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____ Thursday December 17, 2015 ____

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Sustainable City

Alison Killing: What happens when a city runs out of room for its dead

"If you want to go out and start your own cemetery" in the UK, says Alison Killing, "you kind of can." She thinks a lot about where we die and are buried — and in this talk, the architect and TED Fellow offers an eye-opening economic and social perspective on an overlooked feature of our towns and cities: the cemetery. Speaking specifically to UK laws, she unpacks the fascinating, sometimes funny, often contradictory laws about where you can be buried. An architect and urban designer, Alison Killing uses journalism, filmmaking and exhibitions to help people better understand the built environment.

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New Commissioner

City of Waterloo hires new commissioner of community services

Waterloo - The City of Waterloo announce Mark Dykstra as the new commissioner of community services starting January 18, 2016. A seasoned corporate professional with more than 20 years of private sector and municipal/provincial government experience, Dykstra will join the city’s corporate management team from the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), where he holds the position of senior director of parks, planning and properties.

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Appointment & Board

Institute of Communication Agencies announces 2016 Board of Directors and Board of Governors

Newly appointed Boards to provide inspired & thoughtful leadership for Canadian communication agencies

(from left to right) Andy Krupski, Jennifer Steinmann, Rob Woyzbun, Paul Reilly, Melanie Johnston, Greg Power, Penny Stevens, David Leonard, Jim Kabrajee, Jani Yates, Gillian Graham, Tim Bowen. Absent: Arthur Fleischmann, Jill King, Stephanie Nerlich, Duncan Bruce.

Toronto - The Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA), the professional business association representing Canada’s communication and advertising agencies, announced the appointment of Penny Stevens, president of Media Experts, as Chair of the newly appointed 2016 Board of Directors effective immediately.

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Problem with Canada - Quota's

Restaurant owners frustrated as Canadian dairy prices reach new heights

Ottawa - Cheese lovers, chefs and restaurateurs will be disappointed to learn that the price of Canadian cheese – along with butter, yogurt and ice cream – is going up again. In a decision announced yesterday, the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) is increasing the price of industrial milk, used to make products such as cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream, by 2.2% effective Feb. 1, 2016. "Canada's antiquated supply management system has created a huge disparity between Canada and the rest of the world when it comes to the price of basic dairy products like cheese and butter," says Donna Dooher, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. "Our industry wants to grow the market for Canadian dairy products, but relentless price increases are having the opposite effect."

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Safety Study Ranking

Patient safety a key priority as Grand River Hospital ranks fourth nationally in hospital safety study

Kitchener - Grand River Hospital has placed fourth in a comparison of patient survival rates in Canadian hospitals, ranking GRH among the safest hospitals nationally. The results are in the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s latest report on the hospital standardized mortality ratio (HSMR) which measures actual deaths to predicted deaths in hospitals across the country.

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Pensions

Pension Satellite Account for 2014

Ottawa - Growth in pension wealth driven by strong performance in international equity markets
Pension wealth rose 9.3% (or $280 billion) to $3.3 trillion at the end of 2014, following a 9.7% increase (or $264 billion) in 2013. The increase in pension wealth for 2014 was broad-based, with social security, employer-based pension plans and individual registered savings plans posting gains.

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Health Care - Can't Buy a Fix

“From A Mandate For Change To A Plan To Govern” shows how the federal can carve out a place in health care reform - Latest entry

Canada is an expensive underperformer

Ottawa – The cure for Canada’s ailing health-care system is not hiding at the bottom of a pile of cash. Only by encouraging reform will Canada jump from its position as a health-care laggard to a model for the world. “Money is not the issue. If spending were the key determinant, Canada would be a world leader”, write Brian Lee Crowley and Sean Speer. “Instead, Canada is an expensive underperformer”.

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Population

Canada's population estimates, third quarter 2015

Ottawa - Canada's population stays below the 36-million mark: According to preliminary estimates, Canada's population was estimated at 35,985,800 on October 1, 2015, up 134,000 from July 1, 2015. Canada's population growth rate was 0.4% in the third quarter, similar to the rate observed for this quarter in 2014.

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Study

Why people with autism sometimes fail to see 'the big picture'

London - New findings by Melvyn Goodale from Western University's Brain and Mind Institute, in collaboration with Australian researchers at Swinburne University of Technology and La Trobe University, show that people with high autistic tendencies see the world very differently from those with low autistic tendencies.

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Future Opportunities

Interest rates and oil prices hurt local growth, yet Canadian companies see opportunity as U.S. economy shines

Low dollar to boost Canadian manufacturing competitiveness over medium-term; Trade volumes projected to quadruple by 2050

Vancouver - After a sharp slowdown this year as emerging market demand stalled, businesses globally expect to see the United States and Europe lead a tentative recovery in global trade that should broaden and accelerate over the medium term, according to the latest edition of HSBC's semi-annual Global Trade Forecast.

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Distracted Driving

New report will lead to creation of national plan to combat distracted driving

Guelph - Yesterday, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and The Co-operators released Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action, a report that provides a snapshot of activities underway in Canada to reduce distracted driving. Based on an environmental scan TIRF completed in partnership with Drop It and Drive (D.I.A.D.) earlier this year, it identifies the need for a national action plan to combat the problem and recommends the creation of a National Working Group on Distracted Driving that can work with a diverse set of stakeholders to develop such a strategy.

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Giving

Study: Charitable giving in Canada, 2013

Ottawa - In 2013, the total amount of donations that Canadians made to charitable and non-profit organizations was $12.8 billion, an increase of 23% over 2004.

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Council Info

Waterloo Region Council Info from December 16, 2015

Waterloo Region - Council Info is a summary of discussion and the major items presented at Council meetings. It is circulated immediately following each meeting.

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Pensions

Ontario and Québec announce changes in pension legislation

These and other subjects are included in the current issue of the Morneau Shepell monthly publication, News & Views

Toronto - In the December 2015 issue of its monthly newsletter, News & Views, Morneau Shepell provides a detailed look at the evolving pension landscape in Ontario and Quebec. The newsletter also highlights a new book by Frederick Vettese that challenges traditional rules for retirement planning.

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Exporters Optimistic

Exporters see higher international sales despite concerns about global economic conditions

Ottawa - Canadian exporters remain optimistic they will be able to increase their export sales over the next six months, even though more than a quarter of them believe that world economic conditions will worsen during the same period, according to the latest Trade Confidence Index (TCI) from Export Development Canada (EDC).

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Life Balance

Majority of professionals striking work-life balance

Survey Finds Balance Generally Good From Staff-Level to C-Level

Toronto - When it comes to work-life balance, new research suggests the scales are tipping in employees' favour. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 65 per cent of workers characterized their work-life balance as good or very good. Nearly two in five respondents (36 per cent) reported they have greater balance than three years ago.

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Climate Change Opinion

Are environmentalists fighting climate change or capitalism?

The goal of environmental activists is to dismantle capitalism and replace it with a green version of Marxism - By Robert Roach

CALGARY, Alta. - With the latest UN conference on climate change behind us, it is worth remembering that there are two broad approaches to addressing environmental challenges.

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Homelessness

Ontario Investing in 1,000 Supportive Housing Units

Expanding Mental Health Services Across the Province

Queens Park - Ontario is investing $16.2 million in 1,000 supporting housing units across the province, including $4 million for 248 supportive housing units in 2016-17.

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Global Changes

Catastrophic medieval earthquakes in the Nepal

Potsdam, Germany - Pokhara, the second largest town of Nepal, has been built on massive debris deposits, which are associated with strong medieval earthquakes. Three medieval earthquakes, in 1100, 1255 and 1344, with magnitudes of around Mw 8 triggered large-scale collapses, mass wasting and initiated the redistribution of material by catastrophic debris flows on the mountain range. An international team of scientists led by the University of Potsdam has discovered that these flows of gravel, rocks and sand have poured over a distance of more than 60 kilometers from the high mountain peaks of the Annapurna massif downstream.


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