Friday, December 20, 2013

Here is another reason to improve CPP - your health

...from Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti President, Canadian Medical Association
OTTAWADecembr 20, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - So why would a bunch of physicians want to join the actuaries, accountants, politicians and all those others now locked in debate about the future of the Canada Pension Plan?
The reason is very simple. Poverty will make you sick.
Physicians have known for some time that social determinants such as housing, nutrition or income affect health outcome of their patients. It is worth repeating that of every five dollars we spend on health care, one can be attributed to social determinants or living conditions that affect people's wellness.
This is why an adequate and stable source of income for Canadians in their retirement years is so important for their own health as well as the health of our health care system. Your financial health affects your overall health, and both should be part of a national seniors care strategy as called for by the CMA and others.
Like most of its industrial peers, Canada has a greying demographic estimated to rise to 23% of population by 2030, about double the percentage in 1990.
We would urge federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers to think well beyond the immediate costs of an enhanced CPP and how to use this public asset to address the growing rise of poverty among the elderly.
At first glance, there may not be a compelling reason for Canadian policy makers at present to use the CPP as a weapon against poverty among seniors. After all, Canada has a fairly respectable poverty rate among its elderly at 6.7% —third best among its OECD peers.
But let's play actuary for a moment and look behind those numbers.
As the Conference Board of Canada notes, after 20 years of reductions, Canada's poverty rate for the elderly has been climbing between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s from 2.9% to 6.7%. A worrisome trend, as the Conference Board notes.
Pensions as a proportion of disposable income among Canada's seniors more than doubled between 1980 and 1996 thanks to the accumulated growth of public and private retirement income plans in the postwar years.
But now that the defined benefit pension plan is an endangered species, particularly in the private sector, and 60% of Canadians have no private pension plans, we likely won't see that kind of senior wealth for some time. Finance ministers at both levels of government should be thinking about what's ahead.
We know Canadians are thinking about it, a lot. Canadians are rightly concerned about their health care as the country's population ages. In a public opinion survey done for the CMA last summer, 83% of respondents said they were concerned about their health care in their retirement years. Just as we as a society have learned to think about environmental consequences while we grow our economy, we should also be factoring in health in every important policy decision. Policy makers should start looking at the health system beyond disease treatment and think about prevention. Prevention can pay a fiscal dividend. So can improved social and economic conditions.
The CPP was once a minimalist pension plan with a contribution rate of just 1.8% — inexpensive but inadequate and actuarially unsound. After its 1996 reorganization into one of the world's best public plans, the contribution rate was set at 6% in a series of phased increases to the current 9.9% by 2003. There were no tremors in the economy.
The time has come to make the CPP even better equipped to protect Canadians. There is no reason why Ottawa and the provinces can't come up with a non-disruptive transition over several years. All that is needed is a spirit of cooperation.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA) for Cyber-Seniors Chats

Cyber-Seniors Chats is a web-series that features people and companies that benefit seniors, boomers, youth and the community.

The Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA) encourages older Canadians to maintain and enhance their well-being and independence through a lifestyle that embraces physical activity and active living.

Cyber-Seniors is a program that encourages teenagers to teach seniors how to use the Internet. We are expanding the program and always looking for more sponsors and partners. Cyber-Seniors is also the topic for a documentary film.

Check out our channel for more interviews as well as fantastic, senior-created content!

Visit our website, Facebook and Twitter for more information on the Cyber-Seniors Program and the documentary film!

Reuniting families and reducing backlogs in Canada's immigration system - Parent and Grandparent Program gearing up for re-launch

OTTAWA, December 18, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - By cutting immigration backlogs and wait times, the Government is bringing families together more quickly, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced today.

Over the first six months of 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) admitted 45,000 permanent residents to Canada in the Family Class (FC). This represents an increase of 40 percent over the first six months of 2012. This increase can be attributed almost entirely to a doubling of admissions in the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) category over that time period.

Canada has one of the most generous family reunification programs in the world, but growing backlogs in the PGP program meant families could expect to wait eight years or more to bring their loved ones from overseas. A pause on new applications, combined with high admission levels, has helped reduce the backlog. The PGP program re-opens to new applications on January 2, 2014. It will re-open with tighter admission criteria and a cap on applications, which will continue to reduce the backlog and improve wait times for families.

Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister says,

"Our government understands the importance of spending time with family and loved ones, especially during the holiday season. Our government is making improvements to the immigration system so that families can be reunited more quickly. Because of our changes, Canada is on track to welcome more than 50,000 parents and grandparents in 2012-2013—the highest number in nearly a decade."

Application forms, guides and information on how to apply to the new PGP program will be made available online on December 31, 2013, just ahead of the PGP program re-opening.

Quick facts:

...In 2011, under Phase I of the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, the Government cut backlogs and wait times for sponsored parents and grandparents. Had no action been taken, it was predicted that the backlog could increase to 250,000 persons, with wait times of 15 years by 2015.

...Of the 45,000 FC permanent residents admitted to Canada in the first six months of 2013, approximately 22,530 spouses and partners were admitted as permanent residents under the FC as well as 1,410 children, 20,700 parents, grandparents and their dependants as well as 360 other relatives and adopted children.

...The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa remains a fast and convenient option for parents and grandparents who want to spend longer periods of time with their families in Canada. To date, approximately 28,000 Super Visas have been issued with an approval rate of almost 85 percent. With more than 1,000 Super Visas being issued monthly, this has become one of CIC's most popular initiatives.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CMA calls on federal government to create strategy against dementia dilemma

OTTAWA, December 10, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canada needs a national seniors care strategy to respond to issues such as the fast-growing dementia dilemma, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) said today.

Dr. Chris Simpson, CMA President-elect, said Canada must move now to invest in a national seniors care strategy and join the 13 countries that already have dementia strategies in place. He added such a strategy is critical to helping our overtaxed health care system cope with about three quarters of a million Canadians already living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

He made the comment on the eve of the Dec. 11 G8 Dementia Summit in London.

Dementia currently costs the Canadian economy $33 billion a year in direct health-care costs or indirect costs of lost income of family members acting as caregivers. The Alzheimer's Society of Canada predicts that by 2031, 1.4 million Canadians will have dementia, and by 2040 the annual cost to the economy will reach $293 billion.

"We have the dubious distinction of being the only G8 country without a national dementia strategy. Meanwhile, our acute care hospitals are overflowing with patients awaiting long term care placement and our long-term care facilities are understaffed, underspaced and underequipped to care for our most vulnerable seniors. This leaves patients and their families in limbo, struggling to fill these gaps in our system,"
Dr. Simpson said.

"It's an urgent situation worldwide. That's why there is a G8 Summit in London this week."

British Prime Minister David Cameron is using Britain's 2013 presidency of the G8 to lead coordinated global action against what his government believes is  becoming one of the greatest pressures on families, caregivers and health systems around the world.

Britain, with a population of 64 million, has roughly the same number of people suffering from dementia as Canada does even though its population is just 35 million.

"While Canada is not unique in facing what the World Health Organization calls a dementia epidemic, we need to be prepared,"
Dr. Simpson said.

"That is why the CMA recommends we invest in a dementia strategy,  as part of a national seniors care strategy, to expand research, increase support for informal caregivers and ensure access to the continuum of care."

Summit organizers say there is a new diagnosis of dementia every four seconds around the world, and by 2020 there will be 70 million people on the planet living with the condition.

In its pre-budget submission (click here for link) last month, the CMA urged the federal government to invest $25 million over five years toward a dementia strategy for Canada. Some $10 million would go for research into the disease, while another $10 million would be for increased support for informal caregivers. The remaining $5 million would be for knowledge transfer, dissemination of best practices, as well as education and training.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51 national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Minister Ambrose Launches Organ and Tissue Donor Social Media Campaign

Appeals to Canadians to sign up and give the #GiftOfLife

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - December 4, 2013 - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today launched a new social media campaign to help raise awareness and promote organ and tissue donation in Canada.

"Life is the most precious gift you can give," said Minister Ambrose. "With the holiday season approaching, I want to remind Canadians of the critical need for organ and tissue donations to help the more than 4,500 people waiting for organ donations in Canada today."

To mark the launch of the campaign, Minister Ambrose met with Mrs. Laureen Harper, MP Harold Albrecht and Hélène Campbell at 24 Sussex drive to kick-off the social media campaign, using the hashtag #GiftOfLife.

"Without the generosity and compassion of my donor family, I would not be here to celebrate with my friends and family this year. I urge all of you Canadians to talk about Organ and Tissue Donation with your family and friends. What a blessing for me to have been given the most precious gift, life!" said Hélène Campbell, double-lung transplant recipient and founder of Give2Live.

To assist Canadians in registering as organ and tissue donors, the Government has created a special page on the Healthy Canadians website to raise awareness of the need for Canadians to act on this important issue. The page contains information about the importance of organ and tissue donation in Canada, as well as an interactive map to help Canadians contact their relevant provincial/territorial organizations to sign up.

"During the very difficult time after my wife Betty died, I drew solace from knowing that five people received the gift of life through the organs she donated," said Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga.  "I'm happy our family decided as we did; and I'm grateful that because Betty and I had previously discussed organ donation, we knew her wishes."

On December 5, Minister Ambrose will join Mrs. Harper and award-winning singer, songwriter and composer David Foster in touring the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto to meet some transplant recipients and talk about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

Minister Ambrose will also attend a gala in Toronto, hosted by the David Foster Foundation. The Foundation works to provide financial support for non-medical expenses of families with children in need of live-saving organ transplants. Mrs. Laureen Harper is honourary chair of this year's gala, which will include world-renowned artists such as Andrea Bocelli and the Juno Award-winning Tenors, among others.

"The launch of this social media campaign will have a huge impact,"
said David Foster, whose Foundation last year also launched Days in Wait website, which refers to the number of days donor recipients have to wait to receive a life-saving organ. 
"Every story is different. While our foundation supports families during the critical time leading up to, during and even following an organ transplant, the wait times for available organs is too long. Let's all use our online communities to spread the word about how easy it is to sign up and potentially save a life."

"Since 2008, Canadian Blood Services, on behalf of federal, provincial and territorial governments, has been providing national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation," says Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services. "Canada now has ground-breaking patient registries such as the Living Donor Paired Exchange and greater system access, accountability and transparency. By working together, Canadian Blood Services, governments, and community partners are making meaningful improvements to meet the needs of Canadian patients, no matter where in the country they live."

"I strongly urge Canadians to register as a donor and to talk to your family about your decision," said Minister Ambrose. "The few minutes it takes could save the lives of up to eight people waiting for an organ transplant and enhance the lives of many more who are in need of a tissue transplant."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Professor Chris Hadfield calls world class University home

WATERLOO, Ontario, December 3, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Keep your long-term goals in mind to make your dream a reality, Professor Chris Hadfield told members of a capacity - and captivated - crowd that came to hear his free public lecture at the University of Waterloo today.

"You don't get lost in the hassles of the short term. It helps you keep your decision-making headed in the right direction," said Professor Hadfield, who dreamed of going to space before Canada had an astronaut program. "Nothing in the future is guaranteed. But what is a guarantee is if you don't turn yourself into the person you want to be, you zero your own chances."

Professor Hadfield, who has been around the world 2,500 times, took the audience on an astronaut's trip around the Earth, from launch to re-entry. The lecture was his first appearance on campus since his appointment as adjunct professor of aviation last October.

He is cross-appointed to the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Environment and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, and will assume some teaching and advising responsibilities in aviation and related programs at Waterloo in the fall of 2014. Waterloo's bachelor of science and bachelor of environmental studies programs both offer coursework in aviation.

"It's astonishing to think that I once introduced Chris Hadfield to a Waterloo audience as he orbited the Earth on the International Space Station," said Feridun Hamdullaphur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. "I welcome him here today as a member of our faculty. This is an exciting day as he gives his first lecture as professor."

During his five months in space, Professor Hadfield participated in two ongoing research projects related to cardiovascular health with Professor Richard Hughson, of the Department of Kinesiology. One study is investigating why some astronauts are prone to fainting spells when they return to Earth. The other is looking at why arteries undergo aging-like changes during spaceflight, and whether the results have direct application to the major health problems associated with stiffer arteries as we age.

Professor Hadfield underwent the latest in a series of tests as part of Professor Hughson's research to measure the thickness of the arteries in his neck today. The experiments follow tests Hadfield last underwent on the day he landed back on earth.

Waterloo's aviation program launched in 2007. It is the first to offer a bachelor of science degree in Aviation with a specialization in physics or earth sciences or non-specialized science with geomatics. It also offers the first bachelor of environmental studies in geography with a geomatics specialization that also allows students to graduate with a commercial pilot license.

Specific details with respect to his courses, research and advising are still being reviewed, but it is anticipated that Professor Hadfield will give lectures in existing aviation courses ranging from flight management to human factors in aviation.

"This university is absolutely world class," said Professor Hadfield. "I'm really looking forward to coming back in the fall. That will be when the circle comes around and I feel that my feet are back on the ground."

Following his lecture, Professor Hamdullahpur presented Professor Hadfield with a Waterloo Warriors hockey jersey that bears his name. Then Professor Hadfield signed copies of his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, for the more than 200 people who waited in line for a chance to meet him.

Professor Hadfield's relationship with the University of Waterloo dates back to 1982 when he undertook post-graduate research here. Professor Hadfield, who made a space-to-campus downlink call to Waterloo students February 15th. this year - he was 370 kilometres over the Earth at the time - gave the keynote address when the university launched its aviation program in 2007.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full and part - time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's Pink Tour brings thousands on board

Ontarians pledge to reduce breast cancer risk and get screened

TORONTO, November 27, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - After four months on the road, travelling to 128 communities and meeting more than 21,500 Ontarians, the Pink Tour has officially parked for the season. As the bus crossed the province, the Pink Tour increased breast health awareness and understanding, inspired action and pledges for breast health, and contributed to provincial screening rates by enabling women who were on the bus to book mammograms through the Ontario Breast Screening Program.

Supported by CIBC and Shoppers Drug Mart, this is the second year that the Pink Tour enabled Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) to bring critical breast health information to women where they live, work and play. This year, the 46-foot Pink Tour bus was filled with new interactive touch-screen tools, quizzes, and videos and materials in 13 languages, presenting a novel way to make this information even more accessible to diverse audiences.

This year's tour travelled as far north as Sioux Lookout and as far west as Kenora with an increased focus on reaching diverse and underscreened populations, visiting more cultural events and festivals, community health centers, and First Nation communities.

"We want as many Ontarians as possible to know that one third of breast cancers are preventable and that regular screening saves lives. The Pink Tour provided a tremendous opportunity to travel across Ontario and connect with people one-on-one in their communities,"
said Sandra Palmaro, CEO, CBCF-Ontario.
"Together with our partners, we provided women with concrete actions they can take to reduce breast cancer risk; we enabled women to locate their closest Ontario Breast Screening program (OBSP) clinic, a program of Cancer Care Ontario; and if they chose to, eligible women 50-74 could book mammogram appointments right on the bus."

Mortality rates for breast cancer have declined by 42 per cent since 1986 thanks to improved screening technology, earlier detection and better treatment, but one in nine Canadian women will still be diagnosed with breast cancer.

"One of our key learnings on the tour was that many women feel they need more information about how, when, where and at what age to get screened, and how to understand whether they are at high risk," Palmaro said. "Many still don't have access to a family doctor, and for those that do, discussions about breast health and screening aren't always taking place."

While women aged 50 to 74 can receive a mammogram without a doctor's referral and at no cost, currently only 61 per cent of women in Ontario are being screened and research shows that women are not aware that they can take steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

"Many people we met were surprised to learn about the various risk factors for breast cancer," Palmaro said. "The Pink Tour brought this information to women to encourage them to make positive changes in their lives."

Inspired by what they learned, more than 4,500 visitors wrote and recorded personal video pledges to live well. These included maintaining a healthier body weight, regular physical activity, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking, limiting use of hormone therapy during menopause and reducing exposure to harmful chemicals at home and work.

"We'd like to thank our partners for their important contributions, and remind women that while the bus is parked they can get information on how to reduce their risk of breast cancer at," Palmaro said. "Women of all ages should discuss their breast health, including any unusual changes, with a health care provider. Women aged 50-74 who are interested in booking a mammogram can call 1-800-668-9304 toll-free or visit to find an OBSP screening site near them."

"CIBC was proud to join the Foundation once again as co-sponsor of the Pink Tour to help get the important message out to as many women and men as possible in our communities that getting screened can save your life,"
said Christina Kramer, Executive Vice-President, CIBC.
"We are thrilled that the Pink Tour bus visited so many CIBC branches across Ontario so that our clients and employees had an opportunity to take part in this vital program."

"The Pink Tour has once again proved to be a valuable tool for raising breast cancer awareness in Ontario," said Michael Sherar, CEO, Cancer Care Ontario.

"By bringing information directly to women in all corners of the province, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, along with our Regional Cancer Programs, is supporting our mutual goal of educating women on the importance of getting regular mammograms."

"Shoppers Drug Mart, powered by our community-based Pharmacist-owners, was proud to once again support the Pink Tour,"
said Mary-Alice Vuicic, Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice-President, Human Resources & Public Affairs, Shoppers Drug Mart.
"With our primary philanthropic focus being Shoppers Drug Mart WOMEN, and our goal to empower women to make the right health choices for themselves, we reached even more women across the province. We recognize that breast cancer screening rates are well below provincial targets, and Shoppers Drug Mart was proud to do its part in helping to deliver information about breast health and the importance of screening to women and their families."

About Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is the leading community-driven organization in Canada dedicated to creating a future without breast cancer. Our investments in innovative and relevant research and education have led to progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Since 1986, we have been at the forefront of a nationwide movement supporting and advocating for the breast cancer community. Join us 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 1,230 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 56 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec) and six 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 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 2012, CIBC contributed more than $38 million to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada to support national, regional and local organizations.

About Cancer Care Ontario

Cancer Care Ontario - an Ontario government agency - drives quality and continuous improvement in disease prevention and screening, the delivery of care and the patient experience, for cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care for key health services. Known for its innovation and results-driven approaches, CCO leads multi-year system planning, contracts for services with hospitals and providers, develops and deploys information systems, establishes guidelines and standards and tracks performance targets to ensure system-wide improvements in cancer, chronic kidney disease and access to care.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Canadian Music Theatre Project presents Marathon of Hope

OAKVILLE, Ontario, November 26, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Terry Fox family and Sheridan College are proud to announce the development of a new folk musical about one of Canada's enduring heroes. The Canadian Music Theatre Project presents MARATHON OF HOPE, based on the incredible true story of Terry Fox.

In the summer of 1980, Terry ran across Canada, a marathon every day to raise money for cancer research and captured the heart of the nation in the process. After 143 days, Terry was forced to end his run when his cancer returned. He passed away on June 28, 1981 at 22 years of age.

MARATHON OF HOPE is created by award winning songwriter, singer and Sheridan graduate John Connolly who composed and wrote music and lyrics, with a book by award winning playwright and Artistic Director of Smile Theatre, Jim Betts and orchestrations and arrangements by musical director Michael Mulrooney.

"We have enjoyed the journey with John Connolly and Sheridan College as the Marathon of Hope musical evolved over the years," said Darrell Fox, Terry's brother. "We continue to admire John's sincere commitment to the project and believe the musical offers a unique, entertaining and moving way to share the Marathon of Hope."

"The telling of these events as a work of musical theatre is another compelling way to share this iconic story," said Michael Rubinoff, Producer and Associate Dean at Sheridan. "Our guiding principle has been to share Terry's story with an even wider audience, inspire a new generation and ultimately raise significant funds for the Terry Fox Foundation to fulfill Terry's goal of finding a cure for cancer. We are grateful for all of the support and guidance from the Fox family and look forward to welcoming them to Sheridan on opening night."

Developed in collaboration with the Terry Fox family, a leading group of Canadian theatre practitioners and actors have been assembled to work in Sheridan's Canadian Music Theatre Project "theatrical laboratory" to develop this magnificent story for the stage. MARATHON OF HOPE stars Loretta Bailey (Les Miserables, Shaw Festival), Tess Benger (Anne of Green Gables, Shaw Festival), Michelle Bouey (Rent, "Over The Rainbow"), Paula Brancati ("Degrassi: The Next Generation", "Being Erica") Mike Cox (Rent, Next To Normal), Alex Furber (War Horse), Jayden Greig (Mary Poppins), Jordan Till (Stratford Festival), Geoffrey Tyler (Stratford Festival) and playing the role of Terry Fox, recent Sheridan graduate Josh Wiles. A choir of students, in the third year of Sheridan's prestigious Music Theatre Performance Program, join the cast.

The Canadian Music Theatre Project was launched in 2011 at Sheridan College and is Canada's first incubator for the development of new musicals by Canadian and international composers, lyricists and book-writers.

About Sheridan College

Long recognized for excellence in music theatre performance and technical theatre production, Sheridan College offers an innovative learning environment celebrated for academic excellence, applied research and creativity. Alumni perform on stages and work backstage in theatres across the world including on Broadway, in London's West End and at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals. Theatre Sheridan presents six musicals a year at the Trafalgar Road campus in Oakville. Visit and follow us on Twitter at for more information.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Giving Tuesday is December 3, 2013

Giving Tuesday - Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday - now GivingTuesday is coming to Canada on December 3, 2013.

It is a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others.

Consider donating to the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association

Donate Now Through!

To get involved, visit

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Parks Canada on Google Maps - Breathtaking views of over 50 Parks Canada sites are online

OTTAWA, November 20, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Parks Canada and Google are proud to launch a collection of magnificent and breathtaking panoramic images of the best that Canada has to offer. Over 50 national historic sites and national parks from coast to coast can now be seen on the popular search site.

"I invite Canadians as well as the millions of Internet users throughout the world to visit Google Maps and discover Canada as they have never seen it before. Through this virtual voyage to the heart of our national treasures, they will experience an inspiring moment by simply clicking a mouse button or pressing a touch screen," declared the honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

Throughout the summer of 2013, Google teams travelled across Canada to capture the most beautiful panoramas of the country's natural and cultural heritage. Using specialized equipment, they photographed Canada's most emblematic sites on land, water, by car, on foot, indoors and outdoors.

Simply go to Google Maps or Google Earth and enter the name of a Parks Canada site to let the magic unfold. Visit the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site in Nova Scotia, or let yourself be carried away by the beauty of the Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Explore the Fortifications of Québec or navigate to the Thousand Islands National Park in Ontario. Admire the majestic Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies, or be captivated by the dazzling beauty of the British Columbia's Glacier National Park. Better still, view your next campground and the facilities provided before planning your trip.

"Throughout this exceptional adventure, Google received outstanding support from the whole Parks Canada team, to whom we extend our grateful thanks. With their help, we hope that Street View imagery in Google Maps of our national parks and national historic sites will help Canadians explore our country as never before and open a window into the beauty of Canada to the world," said Mr. Aaron Brindle, Communications & Public Affairs, Google Canada.

Next year, Google and Parks Canada will continue their work to capture even more places and add the final touch to this gallery of breathtaking images. Through this initiative, Parks Canada allows Internet users to dream as they take free virtual visits, offering unique opportunities to learn more about its protected sites as well as connecting Canadians together and giving them a taste to travel to extraordinary destinations.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada's historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

For more information, please visit

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coffee reigns as the number one beverage of choice for adult Canadians!

TORONTO, October 24, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - According to the CAC's newly released 2013 Canadian Coffee Drinking Study, coffee is a dominant beverage in the Canadian market. Only tap water enjoys equally high past-day penetration. The results of the research show that approximately two-thirds of adult Canadians (65%) consumed coffee in the past-day. Approximately three-quarters of Canadians aged 18-79 (78%) indicate they've consumed coffee in the past week. A total of 83% of Canadians say they've enjoyed coffee in the past-year. Coffee drinkers consume on average 3.2 cups of coffee per day.

Traditional coffee is the most common coffee type, with over one-half of consumers drinking it yesterday (55%), followed by espresso-based coffee (12%), instant traditional coffee (9%), iced/frozen blended coffee (6%) and decaffeinated coffee (5%).

In total, one-third of Canadians consumed an espresso-based beverage past-week (32%). The more popular espresso-based beverages are cappuccinos and lattes where 16% and 14% of consumers had them past-week. Specialty Coffee beverages and iced/frozen coffee are strongest among ages 18-34. Those aged 18-24 are less likely to drink coffee yesterday. In addition, those 18-24 year olds who do drink coffee tend to drink fewer cups.

Overall, roughly three-quarters of consumers who drank coffee past-day consumed it in-home (78%), while 37% consumed coffee out-of-home.

The drip coffee brewing format is dominant (53% of past-day coffee users drank a coffee prepared using a drip coffee maker), but single-cup machines are now in a strong second place (25% of past-day coffee users drank a coffee prepared using a single-cup machine). Single-cup brewer ownership is markedly higher in Canada than in the United States (20% vs. 12%).

"One of the features of the out of home Canadian coffee market is accessibility through the high number of outlets per capita," says Sandy McAlpine, CAC President. "In fact, coffee is second only to Italy in terms of menu importance for away from home coffee consumption. Further, the single cup phenomenon has dramatically changed the grocery store shelf and the at home coffee drinking experience for many Canadians."

Canadian Coffee Drinking Study

In 1998, the Coffee Association of Canada (CAC) commissioned the initial wave of the Coffee Drinking Study of Canada. The primary objectives of this study in 2013 were to:

...Determine the current disposition of coffee beverage consumption in Canada and identify changes over time;

...Investigate consumption and attitudes toward coffee consumed at-work;

...Further understand the market for single-cup brewing systems;

...Determine awareness, purchase, and attitudes toward cause-related coffee and attitudes surrounding environmental practices in the coffee industry.

The Coffee Association of Canada/Café Association du Canada

The CAC is the primary advocate for the coffee industry in Canada. The Association exists to undertake a leadership and spokesperson role to effectively address collective industry issues and enhance the coffee beverage experience by providing members and consumers with opportunities to improve coffee beverage knowledge and skills.

For over 20 years we have advocated on behalf our membership on government policy and regulations. We work with all levels of government and in partnership with other related industry associations to influence outcomes, ensure our objectives are met and that our interests are both promoted and protected. We endeavor to be a credible, comprehensive and accessible source of information and provide useful resources and valuable knowledge through targeted research and communications. This advocacy is funded by and depends on the commitment and the dedication of our membership.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tell us "Who Are You Fighting For?" for a chance to win at

TORONTO, October 22, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in Canada and around the world. With more than nine million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes, including an estimated one million living with undiagnosed diabetes, awareness is the crucial first step in the fight against the disease. In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month this November, the Canadian Diabetes Association has launched Who Are You Fighting For?—a grassroots campaign that will provide a voice to people affected by diabetes across Canada.

"My five-year old daughter, Avery, and I both live with type 1 diabetes and people need to be aware of what this disease entails," says Tanyss Christie, Chilliwack, British Columbia. "I'm fighting for my daughter and all young children with diabetes, because they deserve a healthy and carefree future."

Throughout the campaign, Canadians will be encouraged to:

1) Share their story about somebody close to them fighting diabetes at;

2) Share their Who Are You Fighting For? Facebook or fundraising page with friends, family and online communities to raise awareness and funds;

3) Learn more about diabetes; and:

4) Support Diabetes Awareness Month activities in their local communities or host their own local event.

"Canada plays a leading role in the fight against this global diabetes epidemic," says Rick Blickstead, President and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Many people are living with diabetes and don't know it. Diabetes Awareness Month provides an opportunity to create greater awareness of this complex disease, helping people learn about the signs and symptoms as well as what they can do to effectively prevent type 2 diabetes and manage type 1 , type 2 and gestational diabetes."

Getting involved in the Who Are You Fighting For? campaign is easy. Visit to share your story from October 21 to November 30, 2013, to be eligible to win a 15" MacBook Pro, a $3,000 Visa shopping spree or other exciting prizes, courtesy of Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. Family, friends and colleagues can also show their support by voting and sharing stories with their online social networks and by making a donation.

"Novo Nordisk is pleased to support this unique online campaign that engages and encourages Canadians to share their personal story of who they are fighting for,"
says Vince Lamanna, President of Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.
"I'm fighting to ensure Canadians with diabetes have access to the best treatments, so they can pursue their dreams, like my friend Sebastien Sasseville, professional triathlete with Team Novo Nordisk and the first Canadian with type 1 diabetes to summit Mount Everest."

Diabetes is a disease with multifaceted causes and no known cure. It is defined by abnormal levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood and can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and amputations. Understanding the disease is critical to preventing type 2 diabetes and for effective self-management of all types of diabetes leading to healthy outcomes. Signs and symptoms of diabetes include: unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight change (gain or loss), extreme fatigue or lack of energy, blurred vision, frequent or recurring infections, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and trouble getting or maintaining an erection. It is important to recognize, however, that many people who have type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms.

"The more awareness and funds we can generate, the more people with diabetes we can help,"
adds Blickstead.

About the Canadian Diabetes Association

The Canadian Diabetes Association is a registered charitable organization, leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure. Our professional staff and more than 20,000 volunteers provide education and services to help people in their daily fight against the disease, advocate on behalf of people with diabetes for the opportunity to achieve their highest quality of life, and invest in groundbreaking research. Please visit, join us on, follow us on Twitter @DiabetesAssoc, or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

About Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.

Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care and biopharmaceuticals. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services that make a significant difference to patients, the medical profession and society. Novo Nordisk's business is driven by the Triple Bottom Line: a commitment to economic success, environmental soundness, and social responsibility to employees and customers. For more information, visit

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Collective action needed to reduce the growing burden of vascular disease

Leading Canadian Health Organizations Release a Vascular Declaration Calling for Urgent Action on Vascular Disease

MONTREAL, October 18, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ninety per cent of Canadians are facing an unacceptable risk of developing vascular disease and we have to act now to reduce its increasing burden, say leading health experts at the Vascular 2013 Congress in Montreal this week.

To galvanize action, leading Canadian experts working in the field of vascular health have signed and committed to a Vascular Declaration, a collective approach to reducing vascular disease in Canada.

"This Declaration calls for urgent action and outlines a comprehensive approach that can vastly decrease the impact of vascular disease on Canadians," says Dr. Duncan Stewart, the scientific chair of Vascular 2013. "The health sector cannot solve this problem alone."

Vascular diseases are a result of disorders in the blood vessels (large and small) throughout the entire human body. Diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, dementia, kidney diseases, certain lung and eye conditions are all vascular diseases.

Five unhealthy behaviors - unhealthy diet, smoking, lack of physical activity, excess alcohol intake and stress - are well-established risks for more than 50 diseases including these.

The declaration, called Making the Connection: A Call to Action on Vascular Health, calls for an integrated, multifaceted approach to address the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and end-of-life care for people with vascular disease.

It is a landmark approach to an urgent and debilitating health issue.

"We need to form a united front against this massive challenge to our society and economy," says Dr. Stewart, a practicing cardiologist who is also the CEO and scientific director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, vice-president of research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. "Direct action is required at all levels to achieve meaningful impact on vascular health."

The Declaration calls on sectors across Canada to unite and take action

To all Canadians:

Make your health a priority. Adopt healthy behaviors. Advocate for healthy communities. Work with your health care provider to modify your vascular risk.

To health care practitioners:

Maximize inter-professional collaboration to comprehensively manage vascular risk and prevention. Keep up-to-date on, and follow best care practices. Collaborate with other sectors to advocate for and address legislative, social and built environment factors that impact population health.

To federal, provincial and municipal governments:

Commit to sustained action on vascular health by implementing effective public policies and regulations that foster healthy food, physical activity and smoke-free environments. Be inclusive of the needs, interests and abilities of specific populations within their local contexts and settings. Monitor the impact of public policies and regulations on health, economic productivity and chronic care costs.

To researchers and academia:

Develop approaches to address evidence gaps on vascular health issues. Foster the integration of knowledge across sectors, disciplines and conditions to impact vascular health through advocacy, programs and best practices.

For not-for-profit organizations:

Maximize impact through joint action. Align messaging and resources for the public on vascular risk and chronic disease management. Build partnerships for action on vascular health, advocate for healthy public policies and translate knowledge on vascular health into programs that improve the health of Canadians

For the private sector:

Ensure a healthier and more productive workforce through implementation of healthy workplace policies and programs. Build intersectoral partnerships to advocate for healthy public policies. Partner with the health system to support prevention and screening.

"By working together, we can leverage skills, innovations and knowledge to collaboratively act to reduce the burden of vascular disease in Canada," says Dr. Stewart.

Vascular diseases are the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Canada. Twenty four million Canadians have at least one risk factor for vascular disease and 10 million have three or more.

Canada's aging population, combined with alarming trends in obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and diabetes are expected to further increase the social and economic impact of vascular diseases in the coming decades, unless there are major changes in health policy.

"Risk factors for vascular disease can be managed by lifestyle behaviors," says Dr. Duncan. "For example, lifestyle changes and prevention or treatment of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure can prevent an estimated 54 per cent of Alzheimer's cases in North America."

Even more concerning is the increase in vascular risk factors among Canada's youth, and ethnically diverse populations.

Also alarming is the fact that between 1994 and 2005, rates of high blood pressure among Canadians aged 35-49 increased by 127 per cent, diabetes by 64 per cent and obesity by 20 per cent.

The declaration was created by health experts representing the Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Canadian Stroke Network, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Hypertension Canada.

Vascular 2013 is a one-time national congress for knowledge exchange and community building in vascular health, bringing together experts from multiple sectors and health disciplines to focus on and expand our understanding of vascular disease prevention and management.

To read Making the Connection: A Call to Action on Vascular Health, go to:

Friday, October 18, 2013

University of Guelph Professor Wins SSHRC’s Highest Research Honour

GUELPH, Ontario - October 15, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - A University of Guelph professor who is one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change has won this year’s top research honour from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Barry Smit received SSHRC’s 2013 Gold Medal, which includes a $100,000 grant, today during the World Social Sciences Forum in Montreal. He is the first U of G professor to win the prestigious award.

“This is a fantastic and well-deserved honour for Barry,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

“Barry has always been one of the most outstanding and recognized researchers at U of G and in his field internationally. This gold medal goes beyond that and distinguishes Barry as truly one of the country's most innovative social science researchers.“

Smit was among the first to investigate human vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. His work has taken him to 68 countries and dozens of towns and villages in some of the most remote and underdeveloped regions of the world.

“Part of the brilliance of Barry's research is that he makes the connections between social science and the natural sciences,” Hall said. “We also recognize Barry for his outstanding role as a mentor for young faculty.”

Part of SSHRC’s prestigious Impact Awards, the Gold Medal honours scholars for original thought, work and leadership that has advanced understanding in their field and enriched Canada’s cultural and intellectual life. The winner is chosen by jury, and the prize money is to be used for research, promotion, knowledge mobilization or related activities.

Smit called the award “a significant honour.”

“It represents encouragement for colleagues across Canada in the field of climate change, especially its economic and social implications," he said.

“The issue itself is complicated and challenging -- never mind the unfortunate discouragement of researchers seeking to understand our climate, humankind's role and effects on our ecosystems, communities and our economy, and the implications of possible solutions. These are important issues for which substantive research is needed in Canada.”

Smit has been a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) since its establishment 25 years ago. He was lead author of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report published in 2007. The IPCC team, including Smit, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with environmental activist and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

Smit has written books, research articles and government reports, taught hundreds of students, attended international conferences and gatherings, and advised organizations, governments and world leaders.

He has held the Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change for a decade. Earlier this year, he received the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour. (Read more about Smit's career here)

Smit, who retired from U of G in August, plans to use the prize money to promote climate change research and to provide mentoring, contacts and networking opportunities for graduate students and colleagues.

"The medal recognizes my geography colleagues at U of G and the many former students who have contributed to this work and who now are highly regarded researchers and practitioners across Canada and beyond,” he said.

“They have provided expertise, support and encouragement, along with intellectual challenge and a collegial environment that has meant I got up every morning enthusiastic about continuing this sort of work.”

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Herbal Products Omit Ingredients, Contain Fillers - University of Guelph Study

GUELPH, Ontario - October 11, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - Consumers of natural health products beware. The majority of herbal products on the market contain ingredients not listed on the label, with most companies substituting cheaper alternatives and using fillers, according to new research from the University of Guelph.

The study, published today in the journal BMC Medicine, used DNA barcoding technology to test 44 herbal products sold by 12 companies.

Only two of the companies provided authentic products without substitutions, contaminants or fillers.

Overall, nearly 60 per cent of the herbal products contained plant species not listed on the label.

Researchers detected product substitution in 32 per cent of the samples.

More than 20 per cent of the products included fillers such as rice, soybeans and wheat not listed on the label.

“Contamination and substitution in herbal products present considerable health risks for consumers,” said lead author Steven Newmaster. An integrative biology professor, he is botanical director of the Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), home of the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding.

“We found contamination in several products with plants that have known toxicity, side effects and/or negatively interact with other herbs, supplements and medications.”

One product labelled as St. John’s wort contained Senna alexandrina, a plant with laxative properties. It’s not intended for prolonged use, as it can cause chronic diarrhea and liver damage and negatively interacts with immune cells in the colon.

Several herbal products contained Parthenium hysterophorus (feverfew), which can cause swelling and numbness in the mouth, oral ulcers and nausea. It also reacts with medications metabolized by the liver.

One ginkgo product was contaminated with Juglans nigra (black walnut), which could endanger people with nut allergies.

Unlabelled fillers such as wheat, soybeans and rice are also a concern for people with allergies or who are seeking gluten-free products, Newmaster said.

“It’s common practice in natural products to use fillers such as these, which are mixed with the active ingredients. But a consumer has a right to see all of the plant species used in producing a natural product on the list of ingredients.”

Until now, verifying what’s inside capsules or tablets has posed challenges, Newmaster said. His research team developed standard methods and tests using DNA barcoding to identify and authenticate ingredients in herbal products.

“There is a need to protect consumers from the economic and health risks associated with herbal product fraud. Currently there are no standards for authentication of herbal products.”

Medicinal herbs now constitute the fastest-growing segment of the North American alternative medicine market, with more than 29,000 herbal substances sold, he said.

More than 1,000 companies worldwide make medicinal plant products worth more than $60 billion a year.

About 80 per cent of people in developed countries use natural health products, including vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies.

Canada has regulated natural health products since 2004. Regulators face a backlog of licence applications, and thousands of products on the market lack a full product licence. Globally, regulatory problems involving natural health products continue to affect consistency and safety, Newmaster said.

“The industry suffers from unethical activities by some of the manufacturers.”

The study also involved research associate Subramanyam Ragupathy, U of G student Meghan Gruric and Sathishkumar Ramalingam of Bharathiar University in India.

This research was supported by Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute; the Canada Foundation for Innovation; International Science and Technology Partnership Canada; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Master Class Youth Series mentors young singers across Ontario

photo credit: Marco Martins-Costa via Flickr

LONDON, Ontario, October 4, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Young vocal students from across the province are being invited to participate in an innovative collaboration between Conservatory Canada and The Canadian Music Centre.

Now in its second year and supported through a three-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, The Master Class Youth Series gives students across Ontario the opportunity to participate in a unique form of artistic engagement that combines both a performance and a composition element within a single masterclass.

Each masterclass brings ten students chosen through consultation with local teachers and music educators together with one Conservatory Canada Clinician and one Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer for two days of performance, composition, and improvisation.

Upcoming masterclasses are being offered in Aurora (October 18 & 19), Kanata (November 8 & 9), Midland (November 15 & 16) and Kingston (November 15 & 16).

"These types of intensive workshops are usually available only in larger centres," notes Conservatory Canada national executive director, Victoria Warwick. "We are delighted to be able to offer this level of professional mentorship and development to students in smaller communities as well."

Voice and piano pedagogue, Michael Faulkner, worked with students at last year's piano masterclass in Kanata. "It was a truly amazing and enriching experience for everyone involved," says Faulkner, who will be mentoring voice students on behalf of Conservatory Canada this year in Kanata and Kingston.

"Each participant will be preparing two selections by Canadian composers to perform and receive feedback on," he says. "They will also be given tools to compose their own music, and be able to work on them with the Conservatory Canada and Canadian Music Centre clinicians."

At the end of the two days, students will share what they have learned for family, teachers and the community at large, says Warwick, adding that the ultimate goal is to keep young singers inspired and engaged in their musical studies.

Conservatory Canada is a national charitable organization focusing on advancing the performing arts through music education.

The Canadian Music Centre promotes the work of its associate composers in Canada and throughout the world, loaning scores and selling CDs, as well as providing an on-demand publishing service and consultations.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Research May Lead to New Drugs for Heart Disease, Other Ailments

GUELPH, Ontario - September 09, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - New and improved drugs against a wide range of human diseases may be a step closer through new research by University of Guelph scientists.

Guelph physics professors Vladimir Ladizhansky and Leonid Brown say they have perfected ways to determine the structure of large proteins found in cell membranes throughout the body.

Their work may help drug companies and other researchers zero in on new drug targets and design better drugs for ailments ranging from heart disease to eye and kidney problems.

Their research appears in a new paper published this week in Nature Methods.

The U of G team has demonstrated a new way of looking at structures of cell membrane proteins using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. NMR shows molecular structure by detecting magnetic spins and interactions of atomic nuclei.

These complex molecules in membranes perform many important functions, including relaying signals, passing substances in and out of cells, and governing immune responses. They account for about 40 per cent of all proteins in the body.

About half of all drugs target these proteins, said Brown.

“Membrane proteins are primary drug targets for so many diseases.”

But out of almost 100,000 known protein structures, only about 400 membrane proteins have been mapped so far. These molecules are complex and hard to work with, said Ladizhansky, who holds a Canada Research Chair in biophysics.

Normally researchers use X-rays to look at protein structure. But that method often distorts the molecules through crystallization and doesn’t allow researchers to study them in their natural state.

Now the Guelph scientists have perfected a reliable solid-state NMR method to study molecules embedded in lipids, as they normally exist in membranes.

Knowing protein structure helps researchers understand how molecules work, Ladizhansky said. “The impact on drug design is huge. It’s hard to create new drugs without knowing structures.”

Drug companies now use high-throughput screening processes to plow through candidate molecules, he said. That’s complicated, time-consuming and costly.

“If you know structures, you open the way for rational drug design.”

The Guelph researchers will use the technique to study medically relevant proteins.

Brown, a biophysicist, has looked at aquaporins that regulate movement of water in and out of cells throughout the body, from kidneys to eyes.

“They are extremely important in fluid balance, and are associated with many diseases,” he said.

He and Ladizhansky also plan to study a membrane receptor protein that helps the body to bind caffeine and regulates blood vessels in the heart.

This research was funded by Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and National Research Foundation of Korea (Global Research Network Program).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Safety Advisory - Carbon Monoxide: Beware the Silent Killer

Technical Standards and Safety Authority Issues Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Safety Warning

TORONTO, September 9, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario's public safety regulator, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), is reminding the public of carbon monoxide (CO) safety tips following two recent CO-related fatalities.

An 11-year-old boy was found dead from CO poisoning in the family vehicle at the Lodge Louise campground in Parry Sound on Saturday, August 31. He'd opted to sleep in the family van rather than the tent. A propane-fueled cooler was operating in the back of the van with all but one of the vehicle's windows closed because of mosquitoes.

On Sunday, September 1, an 84-year-old man was found dead and his wife in critical condition as a result of CO poisoning while at their cottage in Armour, northeast of Burk's Falls. A propane-fueled refrigerator is suspected to be the source of the CO.

"These are sad and tragic incidents that could have been prevented," said John Marshall, Director of TSSA's Fuels Safety Program. "Awareness of CO safety risks is your best protection," added Mr. Marshall.

STEP 1: - Eliminate CO at the source. Follow manufacturer's installation and operating instructions. Get your fuel-burning appliances and equipment inspected by a certified technician who works for a TSSA-registered heating contractor. For a list of registered heating contractors, ask your fuel supplier or call TSSA toll-free at 1-877-682-TSSA (8772).

STEP 2: - Ensure your home and cottage have certified CO alarms. They will warn you of rising CO levels, giving you time to take potentially life-saving action. For proper installation locations, follow manufacturer instructions or ask your local fire department.

STEP 3: - Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. They are similar to the flu - nausea, headache, burning eyes, confusion and drowsiness - except there is no fever. If they appear, immediately get everyone, including pets, outside to fresh air and call 911 and/or your local fire department.

TSSA encourages the public to get the right facts about CO safety risks, the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in North America, by visiting The more you know, the better you can practice CO safety and ensure you and your family don't become victims of CO poisoning.

About TSSA

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is Ontario's public safety regulator dedicated to enhancing public safety. TSSA is mandated by the Government of Ontario and regulates the safety of amusement devices, boilers and pressure vessels, elevating devices, fuels, operating engineers, ski lifts, and upholstered and stuffed articles throughout the province. Its range of safety services includes public education and consumer information, certification, licensing and registration, engineering design review, inspections, investigations, safety management consultation, and enforcement and prosecution activities. The organization's vision is to be a valued advocate and recognized authority in public safety.

Friday, September 6, 2013

World Renowned Expert on Global Ageing Speaks Tonight at Sheridan about "The Longevity Revolution"

OAKVILLE, Ontario, September 6, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Dr. Alexandre Kalache, MD, PhD, President of the International Longevity Centre in Brazil and former Director of the Global Ageing Programme at the World Health Organization (WHO) will present a free, one-hour lecture at Sheridan on September 6.

Dr. Kalache will speak about the unprecedented demographic shift being felt worldwide that has resulted from increased life expectancy and the forecasted doubling -- over the next four years -- of the proportion of older people in society. His talk will explore how different sectors are responding to this phenomenon and suggest policies that need to be put into place to ensure that population ageing becomes a force for positive change on a global scale.

The lecture is being given to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Sheridan Elder Research Centre (SERC), which conducts applied research to create innovative strategies to improve the quality of life for older adults and their families.

Interactive exhibits, featuring some of the applied research SERC has conducted over the past ten years on everything from the use of smells to interact with memories, using dance as a health promotion strategy, and the creation of mobile apps and digital 'brain gyms' will be on display. While the event is free, contributions to SERC's ongoing educational outreach activities would be welcomed.

What: SERC 10th Anniversary Celebration & Lecture by Dr. Alexandre Kalache
When: Friday, September 6, 2013
Where: Sheridan College, 1430 Trafalgar Road, Oakville, Ontario

6:00 PM: Interactive displays, Sheldon Levy Centre (J wing) & SERC (K wing)
7:00 PM: One-hour lecture by Dr. Alexandre Kalache, Macdonald Heaslip Hall (Bwing)
8:00 PM: Interactive displays, Sheldon Levy Centre (J wing) & SERC (K wing)- For the Public

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Event to Celebrate New University of Guelph Improvisation Institute

GUELPH, Ontario August 26, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - Musicians, scholars, music lovers and others are invited to a free event Sept. 3 to celebrate the launch of a unique research institute at the University of Guelph. The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) aims to improve society by bringing together the arts, scholarship and collaborative action.

Directed by U of G professor Ajay Heble and backed by a $2.5-million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the institute will use improvisation as a teaching and learning tool and as a model for building successful communities.

The launch will be held at the River Run Centre. A 7 p.m. reception will be followed by remarks at 8 p.m. from U of G president Alastair Summerlee, Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge and others. A “world percussion summit” featuring Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (India), Dong-Won Kim (South Korea), Hamid Drake (United States) and Jesse Stewart (Canada) will round out the evening.

“This group of performers represents some of the most cutting-edge work going on in the field,” said Heble, an English professor, musician, and artistic director and founder of the renowned Guelph Jazz Festival.

“It’s also a fitting way to kick off our institute’s work, which involves leading artists and thinkers from around the globe bringing multiple voices and perspectives into creative dialogue and leaving room for the surprising and revelatory discoveries that can happen when we open ourselves to each other.”

The event is free and open to everyone. Registration is not required. The launch occurs in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Guelph Jazz Festival, which runs Sept. 4 to 8.

IICSI will involve 56 international scholars from 20 institutions, including McGill University, the University of British Columbia, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Regina, as well as more than 30 community partners.

Institute programs will focus on three key research priorities: community health and social responsibility, practice-based research and digital technology. The initiative was ranked No. 1 among finalists for the SSHRC grant, which was one of 20 awarded nationwide. The new institute stems from the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice research project directed by Heble that was also backed by a SSHRC grant.

“What we’re doing is unique in the world," he said. "We’ve propelled Guelph forward as a world centre for using improvisational music as a form of social practice, an engine for change.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Canada's Provinces and Territories Realize Real Savings in Healthcare through Collaboration

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario, July 26, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The quality and sustainability of Canada's health care systems are being improved through the work of the Council of the Federation's Health Care Innovation Working Group. Over the past year, the working group has achieved a number of successes, including lowering the cost of pharmaceutical drugs:

...Effective April 1, 2013, participating provinces and territories set a price for the six most common generic drugs, resulting in $100 million in savings annually.

...Negotiations with suppliers have been completed for 10 brand name drugs and an additional 17 drugs are presently under negotiation. In total, joint work on these 27 drugs will result in approximately $60-70 million savings annually.

In addition to pharmaceutical drugs, the two other significant priority areas for the working group over the next year are appropriateness of care and seniors care. Premiers asked the working group to examine opportunities within the team-based model framework to increase the important role paramedics and pharmacists play in the provision of front line services.

There is mounting evidence that some patients receive treatments that may not be best suited for their actual needs. That results in less effective care for patients and wastes precious healthcare resources. Spending on diagnostic imaging in Canada has increased significantly and now exceeds an estimated $2.2 billion annually. According to the Canadian Association of Radiologists, 10% to 20% of these tests may be unnecessary. Eliminating unnecessary tests could save $220 million each year.

To make sure Canadians are getting the most out of their health care systems, all participating provinces and territories agreed to adopt guidelines as appropriate for their jurisdictions for the use of medical imaging in minor head injuries, lower back pain and headaches. The working group will look at appropriateness of care in other areas.

Most seniors prefer to stay in their own home for as long as they can. Experience shows that this approach is not just better for seniors - it's better for our health care systems. The working group will look at successful efforts to prioritize homecare over long-term care institutionalization and identify two to three innovative models for provinces and territories to consider adapting.

In addition, Premiers spoke about the important issue of dementia. As our population ages, it is increasingly becoming an area of concern for provinces and territories. Premiers are determined to increase awareness, address the challenges and provide opportunities to improve early diagnosis and treatment. Premiers directed the Health Care Innovation Working Group to examine issues related to dementia, including identifying best practices for early diagnosis. Central to this is raising awareness of the early warning signs and various methods of intervention.

Premiers thanked Premier Ghiz and Premier Wall for leading health ministers for the last 18 months and also thanked health providers for their ongoing engagement.

Premiers Wynne, Redford and Pasloski will co-chair the Health Care Innovation Working Group going forward. The Premiers agreed to extend the mandate of the working group for a further three years. Québec indicated that it intends to continue to contribute to the work of the Health Care Innovation Working Group through sharing information and best practices.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ontarians Spread the Word to Inspire Organ and Tissue Donor Registration

Personalized Campaigns on Drive More Than 50,000 Visits to Online Registry including the 40 donors from Boomers Info Kiosk - Thank You!

TORONTO, July 24, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - In April 2012, Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) launched an online program to allow Ontarians to share their experience and support for organ and tissue donation. Over the last 15 months, almost 1,000 individual and organizational campaigns have been set up to inspire Ontarians to register their consent. New data available today at shows that as of June 30, 2013, 2.7 million Ontarians have officially declared their intention to save a life through organ donation, an increase of 304,909 since March 2012.

"Thank you to the 2.7 million Ontarians that have registered their consent for organ and tissue donation and the more than 304,000 who signed up this past year. You are giving hope to the more than 1,400 people who are waiting for their gift of life," says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "I hope today's results encourage more Ontarians to join this growing movement to help save more lives across our great province."

Donor registration rates vary widely across Ontario. In the GTA, where rates have traditionally been significantly lower than in the rest of the province, every community has reported an increase over the last three months.

"The increase in donor registrations is encouraging, but we can and must do better," says Ronnie Gavsie, TGLN President and CEO. "At a 23 per cent registration rate, Ontario sits well below the U.S. registration rate of 45 per cent."

Quick Facts:

...As of June 30, 2013, there were 1,468 people in Ontario waiting for the gift of a life saving organ transplant.

...Northern Ontario has the highest rates of registration in the province, with three suburbs of Sudbury (Hanmer, Lively and Garson) reporting donor registration rates of over 50 per cent. Woodbridge, Concord and Scarborough are the only communities in Ontario with registration rates below 10 per cent.

...Women and younger Ontarians lead the way in organ and tissue donor registration. The registration rate among women is 25 per cent compared to a registration rate of 21 per cent among men. The registration rate among Ontarians between 20 and 39 years of age is 29 per cent, the highest compared to all other age groups.

...Ontario has made it very simple to register consent to organ and tissue donation: online at, in person at a ServiceOntario centre or by regular mail, download a copy of the consent form at

...One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 75 more through the gift of tissue.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario 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.

Canada's Demographic Challenge: A Population Growing "Younger" - C.D. Howe Institute

TORONTO, July 24, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The real demographic challenge for Canadian policymakers is adapting to a population growing "younger," after taking increased life expectancies into account, says a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "The Main Challenge of Our Times: A Population Growing Younger," authors Marcel Boyer and Sébastien Boyer propose an alternative approach to population aging, which measures years to live instead of years since birth.

Since 1950, Canadian life expectancy, on average, has increased. For example, a 65-year-old in 2010 had the same life expectancy as a 59.5 year-old in 1950.

"Canadians are experiencing increases in longevity and are willing to work longer than previous cohorts," said Marcel Boyer. "Public policy should aim to provide Canadians with the instruments to better manage retirement decisions."

While the issue of an aging society is normally viewed from the perspective of the number of years since birth - a population's age distribution - the authors turn this approach on its head. They focus on years to live, tracking the increases in longevity for different age cohorts since 1950. A 35-year-old had a remaining life expectancy of 38.6 years in 1950 but 46.8 years in 2010, showing a difference of 8.2 years. The real-1950 age of such a person in 2010 is therefore 35 minus 8.2, or 26.8 years. Similarly, members of 60-plus age groups may feel they still have much to contribute to the labour force, and governments should adapt policies to this reality.

The forthcoming generation of elderly will be more educated, which may allow more flexibility and therefore lay the ground for double-career paths, say the authors. A significant percentage of 50-plus workers, say surveys, would like to embrace an "encore career." In a double-career path, people would have the opportunity to complete one career, start cashing their pension from it, if they so chose, as they study and train for their second career. Then they would continue working, stop pension withdrawals and restart pension contributions.

"New and more flexible labour market arrangements will be necessary," said Sébastien Boyer, "if continued labour force participation after ages 60 to 65 is deemed desirable for the individual involved and society."

The report provides recommendations for policy changes, including measures to allow the flexible use of pension and retirement funds and the facilitate second-career paths. Examples:

...Encourage phased-in retirement with changes to tax and pension rules. These steps could permit workers to work and receive pension benefits while contributing to a pension plan;

...Reduce the clawbacks on earned income for Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients, which provide strong disincentives to work;

...Adjust employment insurance programs to better cater to the needs of workers with a long history of service who are laid off late in their careers, in particular for those wishing or willing to switch careers;

...Ensure flexible severance pay rules that reduce the financial disincentive to leave a job and find a new one.

For the report click here