Thursday March 12, 2020


Medical Wisdom

AI taps human wisdom for faster, better cancer diagnosis

A new system combining artificial intelligence (AI) with human knowledge promises faster and more accurate cancer diagnosis. The powerful technology, developed by a team led by engineering researchers at the University of Waterloo, uses digital images of tissue samples to match new cases of suspected cancer with previously diagnosed cases in a database. In tests using the largest publicly available archive in the world – comprised of about 30,000 digitized slides from almost 11,000 patients – the technology achieved up to 100-per-cent accuracy for 32 forms of cancer in 25 organs and body parts. “AI can help us tap into our medical wisdom, which at the moment is just sitting in archives,” said Hamid Tizhoosh (photo), director of the Laboratory for Knowledge Inference in Medical Image Analysis (KIMIA Lab) at Waterloo. “When you use AI like this, its performance is astounding.”

BEEn First Again

Region of Waterloo BEEcomes first Bee Region in Canada

The Region was officially designated a ‘Bee Region’ yesterday by Bee City Canada who approved the Region’s application and commitment to protect pollinators. Waterloo Region will now take steps to protect pollinators by creating habitats and educating communities about the importance of pollination. Examples include learning about pollinator gardens, beneficial insects and climate change. “We couldn’t BEE more excited about this designation,” said Karen Redman, Regional Chair. “It supports our environment and climate action goals, as well as allows all seven local municipalities to work together as the first Bee Region to promote healthy habitats for bees.”


Child Witness Centre Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the Child Witness Centre is pleased to announce the appointment of David Morneau (photo) as Executive Director as of January 13, 2020. This appointment follows the retirement of Laura Muirhead who provided leadership and inspiration for the past seven years, helping the organization grow and making a difference in the lives of many children and youth. “The Board is excited to welcome David Morneau to lead the Child Witness Centre,” said Lisa Allen, Chair of the Board of Directors. “David brings a unique combination of skills to this position. His work as a collaborative legal professional and his passion for helping children and youth provide a strong foundation for his leadership of the Child Witness Centre. David will be instrumental in advancing our strategic plan and ensuring we provide critical services to children and youth who are victims of or witnesses to crime, empowering them toward strong futures.”


Waterloo Region Public Health Postponing Enforcement of the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act

Public Health will be postponing the enforcement of the Immunization of School Pupils’ Act for this school year and will not implement suspension actions this spring. Enforcement activities are being postponed to allow Public Health to work with health care partners to coordinate and implement the coronavirus response in Waterloo Region. The risk in Waterloo Region remains low. Public Health appreciates and thanks the many parents who have already taken steps to update their children’s immunization records. For those whose children are not yet up-to-date, Public Health will be honouring all appointments already booked to update immunizations and will be arranging for alternative clinics and opportunities to update records prior to resuming enforcement in the 2020-2021 school year.

Foundation donating to Indwell to help address the housing crisis in the Region of Waterloo.

On Friday, March 13, The Cowan Foundation will present the cheque at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church—the future site of Indwell’s first affordable housing program in the region. This contribution is a critical component in the funding of this project, as Indwell is to finalize the purchase of St. Mark’s in June 2020. “Cowan is pleased to support the innovative approach of Indwell and their introduction to the Region of Waterloo,” says Mary D’Alton (photo), Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation. “The creation of permanent affordable housing with on site support, removes significant barriers to help people step out of poverty and closely demonstrates our Foundation’s commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of Canadians through transformational projects”.

Affordable Housing Exchange

Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative – funding exchange

Region of Waterloo Council has agreed to exchange part of the Region’s provincial housing funding so that the City of St. Thomas can use the capital to complete an affordable housing project in 2020/2021.

Financial Risk

New framework factors climate risk into financial valuation

The University of Waterloo has developed a tool to help the capital markets incorporate physical climate change and extreme weather risk into investment decisions. Researchers at Waterloo's Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation developed a climate risk framework which will help institutional managers to guide investments, securities commissions to assess disclosure, and credit rating agencies to measure risk by incorporating the impacts of climate change into business analysis. "Climate change is irreversible, impacting every aspect of our lives, including the capital markets," said Blair Feltmate (photo), professor at Waterloo and head of the Intact Centre that authored the new report profiling the Climate Risk Matrix, which identifies the most impactful climate change related impacts, specific to industry sectors.


Mayors On The "March For Meals"

Local mayors and dignitaries are banding together Friday, March 13 to spread awareness about Meals on Wheels, an invaluable service that provides nutritional, emotional, and psychological supports to local seniors and adults with disabilities. “March for Meals is an opportunity to focus on supporting the very people who built our community,” said Will Pace, Executive Director of Community Support Connections. “Our population is aging and for our neighbours struggling with access to food, Meals on Wheels is a proven collaboration of local community organizations, businesses, levels of government, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.”

Early Adopter

OBIO launches first Early Adopter Health Network in Ontario

Healthcare institutions take leadership role to test, adopt new ‘home-grown’ health-science technologies

The Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing health technology innovation and commercialization in Ontario, announce the launch of the province’s first-of-its-kind Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN). The EAHN is a network of health organizations that get leading-edge technologies into the health system. Through this network, novel technologies that have been vetted and assessed for their readiness to be adopted and scaled will be evaluated, disseminated and procured. With seven technologies engaged and the first four projects underway, the EAHN represents the full range of health care institutions across the province such as community and academic hospitals, and long-term and acute care facilities, including Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket and West Park Healthcare Centre, a specialized rehabilitation and complex care hospital, in Toronto.


Letter to the Editor— Exchange Magazine

Re: “Canada’s dairy sector faces uncertain future” by Sylvain Charlebois, Feb. 25, 2020

Sylvain Charlebois article is a study in contradictions. On the one hand, he acknowledges that supply management has given Canadians access to fresh, high-quality, local milk at stable prices for years. On the other, he calls for its elimination on a whim. He observes how urban consumers are increasingly disconnected from farmers (“dairy farming is a mystery” he notes), but chides the industry for its efforts to showcase real dairy farmers and help Canadians understand what modern dairy farming is all about. He describes a dairy industry that is local, ethical and responsible, then attempts to justify alternatives that would be “very taxing on the environment if purchased in Canada.” First and foremost, Canadian dairy farmers share consumers’ desire to be mindful of the environmental footprint of the products they consume. Good stewardship is actually one of the foundations of our national quality assurance program, proAction. Dairy farmers are also governed by extremely high standards of animal welfare, milk quality, food safety, traceability and biosecurity – a far cry from the ‘short-sighted’ industry he claims doesn’t listen to consumers.

Diet and Brain

Adolescents prone to poor dietary choices leading to changes in the brain

A new review paper from Western University has outlined how poor dietary choices in adolescence can lead to changes in the brain. Published March 9th in the journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, Western researchers, Cassandra Lowe, J. Bruce Morton and Amy Reichelt (photo) highlighted adolescence as a period of dual susceptibility – at an age when teenagers are still developing decision-making capabilities, their limited restraint and heightened reward system make them more prone to eating poorly, which in turn may lead to changes in the brain. “Adolescents are more prone to eating calorie-dense, high-sugar foods because they lack the control to regulate it,” says first author Cassandra Lowe, a BrainsCAN Postdoctoral Fellow at Western University. “Their brain is still maturing so they’re more sensitive to the rewarding properties of these foods, but at the same time, they lack the control mechanisms to prevent themselves from eating junk foods.”

Protecting Seniors

Insurers welcome Insurance Act changes to protect vulnerable seniors

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) applauds the Government of Nova Scotia for passing Bill 238, which amends the Insurance Act to protect consumers, especially vulnerable seniors, by prohibiting trafficking in life insurance policies. The amendments also clarify the definition of premium for life insurance, which reinforces the separation of insurance and banking in Canada. Insurers have been urging governments to take these steps to protect policy holders from exploitation. Life insurance trafficking, also known as “life settlements” results in vulnerable persons, very often seniors losing the full value of their insurance policies to unregulated third parties who offer cash payments at rates below the face value of the policy.

Digital Innovation

Rapid growth in financial innovation needs regulators’ attention

Rapid digital innovation in finance, such as artificial intelligence and open banking, can provide myriad benefits to both consumers and financial institutions, but poses risks to financial stability, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.

In “The Era of Digital Financial Innovation: Lessons from Economic History on Regulation” David Longworth (photo), former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, focuses on the major macro-level risks arising from current and future digital financial innovation and what the implications are for Canadian regulators. Longworth notes economic history gives us many examples of instances when financial innovations, rapid growth in credit supply and increased reliance on short-term financing have led to financial instability and crises. Therefore, at a time of rapid changes in the financial sector, it is important that regulators pay close attention to what is happening and take appropriate action.


Century Old Agrifoods Cooperative Signs Exclusive Canadian Licensing Agreement with The a2 Milk Company

Launching a proven global dairy innovation in Canada

Agrifoods Cooperative (Agrifoods) has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with The a2 Milk Company (a2MC) for a2 Milk brand milks in Canada. Agrifoods Cooperative has been in business for over a century and has grown to become one of Canada's leading cooperatives with over 2,900 members. The traditional values upon which Agrifoods was founded underlie its commitment for continual innovation in order to serve its valued customers' and consumers' changing needs.


8 Ways to Secure Top Talent Without Offering More Salary

By Jeremy Eskenazi

Hiring in North America has not been this challenging in a very long time. The employment rate is at an all-time high, and top candidates have been able to negotiate great packages for themselves as some get multiple offers. As you start looking for the next superstar to further your company’s goals, deciding how hard you can compete for talent is important. While there are trends making candidate relationship-building easier--such as text communication to schedule interviews or being able to offer more flexibility to the work schedule for some roles—money is still a primary driver for candidates. An important lesson many learn is that salary has traditionally been king. And this king is powerful because it compounds year over year on your list of expenses. Not every company can spend more now, but every company wants to attract and retain the best talent for their team. This is where the candidate experience and your employer brand can be a strategic differentiator as you explore your flexibility to spend money.


New colorectal screening test catch es cancer sooner for better patient outcomes

A new colorectal screening test is helping care providers catch cancer sooner and more accurately, for better patient outcomes.

“Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ontario for men and third for women, which means any opportunity to detect cancer sooner is crucial for patients and their physicians,” says Dr. Rachael Halligan, Regional Primary Care Lead with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program. It is estimated that in 2019, approximately 9,100 people in Ontario (about 4,900 men and 4,200 women) were found to have colon cancer and about 3,150 people (1,650 men and 1,500 women) died of the disease. Research shows that almost 70 percent of people who get colon cancer do not have a family history of the disease.


Trans and non-binary Canadians report having unmet health care needs

Nearly half of transgender and non-binary Canadians who responded to a national survey say they faced one or more unmet health care needs in the past year – with about 1-in-10 saying they avoided an emergency room visit completely, according to a Western University-led project. Released on Tuesday, the first report from the Trans PULSE Canada survey ( shows that while 81 per cent of transgender and non-binary respondents report having a primary health care provider, 45 per cent say they have had one or more unmet health care needs in the past year, and 12 per cent avoided going to the emergency room in the last year despite needing care.


FAO releases Long-term Budget Outlook: 2020-2050

Ontario’s fiscal outlook depends on the success of current reforms to public services

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) has released its Long-term Budget Outlook. The report provides a forecast of Ontario’s economy and fiscal position through 2050, based on current fiscal policies. Over the next 30 years, Ontario’s population will become older and grow somewhat slower than in the past. Slower economic growth over the outlook will contribute to a slower pace of revenue gains for the Province while a growing but older population will put upward pressure on public spending. In the medium term, the Ontario government’s commitment to balancing the budget by 2023-24 relies on limiting spending growth through efficiency gains and transforming the way public services are delivered. The success of the government’s current reforms to its core programs – health, education and social services – will have a significant impact on Ontario’s long-term fiscal position.

Digital Innovation

Fostering citizen-led innovation a key component to upskilling in Canadian Banks

As banks continue to deploy new digital tools, such as data visualization, chatbots, natural-language processing and analytics, they are also focused on the importance of preparing its workforce to adopt new, digitally enabled ways of working according to PwC Canada's Canadian Banks 2020: Upskilling the workforce. As rapid technological change continues to influence customer demand, Canadian banks must focus on its workforce to create and leverage innovative business solutions. Every year, anywhere from 5% to 10% of roles in an organization change, creating a skills mismatch. Providing the opportunities to develop these skills through relevant experiences and training is essential to producing the behaviours needed for the workforce of the future.

Global Platform

World Economic Forum Convenes Global Business for COVID Action Platform

The World Economic Forum on Wednesday announced the creation of the COVID Action Platform; The global platform, the first of its kind, aims to convene the business community for collective action, protect people’s livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize support for the COVID-19 response; The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action

The dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide. But the sum of many individual actions by stakeholders around the world will not add up to a sufficient response. Only coordinated action by business, combined with global, multistakeholder cooperation can mitigate the risk and impact of this unprecedented global health emergency. In response to this emergency, the World Economic Forum, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO), has launched the COVID Action Platform. The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible.


NFU President Katie Ward speaks to House of Commons Agriculture Committee on Business Risk Management programs

On Tuesday National Farmers Union (NFU) President Katie Ward (Right) urged the House of Commons Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee to support changes to Business Risk Management Programs that will support a robust food system in Canada that can deliver both production and fair incomes in the face of shocks and disruptions such as the COVID-19 crisis and increasingly erratic weather conditions. “All farmers want to make a good living by farming. We do not seek government handouts -- in fact, when you look up "self-reliance" in the dictionary, you'll probably find a Canadian farmer,” said Ward. “Business Risk Management programs are the backstops necessary to enable farmers to continue farming in the face of unexpected bad harvests, low prices and unexpected events. We note that when we lose farmers to one or two bad seasons we lose not only their production, but the skills and knowledge these farmers hold.”

Lesson Number One

Gartner Says CIOs Should Focus on Three Immediate Actions to Prepare for Coronavirus Disruptions

CIOs Must Have Large-Scale Business Plans and Preparations in Place

With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), CIOs should focus on three short-term actions to increase their organizations’ resilience against disruptions and prepare for rebound and growth, according to Gartner, Inc. “With such a dynamic situation like COVID-19, it has the potential to be as disruptive, or more, to an organization’s continuity of operations as a cyber intrusion or natural disaster,” said Sandy Shen , senior research director at Gartner. “When traditional channels and operations are impacted by the outbreak, the value of digital channels, products and operations becomes immediately obvious. This is a wake-up call to organizations that focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.”

Hearing innovation

Unitron To Launch Discover Next, Innovative Hearing Health Platform That Amplifies Emotional Nuances of Conversations

First of its Kind to enhance the listening experience

On Friday March 13, 2020, Unitron, a globally recognized hearing solution provider, will be launching Discover Next, its newest platform that enables superior speech understanding by helping users absorb and understand emotions and subtle nuances in their conversations. According to the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, people only absorb seven per cent of what a person is saying through words alone. The Discover Next platform allows patients suffering from hearing loss to move beyond the words and hear tone, intonation and emotional cues more clearly.

Coronavirus & Travel

UNWTO and WHO Agree to Further Cooperation in COVID-19 Response

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili led a high- delegation to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva to further advance the two agencies’ coordinated response to the worldwide Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the delegation to Geneva and thanked UNWTO for its close collaboration since the very start of the ongoing public health emergency. On the back of the productive meetings, the heads of both United Nations agencies stressed the need to include the following guiding principles: • The importance of international cooperation and responsible leadership at this critical time,
• The solidarity of the tourism sector and of individual tourists, as well as the responsibility both have for helping minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19 • The key role tourism can play in both containing the COVID-19 outbreak and in leading future response efforts


March 13, 2020

UWaterloo’s MathSoc celebrates the number Pi

The University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics will host its annual Pi Day celebrations on Friday, March 13. The festivities organized by Waterloo’s Mathematics Society (MathSoc) are usually held on March 14 to acknowledge the mathematical constant Pi, which is (approximately) 3.14, but the event was moved to allow the entire UWaterloo community to participate. The hosts have ordered 150 pies to serve 1,200 people. The afternoon’s event will include Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics professors and most of the MathSoc executives getting pied, and a new feature to this year’s activities – the Pi meme contest.

March 26, 2020

St. Mary's She Shares

Personal finance expert, Kelly Keehn will share wisdom related to the unique financial journey of women at St. Mary’s She Shares luncheon. By 2024, three generations of women in Canada are destined to control an estimated $3 trillion or 46% of personal wealth, are they ready? On March 26th, better equip yourself with a solid financial foundation, now, and in the future. Join women from across Waterloo Region for a luncheon with speaker Kelley Keehn, Canadian finance educator, award-winning author, and consumer advocate for the financial planning standards council. Learn more and get tickets at

November 5 - 7, 2020

Board Governance Boot Camp

Capacity Canada presents our annual Manulife Board Governance BootCamp November 5, 6 & 7, 2020 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Kitchener. This BootCamp delivers practical governance training to non-profit Boards and equips them with relevant action plans that will deliver a noticeable performance improvement in their boardrooms.

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Copyright, 2020