Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Government changes to savings system can help Canadians prepare for retirement

CALGARY, Alberta February 26, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Since the 2008-2009 economic crisis, Canadians have had a harder time accumulating wealth for retirement purposes. Governments have also been feeling the pinch and are not in position to increase spending on retirement benefits. But, according to a report released today by The School of Public Policy, there are still several measures government can take to help Canadians save for retirement.

Report authors Jack Mintz and Thomas Wilson argue that a series of policy reforms would lend savers a hand without cutting into government revenue in the long run.

"The reforms need not be far-reaching to have a meaningful impact," the authors write. "And they need not be costly, either."

The policy reforms that Mintz and Wilson propose include the following:

...Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to allow larger contributions — shared by employers and employees, or covered entirely by employees — that would, in turn, allow retiring workers to draw a larger maximum pension, rather than having to rely on the guaranteed income supplement (GIS).

...CPP contributions could be made deductible from taxable income, like RRSP investments, to encourage workers to maximize contributions.

...To minimize an increase in payroll taxes, the eligibility age for CPP benefits could be increased to 67 years of age, similar to old-age security eligibility.

...Tax treatment of group RRSPs — for which employer contributions are currently subject to payroll taxes — should be made the same as it is for defined-contribution registered pension plans (RPPs).

...Increased age limit for RPP and RRSP contributions, from 71 to 75 years, to reflect the increase in life expectancies.

...RRSP contributions can be altered to allow lifetime averaging, allowing workers to take advantage of additional contribution room.

...Increased contribution limits on Tax-Free Savings Accounts

...Creation of a capital-gains deferral account to allow investors to sell off underperforming assets, without fear of triggering a tax bill, as long as they reinvest the proceeds.

The report can be found at

Friday, February 22, 2013

Heart and Stroke Foundation Receives $10 Million from the Canadian Government to Save Lives

AED at the Evergreen Seniors
Community Centre Guelph Ontario

The Foundation to place automated external
defibrillators in arenas across Canada

SASKATOON, Sask. February 21, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Heart and Stroke Foundation was pleased to join Prime Minister Stephen Harper today as he announced funding to place life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in hockey arenas and community recreation centres across Canada.

In April 2011, the Government of Canada announced a $10 million dollar plan for AED placement over four years. Today's announcement confirms the government's commitment for funding that will allow the Foundation to coordinate the installation and training of AEDs starting in Spring 2013.

"We applaud the government for its commitment to AEDs. It has been proven countless times that AEDs and CPR save lives," says David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada." Our goal is for every Canadian to learn CPR and how to use an AED. Ensuring that all public facilities have access to an AED would not be possible without the support of governments and private donors."

AEDs are electronic devices used to restart a person's heart that has stopped beating. They are safe, easy to use, and can be operated effectively by the public. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can help restore blood flow to someone suffering cardiac arrest for a short time until advanced medical care arrives.

"Up to 40,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in Canada - that is about one every 12 minutes," says Sculthorpe. "On average only five per cent of people who experience a cardiac arrest survive. With increased public access to AEDs and early access to CPR, the lives of thousands of Canadians could be saved every year."

Most cardiac arrests occur in homes and public places, and many are witnessed by a family member, co-worker or friend. Performing CPR and using an AED before emergency medical services arrive can increase the chance of survival by 75 per cent.

NHL hockey player Brett MacLean, 23, was revived by an AED last July after he suffered a cardiac arrest at a pick-up hockey game.

"The AED saved my life, and it's important for people to be trained," said MacLean. "You never know when you might need it; it could happen to anyone, anywhere."

The Foundation, with partners, trains approximately 1.6 million people every year in CPR and AED use. Although training is important AEDs are still safe and easy to use by the general public.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.

This February, the Foundation is asking all Canadians to Make Health Last by taking action today to give themselves, their friends and families longer, healthier, fuller lives. Take the Heart&Stroke risk assessment today at

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ontario's Doctors: Junk Food Tax Still Makes Sense

TORONTO, Ontario February 20, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Following a speech today by Jens Klarskov, CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the OMA renewed its call for increased taxes on junk foods and drinks, and for decreased taxes on healthier items.

In the Fall of 2012, the OMA outlined several recommendations to combat obesity which included putting health warnings on high calorie - low nutrition foods, restricting advertising to children and reducing junk foods in kids' sports and recreation facilities. Since that time the OMA has been working with government, food and restaurant industry representatives to try to find collaborative ways to improve healthier food policies.

The OMA recommended revisiting how foods are taxed because price increases through taxation are proven to have a significant impact on demand, and Ontario's Doctors believe this will help the obesity epidemic. Some criticism of health-based taxing mechanisms, by the junk food industry and taxpayers' groups, do not tell the whole story.

Every day Ontario's Doctors see the physical and mental health effects of obesity on our patients. It would help our patients and the health care system if the healthiest food was also the most affordable.

We hope to make healthier eating easier for all Ontarians - including lower-income families. We want to level the price playing field for healthier foods because it will pay significant health dividends. - Dr. Doug Weir, President, Ontario Medical Association

The failed Danish "fat tax" often cited as evidence that an obesity prevention tax won't work, was focused on saturated fat content in foods, not directly on obesity prevention. It was in fact successful at reducing demand and purchase volumes of these products in Denmark, confirming the OMA position that price plays a part. It was not politically sustainable and lessons can be learned from Denmark's experience.

There are many examples of more successful obesity-related taxes though, that target sugar and calories. Denmark itself still has in place an excise tax on pop, candy, ice cream and some other sugar-laden foods. Finland, Hungary, Norway and France have all increased taxes on high calorie junk foods. Like Ontario's Doctors, these policy makers were concerned that junk food was cheaper than healthier alternatives. There are many progressive tax policies that our governments can follow to improve health.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Florida Implements New Requirement for Canadian Drivers

International Driver's Permits now required for Canadians driving in Florida

OTTAWA, February 14, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) advises Canadians that the state of Florida has passed into law a requirement for all non U.S residents, including all Canadians, to carry a valid International Driver's Permit (IDP) when driving their own vehicle or a rental vehicle in Florida.

State officials say the law was passed so that Florida law enforcement officials would not be faced with license documents in languages they could not read, but the law captures drivers from all countries, including Canada. The law now requires both a valid licence from the home country or province, and an IDP.

CAA has obtained the following official comment from the state of Florida regarding this change:

Effective January 1, 2013, section 322.04, Florida Statutes were amended to require foreign visitors who drive in Florida to obtain an International Driving Permit in addition to their valid home country driver license.

"The intent of the change in Florida law regarding the International Driving Permit was to aid law enforcement in Florida when interacting with drivers holding a license in a foreign language. The Department of Highway Safety will seek to clarify the law in the upcoming Legislative session, which begins next month, to make it clear that a license already written in English would be acceptable. Until the law is clarified, drivers should obtain an IDP,"
said Kirsten Olsen-Doolan, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles spokesperson. International Driving Permits should be obtained before arriving in the U.S. Individuals should contact their home country agency for assistance

CAA will be requesting that Florida officials follow through and amend this law for all Canadians. Millions of Canadians have driven in Florida for decades without incidents related to the lack of an international driving permit.

In the meantime, however, CAA believes that given the law as it stands today, Canadians planning on driving in Florida should consider acquiring an International Driver's Permit. An IDP is a special document which allows motorists to drive internationally, when accompanied by a valid driver's license from their country. CAA is the only organization in Canada authorized to issue an International Driving Permit. For more information on IDPs, visit

CAA is a federation of nine clubs providing more than 5.6 million Members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alzheimer Society of Canada receives $1-million boost for research - Mother Parkers gift helps find a cure

TORONTO, February 13, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Alzheimer's research received a huge boost today as one of Canada's iconic brands Mother Parkers donated $1 million to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The donation represents the single largest contribution to the Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP), a peer-reviewed grant and awards program that supports Canada's top talent in bio-medical and quality-of-life research to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and improve day-to-day care.

The $1-million gift is the culmination of Mother Parkers Remembers, a year-long campaign initiated by Co-CEOs Paul Higgins Jr. and Michael Higgins to commemorate the company's 100-year history and to honour the memory of their father, Paul Higgins Sr., who succumbed to Alzheimer's later in life.

"Dad's disease had a significant impact on the whole family and the company," says Paul Higgins Jr., Co-CEO, Mother Parkers. "It made sense that the money go to the Alzheimer Society because of their strong commitment to research. Our father would have been proud to know that this money will provide more opportunities for finding a cure."

Throughout the campaign, donations poured in from Mother Parkers' long-standing customers and suppliers from across Canada, including employees, friends and family. As part of the campaign, the Higgins restored their family's historic 1924 rail car, The Pacific, making special trips to and from key Canadian cities to raise funds, with in-kind support from CN, VIA and GO.

"The magnitude of the Higgins's generosity is a significant boost to our research efforts," says Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada. "This is a fantastic time in dementia research. This gift will help our best and brightest minds continue to explore exciting avenues in the diagnosis, prevention and a cure for this disease. We're extremely grateful to Mother Parkers and all those who gave generously."

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. Age is the biggest risk factor but it can also occur in people in their 40s. Of the top 10 death-causing diseases today, Alzheimer's remains incurable and will affect 1.4 million Canadians by 2031. The disease is also the least funded but its social and economic impact outstrips that of any other chronic condition, including all cancers combined.

"A million dollars is a powerful gift of hope," adds Lowi-Young. "It could one day lead to the breakthrough we desperately need."

About Mother Parkers:

Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee is a family-owned Canadian company and one of the largest private label coffee and tea manufacturers in North America. The Company also manufactures and markets its own brands under the Higgins & Burke, Mother Parkers, Brown Gold, and Martinson labels and has recently entered the single-serve market with their RealCup brand of hot beverage capsules. Established in 1912, Mother Parkers combines technology and new product innovation with years of experience to deliver a better beverage experience in mainstream and specialty coffee, tea and complimentary beverages. For more information, visit

About the Alzheimer Society of Canada

The Alzheimer Society of Canada is Canada's leading nationwide health charity for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Active in communities right across Canada, the Society offers help for today through programs and services and hope for tomorrow by funding research to find the cause and the cure. To learn more about the disease and how you can support the Alzheimer Society Research Program, visit

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chatelaine is the #1 Magazine in Canada

- Iconic lifestyle brand has the top paid circulation in Canada, according to AAM's audit results -

TORONTO, February 7, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Chatelaine is the #1 magazine in Canada, with the top paid circulation of 536,000 copies each month. The recognition comes via the latest twice-yearly report from the Alliance for Audited Media, released today.

This is the first time in its 85-year history that Chatelaine has obtained the top-paid circulation position. The 536,000 paid circulation figure includes both subscription and single copy sales, the latter of which is up eight per cent.

"This has been an exciting time of growth and expansion for the Chatelaine brand, and getting these outstanding results at this time is a clear indicator we're on the right track," said Chatelaine Publisher Tara Tucker. "The fact that Chatelaine newsstand sales are on the rise is a true testament to how our brand is hitting the mark in delivering to Canadian women the world-class content that is relevant and inspiring in their everyday lives."

The AAM results come at a time when Chatelaine is in growth mode. The brand has already garnered nearly 3,000 tablet subscribers since launching in 2012, and has published 24 unique e-books and apps. It recently re-launched using responsive design, making it user-friendly and readable on any screen. Last year, more than 10 million visitors enjoyed's delicious and easy triple-tested recipes, health and wellness advice, home decorating ideas, style tips and more. also has 300,000 loyal newsletter subscribers and more than 40,000 follow the brand on social platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Chatelaine has a regular television show, Chatelaine Edition, airing on City's Cityline, will have a radio presence later this year, and will soon unveil a multi-tasking recipe app for smartphones.

The AAM results come at a time when Chatelaine is planning to celebrate its 85th anniversary with a special issue and signature event. It is in the midst of transforming its Chatelaine Kitchen, where hundreds of recipes are developed and tested each year, into a state-of-the art showpiece for the brand.

About Chatelaine and

The country's leading women's media brand, Chatelaine makes "Everyday Extraordinary" for Canadian women and has been doing so for more than 85 years. Today, Chatelaine is a five-platform brand: available on television, tablet and smartphone, plus in print and online.

Chatelaine has a lively presence on social media sites, and is Canada's most engaged digital community for women 18+. With a team of "extraordinary" experts, Chatelaine brings together the very best of food (from The Chatelaine Kitchen), style, decor, health and real life for women who want to look good, do good, feel great and make every day a little bit special. Chatelaine is owned and operated by Rogers Media Inc., a division of Rogers Communications.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Wealthy Barber" to Speak in Support of Pet Trust Fund of the Ontario Veterinary College

GUELPH, Ontario - February 05, 2013 - University of Guelph News Release - An author and TV personality will bring his entertaining “wealthy barber” alter ego to the University of Guelph in support of pets with cancer.

David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber, will speak at War Memorial Hall on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Proceeds will go to the Pet Trust Fund of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) to support various initiatives, such as equipment, at the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer. During the event, Chilton will share his recipes for personal financial success.

Since 1989, he has sold nearly three million copies of his book, including two million in Canada. The fictitious title character gives his customers often-humorous advice on how to achieve financial independence.

A sequel, The Wealthy Barber Returns, reached the best-seller list just two months after being published in 2011. Chilton has also published the Looneyspoons cookbook series, through Granet Publishing, which he founded with Looneyspoons sisters Janet and Greta Podleski.

Chilton started this season as a dragon on the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den, in which entrepreneurs seeking investment pitch their businesses to a panel. Now in its seventh season, it remains one of Canada’s top-rated shows.

The Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer opened in September 2012. It offers investigational therapies and clinical trials using state-of-the-art technology, including a new linear accelerator whose radiation therapy targets cancer cells while limiting harm to healthy tissues. The centre also houses chemotherapy and oncology wards; a tumour tissue bank; examination, treatment and procedure rooms; and a family visiting area.

The Pet Trust Fund is a charitable fund within the OVC that helps pets live longer, healthier lives by raising funds for learning, health care and other initiatives at OVC. Recently, Pet Trust has raised more than $13 million to support OVC's animal cancer initiatives.

For tickets, call 1-888-266-3108 or visit Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Health care is good medicine for Canada's economy

OTTAWA, January 31, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Health care is a large and essentially recession-proof part of Canada's economy, creating more than 10 per cent of the country's total gross domestic product (GDP) annually and supporting more than two million jobs, according to a Conference Board of Canada analysis for its Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care.


...At over 10 per cent of GDP, the health care industry in Canada is almost the same size as the entire manufacturing sector.

...Governments get more than 21 per cent of all health spending back in the form of tax revenues.

...Overall wages in the health care sector are $59,300 per job, slightly higher than the national average of $57,677.

"The Canadian health care sector is a major source of spending for governments. Yet it is also an important driver of economic growth—a perspective often overlooked. The health care sector contributes to Canada's wealth by improving health outcomes and creating jobs," said Fares Bounajm, Economist, Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care, and author of The Economic Footprint of Health Care Delivery in Canada.

"It should be considered both as an integral part of the Canadian economy and as a sector that can help to drive economic growth, improve Canada's productivity performance and generate additional wealth for Canadians."

About 1.6 million Canadians are directly employed in the health care sector, representing about nine per cent of the total jobs in Canada. These physicians, nurses, other health care professionals, technicians and support staff pay taxes and purchase goods and services from all sectors of the economy.

An additional 500,000 jobs are indirectly supported by health care spending. These are jobs in the various firms that are part of the supply chain for the health care sector, spanning a large number of industries including retail, communications, wholesale and banking.

In aggregate, health care delivery supported 2.1 million jobs in 2011, with a total labour compensation of $127.2 billion. This represents an average of $59,300 per job, which is slightly above the national average of $57,677.

Unlike most other sectors of the economy, the demand for health care does not fall during a recession. By supporting 2.1 million essentially 'recession-proof' jobs, health care spending can go a long way to mitigate the effects of an economic downturn on Canadians.

More than 21 per cent of all public spending on health care returns to governments in the form of taxes and other revenues. In 2011, the public sector's $141 billion expenditure on health care delivery generated an estimated $30.6 billion in government revenues.

In 2011, health care delivery in Canada contributed $163.4 billion to the domestic GDP, which represents 10.1 per cent of national GDP. As a share of provincial GDP, the economic contribution of health care is highest in Nova Scotia at 13.2 per cent and lowest in Alberta at 7.6 per cent.

This is the first briefing in the series Health Care in Canada: An Economic Growth Engine, which looks at the Canadian health care sector from an economic perspective. The research is produced under the banner of the Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care. Launched in 2011, CASHC is a five-year Conference Board program of research and dialogue. It will delve deeply into facets of Canada's health care challenge, including the financial, workplace, and institutional dimensions, in an effort to develop forward-looking qualitative and quantitative analysis and solutions to make the system more sustainable.