Thursday May 28, 2020

Thank you to the heros of this pandemic! nurses, doctors, mental health providers, police and fire, all the first responders, and the secondary responders, our important health care volunteers, our educators and thier supporters - you are awesome and we are grateful!


Global Winner

D2L Wins Two CODiE Awards for 2020

Second Year in a Row That Brightspace has Been Chosen by CODiE

Global learning technology leader D2L announced that Brightspace has once again been named a CODiE award winner by the Software and Information Industry Association, based in Washington, D.C. “We are delighted with this news and to receive recognition from peers in the software industry is truly high praise.” said John Baker, President and CEO of D2L. “This back to back win is especially gratifying because it reflects our ongoing commitment to all the stakeholders we work so hard to serve – learners, teachers and staff – and helping them build experiences that they love. Plus, it is a reminder that innovation, like education, never stops. There’s always more to do and ways to improve. On behalf of everyone at D2L, thanks to SIIA for organising the awards once again, especially this year in light of the challenges presented by COVID-19.”

Ground Breaking

Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

MennoHomes began construction this week on a new affordable housing project at 544 Bridgeport Road East, Kitchener. The five-story building will have 48 living units consisting of one-bedroom and two bedroom apartments. The location at the intersection of Bridgeport and Lancaster, in northeast Kitchener, provides easy access to many facilities, and has two bus routes at the door.


Study looks at health perceptions related to COVID-19 in different age groups

A new study will explore how people of different ages perceive the risk of getting COVID-19.

The study, conducted by the Brain and Body Lab at the University of Waterloo, is asking people of different age groups how vulnerable they believe they are to COVID-19. It will look at what behaviours people are acting on to mitigate the risk of getting the virus – like wearing a mask or not – and how they perceive other age groups to be behaving. “There are perceptions in social media that the uptake of behaviours to contain COVID-19, such as physical distancing, vary across age groups – but whether this is true is less clear,” said Laura Middleton (photo), Kinesiology Professor and lead researcher on the study. “This survey will explore how our perceptions of risk and susceptibility, as well as the adoption of preventative behaviours, varies by age group.”

Long Term Care

Immediate Action Needed to Support Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes says Association

In the wake of the disturbing report from the Canadian Armed Forces released yesterday, the Association representing Ontario’s not-for-profit, municipal and charitable long-term care homes is urging the provincial government to act now on immediate needs in the sector. “Our hearts go out to the residents and families who are dealing with these horrible circumstances,” said Lisa Levin, CEO, AdvantAge Ontario. “They deserve better, and we can’t wait another minute to take action.” For years, AdvantAge Ontario has relentlessly pressed successive government to address the serious challenges and deficiencies in the long-term care sector, specifically those related to funding and staffing resources. COVID-19 has magnified and compounded these challenges like nothing that has ever been seen before.

Phase 2

Region of Waterloo and area municipalities making plans to reopen administrative buildings

The Region and area municipalities are making tentative plans to begin reopen ing their administrative buildings and City/Township halls to the public in the coming weeks. The gradual reopening of facilities will align with p rovincial direction to reopen more office workplaces in Phase 2 of the Ontario recovery plan, expected to be implemented by mid -June. On March 18, following provincial recommendations, the Region and area municipalities closed most of their buildings to the public, except for locations delivering essential services. Although the closures were planned until May 31, they will remain in place until early to mid -June. Regional administrative buildings will tentatively open to the public once the Province proceeds with Stage 2 of their recov ery plan. This is expected in early to mid -June. City and Township administrative buildings will tentatively open to the public beginning June 15, 2020.


Highlighting the Canadian Food System Aim of New Campaign Launched by Canadian Centre for Food Integrity

A national campaign to connect consumers to the multifaceted Canadian food system was launched by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI), at a time when conversation around food and its availability has dominated media headlines. It’s Good, Canada aims to connect Canadian consumers to the food system, a system that is applauded by countries around the world, working 24/7 to deliver safe, quality, and affordable food to Canadians and our global customers. The campaign features personal stories of Canadians working in the food system from coast to coast to coast, on both the front and back lines along the food supply chain – from farming, transportation, retail, processing, and production. It’s Good, Canada also aims to provide credible resources for Canadians to source fact-based information on Canada’s food supply system. was launched as the home base for the campaign and you can find the campaign as well on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn using the #ItsGoodCanada hashtag.

Competition Report

Through Crisis and Recovery, Enforce Competition and Safeguard Open Markets

The federal government should not legislate any ministerial “public interest” waiver for anti-competitive collaborations, according to a report from a C.D. Howe Institute council. While government intervention in certain economic sectors may be warranted in the near term during the COVID-19 crisis, governments must be conscious of potential impacts on competition, and ensure competitors face the discipline and dynamism of market forces by outlining a clear exit plan for ramping-down support. This is the consensus view of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Competition Policy Council, which held its nineteenth meeting on May 8, 2020. Council members commended governments for taking an active role in economic management and providing direct support to sectors and specific companies during the crisis, agreeing that in the near-term, governments should prioritize households’ well-being and intervene if required to backstop companies with strategic or systemic importance to the Canadian economy. Council members also recognized that political decision-makers will face difficult decisions around the failure of major businesses and be forced to balance competing policy priorities going forward.


Pandemic pushes US personal spending to record largest decline since 1959

Personal spending projected to improve in mid-2021

Research by, a UK research company, shows that the United States' personal spending has significantly dropped by 7.5 percent monthly. Data obtained indicate that between March and February this year, the US personal spending registered its worst figure since 1959. From the data, personal spending in the US increased by 0.2 percent in February compared to January this year. The decline has been attributed to the Coronavirus pandemic that peaked between March and April. Personal spending projected to improve in mid-2021.


Finding Meaning

People all over the world have had their lives change overnight.

UW talkes to philosophy professor Brian Orend about the big questions that arise when a society shifts so dramatically and in such a short period of time. How do people find meaning in times of great upheaval? Well, everyone’s different. Some people break down, overwhelmed with fear and the chaotic disruption. Big-hearted others do whatever they can to help those in need. Creative ones sing balcony songs and invent new podcasts etc... I saw a comedian on TV say that everyone should come out of this COVID crisis with one new specific skill, and I thought that was a very healthy response. Historically, of course, there are darker versions of the pursuit of “meaning” amidst crisis, such as trying to lay paranoid, bitter blame where none is appropriate, lashing out at others, or fighting over resources.


GTA new home market slow in April

A total of 771 new homes was sold in April, down 80 per cent from April 2019 and 78 per cent below the 10-year average.

The GTA new home market saw record low new home sales numbers in April, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced today. It was the lowest April for total new home sales, as well as single-family and condominium apartment sales, since Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, started tracking in 2000. A total of 771 new homes was sold in April, down 80 per cent from April 2019 and 78 per cent below the 10-year average. Single-family homes, including detached, linked, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), accounted for 301 new home sales, down 62 per cent from last April and 79 per cent below the 10-year average.

Social Behaviour

The importance of social connection in a time of isolation

Social isolation has become a defining feature of modern Western societies and there’s a growing concern about its effects - By Geraint Osborne

When people look back at this pandemic, they will remember many things, but perhaps most of all they will recall the changes in social behaviour. There’s the obsessive washing of hands, not touching our face, forgoing handshakes, hoarding toilet paper, wearing masks, working from home and, of course, social distancing – or, more accurately, physical distancing. Physical distancing is a more precise description of what experts have recommended in order to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing, on the other hand, should be avoided because of its potential harm for individuals and communities.


Shock Proofing the Future of Work: Future Skills Centre investing $15 million in innovative projects to support workers in hard-hit sector

Funding for innovation in skills development part of rapid response to aid those most affected by COVID-19 crisis

As the next step in its pandemic response plan, Future Skills Centre (FSC) announced a new $15-million call for proposals for labour market innovations to build resiliency in the face of social and economic shock. Various sectors including hospitality, health care and technology are facing significant demand for workers with new skills. This call looks at all industries with challenges to mitigate, and also looks for new opportunities that can be further leveraged, accelerating skills training to help many navigate an evolving job market. "Skills development is an essential component of a strategy for post-pandemic recovery and building a better future for millions of Canadian workers. We are accelerating investments in groups, sectors, and regions where challenges are deepest and opportunities are emerging so we can support people now while learning lessons that can be scaled for future success," said Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre.

Campaign Launch

Children’s Health Foundation Appeals for Public Help – Asks Community to Stand By Kids at Children’s Hospital, LHSC

While COVID-19 has challenged the health care community, injury and other illnesses haven’t stopped. Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre is continuing to care for many kids diagnosed with life-threatening and life-limiting diagnoses, from cancer and heart disease to mental illness and premature birth. The virus has complicated this care. That’s why the Children’s Health Foundation (CHF) is launching the Stand By Me campaign. CHF is asking the public to stand by patients at Children’s Hospital – including young people, like Seth Pervais.


As Financial Crimes Grow during the Pandemic, Accounting Groups Address Key Piece of AML Action

Report from CPA Canada and IFAC analyzes best approaches to beneficial ownership transparency

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented sums of relief money moving across the global economy, the threat of financial crimes and malfeasance continues to grow. In this context, CPA Canada and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published a report that explores a key facet of uncovering and fighting illegal activities: beneficial ownership transparency. The fight against money laundering, corruption and tax evasion requires the participation of several stakeholders, including accountants, who rely on strong legal frameworks and accurate information.


Military Report on Conditions in Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes: “Beyond Frustrated”

Health Coalition Calls on Ford Government to Implement Repeated Recommendations to Improve Access to PPE, Workplace Safety and Infection Control with recomendations

The Ontario Health Coalition, which has released major reports annually on the state of long-term care in Ontario in recent years, expressed its frustration upon reading the description of infection control practices at the facilities to which military personnel were dispatched. The Coalition has called on the Ford government repeatedly to improve access to PPE, take concrete measures to address critical staffing shortages, improve infection control and training and workplace safety, take concrete measures to isolate residents who test positive, intervene in homes that have incompetent or negligent management, and show coherent coordinated leadership in this sector rather than leaving it to voluntary arrangements between provider companies. The Coalition is not alone. Advocates from the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and other seniors’ organizations, unions and health professionals have all been speaking with one voice in calling for these measures, yet improvements have been late, inadequate, or nonexistent, and there still is no coherent strategy, coalition spokesperson Natalie Mehra reported.


Connecting Through the Camera and Keyboard

10 Success Strategies for Managing Meetings in the Virtual World - By Kate Zabriskie

As the world finds itself rapidly adopting virtual meetings, many people struggle while attempting to translate the in-person experience to an online format. Luckily, there are some tried and true actions neophytes can take to have their online gatherings running like clockwork. By following ten strategies for surviving in the virtual world, a newbie can perform like a pro in record time.

Progressive Economics

No, the government spending spree can't go on for ever

The notion that we can pile on debt ad infinitum is at the very least counterintuitive. In fact, it just seems reckless - By Doug Firby

Canada’s federal and provincial governments have rightfully focused on doing all they can to support people and businesses idled by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to keep people working where possible. But most advocates of aggressive spending always knew there would come a day of fiscal reckoning, in which we’d have to figure out how to deal with massive new levels of public debt. Except Jim Stanford. Stanford is a Canadian economist now living in Australia. For 22 years, he was an economist for the Canadian Auto Workers and later the general trade union Unifor. He left that organization in 2016 to found the Progressive Economics Forum. It’s a group dedicated to providing an alternative view to the conventional wisdom on the role and size of government, the wisdom of taking on debt and a broad range of public economic policy.

Precison Help

Global Leaders Unlock Ways for Precision Medicine to Fight COVID-19, Cancers and Emerging Infectious Diseases

The need to use precision medicine (including targeted vaccines and antiviral drugs) in the worldwide response to COVID-19 is widely recognized as necessary to return to normalcy – however, barriers exist to develop and distribute any effective vaccines or drugs

Geneva, Switzerland - Understanding how vulnerable a person is to a virus such as SARS-Cov-2 could help scientists and researchers tackle it. As the race for an effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19 continues, the principles of precision medicine could help, just as they helped unlock breakthrough therapeutic, diagnostic and preventive tools against cancer. A “personalized” – or precision medicine – approach can ensure the right treatment gets to the right patient at the right time. However, adoption and access have been uneven. To provide a foundation for a unified approach and to scale the benefits more easily, the World Economic Forum Global Precision Medicine Council co-designed the first set of precision medicine principles for policy-makers.

Future Innovation

Future Vaccines, Wearable Bio-sensors, Tissue Engineering and Aerospace Navigation: Meet the 2020 Cohort of Young Scientists

World Economic Forum honours 25 Young Scientists under the age of 40 in recognition of their contribution to cutting-edge research

The World Economic Forum announced its Class of 2020 Young Scientists, representing 25 exceptional researchers at the forefront of scientific discovery. Recognition of the Young Scientists comes at a time when the need for evidence-based policy has never been clearer. Although the challenge of COVID-19 has unintentionally diverted attention away from other research work – despite the pressing global issues that these efforts address – the need for science to test, predict and explain how different phenomena affect human and ecological outcomes is greater than ever. The Young Scientists were nominated by leading research institutes according to criteria including research excellence, leadership potential and commitment to serving society.


Before attending event check with event organizers with respect to updated information for all events.


GRCA reopening additional parks and natural areas for limited day use activities

Visitors are reminded to practice physical distancing by staying at least two metres or six feet apart, and not to congregate in groups.

On Saturday, May 23, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) reopened Belwood Lake (Fergus), Conestogo Lake (Wallenstein), Guelph Lake (Guelph) and Rockwood (Rockwood) conservation areas for limited recreational activities such as walking and birdwatching. These areas will be open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Since there is no automatic gate at these conservation areas, and gatehouses will remain closed, visitors without a Grand River Parks membership pass will be required to pay by cash (exact change only) in payment boxes located at the gatehouse. Standard entrance fees will apply.

Extended Closures

ROW municipalities extend closure of municipal administrative and operations facilities

Cities cancel events and festivals up to an including June 30

As another step in their coordinated emergency response to the global pandemic, the Region of Waterloo and all area municipalities extended the public closure of municipal administrative and operations facilities until at least June 30. The decision aligns the municipalities with Sunday’s announcement from the provincial government delaying the re-opening of the province’s schools until June 30. It is also consistent with the “Framework for Reopening our Province” recently released by the provincial government.

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