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$230K go to social purpose organizations in Waterloo Region
The Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) has awarded over $230,000 in funding to ten social purpose organizations, as part of the Government of Canada’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP). Their work is creating meaningful jobs, strengthening the charitable and non-profit sector and addressing social challenges ensuring that we can build back better after COVID-19. These organizations will be better prepared to receive investment, including through the Government of Canada’s Social Finance Fund.
As discussions continue about what the school year will look like in Canada come September, many parents are wondering what physical distancing rules mean to their kids? Do these rules confuse them? Do they do psychological harm in the classroom or at daycare? We asked Professor Heather Henderson, an expert in developmental psychology, to weigh in. What does physical distancing mean to kids? How old do they have be to understand it? By the early preschool years (3 or 4 years), children can understand the need for physical distancing at a very basic level. Parents and teachers can use simple explanations like ‘to make sure germs don’t get passed around.’ By early elementary school (age 5 or 6), children will likely have more questions and we want to be sure we are explaining in a way that doesn’t cause more anxiety than they already have. Children need to know they are safe and adults should do their best to explain that everyone in their family/school are working hard to maintain social distancing so we can keep each other safe.
Canadians seem to want to flee urban centres. The food industry will need to keep a close eye on the trend. The real estate market is overheating in regions outside of major cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. Recent real estate reports suggest sales are up 20 per cent in many rural markets and prices have increased by at least five per cent since the start of the pandemic. Cottage countries are exploding for two main reasons.
Diverse workplaces are of increasing importance to employers. Social reckoning has brought that value even more squarely to the forefront. Cultural competence should be something you not only seek to reflect in an interview, but are constantly developing in your own personal and professional life. We have three guidelines to demonstrate knowledge of diversity and inclusion in an interview:
The Canadian Shield, a Waterloo Region-based Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) manufacturer, is proud to announce that it is expanding its production line to include disposable surgical masks. These masks are in addition to the reusable face shields and cloth masks already being offered by The Canadian Shield. This continued investment in PPE manufacturing will be critical to bolstering Canada’s domestic supply chains while ensuring the protection of Canadians through COVID-19 and any future global health crisis. “We are proud to announce the launch of our Made in Canada surgical mask lines,” said The Canadian Shield Founder and CEO Jeremy Hedges (above). “We’ve acquired the tools and resources to ensure our nation is able to meet its present and future PPE requirements. Our company will not only protect Canada, but grow to be a world leader in medical equipment design and manufacturing.”
The ongoing pandemic has hit the tourism sector hard, putting more than 100 million jobs at risk. Now, as countries begin to recover and tourism restarts in a growing number of destinations, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has provided a plan of action for both public and private sector stakeholders to address the root causes of plastic pollution in these challenging times.
The overwhelming majority (84%) of Canadian business leaders say that the need to review their operations due to COVID-19 will enable them to rebuild their business on firmer environmental foundations, according to an HSBC survey conducted at the height of the crisis. Navigator Resilience: Building Back Better, a survey of over 2,600 companies in 14 countries and territories, including 200 in Canada, showed that sustainability is more important than ever for more than two out of five (41%) Canadian businesses. Businesses with international operations (44%) were slightly more likely than those operating domestically (37%) to see the importance of increasing sustainability, likely driven by familiarity with global regulations and business preferences.
What woman hasn’t suppressed her true feelings to avoid conflict at work? We’ve all headed off disagreements by bending our standards or biting our tongues once in a while (or maybe more often than we would care to admit). After all, we don’t want to be labeled the “A” word, aggressive. But Jackie Gaines says you can make yourself heard and influence your organization without being loud, rude, arrogant, or disrespectful. Many women truly believe they have a smaller range of acceptable behaviors than men. If they are too nice, they will be seen as weak or manipulative. If they are too aggressive, they will be judged as acting like men. The solution is to work on the skill of being assertive. Assertiveness enables us to think for ourselves, ask for what we need, and speak up.
As advertisers worldwide participate in one of the largest boycotts in Facebook’s history, new data from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) suggests that Canadians are concerned about harassment and toxicity on social media platforms. Three in ten Canadians say they have been reluctant to use social media or participate in an online discussion because they are concerned about harassment. Facebook, in particular, is named by 41 per cent of Canadians as the most toxic social media site they use. The findings are part of Canada's Internet Factbook, a comprehensive look at Canadians' internet usage and habits during the era of COVID-19.
Reducing inequality and improving social mobility, identifying new forms of growth, and focusing on new measures of economic performance are among the biggest challenges facing the global economy as countries emerge from lockdown. Current unemployment figures are likely a better barometer of economic health than financial market valuations, and the deglobalization of supply chains may force emerging markets to reconsider growth models. These are some of the findings of the World Economic Forum’s Chief Economists Outlook.
J.K. Rowling – the British author who created the stunningly successful Harry Potter series – is a political liberal. In 2008, she donated £1 million to the U.K. Labour Party. In 2016, she campaigned for Remain in the Brexit referendum. She’s a professed admirer of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And so on. Despite these impeccable credentials, Rowling is one of cancel culture’s prime targets. Her sin is that she believes there are some differences between biological women and transgendered women. These differences are especially relevant when the latter’s transition hasn’t been accompanied by hormone treatment or surgery but is simply a matter of expressed identity.
Top Canadian grocers testified before a parliamentary standing committee last week to explain why all COVID-19 incentive programs in their operations were cancelled within hours. Most grocery store and distribution centre employees were paid extra at the beginning of the pandemic, only to see wages go back to pre-COVID levels now. CEOs who testified were Loblaws Companies Ltd.’s Sarah Davis, Empire Company’s (Sobeys) Michael Medline, and Metro’s Eric La Flèche. Witnesses testifying before parliamentary committees are often used as political puppets to support underlying agendas. This session was no different. Questions were all over the place. CEOs were questioned about farmers, wines, beer sales and everything in between. Discussions on the safety protocols put in place in the stores were confusing at best. MPs posed questions that were likely inspired by lobby groups who had got to them, wanting to make a point. Grocers are an easy target and are disliked by many, starting with farmers. But to be fair, most farmers have no idea of how complicated food distribution can be. Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro employ more than 500,000 Canadians. Such a workforce requires strategic co-ordination.
The Accelerator Centre (AC) announced its newest graduate of The Accelerator Program, Brisk Synergies, an urban mobility company that is leading the way in automated traffic conflict analysis. Founded in 2013, Brisk Synergies is the developer of unique software that utilizes AI and machine learning to understand the behaviour of road users. The technology can detect near-misses to help transportation authorities predict, diagnose and address road safety challenges before the next collision happens. The software platforms are used in cities around the world including Atlanta, Bogota, Denver, Montreal, Mumbai, Nantes, The Hague, Toronto, and Zurich.
The Ontario government is investing almost $340,000 for a new Conestoga program that will help 30 unemployed workers in Kitchener-Waterloo transition to essential roles in health and long-term care (LTC) environments. The 5-week Resident Home Assistant program will provide targeted training in infection prevention and control, sanitation and housekeeping, laundry, food safety and service as well as COVID procedures related to LTC homes. All content will be available for remote and online delivery. Graduates will be prepared for entry-level positions supporting operations in long-term care facilities, ready to join a professional field that is expected to offer many career opportunities now and in the future.
Astrophysicists have filled in 11 billion years in our picture of the universe with the release of a comprehensive analysis of the largest three-dimensional cosmic map ever created. “This is one of the most substantial advances in cosmology in the last decade,” said University of Waterloo professor Will Percival (right), a lead researcher on the work. “Over the last 20 years, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has created a series of surveys that now span a period of 11 billion years of cosmic history,” said Percival, who holds a joint position between the University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute and is the Survey Scientist for the latest SDSS survey. “We have worked to fill in that gap, and we are now using that information to gain a better understanding of this period in our universe.” The new results come from the extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS), an international collaboration of more than 100 astrophysicists that is one of the SDSS’s component surveys. At the heart of the new results are detailed measurements of more than two million galaxies and quasars covering 11 billion years of cosmic time.
Researchers from the Geriatric Health Systems Research Group at the University of Waterloo interviewed 59 persons with dementia, their caregivers, health-care administrators and policy-makers to find out what respondents perceived as system strengths and weaknesses in the southwest region.
A recent story in The Monitor – a magazine published by the left-wing, union-friendly think-tank Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – provides an important lesson in basic economics. The headline triumphantly proclaims: “Gig workers win the right to unionize.” The end result was unfortunate for the workers, however. An editor’s note at the top of the story noted that just a couple months after winning the right to unionize, the workers lost their jobs. Their employer, Foodora, shut down its Canadian operations because it concluded that it couldn’t compete in the Canadian market. The company denied that the push to unionize was behind its decision to exit the Canadian market. It cited competitive pressures as the reason.
Staff describe it as “heartbreaking”, “wrong” and “a far cry from what they deserve”. The Ontario Health Coalition released the results of a survey today of more than 150 long-term care staff about staffing and care levels in Ontario’s long-term care homes. The survey asked whether staffing is worse, better or the same since prior to COVID-19. The Coalition held roundtables and released a report last December in partnership with Unifor on the PSW staffing crisis in long-term care. Today’s survey covers all staff and looks at what has happened since. Conducted over the week from July 10 to July 17 in every region of Ontario, the survey found that 95 percent of the staff report that their long-term care homes are short staffed and 53% of those report that they are short shortages every day. Sixty-three percent of the staff report that staffing levels are worse than before COVID-19 hit and 28 percent said that staffing levels are the same. It is undisputed that there was a critical shortage already, prior to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic provides another painful example of the healthcare disparities experienced among ethnic populations. These disparities are not unique to COVID-19, but are the latest consequence of longstanding gaps in population understanding, inclusion in research and access to targeted care. As the industry moves towards more precise disease screenings, diagnostics and treatments thanks to genomic research, these disparities will grow. Analysis found 78% of people in genome-wide association studies are of European descent. Additionally, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital found data from the UK Biobank had a 4.5 times higher prediction accuracy for people of European ancestry than those of African ancestry, and two times higher accuracy than those of East Asian ancestry. “The lack of diversity in research studies is leading to blind spots,” said Elissa Prichep, Project Lead, World Economic Forum. “Translated to the clinic, this means non-white minority populations may receive less accurate preventative screenings, less reliable diagnostics, less targeted treatments.”
Employee research from e-days has revealed that one third of employees are ‘reluctant to return’ to offices as lockdown eases in the UK. A survey of UK workers showed that 60% were reluctant or unsure about returning to the office on grounds of safety. Just over a third felt they were ready to go back to their offices. UK Government advice to employers will change as of August 1st, 2020. Business leaders will be able to make decisions based on their workforce and whether they wish them to return to the office or not. This will add to what already promises to be a tricky, phased return to office spaces, as teams across the country are also facing another reason for depleted teams, with three in five employees planning to book holiday now the lockdown has eased, creating a huge resource strain on business in the second half of this year.
Dialectic, an e-learning design company based in Guelph, Ontario, has received $115,000 in funding from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to create the next iteration of its mobile-first microlearning platform, Learning Snippets. The funding comes after Dialectic’s success in a diversity and inclusion (D&I) pilot project with the law firms Gowling WLG and BLG. Jayme Gianola (right), a business intelligence specialist at Gowling WLG and member of the LGBTQ+ community, was empowered by the pilot project, ”I have been advocating for myself more than ever before. If I was in an organization where I and everyone around me was doing snippets, I would be more inclined to advocate for myself.”
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) announced it has partnered with RBC on Canada United, a national movement to support local businesses in communities across the country. As part of the movement, RBC has brought together more than 50 of Canada’s leading brands, Business Associations and the national Chamber network to rally Canadians to “show local some love” by buying, dining and shopping local. “If there has been one silver lining in all the tragedy and sacrifices of the current crisis, it has been the spirit of collaboration and unity of purpose that has been evident between levels of government, across provinces and across sectors,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are calling on that same unity of purpose with Canada United. Small, local businesses are the heart of our communities, our Main Streets and our economy. Together, it is time to show local some love.”