New Funding to Help U of G Researchers Ward Off Threats to Plant Biodiversity
A new $1-million gift from the Gosling Foundation will enable the University of Guelph to continue conserving valuable and endangered plant species threatened by climate change, disease and loss of biodiversity in Canada and worldwide. The new gift follows previous donations totalling $7 million from the foundation to establish and sustain the Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation (GRIPP). The institute runs the only research-intensive Canadian facility for cryopreservation of endangered plant biodiversity. Cryopreservation allows researchers to store plant tissue at ultra-low temperatures – as low as -196 Celsius – in liquid nitrogen for later thawing and use. “This new funding essentially establishes a permanent basis for our cryo-collection and enables a long-term strategy to make a bank of valuable but endangered Canadian plant species,” said plant agriculture professor Praveen Saxena (photo), director of GRIPP.
Driven by Explore Waterloo Region and the Region’s Sport Hosting Office, this esports project is intended to develop and implement an operational model that will give Waterloo Region the resources and capabilities to support and grow a healthy and sustainable esports community. “Waterloo is already a national leader in the tech sector,” says Allister Scorgie (photo), Director of Sport Hosting with Explore Waterloo Region. “Esports is a new and growing market and a lot of people in the traditional sports sector are unaware of its potential and possibility. This is a chance for Waterloo Region to start building some excitement around esports.” This first phase of the project, of four total phases, will conduct market research and facility evaluations to assess and certify Waterloo Region’s readiness for esports. Based on the findings, the project will identify what activities and events are aligned with the Region’s current and future capacities.
Staying connected while keeping apart was the goal of a new podcast hosted by Bruce Gillespie, an associate professor and coordinator of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Digital Media and Journalism program. On Oct. 7, the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities awarded Gillespie with a Minister’s Award of Excellence for his work keeping Laurier’s Brantford campus connected through a regular podcast, One Market. Gillespie was one of 39 selected out of more than 260 submissions in the areas of digital transformation and community impact. The Minister’s Awards of Excellence highlights the work done by professors and instructors on campus, online and in the community during these extraordinary times.
The City of Waterloo has earned three awards for the 2018 website refresh of Waterloo.ca. The honours came from Hermes Creative Awards and dotCOMM organizations, which recognize outstanding contributions in electronic media and digital communication. “The website is our virtual city hall, and we want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable using it,” said Mayor Dave Jaworsky. “If information and services are easy to find online, then city hall is accessible 24/7, which is especially important in these challenging times. Congratulations to the Corporate Communications team on these awards, and thank you for all your hard work.”
As the number of COVID-19 cases reach new heights, China is jubilant. In the country where the pandemic began less than a year ago, there have been 91,000 cases of COVID-19 recorded, with about 4,800 deaths. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) also tells us that China has conducted more than 160 million tests, the highest number in the world. Life has returned to normal in most provinces in China. People go out, dance and visit public places as if nothing had happened. It’s quite an incredible feat. But 42 other countries, including Canada, have seen more cases than China, which is the most populous country in the world. Considering what’s happening elsewhere, and with its 1.4 billion inhabitants, the data coming out of China is not only beyond comprehension, it’s cruelly misleading for the rest of us. But this campaign has likely nothing to do with the international community. Indeed, China is desperately trying to restore its image with its own population.
The Region of Waterloo is enhancing accessibility to its services by launching virtual interpretation. “Due to COVID-19, many of our services are now offered virtually,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “Enhancing our existing interpretation services will improve accessibility for people with language barriers or hearing disabilities.” Regional staff already offer telephone access to interpreters in more than 240 languages. With virtual interpretation, the Region can offer additional languages, including American Sign Language and British Sign Language.
Enduring love, for two men they lost 25 years apart, has inspired a local family to give back to Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) in a big way. The Malaviya family have made an investment of $500,000 in local healthcare. Satish and Santosh were brothers and beloved husbands and fathers. The elder brother, Satish Kumar Malaviya, passed away 25 years ago due to complications related to diabetes and heart disease. Santosh Kumar Malaviya passed away in July due to complications related to Covid-19. Their lives and their legacy are being honoured at CMH in naming the Malaviya Family Lecture Hall in the hospital’s new wing. The gift will help fund the purchase of new equipment for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). “Our family has lived in this community for 50 years. We consider CMH to be our hospital as we have depended on it for treatment and care throughout our lives. When we lost my uncle this summer, we felt it was the right time to give back and honour two men that mean so much to us,” Sanjay Malaviya, Satish’s son commented.
Researchers have developed a new model to help authorities determine which sector of the population should get COVID-19 vaccination first. If a vaccine becomes available in January 2021 or shortly after, it should be given to people 60 years old and older first, since they have the highest death rate from COVID-19. According to the model, if the vaccine becomes available in the summer of 2021, the priority group changes. The model can be populated with information from any province or country to decide the vaccination strategy that would prevent the most COVID-19 deaths in that population. “When a vaccine becomes available many people will want to be vaccinated at first, and there might be supply issues, so policymakers will have to prioritize which ages should get it first,” Chris Bauch (photo), co-author of the study and a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Applied Mathematics, says. “Under those conditions, the best vaccination strategy for a specific region depends on when the vaccine becomes available, the number of people in a population who have contracted COVID-19 and are now immune, and the social reaction to the virus, such as the wearing of a mask and social distancing.”
As the second wave peak approaches, a new global study suggests hospitals should set up ‘COVID-19 free’ areas for surgical patients – and that doing so could reduce the risk of serious complications and death from lung infections associated with coronavirus. Janet Martin (right), Associate Professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, is part of the CovidSurg Collaborative which includes researchers working together from around the world. The team found patients undergoing cancer surgery had better outcomes when their operation and hospital care took place in in ‘COVID-19 free’ areas. COVID-19 free areas improved the safety of surgery by having a strict policy that patients with COVID-19 are not mixed with those undergoing surgery. The research looked at COVID-19 free areas both in smaller independent hospitals and large hospitals with emergency departments, demonstrating the feasibility of doing so in all settings.
Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much debate about the danger to hospital staff from anaesthetic procedures. Concerns include that placing a tube in the patient's airway (intubation) before surgery or removing it at the end (extubation) may produce a fine mist of small particles (called aerosols) and spread the COVID-19 virus to nearby staff. This risk was judged so high that the procedures are classified 'aerosol generating procedures' (AGPs) for which respirators and high level personal protective equipment (PPE) are worn routinely, and after which surgery stops while the operating room is cleared of aerosols and special cleaning is undertaken. These requirements have dramatically slowed surgery and contributed to enormous waiting lists for surgery in the UK National Health Service (NHS), as well as similar problems in hospitals worldwide. Despite the presumed risk, no direct measurements of aerosols have ever been made during anaesthetic care in a hospital.
You can become more worthy of trust. You can spot and encourage this vital quality in others. You can be an instrumental force in restoring trust in your community and country--making them better for yourself and your fellow citizens, and the world better for all. In today’s landscape of COVID-19 and systemic inequality, trust in one another to build better communities and a better Canada is needed now more than ever. On October 21st, Leadership Waterloo Region (LWR) is relaunching their Visionary Speaker Series and will welcome Right Honourable David Johnston for a fireside chat to discuss his book Trust: 20 Ways to Build a Better Country. Attendees will not only discover how everyone can play a part in building trust in our community, they will also have the opportunity to engage with one another in a “first-time in Canada” experience. ___________________
The Bank of Canada must handle three challenges simultaneously—providing economic stimulus, hitting inflation targets and managing its massively expanded balance sheet—all while dealing with associated credit and political risks, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Canadian Monetary Policy in the Time of COVID-19,” authors Steve Ambler and Jeremy M. Kronick explore the challenges the Bank of Canada faces as it goes beyond conventional monetary policy with large-scale asset purchases, and provide guidance on how to address them. In response to the pandemic, the Bank of Canada dropped the overnight rate, the key monetary policy rate, to 25 basis points, and expanded its balance sheet at an unprecedented pace. “With these interventions come challenges and risks, both in terms of hitting the Bank’s 2 percent inflation target and navigating a balance sheet with assets, namely provincial and private-sector securities, outside its usual holdings of federal government debt,” write the authors.
Nearly 1 in 6 Canadians are living with one of the four major eye diseases and are at serious risk of losing their vision, yet vision loss can be treated or even prevented in 75 per cent of cases. Now, the Conference Board of Canada reveals in a new report that treating vision loss is projected to save $1.6 billion in direct health care costs in 2020, a number that’s expected to reach $4 billion by 2040. The report, which examined the value of ophthalmology from a health outcome, health care efficiency, and societal/economic perspective, shows the large economic impact on health care systems, society and individuals. According to the study, an estimated 263,400 individuals will have improved vision in 2020 through ophthalmic interventions. By treating vision loss, approximately 82,500 negative medical outcomes will be avoided, including injuries or other associated health care needs such as falls, hip fractures, depression, anxiety, admission into long-term care, and use of home care or caregiver services.
No matter how you slice it, Canada’s oil and natural gas sector has been one of the nation’s most significant contributors to jobs, gross domestic product (GDP) and tax revenues over the decades. Even in down years, such as 2016 , the oil and gas extraction sector (including conventional and oil sands, but not pipelines) was twice the size of the automotive sector as a percentage of nominal GDP. It was four times the size of the aerospace industry. In 2016, the oil and gas sector employed over 200,000 Canadians and paid average weekly earnings that were 172 per cent higher than the all-industry average ($2,727 weekly versus $1,001). It employed 28,800 new immigrants to Canada. It paid those of First Nations ancestry better than any other sector: $144,034 was the median income for oil and gas Indigenous workers. That was far higher than in the motor vehicle ($78,019) or aerospace ($64,631) manufacturing sectors.
Morneau Shepell, Canada's largest provider of wellbeing and mental health solutions, has expanded into the rapidly growing telemedicine market to provide the employees of Canadian clients and their families with easier, more convenient access to digital health care services. Telemedicine is viewed as a transformational development in improving access and reducing the costs of health care. To access this market opportunity, the company is launching a unified telemedicine service through its LifeWorks' business to provide Canadians with quick access to medical practitioners such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and other clinical professionals across the wellbeing spectrum. "Telemedicine will shape the future of health care through consumer-grade platforms that unify and simplify the end-to-end patient experience, marrying digital scale with human personalization," said Neil King (photo), president of LifeWorks and executive vice president of Morneau Shepell. "Today millions of employees and their families turn first to Morneau Shepell for support on a wide range of wellbeing issues. We have a unique opportunity to support their needs with a new generation of unified telemedicine solutions. It's a natural fit in our total wellbeing portfolio."
You can become more worthy of trust. You can spot and encourage this vital quality in others. You can be an instrumental force in restoring trust in your community and country--making them better for yourself and your fellow citizens, and the world better for all. In today’s landscape of COVID-19 and systemic inequality, trust in one another to build better communities and a better Canada is needed now more than ever. On October 21st, Leadership Waterloo Region (LWR) is relaunching their Visionary Speaker Series and will welcome Right Honourable David Johnston for a fireside chat to discuss his book Trust: 20 Ways to Build a Better Country. Attendees will not only discover how everyone can play a part in building trust in our community, they will also have the opportunity to engage with one another in a “first-time in Canada” experience.