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Vol. 34 No. 04 April 2014

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APRIL 2014

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Put some spring into your homes ambiance p. 39

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ISSN 08239118

5 tips for buying a vehicle this spring p. 3



ALSO IN THIS ISSUE Consumer Information Environment & Nature

Intimacy and cancer: the side effect no one talks about p. 62

Families & Children Finance & Business

Food and Nutrition

Food & Nutrition

p. 19

Health & Safety Home & Garden Human Rights Lifestyles Personal Finance Pets

Health & Safety

Personal Finance

p. 28


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Vol. 34 No. 04

April 2014

Automotive...............................................................................................................................3 Consumer Information...........................................................................................................8 Environment & Nature............................................................................................................9 Families & Children...............................................................................................................16 Finance & Business................................................................................................................18 Food & Nutrition....................................................................................................................19 Health & Safety......................................................................................................................28 Home & Garden.....................................................................................................................39 Human Rights.........................................................................................................................62 Lifestyles.................................................................................................................................62 Personal Finance....................................................................................................................70 Pets...........................................................................................................................................75

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AUTOMOTIVE 5 tips for buying a vehicle this spring (NC) Let’s face it. Spring fever isn’t about love at all; it’s about cars. New cars, used cars, car shows, car showrooms, car ads, that new car smell and test drives. For those in the market for a vehicle this spring, there are some things you can do to make the experience interesting, rewarding and satisfying. The first is to become informed. A video produced by the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada is a great place to start. The video is fun, entertaining and informative plus it describes everything you need to know for making that all-important first purchase. In a nutshell, it offers five great tips for buying your first car. Analyze your driving needs. Where do you live? What do you do? How will you use your vehicle? How many people and things will you carry along with you? How much will you travel each day? These are just a few of the questions

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you can ask yourself to help give you a realistic idea of the size and type of vehicle you’ll need. Analyze your choices. Gasoline, diesel, electric or hybrids are your basic power choices nowadays and each has its advantages depending on your driving needs. Avoid temptation. There are some thirsty, fuel-guzzling vehicles out there and they’re not all pickup trucks or large SUVs. You can find a vehicle with moderate thrills that won’t cost a bundle to fill up or maintain. Think light, think small, think efficient. Your friends will be impressed with your concern for the environment if you choose a smaller, more fuelefficient vehicle that produces fewer greenhouse gases. Why buy a bigger, more expensive vehicle when a smaller, greener one will do? Do the math. Check the EnerGuide label on the vehicle for the fuel consumption ratings. The label gives you an idea of how many litres; always strive for the lowest fuel consumption rating.

5 ways to reduce air conditioning usage while you drive (NC) You’d think Canadians would have had enough of cold air by the time spring and summer roll around but as soon as the mercury starts to climb a little too high, we crank up the air conditioning. We seem to have a penchant for finding the sweet spot of climate control even while driving. Yet did you know that of all the auxiliary power requirements in your vehicle, the air conditioning system uses the most energy and has the single largest negative impact on fuel consumption? It can actually increase it by about 20 per cent when it’s on. The bottom line is air conditioning burns gas, which in turn, causes greenhouse gas emissions. There are some excellent, common-sense ways to reduce air conditioning usage that can save you money at the pumps and keep Mother Nature in your good books.

Turn it off. Think about whether or not you really need that blast of cold air or if rolling down the windows will do while driving in the city. Reduce, re-use, re-circulate. Consider using the re-circulating function of your a/c system. This requires less energy because your vehicle is not always cooling the outside warmer air. Go with the flow. Why not use flow-through ventilation for highway driving or open your windows or sunroof while driving in the city. Don’t over air condition. Use the same principle you use for your home a/c. Adjust your thermostat settings. Aim for comfortable, not cold. Find some shade. Your vehicle will require less cooling from the a/c at start-up if it’s parked in a shaded area. If shade is unavailable, use window shades to decrease the heat intake of your vehicle when it’s parked. Also, don’t use the a/c when

Lessen the load: how weight affects fuel consumption (NC) Your vehicle is like your body. The larger and heavier it is, the more energy it needs to get around. Heavier vehicles have greater inertia and greater rolling resistance, which both contribute to increased fuel consumption. By choosing a lighter vehicle, you can raise fuel efficiency and lower your vehicle’s harmful emissions. For every 100kg of weight reduction, fuel consumption could decrease by about 0.4L/100 km for cars and about 0.5L/km for light trucks. For example, the difference between combined city/highway fuel consumption for the best and worst conventional gasoline, base-model minivan, is about 2L/100km with a corresponding difference in curb weight of about 490 kg (note the difference in consumption is not solely due to weight). At today’s fuel cost of about $1.20/L,

this translates to a savings of about $4,800 over 200,000km. Imagine what you could do with an extra $4,800 in your pocket? There’s really no reason not to choose a lighter weight vehicle nowadays. Increasingly stringent government legislation, evolving consumer preferences and new technologies have made lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles the standard nowadays. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle this spring, only buy what you need and try to choose a smaller vehicle with a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine. To lighten the load of the vehicle you have, only carry essentials in your trunk. The bottom line: do your homework before making any major decisions. There is some great information about fuel efficiency and vehicles on the Natural Resources Canada website at www.

For example, a vehicle with a fuel consumption rating of seven litres per 100km would use about half the fuel than a vehicle with a rating of 14 litres per 100km. If you’re looking to purchase a used vehicle, you can still get fuel consumption ratings from websites such as, which will also give you estimated annual fuel cost. What a great tool for budgeting. By analyzing your driving lifestyle, choosing the vehicle and power that’s right for you and doing your fuel consumption homework, you’ll be driving in style in no time—with money in the bank and a green mindset.

(337 words + 1 photo) first starting your vehicle. Open the windows for the first few minutes to allow the hot air to escape. With 20 million vehicles on the road in Canada, the potential for fuel and environmental savings is huge. There are some more tips for ecosmart driving on the Natural Resources Canada website at

(330 words + 1 photo) The Office of Energy Efficiency for Vehicles has posted some detailed, common sense information for consumers that is definitely worth checking out.

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AUTOMOTIVE How do battery electric vehicles work? (NC) Imagine driving a vehicle with a zeroemission motor that gets you where you want to go without spewing a single gram of carbon dioxide. Such is the allure of a battery electric vehicle, or BEV, an increasingly popular alternative to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. As automakers respond to more stringent greenhouse gas regulations, BEV technologies are becoming more available to consumers. After more than a century of driving gas-guzzling vehicles of all shapes and sizes, the idea of driving electric vehicles is definitely worth considering. But how do BEVs actually work? BEVs use an electric propulsion system for all phases of driving. 100 per cent of their propulsion comes from a zero-emission electric motor, powered by electricity from large on-board battery packs that can be recharged in your garage or driveway from the electric power grid or an external source. Electric drives are also substantially more efficient than combustion engines and drivetrains. According to Natural Resources Canada, the

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energy conversion efficiency from on-board storage to turning the wheels is nearly three times greater for battery electric vehicles compared to conventional gasoline vehicles. There are some additional factors to consider when purchasing a BEV. The battery packs are expensive and store a relatively small amount of energy, which limits driving range. Range can also be influenced by outdoor temperatures, speed, driving style, cargo and the type of terrain you’re driving over. Also, BEV’s need a charging infrastructure. Although standard 120 volt home outlets will work, a fully depleted battery will require a charge time of between eight and 16 hours. Although for many commuters who travel less than about 100 kilometres a day, a fully depleted battery would never occur. A 240 volt home charging station can be installed at your home to reduce the charge times to between four to eight hours. but commercial charging stations that operate at much higher voltages can further reduce the charge time to between about 30 minutes. Industry

Westerners really do love their pickup trucks: survey (NC) Where we live in Canada determines the type and size of vehicle we drive, as if we needed proof that westerners love their pickup trucks and city slickers love their cars and station wagons. Not surprisingly, fuel consumption rates are also higher in provinces with a greater number of larger vehicles. A survey by Natural Resources Canada shows approximately 45 to 55 per cent of all vehicles driven in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are pickup trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles while roughly the same percentage of vehicles driven in Ontario and the Maritimes are cars or station wagons. Quebecers drive more cars and station wagons than any other province at about 70 per cent while Albertans drive the highest number of pickup trucks and SUVs at roughly 60 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador is split almost 50/50 between cars and pickup

(NC) The Office of Energy Efficiency for Vehicles at Natural Resources Canada is helping consumers find trusted information on everything to do with fuel-efficient driving in Canada. There is something for everyone including lists of the year’s most fuel-efficient vehicles, eco-friendly driving schools, how to achieve published fuel ratings, tips for fuelefficient driving, ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as videos for firsttime buyers, as well as the fuel consumption guide and fuel consumption rating tool. The site is worth bookmarking for yourself or

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trucks. Overall, about 60 per cent of Canadians drive cars and station wagons while 40 per cent drive pickup trucks and SUVs. The survey also found an interesting correlation between type of vehicle and fuel consumption. Not surprisingly, the provinces with the highest gasoline fuel consumption (measured in L/100km) include British Columbia at 11.6L/km and Saskatchewan at 11.5L/km while Nova Scotia and Quebec have the lowest gasoline fuel consumption at 9.6L/km and 9.9L/km respectively. The survey results are a strong reminder that the size and type of vehicle we drive, no matter where we live, has a direct effect on the amount of fuel we consume. Larger vehicles cost more to fill up at the pumps and produce more greenhouse gas emissions than smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The trick is to ask yourself if you really need a larger vehicle when a smaller, more fuel- is a hub of trusted info

is also working to improve battery technology and install a widespread commercial charging or battery swapping mechanism. Consider a BEV if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle that can reduce fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions, but don’t forget that you’ll need access to charging. You’ll also need to assess your driving habits and decide whether the reduced BEV range will be a limitation for you. A great source for information on BEVs is the Natural Resources Canada website, which you can find at fuel-facts/electric/3551.

efficient one will do. The choice is entirely up to you depending on your location, lifestyle, occupation, personality and requirements. Natural Resources Canada has posted some great tools, tips, videos and fact sheets on fuelefficient driving to help you at www. vehicles.nrcan.

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your family and there are some great selfassessment tools for helping you decide what type of vehicle you really need. You can find the site at

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April 2014

AUTOMOTIVE Get your green on and go eco-driving (NC) Eco-driving, a concept that has been extensively researched in Europe, is actively supported by Canada as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For those who adopt it, eco-driving has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 per cent. With more than 20 million vehicles on the road in Canada, that represents billions of litres of fuel that could be saved annually. So what exactly is eco-driving? Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency boils it down into five simple steps: Accelerate gently. The harder you accelerate the more fuel you consume. In the city, you can conserve fuel by easing onto the accelerator pedal gently and gradually. Pretend there’s an egg under the gas pedal and an open cup of coffee on the dash. Try to drive without breaking the shell or spilling the coffee and you’ll be good to go. Maintain a steady speed. Be consistent. Unintentional dips in speed and sudden bursts

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of acceleration take a toll on your tank and your wallet. In fact, tests show that varying your speed up and down between 75 km/h and 85km/h every 18 seconds can increase your fuel use by 20 per cent. Use cruise control whenever possible. Anticipate traffic. Read the road ahead, anticipate road disruptions, monitor the movements of pedestrians and other vehicles and keep a comfortable distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Coast to decelerate. Coasting to a stop with your foot off the gas pedal is like driving for free. By anticipating traffic slowdowns as early as possible, you can decrease your speed, conserve fuel and save money by simply taking your foot off the accelerator. Today, most vehicles are equipped with fuel-injection systems that automatically shut off the flow of fuel to the engine when the accelerator is fully released.

Avoid high speeds. Even if you have a need for speed, slow down. Most cars, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks operate most fuel efficiently when travelling between 50 and 80 km/h. Anything above this optimal speed zone and vehicles consume increasingly more fuel the faster they go. For example, if it takes $10 worth of fuel to drive a certain distance at 100 km/h, it would cost $12 to travel that same distance at 120 km/h. That’s like throwing a toonie out the window every 100 km. You can learn more about fuel efficiency and eco-driving at

Canadian fuel consumption ratings are changing (237 words + 1 photo)

How to find an eco-smart driving school (64 words)

(NC) Natural Resources Canada’s Auto$mart program has a list of registered driving schools that specialize in eco-smart driving lessons. With gasoline prices at an all-time high and ever-growing concern over harmful greenhouse gas emissions coming from vehicles, it makes sense to incorporate fuel efficiency into your driving habits as early as possible. For a list of registered Auto$mart driving schools in your area, visit http://oee. cfm.

(NC) The federal government is updating the test methods used to determine fuel consumption ratings for new light-duty vehicles to better reflect real-world driving conditions and behaviours. Fuel consumption ratings help consumers compare the fuel consumption of different vehicles for both city and highway driving. Instead of the two test cycles for stopand-go city driving and highway and rural road driving—the updated method will be adding three test cycles to account for air conditioning usage, cold temperature operation and higher speeds with more rapid accelerations. As a result of the new five-cycle testing, fuel consumption ratings will actually increase by about 15 per cent for most vehicles compared to the two-cycle ratings, according to Natural Resources Canada. Values may increase by even more for some vehicle technologies. This is not because manufacturers are producing less fuel-efficient vehicles; it is because the 5-cycle test accounts for more factors that better simulate real-world driving conditions and behaviors. Vehicle manufacturers submit the fuel consumption ratings and supporting data for their vehicles to Environment Canada. It is the government’s role to ensure that fuel consumption ratings continue to be derived

in a controlled, repeatable and standardized manner for every vehicle regardless of which manufacturer submits data. Ultimately, the ratings are intended to give car buyers comparative information about the fuel consumption of different models based on standard tests. The ratings appear on EnerGuide labels that are affixed to new vehicles at new car dealerships and on Natural Resources Canada’s website. A vehicle’s actual fuel consumption will vary from published ratings, depending on how, when and where a vehicle is driven. If you’re wondering why you can’t get the advertised fuel consumption ratings for your vehicle, you might want to brush up on some fuel-efficient driving habits. Natural Resources Canada has plenty of them at

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AUTOMOTIVE 5 ways to eco-drive

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(NC) Accelerate gently. The harder you accelerate the more fuel you consume. In the city, you can conserve fuel by easing onto the accelerator pedal gently and gradually. Pretend there’s an egg under the gas pedal and an open cup of coffee on the dash. Try to drive without breaking the shell or spilling the coffee and you’ll be good to go. Maintain a steady speed. Be consistent. Unintentional dips in speed and sudden bursts of acceleration take a toll on your tank and your wallet. In fact, tests show that varying your speed up and down between 75 km/h and 85km/h every 18 seconds can increase your fuel use by 20 per cent. Use cruise control whenever possible. Anticipate traffic. Read the road ahead, anticipate road disruptions, monitor the

movements of pedestrians and other vehicles and keep a comfortable distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Coast to decelerate. Coasting to a stop with your foot off the pedal is like driving for free. By anticipating traffic slowdowns as early as possible, you can decrease your speed, conserve fuel and save money by simply taking your foot off the accelerator. Today, most vehicles are equipped with fuel-injection systems that automatically shut off the flow of fuel to the engine when the accelerator is fully released. Avoid high speeds. Even if you have a need for speed, slow down. Most cars, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks operate most fuel efficiently when travelling between 50 and 80 km/h. Anything

Automobile journalists validate fuel efficiency ratings (NC) If you’ve ever wondered whether or not the fuel efficiency ratings for your vehicle are achievable in real-world driving, the answer is yes, according to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. Some of the biggest names in automobile journalism put fuel ratings to the test for 22 vehicles last summer during AJAC’s second annual EcoRun between Ottawa and Montreal. The results were “eye-opening with respect to the relative merits of different fuel-saving technologies and the effect of driving style on fuel economy,” the association said after the event. The Eco-Run demonstrated the broad range of techniques and technologies currently available to help consumers reduce their fuel consumption and costs. Here’s a snapshot of the results: When drivers deliberately apply fuel-efficient driving techniques, as journalists in the exercise did, remarkably low fuel consumption figures are achievable. Some of the techniques that were used were slow acceleration, maintaining a steady

speed, anticipating traffic, coasting to decelerate and avoiding high speeds. The overall average fuel consumption for the 22 vehicles equalled or bettered the official fuel consumption ratings published in Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide, proving that they are in fact attainable in the real world. Battery electric vehicles were deemed to be the most fuel-efficient for both city and highway driving. Plug-in hybrids were the next most fuel-efficient, achieving significantly better fuel economy than conventional hybrids in city driving. Hybrids, as a group, had lower fuel consumption than gasoline or diesel vehicles overall. While the hybrids excelled in city driving, gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles of similar size and shape were as good or better than some of the hybrids on the highway. Diesel-powered vehicles tended to be slightly more fuel-efficient than their direct gasoline counterparts in highway driving.

Why can’t I get published fuel ratings? (NC) Frustrated that you’re not achieving the fuel consumption ratings advertised for your vehicle? You’re not alone. Many drivers are confused as to why they’re spending more on gas than they anticipated, given the fuel consumption published on the EnerGuide label and in Natural Resources Canada’s Fuel Consumption Guide. There are some things you can do to get the advertised fuel consumption ratings for your vehicle, the first of which is to understand how fuel consumption ratings are derived. Fuel consumption ratings help consumers compare the fuel consumption of different vehicles for both city and highway driving. Ratings provide a reliable comparison of the fuel consumption of different vehicles. However, no test can simulate all possible combinations of conditions that may be experienced by drivers. A vehicle’s fuel consumption will vary from

above this optimal speed zone and vehicles consume increasingly more fuel the faster they go. For example, if it takes $10 worth of fuel to drive a certain distance at 100 km/h, it would cost $12 to travel that same distance at 120 km/h. That’s like throwing a toonie out the window every 100 km. Source: Natural Resources Canada,

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“The Eco-run was a great opportunity, not just for automotive journalists, but for all consumers to find out more about fuel efficiency and how easy it can be, not matter what you drive, to save money on fuel,” said Ian Jack, CAA managing director of communications and government relations. For a list of the vehicles involved in the EcoRun visit For tips on fuelefficient driving, visit

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published ratings, depending on how, when and where a vehicle is driven. In order to produce ratings, vehicle manufacturers test their own vehicles and generate and submit fuel consumption ratings and supporting data to Environment Canada. This information then appears on EnerGuide labels that are affixed to new vehicles at new car dealerships and in Natural Resources Canada’s annual Fuel Consumption Guide. It is the government’s role to ensure that fuel consumption ratings continue to be derived in a controlled, repeatable and standardized manner for every vehicle regardless of which manufacturer submits data. The government will continue to validate the fuel consumption data that is submitted by automobile manufacturers and perform audits as needed. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to achieve better fuel consumption is to practice fuel-

efficient driving habits such as slow acceleration, maintaining a steady speed, anticipating traffic, coasting to decelerate and avoiding high speeds. You can find more information about fuel economy, fuel-efficient driving and the EnerGuide label program at

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April 2014

AUTOMOTIVE Make car cleaning a family affair (NC) Spring is one of the best times to spend quality time outside with the family, especially as the days become warm and bright. It is also an opportunity for parents to share some passions with their children – and one particularly funfilled combination is car care. Many parents feel that showing their kids how to properly clean the car now will set them up to get extra mileage and enjoyment out of their automobiles when they’re old enough to get behind the wheel. To assist, Autoglym recommends the following 3-step process for families who want their cars in tip-top shape for spring roads: Wash: During winter, road salts, mud and grit build up on the paint, dulling the finish. Kids love

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to get involved in activities that help mom and dad, so young ones can join in on the washing fun. Pre-rinse the car with a hose and then give the kids a sponge – the little ones can begin washing at sill level and parents can take over the roof area, giving the vehicle a thorough wash. Using a product specifically designed for car washing, like the Autoglym Bodywork Wash & Wax line will help prevent unnecessary damage to your car’s finish. Polish: If you choose to use a hand polish application, apply product directly with a sponge applicator in overlapping circles and finish in straight lines before treating the next section. Pay special attention to faded paint and painted plastic

How to care for your car from the inside out (NC) – While many drivers are keen to get their cars shining as bright as possible on the outside, many neglect to clean the inside. Why let dirt and grunge get in the way of a sunny, spring day? We spend a lot of time in our cars so if the interior isn’t clean, it not only impacts how it looks, or how you feel in it, but it affects the overall value as well. This spring, the management at Autoglym recommends the following tips to clean and protect car interiors: Shampoo throughout. This will keep it smelling great and will also help preserve the condition of its fabric upholstery, carpet, and hard surfaces. During the winter, external materials are easily transferred into a car’s interior, such as

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salt, sand and other winter grime. These can be equally damaging to the inside as they can be to the outside, and can eat away the inner surfaces of your car. Autoglym Interior Shampoo is a gentle cleaner that’s suitable for all interior hard surfaces, as well as fabrics. Deal with the problem spots immediately. Don’t leave cleaning dirt, spilled drinks or food until later, as these problem spots will become harder to remove the longer you leave them. Attending to food and drink spills quickly also reduces potential bacteria growth and unpleasant smells. Get in the habit of cleaning regularly. Unfortunately, once leather, plastic or rubber

Your car paint job is easy to maintain and preserve (NC) – Proper care of your car’s exterior finish is something that can be easily overlooked, but shouldn’t be ignored. The paint job is highly visible, and also very expensive to repair. “Your car’s paint job is one of its most noticeable features and really exemplifies how you maintain your vehicle,” says David Lambert, the brand manager at Autoglym Canada. “If you want to ensure that your car stays at its best, vehicle owners should take the time to regularly wash, polish, and protect their vehicle with the right tools and products.” Autoglym gives us the following tips on how to maintain the perfect shine:

areas such as doors, mirrors and fenders. Continue until all of the painted surfaces are coated in a thin, even layer. After 10 minutes, when the polish is dry, you can begin to buff with a microfiber cloth. Protect: Use a clean sponge to apply a long lasting, protective wax, working in sections and in a circular motion – only a thin layer is needed. Continue applying to all of the painted surfaces, quickly buff off and you’ll have a protected shine in no time. Additional information and tips are available online at

cracks as a result of overt dryness, there’s very little that can be done. This is why regular maintenance and moisturizing is so important – you want to prevent the cracks from initially happening, and from spreading if they’re already there. Heading into spring, your car’s upholstery and interior are at greater risk of being damaged, as excessive exposure to the spring sunshine can affect the interior, causing it to quickly age and dry out. Additional information and tips are available online at

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Step 1 – Wash Wash your car regularly; doing so will help to preserve the finish of your car’s paintwork. Avoid household detergents as they can have a dulling effect on your paintwork. Instead, use a product designed for car washing, like Autoglym Bodywork Wash & Wax. Step 2 – Polish Many of us tend to skip the polishing step and go straight to waxing. Don’t make this common mistake. Polishing not only corrects paintwork and rectifies imperfections such as light scratches and swirl marks, but it also restores colour and shine.

Step 3 – Protect Waxing is an important final touch to protect your car’s paintwork against harmful environmental factors such as bird droppings and sap. Unlike polish, wax contains no cleaning or restoring agents and should be used to seal in the result achieved from polishing: clean, dry, blemish-free paintwork. Additional information and tips are available online at

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CONSUMER INFORMATION Is it better to buy a new or resale home? (NC) The decision to buy a home is usually both exciting and daunting. While you may know the size or style of home you want, such as condominium or townhouse, the choice between a new or resale home is another important consideration. Both new and resale homes have their advantages and drawbacks, which may range from having a home with character and history to customizing a brand new space for a turnkey experience. “What some people may not know is that there are different legal considerations when purchasing a new versus resale home,” says Ray Leclair, vice president of public affairs at LAWPRO. “Purchasing a home is a significant investment, so be sure to protect it by addressing uncertainties with a real estate lawyer.” To help in your decision-making between a new or resale home, Leclair advises considering the following factors: New home Advantages: • The work is compliant with the latest construction and safety code requirements;

• Warranties for construction/appliance/system defects provide peace of mind; • A building-location survey is generally available. Drawbacks: • Construction may not be completed in time for the proposed move-in; • The buying decision may be based on plans, rather than actually viewing the property or seeing a similar model; • There may be ongoing construction around the home or in the neighbourhood and landscaping and upgrades are discouraged while work proceeds or within warranty periods. Resale home Advantages: • Buyers can see what they are buying and have the opportunity to inspect the home; • Generally the home will be in an established neighbourhood without ongoing construction; • The neighbourhood landscape and infrastructure is known and ready to enjoy – think parks, schools and shopping. Drawbacks:

Are you married and don’t know it? (NC) Canadians may be surprised to know that you don’t need a marriage ceremony or licence to be considered “married” in Canada. Most provinces have rules that give rights and create obligations for a person in a “marriage-like” relationship, generally known as a “common law” relationship – this applies to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. “Many consider a common law relationship to be the same as being married,” says Ray Leclair, vice president of public affairs at LAWPRO. “However, the change in status is often not intentional or considered by the couple.” In some provinces, a person could be a common law spouse if: • cohabiting with someone for 2 or 3 years; or • cohabiting in a relationship of permanence for at least one year where there is a child of the relationship. However, there has even been the odd case where a couple that was dating has been considered to be in a common law relationship.

(358 words + 1 photo) • There will likely be no warranties or recourse if a defect is discovered; • It may be difficult to see any hidden problems and there is no guarantee that plumbing, electrical or the construction are up-to-code; • If there is a building-location survey, it is likely dated. While these lists aren’t comprehensive, they can help buyers determine what’s most important when shopping for a new home. Ultimately, the key is to make an informed decision and find something that suits budget, neighbourhood preferences and personal style.

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Courts look at many factors to determine your status. How would you respond to questions such as: do you and your partner (1) live together; (2) have an exclusive relationship with each other; (3) help each other the way a traditional family would; (4) portray yourselves as a couple; (5) interact as parents with each other’s children; (6) support the other financially, or are your finances combined; (7) have a relationship your family and friends view as a marriage? Common law relationships can be complicated from a legal perspective, particularly regarding issues such as spousal support (alimony), property rights, unjust enrichment, constructive trust, the family home, child support and custody, and estate planning or health care issues. For example, once you are in a common law relationship, your assets can become subject to a claim, meaning an asset you may have purchased on your own may be shared with both people in the relationship should you ever separate. It is important to remember

that one can be considered in a common law relationship for one purpose (i.e. spousal support) but not for others (i.e. inheritance rights). Also being recognized in a common law relationship does not mean you have the same rights and obligations as a married couple. Speaking with a lawyer about your relationship status, actual or proposed living arrangements and other factors can help you determine if you are in a common law relationship, so that you can make more informed decisions about many areas of your life.

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April 2014

CONSUMER INFORMATION 7 common mistakes when buying a home (NC) When buying a home, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. “The housing market can be very competitive,” says Ray Leclair, vice president of public affairs at LAWPRO. “Potential home buyers may get caught in bidding wars or the purchasing hype and can feel pressured to overlook issues that could really cost them down the road, in order to put forward a winning offer.” Although it can be competitive and rushed, it’s still important to take time and avoid these seven common mistakes when buying a home: • Falling in love with one aspect of the home, such as location, décor, renovations, and ignoring possible problems, such as the age of the systems and status of building permits. • Failing to check with a lawyer to ensure a rental unit is legal. If the buyer is counting on rental income to afford a mortgage, this could be a serious problem.

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• Choosing a lawyer by price or agent’s recommendation, instead of for their experience and thorough work. • Ignoring the risks of not conducting certain searches or inquiries to save the associated costs, such as work orders, easements or taxes. • Not telling their lawyer about the intended use for the property. Homeowners can’t always do whatever they want, be it opening a small business, building an addition or adding a garage. It’s important to check if these changes are acceptable to the municipality before making an expensive mistake. • Skipping a home inspection or relying on a family member or friend’s view of the status of a home to have a more competitive offer. A realtor may recommend bringing in a home inspector prior to making the offer, to avoid including this condition. Although it can be expensive, this is definitely a better option than skipping the inspection altogether.

• Not asking for a building-location survey and relying exclusively on title insurance. A survey permits you to verify the location of the structures in reference to the property lines, encroachments onto neighbours’ land or vice versa and confirm municipal property setback requirements. Buying a home is a huge undertaking and not a decision to be taken lightly or quickly. A thoughtful realtor, an experienced lawyer and a long term outlook can help ensure a successful purchase.

ENVIRONMENT & NATURE Go west young families for a thundering good time (NC) Western Canada is calling your name for an experience your kids will never forget—the chance to see the iconic bison, or buffalo, the very symbol of the Wild West, thundering across the prairie grasslands. The bison are back on the Canadian Prairies after aggressive efforts to restore the herds after near extinction 100 years ago. Visiting one of their natural habitats in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba national parks, where bison now roam, is sure to delight the entire family. Consider visiting Elk Island National Park near Edmonton, the source herd from which nearly every plains bison in southern Canada can trace its ancestry; or Prince Albert National Park north of Saskatoon or Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan—each of these parks features large herds of bison. Smaller herds can also be seen at Riding Mountain and Waterton Lakes national parks. July through September is mating season so who knows what shenanigans these enormous mammals will be up to. Watch the bulls compete

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for the cows and display a variety of behaviours to impress the cows and intimidate each other. During the “rut” the bulls are more aggressive and less cautious of vehicles and people. Watch and listen for behaviours including wallowing, head pushing and bellowing. Allowing this bison behaviour to carry on undisturbed is important to ensure its natural life cycle is maintained in the park. Parks Canada is working to enhance bison habitat, improve bison viewing and visitor experiences in Elk Island and Prince Albert national parks and promote understanding of Parks Canada’s role in bison conservation.

So slip on your cowboy boots, tighten your belt buckle and tip your Stetson for a thundering good time watching these ancient herbivores in their natural setting. You can find safety tips and planning information on the Parks Canada website at www. Photo credit one: Stephen Edgerton Photo credit two: Parks Canada Caption: You could find this fellow grazing outside your tent trailer in Elk Island National Park. Take a trail ride in Prince Albert National Park to see bison in their natural habitat. View bison on the lone prairie at Grasslands National Park.

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ENVIRONMENT & NATURE Why all Canadians should care about plains bison (NC) Until 200 years ago, 30 to 60 million bison, or buffalo, thundered across the Northern Great Plains, grazing freely across the vast expanse of unsettled grasslands that stretch from South Dakota through Montana up to Saskatchewan and Alberta. These gigantic, woolly herbivores, weighing some 900 kilograms and standing as tall as a grown man, pounded out one of the rarest, most nourishing ecosystems in the world— prairie grasslands—spanning millions of square kilometres of untouched wilderness, the very source of their survival. To this day, bison remain an iconic symbol of the Prairies, of wild, free, untethered strength and thousands of years of cultural and spiritual evolution of Métis and First Nations plains people. They are truly a national treasure, as much a part of Canadian history and folklore as Arctic polar bears, B.C. orcas, central Canadian deer, elk and moose and Atlantic cod and lobsters, except today bison are endangered. By the year 1900, there were only a few hundred bison left and today, they number only in the thousands, their way of life eclipsed by

overhunting and the expanding frontier that encroached on the very earth the herds needed to survive. Over time, the grasslands withered, thereby destabilizing plants, animals and the entire ecosystem—the bison could simply not survive. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “no other species on earth has declined so quickly. For the bison to survive, they needed freedom to roam.” Canada is playing a vital role in bringing bison back to the Prairies, working with North American conservationists to populate herds on both sides of the border and restore biodiversity— the very foundation of life—to one of the largest ecosystems on the planet. Parks Canada is working to enhance bison habitat, improve bison viewing and visitor experiences in Elk Island and Prince Albert national parks and promote understanding of Parks Canada’s role in bison conservation. In fact, Elk Island is scheduled to transfer a third group of bison to the American Prairie Reserve in Montana in March as an example of Canada’s ongoing contribution to bison conservation.

Five reasons Canada needs plains bison (NC) Ecological restoration. By their very nature, bison, or buffalo, are “ecosystem engineers,” their presence triggering physical changes in the landscape that benefit other fauna and flora. By extension, this preserves precious ecosystems and ensures life-sustaining oxygen, air, water, food, medicine and fuel, for humans. Native plants depend on bison grazing to remain vigorous and disperse seeds. Through their trampling and wallowing around muddy waters, bison create habitats for other species and keep meadows shrub-free. Cultural reconnection. For thousands of years, bison were an integral part of the lives and livelihoods of First Nations plains cultures and many of our pioneers and are an icon of Canada’s history. Restoring bison to the landscape is an opportunity to restore cultural and historical connections that have been lost for more than a century. Natural selection. Bison are critical to predator-prey-scavenger relationships. Whether preyed upon by wolves or dying from other natural causes, a bison carcass can feed carnivores and scavengers such as grizzly bears, wolverines, foxes, eagles and wolves. Decomposing bison carcasses also provide a flush of nutrients for soil microorganisms and plants.

(380 words + 1 photo) Through these initiatives, Canadians can continue to enjoy viewing bison in several Canadian national parks and reap the environmental benefits of these magnificent “ecosystem engineers.” Parks Canada has more information at, princealbert and natcul/montana-bison.aspx. Photo credit: Stephen G. Edgerton Photo caption: Bison calves are called “little reds” because of the distinctive coloured coats they have for the first few months of life.

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Education. All Canadians have a vested interest in preserving our natural resources. Having a chance to see and learn about the full range of native species in Canada, including the mighty bison, helps ensure we protect those resources. Today, Canadians can see bison roaming freely through protected areas of national parks in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba either in person or on the Parks Canada website, www., through information and links to live streaming “bison cams” that are planned for the near future. Species preservation. In the early 1900s, a few private citizens in the United States and the Canadian government made efforts to save the bison after overhunting and the expanding frontier dwindled their numbers from tens of millions to a few hundred. In 1907, the last large herd of wild plains bison, the Pablo-Allard herd, was sold by Michel Pablo to the Government of Canada and shipped to Alberta from Montana. The animals travelled by train and were herded to the newlyestablished Elk Park. Today, their descendants, bison from Elk Island National Park, are being reintroduced to Montana through a joint effort between Parks Canada and the American Prairie Reserve. So far, some 150 bison have gone “home,” with 83 more calves

to be transferred in a third wave this March. Veterinarians from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency oversee the transfer and certify the animals as diseasefree. As with all other threatened and vulnerable species, bison conservation efforts are important on a local, regional, national and international scale. Helping native plant and animal species, including bison, survive within national parks and protected areas ensure the long-term perpetuation of all native species. Photo credit: Stephen G. Edgerton Caption - Visitors thrill at the opportunity to view bison at arm’s length from the safety of vehicles as the animals roam freely inside the confines of Elk Island National Park just outside of Edmonton, Alberta.

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April 2014

ENVIRONMENT & NATURE 10 fast facts about plains bison (NC) 1. Bison, or buffalo, are the largest land mammal in North America. 2. Bison bulls can often weigh 1,000 kilograms and reach a shoulder height of two metres, about half the size of a minivan. 3. Bison are fast, agile animals that can run up to 60 kilometres per hour and cover great distances in a short period of time, continuously eating as they roam. They have four stomachs and their thick, woolly coat has so much insulation from fat that snow can land on their back without melting. 4. Bison feed in open meadows and especially love the fresh new growth that comes up in recently burned areas. They can be seen foraging in still-smoldering meadows days after a fire has occurred 5. Although bison have poor eyesight, they can detect motion at great distances, have excellent hearing and a keen sense of smell. Bison are grass-eating herbivores and are the natural food source of grizzly bears, wolverines, foxes, eagles

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and wolves. Their decomposing carcasses provide nutrient-rich soil microorganisms and plants. 6. Though bison once roamed across the North American Prairies in the tens of millions, European overhunting and expansion of the new frontier reduced their numbers to mere hundreds by 1900. 7. Today bison barely exist as a wild species, except for a few herds that roam in protected areas of national parks in Alberta, Saskatchewan and northern states such as Montana and Wyoming. 8. Efforts are underway by Canadian and American conservation agencies working to complete the prairie ecosystem by returning bison to the landscape. The transfers are a homecoming of sorts as the plains bison originated in Montana before the Government of Canada bought the last herd in 1907 and brought them to Canada under conservation efforts at the time. 9. The translocation represents a significant international conservation effort that contributes

Return of plains bison honours First Nations history (NC) Efforts to bring back the near-extinct plains bison, or buffalo, to Western Canada honours a part of Canadian history many Canadians are either unaware of, or have forgotten—that these gigantic, majestic animals once ruled the Northern Great Plains in the tens of millions and were a source of sustenance and spirituality for plainsdwelling Métis and First Nations. First Nations people hunted bison on both sides of the border for survival, stripping their carcasses clean, using every part to make winter clothing, food, tools and knives and ceremonial gear. During the mid to late 19th century, Red River Métis on the central Canadian Prairies developed an entire community structure and economy based on bison hunting. Often referred to as “walking department stores” for their plentiful bounty, bison roamed free for thousands of years and inspired sacred legends and ceremonies for generations. Much of that disappeared by the turn of the 20th century when bison herds were

driven to near extinction by European-driven overhunting and expansion of the frontier that choked off their life-sustaining grasslands. As a result, an entire way of life was disrupted and some First Nations communities signed treaties to move to reserves. Conservationists in Canada and America are achieving a dream to restore the Great Plains ecosystem by re-introducing the continent’s largest land mammal, the plains bison, in small herds to roam freely in large fenced preserves or in remote areas. Two hundred and thirty Canadian bison have been moved from Elk Island National Park to Montana, where their ancestors came from. Canada bought the last remaining herds of bison from a Montana rancher in 1907 in a conservation arrangement that established a long-term breeding population of bison at Elk Island National Park. The transfer marks a full-circle journey and conservation success story. Today, bison still have spiritual and cultural significance for many First Nations and Métis

to the continued survival and well-being of an animal that is the undisputed symbol of North America’s vast interior plains and the cultural and spiritual evolution of First Nations people. 10. By March, Canada will have transferred 230 bison to Montana. Source: Parks Canada, Photo credit: Stephen G. Edgerton Caption – Plains bison, charismatic megafauna of the northern Great Plains, is as uniquely adapted to its environment as the environment is reliant on it to shape and maintain healthy grasslands.

(340 words + 1 photo) people, one that will surely grow with the return of thundering hooves across the Prairie landscape. Parks Canada is posting updates on the bison transfers on its website at Photo credit: Parks Canada Caption – Bison provided nearly all of the goods and food Plains cultures required. Re-establishing bison on the prairies renews opportunity for Métis and First Nations to reconnect with their history.

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ENVIRONMENT & NATURE Why is Canada sending bison to Montana? (NC) Parks Canada is sending a third wave of bison, or buffalo, to a wildlife preserve in northern Montana as part of a “full-circle” voyage to return the mighty herbivores to their original home on the Northern Great Plains. “One hundred years ago, about 400 bison came to Elk Island National Park in Alberta from Montana and were among the last bison in North America,” says Superintendent Stephen Flemming. “We’re doing this because we’re a conservation organization and we’re working toward the active recovery of bison. This is a relatively small fenced national park so each year we have surplus animals. We have to keep our populations at a size that is sustainable so it’s a win-win. We reduce our herd and we move the animals to new places for the populations to grow.”

The Government of Canada bought the last herd of plains bison from a rancher in Montana in 1907 and brought them to western Canada under conservation efforts at the time. The Montana-bound bison are living descendants of the original herd and will go a long way to enhancing the plains bison in the U.S. “Our goal is to build the American Prairie Reserve into a 3.5-million-acre wildlife reserve open to the public with 1,000 bison by 2018,” says Damien Austin, Reserve Supervisor. “Ultimately, we want to have at least 10,000 animals making it the largest genetically pure, disease-free conservation herd in North America.” The third transfer of 83 bison calves happening this spring will make the total number of bison moved from Elk Island to American Prairie Reserve 230. Want to follow the transfer? Visit

Let’s reduce the stress on the honeybee (NC) Bees are responsible for pollinating onethird of the food Canadians eat – and that makes them vital to the sustainability of our agriculture. But the good health of bees can be affected by a number of complex factors and we all have a role to play in protecting their well-being. Here are five facts about the causes of stress for these vital creatures: Fact #1: Mites and parasites Honeybees are subject to various mites, parasites and several contagious bacterial diseases. The Varroa mite, for example, was first seen in Canadian hives in the 1980s and has become the common factor in bee colony decline. Fact #2: Habitat loss and malnutrition

(272 words + 1 photo) the Parks Canada website at www. Photo credit: Stephen G. Edgerton Caption - Elk Island National Park is sending bison calves to Montana’s American Prairie Reserve for the third time since 2009. They will join the rest of their Montanaborn cousins including a total of 150 bison sent previously from Elk Island

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In areas with poor biodiversity – including many urban areas – the quantity and quality of nectar and pollen is compromised. This can have a negative impact on bee nutrition. Many native wildflower landscapes, which are important contributors to bee diets, have been lost due to suburban building development. Fact #3: Chemical exposure It is important to minimize any potential exposure of pesticides to non-target organisms. The plant science industry has developed a set of best management practices designed to help growers minimize inadvertent exposure of pollinators to insecticide seed treatment products during planting. Fact #4: Climate factors

Honeybees are extremely sensitive to weather changes. Inconsistency of seasonal weather patterns in Canada is a key factor in bee health, especially when it comes to winter survival rates. Weather changes may also explain the arrival of new pests. Fact #5: Genetics Over the centuries, beekeeping may have genetically weakened honey bee colonies. Domesticated bees are bred to be less aggressive and produce more honey, which can lead to a progressive weakening in their resistance to pests and diseases.

Food safety quick tip

Canadian scientists lend expertise to pesticides

(NC)—Did you know: It takes close to $150 million and up to 10 years of research and testing before a ‘plant biotechnology crop’ is even ready to be submitted for approval? Researchers examine issues related to human health, animal feed safety and environmental safety before they seek regulatory approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada.

(NC)—Did you know: A Health Canada branch called the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for regulating pesticides in this country? They employ over 300 scientists whose job it is to evaluate pesticides. These scientists include biologists, chemists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, plant pathologists, weed scientists and entomologists. They make sure that only pesticides that meet the strict health and environmental standards outlined by the PMRA are registered for use, or for sale in Canada.

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April 2014

ENVIRONMENT & NATURE Bees play an important role in our food production (NC) It’s easy to see why both bees and pesticides are essential to the success of agriculture. Bees pollinate many important crops while pesticides protect those same crops from pest damage. Beekeepers also rely on pesticides in their hives to protect against various pests such as the Varroa mite. As such, the plant science industry is committed to ensuring that both bees and pesticides can help agriculture thrive. Bees, birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects pollinate more than 75 per cent of Canada’s flowering plants. This means that approximately one-third of the crops used to produce foods and beverages are dependent on these wonderful creatures. This is why the plant science industry

strives to ensure its products do not negatively impact bee health. Insecticide-treated seed evolved as a way to protect seeds and crops while minimizing potential exposures of non-target insects, such as bees. “Coated seeds make a lot of sense because they do away with the possibility of over spraying and allow farmers to reduce the number of spray applications on their crops,” says Pierre Petelle, vice-president of chemistry at CropLife Canada. In contrast to a traditional spray treatment, where 100 per cent of a field is treated, less than one per cent of the field is treated when a modern seed treatment is used. “These newer and more effective products have allowed growers to not only reduce or eliminate

A beekeepers’ perspective on bee health (NC) The honeybee industry has experienced many struggles over the past decade. Challenges have included the Varroa mite, diseases, invasive pests, and poor winter weather conditions. Despite these challenges, Lee Townsend, Alberta beekeeper and vice-president, TPLR Honey Farms Ltd. believes that “the Canadian honeybee industry is thriving and vibrant.” Townsend also stated that, despite reports to the contrary, the introduction of neonic seed treatments in Western Canada was extremely positive because it meant less crop spraying and more forage for bees for both honey production

their use of foliar sprays, but also reduce soil and water erosion through the use of minimum or no-till production practices,” says Steve Denys, past-president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. “This would not be possible without seed treatments like those in the neonicotinoid insecticide family.”

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and pollination services. “When you take into account that the majority of Canada’s colonies are exposed to neonics in some manner without issue, there is more to the problem than being stated,” he says. Furthermore, Townsend says stakeholders have been quick to respond. “Since the first instances of neonic exposure to honeybees was reported, both the growers and seed manufacturers clearly demonstrated a willingness to work with affected beekeepers,” says Townsend. Townsend says there is a need for further research into the bee health issue, specifically, information

Insecticide advancement delivers multiple benefits (NC) Pesticides, including insecticides, play an important role in ensuring that Canadians have access to a sustainable and abundant food supply. Without these products, the world would lose at least 40 per cent of its food supply to pest damage. Over the last decade, the use of neonicotinoids in agriculture has been considered by many as having revolutionized the farmers’ ability to control damaging pests in a more environmentallyfriendly way. “Neonicotinoid seed treatments protect our crops by controlling pests during the first stages of plant life and into seedling emergence,” says Henry Van Ankum, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario.”

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on the health status of affected colonies prior to suspected neonicotinoid exposure, and clear records of what treatment methods beekeepers were using prior to and after exposure.

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Neonicotinoid treatments are applied directly to the seed, which limits any exposure to nontarget organisms such as bees. And because of its effectiveness, this tool also reduces or even eliminates the number of insecticide sprays needed over the course of the growing season. Just like all pest control products, neonicotinoids have been thoroughly assessed by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to ensure they can be used safely without harming bees. Without neonicotinoids, farmers would be forced to return to older technologies, lose significant portion of their crop to insect damage and could be unable to grow certain crops altogether. “We need

strong, healthy crops to provide safe, affordable food for Ontario, and to enable our farmers to compete in national and international markets,” says Van Ankum.

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ENVIRONMENT & NATURE Bee health is a complex challenge (NC) Anyone who truly cares about honeybee health knows that there are a host of factors that can – and do – pose a risk to these important insects. Scientists largely agree that bee health is impacted by a number of factors, including Varroa mites, disease, poor nutrition, genetics, and weather changes. One controversial topic when it comes to bee health is the role of neonicotinoids, an insecticide that is often applied directly to seeds before they are planted in order to protect the seed and seedlings from insects in the ground, while protecting non-target organisms. Steve Denys, past-president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association, says some countries have banned the products in hopes of improving bee health, but so far the results aren’t there. “Bee health encompasses a wide array of factors and the issues in some bee operations cannot necessarily be solved by the arbitrary removal of a specific product,” says Denys. “From what I

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understand, France put in a partial ban 15 years ago and it did not have the intended impact on bee mortality rates.” Just like all pest control products, neonicotinoids have been thoroughly assessed by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to ensure they can be used safely without harming bees. “Our industry thoroughly assesses all of its products to ensure we understand all potential impacts on human health and the environment,” says Pierre Petelle, vice-president of chemistry at CropLife Canada. Based on sound science, the approval process of taking a product to the market takes an average of nearly 10 years and costs over $256 million. “Once approved, modern crop protection products like neonicotinoids provide economic, health, environmental, and social benefits by increasing yields and farming efficiency,” Petelle continued. “They also contribute to the availability

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Bees and pesticides play critical roles in agriculture (59 words + 1 photo)

(NC) Did you know… both bees and pesticides play critical roles in agriculture? Bees pollinate many important crops and are largely responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. Meanwhile pesticides protect crops from pest damage. Production in Canada would fall by some 40 per cent without pesticides.

(NC) Did you know…bee health is impacted by a combination of factors, the primary one being the Varroa mite? There are many regions worldwide that use no insecticidetreated seed and are still experiencing major bee losses, while others that make widespread use of these tools have healthy, thriving bee populations.

Honeybees are essential to crop production (NC) Take a look at these five fascinating facts about Canada’s robust honeybee industry: Fact #1: As pollinators, bees are vital to our food chain. Honeybees are responsible for pollinating a third of the food we eat. Fact #2: Bee colonies in Canada have increased by 24 per cent since 2008. In 2013, we had 8,483 beekeepers and 672,094 colonies. Over 75 of those colonies reside in Western Canada.

of affordable and nutritious grains, fruits and vegetables.” Farmers need this valuable tool, he points out. A recent University of Guelph study showed that infestations of wireworms and European chafer grubs in corn crops can cause a yield loss of 3-20 bushel per acre. For someone who farms 500 acres, this could represent a reduction in their revenues of $65,000 a year. “Our industry is focused on taking a holistic look at the bee health problem to ensure that meaningful, long-term solutions are found,” says Petelle.

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Fact #3: Bees are vitally important to the sustainability of our agriculture by contributing nearly $2 billion to crop pollination in this country alone. Fact #4: More than half the bee colonies in Canada (~300,000) contribute annually to the pollination of canola. Fact #5: Approximately 80,000 colonies provide pollination services to the Canadian hybrid seed canola industry; 35,000 colonies are used to

pollinate blueberries; and 15,000 colonies are used to pollinate apples.

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April 2014

ENVIRONMENT & NATURE Recycle your old and obsolete electronics for multiple benefits (NC) Canadians are certainly faithful to separating their household garbage all week long, indicating that most of us are determined to pull our weight when it comes to protecting the environment. A growing number of Canadians, however, have added another step. Did you know that for several years now, a robust nationwide initiative has made it much easier and safer to recycle our end-of-life electronics? All recycling is beneficial, but when it comes to safely discarding electronic items like laptops, televisions, printers, and cameras, there are far more rewards in store than first meet the eye, says the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), an industry-led not-for-profit organization that operates and regulates recycling programs across the country. “When you recycle end-of-life electronic products in a safe and secure manner, you’re not only helping to keep them out of Canada’s landfill, you are also preventing them from being illegally exported or handled by irresponsible

recyclers,” says Cliff Hacking, the president and chief executive officer for EPRA. “Furthermore, when electronics are received and dismantled by approved recyclers, you are also helping to recover and recycle valuable resources that can be put back into the manufacturing supply chain.” Today, there are well over 1,000 authorized EPRA collection sites in the country, including official Drop-off Centres, plus return-to-retail locations, special recycling events – and as a result, many Canadians are doing their part. Collection records show that already as much as 100,000 metric tonnes of old electronics are kept out of landfills every year – and that is roughly the weight-equivalent of 20,000 elephants. So what happens to all those electronic products instead? Once received by an authorized collection site, the items are sent to audited and approved recyclers for specialized processing. New technology is used to break down old technology and to harvest the raw materials that went into them, including

Electronics disposal has never been easier (NC) It feels good to spring-clean and clear the house of clutter. So this year, why not savour that liberated feeling by cleaning out one more big pile? Cast your attention on old and obsolete electronic items that may be languishing in the basement or in the back of closets, and then dispose of them at authorized locations where they may even be put to good use. Did you know that when electronic items (like cameras, televisions, printers, and tablets) are responsibly recycled, a lot of raw materials are harvested for future products? As importantly, if you are the one who takes charge of all the household recycling, you will know with certainty that all of the electronics discarded by your family

glass, plastic, and precious metals like gold and copper. Substances of concern like mercury and lead are disposed of responsibly to protect both the environment and the health and safety of the workers handling them. The recovered materials are then put back into the manufacturers’ supply chain and used to make new products. It’s impossible to imagine the world today without electronics. But, says EPRA, we must also make sure that it’s impossible to imagine a world where piles of old electronics are sitting in landfills, harming our environment. As many as 80% of Canadians polled said they had at least one end-of-life electronic item in the house. Do you? If so, more information about recycling them responsibly – including an informative video is available online at

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will never get into Canadian soil to contaminate the environment. In every province now for several years, the safe and secure disposal of electronics is both easy and convenient, says the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), an industryled not-for-profit organization that operates and regulates programs across the country. Today, there are well over 1,000 authorized EPRA collection sites across Canada, including their own Drop-off Centres, plus return-to-retail locations and special recycling events. As a result of this initiative, more than 100,000 metric tonnes of old electronics have been diverted from landfills every year – and that, they say, is roughly equivalent to the weight of 20,000 elephants.

Eco-Quick Tip: Drop off obsolete electronics at one of 1,000 safe sites (NC) As many as 80% of Canadians polled said they had at least one end-of-life electronic item in the house. Do you? If so, more information about disposing of them responsibly in your community is available online at www.recycleMYelectronics. ca. On the site, take a look at the informative video as well. The Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), an industry-led not-forprofit organization that operates and regulates

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programs across the country, explains: “When you recycle end-of-life electronic products in a safe and secure manner, you’re not only helping to keep them out of Canada’s landfill, you are also preventing them from being illegally exported or handled by irresponsible recyclers. Furthermore, when electronics are received and dismantled by approved recyclers, you are also helping to recover valuable resources that can be put back into the

Recycling responsibly keeps contaminants out of Canada’s soil, water and air, but it also contributes to keeping more of the planet clean. EPRA points out that when electronics are disposed of in a safe, secure and environmentally-sound manner, it prevents them from being illegally exported or handled by irresponsible recyclers. So if you are similar to the 80% of survey respondents who said they have at least one endof-life electronic item in their home, think of the benefits all around if you start your spring cleaning this year with Click on your home province, for an informative video and for additional information, including the drop-off locations in your community.

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manufacturing supply chain.” Since 2007, the EPRA’s nationwide initiative has diverted more than 400,000 metric tonnes of electronics, roughly the weight, they say, of 80,000 elephants. Could you have an elephant in your home?

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FAMILIES & CHILDREN Community support crucial to supporting victims of abuse (NC) When Haydee first met her now ex-husband, he was very charming. But after they moved in together he became more and more controlling — she felt like she was living in a boot camp. At the time, they were living in Argentina, her native country. They moved to Canada and hoped things would be better, but they got worse. Her husband broke dishes, threw things, screamed, and threatened. He had no “off” button. Haydee was losing her spirit and passion for life. It got to the point where she didn’t recognize herself. The day before Christmas, Haydee and her daughter ran to the window to witness the magic of the first snowfall and noticed that the Christmas tree was on the front lawn, the branches scattered like lost children. The wings of the crystal angel were broken. Haydee knew then she had two choices: leave or become a statistic. She left with her daughter, taking only a small suitcase and some family photos.

Initially, they slept on the floor of an unfurnished basement apartment. Haydee’s daughter would whisper, “You are my hero. I know we will make it.” The words and trust kept her going, but she was ashamed and blamed herself. “I felt alone on a life raft, in the middle of a dark ocean,” she recalled. “I would ask my counselor at Dixon Transition House, which was supported by a grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, to tell me success stories about other women, and it was like seeing the light from a lighthouse.” Slowly but steadily, the winds of freedom created new hope for Haydee and her daughter. The RCMP kept them safe and they furnished an apartment and bought a Christmas tree. Haydee started to find her voice and shape her destiny, breaking the cycle of violence for her and future generations of women. She now educates other women and the public on the issue of domestic violence.

How to support a woman living with violence (NC) A recent Canadian Women’s Foundation study finds that two-thirds of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse. Every six days, another woman in Canada is murdered by her current or former partner. Every night, more than 3,300 women (along with 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in a women’s shelter or a transition house because it’s not safe for them at home. If you know someone who is experiencing violence, here’s what you can do to help: Be supportive. Listen and offer nonjudgmental support. Tell her the violence is not her fault, that she deserves to be treated with respect, and that you don’t blame her (even if she decides to stay). Learn more about relationship violence. Recognize the warning signs of abuse and understand why many don’t press charges against their abusers.

(NC) Mother’s Day is a time to honour and celebrate the women in our lives. But for many women, they will spend the day as a victim of domestic abuse. Every night in Canada, more than 6,000 women along with their children are forced to sleep in a women’s shelter or a transition house because it’s not safe for them at home. Yet only 10% of Canadian women who are abused access shelters, and these facilities are often at full capacity, every night. Violence against women is a serious issue that not only affects women, but also their children,

For Haydee and her daughter, their own determination and strength were crucial. But without help from the community, they said, plus the programs supported every year by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and its Annual Campaign to End Violence Against Women, they could not have transformed from victims to victors. More information on this topic is available online at

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Be aware of the risks. Be careful about how you communicate with the victim, since many abusers closely monitor their victims. Ensure your own safety. Never confront an abuser or put yourself in danger. Find resources. Before speaking to a victim, get phone numbers of local shelters, crisis lines, YWCA or agencies offering specialized services. Choose the right time and place. Be thoughtful about where and when to discuss your concerns. Choose a private place where you will not be overheard or interrupted. Voice your concerns. Be sensitive. Don’t give details about what you have witnessed, as she may feel the need to give excuses or deny what happened. Explain why you want to support her and tell her you’re ready to listen whenever she is. Put her in charge. Explore options with her and don’t try to take over or tell her what to do. If she

Together we can end violence against women

isn’t sure, simply encourage her to talk and listen without judgement. If someone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. You can help end violence against women. Throughout the month of April, the Canadian Women’s Foundation initiative called the Annual Campaign to End Violence Against Women is raising awareness – and is also raising funds to support local emergency shelters and other programs in your community. Find out how you can help at

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friends and the community. For over 22 years, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has been working to stop the violence, by funding shelters, as well as community violence prevention programs across the country. During the month leading up to Mother’s Day, the foundation is bringing together communities across Canada to raise hope for women who have experienced violence. Visit your local WINNERS and HomeSense store to donate, or to purchase one of the specially marked Canadian Women’s Foundation products as a gift for Mother’s Day, or for a special person in your life. Not only will it

brighten their day, but the net proceeds will go towards helping women and children rebuild their lives and live free from violence. More information on this topic is available online at

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April 2014

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FAMILIES & CHILDREN Giving kids a healthier start in life Ontario Challenges Communities to Support Healthy Kids (NC) Ontario is challenging communities to work together to help give kids a healthier start in life. Healthy eating and physical activity helps kids grow up to be healthy adults. That’s why Ontario is launching The Healthy Kids Community Challenge – a community led program to help Ontario’s children be the healthiest they can be. Municipalities and Aboriginal Health Access Centres/Aboriginal Community Health Centres can now submit applications for funds and other supports to implement local initiatives that increase activity levels, improve healthy food choices and promote appropriate amounts of sleep for children and youth. The challenge is the first of its kind in Canada and is based on a best practice recognized by the World Health Organization. It encourages communities to build partnerships with local organizations across all sectors — schools, health, public, private and non-profit — to promote healthy weights for kids. The need for action is clear. About 30 per cent of Ontario children and youth are considered overweight or obese. Childhood obesity impacts health in childhood and beyond with 75 per cent of obese children growing up to become obese adults. Adult obesity is associated with increased

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risk of chronic diseases and conditions, and these conditions are estimated to cost Ontario $4.5 billion per year. “A big part of keeping our kids healthy is promoting nutritious eating and physical activity,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “This initiative will give local communities resources to make Ontario’s children the healthiest they can be.” Through an application process, communities from across the province will be chosen to participate in the challenge. Selected communities will receive funding, training, and social marketing tools over a four year period to develop and implement community based programs that promote healthy living. “It is important our kids are equipped with all the right tools to succeed in life,” says Mark Holland, Director of Health Promotion and Children & Youth, Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Getting kids into healthy habits at a young age, can help set them on the right track.” Examples of activities include after-school cooking clubs with dietitians, healthy breakfast clubs for children living in poverty and walking school bus initiatives. Municipal partners could include schools, recreation centres, parents, private businesses, health care providers and other community organizations servicing children and youth.

“The Healthy Kids Community Challenge is a great way for communities to come together to get children moving and developing healthy eating habits” says Kelly Murumets, Co-Chair of the Healthy Kids Panel and President & CEO of ParticipACTION. “We need all hands on deck to make the kind of changes that will allow our children to live longer, fuller lives.” Interested communities can apply to participate in the challenge through their municipalities, Aboriginal Health Access Centres or Community Health Centres in Aboriginal communities. For more information on the program and how your community can get involved visit healthykids.

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FINANCE & BUSINESS Make sure your business mentor is the right match (NC) When a young person decides to start their own business, they usually have an idea that consumes their daily thoughts and energy. People say that they have a fire in their belly, yet there are so many things to consider, starting with: Is there a market for the product or service? Do I have the skills to be successful? Where will the start-up money come from? All of these questions can be answered readily by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. With extensive resources, CYBF can help with developing a business plan, doing market research, and providing access to financing. Most importantly, its programs match young entrepreneurs with business mentors for up to two years. A good mentor match “is the secret sauce” they say, and it’s this added ingredient that matters the most.

Finding the right mentor is a bit like online dating, but much less intimidating, participants say. After matching over 6,000 mentors and entrepreneurs in the past 16 years, CYBF says it knows what to look for in a mentor and this includes people with experience in everything from human resource management, to financial literacy. This matching process also takes account of the unique needs of entrepreneurs who are new to Canada. The organization also provides the volunteer mentors with upfront counseling so they are ready to bring the best of their skills and knowledge to this important relationship. Then, an online orientation program walks the mentor and the entrepreneur through a process that helps them assess their compatibility, and their ability to work toward shared goals and a solid business plan.

Giving back is a tribute to your business success (NC) Pay it Forward initiatives are popular across Canada. They are successful because they benefit both those who give and those who receive. “The Canadian Youth Business Foundation has its own unique Pay It Forward movement,” says CYBF Mentor in Residence, Linda Morana. “Every day, thousands of business mentors nurture and support the fantastic ideas and energy of Canada’s young entrepreneurs. This is great for the entrepreneurs, but mentors get so much out of it too.” CYBF research finds that a solid mentoring relationship is critical to the success of nearly every business start-up. Research shows that 88 per cent of entrepreneurs who have mentors survive in business, compared with only 50 per cent of those who do not. Many successful young entrepreneurs

Over the two-year commitment, young entrepreneurs will connect with their mentors, on average, about four to five hours a month. The resulting bond often lasts much longer. Like a great coach, a caring parent, or a best friend, business mentors are a key factor in the business success of young entrepreneurs, and can often make all the difference to the success of a young business. More information is available online at

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cite “quality, meaningful mentorship” as a driving force for their businesses. Mentoring increases their confidence, risk-taking and vital skills development. As a result, the learning curve for the entrepreneur becomes less steep, problems are solved earlier and complicated tasks can be simplified. Mentors offer up their experience in everything from business and financial planning to supply chain management. In exchange mentors receive a feeling of accomplishment, a personal connection, expanded networks and even news ideas for their own businesses The organization has programs help these young entrepreneurs launch their businesses by carefully hand-matching a mentor who makes a commitment up to two years to a mentoring relationship. These

Young entrepreneurs need experienced mentors (NC) Mentors are an important and invaluable resource directly linked to entrepreneurial success. Are you ready to be one? Research suggests that good mentoring is critical to business success. Indeed, 88 per cent of entrepreneurs who have mentors survive in business, while only 50 per cent of those without a mentor make it through. This is why the Canadian Youth Business Foundation provides handmatched mentors to young entrepreneurs. CYBF recruits people with diverse business know-how to help them thrive. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. They could be managing million-dollar companies or have decades of experience running local convenience stores. They may be experts in law, accounting, or marketing. They could be leading a not-forprofit organization or work as professionals for the government. Many Canadians have experience and skills that are relevant to someone in the startup phase of their business.

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business leaders devote four to five hours a month to encouraging, coaching and advising. CYBF is currently looking for business professionals from every sector and discipline to start “paying it forward” by joining the ranks of its business mentors. If you do, you will be fueling the passion of Canada’s youth, says the organization, and this will make an impact in terms of our national economic growth and social stability. By paying it forward, you will also build a culture in Canada that supports entrepreneurship – and that’s good for business and good for the country. More information is available online at mentoring.

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The organization reports that since 1997, more than 3,000 volunteer mentors have successfully guided more than 5,600 young CYBF entrepreneurs through their crucial early stages – and is currently recruiting new mentors to support Canada’s next wave of young business leaders. It only requires four to five hours per month and a commitment of up to two years. Anyone with time to give, plus a successful track record in their business sector, is welcome. “The business needs of young entrepreneurs are as diverse as the mentors themselves,” says Linda Morana, CYBF Mentor in Residence. “Professionals looking to give back while using their unique skills and experiences, and acquiring new ones, are sure to find it mutually rewarding.” Morana says that mentors will gain: • A personal connection with a young entrepreneur. • Valuable mentor training and support from CYBF’s in-house experts.

• The sense that they are making a difference and contributing to the economic development of Canada or their local community. • Pride in contributing to the launch of a successful business endeavor. • An expanded business network that has inspired new ideas and approaches for their own businesses. Additional information is available online at

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April 2014

FOOD & NUTRITION Pamper your mother the natural way (NC) They carried us in their womb for nine months; they put up with our temper tantrums, our crying, and whining; they cared for us, listened to us, and they still love us more than anything in the world. Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show this wonderful woman how truly thankful we are for everything she has done. Sometimes though, simple flowers or chocolates just don’t cut it when you want to say a real thank you. This Mother’s Day instead, show her you care by pampering her with one of these more original ideas, all of which will make her feel amazing while also keeping her happy and healthy: You are what you eat - Nothing says I love you like I want you to be healthy. This year, treat your mom to a consultation with a holistic nutritionist. She will be amazed at the incredible impact nutrition and lifestyle changes will have.

From digestive problems, to high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, anxiety or depression, a carefully constructed, individualized program by a holistic nutritionist will give your mom the inspiration, motivation, and guidance she needs to make long lasting healthy changes. Like a breath of fresh air - Skip a fatty Sunday brunch and escape the hustle and bustle of the city by taking a short drive to the country. Visit a farm that offers guided tours or fruit picking and enjoy the day together. Some organic farms also have onsite restaurants that offer delicious, gourmet, organic meals. A daytrip to the country with mom will make her feel energized and she will be happy that you chose to spend the day with her. Give her the gift of natural health - Studies suggest that, despite maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, older women are particularly prone to nutritional deficiencies. To make up for these

Beat your spring allergies naturally (NC) Spring brings different things to all of us. For some it’s a time to finally get back to jogging outside, for others it’s a time to clean the backyard and plant this year’s garden. Whichever way we decide to enjoy the spring weather, we must also be prepared for the arrival of nasty allergies Nasal congestion, runny noses, sneezing, itchy palates, and red, watery, itchy eyes can become a nightmare for many. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, don’t dread the arrival of spring. Follow these recommendations from the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) to help soothe the symptoms of your allergies and beat the sniffles and sneezes altogether: Vitamin C has been shown to reduce histamine levels. Made by the body, histamines are linked to allergy symptoms. Vitamin C has also been shown to help decrease the sensitivity of our respiratory tract to histamines. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that prevents the release of histamines and other inflammatory chemicals that can cause allergy symptoms. It has been found to be extremely effective at reducing the symptoms of spring allergies. Quercetin can be purchased as a supplement

(381 words + 1 photo) shortfalls in their diet, some doctors recommend that older women take supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, probiotics and omega 3s. Visit a local natural health retailer and purchase a gift card for your mother to stock up on some of these essential vitamins and minerals. Helpful and knowledgeable staff can help guide her and answer her questions. To locate the nearest natural health retailer and for more tips, visit the Canadian Health Food Association’s (CHFA) website at

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from your natural health food retailer or alternatively cayenne pepper and garlic are also great natural sources. Organic thyme can help to naturally relieve congestion that often occurs during the onset of spring allergies. It also aids in fighting infections caused by phlegm. To experience its benefits, drink a tea made from fresh thyme twice a day or take a supplement that preserves the natural properties of the herb. Organic Peppermint tea also helps to relieve congestion; this is because the essential oils of peppermint tea are a natural decongestant. By eliminating the mucus and buildup in your respiratory tract, you also eliminate some of the allergens and irritants that may get caught there. Organic chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties offer great relief to dry, itchy eyes. Place cold, wet organic chamomile tea bags over your eyes for 10 minutes for a lasting soothing effect. Honey’s healing qualities make it a great natural treatment for soothing sore throats caused by allergies. It’s also widely believed that eating honey produced by bees in your

region can help relieve allergies. Bees transfer pollen from flower blossoms to honey, so if you eat honey produced in your region, you will gradually become inoculated against the irritating effects of the pollen in your area. Organic Ginger is a natural pain killer and anti-inflammatory. It can also help soothe the irritation of the respiratory tract and is especially powerful when combined with honey. Whatever natural alternatives you decided to try this spring, remember it’s always best to consult your health care practitioner before making any significant changes to your supplement regimen. More information is available at your local natural health retailer, or online at

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FOOD & NUTRITION Get back into shape quickly and naturally (NC) As we put the long heavy coats and wooly sweaters away in storage until next winter, we often come to the realization that last year’s spring-summer clothes just don’t fit anymore. What’s changed? There’s no denying that a long, harsh winter can wreak havoc on our diet and fitness routines. With the cold weather finally behind us, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures and get back in shape for swimsuit season. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has some helpful suggestions to help get your beach body back. When considering weight-loss goals, the research consistently shows that creating a negative energy balance is essential. This means that you should spend more energy—in the form of calories—than you consume. This can be achieved through diet and exercise, both of which will benefit and create better results especially when paired with certain supplements. While a proper exercise regimen is essential to maintain your lean body mass, adding a protein supplement to that regime helps maintain your muscle mass and therefore assists in the fat-loss process. Protein is a vital macronutrient, essential for the transport of fuels to be burned for energy;

it builds anti-bodies for your immune system, and helps muscles repair. Muscle repair and growth increases your resting metabolism, meaning that you burn more calories in every activity, whether sitting, standing, or at the gym. Supplemental protein, when needed, can also help because it has a high-satiety factor, meaning that it will leave you feeling fuller for longer. If you’re vegan, try rice, hemp, or pea protein as a substitute for whey protein. Recent studies show that maintaining healthy gut flora is also key to achieving your optimal size. Weight problems can potentially indicate an unhealthy digestive tract. Adding a probiotic to your regimen will help you shed pounds by maintaining a healthy digestive tract that is able to eliminate harmful bacteria, toxins and other waste products, helping to improve your overall digestive health. Probiotics also help improve your immune and cardiovascular systems. Fibre is a nutrient that is lacking in many of our diets. The recommended daily intake is 25 to 30 mg per day, but some people are only getting a fraction of that. Fibre helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, decreasing the chances that you will overeat during the day. It’s also an essential nutrient for digestive health. You can very easily get

Getting Healthy Flavour Out of Your BBQ (NC) Few things beat the aroma and flavour of a spring and summer barbecue, especially when the grilling happens on a sunny, warm weekend. Be aware, however, that some research suggests that barbecuing can be associated with health issues. For risk-free and delicious grilling, take a look at these recommendations from the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA). The fat in meat, when grilled at high temperatures, is the prime culprit in the association between barbecuing and health concerns. This is because it forms carcinogenic compounds that linger in the meat or, when melted off, deposit back into your food by way of the smoke rising from your BBQ. To avoid this, CHFA has several recommendations.

(536 words + 1 photo) the recommended amount of fibre by eating vegetables and whole grains. However, if you still have trouble getting the recommended daily intake, taking a daily supplement can be very helpful for maintaining overall digestive health and to help in your weight loss goals. Green tea extract contains caffeine, cathecins and thiamine, all of which have been shown to boost metabolism. Green tea extract can also lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Adding this supplement is a safe and natural way to speed up your weight loss. When making significant changes to your fitness, nutrition, or supplement routines, it’s always important to talk to your health care practitioner to ensure that these changes are right for you. To discover other natural health tips and to locate the nearest natural health retailer, visit

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Go for leaner cuts of quality meat and cook them at lower temperatures, for longer. What little fat is present in your meat will only form dangerous compounds at high temperatures, so this method will still have delicious results without the worry. Keep in mind that larger portions will take longer to cook, so opting for smaller cuts of meat and grilling more of them will reduce the cooking time of each piece. Choose a vegetarian menu. It will also reduce your exposure to the risky compounds. This is because the carcinogens form in the fat of meats, which are non-existent in veggies. In addition to reducing the risk associated with these compounds, grilling vegetables will actually provide the many benefits you can expect from consuming quality produce. When possible, choose organic items for

reduced exposure to pesticides and other unwanted toxins, says CHFA. However, make sure to keep your grill clean because the charred residue from previous barbecues will deposit the dangerous compounds into your veggies. Additional information on this topic is available online at

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April 2014

FOOD & NUTRITION Give your furry friend the best health possible (NC) To pet owners, our furry friends are people too. We go through the joys of raising them much like we do our children—and in return, they bring us endless happiness and unconditional love. We learn our pets’ individual characters and adore them for their quirks and unique personalities. In short, pet parents consider these little ones to be important members of the family, and treat them accordingly. When it comes to optimizing their health, did you know there are a couple of extra things you can do, in addition to getting them the best food? Similar to our human diet, we often find nutritional deficiencies which can cause a variety of problems if they are not addressed. Even the best

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pet food will have similar disadvantages because, like humans, our pets are not all the same. Many of the natural health products that you and your family use (like safe and effective vitamin and mineral supplements) can also be found speciallyformulated to fit your pet’s unique needs. Natural remedies are becoming more widely available. These range from anxiety remedies, allergy products, natural flea solutions and even lawn care, to the more familiar vitamins and minerals like multivitamins, probiotics and Omega-3s – all specially-formulated for your pet. As we become more conscious of age-related pet problems, as well as common daily health issues like allergies or digestive problems, natural alternatives are good solutions to your

Celebrate our culture with maple syrup foods (NC) Canada makes more of its quintessential maple syrup than any other nation on Earth. The time-honoured process depends on a careful reduction method that intensifies the flavours of the natural sugars in the sap. And we do lay claim to it. A global survey found that Canadians consume about five times more maple syrup than folks in other countries. Amy Snider-Whitson, a food trendoligist and professional home economist, predicts maple will continue to be one of the hot flavours this spring, a view shared by syrup producers, brewers, and makers of specialty food and beverage products. Like Canada’s other

Maple is making a comeback this spring. (NC) If you look on food shelves and at restaurant menus, it’s hard not to notice that maple has become a hot food trend, flavoring everything from beer to yogurt, potato chips and now bagels. Chefs, food manufacturers and even brew masters are embracing maple for its natural goodness and diverse flavour profile including brown or burnt sugar, caramel, toasty, woody, malty, sweet and slightly smoky. “Maple is about to come into its own as a hot trend this spring,” says food trendoligist and Professional

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signature creations – ice wine and whiskey – some maple syrup producers are taking an artisanal approach, making it in small batches and even maturing it in bourbon barrels like a fine spirit. Even the bread makers are getting into the act. Dempster’s, for example, has just launched their limited edition Maple French Toast Bagels, a product that marries a classic Canadian breakfast food with the flavour of maple syrup. The baker points out that the bagels can be topped with a variety of spreads to create unique sweet or savory combinations – and are only available in grocery stores until

Maple: a hot flavour trend this spring

pet’s ailments, potentially saving you expensive trips to the vet and making them feel healthy and energized. The Canadian Health Food Association recommends speaking to your veterinarian for recommendations, to your natural health retailer, and visiting for additional information.

May 22. To learn more, go to www.dempsters. ca. Source: Massive Health Survey http://

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Home Economist, Amy Snider-Whitson of The Test Kitchen Inc. “It’s a quintessential Canadian flavour that has a prominent place at breakfast tables across the country.” “The sweet yet toasty nature of maple pairs well with both sweet and savory foods, such as: peanut or other nut butters, peameal, bacon or ham, aged cheddar, tart apples, and cream cheese,” adds Snider-Whitson. Dempster’s is jumping on the maple bandwagon and introducing limited edition Maple French Toast Bagels. Combining two of Canada’s most-loved foods – maple and bagels – these bagels make a

sweet addition to any breakfast. Dempster’s Maple French Toast Bagels are available at major grocery store chains in Canada for a limited time from now through May 22. To learn more, go to www.

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FOOD & NUTRITION Bagels: Canada’s ultimate breakfast food (NC) Forget cereal – it’s time to give a toast to bagels for breakfast. Canadians love bagels – in fact, 60 per cent of us eat bagels on a regular basis with nearly a quarter enjoying them daily or several times a week. Canada’s most bagel-loving province is Ontario at 66 per cent, closely followed by Atlantic Canada (61 per cent), and Alberta (59 per cent). The majority of Canadians (90 per cent) also prefer their bagels toasted, with one-third topping them with cream cheese. Dempster’s Bakery is giving Canadians another reason to fall in love with bagels with the launch

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of its new, limited edition Maple French Toast Bagels. Toasted to perfection with a hint of maple flavour, these bagels can be enjoyed plain or with a variety of sweet or savory toppings. “Combining two of Canada’s most beloved foods – maple and bagels – Dempster’s Maple French Toast Bagels make the ultimate breakfast choice,” says food expert and Professional Home Economist Amy Snider-Whitson of The Test Kitchen. “You can’t get more Canadian than that!” Dempster’s Maple French Toast Bagels are available at major grocery store chains across

Canada until May 22. To learn more, go to www.

Add a splash of sunshine to your lunch food

Serve warm and creamy maple bagels

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(97 words + 1 photo) (NC) It’s maple syrup time, so how about giving your family a breakfast treat like this? Maple, Berry & Cream Bagels Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients: 1 Dempster’s Maple French Toast Bagel, split 2 tbsp (30 ml) ricotta cheese ½ cup (125 ml) mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) 2 tsp (10 ml) maple syrup Pinch of cinnamon 2 sprigs of fresh mint, roughly chopped Directions: Lightly toast the bagel. Spread each half with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of Ricotta cheese. Top with mixed berries. Drizzle with maple syrup, a sprinkling of cinnamon and chopped fresh mint.

(NC) A busy lifestyle can mean that our lunch is a grab-and-go option from a nearby restaurant or grocery store. This, of course, can mean that little thought is put into its nutritional value. Instead, packing a lunch can be enjoyable and it will help you get valuable nutrients. “Packaging a simple salad for lunch is one of the easiest ways to help ensure you meet the Canada Food Guide’s recommended daily intake for adults of seven to 10 fruits and vegetables,” says Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian at the University of Florida. “If you find your salads a little bland, experiment with homemade dressings and replace vinegars or water with 100% orange juice to add a boost of flavour to your meal.” This refreshing salad is perfect with added protein at lunch. The chia seeds help the orange juice infused dressing thicken as it marinates. Avocado Cucumber Salad with Chia Yogurt Dressing 1 large ripe avocado or 2 smaller avocadoes 1 each red and yellow pepper, chopped 1 small English cucumber, chopped Orange Chia Dressing:

1/2 cup (125 ml) Florida orange juice 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain Greek 0% yogurt 2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro or mint 2 tsp (10 ml) chia seeds 1 small clove garlic, minced 1 tsp (5 ml) each Dijon mustard and granulated sugar 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt Peel and pit avocado. Chop avocado and combine with peppers and cucumber into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together Florida orange juice, yogurt, cilantro, chia seeds, garlic, mustard, sugar and salt. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat; let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Makes six servings.

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April 2014

FOOD & NUTRITION Add fruit juice to brighten any dish (NC) It’s always a challenge to eat healthy on a daily basis when trying to manage a busy lifestyle. A recent survey by the Florida Department of Citrus found that 50 per cent of Canadians report they only consume one to three servings of the Canada Food Guide’s recommended daily intake of seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. “There are simple ways to increase this without disrupting your daily routine,” says Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian at the University of Florida. “For example, a 250 ml glass of 100 per cent orange juice is easy to drink with a meal and counts as two servings of fruit.” Orange juice can also be easily incorporated into a number of dishes to give them an added boost of flavour, Rampersaud points out. The following recipe blends 100 per cent Florida orange juice into the ingredients for tender and spicy chicken thighs:

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Florida Orange Sriracha Maple Chicken Thighs with Spring Greens 3/4 cup (175 ml) Florida orange juice 2 tsp (10 ml) smoked paprika 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano or 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh oregano 1/4 cup (60 ml) sriracha chili sauce 3 tbsp (45 ml) pure maple syrup 2 lbs (1 kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs Spring Greens: 1 pkg (142 g) mixed spring greens 1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil 2 tbsp (30 ml) apple cider or white wine vinegar 1 tbsp (15 ml) Florida orange juice Pinch each dried oregano, salt and pepper In a large bag, combine orange juice, paprika, garlic, oregano, chili sauce and maple syrup. Add

Fuel your day with a balanced breakfast (NC) It is widely agreed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It kicks starts your metabolism, provides energy and sets the tone for all your activities. To get the most out of your morning meal try to include whole-grains, protein, fruit, fibre and calcium. If busy mornings mean you usually skip breakfast, try a healthy baked recipe that is easy to eat on the go. “If you’re looking for an extra boost of flavour in the morning try adding 100 per cent fruit juice to your meal,” says Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian at the University of Florida. “Orange juice adds flavour to recipes and drinking a 250 ml glass is an excellent source of vitamin C.” As a flavour agent and source of essential nutrients, citrus can bring some extra sunshine to your morning. These chocolate muffins offer fibre and the fresh taste 100 per cent orange juice.

Beefy Burritos

chicken; seal bag and turn to massage chicken evenly. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight. Place chicken on oiled, preheated grill over medium heat, turning once or twice for 10 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink inside and juices run clear. In a large bowl, toss greens with oil, vinegar, orange juice, oregano, salt and pepper and serve with chicken. Makes 8 servings.

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Orange Cocoa Nib Date Muffins 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) Florida orange juice 1 cup (250 ml) chopped pitted Medjool dates 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour with added bran 1/2 cup (125 ml) natural unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup (125 ml) wheat bran 1 tsp (5 mL) each baking powder and baking soda 1/4 cup (60 ml) cocoa nibs 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil 2 eggs 1/4 cup (60 ml) packed light brown sugar 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract In a saucepan, combine Florida orange juice and dates over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for two minutes or until softened. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, bran, baking powder and baking soda and cocoa nibs; set aside. Whisk, canola oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla into date mixture and pour over flour mixture until well moistened. Line or lightly grease muffin tin and scoop batter into 10 muffin cups. Bake in centre of 375 F (190 C) oven for about 15 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Makes 10 muffins.

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(NC) Add a flavourful twist to burrito night by blending half the beef with finely chopped mushrooms. Serves 4 Prep Time: 20 mins. Cook Time: 20 mins. Ingredients: 8 oz Fresh Crimini Mushrooms – 250 mg ½ lb lean ground beef – 250g 1 tbsp canola oil – 15 mL 2 tbsp Tex-Mex Seasoning Blend - 30 mL 1 pkt Mushroom seasoning blend -5 g 1 cup reduced sodium refried beans - 250 mL 4 large flour tortillas – 4 1 cup cooked Spanish rice - 250 mL 2 cups shredded lettuce – 500 mL ½ cup salsa – 125 mL

½ cup guacamole (optional) 125 mL ½ cup fat free sour cream (optional) 125 mL ¾ cup shredded part skim Cheddar cheese – 180 mL Method: • Place the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground beef; pulse until well combined. • Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, Tex-Mex seasoning and mushroom seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes until mushroom mixture is browned. • Spread the refried beans over each tortilla. Spoon in rice, and top with the mushroom mixture, lettuce, salsa and optional guacamole and sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese, and roll up burritos. • Coat a hot nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place the burritos, seam side down, and toast on

both sides for 3 to 4 minutes until heated through. Tip: Many brands carry Spanishstyle rice that can be prepared in the microwave for a quick dinner. Nutrition facts: per serving Calories: 503 Sodium: 743 mg Protein: 28 g Fat: 21g Carbohydrates: 48 g Dietary Fibre: 6 g

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FOOD & NUTRITION Cut Calories, Not Taste

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(NC) Every parents dream is a healthy child. Battle childhood obesity with lighter family favourites like blended burgers, blended spaghetti, blended pizza and blended tacos by replacing a portion of the ground meat with mushrooms. The technique is easy; Blend finely-chopped, umamirich mushrooms with a portion of ground meat in classic family meals. Mushroom Blendability helps to bring another serving of vegetables to the plate, add volume to meals and extend portions. Finely chopped mushrooms look similar and blend seamlessly with ground meat, so classics can be healthier without losing taste or satisfying texture. This method gives each meal a better nutritional profile too. Mushrooms add important nutrients

Sloppy Joes

like vitamin D, potassium, B vitamins and the antioxidants selenium and ergothioneine. Using a blended mushroom mixture decreases the calories in the meal and lowers saturated fat and cholesterol content. Blendability works in any ratio- for a meatier dish, a 50/50 blend satisfies, or for lighter fare with hearty texture, try 80 percent mushrooms and 20 percent ground meat. You may also choose to sauté mushrooms beforehand when making a recipe like burgers or meatballs where you want to hold a shape. When cooking with dryer meats, fresh, chopped mushrooms bring moisture to the dish. Try Mushroom Blendability at home. Start with a simple recipe like a blended Beefy Burrito or a

classic Sloppy Joe. With mushrooms, the possibilities are endless no matter how you dice ‘em. Blend & Extend with more delicious M u s h r o o m Blendability recipes, available online at www.mushrooms. ca.

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(NC) Revisit your childhood with the flavours of a retro classic made more nutritious with whole foods including mushrooms. Serves 4 Prep Time: 20 mins. Cook Time: 15 mins. Ingredients:

¾ tsp salt – 4 mL ½ tsp pepper – 2 mL 1 cup tomato sauce – 250 mL 3 tbsp brown sugar – 45 mL 3 tbsp cider vinegar – 30 mL 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – 30 mL 4 whole-wheat hamburger rolls -4 Method Toss the coleslaw with the green onion and dressing until well combined; set aside. Place the mushrooms and onion in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground beef and pulse until well combined. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture and seasoning blend. Cook for 10 minutes or until browned and the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the

2 cups coleslaw blend – 500 mL ¼ cup chopped green onion – 60 mL ¼ cup coleslaw dressing – 60 mL 8 oz fresh button mushrooms – 250 g 1 onion chopped – 1 ¾ lb lean ground beef – 375 g 1 tbsp canola oil – 15 mL 1 pkt Mushroom Seasoning Blend – 5 g

Pair springtime fun with a cool glass of lemonade (NC)–Why not toast the arrival of warmer temperatures and longer days with a refreshing and tasty beverage? This delicious strawberry lemonade is the perfect drink after a day outdoors, and makes a sweet addition to any weekend brunch. Lightly sweetened with naturally-sourced stevia, each serving contains only 32 calories, meaning you can treat yourself to a glass (or two) without any guilt. Strawberry Lemonade Makes 5 servings Ingredients: 2 cups (500 ml) hulled fresh strawberries* 1 cup (250 ml) fresh lemon juice (4 to 5 lemons) 2/3 cup (150 ml) Pure Via Granulated sweetener** 4 1/2 cups (1.125 litres) water Ice cubes

tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and Wo r c e s t e r s h i r e sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve on rolls topped with coleslaw. Nutrition facts – per serving Calories: 408 Sodium: 457 mg Protein: 26 g Fat: 15 g Carbohydrates: 44 g Dietary Fibre: 5.5 g

April 2014

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Fresh whole strawberries, optional Fresh mint, optional Preparation: 1. Purée the 2 cups (500 ml) strawberries in a blender container. 2. Add lemon juice and sweetener, blending just until combined. 3. Pour mixture into a pitcher. 4. Stir in water. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 5. Place a few ice cubes in each glass. Pour in strawberry lemonade mixture. 6. Garnish each glass with a fresh whole strawberry and a sprig of mint. *Or substitute frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed, drained **Or substitute 15 packets Pure Via sweetener Nutritional information per serving (250 mL) Calories: 32 Total fat: <1g

Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 10 mg Carbohydrates: 10 g Protein 1g Additional caloriewise and delicious beverage ideas are available at www. Note that stevia, the sweetener in Pure Via, is also known as steviol glycosides.

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FOOD & NUTRITION Treat yourself to a calorie-conscious crumble (NC)–For a unique dessert that will satisfy sweet cravings while keeping calories at bay, serve this delicious, fruit-filled dish. A flavourful medley of chopped mangoes and fresh lime is covered with a crunchy oatmeal topping for a non-traditional treat that looks and tastes heavenly. Lightly sweetened with naturallysourced stevia, each serving contains only 157 calories and is sure to delight the senses. Mango Lime Crumble Makes 6 servings Ingredients: Oat Topping: Vegetable cooking spray 3/4 cup (175 ml) old-fashioned oats 9 packets Pure Via Turbinado and Stevia Blend sweetener* 3 tbsp (45 ml) butter, melted 2 tbsp (30 ml) all-purpose flour 1/4 tsp (1 ml) cinnamon

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Mango Mixture: 3 cups (750 ml) peeled, seeded, chopped mango 1 tbsp (15 ml) grated lime peel 2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lime juice 1/4 cup (50 ml) Pure Via Granulated sweetener** Preparation: 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray; set aside. 2. For topping, combine all ingredients. Place on prepared baking sheet in a thin layer. 3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. 4. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet on wire rack. 5. Meanwhile, for the mango mixture, combine all ingredients, stirring well. 6. To serve, divide mango mixture evenly between 6 dessert dishes and top each with oat topping. *Or substitute 3 tbsp (45 ml) Pure Via Granulated or 4 1/2 packets Pure Via sweetener

Indulge freely in this delicious low-calorie snack (NC)–If you’re looking for an afternoon pick-meup, skip the junk food and reach for one of these tasty, easy-to-make, calorie-reduced bites. Packed with flavourful ingredients like oats, raisins and vanilla, these goodies keep your mouth happy and your stomach satisfied. Lightly sweetened with naturally-sourced stevia, each serving of peanut butter granola bites contains 6 grams of protein and only 170 calories, making this a perfectly sensible snack. Peanut Butter Granola Bites Makes 15 servings Ingredients: Cooking spray 2 cups (500 ml) cornflakes 1 cup (250 ml) uncooked quick oats 2/3 cup (150 ml) seedless raisins 1/2 cup (125 ml) egg whites 1/2 cup (125 ml) chunky peanut butter* 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) Pure Via Granulated sweetener

Additional calorie-reduced recipe ideas are available at Note that stevia, the sweetener in Pure Via, is also known as steviol glycosides.

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2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar free syrup 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon Preparation: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. 2. Combine cornflakes, oats and raisins in a large mixing bowl. 3. Combine egg whites and peanut butter in another mixing bowl. Stir in the sweetener, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon until blended. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal mixture. Mix gently until well combined. Let stand 5 minutes. 4. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely on wire rack. Store in covered container at room temperature. *For a peanut butter alternative, substitute 1/2 cup (125 ml) almond butter. Stir in 4 tsp (20 ml) all-purpose flour into the combined cereal

Dietitians can guide your whole family to better health (NC) Parents and other caregivers face the daily challenges of preparing healthy meals for their family as they grow through the various stages of life. Children in particular have specific nutrition needs as they grow into teenagers. If you are a baby boomer, you may be dealing with the competing nutrition needs of children or grandchildren, with aging parents, and with your own health requirements. If you are looking for safe and reliable advice about what to eat for better health, a registered dietitian can help. As regulated health professionals, dietitians have the knowledge and skills necessary to help you plan healthy meals through all stages of life. They are experienced in translating medical

**Or substitute 6 packets Pure Via sweetener Nutritional information per serving Calories: 157 Total fat: 7 g Cholesterol: 15 mg Sodium: 52 mg Carbohydrates: 25 g Protein 2 g

and peanut butter mixture before letting it stand. Nutritional information per serving (2 bites) Calories: 170 Total fat: 9 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 42 mg Carbohydrates: 18 g Protein 6 g Additional calorie-conscious recipes are available at Note that stevia, the sweetener in Pure Via, is also known as steviol glycosides.

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and nutrition information into practical eating plans and strategies to keep you and your family healthy. For example, they can help with weight management, food allergies or sensitivities, picky eaters, develop eating plans for young athletes, or for anyone suffering from nutrition-related diseases like diabetes or high cholesterol. “The College of Dietitians of Ontario works for the public to make sure that dietitians offer safe nutrition services for people of all ages,” says Mary Lou Gignac, the registrar and executive director for the college. “To practice in Ontario, Registered Dietitians achieve the college standards for academic and practical education, ethics, professional conduct, and continuing competence

– and, all dietitians must participate in our Quality Assurance Program to make sure that they stay current with nutrition science throughout their career. You can expect them to bring a high degree of skills, judgment and knowledge to provide safe nutrition services.” As regulated health professionals, dietitians are held accountable for their conduct. If you have any concerns or complaints about the services you have received from a dietitian, you can call the college for help. More information is available online at

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FOOD & NUTRITION Online source gives you reliable nutrition information (NC) If you would like top-tier guidance when it comes to your daily menus, keep in mind that Registered Dietitians are a trusted source for nutrition information. They are skilled in translating food science into practical eating plans to help you and your family enjoy a healthy lifestyle. They also help people manage nutrition-related diseases and health conditions including, diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, digestive issues and food allergies. Registered Dietitians support people of all ages to achieve nutrition goals, such as increased energy, weight loss and overall well-being. They are also highly qualified. Registered dietitians are regulated health professionals who must be members of the College of Dietitians

of Ontario to practice in this province. “To be a member of the college means that a dietitian has met rigorous standards of education,” says Mary Lou Gignac, the registrar and executive director for the college. “They are accountable for ongoing competence and for the delivery of quality nutrition services throughout their career. You can access the services of a registered dietitian by consulting your physician (or other primary care provider), or by searching online for a “registered dietitian” in your area, or by going to and clicking on Find a Dietitian. Although these services are not covered by OHIP, there are many government funded services through one of the Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, Diabetes Education Programs, hospitals and long-term care residences.

Identify the source of all nutrition information (NC) If you’re looking for the most reliable information about your daily diet, be sure to understand the difference between a registered dietitian and a nutritionist. In Ontario, “nutritionist” is not a protected title. Anyone can legally provide nutrition information and call themselves a nutritionist. On the other hand, the title ‘dietitian’ is protected by law. To be qualified to be a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario and to use the title “dietitian”, a person must have the foundational knowledge and practice skills normally acquired through a four-year university degree in science and nutrition and almost a full year of internship. They must also pass the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination. These professionals have “Registered Dietitian” or the RD after their name. Public Health Nutritionists are also

(NC) As a health consumer, you have a right to clear, complete information and a right to be involved in all decisions about your health care. You also have a right to refuse or consent to proposed treatments. The best way to exercise your consumer rights when you visit a dietitian is to be prepared.. How is that done? First, make sure that the Registered Dietitian is qualified to practice in Ontario. Check the Register of Dietitians at A dietitian is required by law to clearly identify themselves as a Registered Dietitian. On your first visit, the dietitian will conduct a nutrition screening or assessment and will work with you to develop a nutrition plan of action. Be prepared to share important information about your health and your nutrition concerns if

Many insurance companies also offer benefits for nutrition services by registered dietitians. Free and reliable nutrition information is available through the Eat Right Ontario program called “Ask a Dietitian”. This service provides a direct link to answer your questions. Call 1-877-510-5102, or browse the website at www. The Register of Dietitians (at www. will tell you whether a person is allowed to practice in Ontario. The register is current and contains business contact information, restrictions on the practice (if there are any) and gives important information about any registration and discipline history.

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Registered Dietitians, but they have completed a master’s degree relevant to public health. What sets Registered Dietitians apart is that they are the only regulated nutrition professional in the province. This means they are accountable to their regulatory body, the College of Dietitians of Ontario, for safe competent and ethical nutrition services. “To practice in Ontario, Registered Dietitians achieve high standards for academic and practical training, ethics, professional conduct, and continuing competence”, says Mary Lou Gignac, the registrar and executive director for the college. “All dietitians must participate in the Quality Assurance Program for professional development and demonstration of their continued competence to practice. You can expect that dietitians in Ontario bring a high degree of skills, judgment and knowledge to their nutrition practice.”

What to expect when you visit a dietitian

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Dietitians are skilled in translating medical and nutrition information into practical healthy eating plans for you and your family, Gignac points out. They provide individualized nutrition advice to help people make choices about foods and supplements for better health. Dietitians can help you with many nutrition concerns including food sensitivities and allergies, disease-specific nutrition care plans, and healthy meal plans. “RDs are also trained to consider how culture, traditions, values, beliefs, family and personal lifestyles all affect nutrition health,” Gignac continued. “When you receive services from an RD, you can expect respectful and collaborative care.” Additional information is available online at

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you want to learn the full picture of your health condition. Bring along any medical information that may help. It would also help to bring a list of questions and know what you want to achieve. By law, a dietitian must have your informed consent before starting any treatment plan. Informed consent depends on your understanding of the assessment, treatment plan, available options and expected outcomes. If you are uncertain about anything, ask questions before giving your consent. Dietitians are trained to listen and to answer all your questions. You are free to bring someone along to help you understand the key points. Your dietitian may provide written or online resources to help you reach nutrition goals. At the end of your visit, confirm instructions or

any information about your treatment. Be clear about the treatment goals, next steps, or followup appointments. Remember that as a health care consumer, you are partnering with your dietitian to achieve the best results possible. “The College of Dietitians of Ontario works to help dietitians maintain ethical, respectful and professional relationships with their clients,” says Mary Lou Gignac, the registrar and executive director for the college. “The dietitian-client relationship is based on mutual trust and respect; any act of abuse is a betrayal of that trust.” As regulated health professionals, dietitians are held accountable for their conduct so if you have any concerns or complaints, be sure to contact the college for help.

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HEALTH & SAFETY Good oral hygiene is a must for Canada’s seniors (NC)—Thanks to healthier lifestyles, as well as advances in oral and medical care, Canadians can expect to keep most, if not all of their natural teeth as they enter their senior years. But keeping those teeth healthy can be a challenge. According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 53% of adults ages 60 to 79 do not have dental insurance, and the lack of coverage is one of the main reasons why they don’t see a dental professional. Because older adults have specific dental needs, seniors and their caregivers should be aware of the importance of regular dental care. Bacteria from the mouth can travel and develop into serious infections affecting overall health,

specialists say. Many medications can cause dry mouth, a condition that can contribute to cavities and other oral problems. Seniors also develop more cavities on the roots of their teeth than younger adults. As a result, all older adults should be encouraged to brush natural teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean in between the teeth at least once a day. Dentures (full or partial) should be cleaned and soaked daily and the gums should be brushed and massaged, either with a soft toothbrush or with a warm, damp cloth. Whether you’re at home or in a long-term care residence, good oral hygiene coupled with regular treatments by a dental hygienist can help to prevent

Join the fight against early dental decay (NC) We don’t easily associate cavities and gum disease with our little ones, but in reality these problems can begin very early. A 2013 report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information revealed that severe tooth decay and cavities, both of which are highly preventable, are now the leading cause of day surgery in this country among children ages 1 to 5 years. Approximately 19,000 children under the age of 6 undergo day surgery each year to treat dental decay. While these figures are alarming, parents can reduce the risks by instilling good oral hygiene habits early, as follows: • Wipe baby’s mouth and gums with a clean, wet cloth or piece of gauze after feeding.

more serious health problems. Together, you can plan a daily oral care routine that will keep your teeth, and you, healthy for life. More information on this topicis a v a i l a b l e online at www.

• Gradually introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet. These foods, which require chewing, stimulate saliva flow and help to neutralize acids. • Begin regular dental visits by age one. Additional tips and information are available online at

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a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Help children to make healthy food choices, avoiding sweets and sugars. Have them fitted for a sports mouthguard to be worn during athletic activity. Teenagers: Remind them to brush their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash, and clean in between the teeth at least once a day. Help your teenager to eliminate tobacco use and eat nutritious foods that are low in sugar. Teens should also remember to wear a sports mouthguard during active play.

More information about oral care is available online at www. dentalhygienecanada. ca.

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April 2014

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• Avoid fruit punches and other sweetened drinks in baby bottles, especially before bed. • Reduce the frequency of nighttime feedings. • Use only pacifiers with an orthodontic design, and don’t dip them in sugary substances. • Avoid transfer of your saliva onto items used by baby, including bottles, cups, and pacifiers. Bacteria spread. • Gently clean newly erupted teeth with a small, soft toothbrush. • Rinse your child’s mouth with water immediately after any liquid medication is given. • Check for early warning signs by lifting up baby’s top lip. White, chalky teeth, or brown or black stained teeth, indicate a problem. Contact your dental professional immediately.

Teach kids how to take care of their teeth (NC)— Good oral health is essential to total health and well-being at any age. Help your children to develop daily oral hygiene habits that will give them something to smile about. Here are some helpful tips: Children ages 3–6: Help your little ones to brush their teeth twice a day, using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Show them how to brush every tooth surface and their tongue, and make sure that they spit out the toothpaste when they are done. Children ages 6–13: Encourage them to begin flossing once a day, in addition to brushing twice

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HEALTH & SAFETY Oral hygiene is crucial to overall good health (NC)— The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body. While many of us think that the worst outcome of poor dental hygiene is tooth loss, research now shows a direct link between oral health and your overall well-being. Periodontal disease, a disease of the gums and supporting bone, has been linked to a number of serious illnesses including diabetes, lung and heart diseases, and stroke. There are millions of bacteria in the mouth, and ignoring oral health routines can lead to inflammation, causing these bacteria to grow and spread at alarming rates, even into the bloodstream.

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We do have a partner, however, in this fight for better oral health. Dental hygienists point out that they are primary health care providers who will guide us every step of the way. Whether working in a dental office, a clinic, a hospital, a retirement home or in the community, a dental hygienist is a licensed, oral health care professional who has the skills, knowledge, and judgment to facilitate early detection of oral health problems and diseases. At a dental visit, your hygienist will assess your health history, examine your head and neck, and check your mouth. Together you will develop an oral hygiene plan that includes prevention and treatment therapies to ensure the best overall health possible. If necessary, your dental hygienist

may refer to you other health care professionals. The simplest way to locate this professional is through a dental office – and there are many dental hygienists who own and operate their own independent practices. Additional tips and information on this topic is available online at

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(NC)— Pay attention to your mouth, dental hygienists say. Indeed, these professionals are our partners in disease prevention, encouraging us to brush, floss, and rinse to protect our overall good health. And they do more than just clean teeth. Dental hygienists are primary health care providers who can guide us every step of the way. They play a vital role in treating oral health problems and detecting more serious issues in the mouth. Prevention today will protect you tomorrow so additional information on this topic is also available online at www.

(NC) Dedicate yourself to a daily oral hygiene routine and the benefits will last a lifetime, dental hygienists say. This commitment is the cornerstone of overall health and well-being and it is the key to a happy and productive life. All it takes is five simple steps: 1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. 2. Floss between your teeth daily. 3. Rinse using an antiseptic mouthwash.

5. Choose to be tobacco free. Tobacco products can stain your teeth and increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Add a visit to your dental hygienist every six months and all combined you’ll be smiling.

4. Make healthy food choices. Nutritious food low in sugar is good for both oral and overall health.

A dental hygienist is your partner in prevention (NC)—Oral health is the cornerstone of overall physical, social, and mental well-being. Without a good oral hygiene plan, we put ourselves at risk for serious health complications. In fact, research shows that unchecked plaque on the teeth can result in gingivitis and tooth decay. Even worse, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is now recognized as a risk factor for diabetes, lung and heart diseases, and stroke. A dental hygienist has the skills, knowledge, and judgment to facilitate early detection of these issues. They can also help us to maintain good oral health and prevent oral diseases across the lifespan. At a dental visit, a hygienist will examine your mouth, head, and neck and recommend

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preventive treatments, such as dental sealants or fluoride when warranted. A hygienist can also custom-fit you with a mouthguard if you’re involved in sports where orofacial injury is a risk. As importantly, a dental hygienist will work with you to develop an oral hygiene plan based on six simple steps: 1. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. 2. Floss daily. 3. Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once a day. 4. Eat healthy foods and avoid sugary treats. 5. Eliminate tobacco use. 6. Schedule regular dental visits.

Dental hygienists are a vital partner in disease prevention, working in a variety of settings and can guide you to the peak of oral health every step of the way. More information is available online at www.

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HEALTH & SAFETY National Dental Hygienists Week: April 6–12 (NC)— April is Oral Health Month in Canada, and an important part of the celebrations is National Dental Hygienists Week, which takes place from April 6–12. Sponsored by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), a national organization serving as the collective voice for more than 26,800 dental hygienists across the country, the National Dental Hygienists Week is a perfect opportunity to take up the challenge of making oral hygiene a priority in your daily life. The week’s theme is “Oral Health for Total Health” and it reminds us that taking care of our mouth, teeth, and gums positively impacts our overall health. Dental hygienists are a valuable partner in prevention. They are trained professionals who

work in a variety of settings, including independent practice, with people of all ages. Responsible for more than just cleaning teeth, the dental hygienist is a primary health care provider with a goal to educate and guide their patients to embrace oral health as an essential component of overall wellbeing. Whether calming down toddlers at their first cleaning, or providing care to adults with periodontal disease, the dental hygienist aims to help you build a foundation for a healthy, happy smile for life. This month, you can support these objectives by setting new dental health goals for yourself, starting with six simple steps: brush, floss, use an oral rinse, eat a healthy diet, eliminate tobacco use, and see a dental hygienist regularly. Watch for oral

Put more bite into injury prevention (NC)— The use of mouthguards in all highrisk sports has been proven to reduce the risk of orofacial injury. In fact, the chances of injury are 1.5 to 2 times greater when a mouthguard is not worn during athletic activity. Mouthguards are also a cost-effective investment in protection. The estimated cost to treat a lost front tooth over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $10,000, yet the average cost of a custom-fitted sports mouthguard can be as low as $50. Dental hygienists tell us they are our partners in prevention and they do see first‐hand, the impact

health promotions and events in your community throughout the month of April. More information, including regular news, updates, articles and resources, is available online at On Twitter, follow @theCDHA; on Facebook, http://www.facebook. com/theCDHA.

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of injuries to the teeth, gums, and jaws as a result of participation in sports. These professionals can custom-fit a sports mouthguard for you during a regular dental visit. If you play hockey, soccer, football, rugby, martial arts, lacrosse, boxing, basketball, baseball, or if you enjoy BMX, skateboarding, skiing, and snowboarding, find out if your sports organization requires mandatory mouthguard protection. If it doesn’t, ask why? At, read the FAQs, tips, and other important information – and

Watch for signs of oral cancer (NC)—Dental hygienists say that we can all play an active role in reducing the risks of developing oral cancer. Our own actions can improve treatment outcomes through early detection and lifestyle choices. Oral cancer is the 13th most common type of cancer in Canada. Researchers tell us that in 2013, an estimated 4,100 people in this country were diagnosed with the disease. Smoking, drinking, sun exposure to the lips, and HPV are all known risk factors – and much of this is preventable. So by modifying our lifestyle choices, we can certainly reduce the risk. As well, be sure to watch for changes to your mouth such as these:

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most importantly always protect your mouth at games and practices Additional information is also online at www. dentalhygienecanada. ca

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• an alteration to the colour or texture of gums, cheeks or tongue • persistent mouth sores that do not heal within 14 days • chronic sore throat • difficulty swallowing • lumps in the neck (even those that don’t bother you) • mouth, or ear pain

signs and symptoms. In order to reduce your risk, embrace a healthy lifestyle and maintain regular dental hygiene appointments that include oral cancer screenings.

Most cancers of the mouth can be treated if caught in time, and oral cancers are easily detected by dental hygienists who are familiar with the

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HEALTH & SAFETY Don’t let a good cause hurt you (NC) Each year tens of thousands of Canadians fill their pledge sheets, lace up their running shoes and participate in charitable walks and runs. Walk and run-a-thons can be beneficial for both participants and charities, but whether you are registered for a 10-kilometre walk or a gruelling marathon, experts say you should be careful to prepare appropriately for your event otherwise your good intentions may result in painful injuries. “Preparation for a charitable run needs to be done on two levels, with training and equipment,” says Alison Smith, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “And the two levels are intertwined. If you train hard in the wrong equipment, or wear the right equipment but don’t train sufficiently, injuries may result.” The amount of pre-event training required will vary significantly based on the length and type of your event. However, to prevent injuries, all events will require some level of training, with some events requiring months of carefully planned workouts. Begin by reading the training recommendations on the charity’s website. If it is the first time you have participated in a run or a lengthy walk, it is advisable to get some professional advice, either by joining a

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local running or walking program, or by purchasing a training handbook. The primary equipment for running and walking is footwear, and wearing appropriate running shoes for both training and the event day is essential. Smith points out that whether you are participating in a 5-kilometre fun run or a lengthy, endurance run, you should wear running shoes that are designed to absorb shock and propel you forward. Equally important is replacing your shoes after 600 to 700 kilometres of training. If you are walking, select well-fitting footwear that has proper room in the toe box and fits securely at the heel. Footwear for walking should also provide cushioning, breathability, and stability. If you experience lower limb pain when you are wearing appropriate footwear, book an appointment with a Canadian Certified Pedorthist to see if a foot orthotic may help. More information on preventing injuries can be found at

Retirement can be hard on the feet (NC) Retirees travel, chase grandchildren and often stand for hours at volunteer events. If this sounds like you, is some of your enjoyment of these long-awaited pleasures diminished because of an age-related foot problem? “As people grow older their feet can change in shape and size. The fat pads on their heels and the balls of their feet may decrease and they may develop poor circulation in their lower limbs,” says Alison Smith, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “Even though these changes are a normal part of aging, if seniors don’t pay extra attention to their feet they may develop serious pain and mobility issues, which will prevent them from doing the things they love.” Foot experts say one of the most frequent causes of foot pain and injuries in older adults are poor fitting shoes. A career spent in high heels or in fashionable yet ill-fitting shoes often leads to bunions, corns, and hammertoes later in life, says Smith, so securely-fitting, stable shoes with wide toe boxes and adjustable closures are the best choice for everyday wear during retirement. Even if you have worn the same shoe size for your entire adult life, it is recommended you have your feet measured and your shoes fitted

Avoid Foot Related Injuries Canadian Certified Pedorthists are foot orthotic and footwear experts and they caution that wearing inappropriate footwear or training insufficiently for a charity run or walk can result in: • Blisters, corns, calluses • Repetitive stress injuries to the joints and muscles • Plantar fasciitis • Achilles tendinitis

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by a professional as changes in foot size and shape are common. Age increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and diabetes can cause reduced circulation and loss of feeling in the lower limbs and feet. As a result, foot injuries may develop and can go unnoticed due to poor sensation in the feet. An untreated foot wound can be very serious, in some cases even leading to amputation, so daily foot checks for blisters, irritations and other wounds are essential for all older adults living with diabetes. Canadian Certified Pedorthists are foot orthotic and footwear experts who are specially trained in preventing and treating age-related foot conditions to keep patients mobile and pain free. They measure, fit and advise patients about the appropriate footwear for their feet and lifestyle needs. They can also assess for, design, manufacture and dispense custom foot orthotics if required. More information on pedorthists can be found at

Footcare Advice For Retirees Canadian Certified Pedorthists recommend the following foot care tips for seniors: • Always purchase comfortable, professionally fitted, supportive shoes. • Wear socks and shoes at all times – both indoors and out. • If you are living with diabetes, wash and dry your feet daily and check them for wounds or other injuries. • If you are experiencing foot or lower limb pain, book an appointment with a pedorthist and see if a foot orthotic will help.

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HEALTH & SAFETY If your knees hurt, look down (NC) Dull, aching knees are the bane of many people, preventing them from doing the activities they enjoy. When knee pain strikes, we quickly look for a cause and a cure, but experts say we may be looking in the wrong place. “People naturally assume when their knees hurt the cause of the problem is within the knee,” says Alison Smith, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist and president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada. “Although there are many different causes for knee pain, one of the most common causes is actually what people least expect – their feet.” Smith says the way a person walks can have a huge impact on the health of their knees. If your feet roll inwards too far or tip outwards, it will cause the lower leg to move in such a way that it places extra pressure on the knee each time you take a step. If the ankle does not have as much range of motion as it should, it can have an effect on the knees as well. Differing leg lengths, a common problem affecting many Canadians, can

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also lead to knee pain as the discrepancy can create stress on the knee joints. But biomechanical problems aren’t the only cause of footrelated knee pain. Illfitting, unsupportive shoes can cause pain in the knees, as well as foot, back, and hip pain, particularly if they are worn repeatedly or for strenuous activity. If you are suffering from pain behind, below, or on the sides of the kneecap, book an appointment with your family doctor and ask if a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist will help. Pedorthists will assess the way you walk and advise if a foot orthotic, or different footwear will help. More information on pedorthists can be found at

Seniors who volunteer are healthier and happier (NC) Over 13.3 million volunteers across Canada will be celebrated for their contributions during Canada’s 70th Annual National Volunteer Week, April 6-13, 2014. Canada’s senior citizen volunteers have even more to celebrate as studies show volunteering improves their health. “Canadian retirees who regularly give their time to others experience a number of increased health benefits compared to those seniors who don’t,” says Ben Gottlieb, a University of Guelph psychology professor who has been researching the positive health benefits of volunteering in seniors. “Some of the health benefits include enhanced fitness and reduced physical limitations, better lung function, less arthritis pain, better cardiovascular function and increased happiness, energy and vitality.”

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A 2009 study shows that having a strong sense of purpose in life is associated with lower mortality rates and volunteer work was listed as one way seniors can find this sense of purpose. A 2011 study found that, when compared to nonvolunteers, older people who dedicated modest amounts of time to volunteer activities benefited from a reduced risk of hypertension. “Today’s seniors lead very full lives and they want to give back so their skills and expertise can benefit their communities,” says Erin Spink, past president of the Ontario branch of the Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resources. “The many health benefits associated with volunteering enhances the meaningful and rewarding life experience volunteering provides.”

Senior’s health improves by volunteering (NC) Canadian senior citizens who volunteer are not only positively impacting their communities they are improving their health in the process, recent research reveals. “I work with a 96-year-old man who has been volunteering with the Canadian Diabetes Association for 10 years,” says Erin Spink, past president of the Ontario branch of the Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resources. “He was drawn to the organization because his son died of Type 1 diabetes and he wanted to give back. Volunteering helps keep his brain sharp and active. For example, he knows every postal code in Canada and is responsible for checking all mailings. ”

Knee Pain Risks Canadian Certified Pedorthists point out the main causes of knee pain: • Foot conditions • Being overweight • Having tight or weak muscles • Participating in activities that pound the knees such as jumping, running, downhill skiing • Arthritis • Injury • Work-related repetitive stresses to the joints

Over 1.8 million Canadian seniors collectively volunteered more than 372 million hours in 2010, according to Statistics Canada. Many of them say that they hear about volunteer opportunities through family, friends, volunteer centres and online at

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Two independent studies in 2000 and 2002 found that volunteering two hours per week (100 hours annually) is related to positive health outcomes, including good self-rated health, fewer limitations in daily living and lower mortality rates. Furthermore, a 2008 study in a long-term care setting revealed residents who participated in volunteer activity experienced slower health deterioration than those who did not volunteer. “Retirees who give of their time to others experience better health than those who don’t,” points out Dr. Ben Gottlieb, a University of Guelph psychology professor who has been researching the positive health benefits of volunteering among seniors. “Some of the health benefits include better cardiovascular function, less arthritis pain, lower

stress, anxiety and depression and overall increased self-esteem and sense of value.” In 2010, Canadian seniors collectively volunteered more than 372 million hours according to Statistics Canada. Many of them say that they hear about volunteer opportunities through family, friends, volunteer centres and online at

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HEALTH & SAFETY Senior volunteers get unexpected health benefits (NC) More than 1.8 million Canadian senior citizens volunteer because they want to give back and make an impact in their communities. Researchers have found that these seniors are getting much more than they expected: improved health as compared to those seniors who don’t volunteer. “When retirees give their time to others, their social networks and support systems increase and there’s also an increase in their happiness, energy and vitality,” says Dr. Ben Gottlieb, a University of Guelph psychology professor who has been researching the positive health benefits of volunteering among seniors. “They experience better cardiovascular function, less arthritis pain, better lung function, lower stress, anxiety and depression and have an overall increase in selfesteem and sense of value.” Leona Darling, 75, has been volunteering for the past 23 years. Her volunteer career started when she responded to an ad in the paper looking for

Better health. At home.

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Hospice volunteers and she has been with the organization ever since. “When I started volunteering, I owned a business that required me to use a very specific set of skills so I sought opportunities that would allow me to learn new skills or maintain skills I wasn’t using in my job,” she explains from her home in Guelph, Ontario. “For the past 16 years, I have been providing one-to-one grief support for individuals who have requested help from Hospice after they have lost a loved one. By listening to my clients, they have a safe, confidential place to voice their concerns. I feel what I do matters and get a lot of personal satisfaction out of it. I’ve actually been told I was a life saver and there is no greater compliment.” Since retiring, Darling has taken on a second volunteer job with Chalmers Community Service Centre where she has seen the health benefits of volunteering in her peers. “We have a number of 80-year-old volunteers who are keeping young and active because they are out there giving back

instead of sitting at home. Many people don’t believe they’re 80 because of their physical ability and sharp brains,” she said. A 2005 study found that seniors who volunteered at least two hours per week (100 hours annually) showed slower declines in self-reported health and physical functioning, and lower mortality rates than those who did not volunteer. In 2010, Canadian seniors collectively volunteered more than 372 million hours, according to Statistics Canada. Many of them say they hear about volunteer opportunities through family, friends, volunteer centres and online at

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(NC) A free service that remotely connects health care providers with patients in their homes is rolling out across the province. Telehomecare services have launched in parts of Northern Ontario and throughout most of the Greater Toronto Area, improving the quality of life of people with chronic heart or lung disease. Participants have been able to reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital, including emergency room visits. Using simple technology, specially trained nurses are coaching patients and teaching them how to manage their care in the comfort of their own homes. The process allows nurses to monitor their patients’ conditions remotely. It complements the regular care provided by each patient’s physician, and at the same time it helps keep patients independent and living in their own homes. “The daily monitoring of my weight, blood pressure and oxygen levels kept me focused on maintaining a healthier lifestyle,” says Donna, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But even more valuable for the 59-year-old, was the lifeline her nurse provided. “To her I will be forever grateful. She counseled on diet and

exercise to keep my weight and strength up when I was second guessing myself. She was my personal cheerleader,” Donna says. The service is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Canada Health Infoway. It’s designed by the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), which has ensured that technology will not be a barrier for patients. Jenny is a 90-year-old living independently in Toronto. Initially, she was hesitant about using Telehomecare to help her manage chronic heart failure. “I didn’t even have a computer in my home,” she says. But with some guidance, Jenny became adept at checking her blood pressure, weight, heart rate and pulse, as well as answering a few simple daily questions on a touch-screen tablet provided by the program. The answers to questions such as, ‘Are you more tired today than yesterday?’, ‘Are you short of breath today?’ or ‘Do you have any pain?’ go directly to the patent’s Telehomecare nurse. In Jenny’s case, her nurse noticed one day that Jenny’s heart rate was lower than normal and that she had shortness of breath on the phone. The nurse directed Jenny to her family doctor and later to a pacemaker clinic where a cardiologist increased

her pacemaker rate. The effect was almost immediate. “I felt like someone had lifted [a weight] off me,” Jenny says. Te l e h o m e c a r e is also easing the minds of family caregivers. John helps to look after his 93-year-old mother, who was admitted to hospital last year for chronic heart failure. He didn’t know what to do upon her release, but after he discovered Telehomecare, both of them learned to recognize some of her symptoms early and even how to avoid them. “As a family caregiver, you don’t want to be a doctor – I’m a stock broker! — but you do want to be able to help your parent manage knowledgeably,” he says. For more information about Telehomecare, phone 1.855.991.8191 or go to

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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HEALTH & SAFETY New web sites for people living with chronic disease (NC) There are close to 1 million people in Ontario living with heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These illnesses often have a debilitating effect on people’s lives, tying them to a seemingly endless series of medical appointments or sending them unexpectedly to the hospital emergency room. Two web sites have just launched to try to help individuals manage these chronic conditions and live a fuller, richer life. The portals, LiveWellwithHeartFailure. ca and, offer clear, straightforward advice. They also link to numerous resources, including Telehomecare. Telehomecare is a new service rolling out across Ontario. The program is free to patients and complements the care they receive from physicians. Participants use simple equipment to measure their vital signs and answer basic questions on how they feel each day. Specially-trained nurses monitor the results for any problems or warning signs. They also make weekly telephone calls to the patients to coach them on managing their condition. Early Telehomecare results from the William Osler Health System program show a reduction in visits to hospital emergency rooms of 43 per cent,

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compared with the number of visits the patients were making prior to joining the program. “We’re looking at other ways to interact with our community without waiting until they need our emergency room,” says Matt Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Osler, the largest community hospital in the province. “With Telehomecare we can extend the reach of our health care professionals into the community. We see it as a key strategy for changing the way our hospital and our staff interact with our community.” Among Canadians over the age of 65 today, 85 per cent of women and 77 per cent of men have some form of chronic medical condition. Those who can learn about their health issues and manage the day-to-day details are shown to live better lives, according to the Canadian Council on Learning. With that in mind, Telehomecare is not simply about remote monitoring of a patient’s vital signs from home. It’s also about coaching from skilled nurses that motivates patients to manage their conditions, boosting their confidence and overall health.

Another benefit is that family caregivers begin to feel less overwhelmed because their loved ones are less dependent on hospital visits and able to stay home with the support of Telehomecare monitoring. Among the other resources available on the two new health portals are the Live Strong Blog and the Breathe Easier Blog. Each site contains tips for living better. For example, the flu shot halves the risk of heart attack or stroke in heart patients, belting out a tune can help people who have difficulty breathing and exposure to sunlight lowers blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. For more information about Telehomecare, call 1.855.991.8191.

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Understanding meningococcal disease – Guide for parents (NC) When it comes to health, being in the ‘age of information’ trying to determine what you need to know to keep your family healthy can be overwhelming. Meningococcal disease is a complex illness and can be confusing to parents. The disease is caused by germs that may result in serious, and sometimes life-threatening, infections – the one you may be most familiar with is meningitis. To help distinguish between myths and facts, read on to learn more about the disease and how to protect your family. There is only one type of meningitis. MYTH – Meningitis comes in three forms: viral, fungal and bacterial.Bacterial meningitis is unpredictable, may progress rapidly and requires immediate medical attention. The bacteria Neisseria

meningitidis is what causes meningococcal disease, of which strains A, B, C, W, and Y account for most cases. In Canada, MenB is the most common form of bacterial meningitis. Meningococcal disease has flu-like symptoms. FACT– Most common symptoms of this disease are similar to that of the flu and include fever, headache, stiff neck and vomiting. Due to these symptoms, cases of bacterial meningitis can initially be misdiagnosed. “Being aware of the symptoms is critical, as meningococcal disease can rapidly progress and consequences are often devastating,” said Dr. Ron Gold, Senior Medical Advisor, Member of the Board of Directors of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. “The best protection against meningitis

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infection is vaccination. Talk to your doctor about immunization against vaccine-preventable disease.” One vaccine protects against all strains of meningococcal disease. MYTH– Although vaccines for A, C, W and Y have been available, until now we have had no vaccine available to protect against the B strain, known as MenB. MenB is responsible for 80 per cent of meningococcal cases in infants. Canadian parents should talk to their doctor about Bexsero, the only vaccine to protect against meningococcal meningitis caused by the B strain.

First MenB vaccine protects against the most common cause of meningococcal disease in Canada (278 words) (NC) Parents understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt, helmet and sunscreen to protect their families. But we often forget about the importance of immunization to help keep our family healthy and avoid illness. “Vaccines continue to be underused and undervalued despite being the most effective protection from devastating diseases,” said Dr. Ron Gold, Senior Medical Advisor, Member of the Board of Directors of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. “Vaccines have played a

significant role in helping to reduce and eradicate disease, particularly among children. I encourage parents to talk to their doctor about vaccines that will help protect their families.” In Canada, MenB infection is the leading cause of meningococcal meningitis particularly in infants. Bexsero, a vaccine to help protect infants, children and adolescents against Men B is now available in Canada. Up until now vaccines were available to help protect only against A, C, W and Y strains.

Protect your family and talk to your doctor about immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases. * Meningococcal disease is a sudden, aggressive illness with greatest risks amongst infants, toddlers and adolescents. Meningococcal serogroup B, known as MenB, is one of five main types of meningococcal bacteria (A, B, C, W and Y).

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HEALTH & SAFETY Knowing the signs of meningococcal disease: checklist (NC) Meningococcal disease is a sudden, aggressive illness that manifests as bacterial meningitis. This is a serious yet uncommon disease that can affect anyone at any time. Five main strains of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis are A, B, C, W and Y. In Canada, strain B, also known as MenB is the most common type of meningococcal disease and is responsible for 80 per cent of cases in infants under one year of age and 62 per cent of the cases in adolescents

aged 15 to 19. Be aware and know the signs and symptoms to recognize meningococcal disease early. The symptoms of meningococcal disease include: Sudden onset of fever, headache and stiff neck Nausea and vomiting Increased sensitivity to light Rapid breathing Diarrhea

(278 words) Dark purple rash appears in the later stage Prevention through vaccination is considered the best protection against this aggressive disease. A vaccine called Bexsero, to help protect from Men B is now available in Canada. Prior to Bexsero, vaccines were available to help protect only against A, C, W and Y strains.

Immunization is your best defense: First MenB vaccine in Canada (NC) Those people who get meningococcal disease and survive may be left facing life-long disabilities. Meningococcal disease is a sudden and aggressive illness that manifests as bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria can also cause septicemia – a bloodstream infection. “In Canada, MenB is the leading cause of meningococcal disease. Up to 20 per cent of survivors may suffer from a devastating outcome with life-long neurological or physical disabilities,” said Dr. Ron Gold, Senior Medical Advisor, Member of the Board of Directors of the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada. “The

best protection for Canadian families is prevention through vaccination as this disease leaves little time for intervention. I encourage parents to talk to their doctor about how they can protect their families.” Recently Bexsero, became the first vaccine available in Canada to help protect against MenB disease. “As a survivor of meningitis, I know first-hand the challenges that other survivors and their families go through,” said Shayne Smith, motivational speaker and meningitis survivor. “The availability of a new vaccine to help prevent such a disease is great news for all Canadian families.”

At four months, Smith was diagnosed with meningococcal disease, and given only a two per cent chance of surviving. The infection left him with multiple amputations. Now at 25 years of age, Shayne is an inspiration to many. Despite his challenges growing up, Shayne has become a top athlete in wheelchair basketball and competed in the Canadian Junior team in 2005 and 2009. * Meningococcal serogroup B, known as MenB, is one of five main types of meningococcal bacteria (A, B, C, W and Y)

Digital age helps Halifax woman take charge of her health (NC) Last year, as Halifax resident Alexa Thompson turned 65, she made a commitment to take charge of her own health, unaware of the role technology was going to play in supporting her goal. “I have a busy life and am accustomed to using computers to shop, book travel and keep in touch with friends and family,” Alexa explained. “Little did I know that technology would also play an important role in supporting me to achieve my health goals.” Due to her comfort with computers, it’s no wonder that Alexa enthusiastically jumped at the chance to use a patient portal, a digital health tool that was introduced to her by her doctor.

“Online I discovered a safe site to record all my health records,” she continued, and soon started using the portal to book appointments with her doctor. “It was certainly more convenient than waiting ‘on hold’ on the telephone.” Alexa started recording her blood pressure, weight and body mass electronically as she continued to discover the benefits of digital health. “As I explored the system further, I found I could get test results online, with a note from my doctor to explain anything that was written in medical terminology. That eliminated the need to book appointments with her to get my results.” Like Alexa, many Canadians say they want to make digital health work for them.

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(329 words) A recent survey by Harris/Decima reveals that 89 per cent of Canadians feel it’s important that they personally have full advantage of digital health tools and capabilities. Canada Health Infoway recently launched its Better Health Together campaign to showcase how digital health has made a difference in the lives of many patients like Alexa. Take a look at “If digital health empowers me to play a more active role in the management of my health and wellness,” she points out, “then it can certainly be of benefit to other Canadians.”

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HEALTH & SAFETY Smartphone App Proves Useful in Managing Diabetes (NC) It’s the news that parents never want to hear: their child’s life will forever be affected by a medical condition. Marcus was only five-yearsold when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “It was a devastating diagnosis,” said Sara Nita, Marcus’ mother. “His father and I barely had time to let it sink in because managing the diabetes was more of a priority.” Marcus needed daily blood glucose tracking and management, which requires a great deal of time and careful attention, particularly at the beginning. Thankfully, there are digital health tools available to make this process much more accurate, reliable and efficient. With a bit of digging, Sara was able to find some mobile apps designed for people with Type 1

diabetes and soon she was using her smartphone to track Marcus’ blood glucose levels. “I’m accustomed to the digital world,” she explained, “so using pen and paper to track information as vital as this is inefficient. “We do a fair amount of traveling as a family, so having a solution that is reliable, convenient, and mobile is very important.” Digital health tools are also saving time for Sara, as she needs to have daily contact with a diabetes educator when Marcus’ blood sugar levels are off. “Normally, this would mean time off work and school,” she explained, “but instead, I simply upload his information and wait for instructions on what adjustments need to be made to his pump.”

(349 words) It would appear that Sara is one of many Canadians embracing digital health. A recent survey by Harris/Decima reveals that 89 per cent of Canadians feel it’s important that they personally have full advantage of digital health tools and capabilities. Canada Health Infoway recently launched its Better Health Together campaign to showcase how digital health has made a difference in the lives of many patients like Sara. Take a look at “Canada has been at the leading edge of technology for many years,” she adds, “so applying it to help Canadians manage their health and wellness just makes good sense.”

Digital health tools are a proven ally to patients

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(NC) A recent survey was conducted by Harris/Decima to gauge what Canadians think about digital health tools. The survey reports: 96 per cent of Canadians think it’s important that the health care system make use of digital health tools and capabilities. • 86 per cent of Canadians agree that digital health will provide health information to a care team in an emergency situation • 86 per cent of Canadians believe it is important that their doctors use electronic medical records • 90 per cent of Canadians who access their own health information online describe the experience as positive Learn how Canadians are benefitting from digital health tools by visiting www.

(NC) While Brian Campkin expects an intense battle with his opponent every time he steps onto the tennis court, he wasn’t expecting to fight for his life the day shortness of breath forced him off the court. “I was barely firing on one cylinder and I needed an emergency triple bypass surgery,” Brian explained. Today, the father of three has recovered and uses a digital health tool to help keep his heart and his fitness in check. Managing chronic conditions, facilitating better communication and collaboration between health care providers, and allowing patients to monitor and track their conditions accurately and conveniently, are just some of the benefits that Canadians like Brian are experiencing by using digital health tools. “As I progressed and graduated from my cardiac rehab therapy, I learned what it meant to be heart healthy and how to track it,” he

continued. “Having access to a digital health tool helped make this easy and convenient.” Like Brian, Canadians say they are ready for, and are willing to use digital health tools. A recent survey by Harris/Decima reveals that 89 per cent of Canadians feel it’s important that they personally have full advantage of digital health tools and capabilities. Canada Health Infoway recently launched its Better Health Together campaign to showcase how digital health has made a difference in the lives of many patients like Brian. Take a look at www. “Making sure I am here for my family for years to come,” he adds, “is a big part of the reason I use digital health.”

Your pharmacist is an important partner in your healthcare journey (NC) Pharmacists are playing a more integrated role in managing a persons’ health. Over the past couple of years, provincial governments have welcomed and embraced the move to expand pharmacists’ scope of practice. Fortunately, as many Canadians are now finding out, you can speak with your neighbourhood pharmacist first for healthcare advice on common health issues. A recent survey by Pfizer Canada, revealed that Canadians trust their pharmacists, and nearly half (43%) know their pharmacist by name. And while not all pharmacy services are available in all provinces, those surveyed did not know, or

were unsure of whether or not they could speak with their pharmacist about the following healthrelated matters: Smoking cessation options – 48% Flu shot – 43% Renewing or extending prescriptions – 30% Learning the difference between over-thecounter medicine options – 21% “Pharmacies are the face of neighbourhood health care that can provide quick and convenient access to services for patients,” said Tracey Phillips, Vice President, Pharmacy, Rexall. “Further expanding the scope of practice of pharmacists will not only

lessen the burden on physicians and hospitals and help keep patients out of emergency departments, but it will also go a long way to improving patient outcomes.” Speak with your local pharmacy and introduce yourself to your pharmacist – in the past year, 9 out of 10 Canadians already have – what are you waiting for? Source: Pharmacy in Canada Survey November 2013. Ipsos Reid. Sponsored by Pfizer Canada Inc.

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HEALTH & SAFETY Ensuring good oral health for life By Dr. Janet Tamo (NC) As we get older our bodies start to change. Metabolism can slow down, and healthy eating and regular exercise become increasingly important. Few of us may be aware that our mouths, teeth and gums also need a little extra attention, especially as we age. In my dental practice, I see a lot of patients over the age of 50 whose oral health concerns are often similar: tender, inflamed gums, plaque build-up and bad breath. Here are three simple steps to help prevent these conditions from emerging or recurring: • Floss at least once a day to remove food and plaque from between the teeth. About three in 10 Canadian adults claim to floss at least once a day* – neglecting to do this can lead to gum disease.

Tips for a healthy lifestyle By Dr. Travis Stork (NC) For me, living a healthy lifestyle is about balance and practicing healthy habits in all areas of your life. Small changes can have a big impact in overall body health. Here are five tips for leading a balanced, healthy life: • Reduce your refined sugar intake. Whether it’s in our morning coffee or sandwich bread at lunchtime, sugar is hiding in many of our favorite foods. I always advise people to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruits and cut out as much simple sugar as possible – like in pop. • Do some neurobics. Stimulate your mind and enhance your brain’s performance by changing up your regular routine. Tie your shoes with your eyes closed, take up a new hobby, or hone a new skill. • Visit your doctor once a year (if advised) and your dentist twice a year for routine checkups; regular checkups with your doctor and dentist can

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• Invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer and ensure you’re brushing for two minutes, twice daily with a good toothpaste. A product I recommend to my patients is Crest Pro-Health For Life toothpaste; it helps defend against tooth sensitivity, weakened enamel, tender inflamed gums from gingivitis, plaque, bad breath and surface stains. • Rinse for 30 seconds with a multi-protection, alcohol-free rinse to help wash away remaining food particles and loosened plaque from flossing and brushing. By following these three steps and visiting your dentist regularly, you’ll be on your way to keeping your healthy looking smile for life. Dr. Janet Tamo is a Toronto dentist devoted to preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry and has spent 20 years teaching dentistry at the

University of Toronto. Dr. Tamo is also a consulting dentist for Crest and Oral-B. Source: Findings from the fourth annual Crest and Oral-B Great Canadian Smile Survey, a national sample of Canadian consumers randomly selected from TNS Canada’s Internet research panel from November 28 to December 2, 2013.

(326 words + 1 photo) help uncover issues earlier when they are easier to treat. • Pay attention to your teeth and gums! Oral health is an important part of your overall health, so it’s important to practice a daily oral care routine which includes flossing, brushing for two full minutes twice a day, and rinsing. Only 44 per cent of Canadian adults claim to follow this oral care routine regularly*, and not surprisingly more than half of Canadians suffer from gingivitis. I recommend using Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Toothpaste, which is clinically proven to help prevent and reverse gingivitis. • Catch some zzz’s. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Establish a routine and get in sync with your body’s rhythm. Here’s a good test - if you’re getting up without an alarm in the morning you’re most likely getting enough sleep and have good sleep hygiene.

Oral care that fits your life

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By Dr. Travis Stork (NC) April is National Oral Health Month and it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at your entire family’s oral care routine. Because a healthy mouth is part of a healthy body it’s important that you follow a dentist recommended oral care routine. Expecting Moms Pregnancy can cause changes in your oral health. Many women experience bleeding and sore gums while pregnant because their bodies produce more of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (better known as HCG). This hormone makes gums more sensitive and can lead to ‘pregnancy gingivitis.’ In fact, 70 per cent of all pregnant women suffer from inflamed gums – a sign of gingivitis. I recommend using multi benefit toothpastes like Crest Pro-Health Clinical Gum Protection Toothpaste. Its formula protects against plaque, tartar, gingivitis, cavities and

tooth sensitivity, while also whitening teeth and freshening breath. Babies 4 – 24 months Parents should begin by cleaning their newborn baby’s gums with a damp and soft washcloth after breast or bottle feeding. When your little one’s first tooth appears, it’s time to switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Consult with your health professional to determine when your child should begin using a fluoridated toothpaste. It’s also time for their first visit to dentist within six months of getting their first tooth and before their first birthday. Schedule visits every six months after that to ensure proper tooth development. Diabetics People who suffer from diabetes are more likely than others to suffer from oral health issues. In fact, nearly two out of three adults with diabetes also suffer from inflamed gums – a sign of gingivitis. That’s why I encourage diabetics to

Dr. Travis Stork is a practicing boardcertified emergency medicine physician and an Emmy®nominated national television host. Source: *Findings from the fourth annual Crest and Oral-B Great Canadian Smile Survey, a national sample of Canadian consumers randomly selected from TNS Canada’s Internet research panel from November 28 to December 2, 2013.

take their oral health seriously. Your oral care routine should consist of flossing, brushing for the dentist recommended two minutes twice daily and rinsing. Crest Pro-Health MultiProtection Rinse is alcohol-free and kills germs that can cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath – without the burning sensation of alcohol. Dr. Travis Stork is a practicing board-certified emergency medicine physician and an Emmy®nominated national television host.

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HOME & GARDEN Put some spring into your homes ambiance (NC) Spring is the season of rejuvenation. Getting in the spring mindset starts with refreshing your nest, and updating your homes décor. Updating your home for the spring season can be as simple as organizing winter clutter, freshening the décor, and a few DIY projects that anyone can do. Here are some tips that will have your home looking rejuvenated and you feeling excited for the spring months ahead: Spring-cleaning: is an obvious starting point for any homeowner at this time of year. This may seem like a daunting task, however it is important to organize and store winter equipment and clothes to avoid clutter. While spring-cleaning creates physical space for updates and change, its most important feature is clearing your mind’s canvas and allowing the creative juices to flow. Splash of colour: Adding colour to your homes décor is a simple change that will energize the atmosphere inside your home and prepare you for prolonged sunlight. Replacing

throw pillows and tablemats with a brighter alternative are two examples of ways in which we can liven our homes décor. Also adding fresh flowers will give any room some added colour, while providing a nice fragrance that enhances the spring theme. Bring furniture to life: Another effective way to revitalize the look of your home is to update interior wood surfaces. Applying a fresh wood finish to furniture, wood cabinets, and wood accessories is a simple DIY project that will modernize outdated furniture. For a fast, easy experience use Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths. The finishing wipes come in a variety of colours such as Natural Oak, Maple, Chestnut, Dark Mahogany, and Walnut. For best results lightly sand the wood surface and remove all standing dust before starting. Then simply use the cloth to wipe on the stain and finish using the pre-moistened cloths, wipe off the excess with a clean rag, let dry for an hour. For a darker color and sheen, apply a second coat using a fresh cloth.

Quick tips on staining wood surfaces (NC) Staining brings out the best in a wood surface. Adding stain to a wooden surface not only aligns the colour to match a room’s décor, however it also emphasizes the natural grain pattern on any wood. Staining and finishing furniture, picture frames, and other wood surfaces is a simple DIY project that will refresh the look of any room. Here are some professional staining tips that focus on pre-staining procedures, effective products, and applications that will ensure the best results for your finished product: Equipment for project Fine grit sandpaper Disposable rubber gloves Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths Clean rag Directions Sanding: Always prepare the wood with a light sanding. Sanding the wood surface ensures you get a nice even coat of stain when the time

(388 words + 1 photo) Updating your home for the spring months is a great way to shake the winter blues. Preparing your home does not need to be a strenuous process, as simple DIY projects and décor updates can have you feeling confident and excited for the months to come. For more home upgrade tips and DIY solutions visit

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comes. Always sand in the direction of the grain to avoid leaving unsightly scratches. Use a fine grit sandpaper or even a very fine grit to get a smooth down appearance. Make sure to remove all the sanding dust before moving on. Preparation: To keep hands clean, wear the gloves provided in the Minwax Finishing cloths package. Open the front label. Remove a stain cloth. Close the front label to keep cloths from drying out. Application: Using the stain cloth wipe in the direction of the wood, working the colour into the surface. After the stain has been applied, wipe the stain off immediately for a lighter tone, or for a deeper tone, leave it on 5-10 minutes before wiping off using a clean rag. Similarly to the application of the stain, make sure to wipe off any excess stain going in the direction of the grain of wood. Never allow any excess stain to dry on wood surface—it will cause all sorts of adhesion and other issues.

Evaluation: After letting the finish sit for an hour, evaluate your work. If you are satisfied do not apply any further stain. However, for an even deeper color and sheen, wait one hour, then apply a second coat, using a fresh cloth. Remember – Stain provides colour, but not protection. Once the stain has dried, apply a clear finish product such as Minwax Polycyclic Protective finish to protect both the stain and the wood. For more information visit

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HOME & GARDEN How to upgrade your stairs (NC) Whether your home features carpeted, painted, or wood stairs, a new appearance can revitalize the character of any home. The stairs are one of the most highly trafficked areas of the home, however often get overlooked when it comes to updates and renovations. While updating your stairs can seem like a daunting, labour intensive project, pre-manufactured products available at your local building centres can turn upgrading your stairs into a simple DIY project. Before tackling this project you will need the following list of tools and supplies: • Hammer and nails or pin nailer • Caulking gun • Sander • Circular or Jigsaw • Handsaw or Multi-tool • Measuring tape and level • Bevel square and kneepads Preparing the old stairs: The first step is to prepare the old stairs by removing carpeting or existing floor coverings. Cut off the stair nose of each tread you are going to resurface using a circular or jigsaw starting at the centre and working out to the edge. Then using your handsaw or multi-tool complete the cut and

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remove the stair nose. Starting at the bottom and working your way up cut and dry fit the risers and false treads. A helpful tip is to number the backs to avoid confusion later. Getting started: At this point decide whether staining or painting is your preference. With the treads in place examine the runners for visible damage. If the damage is extensive, use Minwax High Performance Filler. Small nails holes can be repaired with stainable filler. After repairing any potential damages you can either install the risers and false treads, or paint/finish the runner. Apply stain and two coats or protective finish to the pieces before installation. Finish strong: When staining a floor or stairs use a penetrating oil base stain such as Minwax Wood Finish. There are over 20 colours available including new trend colours like Classic Grey, Weathered Oak, and Espresso. For natural wood, you can use a Minwax Sanding Sealer as a base for polyurethane film. When choosing your protective coating choose from a low VOC oil base Poly for Floors to give you that warm amber glow or a water base Ultimate Floor Finish that goes on clear and stays clear. Apply two coats of

How to barbecue the perfect steak (NC) The steakhouse is a family favourite for its flavourful cuts of beef , so to save money, the grilling experts at Broil King are here to show us how to re-create those same savoury steaks on our own gas barbecues. Here are their tips. If it doesn’t sizzle, it’s not hot enough. Preheat your grill to at least 450° for great sear marks and steakhouse quality results. Season the grill: a thin coating of oil on a hot grill both protects the grill surface and keeps your food from sticking. A refillable oil mister is an easy way to do this. Tip: Always turn the burners to low before spraying oil; never use non-stick sprays with aerosol since they are flammable. Marinate your steak for 30 minutes to 2 hours (most cuts) to infuse complementary flavours into the meat. Any sweet or sugary barbecue sauce should be applied in the last two minutes on the grill, or after the meat is removed. These sauces burn easily and can ruin a great steak.

protection to your risers and false treads then allow the product time to set. Using a construction adhesive and a few well-placed pin nails you can install the risers and treads to sub structure. Care should be taken when working on fresh finishes. Although the finish is dry it is still curing after the installation. When complete another coat of protective finish can be added. The stairs can be maintained with a Hardwood Floor Cleaner and if years down the road the finish needs to be freshened up a light sanding and an additional coat of polyurethane can be added to bring back the beauty of your project.

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Try a compound butter: first soften the butter to room temperature and then mix in the flavouring of your choice such as blue cheese, sundried tomato, cheddar & jalapeno. Top the hot steak with a pat of this butter and watch the flavour melt all over the grilled meat. Choose your weapon: don’t pierce your steak, use a good set of tongs to turn them. The more you poke holes, the more flavour and tenderness escapes. Let it rest: cutting into a steak right off the grill lets juices escape onto the plate. Let any steak rest of 5 minutes before serving. The juices will settle evenly throughout the steak, giving a more tender, flavourful, and enjoyable dining experience. Blue Cheese Compound Butter Ingredients 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature 1/3 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled 1 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Dash hot pepper sauce Pinch salt Directions In a small bowl mix all ingredients together lightly with a fork until just evenly combined. Overmixing will cause it to become too blue in colour. Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper, and shape it into a log about 4 cm (1½”) in diameter. Refrigerate 1 hour. Slice into 1.5 cm thick rounds (1/3”) and place on hot grilled steaks to melt. Freeze leftovers butter. Additional grilling recipes and tips are available at

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April 2014

HOME & GARDEN Insider tips for a sizzling barbecue season (NC) Nothing is more disappointing than trying to grill that perfect steak when your barbecue just won’t heat up and cook the way it used to. To avoid this, the grilling experts at Broil King offer some helpful tips to get your gas barbecue ready for the season ahead. Here is their advice: Give your grill a good cleaning Begin by removing the cooking grids, grates and burners from your grill. Brush the inside of the oven with a sturdy bristle brush to remove the build-up of grease. Using a grill cleaner, scrub the inside and outside of the oven and then rinse with water. Never use oven cleaner on your grill since it is corrosive and can damage the other components. Check for leaks Inspect the gas hose to make sure there aren’t any cracks or leaks. This can easily be done by preparing a soapy solution and applying it to the connections at the tank and valve. Turn the tank on slowly and watch for bubbles to form, which

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indicates that there is a leak. Try tightening the connections and re-test. If persistent leaking or blistering is detected, stop using your grill and replace the gas assembly. Inspect your burners Carefully inspect your burners making sure there are no damaged ports or holes rusted through. If there are, it’s time for a replacement. Check all igniter connections to ensure they’re not loose and remove any debris from the components. Beware of spiders It’s very important to keep the burner tubes clean. Spiders love to make a nest in these tubes, creating blockages that can cause serious damage. Clean the tubes using a venturi brush, or bottle brush. Season your grids Check the cooking grids to make sure no welds are broken and brush off any stuck on residue. If you have cast iron cooking grids, season them

The right grilling tool is gold to the backyard chef (NC) Recent improvements in the design and engineering of gas grills have transformed the art of grilling. From searing and rotisserie cooking, to planking and smoking, gas grills now provide chefs with several different grilling techniques to develop flavours, textures and aromas. With a quality gas grill, the right set of features and a few key accessories, the culinary possibilities for a backyard chef are endless. Chef Naz Cavallaro, a grilling expert from Broil King, shares his must-have tools for creating restaurant style meals at home, as follows: Stone Grill Set: Bake restaurant-quality pizza, and bread with this durable stone grill set. Barbecued pizza provides a more authentic pie since the hot, dry air in your grill yields a much better result than preparing it in a conventional oven.

Gourmet Burger Press: It makes perfect patties right at home. Grill enthusiasts will love experimenting with the endless menu possibilities this burger press provides. Options include Greek style burgers stuffed with feta cheese; roasted red peppers and olives; and Tex-Mex style burgers stuffed with jalapeño and cheddar. Wood Chips and Planks: Deep smoky flavours and fall-off-the-bone tenderness are hallmarks of the traditional barbecue cuisine. Create those authentic flavours at home using wooden planks, smoker boxes and flavoured wood chips. From the pungent flavours of hickory and mesquite to the sweeter, more delicate apple and cherry, several different types of chips are available and suited to specific cuts of meat. Roast Rack: A roast that is slow-cooked on a grill delivers amazing flavour and texture. Look for a rack that can accommodate a drip

with oil to keep food from sticking and to help prevent rust. Maintain the little things Finally, check the condition of your control knobs, thermometer, and handles. Replacing small items like this can refresh your gas barbecue and make it look new again. Taking a bit of time each season to clean and inspect the gas barbecue will prolong its life and will ensure it is reliable for another great barbecue season. Read more about grilling and get some tasty recipes ideas at

(332 words + 1 photo) pan so you can catch all of the juices from the food. For best results, Chef Naz also recommends a gas grill d e s i g n e d with these performance features: excellent heat retention; searing power and flavour vaporization at the grids; full coverage stainless steel flavour wave, or heat medium; precise heat control; a side burner and a rotisserie burner. Read more about grilling and get some great recipes ideas at

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HOME & GARDEN How to pinpoint the right paint finish for each room (NC) When refreshing your home with paint, choosing the perfect colour is not the only consideration to be made. A growing trend among designers, now being adopted by homeowners, is selecting a paint finish that complements the aesthetic look and the functionality of the space. Sharon Grech, the colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore, offers practical tips on how-to choose the best finish for any room: For the bathroom: The most popular paint finish for any room is a matte finish, as it does not reflect light and offers excellent coverage against small cracks or bumps on the walls. A key consideration however is that humidity can have detrimental effects on paint in the bathroom. To solve this, designers recommend Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa, since it offers mildew resistance against a steamy environment. “The extreme coverage and durability means walls can easily be washed, while the colour and beautiful matte finish stays intact,” Grech points out. “It’s specially formulated by our

company to lock out moisture and keep it from penetrating and streaking the film.” For the kitchen: For high traffic areas like the kitchen, it’s imperative to have a finish that will stand-up against scrubbing, but also give off a subtle glow and depth. A satin finish offers a smooth even look with a slight sheen, so it works well for well-lit rooms like the kitchen. For the children’s room: Kids will be kids, which means anything that can get dirty, will get dirty, including their bedroom walls. In this case, a pearl finish is preferred and is even considered “childproof” by Grech. A pearl sheen has a smooth, less porous surface, so it’s less likely to absorb stains while remaining extremely easy to clean. For trim and doors: These areas tend to collect dust easily, so choosing a gloss finish is recommended, as dust is less likely to stick compared to a matte finish. A designer trick that is on-trend for spring is going monochromatic: choosing

Paint your way into spring with trendy colours (NC) Spring is the time to lighten up, and there’s no better way to get ready for the season than with a fresh coat of paint in your home. An abundance of inspiring hues are in full bloom right now and Sharon Grech, the colour and design expert at Benjamin Moore, shares her favourite colour palette picks, as follows: All about blue: It is the colour of sea and sky, and it’s a top choice for paint and accessories this year. In fact, Benjamin Moore named Breath of Fresh Air, a light, ethereal blue, its 2014 Colour of the Year. Breath of Fresh Air accompanies a palette of 23 Trend Colours that both stand on their own and work in harmony, allowing the transitions of spaces and colours to flow seamlessly. “This is a direct result of the fresh colour cues and pastel trends we’ve seen throughout the home furnishing, fashion and even pop culture landscape,” says Grech. “This colour has a filtered, nostalgic air that lends itself to any room in the house and is the perfect coloured neutral. Paired with

(399 words + 1 photo) one wall colour and continuing the colour on the trim and doors, only changing the sheen, for a clean, streamlined look, as shown in this photo. To really go bold, use a gloss finish throughout for a contemporary look with a reflective quality. More information on choosing the correct finish is available online at Photo Caption: In this photo, the walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Normandy in Aura Waterborne Interior Paint in a matte finish, with a satin finish on the doors and trim, for a monochromatic look.

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classic grey or camel textiles and burnished metals, it feels freshly sophisticated. Plus, when paired with white,” she points out, “it’s simply serene.” Pastels continue to please: Soft pastel shades are a popular choice among designers and homeowners alike, as they bring an instant sense of relaxation to any space. When choosing pastel paint colours for the home, Grech recommends Lavender Mist, especially when accentuated with crisp, natural linen textiles and pops of natural greenery for a look that is fresh and inviting. For a delicate and feminine look, Peach Parfait is a sweet and soft choice – and to keep the final result from being too saccharine, pair this peachy-pink tone with a complex grey to add weight to the space. Accessories add the perfect finishing touch: Now is the time to switch out any dark, heavy decor accents for lighter and brighter options. Warm metallic accessories like an impactful picture frame or a beautiful vase provide a welcome contrast to this refreshing

spring palette. A linen throw and textured cushions help lighten the room for a fresh, inspired look. You can follow this trend online at www. or visit your local retailer for more guidance. Photo Caption: Benjamin Moore’s 2014 Colour of the Year, Breath of Fresh Air, is painted on the walls in Aura Waterborne Interior Paint in an eggshell finish. Painted on the trim is White Dove in a semi gloss finish.

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HOME & GARDEN Don’t shy away from pattern play (NC) Spring is the perfect time to take decor risks, and playing with various patterns is a simple but effective way to inject a burst of stylish impact in the home. Sometimes though, mixing patterns can be more intimidating than inspiring, so Sharon Grech, the colour and design expert from Benjamin Moore, explains why we need not be afraid of the art of pattern play: Experiment with various types of patterns: “Done are the days of matching the pattern in the cushions to the rug,” says Grech. “Today’s modern look is all about mixing prints with accent pieces like drapes, cushions, throw pillows and art. Try combining a bold, geometric print with an organic, floral motif. These prints actually complement each other and add a lot more visual interest to the space.” Colour is the unifier: The trick to tying in all the design elements in a room is choosing a harmonious colour palette that unites the patterns together. For

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example, in the photographed room, the colour Ally’s Earring was used on the walls, which is accentuated in all of the patterned accessories. The ceiling was painted in a beautiful, soft blue called Breath of Fresh Air, and other values of blue were introduced in the soft furnishings. The eye is drawn to the commonalities, resulting in a pleasing overall aesthetic effect. Vary the scales: Patterns can range from a small, medium or large scale, and a balanced room will include a mix of them in various shapes and sizes. While a larger pattern can help tie the room decor together, smaller patterns will draw attention to a specific area of the room. Make sure they are distributed evenly throughout the space, as too many prints grouped closely together will weigh the room down. Add some texture: Aim for mixing three prints in a given space. If this proves to be a decor challenge, play around with mixing various

A statement wall is a striking design element (NC) Creating a statement wall is a wonderful way to catch attention without committing the entire room to one colour. Indeed, with a statement wall, homeowners can opt for a far more dramatic pop than they would dare to use elsewhere. Here, Sharon Grech, the colour and design expert at Benjamin Moore, shares her tips on how to elevate a statement wall into making an even bolder impact by using the trendiest paint and accessories. Carefully choose which wall to highlight: There is a process when deciding which wall receives special treatment. Is there something unique architecturally about the wall that merits a small dose of colour? Is there a piece of artwork that will shine when given the perfect backdrop? Trust your instincts when choosing this striking design element in your home, or ask a friend or family member if you need a second opinion. Create a subtle contrast: If you prefer a gentle contrast to bold wall paint, try using a deeper version of your existing wall colour on one wall. “This slight variance in shade creates interest and breaks up the solitary colour, while still placing the

textures instead. As shown in the photo, the subtle textures found in the fabrics, like the couch and rug, provide dimension, without actually acting as a pattern. The layered stone fireplace and gradation in the hardwood flooring complete the look. More information, including a how-to on mixing patterns, is available online at www. Photo caption: A mix of patterns in various shapes and sizes makes this living room come to life.

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spotlight on one area,” Grech points out. Another option designers are experimenting with involves using various paint finishes on the statement wall. In the room photographed, Grech says Caribbean Teal painted with the Advance high gloss formula, was applied to really make a colourful impact. Since paint colour changes throughout the day depending on how the light is reflected, big open windows that stream in light really make the statement wall the focal point of the room. Picture galleries add a touch of personalization: Gallery walls are having a major design moment, and with good reason. This purposeful grouping of picture frames of various shapes and sizes allows the homeowner to collect and artfully showcase their favourite prints that may not have had a home previously. It allows the individual’s personality to shine through while maintaining a design savvy look and feel. Chalk it up to colour: Nothing is more unique and playful than a statement wall painted with chalkboard paint. “With our company’s Tintable Chalkboard Paint, homeowners no longer have

to sacrifice colour when scribbling notes, to-do lists, or grocery reminders on their walls,” says Grech. This paint is available in any colour and dries to a beautiful eggshell finish. It’s versatile, which means you can add chalk when desired for a playful feel, or simply wipe it clean for a sophisticated look that lets the colour become the focal point. More information on all these paint colour ideas is available online at Photo caption: In this photo, both the framed photos and paint colour stylishly complement the walls in the home.

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HOME & GARDEN Paint your outdoor retreat in beautiful colours (NC) Canadians live for patio season, often gathering outdoors at the first sign of warm weather. Patios, decks, terraces and front porches are an extension of the home, giving us an opportunity to expand the beauty of the interior into our outside space. Sharon Grech, the colour and design expert at Benjamin Moore, explains how this can easily be done. “What better way to enjoy the spring and summer season, than in the comfort of your own home?” she points out. “Spring means al-fresco dinner parties, casual outdoor afternoon lounging, and freedom to soak up the sunshine.” Here’s how to make sure your outdoor living space is always alluring: Paint the furniture: Outdoors, we have the opportunity to really explore and play with bold colour choices. While black and grey furniture are always chic, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries with bright hits of reds, warm oranges and soft yellows. From Benjamin Moore, for example, try Strawberry, Orange Blossom or Danse du Soleil, as these colours pop against the natural greenery.

“To preserve the beauty of the paint, I recommend using the Aura Waterbourne Exterior Paint in a semi gloss finish,” says Grech. “Aura provides outstanding durability and protects against the elements. Best of all, the Colour Lock Technology means the beautiful, rich colour will last. If you’re painting over metal furniture, first use a primer like Fresh Start All Purpose for best results.” Once all the furniture has dried, create seating areas conducive to conversation and mingling. Side tables strategically placed offer a spot to hold beverages and small plates. Finishing touches: The accessories can really make a difference in an outdoor living space. Add coloured cushions in a fresh print for the ultimate in comfort and style. Umbrellas offer shade when the sun’s rays are a bit too strong. Bright, colourful lanterns instantly conjure memories of warm summer nights with their soft glow. Dress-up some bird houses: The birds finally flew home for spring, so make them feel welcome in a beautifully painted bird house. It won’t matter whether it’s the stunning colour that attracts them

Money-saving tips for home buyers (NC) Moving to a new home is an exciting experience, but it can come with many costs, including mortgage payments, legal fees, and taxes. When moving in, however, there are a few simple tasks that homeowners can perform to improve energy efficiency and to save money in the long run. “Your heating and cooling systems are very important to the function and enjoyment of your new house, but they are often one of the last things home buyers think about in the first few days,” says Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy. “Getting a thorough inspection performed and learning how to efficiently operate your furnace or air conditioner can lead to big savings on your energy bills and save you from costly repairs down the road.”

or the bird seed. Paint the bird houses in a similar colour palette to the outside living area for a harmonious look. Just add some greens: Every outdoor space needs an element of nature. Potted trees, shrubs and flowers bring the space to life, and can even offer privacy when arranged strategically. It’s all about making this special space feel cozy and homey. Additional tips for outdoor living are available online at Photo Caption: In this photo, the home exterior is brought to life with Benjamin Moore paint in Breath of Fresh Air, in a high gloss finish. Touches of natural greenery complete the look.

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If you’re moving this spring or summer, consider the following money-saving tips: Book a home energy audit – This report will help you learn more about how your house uses energy and provides recommendations on how to improve the efficiency of your home, including identifying air leaks, or areas which need additional insulation. Get your ducts cleaned – Consider professionals for this job especially if the previous owners had pets, or if the house has recently been renovated. The average duct cleaning removes approximately5 pounds of dust and debris. If it’s a brand new home, check with your builder to see if a duct cleaning is included with closing. Replace furnace filters – This allows the furnace or air conditioner to run more efficiently. Clogged filters mean that furnace motors must

Energy-saving tips for home buyers (NC) If you’re purchasing a house this year, performing some simple tasks when you move in could help you save on your energy bills and reduce the chance of costly repairs. Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy, shares his top five tips to make all the difference: Book a home energy audit – This will help you learn more about how your house uses energy and provides recommendations on how to improve the efficiency of your home.

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work harder and use more energy. Filters should be replaced at least every three months. Inspect the HVAC system – Schedule a professional inspection of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, before you move in to ensure they are all working properly. If there’s an issue, you may be able to negotiate a replacement or price reduction. Install a programmable or learning thermostat – Install a programmable thermostat and set it based on your living patterns to control your energy usage. New ‘learning’ thermostats monitor your usage and adjust temperatures automatically. More information on this topic is available online at

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Have your ducts cleaned – Consider professionals for this job especially if the previous owners had pets or if the house has recently been renovated. Replace furnace filters – This allows the furnace or air conditioner to run more efficiently. Clogged filters mean that furnace motors must work harder and use more energy. Filters should be replaced at least every three months. Inspect the HVAC system – Schedule a professional to inspect the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system before you move in to

ensure they are all working properly. If there’s an issue, you may be able to negotiate a replacement or price reduction. Install a programmable or learning thermostat – This new technology can schedule the indoor temperature based on your living patterns to control your energy usage. New ‘learning’ thermostats monitor your usage and adjust temperatures automatically. More information on this topic is available online at

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April 2014

HOME & GARDEN Top 5 house maintenance tips for spring (NC) Spring cleaning tasks are upon us, so be sure to add some cost-saving, energy-efficient measures, before turning on the air conditioner this summer. Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy, tells us he has worked with thousands of homeowners providing them with easy energysaving tips and tricks, and this includes how to implement efficiency-upgrades around the house. Here are some of his best quick tips as you get ready for spring: Replace your filters – This will ensure clean air throughout your home. Clogged filters mean your air conditioner must work harder to move cool air

through the house. By replacing them now, you will be ready for the heat of the summer – and this should be done every three months. Prepare the air conditioner – Be sure to remove the winter cover and gently clean the coils of the outdoor unit with a garden hose. Make sure it’s clear of debris such as leaves and branches from the fall and winter. Clean and rotate your ceiling fans – Make sure all the fans in your home are working properly and are dust-free. In the summer, the blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction to move the air downwards and maximize air circulation so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.

Top 5 home maintenance tips (NC) As the snow thaws and the day’s get longer, it’s the perfect time to freshen up your home and to get a head start on spring maintenance. Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy, recommends that we tackle the following tasks first: Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – In addition to testing batteries regularly, you should change these twice a year without fail. Carbon monoxide detectors are especially important if you have fuel burning appliances. Replace furnace filters every three months – Clogged filters mean your air conditioner works

Change outdoor bulbs – When replacing them, remember that an energy-saving light bulb can last up to 10 times longer than a normal bulb and use up to 75 per cent less energy. You’ll save yourself some money and won’t have to worry about them burning out this summer. Check for leaks – Examine the seals and insulation around windows and doors. Up to 30 per cent of a home’s heating and cooling costs can be lost through poorly fitted windows and doors. More information on this topic is available online at

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harder, so be sure to replace them regularly to allow the central air conditioning system (and furnace) to run more efficiently. Clean your air ducts – This reduces harmful allergens and lowers your heating and cooling costs. Clean air ducts will reduce furnace maintenance costs, will increase the lifespan of your furnace and air conditioning units, and you won’t have to dust as often. Be sure the duct cleaning is performed by a professional. Get your air conditioner inspected – Spring is the right time for an AC inspection so you can be confident that it’s in good working order before you need to turn it on.

Choosing the ideal spa & hot tub (NC) Every year, more people are turning to spas and hot tubs as a way to relax, unwind and relieve their aches and pains. One of the reasons they are so popular is that they can be enjoyed year round - indoors or outdoors – allowing you to make the most of your leisure time regardless of the weather. Spas and hot tubs are available in preformed acrylic or thermoplastic spa shell designs that are lowered into the deck for a permanent installation or as portable models in a spa skirt or cabinet that can be moved to a new location if your move. Permanent concrete inground spas are also popular either on their own or installed as part of a pool installation. The advantage of a concrete spa is its versatility. It can be custom-designed into virtually any size or shape and can be finished in mosaic tile, block glass or colourful coatings.

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Clean and rotate your ceiling fans – Make sure all the fans in your home are working properly and are dust-free. In the summer, the blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction to move the air downwards and maximize air circulation so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. More information on this topic is available online at

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For those who want a hot tub for an aquatic workout – nothing can beat a swim spa. These rectangular-shaped units are equipped with powerful jets, propellers or paddle wheels that create a counter-current for swim-in-place exercising. Some swim spas also include bungeecord and paddle-type devices for rowing exercises that improve muscle strength in the arms, as well as a warm water spa area where bathers can sit down and relax after a strenuous workout. A swim spa can be installed inground, flush with the deck, or as a portable, above-ground unit. Soft-sided spas are another option. These lightweight, circular-shaped models are made of dense foam and are small enough to take with you for a weekend at the cottage – just empty them and roll them through the door and into a van or truck for the ultimate in portability.

For traditionalists, a wooden hot tub is the preferred choice. Made from cedar staves held together with metal hoops, circularshaped wooden hot tubs offer a deep soak and are the perfect complement to wooden decks and patio furniture. For more information on what is available in hot tubs and spas, contact the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada at 1-800-879-7066 or visit their Web site at

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HOME & GARDEN ‘Amping up’ your spa & hot tub (NC) Although they have always provided soothing comfort for bathers with sore muscles and joints, hot tubs and spas have now become outdoor entertainment centres as well. CD and DVD players, retractable liquid crystal TV sets and speakers, even Internet access and iPod docking stations are now featured on many spa models – making a soak in the backyard spa even more enjoyable as you watch your favourite movie or listen to the sounds of your favourite CD. Do you enjoy watching television as you soak your cares and worries away? There are spas and hot tubs available with an LCD television screen built right into them. These large, waterproof screens (some are 1 m/42 in. wide) provide a treat for the eyes when they are elevated and simply retract into the spa cabinet when no longer needed.

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Do you want to watch your favourite DVD or listen to your favourite CD while enjoying a relaxing soak? Hot tubs and spas are now equipped with DVD and CD players with pop-up speakers for high-fidelity sound that enhances the soaking experience. You can also enjoy your latest music downloads by placing your iPod in a built-in iPod docking station that will play music through the spa’s built-in speakers. Do you need to stay in touch with office while you soak? Hot tub models are even available with an Internet connection, complete with a waterproof mouse and keyboard. LED lights are popular feature to have while entertaining. Built into most spa and hot tub models, LED lights require half the power of traditional halogen or incandescent lights and do a lot more than simply illuminate the spa underwater. These

Automating the backyard pool and spa (NC)—New programmable control systems have made operating and maintaining pools and spas as easy as pushing a button. Capable of being operated from inside the home, a programmable control system eliminates the need to walk outside to turn the equipment on and off or to make adjustments to pool or spa operation. These high-tech control devices feature a control panel that displays the operation status of pool and spa equipment, as well as permitting control over water and air temperature, sanitizer levels, salt chlorine operation, water features and lighting. Some automatic control systems allow you to operate pool and spa equipment from inside

high-tech systems can be synchronized to put on a range of colourful light shows underwater – either a single colour or gradual colour transition for relaxation or a rapid display of many colours for a party atmosphere – it’s as easy as pushing a button. For more information on the entertainment options in a spa or hot tub, contact the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada at 1-800-879-7066 or visit their Web site at

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the home or office using a desktop or laptop computer, while other systems use colour touch screen devices such as PDAs and hand-held tablets for remote monitoring and control of pool and spa functions. Automatic pool and spa control systems also allow you to eliminate over- or under-dosing the sanitizer level in the water and can help you reduce energy costs by operating some functions at off-peak hours when energy is less expensive. Depending on the model, automatic pool and spa control systems can also be interfaced with home automation systems that control the home’s indoor and outdoor lights, heating, air conditioning

and home alarm system for a totally integrated, centralized control system. More ideas on how to automate your pool or spa are available online at www. or toll-free at 1-800-879-7066.

Energy Conservation Opportunities for Pools and Hot Tubs (NC)—Rising fuel costs and greater restrictions on water usage can make running pool and spa equipment more expensive these days – but the pool and spa industry has come up with a number of technological innovations to help you save energy, increase efficiency and cut operating costs. Many pool and spa pumps, for example, now use more energy efficient motors that operate at variable speeds for greater efficiency. A microprocessor built into the pump determines and maintains the lowest amount of water flow for maximum performance and minimal energy use. Pool heaters have also gone ‘green’. Special gas heater models called “Low NOx’ now release lower amounts of nitrogen oxide emissions into the air, which have been linked to smog and acid rain, while some heat pump pool heaters now use a special refrigerant that will not deplete the earth’s ozone layer. Cartridge filters have been redesigned to allow pool and spa owners to use smaller pumps or

variable-speed pump speeds to minimize energy use. These filters also use cartridge elements that can be rinsed, rather than backwashed, to reduce water use. The use of LED lights has also resulted in considerable energy savings for the pool and spa owner because of the minimal energy required to operate them. LED lights, as well as other pool and support equipment, save you even more money when operated by an automatic control system that allows you to take advantage of offpeak seasonal utility rates. Special centrifugal water filtration devices have also been introduced that filter out up to 80 per cent of incoming sediment before the water is sent to the pool filter, reducing the need to backwash and saving water. Close to half of heat losses from pools come off the surface. Cutting off the surface area by deploying solar covers/blankets on pools can lower costs of heating, filtration and chemical

April 2014

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sanitization by almost half. Similar results are achievable with thermal insulating covers on hot tubs. Even something as simple as a liquid solar product can dramatically improve heat retention in pools – reducing heating costs. These products create a liquid layer over the pool water to slow down evaporation of water and conserve heat in the pool. More energy-saving ideas as well as guidelines are available online at or tollfree at 1-800-879-7066.

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HOME & GARDEN Have fun and play safe

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(NC)—Swimming pools are great ways to have fun and relax – but make sure you follow a few basic safety tips to make your leisure time as safe as possible this summer. And keep in mind – adult supervision is essential at all times when children are using a pool. Keep a cordless phone or cell phone nearby while the pool is in use for emergencies. If you need to leave the pool area, make sure another adult is present to supervise young bathers. When the pool is not being used, make sure it is covered by a safety cover. When the pool is uncovered, it can be a tempting playground for children. For added safety, keep pool toys out of the water when not being used

and store them out of sight. Never leave toys on the deck or leave a table or chairs near a pool fence that could allow a child to climb over into the pool area. Make sure you have a clear, unobstructed view of the pool from inside the house and never allow horseplay or roughhousing (dunking, pushing or throwing someone into the pool) or playful screaming for help that could mask a real emergency. Enclose your yard with a permanent fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate and install a portable mesh fence around the immediate pool perimeter to keep children out of the pool once they are in the backyard.

Learn how to inspect your new home before possession (NC) Before you can move in to a newly built home, there is a critical first step that all Ontario buyers must take: the Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). Much more than just a quick tour, the PDI represents the first opportunity for buyers to view their home in its completed state and to thoroughly assess its condition. All builders in Ontario are required by law to conduct a PDI with their customers prior to the date of possession. This inspection is part of your new home warranty, provided by your builder and backed by Tarion Warranty Corporation. The PDI is your first opportunity to view your home in its entirety, learn about how to maintain it and take stock of anything that may be damaged, incomplete, missing, or not working properly. You may be excited to show it off to your friends and family, but now is not the time. The PDI is an important part of taking possession and deserves your full attention, say advisers in this field. If you are not able to attend yourself, you can ask someone you trust to be there on your behalf.

During the PDI, you should carefully examine your home both inside and out. Look for things like chips in bathtubs and sinks, scratches on counter tops, damage to floors, walls, cabinetry (and other finishings) and look for doors and windows that are not secure or do not open and close easily. Outside, check things like the quality of brickwork and siding, whether window screens have been installed, and inspect the appearance of the driveway and landscaping. Your builder’s representative will record it all on a PDI form. Review the form carefully to make sure it’s complete. Once done, you will get a copy, which will become the official record of the condition of your home before you moved in. If at a later time, there is a disagreement between you and the builder (about damage before, or after possession) Tarion, which regulates new home builders and guarantees your warranty, may use your PDI form for reference. Sometimes, due to weather or other factors, you may not be able to inspect a certain item. If you are unable to assess something during the PDI,

Get fully informed about your new home warranty (NC)—One of the many advantages of buying a newly built home is the fact that pretty well all new homes in Ontario come with a statutory warranty. In fact, the warranty program in this province offers coverage up to a maximum of $300,000 on each property. It is administered by Tarion Warranty Corporation and covers your new home for up to seven years. In the event a sale can’t be completed, there is also deposit protection up to a maximum of $40,000 for new houses and $20,000 for new condos (excess deposit amounts are protected by the trust provisions of the Condominium Act). The warranty is broken out over one-, twoand seven-year coverage periods, at which times purchasers can apply to Tarion and their builder to remedy any problems that may have arisen since they have taken possession of their new home.

All doors leading from the house to the pool should also have a self-latching, self-closing mechanism and all windows should have window locks installed to prevent a child from climbing through. More pool and hot tub safety information and guidelines can be found online at www.safepools. ca or toll-free at 1-800-879-7066.

(466 words + 1 photo, Ont Only) simply make note of it on the form. The PDI is also an excellent opportunity to ask questions and learn about how your home functions. Your builder will show you how to operate your home’s systems, like heating, electrical, air conditioning, and plumbing, and provide you with operating manuals. Your new home warranty doesn’t begin or end at the PDI – it all begins when you sign a purchase of sale agreement with your builder, and stays with the home for seven years. For more information about the PDI, and to access a detailed checklist, visit

Attention Editors: Please note that this article is for use in Ontario only.

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The one-year warranty protects against defects in workmanship and materials and any violations to the Ontario Building Code. The two-year warranty protects against defects in the electrical, plumbing and heating systems, any water penetration issues and defects in the exterior cladding. Finally, the seven-year warranty protects against major structural defects that could affect the safety of the dwelling, such as the failure of a load bearing wall. A complete overview of the home warranty program is found in a document called the Homeowner Information Package. Your builder is required by law to provide you with access to a copy of it before, or at the closing of your new home. The law dictates that all new homes in Ontario come with this mandatory warranty coverage. It is also required by law that all new home builders

in the province be registered with the Tarion Warranty Corporation. If your builder does not readily provide you with requested warranty rights information, you are advised to think twice about purchasing that home. More information is available online at www.

Attention Editors: Please note that this article is for use in Ontario only.

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HOME & GARDEN 5 important tips for buying a new condo (NC)—It’s no secret that there’s an ongoing condo boom in Ontario – just look around you. Our cities are going up vertically, and that means more and more people are enjoying high rise living. So if you are joining the crowd and thinking of buying a condo, here are some tips to make your purchase a smooth one: 1. Patience is important. It could be two or three years between the date you sign your purchase agreement and the date you take occupancy of your unit. If construction runs over schedule, it could be even longer. 2. Know your rights when it comes to delayed closings. Builders are entitled to extend the occupancy date specified in a purchase agreement as long as they provide proper notice. (When proper notice is not given, buyers are eligible for delayed occupancy compensation.) It’s a good idea to read up on your rights and responsibilities in delayed occupancy situations, which you can do at 3. Hire a lawyer. A condominium lawyer will help you interpret your purchase agreement. It’s to your benefit to understand both your own and your builder’s responsibilities. For example,

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the Condominium Act entitles you to a 10-day “cooling off” period that begins on the day you receive the purchase agreement or a document called the disclosure statement, whichever comes later. During this time, your lawyer can negotiate changes to the offer, like capping adjustments to the purchase price, or restricting amendments to the size, design or dimensions of the unit. 4. Understand deposit protection. If a builder fails to close the sale or substantially complete construction, deposits are protected up to a maximum of $20,000 with any excess deposit amounts being protected by the trust provisions of the Condominium Act. Any money paid over and above this is may not be protected if something unforeseen happens with the builder or development. 5. Be prepared to move into a construction zone. Condo projects are different from single family homes in that the purchase is usually completed in two steps. Step one is interim occupancy. Many buyers find out the hard way that they’re required to take possession of their completed unit (and pay the balance of the down payment, which generally amounts to 25 per cent of

Quick tips to keep your property in top shape (NC)—Household maintenance is an essential part of being a home owner. Not only does it ensure that your internal environment stays healthy, but it is also necessary to maintain your new home warranty if you live in a house or condominium that is less than seven years old.— All newly built houses homes in Ontario come with a warranty that lasts seven years from the date of the first possession, and this warranty is guaranteed by Tarion Warranty Corporation. The warranty protects homeowners from things like water penetration through the basement or foundation walls; defects in the electrical, plumbing and heating systems; and major structural damage, among other problems. But in order to ensure your home stays covered, you are advised to perform regular seasonal maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your property in good shape: • Clear eavestroughs of debris regularly and extend downspouts so that water is directed away from your home. Water that flows

the purchase price) before common element features like front reception, landscaping and the swimming pool are finished. This means you could live for many months without the anticipated amenities, particularly if the unit sits on a lower floor. Whether you are a first-time buyer, empty nester, or just drawn to the condo life, make sure you know your rights. More information about warranty coverage for new condos is available online at or phone 1-877-982-7466. To learn more about the Condominium Act, which is not administered by Tarion, contact the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services.

Attention Editors: Please note that this article is for use in Ontario only.

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around the foundation could eventually find its way into the basement. • Get your roof inspected regularly to ensure shingles, flashing and chimney caps are in place and sealed properly. • Fix the caulking around windows and doors and on the roof if it becomes cracked or separated. • Clean or replace your furnace filter. • Check air ducts, remove covers, and vacuum dust from vents. • Investigate and identify any musty smells and odours. They are often an indicator that there is a hidden moisture problem. • Shut off exterior water supply and drain water lines in the winter. • Install a winter cover for air conditioning unit. • Check roofing and flashing for signs of wear or damage. • Check/clean heat recovery ventilator (HRV); wash or replace filter. • Clean the mechanisms of the humidifiers.

• Check for condensation and proper humidity levels. You can find more seasonal home maintenance tips online at www.

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April 2014

Attention Editors: Please note that this article is for use in Ontario only.

HOME & GARDEN How to research your new home purchase (NC)—Buying a newly built home from a builder is different than purchasing a resale home. Your attention should be placed not only on the home itself, but also on the reputation of the builder. All builders in Ontario must be registered with Tarion Warranty Corporation and all new homes in Ontario come with a warranty that lasts seven years from the date of the first possession. That warranty is guaranteed by Tarion. The warranty ensures homeowners receive homes that are constructed in a workmanlike manner, free from defects and constructed in accordance with the Ontario Building Code. There are many reputable builders in Ontario that will freely offer this information to any potential purchaser. A buyer should be suspicious of a builder who does not want to discuss the mandatory new home warranty. The first step in your research should be to find out whether your builder is registered. This can be done by visiting and clicking on “Ontario Builder Directory.” Every registered builder in Ontario is listed in this database. It shows a 10-year history that includes chargeable conciliations and the number and amounts of certain claims paid by Tarion.

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A chargeable conciliation occurs if a builder and a homeowner disagree about whether an item is covered under the Ontario new home warranty program and, after an inspection by Tarion, the item is found to have been covered under the warranty. Claims refer to situations where the builder did not resolve a homeowner claim and Tarion stepped in to work directly with the homeowner, either by making repairs or providing a cash settlement. You may want to consider these numbers in comparison to the number of homes the builder has built over the years. This number is listed in the database as “number of possessions.” The directory also shows: if a builder has been a Tarion Award of Excellence finalist or winner in the past three years; a breakdown of the types of homes built over a 10-year span into freehold homes and condominium units; and lists the names of officers and directors for each company, providing links to companies that share the same officers and directors. You will also find a list of builders who are no longer registered with Tarion. The directory will confirm whether a builder’s registration has

Quick tips to come clean in your dirtiest rooms (NC) Household chores are a never-ending reality of life. In fact on average, women spend more than two hours a day on household activities – and yet there’s always something still to clean when keeping up with kids, pets and a hectic schedule. For a tidy sparkling home in no time, why not tackle your dirtiest rooms with a few quick tips? For example, start by pumping yourself up with a ‘cleaning playlist’ to make chores more entertaining? If you’re lacking motivation, nothing will get you off the couch faster than a rockin’ soundtrack. It can also be fun to time yourself during tasks; you may be surprised to see that most of the chores listed below can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Ready – set – start cleaning: Kitchen Dishwasher Duty Once a week, shake baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe around the machine’s edges to remove stuck-on food or stains. To clean the inside, run an empty cycle with Dishwasher Magic, a product designed to kill bacteria like E.coli. During cold and flu season, add a quartercup of bleach to the regular dish cycle to kill bacteria. The dishes will be safe and sanitized after the rinse cycle is finished. Zap the Sponge We all know that sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Disinfect yours every night by squeezing excess water out and microwaving it on high for a minute. When it’s worn and smelly, replace with a new one. Disinfect the Sink A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen’s benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, says the

expired or whether Tarion has revoked their registration or refused to renew it. Once you’ve confirmed that your builder is registered and checked out their listing on the directly, the next step is to ask around. You may want to go to neighbourhoods where this builder has built homes and inquire about homeowners’ experiences. You can also ask for references. Speaking to other homeowners will give you a good indication of whether the builder stands behind his/her construction and is attentive to customers. Finally, if you don’t find your builder listed in Tarion’s database, or if he or she gives you any reason not to offer the mandatory new home warranty, call Tarion at 1-877-9-TARION.

Attention Editors: Please note that this article is for use in Ontario only.

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management at Moen, a leader in quality faucets. New this year, for example is the popular Walden pullout faucet featuring the innovative Reflex system. Its self-retracting wand helps fill large pots and the ergonomic design helps improve rinsing in and around the sink. Additionally, the Walden faucet has Microban antimicrobial protection – built in to the faucet finish – to inhibit the growth of stain-and odour-causing bacteria, mold and mildew. Refrigerator Refresh It’s important to make sure your refrigerator is always clean and odourless, especially if you are expecting guests. One trick to get rid of smells is to open a canister of oatmeal and place it in the fridge for a few days to absorb any unappealing odours. Bathroom Scour the Shower Showers are also a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew – feasting on body oils and soap scum. Make shower doors shine by rubbing a teaspoon of lemon oil on glass shower doors twice a month, this will cause water to bead up and roll off. Or, try a product called Rain-X Original Glass Treatment, a car-care item made to keep rainwater off your windshield. Use it twice a year. For easy maintenance, after each shower, clean the stall or tub and tiles with a squeegee. Spotless Sinks After your family finishes brushing their teeth or shaving, use a dry terrycloth hand towel on the mirror and bathroom faucets to wipe away spots of lather so they won’t build up. For a spotless fixture around the clock, Moen suggests their Ashville bathroom faucet featuring Microban antimicrobial

protection. The faucet is available in the company’s trademark Spot Resist Brushed Nickel finish, which resists fingerprints and water spots to maintain the brilliance of the fixture. Additional details at Living Room Eliminate Pet Hair If you’re having a difficult time removing pet hair from furniture and other fabric surfaces, put on a wet rubber dishwashing glove and wipe your hand over surfaces. The hair will stick right to it. Perfectly Polished Make polishing fun. Turn on your favourite music, dampen a pair of old socks with furniture cleanser or polish and dust to the beat. You also can put those socks on your feet and “dance” over dirty floors. Front Entrance Control Clutter Mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack inside your front-entry closet door, and use it to stash all kinds of living and family room miscellany—toys, hats, gloves, magazines, etc. You can even designate one of the pockets for mail you’re not sure whether to save or toss. Cleaning the home doesn’t have to be a strenuous task. By creating a checklist of key items to tackle routinely, you’ll easily combat the dirtiest rooms.

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HOME & GARDEN 6 simple steps to a sensational shower (NC) You do it every day – and sometimes more than once a day – but how often do you actually think about your shower routine? Does it live up to its potential? You do deserve the pampering, so with the following six simple steps, your shower escape can become sensational and safe – and all of it with only a minimal investment: Step 1: Start the Shower When turning on the shower, are you greeted with a sensational stream, or a wimpy wash? To create a sensational shower, be sure you start with a quality showerhead – and upgrading it is simple. Just unscrew your current showerhead, wrap some plumber’s tape around the arm, and screw on the new showerhead. A rainshower, for example, is a popular choice to provide quality coverage – and there are many options at affordable prices. Step 2: Pamper with Products Also in the survey, did you know that men cite “having too many items cluttering up the space” is their number one pet peeve in the shower? And while we don’t want to part with our favourite body wash, shampoo, or conditioner, it’s easy to add a bit of organization with a shower shelf. And for safety, go a step further. Moen says their new Designer Grab Bars with Shelves (in the Home

Care line) give you a stylish shelf storage solution. You can get both the corner and straight varieties – while also adding the safety of a grab bar. Step 3: Stretch Your Space If you’re feeling a bit claustrophobic in the shower, it may be time for an update. But don’t think adding additional shower space means adding a lot of cost. You can easily add additional elbow room by simply swapping your straight shower curtain rod with a curved shower rod. Take a look at the easy installation of the Tension Curved Shower Rod. Details at Step 4: Take a Seat Would you be more relaxed (and feel more secure while shaving your legs, or washing your feet) if you had a nice place to sit? If your current shower doesn’t have built-in seating, there is a wide range of options, from freestanding chairs to more upscale fold-down shower seats featuring teak and stainless finishes. But no matter which you choose, you’ll soon see that serenity in the shower feels safer in a seated position. Step 5: Slip and Slide It’s inevitable in the bath – water is going to create slick surfaces. So, before you step in and shower, be sure that you won’t fall flat. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can install

Refresh your nest with modern styling (NC) As we flip through the television channels, it’s hard not to find a home improvement show about remodeling and DIY projects showing homeowners how to modernize their spaces. Here are three areas of the home that will give you the most ‘bang for your buck’ when it comes to a makeover: First Stop: The Bathroom. When you’re ready to sell your house, renovating the bathroom typically has a high return of 62 percent. A lowcost way to modernize the bathroom is to install new faucets. For example, the leading brand, Moen, tells us that their new Align collection pays attention to every detail with its sleek, contemporary pieces, creating a distinctly modern bathroom. This design gives you an attractive balance of style and function ideal for both the low profile bathroom, and for a grand master bath. Additional details at “One of the keys to contemporary design is simplicity,” says Ji Kim, the director of global design at Moen. “When we’re developing products for the modern homeowner, we keep that top-ofmind to ensure our styles are fresh, comfortable and will fit with their lifestyles.” Second Stop: The Living Room. Modern design doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable. Homeowners love modern interiors for the sleek and streamlined look, which leads to less clutter and visual stress. Expand the modern theme

(693 words + 1 photo) treads to the bottom of your shower for some sure footing and added traction. Step 6: Grab a Towel Once you’re squeaky clean and relaxed, you’ll want to reach out for a fluffy, warm towel and climb out of the shower. How can you ensure your towels are close at hand? Install a towel bar just outside the shower area. But don’t choose just any towel bar – add extra safety with a towel bar that incorporates a grab bar. “Our research shows that the most challenging and potentially dangerous bathroom activity is getting in and out of the bathtub or shower safely,” says Jack Suvak, the senior director of market research and insights at Moen. “And, many bathers rely on items such as towel bars or shower door handles, which are not built to hold a person’s weight. Our grab bars and towel bars are designed to deliver that kind of security.”

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throughout the home by updating furniture with unfussy and relaxed pieces. There’s no need to buy everything new. Fabric covers in an array of prints and colours can instantly bring new life to old furniture. For pieces that need to be replaced, consider purchasing solid and neutral furniture. As trends change, you can switch out pillows and blankets to stay up-to-date. Keep neutrals in mind when selecting paint colours, as well. White, black, brown and gray will go with just about anything. For a pop of colour, paint an accent wall with a bold colour, or add extra personality with drapery or area rugs. Use lamps, paintings and accessories to give personal touch throughout the rest of your living space. Final Stop: The Kitchen. Opening up shelving is a way to put a fresh, modern spin on your existing kitchen layout. You can order new cabinets with glass panels or simply remove the doors from your existing ones. Just make sure the exposed areas are not cluttered. Open shelving is a perfect place to display dishes; for a crisp look, try stacks of white plates and bowls. If you’re looking for an edgy feel, try patterned or bright-coloured ones. Adding new hardware to cabinets is also an inexpensive way to improve the look of your kitchen. Since faucets are the most used item in the kitchen, a new model can make a big impression. Moen tells us to swap out our old one for the new

Tilt pullout faucet. This line features a distinct, top-mount handle, which allows the faucet to occupy a small horizontal space for the utmost in urban minimalism. To complement this hardware, consider updating your counters as well. Granite remains a popular choice because of its high style and durability. Technology is also being used to aesthetically enhance our living space with modern touches. Mirror technology, for example, allows homeowners to disguise the TV when it isn’t in use. Available for all television models, it will look like a mirror is in the room until the unit is turned on. “The demand for minimalist, modern styling continues to increase,” adds Ji Kim. “From the bathroom to the kitchen, Moen has introduced a number of products to help homeowners achieve a contemporary look.

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April 2014

HOME & GARDEN 5 lawn tips to make others green with envy (NC) Every block has one: the impeccably manicured, abundantly plush, flawlessly green lawn. It’s the envy of everyone on the street, but this year, it can be yours. “Anyone can have a great looking lawn if they apply the right tools, practices and materials,” says Scott Ride of Husqvarna, a company known as the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products. “These tips from the pros,” says Ride, “will make sure that the grass stays greener on your side of the fence:” Mow frequently with sharp blades: Frequent cutting forces your turf to grow thick, keeping out weeds. Keep your mower’s blades sharp so the grass doesn’t become bruised and susceptible to

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disease. Sharpening can be done at any Husqvarna dealer. Pay attention to the weather: Dry spells and rainy periods mean different routines for your lawn. Weather can be unpredictable. Monitor the weather for extreme heat waves or mass rainfall so you can adjust your lawn routine accordingly. Avoid watering at night: Be sure to let the grass dry out before the dew falls, as extended moisture invites disease. The best time to water is pre-dawn or early morning. Keep it long: You may think that a qualitylooking lawn has to be short, but keeping your grass around 5-9 cm will keep the soil cooler, keep it moist longer, and encourage deeper root penetration.

Avoid over fertilization: Many home owners use fertilizer liberally, even when they don’t need it. Over fertilization can shock your grass and burn the roots, use it sparingly on problem areas or try a slow release, or natural fertilizer. Additional lawn tips and information about tool options for proper maintenance can be found online at

Stay out of the weeds with this lawn mower buying guide (NC) Not all lawn mowers are created equal. “With all of the choices available it can be difficult to cut through the clutter and find the best mower for your lawn,” says Scott Ride, president of Husqvarna Canada, a leader in outdoor power products. “With a few simple tips you’ll know exactly what to look for when choosing a new mower.” These are at the top of his list: Size matters: The type of mower you need is directly related to the size of your yard: • Small - A manual mower is a great choice; it’s also free from emissions and saves your neighbours from noise. • Medium-Large - A propelled mower is your best option to help get the job done quickly. • Large – Extra Large - If you’re cutting area is larger than 1/3 hectares (¾ of an acre) look

into ride-on varieties that will make the big job more manageable. Push or propel: Push mowers are an affordable and reliable option for flat, medium-sized yards; but best for those in good physical shape. A propelled mower is best suited for a larger space because little elbow grease is required. Terrain: If your yard is filled with hills and uneven terrain you may want to consider an allwheel drive mower, like Husqvarna’s popular model the HU800AWD. These mowers provide users with balance and power to all four wheels in hilly, uneven terrain and other tough mowing conditions. Type of grass: If your lawn consists of taller, wilder, coarser grass, explore mowers with a rear or side ejection to help tackle your turf.

6 tips for your best garden yet (NC) Home owners know that the garden is an extension of the home and this year a lush lawn, perfect hedges and beautiful flower beds are all within your reach. Here from Husqvarna, a leader in outdoor power products, are six quick tips to help you lay the foundation for your best garden yet: 1. Clean up, blow, and rake: Start the springcleaning when the snow has melted and the soil has dried a bit. Rake or blow away layers of leaves that can lead to the grass moulding or decaying. 2. Clear away weeds: Get rid of any weeds as early as possible, before the sun gives them energy to start growing. Also be sure to cut away withered leaves and grass from cultivated parts of the garden.

(323 words + 1 photo) Bag or mulch: If you love a tidy lawn, or have springtime allergies, a lawnmower with a collection system is ideal. Scott Ride recommends the BioClip (mulching) method if you demand first-rate results and if you mow often. The finely-chopped grass cuttings fertilise the lawn and make it more drought resistant. More information about mowing machinery is available online at, or talk to an expert at your local dealership.

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3. Loosen the soil: This makes it possible for the oxygen to reach the roots of the plants – and makes for a better-looking flowerbed. In smaller beds, hand tools do the trick to loosen the soil but if you’re working with larger areas, a rotary cultivator is best. 4. Trim the hedges: A good-looking hedge starts with the initial cutting. Hedges with leaves should be trimmed during winter or early spring. Conifers are better trimmed during the growing period, one time in early spring and once in the middle of the summer. 5. Mow the lawn: Your grass needs time to recover after the winter. Remember not to cut it too short. With a grass level of 5-9 cm, you will have a fine, sustainable lawn.

6. Trim: The secret to an immaculate looking garden is in the detail, if you want your lawn and flower beds to look good, make sure you trim the edges. Additional gardening tips and information about tool options for proper technique can be found online at Or ask an expert at your local dealer.

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HOME & GARDEN Have you done your ‘lawn health’ check-up? (NC) After a long winter’s nap, your lawn and garden are starting to emerge – and guess what? They’re hungry. Nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P)—for lawns younger than two years old—and potassium (K) are the nutrients that together make up the NPK in fertilizer, which is the food all growing plants need to thrive. Properly-fed grass is not only greener, it’s thicker and healthier, better able to crowd out weeds and withstand drought in the dog days of summer. Fertilizer helps your lawn produce a deeper root structure, capable of reaching water more deeply stored in the soil. And a thick, healthy carpet of grass cools the environment surrounding your home while providing a soft place for kids and pets to rest and play.

When it comes to fertilizer, be sure to use up anything stored from last year. Fertilizer doesn’t go bad as long as it’s been kept dry. When buying and using fertilizer, consider these four simple steps: • Right Source: Buy the right fertilizer for your lawn. Review your options at a lawn and garden centre by reading the bag. The three numbers on the bag indicate the ratio of NPK, the three key nutrients needed for growing plants. • Right Rate: Know the size of your lawn, buy only what you need, and follow the instructions on the bag. Using a quality lawn fertilizer spreader or handheld model will ensure even distribution for your lawn. • Right Time: Spring and fall are the best times to fertilize. Don’t apply if heavy rain is expected

A healthier lawn gives you a healthier home (NC) A thick, healthy lawn is lot more than nice looking green space. Well-maintained turf, for example, cools our atmosphere, reduces erosion and is better able to withstand the extreme heat and drought conditions of late summer. Like all living things, plants, including grass, need food for optimal health. Thicker, healthier lawns with deeper root structures make a bigger contribution to the environment around your home. Spring and fall are the best times to feed your lawn, say advisors in this field. Do it in earlyand late-spring, and then avoid applying fertilizer when the temperatures are above 30°C. Feed again in the fall to provide nutrition that will help see your lawn through the long, cold winter. If you have leftover fertilizer from last season, you can still use it. Break up any clumps before placing it in the spreader, and store any remaining fertilizer in the original package, sealed, and stored in a cool dry place. It’s important to use the right fertilizer on your type of lawn, so always read the bag for information that includes the amount of nutrients,

or while the ground is still frozen. • Right Place: Fertilizer can’t do its job if it’s not on your lawn or garden. Sweep any fertilizer that lands on sidewalks or driveways back onto the lawn, avoiding sewers and waterways. Additional tips for maintaining your lawn’s health are available online at

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such as the NPK for Nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). The bag will also tell you how much area it will cover and how to apply it properly. Newly established lawns require phosphorous for root growth. Older lawns that have the clippings left on after cutting gain nutrients back as the clippings decompose. Established lawns can usually use a phosphorous-free formula. Additional information to produce the healthiest lawn is available at

Seven Important Reasons to Feed Your Lawn Here’s why from the pros at 1. Healthy turf acts as a water filtration system. 2. Thick lawns with deeper roots absorb water, reducing water run-off. 3. Lawns hold the soil particles to help prevent soil from water and wind erosion. 4. Grass acts as an air purifier by trapping and removing pollutants from the air that are then broken down by the root system (especially important in urban areas with more vehicles). 5. Healthy lawns, trees and shrubs can cool the air temperature around a home cool by 4°C to 8°C (compared to hard surfaces). 6. Lawns produce an amazing amount of oxygen. A 50-by-50-foot lawn releases enough oxygen for a family of four every day. 7. A thick healthy green carpet of grass provides a soft, safe outdoor space for people and pets to rest and play.

Lawn fertilizing tips from the pros (NC) Choosing a lawn fertilizer shouldn’t be difficult, but many people wonder what to buy and when to apply it for a great result. The Canadian Fertilizer Institute says they make it their business to know fertilizer and offer us the following tips for application and to keep our green space healthy: • Read the bag. The three numbers listed (like 10-0-5) indicate the ratio of three key nutrients included in all fertilizers. These nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), listed in this order. If a bag reads 21-0-3 it contains 21 per cent nitrogen, 0 per cent phosphorus and 3 per cent potassium. • The timing of your fertilizer application will differ between varieties, so get acquainted with your lawn and identify your variety of grass.

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Choose the right source of food by buying a fertilizer recommended for the type of grass you have. • As the rain returns in spring and the ground warms up, grass will begin to green, and in this case, green means ‘go’. Generally, early-and latespring, and fall are the best times to fertilize. • Apply fertilizer at the right rate by using a good quality spreader. Read the instructions on the product bag to determine how much you need to apply. • Fertilizer can’t do its job if it’s not in the right place. Sweep any of the mixture that has landed on hard surfaces (such as sidewalks and driveways) back onto the lawn where it can get to work. All grasses have the ability to go dormant in periods when water intake is reduced – and this

can happen in the driest parts of the summer, and while the ground is frozen throughout the winter. Grass turns brown as the plant focuses its energy on the roots. During dormancy, don’t feed your lawn - let it rest. Additional information on best practices for fertilizer use and storage is available online at

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April 2014

HOME & GARDEN Knock knock. Beware. Why door-to-door sales are not for HVAC equipment (382 words + 1 photo)

(NC) Think it’s safe to buy heating or cooling equipment from a door-to-door salesperson? Think again. Thousands of Canadians get taken in each year by unscrupulous salespeople coming to their door selling everything from hot water tanks to new furnaces. They say they’re from a legitimate business or utility company and seem to have all the bells and whistles – a nametag, an officiallooking clipboard. But in fact they are attempting to persuade unsuspecting homeowners to buy products they don’t need, and at an inflated price. Sad thing is, they’re very convincing. They might tell you your furnace is outdated, against code, dangerous even, or that you are being overbilled. They aim to frighten, and in some cases convince people to sign into multi-year rental or payment schemes that are impossible to get out of. “These salespeople are misrepresenting themselves and they are very belligerent and very aggressive,” notes Nancy McKeraghan of

Newmarket-based Canco ClimateCare. “We had one customer who was paying $29 a month to rent a thermostat, when a good programmable thermostat, installed, costs around $150!” You can protect yourself by checking to see if the seller has a well-marked vehicle and asking for proper identification. Ask them to leave their business card, and advise them you will contact them at a later date once you’ve done your due diligence. If they insist the offer is limited to that moment, this should set off warning bells. And never, ever, let them into your home unless arranged in advance, once their credentials have been assessed. Utility companies and respected heating and AC suppliers rarely sell door-to-door. Similarly, if a utility is servicing an area, it will inform residents in advance, and never ask to see a bill as it already has that information on file. When buying or renting a water heater, furnace or air conditioner, do it from a trusted store or

through a licensed contractor. Make sure you have plenty of time – days even – to review the product information, the options and, most importantly, the fine print. If you want to buy something at your door, best to stick to Girl Guide cookies and other small purchases. For more consumer tips and information, visit or for information on how to locate a qualified contractor in your area, visit qualifiedcontractors.html

Keeping cool, staying cool: A primer on AC maintenance (NC) Canada may be known as the Great White North, but that certainly doesn’t stop Mother Nature from delivering hot, muggy weather every summer. When you’re in the middle of a heat wave, you want to make sure your central air conditioning system is in top working order. As many of you know, it’s not pleasant to have your system break down just as the temperature edges into the 30s. The good news is that complications such as these can be avoided with some basic, regular maintenance, and spring is the best time to tackle this. For starters, you can clean up around your outdoor condenser – there should be no leaves, twigs or other debris in the vicinity. Following that, with the power turned off, hose down the unit regularly to make sure it’s free of dust. Then, check your furnace filters and clean or replace them. The air conditioner needs the furnace to circulate air, and a dirty filter will push dust and other particles throughout the house, cutting down on efficiency. It can also reduce airflow, forcing your HVAC equipment

to work harder and leaving it vulnerable to malfunction. Remember that it’s beneficial not to overwork your AC system. Easing up on your cooling will help prevent breakdowns and increase your equipment’s lifespan, possibly by years. So close off vents in unused rooms or your basement, where it is naturally cooler; use ceiling fans to circulate air; and close your drapes or shades on sunny days. Also, turn off the humidifier in summer months. Leaving it on will only increase the cooling load. Set the thermostat below the room temperature and never below 20 degrees Celsius. This can cause a multitude of problems for your unit, including freezing up. Ideally, the thermostat should be set to 25.5°C when at home and 29°C when away. Most importantly, call in a licensed HVAC contractor for an annual maintenance visit. Your air conditioner is a complex piece of equipment, and not all warning signs will be obvious. The refrigerant, for instance, might be leaking – a serious and possibly hazardous problem that only a professional can detect. To ensure the contractor gets accurate readings on

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the gauges, make sure the outdoor temperature is 21 degrees Celsius or higher. We all know it’s easy to turn on the switch and forget about the hard work your AC is doing for you. But proper maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs, and keep you cool on even the hottest days. For more consumer tips and information, visit or for information on how to locate a qualified contractor in your area, visit qualifiedcontractors.html

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HOME & GARDEN Refrigerants, new regulations, and what you need to know (NC) You may have heard that Canada is phasing out ozone-depleting refrigerants including R-22 (HCFC-22), which is found in the majority of heat pumps and air-conditioning units. You may also wonder what this means for you. Does your system have R-22? Do you have to replace the refrigerant? Will you need to buy a whole new piece of equipment??? In fact, each one of these options should be considered and as an equipment owner, you need to find out which option is best for your system. Unless your system has been installed in the last few years, it most likely contains R-22. With R-22 refrigerant being phased out over the next 7 years, there will be less R-22 available for service and it is becoming more expensive. Though you can continue to use R-22 for the foreseeable future, you should also look at the options of replacing the type of

refrigerant in your current system or replacing the system itself with one that uses a nonozone-depleting refrigerant. Another factor you need to consider is that Canadian regulations do not permit new systems containing R22 to be manufactured or imported into Canada. There are alternative non-ozone-depleting ‘drop-in’ refrigerants available that can replace the R-22 in your system with a small number of changes to the equipment. If you determine that the system should be replaced, pick a system that uses a newer non-ozone-depleting refrigerant. The most popular refrigerant offered by manufacturers is R410A. Remember to ensure that all system components are changed when you move to the new refrigerant. The best way to make sound decisions about your air conditioning or heat pump system is discuss your options with a qualified

heating and air conditioning contractor, and to have the contractor p r o p e r l y maintain your heating and cooling systems through annual maintenance checks. To find a qualified HVAC contractor who can guide you in the process, contact the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) at contractorlocator.php or for more consumer tips and information, visit educationcentre.html

When it comes to heating and cooling systems, size matters (NC) Size may not matter for some things. But when it comes to your heating and cooling equipment, it not only matters, it is critical – both to the wellbeing of your home, and your wallet. If you choose a heating unit that’s too large, it will turn on and off more often, create hot and cold spots, and generate high noise levels. An oversized air conditioning unit will likely run long enough to cool, but not to dehumidify. In both cases, incorrect sizing will increase your fuel consumption and operat¬ing costs, and contribute to premature part failure. Under-sizing of equipment will be equally problematic, causing a number of comfort problems and an inability to keep up with demand, especially in temperature extremes. Nancy McKeraghan of Newmarket-based Canco ClimateCare has seen her share of problems resulting from improperly sized equipment – her company is often called in to repair the damage. “We had one customer whose furnace was done after seven years because it was the wrong size for his house, actually double the capacity it should have been– and furnaces should last 15 to 20 years,” she says. “The furnace was constantly going on and off, and that was really hard on the equipment.”

How to avoid a similar scenario? Make sure your contractor does a complete “heat loss and heat gain calculation” on your home. Only by reviewing all the variables – and there are many – can the appropriate size be determined. This requires both an onsite assessment of the home, as well as an in-depth discussion with the homeowner about lifestyle and future plans. Changing windows, upgrading insulation levels, finishing the basement, air-sealing or adding a new addition – all these upgrades will impact a sizing calculation. The contractor will also take into account: Local climate conditions; Existing hot and cold spots; Size and number of windows that let in heat from the sun; Existing insulation levels; Number and lifestyle of a home’s occupants; and Predicted or known air exchange rate of the home Beware of contractors who fall short of performing a full calculation. Warning signs include a calculation made over the phone or within a brief 15-minute visit. A good estimate takes upwards of an hour – sometimes more – and examines all variables. If the points outlined above

April 2014

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are not part of the discussion, this should also raise warning flags, and ditto for contractors who indicate it is sufficient to just replace old equipment with new equipment of the same size. Do not agree to a simple “rule of thumb” calculation (e.g., X amount of BTUs per square foot), and be sure to request a “heat loss and heat gain calculation” as part of your purchase process. Any piece of HVAC equipment constitutes an expensive, and important, purchase. Make sure you get it right, and you will have years of comfort ahead. For more consumer tips and information, visit or for information on how to locate a qualified contractor in your area, visit qualifiedcontractors.html

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HOME & GARDEN The air you breathe: Optimizing indoor air quality (NC) Did you know that the renewal of air in our homes is only about one-eighth what it was twenty years ago? Or that indoor air in parts of Canada can be as dry as the Sahara desert? If you’re like most Canadians, chances are you pay little attention to the quality of air in your home. In fact, convincing people that air quality is important is a hard sell: it’s not something you can see or feel, and it doesn’t always top a homeowner’s priority list. Yet with modern construction practices having substantially reduced natural air leakage, the air in our homes deserves our attention now more than ever. Daily activities such as laundry, cooking and showers can cause excessive moisture, resulting in everything from high humidity and occupant discomfort, to lingering odours and fungus growth. Conversely, a cold, dry winter combined with excessive heating can dry out an indoor space and cause its own structural and health issues, like nosebleeds and scratchy throats.

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There are three key ways you can keep the air in your home clean: you can ventilate, purify and humidify/dehumidify. Ventilation can be as simple as cracking open a window on a weather-friendly day, or having quality fans and exhaust systems installed in your kitchen and bathroom. For optimum ventilation, you can invest in a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), which supplies continuous fresh air from the outside into your house. When it comes to purifying your air, a good air cleaner for your furnace, replaced regularly, is the bare minimum. Air cleaners trap and prevent dirt and other particles from entering your air stream. There are various models available depending on your needs – affordable, stand-alone models you can buy off the shelf, all the way to whole-house air purifiers that attach to your furnace. A hospitalgrade HEPA filter, for example, can stop even volatile organic compounds, such as off-gases from carpets and building materials, from entering your air supply.

Lastly, there is the question of humidity – too much or too little can create a variety of problems. Humidity extremes can easily be tackled with a humidifier or dehumidifier, and many homes need both for use during different seasons. There are numerous models on the market – both self-standing as well as forced air versions that can be installed right into a furnace. For more consumer tips and information, visit or for information on how to locate a qualified contractor in your area, visit qualifiedcontractors.html

Commercial HVAC systems and the importance of regular maintenance (423 words + 1 photo)

(NC) When the furnace in your home dies in the middle of a cold spell, it’s a major inconvenience. When the same thing happens in a commercial business, it’s far more – it cuts into your revenue. This is why regular maintenance of HVAC equipment in a commercial property is critical. While it takes a bit of dedication, it isn’t nearly as expensive as repairing the system breaks and failures that can happen if you don’t. While there are numerous steps that are involved in the regular upkeep of a commercial heating and cooling system, there are some standard considerations that should top any maintenance to-do list: For starters, you need to have a comprehensive HVAC maintenance plan in place, based on manufacturer’s operating manuals. This plan can act as a blueprint and a point of reference, for ensuring there is proper oversight and that nothing falls through the cracks. Remember to track system indicators continuously – make it a habit. This way you can pick up on warning signs early and avoid

larger, unexpected emergencies down the road. This surveillance should become a standard part of your day-to-day business operation. Change your filters quarterly. Yes, it sounds simple, yet so many businesses overlook this very basic and inexpensive step that can do volumes in keeping your system in working order. Ensuring your filters are changed regularly will improve a system’s efficiency, prevent it from freezing up, and provide better air quality. When faced with an equipment glitch or aging part, conduct a life cycle cost analysis to determine whether you should repair or replace the part in question. While we all want to squeeze what we can out of an existing part to avoid the higher cost of purchasing a replacement, pumping a continuous stream of money into repairs can cost you more in the long run. There will come a point when it is more economical to replace than repair. Most importantly, have your HVAC system serviced by a licensed professional twice a year. This is essential. An qualified HVAC

contractor will catch problems long before they happen, and help ensure your system is in top working order at all times of the year. When it comes to commercial heating and cooling systems, don’t wait for a problem to develop. Start preventing system glitches well in advance, and you will help keep your business running smoothing all year long. For more consumer tips and information, visit or for information on how to locate a qualified contractor in your area, visit qualifiedcontractors.html

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HOME & GARDEN Update your spring look instantly (NC) No matter whether you’re updating the clothes in your closet or sprucing up your home décor, the objective is to showcase your personal style. Award-winning designer and fashion icon, Isaac Mizrahi, knows all about style. This year he has partnered with the Kleenex brand to create an exclusive line of tissue boxes in honour of its 90th anniversary. Check out his top tips this spring to give yourself a refreshed and stylish new look: Most important essentials for everyday fashion style –

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Grooming is always important. A fresh haircut completes any look. Key style elements for every home – Surround yourself with happy things. Isaac says bright colour always makes him happy in his home, so decide what makes you happy in yours. Small pops of style make a big impact – Colour can change the look and feel of a room instantly. A colourful rug, throw pillows, or a great painting can transform a room. Marry style and function when decorating – Start by choosing things you love. If you aren’t sure about something, don’t buy it. Then, decide if

Splash your rooms with colour and patterns (NC) Are you all about neutrals when it comes to home décor? Style icon and award-winning fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi, encourages home owners to get inspired by their surroundings. “Let the blooming flowers of spring inspire you to incorporate pattern and colour into your home,” he suggests. “Don’t be afraid to take a risk, you might love the result. For example, I love mixing prints, my den is a mixture of floral and stripes.” The best way to introduce colour and pattern is to start small. Check out these simple and stylish ways to dress up any home:

(NC) We all have our ‘must-have’ items that we carry around everywhere. But just because they are essentials doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish too. Here is a list of everyday items that can also bring out your inner style: Patterned umbrella – Stand out in a sea of drab black with a colourfully patterned umbrella. It even doubles as a fun fashion accessory. Sunglasses – These are the quintessential accessory. Whether classic or fun, go with a pair that shows your personality. style. Love it before you buy it – Above all, choose things you love. “If you don’t love it, don’t buy it,” says Isaac. “The best rule of thumb is to surround yourself with things that make you happy in your home.”

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Ribbon hair elastics – Doubling as stylish arm candy, these handy hair ties are perfect for crazy hair days. Personalized phone case – Why not take your cell phone from functional to fabulous with a colourful case? With hundreds of options, it’s easy to make your phone reflect your individual style. Convenient go-pack tissues – Not only are they convenient for unexpected sniffles and sneezes, but one manufacturer has created a stylish accessory to have in your purse. In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Kleenex brand has partnered with style icon, Isaac Mizrahi, to introduce four new

and unique designs. Look for them everywhere you shop, and at www.

Add this brand new designer accessory (71 words + 1 photo) (NC) Did you know: the Kleenex brand has introduced four new designs to its Kleenex Expressions line of products, offering consumers an affordable, high-quality designer accessory to help complete their look? In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the Kleenex brand has partnered with style icon, Isaac Mizrahi, to create an exclusive line of tissue boxes. Look for them everywhere you shop, and at

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April 2014

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Start from the ground up – A colourfully patterned rug instantly brightens any room. Work from that rug, whether complementing or contrasting it, for a balanced and complete look. Keep it comfy – Both functional and stylish, throw pillows add a fun splash of colour to a room. Stay artsy – A colourful painting can transform any room. Hang it above a fireplace, sofa, credenza/sideboard, or a bed to help create a focal point in a room. Accessorize, accessorize – Accent pieces finish the look of a room. “Add flowers, candles and even a Kleenex tissue box as a finishing touch,” says Isaac. His contribution to the brand can be seen at

Add eye-catching style to functional tools

it’s practical for your home. Use colour and patterns effectively – Isaac says he loves mixing prints. His den, for example, is a mixture of floral and stripes. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, you might love the result.

HOME & GARDEN Opt for the joy of a wall-hung toilet (NC) Since entering the market over 25 years ago, macerating toilet systems have become a staple in simple home renovations. Often installed in areas such as basements and condos (that may have once been too cost prohibitive or impossible to build) macerating toilets have evolved significantly from the originals in both technology and design. The latest trends in home renovation, for example, include sleeker, more polished looks that are also more functional and eco-friendly. European wall-hung toilets have increased in popularity with the unique, minimalist design so it

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has a much smaller and less noticeable appearance in a room. With the help of a frame located inside the wall, these toilets can accommodate just about any user. Wall-hung toilets (such as the Sanistar) make excellent use of space, leaving cleaning a breeze since there is no stand affixed in the floor. As with any installation, it is best to do your homework if it’s DIY, or enlist the help of a professional to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

M o r e information on these toilet systems is available online at www.saniflo. ca, or toll-free at 1-800-363-5874.

Advanced toilet systems save money, time, and resources (NC) Labeled as the new generation of household latrines, macerating toilet systems are a fast, costeffective, and eco-friendly option for bathroom additions or renovations. Here’s the scoop: Fast Macerating toilet systems can be installed anywhere in your home, from the basement to the attic, in as little as half a day. With the use of a ¾ inch piping system, the drain lines can be run without opening up walls and floors, minimizing renovation mess and installation time. Cost-effective

Although the price may seem more than a conventional toilet, opting for macerating toilets saves the money that would otherwise be spent on a conventional plumbing installation. Macerating toilets are an above-floor solution not only saving space, but saving time and stress. Eco-friendly In comparison to the conventional toilet system, macerating toilets use approximately 38% less water per flush. As the waste is macerated before entering the sewage line it is easier and quicker for the normal bacteria to break it down. Models like the tankless Sanicompact, wall-hung Sanistar,

Innovative water systems let you renovate in tight spots (NC) Are you looking to add a spare bathroom, update the kitchen, or add a laundry room, but worry that a conventional renovation would be impossible, or break your budget? Consider a macerating- or drain-water system as an alternative, if: • You need to add an addition such as a bathroom in an already finished space, like a laundry room, but don’t want the added cost and mess of tearing up the floor to install a rough-in. Macerating toilets systems route flush-water through the back of the toilet instead of down through a floor drain allowing them to be installed over top of any finished surface. • You want to install in a basement, but the main sewage line exiting your house is above the

basement floor. Macerating systems use a fastrotating blade to break-down waste and toilet paper in the flush water, which is then pumped through small-diameter piping up and/or across to the nearest drain line or plumbing stack. • Adding a bathroom/laundry room exactly where you want it means the drain lines required for a conventional toilet will snake through multiple rooms or levels to connect to the existing plumbing stack. Unlike the 3-inch sewage lines required by conventional toilets, the 3/4-inch piping used by macerating systems can be easily run inside walls and between floor joists with minimal construction or mess. Most macerating and drain water systems also feature additional drainage inlets, for the

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and Saniaccess 3 by Saniflo (www., feature European designs that fit seamlessly into modern, spainspired bathrooms. More information on these toilet systems is available online at www., or toll-free at 1-800-363-5874.

(265 words + 1 photo) connection of a sink and bath/shower in addition to the toilet, letting homeowners complete their renovation exactly where it’s needed. More information is available online at

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HOME & GARDEN Tips for installing a cost-effective bathroom (NC) The bathroom is one of the most highly trafficked and important rooms in the house. When it comes to installing a new bathroom it is important to establish a plan and a budget. This can be challenging as installing plumbing and drainage lines can be very time consuming and costly. Here are some tips to establishing a costeffective budget without sacrificing functionality and design. Know your DIY limits: Assess which aspects of the project you can complete yourself, and which ones you will require a professional. Overestimating your DIY ability will be effective for the budgeting stage, however unrealistic self expectations can set you back both financially and time wise.

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Ventilation: Moisture can be your bathrooms greatest long-term foe. If your bathroom is not properly ventilated mold and mildew can cost you a fortune down the road. If possible, include windows for natural light, and ventilation. If it is not possible to include a window, then be sure to install a ventilation fan, which pulls air out and allows fresh air to draw back in. The size of the ventilation fan is dependent on the size of your bathroom. Macerating toilet systems: Known as the new generation of plumbing, macerating toilet systems are a fast, cost-effective, and eco-friendly option for bathroom installations and renovations. With macerating systems, the water is routed through the toilet into a macerator where a rotating blade reduces waste and toilet paper, so it can be

Save on energy bills by putting the environment first (NC) Being environmentally conscious is also going to put money in your pocket. Yes, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint if you have an efficient home and use cleaner products. And with the increasing cost of energy, there are also significant savings to be had by reducing your use of utilities. Here are some eco-improvements that will save you a bundle, and put you on Mother Nature’s ‘good’ list: Insulation: If your house is older, chances are the insulation doesn’t meet the new requirements. An improperly insulated attic is a primary source of energy loss and results in your furnace and air conditioning units working harder than necessary. By topping up the existing attic insulation you can significantly reduce the amount of energy loss. A popular product for this DIY project is called Roxul RockFill insulation. It is easy to work with

by simply spreading the product out onto the material that is already there. House appliances: Replacing your furnace, hot water tank, and air conditioning unit with highly efficient models is usually a good start when reducing the energy consumption of your home. Windows: It’s usually obvious when it’s time for new windows – and the related technology today is far superior to anything that is more than 20 years old. If you want to reap all the benefits of new windows, be sure to tell the installer doing the measurements that you want them to be “brick to brick,” not “inserts”. Inserts leave you with smaller windows placed into the old, inefficient jambs. Quick weekend projects: There are a few quick and simple improvements that you can tackle on your own that will increase the efficiency of

Transform your home into a peaceful sanctuary By Scott McGillivray (NC) Everyday noise can wreak havoc on our inner peace. It can interrupt thoughts, our quiet conversations, and prevent us from truly relaxing. Furthermore, with televisions, home theatres, computers, video games, stereos and cell phones, our homes are also way too loud. So why not transform the house into a quiet retreat by soundproofing certain rooms? When renovating, install insulation that will accomplish this for you. Used in professional recording studios, stone-wool insulation is an excellent acoustic barrier that effectively absorbs sound. For home use, industry experts recommend

a Roxul product called Safe n’ Sound. It’s an easyto-install material designed for use inside walls, ceilings and floors. For the best soundproofing results, install the Safe n’ Sound stonewool material in your media room, washrooms, laundry

pumped through ¾ inch pumping to the nearest drain line. This allows drain lines to run without opening up walls and floors. The system not only saves you money on conventional plumbing costs, but it uses approximately 38 per cent less water per flush. More information on these toilet systems is available online at or toll-free at 1-800-363-5874

(357 words + 1 photo) your home for very little cash invested upfront. Here is a quick eco-list: • Caulk around windows • Add weather stripping to door gaps • Install low-flow shower heads • Put aerators on faucets • Switch to compact florescent bulbs • Change your furnace filter • Set up a programmable thermostat Scott McGillivray is a full-time real estate investor, contractor, television host, writer, and educator.

(161 words + 1 photo) room, and in your floor joists. By soundproofing a room it means that the sound is confined to that particular space, leaving the rest of your home undisturbed and your life, uninterrupted. Scott McGillivray is a full-time real estate investor, contractor, television host, writer, and educator.

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April 2014

HOME & GARDEN Reduce stress on AC units to save money (NC) Springtime signals the start-up of household air conditioning systems in preparation for the days ahead when it will get really hot. With recent extreme weather patterns, there’s a chance your AC will be working overtime this summer and fall, so an attentive maintenance plan for your unit will ensure reliable performance. As an integral component of our comfort in the hot months, it’s good to consider reducing the stress on our air conditioning systems. A simple way to reduce the energy used by AC is to consider upgrading your attic insulation, which keeps

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your home warm in winter and cool in summer. A primary source of energy loss is an improperly insulated attic, which also results in the AC unit working harder than necessary. Upgrading can be as simple as topping up your existing insulation, and some products make it an easy DIY project. For example, Roxul’s RockFill, is loose mineral wool insulation that can be hand spread over the top of the material that is already there. This mineral wool insulation is designed to remain stable, so it will not shift or drift, ensuring upgraded thermal protection. When upgrading

A home renovation is often better than relocation (NC) If the volatile real estate market has you frazzled and scared to make a move, a home renovation project may be just the right answer. With house prices on the rise, finishing a basement is the latest trend towards building even more equity in the home. A finished basement can offer a little extra room to give a growing family space to breathe – and with so many uses, a renovated basement may be the exact solution to what your home is missing. It provides additional storage space, a sound-proofed media room, craft room,

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guest room, or home gym. The possibilities are endless. An unfinished basement, on the other hand, can be a source of energy loss, so with a renovation you can expect to see savings on your heating and cooling costs. Industry experts recommend finishing the space with the proper framing, insulation, and vapour barrier to guarantee cozy and inviting rooms. Insulation plays a key role in the comfort of your newly renovated space and although hidden within your walls, it will make sure the basement stays cool in the summer and warm

Take action on Earth Day with household conservation (NC) Celebrated every year on April 22, Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world. More than six million people – including nearly every school-aged child – participate in an Earth Day activities in their own communities. It is a valuable reminder to respect the environment and do what we can to protect our planet. So this year on Earth Day, be sure to pledge an act of green. Even at home, there are ways to take part in the world’s most celebrated environmental event. Try these environmentally-friendly tips that will also save you money on your energy bills: • Cool down your house with a ceiling or electric fan and open up the windows at night. Ceiling fans cost about 1 cent for two hours of use, compared to 67 cents to a dollar for central air. Use your

your attic insulation, it’s also important to fill in spaces around ducts, wiring and piping, converting these awkward spaces into energy saving areas.

AC only when necessary and be sure to turn it off when you’re going to be away from home for long periods of time. • Invest in a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the temperature in your house, saving you energy while you’re away or sleeping. • Increase your attic insulation to a higher R-value. Products (like one called Roxul RockFill) are applied by simply spreading it over existing insulation. An up-grade of this kind will keep your house cool in the warm weather and take the stress off your air conditioning unit. • Check the tightness on your refrigerator seal by closing the door on a piece of paper. If it’s held in place, the seal is still good, if not, it’s time to

in the winter. Stonewool insulation, like a product called Roxul, is highly recommended by retailers, builders and contractors.

(287 words + 1 photo) replace the seal or fix the door’s alignment. • Only do laundry when you have full loads. If you have smaller loads, make sure to use the correct settings and if you only have a couple of items, wait it out or wash them by hand.

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HOME & GARDEN Warmer weather home updates that are easy on your wallet (NC) As the weather turns warmer, we are anxious to escape to the outdoors. But has the harsh winter weather put a damper on your outdoor spaces? Don’t fret. You can easily spruce up your exteriors with a few easy and inexpensive home improvement projects. Here are a few fast fixes that will have your yard, garden, porch and patio looking great without leaving your wallet empty. Unpack and Update The first step in preparing your outdoor space is to unpack storage areas and populate patios and porches with furniture and accents you put away for the winter season. These pieces often don’t fare well in storage and your once-beautiful accents may be scratched, faded or even rusty. “It’s disappointing to find once-vibrant outdoor furniture and accents looking worn and outdated, especially when you’re not ready to invest in new,” said Katherine Merkle, Krylon brand manager. “Luckily, with a bit of spray paint – especially a version that’s paint and primer in one – it’s simple to revitalize your current pieces to make them lovely and enjoyable and for only a few dollars.” Krylon’s Dual Superbond Paint + Primer spray paint is the ideal solution with a unique formulation that’s available in a wide variety of the most popular colours and finishes. With paint

and primer in one can, you can complete your projects easily and quickly in one step – with a great finish that lasts like you primed it. Plus, it works on many surfaces, including wood, metal, wicker, glass, ceramic, fabric, concrete and masonry, allowing you to update all your outdoor accents. “Whether looking to add a vibrant pop of colour to dull flower pots; restoring sun-faded patio umbrellas; or restoring damaged or dull furniture surfaces, Dual Superbond has the colour you need in the simple, one-step, affordable solution you desire,” said Merkle. Clean and Clear Cold weather can leave outdoor spaces looking dirty and gray, so the next step is to start cleaning. Pressure washing is a simple way to get patios, sidewalks, windows and siding looking ready for the season. Don’t have a pressure washer? No worries. Most rental companies or home improvement centres offer reasonably priced daily rentals. Or, it’s an opportunity to visit neighbours you haven’t seen during the cold months to borrow theirs. Get Grilling Once you’ve cleaned, repaired and painted, you’ll be ready to enjoy some entertaining.

Wow guests with original wedding reception touches (NC) Most brides have a vision of a beautifully decorated and themed wedding reception. Luckily, it is easy to achieve the wedding décor you see in your mind’s eye with a few easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself projects. Tables They’ll Talk About You don’t have to settle for the same old table settings and centrepieces when it comes to putting your mark on your reception. Find knick-knacks or trinkets that mean something special to you and then use spray paint to turn them into a coordinated collection perfect for sparking dinner conversation. For example, turn little lovebird figures into one-of-a kind table place card holders with Krylon ColorMaster spray paint in your wedding colours. By attaching a memo pin to the top, you can guide your guests to their seats in style. And, when the reception is over, these can even double as photo holders and be given away as wedding favours. Novel Napkin Rings Napkins are a necessary dinner table accessory, so what do you do to make them stylish and add another personalized touch? Custom-made napkin

rings are just the right detail. Wood or metal rings are often available at your local craft store. Then make them your own by gluing on personalized tokens, such as small decorations ornaments or initials, and spray painting to coordinate with your other table decorations for a completely classy look. Table Numbers Numbering the tables at your reception is an easy way to direct guests to their seats. It’s simple to add an elegant touch by creating your own table numbers using inexpensive photo frames. Whether you purchase frames from a store, garage sale or by collecting them from around your own home, you can create a cohesive and classy collection in no time. Once you have your frames, purchase house numbers (like those used to show an address) that will fit within the glass area of your picture frames. Remove the glass and wipe all surfaces with alcohol to achieve a clean surface. Spray paint the frame and numbers the colour of your choice. Metallic paints create a classy look that complements your main wedding colours. Once all the pieces are

To prep your grill for another year of burgers and barbeques, make sure you start with a good cleaning. Home improvement expert, Danny Lipford, has a simple and inexpensive way to clean the cooking surface using aluminum foil and white vinegar. The acid in the vinegar cuts through grease and cooked-on food, while the foil acts as an abrasive to remove residue. Simply pour white vinegar in a clean spray bottle, spray the cooking surface and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, rub the cooking area with crumpled up aluminum foil. You’ll have a clean grill with items you probably have sitting in your pantry. With a few fast do-it-yourself updates, your home and outdoor areas will be looking fabulous in no time – and all without a huge price tag. For more information on Krylon paint products, visit

(438 words + 1 photo) dry, reassemble the frames and use an adhesive to bond the number to the front of the glass. When setting up for your reception, nest these numbers among your other table decorations for an exquisite presentation. With a bit of inspiration and spray paint, you’ll have a wedding table to wow you guests. For information on these and other Krylon products and projects visit

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HOME & GARDEN Turn your home from bland to grand with the newest colour trends (NC) Looking to add a pop of colour to basic home décor…or transform tired-looking elements in your home? You don’t have to buy something new to incorporate the latest style and colour trends into your home. All you need is a little spray paint and inspiration from the colour and design experts at Krylon. “The Krylon colour trends for 2014 are based on the curious, optimistic attitude of society today,” says Sue Wadden, colour marketing and design manager at Krylon. “In spite of pressures and priorities, our spirit of adventure has been restored. We are ready to go, moving forward boldly to welcome new and renewed possibilities. And so our colour choices are recharged with innovative combinations.” According to Wadden, the new 2014 colour trends include: Grounded Today’s culture is again intrigued by, and in tune with, nature. We admire it, play in it and protect it. Whether it’s an organic garden to tend or a wooded path to discover, the environment grabs our attention in new ways. Featuring colours harvested from field and forest, the Grounded trend includes earthy greens, browns and golds.

Mud room makeovers

Colours in the Grounded palette include: Bauhaus Gold, Burgundy, Pebble, Italian Olive, Celery, Bahama Sea and Pewter Gray. Fuse The Fuse trend celebrates the fusion of global cultures with bright, bold colours reminiscent of tribal textiles and crafts. They all come together in the melting pot of the new millennium. Proud traditions find a place alongside new interpretations of our heritage as races and cultures collide in wonderful, colourful ways. Colours in the Fuse palette include: Mambo Pink, Pumpkin Orange, Emerald Green, Sun Yellow, Global Blue, Pistachio and Hunter Green. Quest In our current culture we no longer think we know it all, but we certainly want to. We have more interests, bigger imaginations and lots of questions. We look high and low for answers, including the vast reaches of cyberspace. Our searching has found deep, mysterious blues and surprising bright colours, which are all reflected in the Quest trend. Colours in the Quest palette include: Watermelon, Navy Blue, Blue Ocean Breeze, Citrus Green, Iris, Sea Glass and Coral Isle. State of Calm

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Today things move quickly and with purpose. There is so much going on that sometimes we want to turn off. We retreat and recharge in quiet spaces surrounded by peaceful thoughts and mere whispers of colour. The State of Calm trend reflects undemanding colours - from soft pinks and whites to subdued grays and browns. Colours in the State of Calm palette include: Catalina Mist, Brown Boots, Sweet Cream, Ballet Slipper, Oxford Blue, Classic Gray and Dover White. Many of these colours are available in Krylon’s popular ColorMaster line of spray paints, with select colours also being included in other Krylon product lines such as Dual Superbond Paint + Primer and Fusion Paint for Plastic. For more information about Krylon, and additional resources for choosing the perfect colour, visit

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(NC) No matter the season, your mud room is the hardest working room in your house. Whether it’s hats, gloves and boots…or cleats, shin guards and duffle bags, everyone in your family finds something to keep in the mud room. All those items can lead to clutter, so now is the time to try a few quick and easy DIY projects to add order to mud room mayhem. Space to Hang Feel like you never have enough space to hang jackets or a place to hang laundry to dry? If you have an old straight ladder, here’s a solution. A coat of spray paint can give new life to the ladder and provide an excellent solution for hanging items or creating shelving in your mud room. Simply sand and clean the ladder surface and spray paint in the colour of your choice. Next, using hooks and chains suspend the ladder from your ceiling to create an instant hanging rack. For

added flair, spray paint the hooks and chain to match your ladder or choose a contrasting colour. Space to Call Your Own Assigning a space for each family member to store their belongings is the start to excellent organization…and the end of excuses for lost items. A canvas wardrobe organizer, the kind used to store sweaters, can be the perfect solution to create cubbies for each person to keep smaller items neat and tidy. Try stenciling labels along the outside of the organizer to ensure everyone knows what goes where. Whether labeling with each family member’s name or initials, school or sports activities, or simply days of the week, Krylon ColorMaster Enamel spray paint works wonders on fabrics to label each compartment and ensure that you stay organized. If there’s a mess in your mud room, a couple quick and easy DIY organization and storage

projects, like the ones described above, can give you and your family order over the chaos. For information on these and other Krylon products and projects visit www.

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HUMAN RIGHTS Canadians roll out their yoga mats for human rights (NC)—Laísa Santos Sampaio is a mother of eight and a schoolteacher in a small community in northern Brazil. She is also a member of a women’s project that produces cosmetics, ointments and nuts. Laísa is opposed to illegal logging in her region and has been the target of several death threats and attacks. On April 26, 2014, people across Canada will be rolling out their yoga mats in solidarity with Laísa. They will be participating in Yoga Day, a national event benefitting the human rights charity Amnesty International, which is campaigning to protect Laísa and other environmental activists. The Canadian yoga participants will be raising money and awareness for Amnesty. Yoga events

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will be taking place in yoga studios, schools, workplaces, and community centres in many provinces and territories. Stephanie Green, owner of OmTown Yoga says, “I wanted to organize this event as a way to come together as a community and take positive action. When we come together as a group we have incredible powers to help support change.” Yoga Day is a truly national event and everyone with an interest in yoga is invited to take part. Yoga events in 2013 helped raise more than $35,000 for Amnesty International’s work. Environmental activists in northern Brazil could do with the support, as many have been threatened just like Laísa Santos Sampaio. In fact, in 2011,

Laísa’s sister and brother-in-law were shot dead as a result of their campaigning against illegal logging. More information on Yoga Day 2014 can be found at Caption: A high school yoga class taking action for the human rights charity Amnesty International.

LIFESTYLES Intimacy and cancer: the side effect no one talks about (NC) April is cancer awareness month, but one topic that hasn’t gained much awareness is intimacy after a cancer diagnosis. Sexual dysfunction affects up to 90% of women treated for breast cancer, and 79% of spouses and partners of women with cancer said that sex and intimacy either lessened or stopped altogether, according to a report published by the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) Foundation. Yet more often than not, both health care practitioners and patients alike are hesitant to discuss the effects of cancer treatment on a woman’s sex life. Lisa Skelding is a sex and couples’ therapist based in Oakville, Ontario and expert blogger on the topic of sex and intimacy for FacingCancer. ca, the leading online psychosocial support group for women with cancer. She says that changes to sexuality during or after cancer treatment can be associated with self-blame, rejection, sadness and lack of fulfillment for both parties. “At the heart of the issue is lack of communication,” explains Skelding. “Not only do women undergoing cancer treatment feel anxious

about their sexuality, they may feel awkward and exposed talking about intimacy with a professional or even with a sex partner.” Skelding explains that intimacy doesn’t always have to mean sex, and feeling connected during treatment and afterward can provide not only a sense of normalcy, but comfort, strength and hope. “The psychological benefits are significant,” she adds. Skelding offers the following advice to help cancer patients regain intimacy: 1. Acknowledge feelings of hurt and loss in terms of sexuality, intimacy and sexual function. Feelings of loss often get acted out if they aren’t recognized and talked out. 2. Muster up the courage and talk to your partner about your fears. Physical changes brought about by treatment can make many couples afraid to connect physically, but if it’s not discussed, both partners end up feeling disconnected when what they really want is to feel close again. 3. Don’t stop asking until you get the help that you need. Schedule an appointment with your doctor, nurse or therapist, specifying that you have a couple of questions regarding your

(454 words + 1 photo) cancer treatment and sexual health. Write down your questions but start with the most pressing question first. The online community can also provide information and support for the non-medical side effects of cancer. “When I was diagnosed and treated for cancer years ago, nothing like existed,” explains Sherry Abbott, Executive Director of the CCTFA Foundation, which manages the FacingCancer. ca community, made possible by Shoppers Drug Mart. “For women to be able to face their cancer diagnosis head on, they need emotional support and a safe place to learn and connect.”

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April 2014

LIFESTYLES BC First Nations map out their future through Comprehensive Community Planning (362 words + 1 photo, BC Only)

(NC) First Nations in British Columbia are becoming increasingly involved in comprehensive community planning (CCP) as a way of embracing change and planning a better future for their communities. Comprehensive community planning is a holistic process that enables a community to build a roadmap to sustainability, selfsufficiency and improved governance capacity. CCP enables the community to establish a vision for its future and implement projects to achieve this vision. It helps ensure that community projects and programs are thought through, make sense and are the best use of resources. A CCP also integrates and links all other plans the community has produced. “Planning is an opportunity to empower our community and our people,” says Gwen Phillips from Ktunaxa Nation. “It strengthens our

connection to our inner selves and to the outer world.” CCP is a community-led approach to planning, where the process is driven and owned by all community members rather than by a small group or committee. Processes that are driven by the community, for the community, are more likely to result in positive change. That’s why the CCP process is inclusive and represents the perspectives of all members including Elders, youth, and family representatives. Everyone can offer unique and valuable perspectives on community needs, values and priorities. Each community requires a unique approach to planning that can be adapted to their culture and traditions — it can help individual First Nations make a positive difference in addressing the specific issues of their own communities. “Comprehensive Community Planning is about using theories and principles from outside and

incorporating our world view, to carry forward as our ancestors would have wanted,” says Lydia Hwitsum of the Cowichan Tribes. A CCP addresses key planning areas, all of which are interrelated and interdependent: governance, land and resources, health, infrastructure development, culture, social issues and the economy. Consideration of all key planning areas through one unified process defines community planning as a holistic and integrated exercise that can lead to sustainable development. “A Comprehensive community Plan has to touch every part of us,” adds Gwen. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has been providing funding to support CCP for First Nations in BC since 2006.

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Squiala First Nation: small community creates big results through planning (531 words + 3 photos, BC Only)

(NC) Squiala First Nation has been compared to the little train that could. Though the Band has just 153 members, they have made some remarkable accomplishments through comprehensive community planning (CCP). In just six years, the community completed most of the major projects outlined in their plan. The community identified cultural revitalization as a priority through their planning process, so their first big project was the construction of a new longhouse which was completed it in 2011. They also implemented a language program after successfully applying for a grant from the First People’s Heritage, Language and Cultural Council. Another major goal was the construction of new community facilities including a band office, school, gym and fitness center. During the CCP process, community members revealed they wanted to have the band office and other facilities in a single building located in the heart of the community. “Putting everything in one building has helped to build a sense of community,” says band manager Tammy Bartz. Despite all the development, the community didn’t lose sight of its number one priority -- the health of the community. With the construction of the new community facilities, there was room to expand, so Squiala First Nation trained and hired a health nurse, and contracted out counseling services to a local company. Now the members have access to first-rate counseling services, which has made a noticeable difference in the health of the community. Tammy believes that a healthy community is key to successful planning. “If you don’t have a healthy community it doesn’t matter what you do,” she says.

Squiala First Nation also set to work accessing funding sources to support their c o m m u n i t y projects and used the community plan to back up their proposals. Through a grant from the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program, they were able to refit three Elders homes with hand and stair rails, stair lifts and new showers. They also determined there was a need to address education and training. This was accomplished in a variety of ways. First, through a partnership with surrounding First Nations, they were able to offer a course on traditional medicines free of charge to band members. Second, with some of their tax revenues, they were able to help several members get their drivers’ licenses, removing a significant barrier to employment. They also included training requirements in their contract with the developer of Eagle Landing, a large commercial development on reserve which includes a Wal-Mart, Shell gas station, movie theatre and a number of small businesses. As a result, some of their members have received on the job training in construction.

Looking back, Chief David Jimmie is proud of all that his community has accomplished and credits community planning as being a significant factor in his community’s success. He is excited about the future and is looking forward to re-engaging the membership for a second round of community planning. The little community that could has come a long way. When Squiala started their first round of planning the reserve lands were vacant and Tammy was their only employee. Now with 15 employees, several new facilities and several members in post-secondary education, they are headed towards a bright and prosperous future. Photo caption 1: Squiala First Nation band manager Tammy Bartz and a community member in front of the band office in 2006. Photo caption 2: Squiala First Nation band manager Tammy Bartz was instrumental in implementing the community’s projects. Photo caption 3: Squiala First Nation’s new administrative building also houses the community’s school, gym and fitness centre.

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LIFESTYLES Penticton Indian Band community planning energized by quick-start projects (525 words + 2 photos, BC Only)

(NC) Penticton Indian Band used a tried and true method to keep members interested and engaged as they worked on their comprehensive community plan (CCP). Instead of waiting until the plan was fully completed, they decided to move ahead with a few high impact, visual, but low cost projects called “quick starts.” It had become evident as the planning continued that there were several projects that, with the help of volunteers, could be implemented with a minimal time commitment, very little planning and few resources. These quick-start projects were acted on immediately and gave the Band’s CCP momentum and credibility. One early win was a series of billboards they set up in the community showcasing the positive teachings of their people. From start to finish, this project took only six months to complete and was spearheaded by community members. They decided on the theme “Honouring our Elders’ Teachings” and the billboards were paid for by the health department which had funds to promote healthy lifestyles. Now as members and visitors drive through the community, they are inspired by the teachings of the Elders. “The project brought the community together and our own members appear on the billboards for everyone to see,” says Anona Kampe, one of the leaders of the community planning process. Another quick-start project was a matter of safety. At a planning gathering, one Elder mentioned that

when her husband had a recent medical emergency, the ambulance could not find their house because there were no road signs. Members knew the reserve landmarks and homes, so road signs were never necessary. However, outsiders didn’t share this knowledge. As a result, community members expressed a desire to name the roads and install street signs. A detailed history of each area and road was gathered from the Elders. Roads were named after plants and animals and translated into the traditional language. Then, after the community found a small pot of funding, signs in the traditional language were installed. This project took only a year to complete. Two other quick-start projects were rooted in community activities and didn’t require any funding. The first, the revitalization of culture and language, was a priority for the community. The Elders wanted to hear the language again and they wanted young people to learn it. One recommendation, made at a planning meeting, was to use the traditional language to open all community meetings. The planning team took it upon themselves to ensure that this happened.

No extra resources, planning or staff were needed -- all it took was the initiative to change. The second was the result of a recurring theme during the planning process: the desire by the community to come together for positive reasons. Too often, they were gathering in times of grief or during crises. This led to the organization of Gathering for a Purpose. Volunteers led the charge to organize a weekend event where members gathered to drum, sing, laugh, visit, pray, eat and learn. Elders taught and told stories, children played, traditional stick games were held and songs were sung. All that was required was an idea and it was implemented entirely by volunteers. Photo caption 1: A stop sign at Penticton Indian Band features the community’s traditional language. Photo caption 2: Elaine Alec (left) and Anona Kampe were champions of the Penticton Indian Band’s community planning process.

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Traditional story, “How Food was Given,” guides Westbank First Nation (409 words + 2 photos, BC Only)

(NC) When the Westbank First Nation (WFN) began developing a comprehensive community plan (CCP), they placed culture and language at the heart of their process. They chose to use the story “How Food Was Given” and traditional decision-making method, called Enowkinwixw, as a framework for their plan. How Food Was Given tells of how the animal people, under the leadership of the Four Food Chiefs, prepared for the arrival of humans on earth. Following the lead of Chief Black Bear, the grand chief of all living things, Chief Spring Salmon, Chief Bitterroot and Chief Saskatoon Berry all agreed to give their lives for the humans. This story teaches principles of sacrifice, service and leadership, and the characters all embody further layers of wisdom and cultural knowledge. The community based its entire CCP plan on the Four Food Chiefs. Chief Black Bear represents governance, Chief Spring Salmon represents economy, Chief Bitterroot represents land, and Chief Saskatoon Berry represents community. “This (CCP) is a document we can all be proud of. It represents the vision of the community and revives our culture and language in a way that is practical and relevant to our people,” says Chief Robert Louie.

Once its CCP was done, WFN realized it needed to continue to reflect its cultural values as it moved forward with implementing its plan. They tackled this challenge in three stages. First, the WFN website was reorganized to reflect the structure of the Four Food Chiefs story. This meant incorporating the same branding and format used in the plan, and integrating the language and cultural icons. Second, the Chief and Council held a planning session to revise their strategic plan and align it with the Community Plan. As a result, the strategic plan uses the framework of the Four Food Chiefs to communicate Council’s priorities and objectives to the members and staff. Finally, staff used the newly revised Council Strategic Plan to reorganize the committee structure of WFN under the Four Food Chiefs. Now, when the budget and annual reports are presented to the membership, they are structured around the Four Food Chiefs.

“Root the CCP in what it means to be a member of your community,” says Westbank First Nation member Chris Derrickson. Comprehensive c o m m u n i t y planning means more than just completing projects or implementing new programs. It also requires integrating the values, principles and cultural practices, identified through the planning process, into the administrative structure of your governance and community services. Photo caption 1: Westbank First Nation’s Community Services office Photo caption 2: Westbank First Nation’s sənsísyustən House of Learning

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April 2014

LIFESTYLES Tackle your bathroom renovation with Pinterest (NC) Are you eager to start the bathroom makeover but not sure where to begin? Consider creating a ‘mood board’ with Pinterest to organize your Internet research and photos. Here are some tips for using this popular social media application to find paint colours, faucets, DIY guidance, and for learning how to maximize the space: Pinterest is a pinboard style website that allows you to create and manage photo collections representing categories of interest such as DIY’s or renovation projects. Whether you are looking for paint colours, faucets, DIY tips or how to maximize your space, Pinterest can help with the job. Here are some tips on how to make this great social media application work for your next project:

• Create a new board for your project and choose whether you want to make the board public for others to comment and add feedback, or if you prefer to keep it private (for the big reveal!). • Use broad search terms when initially researching inspirational images, such as ‘traditional bathroom’ or ‘freestanding tub’. • If you’ve found an image of a bathroom you like, be sure to search similar pins for like-minded designs, or DIY tips. • Consider following personalities that best reflect your style whether it’s interior designers, TV celebrities, or even brands that sell products you’re looking for such as Delta Faucet. • Remember to leave notes in your personal pins, such as what you liked about the image for future reference.

Try this recipe for a blissful bath (NC) After a frigid afternoon or a high-stress day at work, nothing beats a warm bath to restore both your body and mind. But instead of sitting in a boring tub with no frills, why not design an aromatherapy experience like no other by adding essential oils? Cue some soft music and get ready to relieve whatever ails you. But before sticking your toe in the tub: • Buy only high-quality oils from established companies at your local health food store or online. • If using a freestanding tub filler (such as the Delta Faucet Floor Mount Tub Filler) wait until the tub is full before adding oils; adding to running water will make them evaporate quickly.

• Be sure to add the Pinterest ‘Pin It’ button to your browser if you happen to come across products that might be a fit for your mood board. With these simple tips, gathering inspiration for your next bathroom renovation is sure to be a cinch – and be sure to remember to post a picture of your finalized renovation with hopes of motivating others.

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• Mix essential oils with carrier oil, such as almond or aloe vera, or even shampoo. This not only dilutes the oils (full strength may be harsh on skin) but it also helps disperse them through the bath water. • Be sure to speak to your doctor about using essential oils in the tub if you’re pregnant, have heart problems, high blood pressure, or any other medical concern. Stress Soak Bath Recipe Light a candle, turn off the overhead brights, and climb into your tub scented with one of these calming oils and mineral-rich salt baths: Ingredients: 5–10 drops lavender or sandalwood oil

Bathing tips to help an elderly relative (NC) Caring for an aging family member comes with numerous responsibilities and often requires thoughtful considerations. The lighter tasks such as home maintenance and preparing meals usually comes naturally, but assisting an elderly parent with bathing may conjure up feelings of fear or embarrassment. To better protect the person’s dignity and privacy, look to the person you are caring for to show you the skills they are able to perform and also where you can jump in to assist. Here are a few more helpful tips: • Encourage the family member to wrap a towel around themself and secure it with a clip or with Velcro tabs.

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2 tbsp. carrier oil 2 tbsp. sea salt Directions: 1. Fill tub with warm water. 2. Add the blended essential and carrier oils and salt (make sure salt dissolves). 3. Soak for 10 to 20 minutes.

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• Try to prep the bath and showering area ahead of time before assisting the individual into the washroom. • A hand-held showerhead can greatly assist in tasks such as rinsing off body wash or washing out shampoo. • Consider installing grab bars in the shower or toilet area. For example, the Delta Faucet line offers decorative grab bars that enhance the décor of one’s bathroom space while meeting the ADA requirements. Find more at • Test the water temperature with your elbow or forearm to make sure it is a comfortable temperature.

In addition to these tips, relax in the knowledge that increased comfort in the bathroom will come with time. Immediately however, there is a lot of joy in assisting a loved one who needs you.

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LIFESTYLES Click your heels for happiness (NC) In the name of fashion, most women don’t think twice about sacrificing their feet for their favourite pair of stiletto heels. It’s no surprise that one in four women experience shoe-related discomfort including foot, knee, leg and back pain, as well as unsightly and uncomfortable bunions and blisters. Celebrities and fashion designers alike are finally embracing a more comfortable stride. Even the most ubiquitous ‘shoe gal’ herself, Sex and The City’s Sarah Jessica Parker, has called it quits after a 10-year love affair with running in sky-high heels that have left her feet growing bones in places they shouldn’t. Both brick-andmortar and online shoe retailers are featuring a growing array of trend-driven and timeless looks from ballet flats to wedges, from pumps to Chelsea boots – all with a little more comfort and a little less pain. For Canadians, the good news is there are plenty of shoes to buy online.

The trick to getting into shoe heaven is finding a brand that you know and trust. Many websites share fashion looks in magazine-type layouts, or have blogs with great information on style. “If you find a brand you love, perhaps one that has a great blog and images to inspire you, you’ll do very well shopping online,” says Donna Bernstein of the Global Shoe Connection in Vancouver. “A lot of companies now have Canadian e-commerce websites, like, with great prices and easy returns, all of which makes shopping easy and fun. Bernstein says she has worked with companies such as Miz Mooz and Vionic since they place a priority on taking the pain, but not the passion, out of footwear. “For example, with Miz Mooz’s colourful array of heel heights and toe shapes, they have an edgy, playful and quirky sensibility

How to find your natural footprint (NC) When the average person takes from 5,000 to 8,000 steps per day, bad footwear can really take a toll. Bunions, heel-spurs and shin splints are among a host of foot and back ailments that can result from sky-high heels and flimsy flats. Over time, our feet have developed self-preservation strategies and overcompensated, or they have adapted by altering our natural footprint. The long-term damage of poor footwear choices must be addressed and while it cannot be reversed (without surgery), it can be managed with shoes that have proper support. In the past, support always came with the sacrifice of style but things are changing. A brand called Vionic (with its Orthaheel Technology) recently launched their inaugural collection for spring/summer 2014 in Canada, giving cause for optimism on the style front, with a strong attention to significant support. “It’s the inside that counts,” says Dr. Phil Vasyli, a podiatrist and the creator of Vionic shoes. “The foundation of each shoe or sandal features an innovative, biomechanical foot bed, stability from a deep heel cup and overall relief from a

(340 words + 1 photo) that suits many women. Details like rubber soles and attention to seams means that fashion, comfort and confidence can happily coexist.” With spring colours blooming, it’s time to put your best foot forward and strut into spring looking great and feeling even better. Photo caption: A buffet of shoes from the Spring/Summer 2014 Collection

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firm yet flexible rubber EVA midsole. The addition of contemporary styling to the spring/summer collection has taken these shoes to a whole new level.” Bringing together science and style, these attractive shoes are aligning glamorous details with the ultimate in adjustability, versatility and walkability. They can be found in shoe stores across the country, or online at “We proudly encourage shoe lovers to embrace their natural footprint,” Vasyli points out. “Our primary goal is to provide both men and women with affordable access to orthotic support that relieves pain, promotes comfort, and looks flat out fabulous.”

Take Steps to Beat the Pain Take a look at these tips to prevent back pain from Vionic, a leader in stylish and supportive shoes: • Make a habit out of stretching your back, legs and neck twice a day: mornings and evenings. Even a simple stretch can make a big difference • Stretch your shins before walking. Over 15% of all running injuries are a result of shin splints each year – this can be avoided • Make sure you wear shoes with the proper support – especially in arches heels and ankles • Don’t go barefoot at home – wear slippers or sandals with support

Photo caption: The Julie sandal from Vionic Shoes is available in Canada through retailers or online at

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April 2014

LIFESTYLES Facing pain, feet first

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(NC) Regular physical activity is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages. No matter whether you’re training for a marathon, taking the stairs, or chasing your kids in the park, staying active is vital to enjoying our everyday lives. People who lead active lifestyles, especially those who are aging, are prone to foot and back pain as well as other common problems that cause discomfort, inflammation or injury. Foot, leg and lumbar pain can be debilitating and in many cases, the culprit is poor footwear. Whether you wear stilettos or sneakers, shoes that don’t have proper support will eventually lead to some kind of pain over the long term. “Most of us suffer from common problems, such as over pronation and plantar fasciitis, much of which can be traced back to leg or foot alignment

and improper footwear,” says Dr. Phil Vasyli, a podiatrist and creator of shoe brand Vionic. “I knew there had to be something universal that we could build into footwear would help relieve back, neck and leg pain.” Hailing from Down Under, Vasyli fused his knowledge of Australian surfboards with his patients’ needs to develop a specialized foot bed, now called Vionic with Orthaheel Technology. “This advancement targets key areas with support and adjustability to help reduce over-pronation and other common problems,” he explained. “We’ve taken this to the next level with a stylish and trendy appearance on the outside and invisible, supportive contours on the inside. These attractive shoes provide quintessential comfort through ongoing relief, support and stability.”

Daffodil Dan volunteers to make a difference (NC) Volunteering your time to help a local charity can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. Just ask Daffodil Dan Baxter. Dan Baxter calls himself a natural salesman. Putting away his walker, the 51 year old stands outside a hardware store for a few hours at a time and stops every shopper coming through the door. “It takes three seconds to ask, ‘Have you got your daffodil pin yet?’” explained Dan. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” For the past three years, Dan has been an active volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society every April, selling their easily recognizable yellow daffodil pins, and he has loved every minute of it. The money that Dan and other volunteers throughout Ontario raise during Daffodil Month helps to fund cancer research and support services for patients and their families. Photo caption: The Selena leopard print sandal is available in Canada from Vionic Shoes

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Dan, who contributes up to 25 hours of his time as a volunteer every April, has experienced firsthand the difference that fundraising can make. A cancer survivor himself who battled his way back from a leukemia diagnosis in 2008, he knows the struggle that many experience as they go through the various stages from diagnosis to treatment. After first undergoing chemotherapy, Dan was referred for a stem cell transplant in Toronto, some 1,400 km away from his home in Northern Ontario. But as the former locksmith had been on disability pension since his diagnosis, he got help from the Canadian Cancer Society to do the necessary paperwork, as well as arrange his flights, accommodation and even his transportation to and from the airport. His enthusiastic volunteer work in selling daffodil pins is his way of saying “thank you” – and it earned him the nickname Daffodil Dan. “I

Volunteering empowers cancer survivor to help others (NC) When she received a cancer diagnosis at 34 years old, Tammy Horvath was no stranger to the disease as her mother and sister had previously both been diagnosed with breast cancer. With this and her two young children in mind, Tammy knew she needed to fight back. Diagnosed with stage 4 uterine sarcoma, a very rare and deadly form of uterine cancer, Tammy’s case was considered palliative as she had been told that she had only two or three weeks to live. Despite the grim prognosis, she pleaded for surgery and told her physician to do whatever it took because she needed to be around for her kids. Fortunately her pleas were heard and he agreed to try and remove as much of the cancer as possible. After the surgery, Tammy remembers receiving radiation and chemotherapy. “Treatment left me feeling highly emotional, completely isolated and in need of a good support system,” she explained.

Making smart, long-term footwear choices and taking good care of your feet is integral to maintaining a happy, active lifestyle. Best of all, style doesn’t have to suffer as a result, because cute, comfortable sandals for spring are just what the doctor ordered.

“The Canadian Cancer Society’s support and information services really helped me overcome those negative feelings.” Ten years later, Tammy shows her gratitude for the support she received by volunteering her time and giving back any way she can. It’s because of dedicated volunteers like Tammy that the Society is able to raise funds that help them to prevent cancer, fund research to outsmart cancer, empower, inform and support those living with cancer, and advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians. “I hope that maybe I can help increase the sense of empowerment in each one of us,” said Tammy proudly. She genuinely believes that her life was spared so she can volunteer and spread her message of hope while helping others. Last year, more than 187,000 Canadians were diagnosed with cancer. That’s 21 people every

want to do what I can so that others can be helped in the same way that I was,” said Dan. “I’m out here to raise as much money as I can.” April is Daffodil Month and the Society is looking for volunteers to dedicate just two hours of their time to sell daffodil pins. Chances are you know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. Volunteer this April and support Canadians living with cancer. Visit to sign up today.

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(332 words + 1 photo, Ont Only) hour. Throughout April, volunteers across Ontario will be working together to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society as part of Daffodil Month. Volunteer this April and support Canadians living with cancer. Visit to sign up today.

Attention editors this article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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LIFESTYLES Volunteering becomes a yearly family affair (NC) Over the years Marietta Carriere’s life has been touched by cancer in two very important ways. First, her 18 month old niece Stephanie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. To make matters much worse, two years into young Stephanie’s chemotherapy treatments, Marietta’s sister Patricia received a diagnosis of cervical cancer. The long road to recovery was not an easy one, but both Stephanie and Patricia were eventually declared cancer free. After both Marietta’s family members had been diagnosed with cancer, she found herself feeling like she was unable to help her family. Having sourced information from, the Canadian Cancer Society’s website, she contacted them and asked if there were any opportunities for her to volunteer and make a difference. “They told me there was a need for

Daffodil Month volunteers and I have been one ever since,” said Marietta. “It is a great way to fight back against cancer.” After Marietta became a Daffodil Month volunteer, her family decided to join her in selling daffodil pins at the local mall. Every April, she teams up with her husband and two kids; her sister Patricia and her son Julian; and of course her niece Stephanie, who is now a healthy and vibrant 14 year old teenager. “There is satisfaction in helping others and knowing that you are making a contribution to a great cause,” stated Marietta. “Volunteering during Daffodil Month has become one of my family’s most rewarding yearly rituals.” Daffodil Month, held every April, is a national fundraising campaign of the Canadian Cancer Society. During the month, volunteers sell daffodil pins and are involved with numerous other activities to raise vital funds and cancer

Volunteering is part of a new lease on life (NC) Maria Lento truly knows the value of early detection and screening when it comes to cancer. In 2003, a visit to the hospital for what she thought was food poisoning, revealed she had stage 2 colon cancer. Thankfully for Maria and her family, the cancer was detected early enough and she now lives cancer free. But she never forgot what the Canadian Cancer Society did for her during the very difficult time of her treatment and recovery. “My colon cancer was caught just in the nick of time, so when I was recovering I decided that I wanted to give back by doing something to spread the word about the importance of screening and early detection,” explained Maria.

awareness. Funds raised throughout the month help the Society prevent cancer, fund research to outsmart cancer, empower, inform and support those living with cancer, and advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians. Join the Carriere family and volunteer this April in support of Canadians living with cancer. Visit to sign up today.

Attention editors this article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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Through her volunteer work Maria has been able to not only share her own cancer story, but also spread the word about early detection and screening. “I volunteer because cancer is cancer, no matter who you are or where you live,” said the 55 year old survivor. “The feeling that I get when helping others is indescribable.” Daffodil Month, held every April, is a national fundraising campaign of the Canadian Cancer Society. During the month, volunteers sell daffodil pins and are involved with numerous other activities to raise vital funds and cancer awareness. Funds raised throughout the month help the Society prevent cancer, fund research to outsmart cancer, empower, inform and support

The gift inspires a loved one to volunteer (NC) Paul Newcombe felt he had been given a tremendous gift after being told that his wife Coleen had beaten breast cancer and was cancer free. During one of his wife’s treatments at their local hospital, he noticed a box of bright yellow daffodil pins that had been placed there as a fundraising effort by the Canadian Cancer Society. Wanting to know more, Paul called them as soon as he returned home. After learning the daffodil pins were available for a donation and represented a symbol of hope and of fighting back against cancer, Paul asked if he could take 12 boxes of pins to distribute among local businesses around town. That same day, he not only placed the 12 boxes of pins in one hour, but he also went back to pick up even more boxes. During those first two days of Paul becoming a volunteer, he placed approximately 40-50 boxes of daffodil pins.

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those living with cancer, and advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians. Volunteer this April and support Canadians living with cancer. Visit to sign up today.

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“Volunteering during Daffodil Month is an incredibly rewarding experience, whether you have been touched by cancer or not,” said Paul. “It brings out the best in people and creates a great sense of community, knowing we can all fight back against cancer together.” Daffodil Month, held every April, is a national fundraising campaign of the Canadian Cancer Society. During the month, volunteers sell daffodil pins and are involved with numerous other activities to raise vital funds and cancer awareness. Funds raised throughout the month help the Society prevent cancer, fund research to outsmart cancer, empower, inform and support those living with cancer, and advocate for public policies to improve the health of Canadians. Paul has recruited even more volunteers for this year’s Daffodil Month and they have already put together a plan to divide up their city in order to distribute the daffodil pin boxes. “Through

this experience, I have gained a great appreciation for what the Society does - their work, the money they raise and the research they fund - it is just truly wonderful what they do,” said Paul. You too can volunteer this April and support Canadians living with cancer. Visit to sign up today.

April 2014

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Attention editors this article is for distribution in Ontario only.

LIFESTYLES It’s spring, so let the sparks fly (NC) Couples get ready. This is not the time to underestimate the power of spring fever. Just as our lifestyles – and even our personalities – evolve with age, so does the intimacy and the nature of our relationships. Even strong bonds need revival periodically, evidenced by a recent survey conducted by K-Y Brand, revealing that 54% of Canadians admit to sexual dry spells from time to time. So as the warmer weather starts to make us feel more energized, let’s take a look at a few ways, at any age, to get the spark back: • Women in their 20s, who are still exploring preferences when it comes to relationships and sex, can increase intimacy by focusing on communication with their partner and being honest about their wants and needs.

Just initiate it

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• Women in their 30s are often trying to balance work and family along with giving their relationship attention, so finding simple ways to keep intimacy alive are always welcome. Consider getting out of your domestic environment and booking a hotel room together, say the experts at K-Y, adding that a lubricant is one of those simple solutions to better intimacy. They recommend the K-Y Touch 2-in-1 massage oil and lubricant adding, that fun “is always a bedroom component and the two emollients that make this product popular is that it’s a warming massage oil and a personal lubricant.” • Women in their 40s and 50s can get the spark back as well if, as a couple, you can use your familiarity to deepen the intimacy. Make specific plans to do activities together, explore the same

hobby, get away for weekends alone – and consider all of the enhancements available today, from personal lubricants to sex toys and his-andhers apparel. So if you’re starting to like this idea of spring fever, more information on this topic is available at

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(NC) With the arrival of spring, are you feeling somewhat envious of the birds and the bees? For them, not a thing in this world gets in the way of mating. So let’s learn from that, say specialists in this field: the quickest route to intimacy is to simply initiate it. A recent study by K-Y Brand found that men are four times more likely than women to be the regular initiator of sex, which is a surprisingly large gender gap. And considering that regular love making can increase energy, decrease stress, and strengthen any relationship, there’s no time like the present to take things into your own hands, as follows: Put it in writing: Sometimes saying I want you out loud can feel intimidating or embarrassing,

especially if that kind of talk doesn’t come naturally to you. Popping a note in your partner’s coat before he goes to work or sending a quick text can help shake off inhibitions. Build anticipation: Suggest a massage, say the experts at K-Y to boost feelings of intimacy and to build anticipation for what’s to come. To add a special touch, they recommend the K-Y Touch 2-in-1 product both a warming massage oil and personal lubricant, designed to enhance foreplay and intimacy.” Establish a code: Between the two of you, come up with a word or a phrase that signals when you’re in the mood. Make it something that you can say in front of others to stir up excitement and intimacy.

Plan and prepare: A little bit of planning can go a long way, especially for women who often need things to be just right. This may include special clothing, grooming, lighting, scents, and linens – and lubricants of course, says K-Y, pointing to, for more information on this topic.

Amnesty International Book Club choice for April: The Cellist of Sarajevo (NC) Inspired by a real cellist who played music in bombed out buildings during the siege of Sarajevo, The Cellist of Sarajevo by British Columbiabased author Steven Galloway is the Amnesty International Book Club recommendation for April. This book is a story of survival, about the temptation to hate and the refusal to

do so, about the persistence of the human spirit in a time of fear and suffering. Join the discussion! The Amnesty International Book Club is free to join, and open to people of all ages and backgrounds. When you join, you’ll receive our free discussion guide for the book and also an action you can take to help other people. Our action for April will be on the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

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To join the Amnesty International Book Club, go to or write to: Amnesty International Book Club, 1992 Yonge Street, #319, Toronto, Ontario M4S 1Z7.

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PERSONAL FINANCE Home inspections help keep the liabilities away (NC) Canadian home-owners take their biggest investment — their home — very seriously. They take pride in the hundreds, even thousands of dollars they’ve invested to make it the most beautiful on their street. So it comes as no surprise if they shudder when they hear the words: insurance inspector. But, it really isn’t that bad. The truth is that insurance inspectors can actually save you money and help you identify little problems that could result in big liabilities. This is especially helpful considering the last year with the floods in Alberta and the ice storm in Ontario. We asked the property insurance experts from Desjardins Insurance for more information about the benefits of home inspections. It’s like a medical check-up: Potential problems like fire and flooding can be avoided when they review your electrical, plumbing, foundation, insulation, roof and water tank. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing that everything is in good condition and that your family is safe. Could help you improve your insurance coverage: Once the inspector has looked over your home, they may suggest additional coverage for

further protection. Or they might find additional savings that were missed on your last policy. They can also help you create an inventory of your insurable belongings, again to help you keep the most accurate records in case you need to make a claim in the future. A home inspection is important if you’re planning to renovate: Similar to the first point, a home inspection can identify any pre-existing issue that you’ll need to be aware of before you start your renovation project. For example, if you will be building a new kitchen, having them look at your current electrical system could prevent a fire or an accident. Inspectors can assess the true value of your home: Many people believe that if their home is burnt to the ground, they would automatically receive full market value for their house. This isn’t true. The value of a home insurance policy is based on the cost to rebuild the house, not to sell it on the market. The actual replacement cost could end up being either greater or less than the market value. Replacement costs will include the material (lumber, roofing shingles, siding material,

Four steps to buying your first home (NC) If this is the year in which you resolved to buy your first house, you’re about to enter a period in your life that is both exciting and nervewracking. With so many factors to consider before you sign the dotted line, the financial experts from Desjardins Group have some tips and suggestions to help get you started. First, can you even afford a house? Although interest rates are low now, it’s important to remember that they may increase in the future. Typically, mortgages are amortized over 25 years and are offered in six-month, fiveor even ten-year terms. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford because your life and financial priorities will change. Second, secure your down payment Experts advise that prospective home owners should down a down payment of up to 20 per cent of the house’s value. One option is to borrow against your RRSP. Each person is eligible to withdraw $25,000 or $50,000 per couple. If you haven’t enough in your account, it’s possible to take a top-up RRSP loan to reach the right amount. Once you have bought your home, you’ll have 15 years to repay the amount to your RRSP. Another

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carpet, drywall, etc.), and the labor and architectural services. There are also additional costs associated with the demolition and clean-up of the site before construction, which can be expensive in a crowded city neighbourhood. The location of your home could be a factor too. For example if you’re located in a remote or rural area, travelling expenses and supply transportation need to be taken into consideration. For more information about insurance inspectors and your insurance policy, speak to your insurance provider. Or for immediate answers, call or visit Desjardins Insurance at www.

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option is to put down 10 per cent and to accept a higher mortgage loan insurance amount. Third, fixed or variable rate? A fixed interest rate offers stability and predictability, but you lose out on lower interest rates should they become available. The payments with variable interest rates also remain constant but there is the risk that interest rates may go up. This means more goes to your interest payment and less to your principal. If you can’t choose between the two options, a split mortgage offers you the best of both worlds. Another idea for first time home buyers is to consider qualifying for a pre-authorized mortgage. This process evaluates your financial situation to determine the maximum financing amount for which you are eligible. That way when you start looking at houses you will know which ones fit your budget. Fourth, have enough to close Avoid closing “sticker shock” by knowing ahead of time what other fees and taxes you’ll need to pay, such as: Inspection fees: If you decide to purchase an existing home, this detailed report will focus attention on any hidden defects that will require

repair in the shortand long-term. Appraisal fees: Your financial institution will request that an appraiser evaluate and determine the true value of the property you wish to acquire. Legal fees: You will be responsible for hiring a lawyer who will prepare, sign and register the various legal documents related to the purchase of the property. Additional taxes and fees: Transfer tax, property tax, school taxes, electricity and natural gas bills are due at sale closing. For more information about mortgages, speak to your financial advisor. Or for immediate answers and financial calculators, visit Desjardins Group online at

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April 2014

PERSONAL FINANCE Do you have the right life insurance? (NC) Here’s a pressing question for you: are you staying on top of your financial needs? If you’re like most people, you’re doing your best to manage your savings and debt. But, how are you on the insurance side? Maybe you think you’re sorted because your work benefits include life insurance. But what if it’s not enough? Would you know how to supplement your coverage? Good question. We asked Reh Bhanji, an insurance expert from Desjardins Financial Security, for his opinion. “To properly manage your money — whether it’s retirement planning, investing, or looking to protect your property and loved ones — it’s always a good idea to talk to an expert. And this is especially important during life changes, like a new addition to the family, a new home, a new job, etc.” In this case, how would someone go about choosing the right insurance for their situation? Usually people think about buying life insurance usually when there’s a life change, like getting married, buying a home, or having a baby.

It’s best to talk to an insurance representative to find out whether their life, health and disability insurance coverage is suitable. A properly trained representative will then suggest any required changes to ensure they’re well protected. In this case, two very popular life insurances are permanent and universal life insurance. Permanent life insurance can be adapted to long-term goals, like leaving an inheritance for your dependents. Premiums can be paid as fixed amounts for the entire coverage period, in installments, or in full in a certain number of years. While permanent insurance doesn’t provide a savings component, it’s a convenient product because it doesn’t need to be renewed because it covers you for life and it allows you to add health coverage. Universal life insurance is very flexible and totally conforms to your needs because you can add or remove features and increase or decrease premiums at any time. The savings component can be accessed anytime, barring any restrictions

Give your kids a financial head–start (NC) Experts estimate that it costs close to $200,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18, not counting post-secondary education. So when a new child joins a family, parents and grand-parents tend to think about starting an education fund like a Registered Education Savings Plan. While this is a very practical way to help the child get a head-start in life, it’s a tactic that’s limited to their education years. According to the financial experts from Desjardins Insurance, one option is a life insurance policy that the parents, grand-parents or another friend or family member purchases for the child. The child will then be protected for his/ her entire life and can take advantage of an added savings component that is tax exempt. It’s an unusual idea, but its built-in savings component makes this an attractive solution. How does it work? The insurance policy is purchased by the parents, grand-parents or other friends and family on behalf

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of the child. And the premium is determined by the child’s age, health and other details. This amount remains level over a set number of years and never increases. Part of the premiums accumulate in a separate, tax-sheltered account and over time a portion of the cash value can be used to pay the policy premiums. What happens when they’ve grown up? When the child reaches the age of majority, the policy ownership can be transferred to them and continues to protect them for life. At this point, all the premiums may have been paid. What’s great about this insurance is that it provides the child with a head-start on life. For example, the policy can be used as collateral when applying for a loan. Also, the child may have the option of purchasing more insurance without a medical review. This is called a Guaranteed Insurability Benefit. Can they access the cash value?

Tax guides help income earners and students (NC) The annual Personal Tax Planning Guide published by CGA Ontario is now available in communities across the province, offering valuable, quick-reference tax tips. It details essential income tax information from federal and provincial tax updates, to tax credits and deductions. Understanding the tax credits and deductions available to you will go a long way to save you money and maximize your tax dollars! With more than 100,000 copies in circulation, the free 148 page tax guide is designed to assist individuals with personal tax planning and compliance – available

attached to the investment type, making this an ideal emergency or retirement fund. Because your money is tax sheltered, it will grow more efficiently which gives you an opportunity to retire earlier. This is especially effective if you tend to maximize your annual RRSP contribution. It’s also important to note that payout proceeds are tax free also. For more information about these and other insurance products, visit the insurance product section of the Desjardins Insurance website at

Yes, as the child grew so did the cash value. It’s accessible at any time and is subject to the available amount. The child can use it towards post-secondary education, travel, as an emergency fund or as a down payment on a home. Where can I find more information about the benefits of this type of insurance? Speak to your life insurance representative or financial advisor who can offer you tips that best suit your situation. Or for more immediate answers, visit Desjardins Insurance at www.

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through the offices of certified general accountants and participating local public libraries. Another valuable resource, Tax Tips for Students, supports post-secondary school individuals in Ontario, addressing the key tax credits available to them, from tuition and education credits, to student loans, child care, public transit credits and more. These credits help students to do more with their education dollars. The deadline for filing your taxes is April 30 – additional information about the publications mentioned are also available

online at w w w. c g a o n t a r i o . o rg / Publications. aspx.

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PERSONAL FINANCE Take advantage of all available tax savings (NC) Understanding the tax credits and deductions available to you will go a long way to save you money, says the Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGA Ontario). Detailed below is a checklist of 22 key credits and deductions which can help ease your tax burden and maximize your tax return: • RRSP contributions • Medical, dental, prescription drugs, nursing home expenses • Payments to a private health insurance plan • Charitable donations • Tuition and/or education fees • Interest paid on student loans • Professional dues & insurance, union dues • Public transit passes • Children’s extracurricular fitness & arts program fees

• Interest on loans assumed to purchase investments • Professional consultant fees • Legal fees paid to establish child or spousal support or to enforce a pre-existing agreement • Legal fees paid to recover wages from your employer • Details of people you support & their medical status • Child care receipts • Non-reimbursed moving expenses (if you moved at least 40 km closer to a new work space location) • Property taxes or residential rent paid • Ontario health home renovation costs incurred by those 65 & older • Political contributions receipts • Disability tax credit

4 tax updates that could affect you (NC) CGA Ontario highlights four key tax changes in Ontario to note when filing your taxes this year: 1. Increased threshold for all income tax brackets The taxable income thresholds in all four provincial tax brackets were increased by 1.8 per cent in 2013, reflecting changes to Canada’s consumer price index (CPI) in Ontario. In fact, all indexed non-refundable tax credits also increased by 1.8 per cent. 2. New high income tax bracket The Ontario government introduced a high tax bracket in 2012. In 2013, individuals will be taxed at a rate of 13.16 per cent for the portion of their taxable income in excess of $509,000, up from 12.16 per cent of $500,000 in 2012.

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It’s worth noting that this is to be a temporary tax bracket until Ontario’s deficit has been eliminated in several years. 3. Ontario Trillium Benefit Effective July 2012, the Ontario Trillium Benefit combines payments from the sales tax credit, Ontario energy and property tax credit, and Northern Ontario energy credit. A Personal Tax Planning Guide, published by CGA Ontario, is available to you online, detailing this tax update in full at: aspx. 4. Healthy homes In 2012, Ontario introduced a refundable Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit, which is designed to assist senior citizens with the cost of permanent home modifications required to

Get your children up active this year & get credit (NC) The rewards of getting your family up and active speak for themselves, but did you know you can also be reimbursed financially through your income tax submission? It’s true. The federal non-refundable children’s fitness tax credit allows parents and guardians to claim up to $500 for fees paid on behalf of a child under the age of 16, who is enrolled in eligible, supervised sports and physical-fitness program activities. If you pay family membership fees in a program that involves eligible fitness activities, mixed with other activities, you might be able to apply a pro-rated portion to the children’s fitness credit. Make sure you get a receipt from the organization clearly stating the amount eligible for a credit.

• Spousal support payments • Adoption expenses Resources, such as the Personal Tax Planning Guide published by CGA Ontario, are available within your community – and an income tax check-list is available online at Tax-Checklist.pdf.

improve accessibility or assist with mobility to and within their home. A full list of federal and provincial tax updates for the 201314 year are detailed in the Personal Tax Planning Guide, which is available through the offices of certified general accountants and participating public libraries.

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Parents can also receive further financial support through the child tax credit, childcare supplement for working families, and the universal child-care benefit, among other family focused credits. Children’s extracurricular activities, such as dance, skating, soccer, and arts programs, could quality for fitness and arts credits. For Ontario residents, there is also an indexed, refundable children’s activity tax credit on up to $535 of eligible expenses in 2013, covering various fitness and non-fitness related activities. This translates to added benefits for busy Ontario families and more money in your pocket. Learn further qualifying details and what additional tax credits and deductions are available to your family this tax season by referencing the Personal Tax Planning Guide published by CGA

Ontario, available online and through the offices of certified general accountants, participating local public libraries.

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April 2014

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PERSONAL FINANCE 5 tips for Tax-Free Savings Accounts (NC) More and more Canadians are taking advantage of Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) investments – a great opportunity to save you hard earned dollars tax-free. In fact, it’s important to note that the 2013 contribution limit is now $5,500, raised from $5,000. Unused TFSA contribution room carries forward indefinitely to future years. The amount of withdrawals made from a TFSA in the year will be added to the contribution room at the beginning of the following year. Canada Revenue Agency will report an individuals’ TFSA contribution room for the current tax year on the notice of assessment issued after filing their previous year’s tax return. Here are five quick TFSA tax tips: 1. Don’t forget that even if you withdraw money from a TFSA, the contribution room for

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the withdrawn amount does not open up again until the following year. Annual deposits in excess of $5,500 — even if part of that amount is subsequently withdrawn during the same year, and the balance stays at or under $5,500 — will be subject to an over-contribution penalty. 2. TFSAs might be an effective means for couples with disparate income levels to split income, with the higher income spouse providing funds to the partner to contribute to his/her own TFSA. 3. Speak with a professional accountant, such as a CGA, to determine how TFSAs might fit into a retirement strategy that also involves RRSPs or RRIFs, or an education-funding strategy using RESPs. 4. You can transfer funds directly from one of your TFSAs to another of your TFSAs without

affecting your contribution room limit. However, if you withdraw funds from one TFSA and contribute those same funds to another TFSA, the transactions will affect your contribution room limit and you may be subject to tax on excess contributions. 5. TFSA funds are permitted to be withdrawn at any time, in any amount, and for any reason without affecting taxable income or eligibility for federal means-tested benefits or tax credits. To learn more about TFSAs, you can contact a professional accountant or reference the Personal Tax Planning Guide published by CGA Ontario at

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3 important homeowner tax credits

Free tax preparation services are nearby

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(109 words + 1 photo, Ont Only) (NC) Certified general accountants in Ontario file thousands of income tax returns free-of-charge each year, supporting members in their communities who earn less than $25,000 a year, in addition to seniors and families with a household income of less than $30,000. This initiative aims to ensure that qualified low-income earners and seniors have access to professional accountants who can assist them in completing and filing their tax returns. Tax preparation service centres are currently scheduled at nearly 40 locations across Ontario for the months of March and April. The deadline for filing your taxes is April 30, 2014. To access a tax preparation service schedule for your community, visit:

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(NC) Buying your first home or improving your families’ home can be a significant financial investment; CGA Ontario notes three valuable tax tips for homeowners: First-time home buyers’ tax credit (HBTC) For individuals who are new to home ownership there is a federal non-refundable first-time home buyers’ tax credit (HBTC) on qualifying homes. They are eligible for a credit of up to 15 per cent on $5,000, or $750. To participate, prospective homebuyers (or their spouse/common-law partner) cannot have owned and lived in another home in the calendar year they make the purchase, or the four years previous to that. If they purchased a home in 2013, for example, they must not have owned and lived in a home after 2008. Land transfer tax refund program First-time purchasers of a newly constructed home and first-time homebuyers of a resale home (that is to be used as a principal residence), are eligible for a provincial-government refund on up to $2,000 of the land-transfer tax (LTT) paid for that home. Healthy homes renovation tax credit The refundable Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit is designed to assist senior citizens

with the cost of permanent home modifications required to i m p r o v e accessibility to, or assist with mobility within, their home. This credit is calculated as 15 per cent on up to $10,000, or $1,500, to cover eligible annual expenses (e.g., wheelchair ramps, widening passage doors, hand rails in corridors), among other qualifying expenditures. Family members who live with an elderly relative may claim this expense on behalf of the household. To learn more about the tax credits and deductions available to homeowners, take a look at the Personal Tax Planning Guide published by CGA Ontario at. Publications.aspx

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PERSONAL FINANCE Mystery of why people who make a will live longer (NC)—Could making a will help you live longer? Could donating to charity add years to your life? While it might not seem possible to definitively answer those questions, research has shown that people who make a will do live longer and that people who donate to charity live longer lives too. But this is not quite the same as saying that living a longer life is a direct effect of making a will or by charitable giving. “It’s really a mystery that we can’t explain,” says Heather Warren, a Gift Planner at the human rights charity Amnesty International. “It may be that making a will brings peace of mind and reduces anxiety, which adds time to a person’s life. But it could just be that people who make wills

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tend to lead healthier lives than people who never get around to estate planning.” Warren goes on to say that there are plenty of other good reasons to make a will apart from wishing for a longer life. “Making a will ensures your wealth will be distributed as you wish after you’re gone,” she says. “A will also spares complications and hardship for your loved ones. And remembering your favourite charity in your will is a powerful and simple way to leave a legacy to a good cause.” Despite all the good reasons for having a will, it would seem that many of us have yet to do so. It’s been estimated that more than half of adult Canadians have yet to make a will. Many wrongly

believe that a making a will is complicated and expensive. “It’s best to use a lawyer to make sure your will is properly drawn up,” says Warren. “But making a will is easier and more affordable than you might think.” A free information package on what to include in wills is available from Amnesty International at 312 Laurier Avenue East, Suite 250, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1H9.

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April 2014

PETS Combat fleas and ticks on your pets (NC) While the arrival of spring is the perfect time for outdoor activities with our cats and dogs, it also brings seasonal increases of ticks and fleas. It is important to realize, say specialists, that significant medical conditions are transmitted by, and related to the presence of these parasites, including tapeworms, flea allergy dermatitis, and various tick borne diseases. Treatment and prevention is critical to a happy, healthy summer for you and your pet, so Dr. Simon Starkey, a veterinarian with PetSmart Canada, gives us some helpful information to keep in mind: Prevention Grooming: Frequently comb your pet with a flea comb. Flea combs have very narrow bristles that trap adult fleas. When you find a flea, place it in a glass of water and dish soap, which will kill the flea. Topical treatments: A simple monthly preventative topical treatment will repel and kill fleas on your pet and are excellent for keeping pets pest-free when used year-round.

Indoors: Vacuum your home often and put a little flea powder or a flea collar into your vacuum bag to kill any fleas inside. Outdoors: You can treat your grass with pesticides but be certain to read all instructions and keep children and pets off the lawn for after you treat it until recommended. Treatment Flea Baths: If your pet has a significant number of fleas, a flea bath is usually the first step. Most flea shampoos work well and will kill adult fleas but are too powerful to use on young puppies. Ask your veterinarian for advice if your puppy under 12 weeks of age has fleas. Flea collars, sprays and powders: While flea collars help, some kill fleas mainly on the pet’s face and neck but don’t kill all fleas on pet’s body. Sprays and powders are also available but make sure it is designed for your pet and not for your house. Never treat your pet with more than one flea product at a time and never use product labeled exclusively for cats.

Keep a pet-safe yard this spring (NC) The yard can be a wonderland for your pet, full of interesting smells, grass to roll in, bugs to chase and shady spots for naps. But if you use fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals, it can be a potentially dangerous place pets too. Dr. Simon Starkey, a veterinarian with PetSmart Canada, gives us some important aspects to keep in mind for a safer outdoor adventure: Pesticides: Slug bait and pest poisons are particularly dangerous because the taste entices pets to consume them. Small quantities can be very dangerous to your pet. Ask your local nursery

(441 words + 1 photo) Tick removal: You will need tweezers and alcohol to remove ticks. First, try using an alcohol swab which may irritate the tick and cause it to loosen its grip. Grab the tick with the tweezers where the mouth enters the skin. Do not grab it by its body. Proceed to remove the tick with a slow, steady pull without twisting. Deposit the tick in alcohol and clean the area with a disinfectant. Consult your vet to discuss the need to test for tickborne disease. Additional information on this topic is available at, or by consultation within the store.

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for pet-friendly gardening products and follow application instructions carefully. Tightly seal containers and store them in a secure place. Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms: There are a variety of poisonous plants and flowers that are dangerous to curious pets. Some common poisonous plants include azaleas, lilies, bulb flowers (like tulips), onions, tomato vines and poppies. Mushrooms are the most commonly ingested organic material in the yard. Remove them. Mushrooms are a fungus and they can

grow quickly, even overnight, so check your yard frequently. If you suspect your pet has encountered any of the above, be sure to take it to a vet as soon as possible. Visit www. for more information.

Learn the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ pet food (NC) As more and more pet parents are giving careful consideration to better nutrition, natural and organic pet foods are becoming increasingly popular choices. Amid the buzz whirling around these green diets, it can be easy to use the two terms interchangeably, so Dr. Simon Starkey, a veterinarian with PetSmart Canada, explains the difference between natural and organic pet foods and gives us the key benefits: Natural pet foods contain no chemicals: The term ‘natural’ refers to feed or ingredients that come from only plant, animal or mined sources. This means that pet foods labeled ‘natural’ should not contain any chemically synthetic processing aids and chemically synthetic additives like artificial flavours, colouring or preservatives.

Organic pet foods have been raised without chemicals: With organic pet foods, it’s not so much about the ingredients as it is about the way those ingredients were raised or grown. Organic foods are grown or raised without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides or fertilizers and are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. In Canada, organic pet foods must be certified by the Standards Council of Canada or reciprocally through the USDA. Benefits of quality: Premium foods are made with quality ingredients and are highly digestible. You’ll get more value as the increased digestibility can result in less feeding. Changing your pet’s diet: If you plan to change your pet’s diet to natural or organic food, make

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sure it’s a gradual transition. Dr. Simon recommends that you feed your pet a combination of new and old food over a seven-day period to get them used to the new ingredients, texture and smell. There is an interactive food guide selector online at PetSmart. com. It will help you to determine the right nutritional solution for your pet.

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News Canada: April 2014  

The April 2014 issue of News Canada.

News Canada: April 2014  

The April 2014 issue of News Canada.