Tuesday March 17, 2020


State of Emergency

Ontario Declares "State of Emergency"
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has declared a state of emergency in the province as it looks to combat the spread of COVID-19.

"We're facing an unprecedented time in our history. This is a decision that was not made lightly," Ford said at a Tuesday morning news conference at Queen's Park. He was joined by Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Finance Minister Rod Phillips."COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions," he continued. "We must act decisively, we must not delay." As part of the declaration, the province will mandate the closure of restaurants and bars and prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people, including at indoor recreation centres, theatres and concert venues, until March 31. Ford stressed that the state of emergency does not constitute a "provincial shutdown."

On the Ready

United Way Waterloo Region announces COVID-19 Response Fund

Early this morning and in response to the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the United Way Waterloo Region Communities have created a COVID-19 Community Response Fund. This fund will support the work of our frontline organizations who are at the forefront of this issue and collectively striving to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are safe and healthy. “This is a difficult time for everyone and we know those who are already marginalized in our community will be disproportionately impacted. We want every citizen in Waterloo Region and the organizations doing crucial work on the ground to know that we’re here to support them,” said Joan Fisk, CEO of United Way Waterloo Region Communities.


Public Health enhances measures to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region

In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and in line with updated recommendations from the Government of Canada and the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario, Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang is recommending further measures to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region. For recommendations click on headline.


Region provides more detail on service changes and facility closures

Based on updated provincial directions around COVID-19, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang (right), Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, has recommended an increased emphasis on social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus within the community. In response, the Region is making significant changes to services and programming, effective immediately. These changes will remain in effect until April 5, and will be evaluated for potential extension beyond that date.

COVID-19 Employees

Premier Ford Announces Job Protection for Workers during the COVID-19 Situation

Ontario is acting immediately to protect workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Yesterday morning, Premier Doug Ford and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced that the government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures. "While everyone's concerns about their health and safety is top of mind, the last thing we need is anyone worrying about job security as the COVID-19 situation evolves," said Premier Ford. "That's why I directed the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development to draft legislation that will protect workers and their families during this difficult period."


Researchers can now investigate the deep ocean without damaging fragile ecosystems

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found an environmentally friendly way to explore life in the depths of the ocean.

Using a new application of a sampling technique called solid phase microextraction (SPME), researchers collected samples from deep-sea vent ecosystems to study the biological and ecological processes that occur there, without damaging the surrounding organisms. “The deep-sea vents that we are studying are the type of environment that existed at the beginning of earth’s creation,” said Janusz Pawliszyn, a chemistry professor at Waterloo and an author of this study. “Understanding the ecology and chemistry around these vents could eventually give us information on how life originated.”


University of Waterloo appoints new Dean of Engineering

The University of Waterloo has named a respected university administrator and academic as its next Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

Mary Wells, an accomplished materials engineer, is known for her strategic leadership in building collaborative and strong relationships within a university setting and for her work in attracting, engaging and retaining women in the engineering industry. Wells currently serves as the University of Guelph's Dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, a position she has held since 2017.

Open Source

Personality plays key role in whether developers can contribute to open source projects

Your personality could significantly impact your ability to contribute to open source projects, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo.

Open source projects are online spaces where software developers work together to improve computer code that is made available to anyone. Each project is managed by a person whose job it is to accept or reject the offer of help from a software developer. In a recent study, the Waterloo researchers found that social factors, such as past experience, remain the most influential element in the acceptance or rejection of online contributors’ work. But they also found that personality traits are an essential part of the decision. “Often in completing open source work, people think that only their ability to do the task matters,” said Meiyappan Nagappan (phoyo), a professor in Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science and co-author of the study. “But personality factors are also important because that’s how your behaviour comes out when you interact with other people.

Remote Working Set-Up

Make Working from Home a “Win-Win” Proposition For You & Your Employer

There are changes happening in the current employment landscape, and you may be asked to work from home in the near future. Are you prepared? Once the transition has been made, and your company realizes business can continue without the physical presence of all employees, it might be a very good idea to ensure you exceed your employer’s expectations. While the benefits of working from home are numerous for employees, Workplace Fairness says it is important to follow guidelines that guarantee the experience will be a “win” for the employer, as well.

Customer Service

How COVID-19 is defining customer service

by Marc Gordon

While one fitness club provides a free two month hold on memberships while they close, another stays open and charges its members 10 dollars a month to freeze their membership. Some grocery stores limit purchases. Others turn a blind eye, essentially welcoming hoarders to clean out inventory. Amazon and eBay are banning the sale of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But only after 4 weeks and public outcry over inflated prices. For most companies, this is unchartered territory. While some can’t service customers fast enough, others are facing closures. “Any business that chooses to be reactive rather than proactive will be at least one step behind,” says Marc Gordon, customer service expert. “Companies from every industry must understand the expectations of their customers and make decisions that work for everyone. Being motivated by numbers will prove to be financially short sighted. Whereas decisions based on social responsibility will prove to be more profitable in both the short and long term.”


Canada Ratifies CUSMA Trade Deal with U.S. and Mexico

"Canadian importers and exporters should consider how they are affected by the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), now that it has been ratified", said the KPMG News Flash released last Friday. "Canada completed the legislative procedures for ratification of the agreement on March 13, 2020, following similar procedures by the United States and Mexico. As a result, it is anticipated that the CUSMA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on June 1, 2020

Kids at Home

Nutrition for Learning - Mobile POP UP Snacks for Students

Nutrition for Learning will have volunteers walking with coolers beside our van down the streets posted on our website to meet kids at the end of their driveway or walkway

Nutrition for Learning will be ready to provide mobile POP UP NUTRITION BREAKS offering free healthy Snacks for school children staring Monday March 16th in Cambridge. Each morning starting at time and location to be posted on the Nutrition for Learning website and social media channels our Nutrition for Learning van will be offering free snacks, yogurt, granola bars and cheese strings for school kids. Tomorrow we will be in Cambridge and the route will be posted on the Nutrition for Learning website at 8 am. www.nutritionforlearning.ca

Continued Business

EDC ready to help Canadian businesses during Coronavirus pandemic

Crown Corporation has flexibility and capacity to support exporters throughout uncertain times

The Government of Canada today announced its Business Credit Availability Program to provide additional liquidity to Canadian business in the face of challenges brought on by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Under this program, Export Development Canada (EDC) will play an important role in helping address ongoing and developing economic challenges stemming from the public health crisis. “I understand that this is a challenging time. The global economy is facing significant shocks. Trade flows and supply chains are being disrupted. Companies are being forced to make very difficult choices,” said Mairead Lavery, President and CEO of Export Development Canada.


How can we control the coronavirus pandemic?

As the threat of COVID-19 continues, infectious disease expert Adam Kucharski answers five key questions about the novel coronavirus, providing necessary perspective on its transmission, how governments have responded and what might need to change about our social behavior to end the pandemic. (This video is excerpted from a 70-minute interview between Kucharski and head of TED Chris Anderson.

Online Congress

Major global infectious diseases conference to be held completely online

After very careful deliberation and consideration, it has been decided that one of the world's most important infectious disease conferences - the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), scheduled for April 18-21 in Paris - will now be a completely online congress. The leadership of the society behind the congress, the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) has decided the COVID-19 outbreak presents too great a risk to delegates and staff who would be present onsite at the congress, as well as posing an additional risk to the local population in Paris.

Health Care

The following is a joint statement from Ron Gagnon, President and CEO of Grand River Hospital and Lee Fairclough, President of St. Mary’s General Hospital

We want to express our appreciation for the community’s support of our hospitals as we work hard to protect staff, physicians and care providers, volunteers, patients and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re asking for your continued support and patience as we take further measures.


Most group events are been delayed or cancelled. Before attending event check with event organizers with respect to updated information for listed events.

COVID-19 Daily Updates

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health to Hold Daily Briefings - Livestream

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, will hold daily media briefings to provide updates on the province's ongoing response to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Regularly scheduled media briefings will now be held daily (excluding weekends), beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 3 pm.

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

May 9, 2020

Youth Organization Helps Make a Difference Overseas

Girls For Change (GFC) Canada is a local Waterloo/Kitchener youth organization. It was formed in 2019 by Hana Rauf who is in grade 10. GFC Canada passion has been around helping young girls make a difference, locally and overseas in developing countries. Encouraging young girls to thrive in education and becoming the leaders of tomorrow. GFC Canada believes in empowering young girls to pursue careers in STEM field, trades, entrepreneurship and much more.

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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ISSN 0824-45
Copyright, 2020