Tuesday January 22, 2019



Measuring AI's ability to learn is difficult

Organizations looking to benefit from the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution should be cautious about putting all their eggs in one basket, a study from the University of Waterloo has found. In a study published in Nature Machine Intelligence, Waterloo researchers found that contrary to conventional wisdom, there can be no exact method for deciding whether a given problem may be successfully solved by machine learning tools. “We have to proceed with caution,” said Shai Ben-David, lead author of the study and a professor in Waterloo’s School of Computer Science. “There is a big trend of tools that are very successful, but nobody understands why they are successful, and nobody can provide guarantees that they will continue to be successful.

Canada: CPI

Inflation rises back to 2% target rate at Year End

Consumer prices dip by 0.1% month-on-month in December. The consensus expectation was for a 0.4% drop; The annual rate of inflation rose to 2.0%, higher than the expected reading of 1.7%; Lower prices for gasoline, clothing, and travel tours almost offset by rising mortgage interest costs and a jump in air transportation - by David Watt

Consumer prices fell by 0.1% month-on-month in December. This was a smaller decline than had been expected. The consensus expectation was for prices to fall by 0.4% in the month, while HSBC looked for a 0.5% decline. In the month, gasoline prices fell by 6.5% which was in line with our expectation. Other fuel costs also declined in the month. As well, reflecting seasonal patterns, clothing prices declined. Similarly, the costs for traveller accommodation and travel tours fell.


Weed or Feed? A Canadian Food Security Issue

By Simon Somogyi

In December, the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University released the 9th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report , and while the report paints a generally rosy picture of 2019 food prices, partly due to decreasing meat prices and small increases across most food categories, a sobering statistic from the report was that overall food prices are expected to increase by 1.5 to 3.5 per cent, with the average Canadian family expected to have a total yearly food bill of $12,157. The highest predicted increase is expected in the fruit and vegetable category, with an increase of between four and six per cent. And while much of that increase is attributed to costs expected from adverse weather events and shipping delays and the growing trend of vegetarian-based diets among consumers, one culprit stands out as a reason for rising vegetable prices: cannabis. Cannabis is a plant not suited to growing in the Canadian environment. It prefers warm and humid growing conditions and therefore is best suited to indoor cultivation in our country.


Future of food trade: How technology is transforming agriculture

by Shanella Rajanayagam

Emerging markets are driving global food demand but agriculture remains a highly protected area of global trade; New technologies such as precision farming, lab-grown meat and blockchain are transforming the agri-food industry; Innovations could displace traditional agricultural exports but also improve food safety and traceability. A key feature of trade negotiations ...

Jobs Report

ADP Canada National Employment Report: Employment in Canada Decreased by 13,000 Jobs in December 2018

Employment in Canada decreased by 13,000 jobs from November to December according to the December ADP® Canada National Employment Report. Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP Canada National Employment Report is produced by the ADP Research Institute®. The report, which is derived from actual ADP payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm payroll employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

Food Waste Report

The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste Report

New research shows 58% of food produced in Canada is wasted

Nearly 60 percent of food produced in Canada – amounting to 35.5 million metric tonnes – is lost and wasted annually. Of that, 32 percent – equalling 11.2 million metric tonnes of lost food – is avoidable and is edible food that could be redirected to support people in our communities. The total financial value of this potentially rescuable lost and wasted food is a staggering $49.46 billion. These unprecedented findings are the result of a year-long research project undertaken by Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, and Value Chain Management International, a leading public and industry voice in the area of food waste. This ground-breaking report is being released last week.


A life-saving device that detects silent heart attacks

Akash Manoj developed a novel technique that can non-invasively detect and alert at-risk patients of a potential asymptomatic heart-attack.

Akash Manoj lost his grandfather due to a silent heart attack when he was thirteen. Silent heart attacks strike at-risk patients who are affected by nerve damage. Unlike most teenagers, inspired by the intricacies of the problem, Manoj translated his emotions into social motivation and, eventually, into action. At the end of three years of research and experiments funded by the Government of India at various labs across India, including SRISTI-BIRAC, he developed a novel technique that can non-invasively detect and alert at-risk patients of a potential asymptomatic heart-attack. His method involves transcutaneously isolating, identifying, spectroscopically analyzing, and sensing elevation in the levels of a cardiac biomarker called h-FABP in realtime -- a process that significantly establishes a path to preventative cardiovascular healthcare.

Skills Training

Who Pays for the Reskilling Revolution? Investment to Safeguard America’s At-Risk Workers Likely to Cost Government $29 Billion

New study on the US labour market finds that 86% of the $34 billion total cost for reskilling nearly 1.4 million “stranded workers” displaced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and other factors over the next decade will likely fall on the government; The private sector could profitably reskill 25% of all workers, a figure rising to 45% if businesses collaborate

The cost of reskilling the 1.4 million US workers likely to lose their jobs as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and other structural changes over the next decade will largely fall on the government, with the private sector only able to profitably absorb reskilling for 25% of at-risk workers. This is the finding of a World Economic Forum report published today. The report, “Towards a Reskilling Revolution: Industry-Led Action for the Future of Work”, finds that it will be possible to transition 95% of at-risk workers into positions that have similar skills and higher wages. The cost of this reskilling operation would be approximately $34 billion.


Ontario Government to Lower Student Tuition Burden by 10 per cent

First ever province-wide tuition reduction will make college and university more affordable and accessible for students and families, while empowering students to choose how fees are spent

For the first time in Ontario, students at every publicly-assisted college and university will see their tuition rates go down by 10 per cent thanks to a province-wide tuition rate reduction introduced by Ontario Government. "We believe that if you've got the grades, you deserve access to an affordable postsecondary education," said Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "By lowering tuition across the entire province, our government is ensuring that all qualified Ontario students will have more affordable access to high quality skills, training and education."


U of T to ensure student access despite changes to OSAP, tuition framework

The University of Toronto is committed to maintaining its standing among the world’s top academic and research institutions – and ensuring access for all qualified students – despite the Ontario government’s cuts to post-secondary education funding. President Meric Gertler said U of T is studying the government’s plan, announced today, to roll back recent changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program, or OSAP, alongside a cut in the tuition fees paid by students across the province. More than half of U of T’s 47,000 domestic undergraduates are currently eligible for OSAP, while a little over 60 per cent of the university’s funding comes from tuition and other student fees.

Global Economy

Slowdown – Rather than Collapse – in Global Growth Anticipated for 2019

Economic experts predict economic slowdowns in major global markets, including China and the United States, for 2019; Central banks are likely to moderate monetary policy to keep economic “soft spots” from turning into sharp declines; The opening of China’s market is likely to increase competitiveness of Chinese businesses and could improve Chinese consumption, which could serve as a future driver of global growth

Slowing growth could pose risks for the global economy in 2019, as experts predict flattening or declining rates for economies ranging from the United States to Europe to China. High levels of corporate and sovereign debt in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis raise questions about how governments and corporations can respond to such slowdowns.


Hospitality graduate finds sweet success with doughnut cafe

Conestoga Hospitality Management graduate Megan Dron and her husband Larry opened Red Eye Cafe and Donuts just seven months ago and have already been recognized with a number of first-place wins in the Cambridge Times Readers’ Choice Awards. Named best new business, best local bakery, best local café and friendliest staff, the business owners never expected to gain so much community support this quickly.

Hospitality graduate Megan Dron and her husband Larry opened Red Eye Cafe and Donuts in Cambridge last June. Photo credit: Hush Hush Photography & Film - Aidan Hennebry

“Those awards in the first few months were such great validation,” said Larry. “It showed that people really appreciate what we’re doing and that means a lot to us.” The Cambridge Times awards were announced this past November and also included a second-place win for best cup of coffee. Waterloo Region Record readers have also named the café the best spot to get a doughnut. “We definitely didn’t expect all that support right at the beginning,” said Megan. “All we did for our soft launch was open our door. We didn’t post anything.”

Global Business

Risks to Global Businesses from New Era of Epidemics Rival Climate Change

The number and kind of infectious disease outbreaks have increased significantly over the past 30 years; Since 2011, the world has seen nearly 200 epidemic events per year; Pandemics will be the cause of average annual economic losses of 0.7% of global GDP – or $570 billion – a threat similar in scale to that estimated for climate change in the coming decades

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute, today released a white paper that details why and how the business community should contribute more to manage the threat and impact of infectious disease on societies. Outbreak Readiness and Business Impact: Protecting Lives and Livelihoods across the Global Economy describes the business risk posed by a new era of epidemic risk, which can no longer be thought of exclusively in terms of rare but devastating events like global influenza pandemics. The white paper offers recommendations to help companies more appropriately understand risks, reduce exposure and act on opportunities for public-private cooperation to optimally prepare for and mitigate these risks.

Bad Habits

Pharmacists could help reduce smoking rates

Enlisting the help of pharmacists could help in the quest to get people to quit smoking, according a white paper released by the University of Waterloo. The paper details ways in which an increased role for pharmacists in the public health effort could help curb smoking rates and aim to reduce the estimated 45,000 annual deaths that occur in Canada from tobacco use.

Financial Literacy

Two-thirds of Canadians enter 2019 worried about the economy

Report addresses "kitchen table" financial issues facing Canadians

Two-thirds of Canadians enter 2019 worried about their financial fortunes, according to a recent economic poll. The Kitchen Table Forecast, a Leger poll of 1,515 Canadians, was conducted for non-profit organizations Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) and Credit Canada. The survey sought to add consumer context to reports on slowing economic growth by asking Canadians about a series of "kitchen table" issues – the sort of daily financial concerns that confront people on a daily basis, such as bill payments and debt, cost of living, job security and bankruptcy. It comes on the heels of a global report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that suggests Canada is showing signs of a sharp decline in growth in 2019.


New study of twins shows that loneliness is genetic but not necessarily hard-wired

A new Western University study of more than 750 pairs of adult twins shows that loneliness, for some, is more than just a feeling. It’s actually part of a person’s genetic makeup. However, there is encouraging news – environment still plays a much larger role in our feelings of connectedness than our own DNA. “If you have rich interactions with people, that’s an environmental component that would combat the genetic impact of loneliness,” says Julie Aitken Schermer, a professor in Western’s DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies who specializes in personality differences and behaviour genetics.


Weathering the Storm: Developing a New Flood Risk Standard for Canadian Communities

Flooding within urban centres is Canada’s costliest and fastest growing extreme weather challenge. Insurable claims in Canada have risen from an average of $405 million per year between 1983 and 2008 to an average of $1.8 billion per year between 2009 and 2017 (in $2017), with flooding contributing the greatest proportion of this increase. Against the backdrop of unavoidable climate change, the need to limit this risk will only grow. In an effort to alleviate future flood risk, a new report from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo, highlights a range of solutions that can be deployed practically and cost-effectively within communities and households.

Global Views

A Rejection of Populism: Global Public Opinion Comes out Strongly in Favour of Openness and Collaboration

The global public overwhelmingly favours multilateral cooperation, is open to immigration and rejects the notion that countries’ best interests are achieved at the expense of others, according to a unique global survey published today by the World Economic Forum; Majority of respondents say they believe upward mobility is too elusive and that governments are not doing enough to provide people with opportunity; North Americans have the least trust in climate science, while Western Europeans are least likely to regard technology companies as altruistic

A global opinion poll published by the World Economic Forum finds that a clear majority of people in all regions of the world say they believe cooperation between nations is either extremely or very important. It also finds that a large majority rejects the notion that national improvement is a zero-sum game, and that most people feel that immigrants are mostly good for their adopted country. The research, covering a sample size of over 10,000 people from every region of the world, was commissioned ahead of next week’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The findings can be viewed as an endorsement by the public of the key principles of the multilateral system. It also roundly debunks the negative notion of immigrants that has raced to the top of the news agenda across Europe, North America and elsewhere.


Speakers Announced for Leadercast 2019

The complete list of speakers has been announced for Leadercast. Drayton Entertainment and the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce will once again team up to host the educational event aimed at developing leaders across all industries and at any career level, so they are better equipped to take on the next challenge and inspire others. The 2019 event will be streamed live at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge on Friday, May 10.


January 23, 2019

Public Lecture: Dr. Bruce McKay on the psychological and biological effects of cannabis

On October 17, 2018, after a century of prohibition, cannabis was legalized in Canada. This lecture will begin to answer the following questions: (Click title)

February 7, 2019

St. Mary’s General Hospital Heart Month Event

Heart Disease: Understanding the Nature of Risk, Prevention and Recovery.

You’re invited to attend this FREE educational session hosted by St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre. Through the lens of his patient’s personal story, Cardiologist Dr. Matthew Chamberlain will share how you can take charge of your heart health. St. Mary’s new president, Dr. Andrew Falconer, will also be on hand to introduce himself to the community. Complimentary parking, entry and refreshments. Thursday, February 7th, 2019. 7pm. RSVP required at www.supportstmarys.ca/heartmonth

March 28, 2019

St. Mary’s She Shares : Dr. Vivien Brown

Canadian family physician and author of “A Women’s Guide to Healthy Aging” to share her wisdom March 28th.

As a recognized expert on women’s health, Dr. Vivien Brown tells women what they need to do to stay healthy as they grow older. Spanning the topics of the mind and body, Dr. Brown identifies “Seven Proven Ways to Keep You Vibrant, Happy & Strong”. Sweeping away the myths and sales tricks that populate the internet, she offers insightful and sensible advice based on the latest scientific evidence. Join us for this invigorating luncheon event on Thursday March 28th, 12pm – 2pm. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.supportstmarys.ca/sheshares

Educational Leadership


The World’s Largest Leadership Event Returns to Cambridge

The world’s largest leadership event is back by popular demand! Drayton Entertainment and the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce will once again team up to host Leadercast, an educational event aimed at developing leaders across all industries and at any career level, so they are better equipped to take on the next challenge and inspire others. The 2019 event will be streamed live at the Hamilton Family Theatre Cambridge on Friday, May 10.

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Copyright, 2019