Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ontario Brain Institute and its partner institutions invest $28.5 million to foster better understanding and management of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS and others

  • Five-year program brings together 54 investigators, 12 clinical sites, 17 universities and hospitals, 6 industrial partners, 4 patient advocacy groups, and 600 patients.
  • Part of OBI's multi-million dollar Integrated Discovery Program encouraging collaboration among all parties associated with neurodegenerative brain disorders.

TORONTO, Ontario April 16, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Brain Institute will invest $19 million in new funds over the next five years on the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative Integrated Discovery Program (ONDRI). Partner institutions will contribute another $9.5 million to the program, bringing the total investment to $28.5 million. The program uniquely brings together researchers, doctors, industry representatives, patients and their advocates to study a range of neurodegenerative disorders.
"At the end of the day what we're doing is going to have an impact on the patients of Ontario. And those patients are served through a variety of routes, not just the medical system. The ONDRI program has positioned itself to have broad impact by involving the expertise of patient advocacy groups and industry partners along with clinicians and researchers," says Dr. Mike Strong, Lead Investigator of the ONDRI program.
Neurodegenerative disorders affect hundreds of thousands of Ontarians alone. There is an urgent need to accelerate the pace of discovery and commercialization of tools required to prevent, diagnose, and treat these diseases.
ONDRI is one of a series of five OBI-funded programs that encourage stronger collaboration among all parties associated with a particular brain disorder or group of brain disorders. Neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS or Lou Gehrig's, frontotemporal lobar dementia, or vascular cognitive impairment present a variety of different symptoms, but new research suggests they may hold common underlying threads.
"By studying these disorders as a group, the potential for break-through discoveries is maximized as data is shared across disorders, and findings in one area provide clues to others," says Dr. Don Stuss, President and Scientific Director of OBI. 
Watch the ONDRI video here:
More details on ONDRI may be found here:
The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially‐funded, not‐for‐profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain discovery, commercialization and care. The OBI creates convergent partnerships between researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to foster discovery and deliver innovative products and services that improve the lives of those living with brain disorders.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

David Mirvish Reappointed University of Guelph Chancellor

GUELPH, Ontario April 14, 2014 - University of Guelph News Release - David Mirvish has been appointed to a second term as University of Guelph chancellor. U of G's Senate approved the reappointment April 7, extending his tenure until March 2018.
Mirvish, a Canadian theatre producer, art collector and lifelong supporter of the arts, was first appointed U of G’s chancellor in February of 2012. He the eighth chancellor since the University’s founding in 1964.
As chancellor, Mirvish presides at convocations, confers all University degrees and acts as an ambassador. As the University’s senior volunteer, he represents its interests to all government levels.
Mirvish owns and operates Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, Princess of Wales Theatre, Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon Theatre) and Panasonic Theatre. Mirvish Productions has produced plays and musicals for these and other venues.
Mirvish ran David Mirvish Gallery, which supported contemporary art and Canadian artists, and operated an art bookstore for 38 years.
He has been named to the Order of Ontario and to the Order of Canada, the country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement, and has received honorary degrees from several universities. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Canadian government introduces the Digital Privacy Act, which will provide added protection for seniors against financial abuse

OTTAWA, Ontario April 9, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Digital Privacy Act, introduced yesterday in Parliament, will help to protect seniors from fraud and financial abuse, announced the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors).
The Government tabled a new bill in Parliament that will include measures to address rising concerns about financial abuse of seniors. The new legislation will allow banks and other organizations, to notify officials or a client's next of kin if they suspect that an elderly client is the victim of financial abuse.
Currently, financial institutions must obtain an elderly client's consent before disclosing information to prevent or investigate abuse, for example where a joint account holder may be financially abusing a senior. Under the new legislation, the financial institution will be allowed to make a report if there is reason to believe that fraud or financial abuse may be taking place. This will make it possible to notify authorities and help protect seniors from financial abuse.
Officials at Industry Canada, with the support of Employment and Social Development Canada, will work together with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to provide guidance to banks and other affected organizations about factors to be considered in using their discretion in this area and about related best practices.
The Government is actively addressing elder abuse through awareness campaigns, the New Horizons for Seniors Program, and the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act, which came into force in January 2013.
Quick Facts
  • The Digital Privacy Act amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which sets the rules private sector organizations must follow when collecting, using or disclosing personal information in the course of commercial activity.
  • The Protecting Canada's Seniors Act helps ensure consistently tough penalties for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians.
  • Some sources suggest that between 4 and 10 percent of older adults in Canada experience some form of abuse. It is also estimated that only one in five incidents of abuse is reported.
"Elder abuse is an appalling crime and our government is committed to protecting seniors from all forms of abuse. I fully support the proposed changes to strengthen Canada's private sector privacy law and provide added protection for seniors against financial abuse." 
-The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Seniors care anxiety could swing next federal election, Nanos poll says

OTTAWA, Ontario April 8, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Almost six in 10 voters in 26 key ridings across Canada say they would support another party if their current political brand fails to make seniors care a priority in the next federal election, says a Nanos Research poll released today.
Commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the poll of 2,000 Canadians was conducted in the 26 ridings that reported a razor-thin margin of victory of 3% or less in the 2011 federal election. The targeted age group of respondents 45 years of age and older was selected because of increased likelihood of voting and engagement in health issues and decisions.
"Politicians should take heed," said Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, CMA president. "How Canada cares for its aging population is very much on the minds of baby boomers as they grow older. And older Canadians vote."
Canadians aged 45 and older formed 64% of the vote in the 2011 election. The proportion of Canadians aged 65 and over is expected to rise from its current 14% to almost 25% in 2036.
Among the poll's findings:
  • Only 23% of respondents in the 26 ridings think Ottawa is ready for the future health care needs of the aging population — even though seniors now account for almost half of the costs of the health system.
  • Eighty-seven per cent of the respondents believe political parties should make the issue of seniors care a top priority in the next federal election, slated for October 2015.
  • Almost nine in 10 respondents (87%) support the position of Canada's physicians and nurses on the need for a panCanadian strategy on seniors care.
  • Among preferences for managing the extra demands for seniors, 42% supporting reduction of other budgets. Next came a tax sheltered savings plan 37.6% of respondents.
Of the 26 ridings, three are in Nova Scotia, four in Quebec, 10 in Ontario, five in the Prairies and four in B.C. andYukon.  See infographic on
"Clearly there is anxiety about seniors care among older voters," said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.  "It may have been off the federal radar for a few years but any party that ignores this issue risks being seriously offside with a key voter segment."
The poll was released on Parliament Hill at the CMA's annual Doctors in the House lobby breakfast.
Margin of error for the poll, conducted between March 30 and April 2, was plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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.
Click here for polling results

Monday, April 7, 2014

Canadian Red Cross honours its volunteers during National Volunteer Week

OTTAWA, Ontario April 7, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - This week, the Canadian Red Cross celebrates all volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 6-12. Every year, Red Cross volunteers generously donate their time to improve the lives of those in need across Canada. "This is an opportunity to honour and thank the vast network of volunteers who are an integral part of the Society, contributing to our humanitarian work that is carried out in communities from coast to coast," said Conrad SauvĂ©, Secretary General and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross.
With over two million Canadians benefiting from Canadian Red Cross programs and services each year, the value that volunteers bring to the organization is incomparable. This team of passionate and dedicated individuals provides a sense of support and protection to the most vulnerable people. More than 20,000 volunteers provide a significant impact on each and every program and service that the Canadian Red Cross offers.  
"Canadian Red Cross volunteers demonstrate a high level of commitment to the organization," added Sauvé. "The strength of the relationship between the Canadian Red Cross and its volunteers is one of the most unique and important measures of success of this Society."
Volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross provides an opportunity to give back to communities, meet new people, and can help enhance career paths. To identify volunteer opportunities in your community,
The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 189 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.    

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Statement by the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), on National Volunteer Week

OTTAWA, Ontario April 6, 2014­ /Canada NewsWire/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), today issued the following statement to mark National Volunteer Week, which takes place April 6 to 12, 2014:
"Every day, millions of Canadians shape this country through their volunteer work. In Canada, there are 161, 000 not-for-profit and charitable organizations. More than half of these organizations have no paid staff and rely almost completely on volunteers. Wherever there is a need, there are people willing to lend a hand.
National Volunteer Week recognizes these Canadians who show their compassion, generosity and commitment to communities across our country. Whether it is visiting seniors, canvassing for funds or preparing meals, they are making a difference.
My department promotes volunteerism through a number of programs. They include: the New Horizons for Seniors Program, which supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others; the Social Development Partnerships Program, which forges partnerships with organizations to tackle social issues; and the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards, which I had the pleasure of handing out last month in Toronto. The awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations for their contributions in improving the well-being of families and their communities.
I encourage you to take the time this week to thank a volunteer, and I look forward to recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of Canada's 13.3 million volunteers at the National Volunteer Week Reception in Ottawa onWednesday, April 9. Their selfless efforts are not only making Canada a better place to live, they are creating a legacy of giving that will last for generations to come."
Nominations for the next Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards are now being accepted until May 9, 2014. For more information about the current call for nominations, please visit or call 1‑877‑825‑0434.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Statement by the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), on National Caregiver Day

OTTAWA, Ontario April 5, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today issued the following statement to mark National Caregiver Day, which takes place April 5, 2014:
There are currently 6.1 million employed Canadians who are providing informal caregiving to a family member or friend due to chronic or long-term illness, disability or aging. The number of caregivers will continue to grow given our aging population.
On National Caregiver Day, please join me in recognizing all caregivers, who are dedicated in providing quality care, support and compassion to Canadians, particularly seniors and older Canadians.
In particular, the Government of Canada understands the sacrifices many Canadians make to care for their family members. We are already helping Canadians who are providing care to loved ones through the Family Caregivers Tax Credit, Employment Insurance Special Benefits for those caring for a dying relative or a critically ill child and a newInformation for Caregivers portal on the website.
Economic Action Plan 2014 further demonstrates the Government's commitment to caregiving by announcing plans to launch a Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan to better support employees balancing both work and caregiving responsibilities.
Please join me today in thanking all caregivers across our country for their ongoing efforts, compassion and devotion in assuring quality care for our loved ones.
Thank you,
The Honourable Alice Wong, P.C., M.P.
Minister of State (Seniors)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wellington County Launches 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan for Guelph and Wellington

WELLINGTON COUNTY, Ontario April 4, 2014 - The County of Wellington launched its 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan today to a crowded room at the Welcome In Drop In Centre in downtown Guelph.

“We need to be working closely with all of our partners if we are going to meet our housing and homelessness goals,” commented Warden Chris White. “It was great to see so many of our partners here today to support the launch of the Plan.”

The 10 Year Plan is titled “A Place to Call Home” and it provides a roadmap for achieving a community vision where “Everyone in Guelph Wellington can find and maintain an appropriate, safe and affordable place to call home.” The Plan outlines 8 strategic goals, 38 different actions as well as short and long term targets.

“Developing our Housing and Homelessness Plan has been a very positive community process,” said Stuart Beumer, Director of Ontario Works at the County. “I would like to especially thank the members of our Community Reference Group that provided leadership and guidance throughout the project.”

The Drop In Centre is a major provider of emergency shelter services and housing supports in Guelph and they opened their doors to host the launch. The event was designed to include contributions from members of the Drop In community who have struggled over the years with housing challenges. Information was also shared about exciting new initiatives that are happening at the Drop In to better address the challenge of homelessness in our community.

Attention now turns to implementation of the Plan and the County has already started work on developing an action focused homelessness strategy that is anticipated to be rolled out in June of 2014.

“There is a lot of excitement and commitment from our community partners to improve services and outcomes for individuals and families that are at risk of homelessness,” remarked Beumer.

The plan, outlining the eight key goals, is available on the County’s website,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ontario's Doctors Support Choosing Wisely Canada

TORONTO, Ontario April 2, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Ontario's doctors support Choosing Wisely Canada, a campaign to help physicians and patients engage in healthy conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to choose the right level of care.
"More is not necessarily better when it comes to healthcare," said Dr. Scott Wooder, president of the Ontario Medical Association. "It's natural and understandable to want reassurance from a test or treatment, even if the evidence isn't there to warrant it. But there are risks and complications associated with overtesting and overtreating."
Choosing Wisely Canada was created by physicians. The Ontario Medical Association is a partner in the campaign, led by the Canadian Medical Association and Dr. Wendy Levinson of the University of Toronto.
Today in Ottawa, the societies representing a number of medical specialties released lists of 40 tests, treatments and procedures for which there is strong evidence of overuse, waste or even possible harm to patients.  Please  to learn more.  

New Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement collaborative engages Canadian patients and families

Funding supports healthcare organizations in their efforts to improve patient care
OTTAWA, Ontario April 2, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement today announced an initiative to help Canadian healthcare organizations make care more patient- and family-centred, coordinated, safe and efficient. Partnering with Patients and Families for Quality Improvement is a 17-month collaborative open to healthcare organizations committed to engaging patients and families in designing, delivering and evaluating healthcare services with the goal of better patient care and outcomes.
"Meaningfully engaging patients and families holds the promise of improving healthcare for all Canadians," said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health. "That's why our Government is pleased to support this drive to gather patient ideas and use them to make healthcare better."
The CFHI collaborative will provide funding, coaching and other support to help Canadian healthcare organizations build capacity and drive quality improvement by partnering with patients and families.  From 2010 to 2013, CFHI's support of 17 healthcare organizations resulted in improvements to patient-provider communications, patient experience and other quality domains, including:
  • An 8 percent increase in direct time in care and 20 percent improved ratings of patient experience of care at Montreal'sMcGill University Health Centre;
  • A 60 percent plunge in medication transcription errors at MUHC; and
  • Time for blood analysis for chemotherapy patients at Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance dropped to 15 to 20 minutes from 2 to 3 hours.
"CFHI's previous patient engagement work has generated improvements in areas such as wait times, medication safety, work environments and patient experience," said CFHI President Maureen O'Neil. "Partnering with Patients and Families for Quality Improvement is a collaborative to help organizations across Canada achieve similar success."
"Our project transformed care at the bedside and created a deep culture shift, with staff and patients creating and championing change together," said Patricia O'Connor, Director of Nursing at MUHC and a core faculty member of the new collaborative. "I look forward to helping other Canadian teams create new partnerships and improvements in their facilities."
CFHI will provide funding of up to $50,000 each as well as other supports to a maximum of 15 participating teams. The application deadline is May 29, 2014. Click here for more information on timelines and criteria for eligibility.
The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to accelerating healthcare improvement by working with provinces, territories and other healthcare partners to promote efficient healthcare that delivers better outcomes. With a $10 million annual federal investment, CFHI supports the development of innovations that could save provincial-territorial healthcare budgets over $1 billion per year. CFHI is funded through an agreement with the Government of Canada.
Partnering with Patients and Families for Quality Improvement
Partnering with Patients and Families for Quality Improvement is a pan-Canadian collaborative that will bring together Canadian healthcare organizations to harness the tremendous potential of patient and family engagement to drive quality improvement in healthcare. Collaboratives are programs that bring organizations together to create sustainable change in a specific topic area. The goal of this collaborative is to help healthcare organizations deliver care that is more patient-and-family-centred, coordinated, safe and efficient.
Evidence is mounting that patient and family engagement is essential for safe and high quality care. Engaging patients and families in improving healthcare means creating effective partnerships at every level between those who provide care and those who receive it. These partnerships can yield many benefits, including improved health outcomes for patients and safer and more productive work environments for healthcare professionals.
CFHI's support to 17 organizations, through the Patient Engagement Project (PEP) initiative (2010-2013), demonstrated the improvements that come when management, providers and patients work together towards better care, systems and outcomes. Effective partnership between patients, providers and management is the most promising way of meeting the challenges of an aging population, an explosion of chronic disease and limited budgets. The PEP initiative resulted in improvements to patient-provider communications, the patient experience and other quality domains, including efficiency.
The collaborative is open to healthcare organizations and ministries. Organizations include, but may not be limited to: healthcare service delivery organizations; regional health authorities and Local Health Integration Networks; government organizations and agencies; primary care office practices or physician groups; and community organizations (such as a Community Care Access Centre in Ontario).
CFHI will provide funding of up to $50,000 each to a maximum of 15 Canadian teams for direct costs related to participation in the collaborative.  CFHI will also provide quality improvement expertise through faculty, coaches and leading experts to support participating teams.