Thursday, April 24, 2014

Community Laboratory Innovation that Makes Health Care Work for You

In Celebration of National Medical Laboratory Week April 20-26th
TORONTO, Ontario April 24, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - There are 350,000 hospitalizations annually due to heart disease and stroke inCanada. Each year approximately 50,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed, 70,000 heart attacks occur, and 50,000 strokes send Canadians to emergency rooms across the country. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy cholesterol/lipid levels reduces the risk of heart disease.
During National Medical Laboratory Week, the Ontario Association of Medical Laboratories (OAML) is proud to highlight how community laboratories have helped support patients' compliance with routine screening for lipid levels. Traditionally, patients were required to fast before their cholesterol levels were tested.   In December of 2013, Ontario Community Laboratories introduced an alternate indicator that does not require fasting.
"Ontario's community laboratories recognized that the need to fast before screening cholesterol levels was a deterrent to patients following through with their testing," said Paul Gould, Chief Executive Officer of the OAML. "It was this understanding of patients' needs and the desire to make healthy screening easier for them that led to the innovative new approach for this test."
Patients can now conveniently have their blood drawn at any time of day for this screening without the hassle and irritation of fasting.  Overnight fasting and early morning testing is no longer required for many cholesterol  tests which is not only easier for patients, but also reduces wait times because these routine screenings can now  be done at any time of day, addressing congestion at peak hours. This innovative new testing approach is an example of just one way Ontario's Community Laboratories are working to make health care work for Ontarians.
The OAML was established in 1978 as the voice of Ontario's community medical laboratory sector. OAML member laboratories provide 95% of all diagnostic testing for patients outside of hospitals. The Association is composed of 6 members that operate 24 accredited testing facilities and 329 licensed specimen collection centres across Ontario.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Grand River Hospital Foundation announces successful completion of $500,000 Mammography Campaign

KITCHENER, Ontario April 16, 2014 Grand River Hospital Foundation has successfully completed its $500,000 fundraising campaign to fund a third full field digital mammography machine for the Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre (WWBC) at Grand River Hospital’s Freeport Site.
The campaign was completed with a leadership gift of $125,000 from the Grand River Hospital Volunteer Association (GRHVA). “We are grateful to the GRHVA as well as many community donors for their generous support of this equipment” said Ron Caudle, chair of Grand River Hospital Foundation.
The GRHVA compliments and enhances patient care, and provides financial support generated from their gift shops, stores and their Tim Hortons franchise. Ken Cressman, President of the GRH Volunteer Association said “we are pleased to support the great work of the Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre through this gift.”
Currently, the WWBC operates its programs with two full field digital mammography machines. However, a third mammography machine is required to reduce wait times and meet the needs of women in our community. Digital full field mammography is the gold standard in breast screening and assessment, providing high quality images, reduced radiation for patients, and user-friendly technology for front-line clinicians.
The WWBC has proven to be a trusted leader in the care of women from our region, and promotion of breast health. Nancy Silcox of New Hamburg who has used both the screening and assessment services at the WWBC said “with the area’s most sophisticated equipment and the most knowledgeable staff, why would anyone trust their breast health to anyone else?”
The third mammography machine will be purchased by the hospital over the next year.
About GRH’s Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre
Supporting the work of GRH’s regional cancer programs is the Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre (WWBC) located at the hospital’s Freeport Site.
According to the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP), breast cancer continues to be the most common form of cancer for women in Ontario. Mammography (breast x-ray) remains the best screening tool for most women.
Serving more than 13,000 women annually, the WWBC offers the Ontario Breast Screening Program with state-of-the-art screening equipment. The purpose of OBSP is to encourage early detection of breast cancer by screening women 50 years of age and over with routine mammograms every two years.
In addition to screening services, the WWBC is also home to the breast diagnostic assessment program (DAP). Women with a new breast lump or abnormal mammogram screening who qualify for the DAP are provided with a seamless one-day service giving them access to health care providers specializing in breast imaging, ultrasound, and breast biopsy guided by mammography or ultrasound. Care providers include breast surgeons, radiologists and imaging technologists.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

IIROC Issues 2013 Enforcement Report - Continued Focus on Seniors and Suitability

TORONTOApril 15, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) today released its second annual Enforcement Report which demonstrates its continued focus on key strategic priorities, including misconduct relating to seniors and suitability.
Consistent with previous years, cases involving seniors represented more than one third of all IIROC's disciplinary cases. Unsuitable investments were the most common complaints investigated in 2013, representing over 40% of IIROC's disciplinary actions. The vast majority of cases involving seniors dealt with suitability violations relating to the risk profile of an investment itself, failure to meet the "know- your-client" obligation and/or the improper use of leverage.
"This annual report contains a comprehensive overview of IIROC's enforcement priorities, initiatives and processes, and highlights important enforcement cases that underscore our ongoing efforts to enhance investor protection and foster fair and efficient capital markets," said Susan Wolburgh Jenah, IIROC President and Chief Executive Officer.
"This year we pursued important policy initiatives designed to refine our processes and improve our effectiveness through rule changes and revised sanction guidelines," said Paul Riccardi, Senior Vice President, Member Regulation. "We continue to dedicate IIROC's enforcement resources to actively prosecute wrongdoers and to focus on harmful behaviours that warrant enforcement action."
In 2013, IIROC took significant measures against a number of firms including expedited disciplinary actions to suspend, terminate and/or oversee their wind-down in order to protect the investing public.
Additional Highlights
In 2013, IIROC:
  • initiated 200 investigations
  • successfully prosecuted 45 individuals and 12 firms
  • suspended and/or terminated 5 firms and suspended 25 individuals
  • permanently barred 8 individuals from working at an IIROC-regulated firm in a registered capacity
  • imposed fines of nearly $4.4 million against individuals and $2.2 million against IIROC-regulated firms (the fines against firms represent a 63% increase year-over-year)*
*In May 2014, IIROC will begin to publish the names of individuals who have failed to pay outstanding fines on its website.
The 2013 Enforcement Report can be found online here -
In keeping with IIROC's commitment to transparency and accountability, updated Enforcement Reports will be published annually. Print copies are also available upon request. 
IIROC is the national self-regulatory organization which oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada.  Created in 2008 through the consolidation of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and Market Regulation Services Inc., IIROC sets high quality regulatory and investment industry standards, protects investors and strengthens market integrity while maintaining efficient and competitive capital markets. 
IIROC carries out its regulatory responsibilities by creating and enforcing rules regarding the proficiency, business and financial conduct of dealer firms and their registered employees and through the creation and enforcement of market integrity rules regarding trading activity on Canadian marketplaces.

Friday, April 11, 2014

OASIS Praises Ontario Government for Funding Earmarked to Address Wait-lists

TORONTO, Ontario April 11, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, Ontario Agencies Supporting Individuals with Special Needs (OASIS) President Jane Joris praised the Ontario Government for announcing funding earmarked to address growing wait-lists in developmental services.
"This announcement is a positive step forward in addressing the mounting crisis situation in developmental services. We are grateful for this critical investment, and look forward to working together as partners in a consultation process to ensure that the needs of the community are met with this funding", said Jane Joris, OASIS President.
"We encourage all political parties to support this positive step in helping develop long term plans that aim to ensure that Ontario's most vulnerable have the opportunity to become fully engaged members of our communities".
OASIS is a volunteer run, member driven organization. Our member agencies serve over 65,000 of Ontario's most vulnerable citizens and employ 25,000 full and part-time staff. Our 172 member agencies currently provide more than 85% of all developmental services funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Volunteering Beneficial to Health: University of Guelph Professor

GUELPH, Ontario - April 9, 2014 - University of Guelph News Release - More than 13.3 million volunteers across Canada will be celebrated for their contributions during Canada’s 70th Annual National Volunteer Week, April 6-13. And University of Guelph psychology professor Benjamin Gottlieb says those volunteers have even more to celebrate, as studies show their voluntary activity improves their health.
In 2010, Canadian seniors collectively volunteered for more than 372 million hours, according to Statistics Canada.
Gottlieb has studied the health benefits of volunteering among seniors.
“Retirees who give of their time to others experience better health than those who don’t,” he said.
“Some of the health benefits include better cardiovascular function, less arthritis pain, lower stress, anxiety and depression, and overall increased self-esteem and sense of value.”
A 2008 study in a long-term care setting revealed that residents who volunteered experienced slower health deterioration than non-volunteers. A study in 2009 showed that having a strong sense of life purpose is associated with lower mortality rates; volunteer work was listed as one way seniors can find this sense of purpose.
“Today’s seniors lead very full lives, and they want to give back so their skills and expertise can benefit their communities,” said Erin Spink, past president of the Ontario branch of the Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resources.
“The many health benefits associated with volunteering enhance the meaningful and rewarding life experience volunteering provides.”
A 2011 study found that older people who dedicated modest amounts of time to volunteer activities had lower risk of hypertension than non-volunteers.
Gottlieb said events such as National Volunteer Week help people learn about opportunities in their communities.
“It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and think that it is too challenging to find time to volunteer,” he said.
“But there are many opportunities close to home where people can contribute, even by just giving a couple hours of their time each week. Many of them say that they hear about volunteer opportunities through family, friends, volunteer centres and online at
“The upside of taking time to volunteer includes health benefits and a sense of satisfaction from contributing to the community’s well-being.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Canadian Diabetes Association unveils first-ever Diabetes Charter for Canada

OTTAWA, Ontario April 7, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) released the Diabetes Charter for Canada (Charter) across the country, today, on World Health Day. The Charter aims to empower Canadians with diabetes and their caregivers, while also providing governments with a standard of care to ensure there is comparable support for people living with diabetes across the country.

"The need for the Diabetes Charter for Canada has never been more clear. Diabetes is a public health issue of epidemic proportion—more than nine million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. They should have the opportunity to access the care and support they need to live the healthiest lives possible," says Canadian Diabetes Association President and CEO J. Richard Blickstead.

"Across Canada, people living with diabetes frequently experience stigma, a lack of public awareness, and misunderstanding about the disease. This is particularly important for those populations with a high prevalence of diabetes or who have special challenges related to diabetes management. These include specific ethnocultural populations and especially Aboriginal peoples, people with low incomes, the elderly, and young people," states Blickstead.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to be working with the Canadian Diabetes Association and promotes collaboration across all sectors to address the risk factors that lead to diabetes, by promoting things like healthy eating, and physical activity," says the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health.

"The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is pleased to support the Diabetes Charter for Canada and we look forward to working with the Canadian Diabetes Association to help ensure all Canadians living with diabetes have timely and equitable access to high-quality care and supports. The number of seniors living in Canada is rising rapidly, as is the number of seniors living with diabetes so it is critical that all governments come together to devise a seniors care strategy, one that helps ensure good care for Canadians living with chronic conditions such as diabetes," says Dr. Chris Simpson, President-Elect of the Canadian Medical Association.

The Diabetes Charter for Canada is the shared voice of the diabetes community including people with diabetes, their caregivers and health-care providers. It presents a common vision through a set of principles that confirm the commitments of the diabetes community concerning diabetes prevention and management, support and care.

The guiding principles of the Canadian Diabetes Association in developing the Charter are to: ensure that people who live with diabetes are treated with dignity and respect; advocate for equitable access to high-quality diabetes care and supports; and enhance the health and quality of life for people who live with diabetes and their caregivers.

"The Diabetes Charter for Canada will serve as a catalyst for positive change over time, and help all Canadians living with diabetes reach their full health potential," adds Blickstead.

Canadians from coast to coast are invited to participate in this important nationwide initiative by signing the Diabetes Charter for Canada online at

About the Diabetes Charter for Canada

The Canadian Diabetes Association developed the Charter through extensive research and consultation, which consisted of: a literature review of health and patient charters developed in Canada and internationally; a panel of subject matter experts including Canadians with diabetes and health professionals to identify key issues affecting people with diabetes; four consultative workshops attended by more than 80 Canadians within the diabetes community; and a survey verifying the rights and responsibilities proposed in the workshops.

An advisory committee of health-care providers and diabetes advocates were consulted regularly and overall, more than 200 people across Canada have been involved in developing the Charter.

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 break ground towards a cure. Please visit, join us on follow us on Twitter @DiabetesAssoc, or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

Read more:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Canadian Government invests in new breast cancer awareness program

Initiative aims to help women at high risk and their health care providers
TORONTO, Ontario April 4, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health,Stella Ambler, Member of Parliament for Mississauga South, announced a new High Risk Breast Cancer Project, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which aims to increase awareness and understanding among women, health care providers and the general public about the factors that place women at high risk for developing breast cancer, including hereditary breast cancer. This is a collaborative effort between various breast cancer organizations, including:
  • Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,
  • Canadian Breast Cancer Network,
  • Rethink Breast Cancer, and
  • Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada.
Together, the project partners will develop tools and activities to raise awareness about what 'high risk' means. They will provide information about the risk factors for developing breast cancer, and about genetic testing, risk assessment tools, and post-test counselling and prevention options.
Breast health awareness tools and information will include web-based and print resources, facts about a breast cancer gene that some women carry that increases their risk of developing breast cancer, a media awareness campaign, a documentary, a webinar, and community-based education and outreach activities. 
Quick Facts
  • Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cancer cause of death among Canadian women with a projected 23,800 diagnoses and 5,000 deaths in 2013. [Source: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013]
  • Finding cancer early through screening, even when there are no symptoms, is important. Early diagnosis of cancer when it is less likely to have spread results in more effective and simpler treatment, thus improving the chances of surviving the disease.
  • Today's announcement was made at the Edward Day Gallery during Breast Fest, at the Scar Project exhibit. For more information about the event, visit
  • Building on the Government of Canada's commitment to working with partners in all sectors, this project will include partnerships among breast health organizations and the education community to work together to increase awareness of the factors that place many Canadian women at higher risk of breast cancer.
Quotes"The Government of Canada is proud to be a part of this collaboration. Many women who are at high risk may be unaware of their status, and with this initiative we can help spread the word about what it means to be at 'high risk' and how to take appropriate action."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
"This important initiative will help protect the health of Canadian women by giving them information to make informed decisions about managing their risks for cancer."
MP Stella Ambler
Member of Parliament for Mississauga South
"Breast cancer is a complex disease.  Women at higher risk for developing breast cancer need to be able to access relevant information, tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about their breast health.  Our partnership with the Government of Canada and other leading breast cancer organizations is an important step in providing better support for all Canadian women."
Sandra Palmaro, CEO
CBCF – Ontario
"CBCN is pleased that this important partnership will allow us to continue our efforts to reach Canadians who have been impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis. As a part of this project we will continue to make concentrated efforts to connect with underserved populations in Canada, and to provide all Canadians with relevant information to help support informed health decision."
Cathy Ammendolea
CBCN Board Chair and breast cancer survivor.
"Rethink Breast Cancer's role within this important partnership will be to create an innovative platform to engage young women around the complex issues around breast cancer risk and hereditary breast cancer. Thanks to the Government of Canada, this project will provide much needed education and support for young women around this disease. We look forward to working with the other great organizations to make a big impact."
MJ Decoteau, Executive Director
Rethink Breast Cancer
"This partnership will allow us to develop much needed resources for the high risk breast cancer and BRCA community, empowering those affected to take charge of their health. Willow is committed to providing information and support to anyone facing breast cancer, including those at high risk, and is pleased for the opportunity to work with the Government of Canada and other leading Canadian breast cancer organizations."
Jeffrey Beach, Executive Director
Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Canadian Government Supports World Autism Awareness Day

Holding in the Storm - my life with autism - the purpose of this dramatic film is to build awareness, break down barriers, encourage inclusion, and engage on-going dialogue about adults with Autism -
OTTAWA, Ontario April 2, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), today recognized World Autism Awareness Day, addressing the crowd gathered on Parliament Hill for the second annual Autism on the Hill event.
Minister Bergen highlighted measures in Economic Action Plan 2014 that help Canadians with disabilities, specifically those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, get vocational training and access to new employment opportunities. By supporting the development of a skilled workforce, the Government is ensuring that Canadians, including those with disabilities, have the opportunity to reach their full potential in the job market.
The Ready, Willing & Able initiative will support up to 1,200 new jobs for Canadians with Autism Spectrum developmental disabilities, expand existing activities in 20 communities, and enable the Canadian Association for Community Living to host 40 employer forums.
The CommunityWorks initiative will expand a network of vocational training programs in centres across Canada to create employment opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. It is estimated that approximately 1,200 youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders will benefit from this initiative each year.
Quick Fact
  • Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government:
    • increased ongoing funding for the Opportunities Fund for Canadians with Disabilities to $40 million per year so even more Canadians with disabilities can get training for in-demand jobs;
    • provided $222 million annually over the next four years, matched by the provinces and territories,  through a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Canadians with Disabilities.

"Autism Spectrum Disorders impact many families and individuals from all walks of life. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Harper, we have made it a priority to ensure that individuals with these disorders are not marginalized, but instead given the opportunity to thrive."
-The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)
Associated Links
Through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada will support two complementary initiatives that align with the findings and recommendations of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities—a panel created by the Government to identify successes and best practices, as well as the barriers that employers face, in the employment of Canadians with disabilities.
The Ready, Willing & Able initiative, coordinated by the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), engages employers to hire and support youth and working-age adults with developmental disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The Government encourages the inclusion of all working-age Canadians in the workforce. Canadians with disabilities face unique barriers to employment despite being willing and able to participate in the job market.
Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to invest $15 million over three years to expand the Ready, Willing & Able initiative to help support up to 1,200 new jobs for Canadians with developmental disabilities. With additional funding, CACL can expand existing activities to 20 community-based locations across Canada and host 40 employer forums.
The CommunityWorks initiative is a vocational training program for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to invest $11.4 million over four years to support the Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada as they move to expand a network of vocational training programs in urban centres across Canada that will help to create employment opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Sinneave Family Foundation estimates that once fully implemented, approximately 1,200 youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder will benefit each year. The centres will also offer regionally tailored programming for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Government recognizes the importance of supporting the economic and social inclusion of Canadians with disabilities. To further help Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, the Government is also:
  • introducing a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities with an investment of$222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for Canadians with disabilities;
  • extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces; and
  • providing funding of $7 million per year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, some of which will support research related to the labour market participation of Canadians with disabilities.
Other measures to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups, including Canadians with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Simple Changes in ICU Can Help Heart Attack Patients: Study

GUELPH, Ontario April 1, 2014 - University of Guelph News Release - To improve recovery for heart attack patients, hospitals should maintain normal day and night cycles for those patients during the first few days after the attack, say University of Guelph researchers.
Their new study shows for the first time that interrupting diurnal rhythms impairs healing immediately after a heart attack, said Prof. Tami Martino of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
Researchers already knew that circadian rhythms, or day-night cycles, can affect timing of a heart attack. This is the first study to show the importance of circadian rhythms during the few days after an attack.
The study led by U of G scientists appears this week online in Circulation Research journal.
“We have devised a simple way to better practise medicine to improve the outcome from heart attacks by considering normal circadian rhythms,” she said.
She and PhD student Faisal Alibhai conducted the study with clinician collaborators, who are already looking at ways to use the results to change practices in intensive care units (ICU). “It has an immediate life application,” said Martino.
Hospital ICUs are busy places at night, with noise, light, nursing and medical procedures, and other interruptions that disturb acutely ill patients.
The team induced heart attacks in mice, and then compared rodents held under normal light and dark cycles with others whose diurnal cycles were disrupted for five days after the attacks.
Early heart repair and remodeling were impaired in the disrupted mice. Diurnal disruptions interfered with their normal inflammatory and immune responses crucial for scar formation and healing.
“These mice were likely to go more quickly to heart failure,” said Martino. “Disrupting circadian rhythms for the first few days after a heart attack worsens the disease outcome.”
The first five days after a heart attack are crucial for proper scar formation, removal of dead tissue, proliferation of new cells and growth of blood vessels in the heart.
About 500,000 Canadians are living with heart failure, in which the heart is damaged or weakened by heart attack or other medical conditions.
A former volunteer at Guelph General Hospital, Alibhai said, “I never really considered how important sleep and circadian rhythms are for heart health.”
This research was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and involved Dr. Michael Sole from the Peter Munk Cardiovascular Centre in Toronto and collaborators in the Guelph Cardiovascular Research Group.