Tuesday June 4, 2019


Carbon Offsets

New Carbon Offset Program A Canadian First

The carbon calculator at TreeTrust.ca is available to anyone looking to offset their air travel.

To kick off Elora’s 2019 Tree Day, the Elora Environment Centre has formally launch Canada’s first ever carbon offset program with a dual mandate: to plant young trees AND care for large legacy trees. “We are so excited share Tree Trust with all of Centre Wellington,” reflected Toni Ellis (photo), from the Elora Environment Centre. “Given the growing concern about climate change, offsetting carbon from air travel is something people are asking they if can do locally. TreeTrust.ca is made in Centre Wellington initiative driven by a need that we have heard from our community: the desire to keep offset purchases and impact local.”

Waterloo's Wellbeing

The results are in!

Waterloo Region Community Wellbeing Survey available on website

Did you know that almost 1 in 4 local residents feel that they lack companionship? Or that over 75% of residents report that they are very satisfied with life in general? The Waterloo Region Community Wellbeing Survey asked residents what matters most to their wellbeing and how it is connected to other factors that influence overall health.

Municipal Tendering

Report Challenges Claims about Closed Tendering in Ontario

The Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) has released a report by Prism Economics and Analysis disputing claims by the Cardus organization, and urging municipalities to continue their partnership with the building trades unions. The report titled Just Not Credible: Challenging Claims About Closed Tendering in Ontario directly refutes Cardus’ claims that municipalities would save on construction costs. The Prism Economics report describes Cardus’ claims as “just not credible” saying the proposed savings are unrealistic and do not consider the other risks of leaving collective agreements.


Dan Robert joins Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation as Director, Philanthropy

Elizabeth Heald, president and CEO is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Robert as Director, Philanthropy at Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF). Dan has spent his entire 15-year career working in the charitable sector, most of which has been right here in Waterloo Region. For the past 11 years, Dan has been with Wilfrid Laurier University, most recently as the Associate Director, Development: Athletics & Wellness. In this role, Dan led the strategic direction and execution of fundraising efforts to enhance the student experience, with a focus on financial aid, mental health support and experiential learning, while also ensuring varsity sport programs have the resources they need to excel both on and off the field. Prior to this, Dan was the Relay For Life Coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Society in Halton Region.

New Business

Innovative social enterprise launches Canada-wide mail-home art subscription service

Artshine and Arts4All announced their new visual art subscription service: Artshine in a box. The Kickstarter campaign begins today with plans to begin accepting orders, featuring an early-bird pricing incentive until August 30th 2019, and the first Artshine in a box kits being shipped in January 2020. Artshine, along with sister non-profit organization Arts4All, is an innovative mobile art social enterprise. Together, Artshine and Arts4All are devoted to creating a community where participation in the arts is available to people of all levels of income, education, ability or life circumstances.


Floating cities, the LEGO House and other architectural forms of the future

Design gives form to the future, says architect Bjarke Ingels. In this worldwide tour of his team's projects, journey to a waste-to-energy power plant (that doubles as an alpine ski slope) and the LEGO Home of the Brick in Denmark -- and catch a glimpse of cutting-edge flood resilience infrastructure in New York City as well as an ambitious plan to create floating, sustainable cities that are adapted to climate change.

Carbon Offsets

New Carbon Offset Program A Canadian First

The carbon calculator at TreeTrust.ca is available to anyone looking to offset their air travel.

To kick off Elora’s 2019 Tree Day, the Elora Environment Centre is pleased to formally launch Canada’s first ever carbon offset program with a dual mandate: to plant young trees AND care for large legacy trees. “We are so excited share Tree Trust with all of Centre Wellington,” reflected Toni Ellis, from the Elora Environment Centre. “Given the growing concern about climate change, offsetting carbon from air travel is something people are asking they if can do locally. TreeTrust.ca is made in Centre Wellington initiative driven by a need that we have heard from our community: the desire to keep offset purchases and impact local.”

Big City Challenges

Cities seek modernized Federal-Municipal relationship in the lead-up to the Fall Federal Election

City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, along with Big City Mayors from across Canada, met last week in Quebec City with key federal officials to discuss closer federal-municipal relations, challenges faced by Canada's largest urban centres, and the various federal parties’ positions on supporting municipalities in the lead-up to this Fall’s federal election. Key issues amongst those which were discussed included:

Trial Retail Space

Retail space at Kitchener City Hall to be home to experimental and experiential tenants

A series of contemporary pop up shops and experimental events are set to launch at 220 King St. W. (Kitchener City Hall) beginning on Saturday, June 1 in a one-year pilot “Project 220”. From June 2019 through Spring 2020, a variety of local shops, makers, artists and events will locate in the space for as little as one day to a few months to be part of the downtown community. “Conversations from our community consultations in 2016 had many people asking for more pop-up happenings, for the opportunity for new ideas and offerings to come into downtown. With downtown going through a huge transformation over the next few years, and more residents and workplaces finding their home here, it’s fun to see how this space might be able to respond to the community’s needs whether it be in playful art activations or business casual clothing.” Hilary Abel (photo), manager of downtown community development says.

Flood Management

Easy Flood Response for Ontario: Plant More Trees

For more than a century, provincial tree planting has cut flood risks in Ontario by Rob Keen

Rivers have surged over their banks this spring, flooding hundreds of homes, businesses and cottages. The Ottawa, Muskoka, French and Mattagami rivers (and many others) have flooded – and the risk now extends to lakes as well. “Forecast high winds […] will pose additional flood hazards along the shorelines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario due to high water, wind driven storm surge and damages due to erosive wave action,” read a late May warning from the province’s flood forecasting system. Fourteen Ontario Conservation Authorities have issued flood warnings.


SportFitz is heading to the Canadian Export Challenge!

SportFitz wearable sports analytic technology measures and documents data to ensure the sustainability of the $300 billion annual sports markets globally, will participate in the 2019 Canadian Export Challenge (CXC) on Thursday June 6, 2019 at the International Centre in Mississauga. The 1-day global accelerator and pitch competition tour is presented by Startup Canada. As a member of the Global Entrepreneur Cohort, SportFitz will pitch to win $2,500 and an expense-paid trip to Toronto for CXC’s final showdown, where they will face-off against representatives from across Canada to win an additional $25,000 and up to $100,000 in in-kind scaling support.


Nanoparticle researcher Vladimir Kitaev named Laurier’s University Research Professor

A nanoparticle researcher in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been named University Research Professor for 2019/20. Professor Vladimir Kitaev is the recipient of the one-year internal award that recognizes excellence and leadership in research. Kitaev’s research on particles smaller than 100 nanometres – one nanometre is a billionth of a metre – has applications in spectroscopy, optics, environmental remediation, medical sensing and diagnostics. In addition to their practical applications, the novel nanomaterials he produces are beautiful. “Our group controls the size and shape of nanoparticles to produce a rainbow of colours and wide spectrum of useful properties,” said Kitaev. “Because they are colourful, they interact strongly with light. This is useful in many ways, for example in optical sensors.”


Political and Economic Uncertainty, Climate Change and AI, Pressing Concerns for Canadian Directors

The results of a national survey by the Institute of Corporate Directors point to political and economic uncertainty as top of mind issues for the country's board directors, but also points to gaps in the issues corporate Canada feels are national concerns, such as climate change, the impact of automation and trade diversification, and those they feel are concerns for their businesses. "There is unease among Canada's corporate directors about our current political and economic environment," said Rahul Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Institute of Corporate Directors. "But boards approve our country's corporate strategies and major capital spending, so they have an important leadership opportunity to help shape Canada's economic outcomes. To do so will require them to make the connection between national challenges and the potential impact these will have on their organizations."

Parking Penalty Panache

Launch of new AMPS system to improve parking penalty processes for Kitchener and Waterloo residents

On Monday, June 3, the City of Kitchener and the City of Waterloo jointly launched an Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS), making it easier and faster for residents in both cities to resolve parking tickets. The AMPS system will replace parking tickets with penalty notices, giving the municipality the discretion to resolve parking penalties by way of review by a screening officer or a hearing, without having to go through a provincial court. “Implementing the new AMPS system is an opportunity for us to enhance the customer service experience for residents of Kitchener and Waterloo,” said Gloria MacNeil, director of by-law enforcement at the City of Kitchener. “Giving staff increased flexibility and discretion to attempt to resolve parking penalty issues in the initial stages of the process increases the number of incidents that can be resolved earlier in the process and reduces added costs or time commitments associated with going through the provincial courts.”

Trade Proviso

Steelworkers Welcome New Legislation, Urge Renewed Safeguards

The United Steelworkers (USW) welcomes new legislation introduced by the federal government, with a crucial proviso that it must be accompanied by immediate measures to stabilize Canada's steel industry from surges of foreign imports. "Strong action to defend Canadian workers and producers from unfair trade is needed immediately as part of the government's plan," said USW National Director Ken Neumann. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau today introduced legislation to temporarily remove a two-year moratorium on the imposition of safeguard measures on imports that were previously subject to safeguards.

Global Tourism

Local Residents Remain Largely Positive to Urban Tourism

A global survey conducted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and IPSOS shows a positive picture of local residents’ perceptions towards urban tourism. Looking at 15 countries worldwide, the research also identified what residents consider to be the best ways of managing rising numbers of tourists, highlighting differing attitudes to urban tourism among different socio-demographic groups.

Election Monitor

The Globe and Mail relaunches browser extension to monitor Facebook ads ahead of Canadian election

Political ad collector created by U.S. investigative journalism non-profit ProPublica in 2017

The Globe and Mail is pleased to announce the relaunch of the Facebook Political Ad Collector (FBPAC), an online tool designed to monitor political advertising on Facebook. The collector, a web browser extension that can be downloaded by users, was built in 2017 by ProPublica as a tool to help create more transparency about the modern electoral landscape.

Financial Disclosure

CLHIA announces withdrawal of Guideline G19

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) is announcing the withdrawal of Guideline G19 on advisor compensation for group benefits and group retirement services. "Following extensive discussions with market players, including advisors and their associations, and careful consideration of what we heard, we have decided to withdraw this industry guideline," Stephen Frank, CLHIA's President and CEO said. "Our industry is still strongly in favour of market transparency and plans to work closely with regulators and other stakeholders on these matters going forward."


Virtual reality improves tolerance of anaesthesia procedures and reduces need for intravenous sedation by at least 50%

Giving patients virtual reality sessions before and during locoregional anaesthesia for orthopaedic procedures substantially reduces pain and the need for intravenous sedation, according to new research being presented at this year's Euroanaesthesia congress (the annual meeting of the European Society of Anaesthesiology) in Vienna, Austria (1-3 June). The randomised trial suggests that virtual reality hypnosis distraction (VRHD) could be a valuable drug-free alternative for reducing anxiety and procedure-related pain without the side effects and longer recovery time associated with traditional intravenous sedation.

Education in Semantics

A data scientist by any other name …

Panelists (l-r) Katherine Rosback, Nada Sanders and Viju Menon discuss "How Data Science is Revolutionizing the Future" during the 2019 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in Austin, TX.

by Peter Horner

As you might expect, “analytics,” broadly defined, was the star of virtually every presentation during the recent 2019 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in Austin, Texas, with one notable exception. Interestingly and ironically, the “a” word never came up in the opening plenary panel discussion, according to a longtime INFORMS member who pays attention to these things. By all accounts, moderator Noha Tohamy and panelists Viju Menon, Katherine Rosback and Nada Sanders were excellent, and they collectively presented the packed ballroom with a lively, informative session on “How Data Science is Revolutionizing the Future.”


Disability Management: A Global Perspective

The idea of disability carries different meanings in different countries

If you’re lucky, you’ve never had to use it, and if you have, you’re just thankful it exists. Disability insurance – it protects employees from the financial risk of losing their income if they get hurt or sick and can’t work – and it can be confusing, no matter where you live. Recently, Cowan Insurance Group worked with thier partners at Asinta, a global strategic partnership of employee health and benefit consultancies, to conduct a survey of leading international benefits providers from 16 countries to learn more about disability management practices across the globe. What we learned was that in all the countries surveyed, apart from India, most employers offer some form of supplemental disability coverage. That’s a definite value-add for employees.


June 7, 2019

June 12 & 13, 2019

Big Data and AI Toronto Returns for its Fourth Year

The annual two-day conference and expo is the largest event of its kind

The Big Data and AI Toronto Conference and Expo returns on June 12 and 13, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Over 5000 attendees will take advantage of an expanded exhibition floor and new conference tracks tailored to both Big Data and AI professionals. With over 150 expert speakers and 90 sponsoring brands, the conference will address today's leading topics in data science, analytics and machine learning.

June 15, 2019

Food Trucks are taking over DTK again in support of local youth!

Saturday June 15th The City of Kitchener’s Official Food Truck Festival 4pm to 11pm Proceeds directly support local youth in need of Mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region programming.

The region's tastiest food trucks are taking over 3 blocks of King Street between College Street and Ontario Street. Grab a bite and enjoy live music on every block, fun activities, and for the first time - an outdoor craft beer garden! Ready your bellies for King StrEATery! Taste the treats, hear the beats, play some games and have some drinks! All proceeds support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region.

June 18, 2019

Women in Engineering STEM and Diversity

On behalf of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), we would like to invite you to attend the 17th annual Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Fall Forum entitled It’s Time We Build. This annual conference is the province’s most significant event for women in engineering and advocates for diversity and inclusion in STEM.

June 19, 2019

Phil Monture gives talk at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum in honour of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day

WATERLOO REGION: In anticipation of National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which falls on June 21 each year, the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum is pleased to announce that Phil Monture, from Six Nations of the Grand River, is giving a talk called Understanding our Region and the Territorial Acknowledgement. The talk takes place at the Ken Seiling Waterloo Museum on Wednesday, June 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. and the event is free to this event.

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Copyright, 2019