Kitchener Council approves bold, ambitious Make It Kitchener 2.0 with a focus on immediate economic recovery
Yesterday, Kitchener Council approved Make It Kitchener 2.0, the City’s new economic development strategy that builds on the award-winning Make It Kitchener strategy. Make It Kitchener 2.0 will continue with the successes of the previous strategy while also addressing new issues and economic recovery pressures due to COVID-19. Five years ago, Kitchener City Council approved a dynamic new economic development strategy that would go on to win national awards. Make It Kitchener was launched featuring six pillars that focused on how to build a dynamic economy as well as how to build a great city to live, work, and play in.
The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) has partnered with Japanese accelerator Landing Pad Tokyo (LPT) to bring University of Waterloo developed technologies to the Japanese market. “The goal of this partnership is to help Waterloo companies enter the Asian market, and to accelerate the research and development of new technologies through partnerships with Japanese businesses,” said Sushanta Mitra (right), Executive Director of WIN. “It is not easy for Canadian startups to have direct access to large Japanese corporations. LPT’s members are well-positioned to work with Canadian startups to further develop their technology and market it to their large customers,” said Dr. Kiyotaka Kato, Executive Director at LPT. “In addition, LPT’s services are not limited to the Tokyo area. We have been expanding our membership to other parts of Japan and are developing cooperative relationships with local hubs nation-wide, presenting an even more exciting opportunity for Waterloo companies.” A great example of how this relationship is working to help nanotech companies in Canada is ICSPI, a University of Waterloo spin-out company that manufactures miniature microscopes on a chip. Through the WIN/LPT partnership, ICSPI is working with Nissin Inc., an electronics equipment manufacturer based in Hyogo, Japan, to develop a new product for industrial measurement applications. ___________________
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting supply chains and impacting purchasing habits, our relationship with food was different. The pandemic has pushed governments to consider food autonomy as a priority and to look more at local supply chains. Discussions are about producing food in Canada, year-round, while offering products to consumers at reasonable prices, especially produce. A recent study conducted by Dalhousie University was designed to gauge consumer willingness to pay for locally-grown food, as well as the perceptions of greenhouse-grown crops, what factors people consider when purchasing produce, where people purchase their produce, and how important fruits and vegetables are to their diets.
Tim Hortons restaurant owners and millions of generous Canadians across the country together broke a new Smile Cookie record by raising $10.56 million for local charities across the country. This year in Kitchener, Waterloo, Elmira and St. Jacobs Tim Hortons restaurant owner(s) and guests helped raise $77,567.72 to support Nutrition for Learning. Local Tim Hortons owners and guests have been supporting Nutrition for Learning for over 20 years. These funds will be used to purchase and the delivery of the much-needed food for Student Nutrition programs in schools across Waterloo Region.
Two successful and long-standing foundations, supporting both Catholic education and the community- at-large, have strategically merged, under the name “The Catholic Community Foundation of Waterloo Region Inc.”, to establish a new organization to better serve the community. For over 25 years, these foundations have granted millions of dollars to various worthy community causes and organized numerous community events , with an emphasis on Catholic schools and the Catholic community across the Region of Waterloo. These foundations have also collaborated with other partners , including the Lyle S. Hall man Foundation, the Kitchener -Waterloo Community Foundation and the Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation, to fund significant community projects.
United Way Waterloo Region Communities (UWWRC) is pleased to announce the distribution of $646,000 through two local funds. The COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created in March 2020 to respond to immediate community needs in response to the pandemic. UWWRC’s General Community Fund has recently been modernized to be more responsive to community needs and local solutions. There is an open call for applications every three months to fund the most relevant programs and organizations, with a more agile and focused application process, including a stronger emphasis on equity and inclusion. Going forward, UWWRC will be granting all monies available on a quarterly basis. All funds are raised locally and are distributed to local organizations.
Most of us have some personal experience with negotiations buying a house, a vehicle or haggling over price at an antique market. The stakes are much bigger with the sale of a business - millions are on the line. Most owners have never been through the divestiture process before and, in many cases, the buyer has purchased multiple businesses. As a result, many privately held businesses are sold well below fair enterprise value. Business owners can still level the playing field by taking the following steps:
The technique, called “less-than-one-shot learning,” can train an AI model to accurately identify more objects than the number it was trained on – a huge shift from the expensive, time-consuming process that currently requires thousands of examples of one object for an accurate identification. “More efficient machine learning and deep learning models mean that AI can learn faster, are potentially smaller, and are lighter and easier to deploy,” said Ilia Sucholutsky (photo), a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science and lead author on the study introducing the method. “These improvements will unlock the ability to use deep learning in settings where we previously couldn’t because it was just too expensive or impossible to collect more data. “As machine-learning models start to appear on Internet-of-Things devices and phones, we need to be able to train them more efficiently, and ‘less-than-one-shot learning’ could make this possible,” Sucholutsky said.
The report is a response to the Government of Ontario’s public consultation to improve the province’s privacy protection laws governing how organizations can collect, use, and disclose personal information. "There has never been a more pressing time to prioritize improving privacy laws, as COVID-19 has pushed entire communities online. Telehealth, teleworking, virtual learning, and recent trends in artificial intelligence and the adoption of new digital tools all raise significant privacy implications" said the release announcing the report. This report is ICTC’s considered response to the Ontario government’s eight proposals:
Over 2,100 students, staff, and faculty at the University of Waterloo are returning to the Board of Governors on Tuesday, October 27th, to ask University leadership to hasten divestment from fossil fuels given the intensifying climate crisis, the growing economic losses and financial risk of fossil fuel investments, and demonstrations of climate leadership by other institutions. As of today, 431 faculty and staff members from right across the University have signed a strongly worded letter calling for divestment. Meanwhile, over 1,700 students have signed a similar petition. These 2,100+ members of the UWaterloo community are calling on Board of Governors representatives to immediately begin a process for: 1) divesting the University’s endowment and pension plans completely from fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal), and associated infrastructure; and 2) transitioning toward a carbon neutral portfolio.
The Ontario government’s Long-Term Care Commission’s interim recommendations support the need for immediate action on improving care levels by increasing the supply of PSWs and an appropriate staff mix including nurses to meet the complex care needs of residents. They also validate the Coalition’s long-standing call for a minimum average care standard of 4-hours, access to full-time work, and immediate implementation of these measures. In addition, they reinforce the calls for family and caregiver access to residents. These are important, said the Ontario Health Coalition in reaction to the release of the recommendations from Friday.
“There has been a lot of talk during the last few years, but very, very limited action” on education, reskilling and upskilling efforts, said Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, Adecco Group, Switzerland, in a session on Transforming Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit today. “Efforts must include a range of stakeholders “because reskilling, upskilling and training are not [just] an individual question or a business questions or a governmental question.” The Palestinian National Authority has launched a novel effort aimed at “the rehabilitation of university graduates” through entrepreneurship, said Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. Many graduates end up unemployed because their degrees did not provide them with marketable skills. “We are teaching them to become computer coders, and we have introduced other vocational training courses,” he said. “Students must stop relying on a job with the private sector or a job with the government. I want them to be self-employed.”
Christopher Gosselin, recently retired Manager of Environmental Planning for the Region of Waterloo and current raresites Land Securement Team member, has been awarded the 2020 Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) Vision Award. Chris Gosselin (foreground) has long been a champion of the land trust approach to conservation and since the early 1990s advocated that the Region of Waterloo could benefit from a multi-property land trust to serve its residents. In 2014, Chris played a key role in the formation of an ad hoc committee to explore organizational models and governance options, ultimately resulting in the rare Charitable Research Reserve’s raresites land securement team to secure conservation land in Waterloo Region, an effort that has since expanded into Wellington County. ___________________
As we enter the final quarter of this year, many Canadians are likely more than ready to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020, the year of the pandemic. But what if, in some ways at least, 2021 could actually be even more difficult? Consider this: Besides killing nearly 10,000 Canadians and more than one million people worldwide, COVID-19 has wreaked a huge economic wound on Canadians, their businesses, and their families. The pandemic has left many in serious distress. The federal government, like many around the world, responded immediately with emergency financial assistance and loan programs, whose acronyms became quickly familiar to those in need: CERB (Canada Emergency Relief Benefit), CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), and CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account), to name just a few. A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) now projects a budget deficit of nearly $329 billion, 15 per cent of gross domestic product. (This doesn’t include proposals announced in the recent throne speech.) It also takes for granted that the virus and public health measures will remain fixtures on the horizon for the next 12 to 18 months. The PBO calculation, however, assumes that the emergency spending measures will end when this fiscal year ends.
Federal spending on benefits for eligible families with children through the Canada Child Benefit increased by 68.5 per cent from fiscal year 2014/15 to 2019/20—financed entirely by borrowing, finds a new essay released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank. “Today, parents receive cash transfers from Ottawa that the next generation, namely their own children, will pay for in the future,” said Jason Clemens (right), executive vice-president of the Fraser Institute and co-author of Financing the Canada Child Benefit, part two of an essay series on the Canada Child Benefit. In 2014/15, the federal government (under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives) increased the coverage and benefits for two programs providing support to families with children. After winning election in 2015, the Trudeau government eliminated the existing programs and created the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which dramatically increased the spending on the program.
The Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) announced it will provide $240,000 to local organizations working to support women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals working towards a future grounded in equity, inclusion and justice. The Fund is part of a partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, funded through the Government of Canada. KWCF is one of twenty community foundations across Canada that are taking part. “A lack of representation in political and decision-making positions, increasing wage gaps and economic inequalities, alarming rates of gender-based violence, are a few of the issues that highlight we have work to do to advance gender equality in Waterloo Region and across Canada,” says Elizabeth Heald, President & CEO (photo) of Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation. “To ensure a just recovery and a more inclusive future, it is more pressing than ever to invest in women, girls, Two-Spirit people and gender-diverse people. We’re pleased to be taking part in this funding initiative, while also looking at systems-level change through our investment and institutional policies. We know the journey will be a long one, but we’re committed to it.”
Therapy Dogs are of different breads and size and only a few are featured in a 2021 fundraising calendar, which is to help raise funds to support the program they belong to. Therapy Dogs are trained to provide support to individuals in a wide range of community settings such as local Seniors Residences, Care Facilities, Schools and Universities. The KW Branch of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program is also Partnering with Waterloo Region Police Service to provide support for Victims of Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking. The Leejay Levene Family Memorial Fundraiser Calendars partner with a different charity to support each year, and are presently on sale to support the KW Branch of St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. The program offers many benefits, including improving quality of life. Some of the reported benefits include: