached an estimated $12.1 billion, up 2.2% from 2010, while private-sector expenditure reached an estimated $15.1 billion, up 6.8% from 2010.

Growth in spending on prescribed drugs varied across provinces

CIHI data shows that there were significant variations in prescribed drug spending across the provinces in 2011. Per capita spending on prescribed drugs ranged from lows of $576 in British Columbia and $710 in Manitoba to highs of $937 in New Brunswick and $985 in Nova Scotia. The estimated annual growth in per capita spending on prescribed drugs varied from lows of 1.4% in B.C. and 2.0% in Ontario to highs of 7.4% in Saskatchewan and 9.4% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"While prescribed drug spending is influenced by many factors, slower growth in Ontario and British Columbia suggests that their earlier implementation of generic pricing policies may be having an impact," says Michael Gaucher, Manager, Pharmaceuticals. He cautions, however, that "further research will be needed to assess the effects of generic pricing policies."

Canadian drug spending continued to be among the highest in comparator countries

Canada had the second-highest per capita drug spending among eight comparator Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Based on 2009 OECD data, the most recent year for which data was available, the United States had the highest per capita total drug spending at $1,145, followed by Canada at $890 and France at $767.

Out of these eight countries, Canada had the second-lowest share of total drug expenditure financed by the public sector. In 2009, the public sector funded 38.8% of total drug expenditure in Canada, compared with a high of 84.7% in the United Kingdom.

About Drug Expenditure in Canada, 1985 to 2011

Drug Expenditure in Canada, 1985 to 2011 updates trends in drug spending in Canada, primarily from retail establishments, between 1985 and 2011, in total, by public and private payers and by type of drug (prescribed and non-prescribed). Provincial and territorial comparisons are included. International trends are updated based on data from the OECD.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Internet at Work: Global Survey says Most Canadians are Granted Access

According to Randstad Canada's latest global Workmonitor survey, the majority of Canadian workers are not blocked from accessing the internet in the workplace.

TORONTO, May 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Findings from Randstad's latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 32 countries around the world, reveal that most Canadian workers have access to the Internet at work, and nearly half own a private smartphone or device.

According to the survey, most Canadian employees report having access to the Internet at work (76%). In Canada alone, 13 per cent of employees say they have a smartphone which includes e-mail that is provided by their employer, while another 47 per cent of respondents report owning a smartphone privately.

When it comes to employers limiting access to the internet at work, Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Randstad Canada says employers should rethink their assumptions about internet usage."The use of email and the Internet has become an integral part of today's workplace. They offer a great deal of benefits to corporations, such as improved communication among employees, improved customer support and research capabilities," says Parker.

"For a lot of companies, including our own, instant messaging is a legitimate work tool that allows for quick communication between colleagues, helps avoid inter-office voicemail-tag and cuts down costs on long distance charges," says Parker.

The overall global results indicate most employees around the world are also provided with Internet access in the workplace, especially in Japan (83%), India (93%), China (93%), and Malaysia 89%). Belgium is at the low end with 66 per cent.

Additionally, nearly half of all global respondents say they own a private smartphone which includes email from work, while the number of employees with a Smartphone that is provided by their employer is significantly lower. In China (84%), Hong Kong (79%), India (71%) and Malaysia (71%), smartphone ownership is much higher than average, while Belgium (26%) and Czech (25%) sit at the lower end of the spectrum.

While there are plenty of positives to having internet access in the workplace, Parker does acknowledge that organizations have valid concerns about security risks, and employee productivity.

"Many employers are concerned, for instance, that employees will waste time "browsing", rather than using the Internet efficiently and productively. But it's important for companies to harness the comfort levels their employees have with Internet-based resources," she explains. "Failure to do so could very well lead to the loss of top talent and can open the door for competitors to gain an advantage through a better equipped and enabled workforce."

The Randstad Workmonitor:

After the successful introduction of the Workmonitor in the Netherlands in 2003 and more recently in Germany, the survey now covers 32 countries around the world, encompassing Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility regularly visible over time. The quantitative study is conducted via an online questionnaire among a population aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimal sample size is 400 interviews per country, using Survey Sampling International. Research for the first wave of 2012 was conducted from January 20 to February 14, 2012.

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

Introducing the HSW iPhone App: Health & Safety Information - Anytime Anywhere

FERGUS, Ontario May 2, 2012 Health and Safety Watch - The Health & Safety Watch team is very excited to announce the availability of the first HSW mobile app!

The HSW iPhone app is the only all-hazards, multi-jurisdictional, real-time health and safety information resource for your iPhone. Led by public health experts, HSW delivers personalized information on Canadian advisories, recalls, and warnings; giving YOU the information YOU need to make safe and informed choices for yourself and your family. The HSW iPhone app brings you all the same valuable health and safety information as the HSW website, with the additional feature that when location services are enabled, Events are ranked by distance to your specific location.

Everyday there are warnings, advisories, and recalls posted on hundreds of government, industry and media websites telling Canadians about potential dangers in their midst. It could be a recall of a baby product or food product, new boil water advisory, or urgent advice concerning a local disease outbreak. In order for you to get all the latest health and safety information, you would need to visit many different websites.

Using lists, maps, search capabilities, ranking algorithms, and your location, the HSW application helps you find health and safety information on a variety of topics most important to you: Food Products, Consumer Products, Health Products, Public Health, Water, and Environment. You can also use the HSW application to find and review local public health inspection results. Starting with Toronto, Ontario and expanding to other communities soon, use the current inspection status of restaurants and other food premises to help plan your day.

Come across a health and safety Event not reported on HSW? What are the most important issues facing the health and safety of your family? Use the HSW application feedback feature to let us know. Help us to identify Events and prioritize new HSW features to keep your family safe.

Upcoming features

Together with shortly launching the Android version, many new mobile app features are in development. For example, in upcoming versions you will be able to personalize your HSW mobile app by linking it with your HSW on-line account preferences.

Install the HSW iPhone app

To install the FREE HSW iPhone app, visit the Apple App Store by clicking on this link, or by using the QR code.

Write a review.... and please tell your friends!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Survey Shows Many Canadians Lack Practical, Everyday Skills

Results magnify the impact of Canada's critical skilled labour shortage on daily lives

OTTAWA, May 1, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Skills/Compétences Canada, a national not-for-profit organization that actively promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies, today released the findings of a survey conducted by Harris/Decima, which has shown that beyond changing a light bulb or picking up a hammer to hang up a picture, many Canadians have little to no working knowledge of those everyday activities that require a skilled hand.

The survey reveals that almost half of all Canadians are not able to complete basic skills including installing a faucet or replacing a zipper without some help:

...Almost half of Canadians (46%) admit they don't know how to install a bathroom or kitchen faucet.

...Almost half of Canadians (45%) can't replace a zipper in an item of clothing; well over half of all men (63%) admit they can't.

...About one in three Canadians (31%) aren't sure how to install a light fixture.

...About a quarter of Canadians (28%) don't know how to change a flat tire; almost half of all women (48%) say they can't.

...One in ten Canadians (14%) have no idea how to turn off the water main in their home.

"There's a serious underlying message here that many Canadians are lacking basic, practical knowledge when it comes to completing everyday skills, admitting they require help," said Shaun Thorson, CEO, Skills/Compétences Canada. "Industries that depend on skilled trade workers are key drivers of the Canadian economy contributing over 50% of Canada's GDP. But the growing shortage of skilled trade workers is not only a concern for industry - it is only a matter of time before every Canadian will feel the impact in their everyday lives."

This month, Skills/Compétences Canada is hosting the 2012 Skills Canada National Competition, an Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices. From May 13-16, more than 500 young students and apprentices will gather in Edmonton to compete in over 40 skilled trade and technology areas, ranging from construction, mobile robotics and cabinet making, to fashion technology, mechatronics and aircraft maintenance. The annual event attracts school groups and young career-seekers who can take part in interactive Try-a-Trade® and Technology demonstrations, as well as employers and recruiters, industry associations, labour groups, training institutes and government partners.

The Competition provides an opportunity for young Canadians studying a skilled trade or technology to be tested against exacting industry standards and their peers from across the nation, with hope of being crowned the best in their chosen discipline. This year, competitors are also vying for placement on Team Canada where they will participate in the 2013 WorldSkills International Competition in Leipzig, Germany.

About the survey

The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima via teleVox, the company's telephone omnibus, from April 12th to 16th, 2012. A total of 1,011 Canadians were surveyed. Results are considered accurate +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About Skills/Compétences Canada

Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. Its unique position among private and public sector partners enables it to work toward securing Canada's future skilled labour needs while helping young people and aspiring apprentices discover rewarding careers. Skills/Compétences Canada offers experiential learning opportunities including skilled trades and technology competitions for hundreds of thousands of young Canadians through regional, provincial/territorial, national and international events, as well as skilled trade awareness programs. Many programs highlight digital and essential skills, which are crucial qualifications in most careers of today. Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Skills/Compétences Canada is the Canadian Member organization of WorldSkills International. For more information about Skills/Compétences Canada visit, or call 877-754-5226.

Follow Skills/Compétences Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.