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Canada seeks to increase refugee resettlement through private sponsorship

September 20, 2016

The Government of Canada, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Open Society Foundations have agreed to launch a joint initiative aimed at increasing private sponsorship of refugees around the world. Research demonstrates that privately sponsored refugees tend to have relatively early, positive integration and settlement outcomes, thanks in part to the social support provided by sponsors. Coinciding with the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants in New York City, the new joint initiative has three primary objectives:

  1. Contribute to enhanced responsibility-sharing by expanding the use of private sponsorship as a pathway for refugees in need of protection and solutions;
  2. Encourage the expansion of resettlement by building the capacity of states, civil society actors, and private citizens to launch private sponsorship programs; and
  3. Provide a vehicle that mobilizes citizens in direct support of refugees and encourages a broader political debate that is supportive of refugee protection.

The new joint initiative will support two initial activities. First, it will create a series of training modules on private sponsorship, based principally on a careful analysis of the Canadian model and made available to other countries who are interested in private sponsorship. Second, it will build the capacity necessary to disseminate the training modules and offer tailored advice on how to adapt and implement private sponsorship programs. This project will complement other initiatives under development elsewhere in the world also aimed at mobilizing citizens and creating complementary pathways for admission of refugees. The joint initiative will commence its activities at an initial meeting of stakeholders in Ottawa, Canada, in December 2016.



2016 Aviva Community Fund (ACF) competition now accepting idea submissions

September 19, 2016

Aviva Canada is thrilled that its 2016 Aviva Community Fund (ACF) competition opens today for submissions. Canadians with ideas for positive change in their community can submit them for a chance to share $1 million in funding. There are three ACF categories – Community Resilience, Community Health and Community Development – as well as two funding levels – Small Ideas for under $50,000 and Large Ideas for $50,000 to $100,000. New to this year's competition is ACF's partnership with CanadaHelps.org. Idea submission closes on October 6th and voting begins on October 11th, 2016. Finalists are revealed on November 7th and the winners are announced on December 6th, 2016. Canadians can start making a difference in their community today by submitting an idea to the Aviva Community Fund. Visit avivacommunityfund.org to find out more about the competition and download the "Idea Submission Guide".



Google now provides rating system for Canadian museums

September 19, 2016

When you type a museum name into Google, user reviews and an overall rating on a five-point scale may now appear next to the search results. These ratings appear as part of a relatively recent Google update allowing visitors to give businesses they’ve visited a rating out of five, and provide comments about their experience. Google integrates these ratings into its Search and Map functions so that individuals looking for a particular business or institution can learn about other guests’ experiences. This feature is part of Google My Business, previously known as Google Places for Businesses, which consolidates information about businesses such as their Google+ page and other social media profiles, hours and maps, popular times for visits, and guest reviews. In the case of museums, Google may also display events and other details such as an overview of collection items. For example, when you do a Google search for the National Gallery of Canada, a display of some of their most popular artwork appears beneath the guest reviews; similarly, a Google search for the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts tells you which hours of the day are quietest and which are busiest, allowing guests to plan their visits accordingly. Google coordinates this information across devices, and users searching from a desktop have the option of sending the information to their phone. For more information, please visit the Canadian Heritage Information Network.



The Tragically Hip tour inspires more than $1M for brain cancer research

September 19, 2016

With donations coming in from across the country and around the world, Sunnybrook Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society are pleased to announce that through The Tragically Hip's recent tour more than $1 million has been raised so far for brain cancer research in Canada. Moved by the announcement that Gord Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer that currently has no cure, thousands of fans joined together to raise funds through events and donations for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and for the Canadian Cancer Society. To date, almost $800,000 has been donated to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook. The Canadian Cancer Society has received close to $400,000 in honour of Mr. Downie and The Tragically Hip.



Number of baby boomers accessing food banks in Toronto rapidly increasing

September 19, 2016

The annual Who's Hungry report reveals people 45 and older have become the fastest growing demographic using food banks in Toronto. This is an outcome of unaffordable housing, rising costs of food and insufficient incomes. Many of these individuals have been struggling since the recession, unable to secure a job or living with disabilities, and having to rely on social assistance. The Who's Hungry: 2016 Profile of Hunger in Toronto report was released today, based on over 1,000 comprehensive, face-to-face client interviews in 36 food banks across Toronto. Other notable findings from the Who's Hungry: 2016 Profile of Hunger in Toronto report:

  • 59% of clients have a disability or serious illness in 2016, versus 49% in 2006.
  • More people accessing food banks have post-secondary education – 36% of clients in 2016.
  • Poverty is pushing outwards: inner suburb food bank visits have increased by 48% since 2008.



Study: After-hours email expectations hurt employee well-being

September 19, 2016

A new study authored by Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University, William Becker of Virginia Tech and Samantha A. Conroy of Colorado State University finds a link between organizational after-hours email expectations and emotional exhaustion, which hinders work-family balance. Using data collected from 297 working adults, Belkin and her colleagues looked at the role of organizational expectation regarding “off” hour emailing and found it negatively impacts employee emotional states, leading to “burnout” and diminished work-family balance, which is essential for individual health and well-being. The study is the first to identify email-related expectations as a job stressor along with already established factors such as high workload, interpersonal conflicts, physical environment or time pressure.

The researchers found that it is not the amount of time spent on work emails, but the expectation which drives the resulting sense of exhaustion. Due to anticipatory stress—defined as a constant state of anxiety and uncertainty as a result of perceived or anticipated threats, according to research cited in the article—employees are unable to detach and feel exhausted regardless of the time spent on after-hours emails. According to the study, the expectation does not have to be explicit or conveyed through a formal organizational policy. It can be set by normative standards for behavior in the organization. The organizational culture is created through what its leaders and members define as acceptable or unacceptable behavior.



Ontario Psychiatrists release alarming report on current state of mental health and youth suicide

September 15, 2016

Suicide is the leading cause of death among Canadians age 15 to 34, after car accidents, says an alarming new report from Ontario Psychiatrists. But unlike car accidents, the report identifies that the number of suicides across Canada has remained unchanged for more than four decades, with 70% of mental health issues starting in childhood and suicide accounting for 24% of all deaths among young people. Ontario Psychiatrists are calling for immediate action, releasing a new report that makes strong recommendations and calls on government to mend system gaps and reduce the risk of suicide among Canadian youth.

The report, Stemming the Tide: Strengthening youth suicide prevention in Ontario and in Canada, was developed by Ontario Psychiatrists with input from Ontario policy analysts, national mental health organizations, clinicians, researchers as well as psychiatrists and individuals with lived experience with suicide. Outlining the current state of mental health and youth suicide the report points to system gaps and funding issues as areas in need of improvement.



Health Canada launches consultations on renewal of the Official Languages Health Contribution Program

September 15, 2016

Health Canada is pleased to launch an open consultation process to solicit feedback on the future design of the Official Languages Health Contribution Program (OLHCP). The intent of the program is to improve access to health services to English-speaking communities of Québec and French communities elsewhere in Canada. Health Canada launched this program in 2003 in response to consultations with Canada's English and French minority communities. Input from this consultation will allow Health Canada to put the best possible strategy in place in order to meet the needs of Canada's official language communities.

The information collected will be summarized and used to guide further discussions with government officials, funding recipients and community representatives. This process will help to identify any new measures that should be put forward for the next phase of the program from 2018 to 2023. Members of the public, official language minority communities across Canada, as well as key stakeholder groups such as federal and provincial partners, health care practitioners and administrators, academic institutions, and organizations currently or previously supported by the OLHCP, are invited to provide comments on this consultation either online, by email, or by mail. The deadline for providing comments is November 4, 2016. Please refer to for the consultation questionnaire and accompanying reference document.



First Book Canada sends 22,000 books to Fort McMurray and area

September 15, 2016

At a special reading celebration sponsored by TD Bank Group, First Book Canada presented a book donation to Madison Davis, a grade two student at Beacon Hill Public School in Fort McMurray who lost her home in the devastating wildfires this spring. Over the course of the summer, First Book Canada received brand new children’s book donations from Canada’s top children’s publishing houses. With the financial support of TD, and the effort of all three Fort McMurray area school boards and the Public Library system, over 20,000 books are making their way into the hands of local children — many of whom lost all of their books to the fire. First Book Canada is committed to helping rebuild the library of each child in the community with first-rate, age-appropriate books.



Grant professionals needed to complete job analysis survey

September 15, 2016

The Grant Professionals Certification Institute (GPCI) offers the Grant Professional Certified (GPC) credential to grant professionals and, in order to keep the credential current, they are updating the job analysis that is used to create the certification exam. A major component of this job analysis is issuing a survey for grant professionalsthat includes a list of skills and competencies. Grant professionals are asked to rate the frequency of use and criticality of error for each. The more grant professionals who take the survey, the more accurate the data will be. The survey is currently open through the end of September 2016. Click here for the survey.



An extraordinary gift: the Saputo family donates $10 million to the Montreal Heart Institute

September 9, 2016

Thanks to a $10-million gift from the Saputo family, the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) will be able to pursue its investments in prevention and will proceed with a major expansion, planned to begin in the fall of 2016. "This significant donation will allow the Institute to once again confirm its position as a leader in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. We are extremely grateful and we want to sincerely thank them for this generous act," said Dr. Denis Roy, Chief Executive Officer of the MHI. Giving back to the community is a priority for the Saputo family. In fact, they are committed to contributing to the welfare of society by promoting healthy lifestyle habits through a balanced diet and physical exercise.



Kids Help Phone: One in five teens in Canada seriously considers suicide

September 8, 2016

A new report released by Kids Help PhoneTeens Talk 2016 – has revealed that one in five teens in Canada has seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months, and discovered correlations between teens' suicidal thoughts and specific behaviours or experiences. The Teens Talk 2016 report is based on the results of a national survey of 1,319 teens aged 13 – 18 –statistically representative of age and gender across each province – and explores the issues teens face, such as suicide, body or self-image, relationship issues and bullying. Teens who have seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months:

  • Represented one in five teens (22%) surveyed
  • Did not speak to anyone about suicide (47%)
  • Said they had formulated a plan (46%)
  • Were twice as likely to be girls as boys
  • Were much more likely than teens who did not consider attempting suicide to have reported body or self-image concerns, violence at home or school or drug or alcohol addictions.



Canada's Premiers announce 2016 literacy award recipients

September 8, 2016

Canada's Premiers today announced the recipients of the 12th annual Council of the Federation Literacy Award in honour of International Literacy Day. The award is presented to recipients from all 13 provinces and territories to celebrate outstanding achievement, innovative practice, and excellence in literacy. The recipients of the 2016 Council of the Federation Literacy Award are:

  • Blue Quills Literacy Centre – Alberta
  • Burnaby School District LINC Program – British Columbia
  • Margaret Banasiak – Manitoba
  • Evelyn Lewis – Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Peter Bowmaster – New Brunswick
  • Jean-Charles Richard – New Brunswick
  • Archie Laroque – Northwest Territories
  • Michael Hajnal – Nova Scotia
  • Saa Pitsiulak – Nunavut
  • Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre – Ontario
  • Jean Ellsworth – Prince Edward Island
  • Carolane Flamand – Québec
  • Saskatchewan Literacy Network – Saskatchewan
  • Audrey Lougheed – Yukon



Nearly 50 million children "uprooted" worldwide, according to UNICEF report

September 7, 2016

A new report released today by UNICEF, Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children, presents new data that paint a sobering picture of the lives and situations of millions of children and families affected by violent conflict and other crises that make it seem safer to risk everything on a perilous journey than remain at home. Uprooted shows that:

  • Children represent a disproportionate and growing proportion of those who have sought refuge outside their countries of birth: they make up about a third of the global population but about half of all refugees. In 2015, around 45% of all child refugees under UNHCR's protection came from Syria and Afghanistan.
  • 28 million children have been driven from their homes by violence and conflict within and across borders, including 10 million child refugees; one million asylum-seekers whose refugee status has not yet been determined; and an estimated 17 million children displaced within their own countries – children in dire need of humanitarian assistance and access to critical services.
  • More and more children are crossing borders on their own. In 2015, more than 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries – triple the number in 2014. Unaccompanied children are among those at the highest risk of exploitation and abuse, including by smugglers and traffickers.
  • About 20 million other international child migrants have left their homes for a variety of reasons including extreme poverty or gang violence. Many are at particular risk of abuse and detention because they have no documentation, have uncertain legal status, and there is no systematic tracking and monitoring of their well-being – children falling through the cracks.



Canadian organizations need to strengthen their commitment to employee learning

September 7, 2016

With kids heading back to school and refocusing on learning, Canadian employers should do the same. Organizations that are committed to learning and development report better organizational performance than their competitors. However, a new Conference Board of Canada report finds that only 34 per cent of Canadian organizations say that they have a strong learning environment while the remaining believe it is either moderate (51%) or weak (16%). Other highlights include:

  • Only 34% of Canadian organizations say that they have a strong learning environment.
  • The remaining organizations believe their learning environment is either moderate (51%) or weak (16 %).
  • Organizations with strong LPI results are among the most prepared to fill vacancies left by retirements with qualified internal candidates over the next five years.

Regular assessment of learning and development programs, allow organizations to better prioritize spending and resources to ensure strategies are working effectively. However, the percentage of Canadian organizations conducting evaluations of their learning practices has dropped by 25% in the last 15 years.



Unmet mental health care needs costing Canadian economy billions

September 1, 2016

Depression and anxiety cost the Canadian economy at least $32.3 billion a year and $17.3 billion a year, respectively, in foregone GDP due to lost productivity, according to a new report from The Conference Board of Canada's Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care. Highlights of the study include:

  • A large proportion of working Canadians have unmet mental health care needs that prevent them from working full-time or part-time.
  • Almost a quarter of Canadians living with a mental illness are unable to work because of their symptoms.
  • Employers can improve the treatment of anxiety and/or depression among employed Canadians by facilitating access to evidence-based benefits, programs and supports.

Employees in services-producing industries feel they have the greatest need for mental health care. About 2.5 million employees in the services sector feel some sort of mental health care is required. Industries that have the highest proportion of employees with unmet mental health needs, include:

  • administrative support and waste management (44.4%)
  • accommodation and food services (43.8%); and
  • professional, and scientific and technical services (42.9%).



RED Academy Community Partnership Program now accepting applications for tech projects

August 31, 2016

RED Academy, a tech school for designers and developers, is looking for suitable organizations to join their Community Partnership Program for their fall cohort! Their students have the opportunity to work with real clients through the Community Partnership Program, which allows students to gain real world experience. Becoming a partner is a great opportunity for your organization as it is free. Typically, the length of a project varies from 2 to 3 weeks during which you will be briefing students and consulting with them to help them create a high quality solution that will benefit you. Along the way, students will also be supported and mentored by their instructors. What types of projects are accepted?

  • Existing e-commerce websites which would benefit from a digital marketing strategy around a holiday
  • Mobile apps that have already launched which would benefit from a digital marketing strategy to expand its user base
  • B2B websites (with a form capture) which would benefit from an inbound digital marketing strategy
  • Marketing or blog websites that can be designed and built in Wordpress
  • Complex web applications or native applications needing the full UX design process

If your organization has a project that appears to be a fit for the Community Partnership Program, please apply here.



Canadians' overwhelming response enables 'best ever' Census in 2016

August 30, 2016

The willing participation of Canadians has enabled Statistics Canada to achieve the 'best Census ever,' the agency announced today. The overall collection response rate of 98.4% for the 2016 Census of Population is higher than for both the 2011 and 2006 Census programs. Canadians' response to the 2016 long form was simply outstanding. In 2016, the collection response rate for the long form was 97.8 per cent, the best ever recorded. This response rate will enable the provision of high-quality information for virtually all communities.

The 2016 Census also stood out in two other regards: self-response and Internet response. Almost 9 in 10 Canadian households completed their long or short form questionnaire without any assistance from Statistics Canada staff. The rate of 88.8% makes this the most efficient among traditional censuses conducted in the world. Response rates to individual questions are also high and very uniform throughout the questionnaire, further improving data quality. As for the Internet response, Canadians delivered a gold medal performance with an Internet response rate of 68.3%, surpassing the ambitious initial objective of 65% and setting yet again another world record.

Statistics Canada will now turn its focus to providing high quality Census information. An accelerated release schedule is planned to provide Canadians with results in a more timely fashion than for any previous census. First results from the 2016 Census will be published on February 8, 2017, with the release of data on population and dwelling counts. As well, Statistics Canada continues to plan for future censuses. Consultations on census content for 2021 will take place in 2017. The agency will seek to further refine collection processes, with a view to ensuring the 2021 Census continues to improve inclusiveness, data quality and efficiency.



Survey finds 54% of Canadian teachers have brought extra food for students in need

August 30, 2016

The third annual Kellogg's Breakfasts for Better Days Survey of active Canadian school teachers reveals that not getting enough breakfast and going to school hungry is having a startling impact on students from coast-to-coast. Indeed, teachers reported that kids who regularly miss breakfast lose, on average, 132 minutes of learning time every day. Respondents to the survey agreed that hunger has a tangible impact on both academic performance and the behaviour of students. In fact:

  • 93% of teachers said that students who eat breakfast achieve better academic results than those who do not;
  • 86% responded that students who come to school hungry are more likely to engage in bullying than their peers;
  • Three-quarters reported that children who miss breakfast are more easily frustrated (77%), angered, annoyed or irritated (73%);
  • 63% confirmed that hungry students are more disruptive in class; and
  • Two-thirds of Canadian teachers observed that students who come to school without breakfast struggle to make friends.

The negative impacts of hunger in the classroom have led to 92% of teachers surveyed admitting that they have personally helped a student who has arrived at school hungry and over half (54%) have brought in extra food for students in need.



More community foundations across Canada announce grant calls for Canada 150 projects

August 29, 2016

Dozens of community foundations are set to open their call for grant applications to the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th next week. So far, nearly 125 communities in all parts of Canada are participating in the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, making grants to support local projects that build community and encourage engagement in our sesquicentennial. Be part of the next wave of communities activating the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th this fall - see the new community foundations opening their call for applications in September, as well as foundations whose grant applications are closing soon on the Community Foundations of Canada website.



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