11/04/2017
Canada, British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council Sign Reconciliation Charter Committing to the Care of First Nations Children and Youth
Scouts Canada Partners with the Canadian Red Cross to Offer Free First Aid Training To Youth During the 2017 Good Turn Week
The health and well-being of Indigenous children is a top priority for the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council. Together we are taking action to help ensure that children receive the health and social services they need, when they need it.

The Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council have signed a Reconciliation Charter to formalize their commitment to work together to reduce the number of First Nations children in care, to keep families together and support First Nations youth to successfully transition out of care.

"I am proud that we are now able to formalize the tripartite process through which the Government of Canada will work with the First Nations Leadership Council and the Province of British Columbia on our shared goal of improving the wellbeing of Indigenous families and children. Together we will focus on community-led approaches to reducing the numbers of children in care by ensuring timely access to the supports and services they need," said The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

The Charter further establishes a joint working group including representatives from all three groups to focus on concrete actions such as legislative reform, policy and program development, and creating an effective fiscal model to support First Nations child welfare in British Columbia. By signing the Charter, the parties have also committed to sustained and measurable progress and to support First Nations to govern their own children and families using approaches grounded in their own cultures and traditions.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, Union of BC Indian Chiefs said, The acid test of the Charter is in whether First Nations children, youth and families can finally be treated with the rights and dignity of all children and our children and families are supported to stay together. First Nations communities must drive the change, with their own jurisdiction and as the Representative for Children and Youth in BC recently noted, this will require Canada and British Columbia to provide equitable and flexible resources directly to First Nations families and communities.

The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and provides a forum for First Nations in B.C. to address issues of common concern.
 For the first time, Scouts Canada is partnering with the Canadian Red Cross to offer free introductory first aid training to Canadian youth between the ages nine to 16. Training sessions take place in Halifax, Ottawa, Mississauga and Vancouver to kick off Scouts Canada's eighth annual Good Turn Week, taking place April 29 – May 7, 2017. The first aid sessions are among more than 30 major community projects Scouts Canada is launching to bring the spirit of Good Turn Week to communities from coast to coast.

"Safety leadership is a top priority for Scouts Canada," said Caitlyn Piton, Scouts Canada's National Youth Commissioner and Chair of the National Youth Network. "First aid and CPR training are some of the most important life skills that everyone should have and through this partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, we are able to offer more Canadian youth the confidence and essential lifesaving skills to assist someone in need, and possibly save a life."

"We are honoured to partner with Scouts Canada to help deliver first aid training to more youth across the country this Good Turn Week," said Rick Caissie, Vice President, Prevention & Safety, Canadian Red Cross. "With the skills learned in these sessions, participants will be better equipped to act as needed in emergency situations to protect and promote the health and safety of their friends, family and community."

According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, not all Canadian households are adequately prepared with first aid training in the event of an emergency. The survey found:

Only 12 per cent of Canadians feel very confident that a child in their life could help them if they collapsed.
92 per cent of Canadians believe children should start learning about first aid and how to help people in their community as early as nine years old.
36 per cent of Canadians say they have no one living in their household who is trained in first aid.
Four first aid training sessions will be offered in each city, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. daily on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30. The courses will explore prevention and response training, focusing on increasing the confidence of youth and inspiring action when they are presented with an emergency situation and the opportunity to help someone in need. Participants will learn how to prevent injury, assess an emergency, respond in a first aid or emergency situation while keeping themselves safe and compression only CPR.

Youth do not need to be Members of Scouts Canada to participate. Advance registration is required and available spots are first come, first served. To register, visit: http://scoutscanadaredcross.eventbrite.com/

About Good Turn Week
Good Turn Week (April 29 – May 7, 2017) is a youth-led initiative that asks all Canadians to consider the power of a simple good turn. Participating in Good Turn Week is not just for Scouts and it's easy to do. Simply perform a good turn for someone else and encourage the recipient to pay it forward, creating a cycle of goodwill. A good turn can be as simple as giving up a seat on public transit or buying a meal for a homeless person, or as ambitious as organizing a fundraiser to support a family that is down on their luck. Canadians can share their Good Turns at Scouts.ca/goodturnweek, or on social media by using #GoodTurnWeek and tagging @ScoutsCanada.
30/03/2017
Canadians come together to celebrate National Family Caregiver Day
2017 National Carers Day: A Milestone for Canadian Carers
 Carers Canada applauds the Prime Minister for recognizing the 8.1 million carers in Canada in celebration of National Carers Day. For the first time, our Prime Minister joins our nation to pay tribute to family members and friends who have been stepping up to provide support and fill the gap in our publicly funded health care system. The Prime Minister's recognition marks a pivotal step in advancing a national agenda to provide the necessary support for individuals who take on an unpaid caring role.

To celebrate National Carers Day, Carers Canada is hosting a Carer Breakfast at Parliament Hill to bring parliamentarians, carers and diverse stakeholders together on a matter that has become relevant to many of us. This year's theme is "Caring at Home" and aims to raise awareness of the invaluable role carers provide to support older adults with frailty, individuals with complex, chronic disabling conditions, and those at end-of-life to stay safely at home. The Carer Breakfast is co-hosted by Deborah Schulte (Member of Parliament for King-Vaughan and Chair, Liberal Senior Caucus) and sponsored by Carers Canada's Signatory Partners: Canadian Home Care Association, CBI Health Group and Saint Elizabeth.

"Without family carers, our professional carers – the nurses, therapists and personal support workers who provide in home client care every day – wouldn't have the partners who ensure once we leave the client's home that the patient will be safe, supported and be able to remain independent in their own home," says Anthony Milonas, COO of CBI Health Group and Signatory Partner of Carers Canada.

Currently, more than two million Canadians can continue to live safely in their homes because of the support of carers. The contributions carers make - to help seniors with frailty to safely live at home, to support individuals with long-term chronic diseases be independent and active members of the community, and to enable loved ones to choose to die at home – are invaluable. It is estimated that carers contribute $25 billion of unpaid care annually to our health care system and home care programs.

"Today is all about celebrating the power of caregivers and taking bold action to support them," said Shirlee Sharkey, CEO of Saint Elizabeth and Signatory Partner of Carers Canada. "Caring for family is a big societal issue that will in time touch the lives of virtually all of us."

The federal government's commitment to carers through the new tax relief program, Employment Insurance caregiving benefit, and targeted investments in home care will enhance the lives of millions of Canadians. "As increasing number of Canadians are choosing to age at home and the demand for care grows, we must build on this momentum and work together to continue recognizing the contributions carers make; helping people identify themselves as carers and enabling them to access the support and information they need," says Nadine Henningsen, President of Carers Canada and Executive Director of the Canadian Home Care Association.

As we commemorate National Carers Day, Carers Canada encourages all Canadians to get involved by:

Supporting the Prime Minister's Statement by writing a press release and reinforcing the vital role carers play in enabling millions of Canadians to receive the necessary care in their homes with dignity and quality of life.
Recognizing carers and showing your support through social media, remember to add #thxcarers to your tweets.
Learning more and raising awareness about Caring at Home by visiting Carers Canada's Awareness page at www.carerscanada.ca
Carers Canada and our partners are pleased that carers and home care are important priorities for our federal, provincial and territorial governments. We look forward to working with the government to continue championing the well-being of carers.   
For the first time in Canada, the Prime Minister has released a statement celebrating the diversity, role and value of caregivers on April 4, National Family Caregiver Day. Saint Elizabeth applauds Prime Minister Trudeau for recognizing the 8.1 million Canadians who have taken on the vital role of Family Caregiver to someone who needs them.

As one of the signatory partners of Carers Canada, Saint Elizabeth sponsors the annual national day of celebration and today joined the association in hosting a special Caregiver Breakfast on Parliament Hill.

As our population ages, the number of people who want to stay in their own home is increasing. Family, friends and neighbours are stepping up to provide care and fill the gap in our publicly funded health care system. With 75% of family caregivers also employed, this can mean juggling their work, personal and caring responsibilities, often at the cost of their emotional, physical and financial status.

"With Elizz, our brand dedicated to all things caregiving, we're connecting with family caregivers in a fresh new way and giving them a greater voice by bringing this issue into the social mainstream," said Shirlee Sharkey, CEO of Saint Elizabeth. "In the past 18 months, we've connected with over two million caregivers and supported thousands on their journey."

Through its DIY website and interactive digital tools, Elizz gathers online data from caregivers to better understand their issues and concerns. Responses from over 18,000 caregivers reveal they are not only stressed and short on time, but they are not asking for help and often don't even realize they ARE a family caregiver.

Key Caregiver Insights from Elizz.com:

83% say they don't have time each week to get things done
80% say they are concerned about the safety of the person they're caring for
75% of caregivers have a lack of time to perform activities other than caregiving
61% of caregivers say they don't have friends or family helping them
47% said they are "just doing what family and friends do for each other"
To discover the latest caregiver news, take the Elizz 5 LifeStages of Caregiving® assessment, or learn more about Saint Elizabeth's services for caregivers and families, visit Elizz.com.

The Government of Canada Announces Funding for Child and Family Services Support for First Nations in Ontario

28/03/2017

The well-being of Indigenous children and families is a priority for the Government of Canada. We are taking action and working in partnership to help ensure that children receive the health and social services they need, when they need it.

Today the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAC), announced $9.11 million in child and family services funding for First Nations in Ontario in 2017-2018, flowing from the unprecedented five year investment in Budget 2016 of nearly $635 million.

The new funding will flow directly to eligible Ontario First Nations to strengthen community-based prevention activities that will help parents access the supports they need to raise their children in safe and healthy environments.

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day said, "Child welfare is one of the most pressing concerns faced by our communities. This approach to investment in child welfare, taken on by Minister Bennett, demonstrates that only communities can and should decide where and how funds must be spent in order to best address their needs. These grants are a positive step forward towards prevention of child welfare. I look forward to working further with Minister Bennett moving forward, in order to continue to address the needs of our communities in a meaningful way.''

This is an important step forward on the path of reconciliation, to ensure the First Nations Child and Family Service program is meeting the needs of First Nation children and families.

The Government of Canada is committed to full scale reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services program to ensure it is meeting the needs of First Nations children and families. To this effect, a Minister's Special Representative has been engaging with partners across the country, and a number of tripartite tables have been established with First Nations and provincial and territorial governments to work together on real reform that puts the well-being of children first. An online engagement process has also been established. Budget 2016 made historic investments in the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, with nearly $635 million over five years and $176.8 million in ongoing new funding. The goal of this $9.11 million in funding is to ensure that parents in Ontario First Nations communities have access to programming that emphasizes creating safe and healthy environments for children.
30/03/2017
Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth urges legislative committee to seize historic opportunity to create fundamental change
Toys"R"Us, Canada to Host Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour at Stores Across Canada on World Autism Awareness Day
 In honour of World Autism Awareness Day, on Sunday, April 2, 2017, Toys"R"Us, Canada will host a Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada. As part of the initiative, all Toys"R"Us® and Babies"R"Us® stores from coast-to-coast will open one hour early. During the hour, there will be no music or announcements; lighting will be dimmed; and designated quiet spaces will be located throughout the store. Families can also enjoy in-store product demonstrations and activities with toys identified as ideal for children on the autism spectrum.

"Creating a welcoming in-store environment for all our customers and giving all kids the opportunity to experience the magic and wonder of a toy store is a must for us," said Melanie Teed-Murch, President, Toys"R"Us, Canada. "Our stores in the U.S. and U.K. received positive responses for their own programs, and we are confident that through our Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour, we too can make shopping a little easier – and of course fun – for families with kids on the autism spectrum."

The launch of the Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour is part of Toys"R"Us, Canada's commitment to supporting and raising awareness of the autism community.

Since 2010, Toys"R"Us, Canada has partnered with Autism Speaks Canada and has raised more than $5 million dollars through the generous support of its customers, team members and vendors.
Every year in March and April, Toys"R"Us, Canada invites customers to purchase an Autism Speaks Puzzle Piece in store or online at Toysrus.ca/autismspeaks for a donation amount of their choice. All funds raised go directly to Autism Speaks Canada to support services, community grants, awareness initiatives and social programs like sports, drama and swimming that aid in children's development and social skills.
Every year, thousands of families come together and celebrate in the Autism Speaks Canada Walk sponsored by Toys"R"Us. This year, eight signature events along with community walks will take place in 20 cities across Canada. Those who want to take part in or bring a Walk to their community can visit Autismspeaks.ca.
"We are proud to work alongside a national partner like Toys"R"Us to offer a Sensory-Friendly Shopping Hour," said Jill Farber, Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada. "Shopping trips for families and individuals with autism can sometimes be more challenging. This initiative will provide a friendly, inclusive environment for the autism community – giving them the space to be themselves."

For local store hours for Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us locations throughout Canada for World Autism Awareness Day on Sunday, April 2, visit Toysrus.ca/events.

About Autism Speaks Canada
Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through collaboration with community partners; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Through partnerships and collaboration, we are committed to:

Increasing global understanding & acceptance of autism
Being a catalyst for research breakthroughs
Increasing early-childhood screenings & timely interventions
Improving the transition to adulthood
Ensuring access to reliable information & services throughout the life span.
Go to www.autismspeaks.ca to learn more.
The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and young people called on an all-party legislative committee to accept their amendments to strengthen a bill that would affect every child and youth who receives or is seeking government services and programs. This includes young people connected to child welfare, youth justice, children's mental health and the special needs systems, and First Nations children and youth.

"Thousands of courageous young people have created this opportunity to push for fundamental change. They have long called on government, children's aid societies, and other decision-makers to listen to their voices and create the conditions where they can flourish, feel safe and have their individual rights respected," said Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.

Bill 89, the Child, Youth and Family Services Act 2017, was introduced last December by the Minister of Children and Youth Services to modernize the Child and Family Services Act – the province's governing legislation for all provincial services and programs for children and youth. The Standing Committee on Justice Policy is holding hearings in Toronto to hear submissions from stakeholders.

The Advocate's Office consulted extensively with young people with lived experiences in the various care systems and stakeholders to inform its submission.

The bill's preamble speaks to the principles of children's rights, equality and anti-racism with references to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); Katelynn's Principle (a recommendation made by the Advocate's Office and adopted by the inquest jury at the Katelynn Sampson inquest); the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and the Human Rights Code.

"Seeing proposed legislation that includes the principles of children's rights, equality and anti-racism in its preamble is a positive step forward for young people," said Ashley Ash, a Youth Amplifier with the Advocate's Office. "This bill is being lauded as child-centric and revolutionary. But when you take a closer look, it's clear that this bill fails to reflect the needs of young people. The government needs to take concrete steps to embed children's rights and their voices throughout the bill."

"This bill can be significantly improved to ensure that we create the conditions where young people can exercise their rights, and feel respected, safe and supported. But this will take tremendous courage and leadership. I urge the government and the legislative committee to accept our amendments and introduce a stronger bill that is truly grounded in children's rights," said Elman.

A summary of the Advocate Office's key concerns and recommendations are available in a backgrounder at: www.provincialadvocate.on.ca.

Fraser Institute News Release: Quebec's subsidized daycare imposes real costs on taxpayers, limits choice for parents

28/03/2017

 Quebec's subsidized daycare program has produced skyrocketing costs along with worrying child development outcomes without eliminating wait times, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The findings are especially important, given the federal government announced in the 2017 budget last week that it wants to create 40,000 subsidized daycare spots across Canada over the next three years.

"Policymakers across Canada have eyed Quebec's subsidized daycare program as a potential model to follow, but some of the claims made to support it -- that it pays for itself, eliminates wait lists and consistently benefits children -- aren't supported by the evidence," said Ben Eisen, director of provincial prosperity studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Quebec's Daycare Program: A Flawed Policy Model.

The study finds that in 2014/15, the provincial government spent $2.6 billion for the program. More specifically, spending on a per-child basis -- after adjusting for inflation -- jumped 101.6 per cent since the program's creation, from $4,874 in 1997 to $9,823 in 2016 (amounts in 2016 dollars).

What's more, fully 10 years after the program was introduced, tens of thousands of children remained on wait lists for spots, which are rationed by the government because of rising costs.

While research shows high quality daycare programs can produce long-lasting beneficial cognitive and social development outcomes for some children, the study also documents compelling evidence that Quebec's subsidized daycare program has contributed to negative effects on the social and health development of some children enrolled.

For example, Quebec's daycare program has been found to lead to increased aggression, anxiety, and hyperactivity in boys since the daycare program was introduced.

"While daycare centres work well for some children, it's not the best option for every child," Eisen said.

"Programs that provide resources directly to families to help them cover the costs of whatever approach to childcare works best for them -- including daycare, but also parental care or private home-based care -- is a strategy that can help a much broader range of families."

Toronto Startup Gets Boost Through Social Impact Program

15/03/2017

A local startup dedicated to helping parents and daycares is one of the select ventures accepted into the Social Enterprise Accelerator program of the Community Innovation Lab.

CubbySpot was one of only 25 programs accepted through the Ontario Social Impact Voucher (OSIV) Program.

The CubbySpot mobile app is a game changer for parents, single moms and newcomers navigating the chaotic sector of finding and tracking suitable daycare spots says PRAMILLA RAMDAHANI, CEO, COMMUNITY INNOVATION LAB.

"CubbySpot is a top venture in the program, and we are confident that their venture has a bright future ahead," said Alzahra Hudani, Program Coordinator of the Community Innovation Lab.

The program offers promising, early-stage social enterprises, like CubbySpot, the opportunity to gain business training from leading experts in the field, added Hudani.

CubbySpot – a website and app which allows parents to find daycare spots for their children in all major Canadian cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and St. John – got its start in Toronto and now has more than 12,000 daycares in its database.

CubbySpot has the largest collection of daycare listings across Canada in a mobile app. Raquedan and his wife, Liza, founded CubbySpot after they had trouble finding a daycare for their daughter. After countless Internet searches and seemingly endless waiting lists, they came up with CubbySpot, which has allowed Canadians to search for daycare services.

The site can be used by both parents looking for an easy-to-use way to find a daycare or by a daycare director, owner, or manager looking to fill full-time, part-time, and backup/emergency openings in their centres.

"The CubbySpot mobile app is a game changer for parents, single moms and newcomers navigating the chaotic sector of finding and tracking suitable daycare spots," said Pramilla Ramdahani, CEO of Community Innovation Lab.

“Finally, a one-stop shop personal assistant to replace months of day care shopping trips,” said Ramdahani. ”The Community Innovation Lab is pleased to support the dynamic social entrepreneur, disruptor behind this innovation at our Social Enterprise Accelerator in Oshawa.”

CubbySpot has been making waves in the small business world lately. In December, CubbySpot received the SmartStart Seed Fund, which gives Ontario’s entrepreneurs access to much-needed funding to take their start-up to the next level and provides both seed financing and financing for entrepreneurship skills training to help recipients grow their start-up and make them investment and customer ready. 

Quench your curiosity this March Break at the Ontario Science Centre

09/03/2017

School's out for March Break! Spring into action and join us as we celebrate curiosity and Canada 150 at the Ontario Science Centre. With immersive IMAX® films, new hands-on experiences and special programming, the Ontario Science Centre has science-filled fun for the whole family.

Delve deep into the invisible workings of nature's engineering with Biomechanics: The Machine Inside. Learn about cutting edge science that's being discovered now from University of Waterloo researchers during our daily Science Hot Spots. Make your data count at Research Live! as you provide researchers from the University of Waterloo with valuable information about hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and balance. Power up at The Energy Show, an interactive stage presentation that explores energy sources, generation and transmission through live experiments. Learn about transformational Canadian scientific innovations, from the far reaches of space to common household items, and take pride in our national ingenuity at the Canada 150: Discovery Way installation. From the Great Wall of China to underwater robots, experience an exciting new perspective on what it means to be an engineer with the immersive IMAX® film Dream Big. Marvel at Legacy, a life-sized, anatomically correct orca skeleton, carved entirely from reclaimed cedar.

There's so much to quench curious minds of all ages this March Break – March 11th to-19th – at the Ontario Science Centre. You won't want to miss out!

Here is a sneak peek of what you can expect at the Ontario Science Centre this March Break: http://bit.ly/MB17OSC

For more information, including extended hours, admission prices and March Break tips, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

Make your March Break stress free by purchasing Science Centre and film tickets online and printing them at home. Upon arrival at the Science Centre, we simply scan your barcode, allowing you to go through one of two express entry points.

MARCH BREAK PROGRAMS & EXHIBITIONS

All March Break programs and exhibitions are free with general admission.

Biomechanics: The Machine Inside
Biomechanics: The Machine Inside explores the marvels of natural engineering and reveals the incredible ingenuity behind evolution and adaptation. Through real specimens, lifelike models and interactive experiences, this exhibition brings the science of biomechanics and biomimicry to life.
Daily
Procter & Gamble Great Hall, Level 2

Check out our special Biomechanics: The Machine Inside programs throughout March Break:

Loco Motion
From slithering to sliding, and from climbing to creeping, animals have evolved marvelous means of movement to secure food, to find a mate and to survive. Watch a shape-shifting performer mimic animal locomotion, and gain a new appreciation for how animals are equipped to thrive.
Daily at 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Rock Paper Science Hall, Level 6

Dexterity Duel
Think stacking cups is a breeze? Try it while wearing fleece mitts, rubber dish gloves or oven mitts. See how your ability changes when you wear different types of gloves. You'll quickly learn that having the right tool fit the task like a glove is essential!
Daily
Level 6

Get a Grip!
Let the natural world feed your imagination! Biomimetic refers to human-made substances and devices that imitate nature. Become a biomechanics engineer and make a gripper that is inspired by a bony fish's tail fin.
Daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weston Family Innovation Centre, Level 6

Take part in live research! Participate in studies led by local researchers and help them make advancements in science and technology:

Science HotSpot
Plug into live presentations with University of Waterloo scientists who will demonstrate their cutting edge science research.
Monday to Friday
Hot Zone, Weston Family Innovation Centre, Level 6

Research Live!
Your data counts! Provide University of Waterloo researchers with valuable information about hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and balance control by completing a variety of interactive tasks in real and virtual environments – all in the name of scientific research!
Daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rock Paper Science Hall, Level 6

The Energy Show
Get ready to experience a seven-foot Tesla coil, a hair-raising Van de Graaff generator, flaming bubbles and more in this new theatrical presentation that uncovers the world's ultimate source of power!
Daily at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. & 5 p.m. (plus 6 p.m. on Saturdays)
Imperial Oil Auditorium, enter on Level 1

Canada 150: Discovery Way
Celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial at the Ontario Science Centre with our newest installation Canada 150: Discovery Way. Through amazing artifacts, ranging from the lightbulb to the flight recorder, you'll gain a better understanding of Canada's unique scientific achievements. And who knows – you may even be inspired to be Canada's next great innovator!
Daily
Entrance, Level 2

Take a fantastic voyage through the Universe with our exciting Planetarium shows – they're out of this world:

Eyes on the Skies (ages 0-5)*
For children 5 years and under WITH their caregivers; learn about the nighttime sky through singing, connect-the-stars constellations and a journey to the Moon!
Daily at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Planetarium, Space Hall, Level 4

The Sky Tonight (age 5+)*
Discover what's visible in the sky tonight and learn about upcoming celestial events.
Daily at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., & 5 p.m. (plus 6 p.m. on Saturdays)
Planetarium, Space Hall, Level 4

Celestial Storms*
Witness the power of a 400-year-old hurricane on Jupiter, the devilish dust storms on Mars and the wicked winds of Neptune as you learn about the wildest weather in our solar system.
Daily at 12 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Planetarium, Space Hall, Level 4

*Our Planetarium shows are very popular and fill up quickly. Be sure to line up early to secure your seat.

Terracosm
The universe needs your help! Ulysses Wolfe has invented portals that allow people to travel to the alternate universes he has discovered, but the iON probes he's sent to investigate have lost all contact. Help bring them back before it's too late. Using 3D virtual and augmented reality technologies, players peer into Alternate Universes, fly through their landscapes, interact with their inhabitants, escape perilously close calls, and even play with particles at the molecular level, all without ever leaving the Ontario Science Centre. Download the free app before your visit: www.terracosm.tv/
Daily
Various locations

Papermaking Demo
Transform plants and cloth into paper. Watch the papermaking demo, then take home the instructions and try it yourself!
Daily at 11 a.m. & 4 p.m.
Rock Paper Science Hall, Level 6

Energy Zone
Visit the IESO Save on Energy experts to learn about energy conservation and how to be more efficient around your home. Take part in fun activities and games for visitors of all ages, win prizes, and get answers to your burning energy questions.
Daily
Lobby Mezzanine, Level 1

About the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre, a Centennial project, has welcomed more than 51 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

BDO poll: Canadian parents plan to spend $600 to keep their children happy this March Break

06/03/2017

The majority of Canadian parents (79%) believe spending money on March Break activities for their children is a reality, and they're ready to drop an average of $597, and in some cases up to $1,000 to keep their children happy, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of BDO Canada Limited. Almost half (49%) say they are willing to spend whatever it takes to keep their children entertained—and for one in five Canadians, that could mean taking on debt.

The poll shows that most Canadians (72%) plan to use cash or debit to pay for March Break, but some will be taking on debt, either by using credit cards (18%) or a line of credit (3%).

"Canadians should look to create a realistic budget that will help them avoid March Break debt," says Doug Jones, President of BDO Canada Limited. "March Break can also be an opportunity to teach your children financial literacy skills, by setting a good example with your spending habits."

Key Poll Findings (**For full tabular results, please visit the Ipsos website at www.ipsos-na.com).

Parents in British Columbia plan to spend the most on March Break ($913), followed by parents in Alberta ($756), Ontario ($594) and the Atlantic provinces ($552). Parents in Quebec ($423), Saskatchewan and Manitoba ($384) plan to spend much less than the national average.

While parents making over $100,000 plan to spend the most, those making less than $40,000 do not plan on spending significantly less than those in higher income brackets.

A majority of parents say their March break spending decisions are family decisions (61%), and nearly half (46%) take what the kids want into account. Only a minority (32%) say their decisions are influenced by how much money they've saved.

B.C. kids at risk from second-hand child car seats and installation mistakes - new BCAA Survey

23/02/2017

 A new BCAA survey reveals many parents take risks when transporting their kids such as using a second-hand child car seat and not checking regularly for proper installation.

The survey, by Insights West for BCAA, asks parents for their views and behaviours around driving with their kids. BCAA's Community Impact Senior Manager, Shawn Pettipas, says everyday mistakes could put children at risk.

The survey confirms most parents install their child car seats themselves but many don't do regular checks and some have doubts:

Half (51%) don't check regularly that their child's seat is properly installed.
21% are not certain that their child is properly installed in the child car seat.
17% aren't sure if the seat is correct for their child's age and weight.
66% install seats themselves.
25% have their car seat checked by a certified expert.
While the survey also indicates many parents and caregivers feel certain they're using the correct car seat correctly, Pettipas and his team of child car seat specialists see something different first-hand.

"We were surprised with the survey results because at every one of our car seat clinics, we find so many seats improperly installed, kids in the wrong type of seat, second-hand seats, and worried parents baffled after realizing how much they don't know," says Pettipas who manages child car seat programs for BCAA. The bottom line is that many parents simply don't know what they don't know and may be making mistakes."

The survey also revealed that second-hand child car seats are an area of much uncertainty for parents:

Half (50%) believe it's safe to use a second-hand seat as long as it's in "good condition."
Almost one in five (18%) use a second-hand seat (from friends, family or bought from sites like Craigslist)
29% of parents who use a second-hand seat admit to not knowing the history of the seat.
"Just because it looks good doesn't mean it's safe. Not knowing the full history of a second-hand car seat means parents can't be absolutely certain of the seat's condition and this can put their kid at risk," Pettipas says. "From using the wrong type of car seat to improper installation, we understand mistakes can happen and BCAA wants to help by raising awareness about common mistakes and offering support to help parents do even more to protect their children."

BCAA's child car seat website, bcaa.com/carseats offers a wealth of car seat information including step-by-step installation instructions with images and printable checklists to help parents and caregivers use child car seats and booster seats correctly.

BCAA's key tips for child car seat safety include:

1. Use correct child car seat for child's age and size. Take note of weight and height limits for car seats.

2. Ensure proper installation. Read vehicle and child car seat manuals before using child car seat. Proper installation includes the child car seat being placed on an appropriate vehicle seat, positioned correctly and properly secured.

3. Find a local car seat clinic. Parents and caregivers can attend workshops like ones offered by BCAA to learn more and receive hands-on installation education. If a car seat clinic is unavailable in your area or you have questions, contact BCAA's Child Passenger Safety information line at 1-877-247-5551.

4. Ensure your child is properly placed and secured in the car seat.

Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child's shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders)
Both harness strap latches should be fastened (both have been clicked into the buckle).
Harness straps are snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child's collar bone).
Chest clip positioned at the child's armpit level.
5. Regularly check car seat position and condition.

Wiggle test: Hold car seat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Car seat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding, cracks in the shell. Clean out every day crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.
6. If a second-hand car seat must be used, be absolutely certain of its full history. Ensure the seat hasn't been involved in any collision or dropped. Check for recalls and ensure it is within its expiry date.

BCAA is dedicated to the safe transportation of children. For the past four years BCAA, has donated more than 7,000 new child car seats to families in need across B.C. through the Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland. This June, BCAA will provide another thousand seats, bringing the total donation to 8,000 car seats.
20/02/2017
Stay Clear, Stay Safe This Family Day Weekend
 Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is reminding families to play it safe this Family Day long weekend.

"Our message is simple. Stay Clear. Stay Safe," says Mike Martelli, President, Renewable Generation and Power Marketing. "Winter activities around hydroelectric stations may seem like a good idea but these are restricted areas any time of the year, so if you're outdoors this winter you need to stay away from our facilities. "

"OPG's stations and dams are clearly marked with warning signs and barriers are in place to prevent access. This winter has seen a wide range of temperature fluctuations and thinner than normal ice in many areas, which means people need to take extra precautions on lakes and rivers wherever they happen to be," he added.

People can learn more about water safety at: opg.com/watersafety

OPG generates safe, clean, reliable, low cost power for Ontario. More than 99 per cent of this power is free of smog and greenhouse gas emissions. OPG's power is priced 40 per cent lower than other generators, which helps moderate customer bills.
Black Arts and Innovation Expo Offers Jobs, Scholarships, Food, Entertainment and Surprising Freebies at Special One-Day Event in Toronto on Feb. 25th
- There is no better way to celebrate Black History Month, than to help build tomorrow's leaders. Excelovate and First Book Canada recently teamed up with leading corporations, innovators, artists and other successful community members to hold the 3rd annual Black Arts & Innovation Expo (BAIE2017), which will provide a stunning number of grants, scholarships, networking connections and even employment opportunities to highly motivated attendees. With a heavy emphasis on the STEAM disciplines - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, #BAIE2017 is an event you won't want to miss. BAIE2017 will be held February 25th, 2017 at the York Mills Gallery from 2:00pm – 9:00pm.

According to event organizers, many leading tech companies, like Facebook, Microsoft and IBM, will be onsite at the Tech Career Fair. In addition to the first 200 people receiving awesome gift bags filled with surprising freebies, up to 20 students will receive scholarships. Another unique element to this day of celebration is the Lion's Lair Competition. The audience will witness 3 brave Entrepreneurs pitch 'their big idea' live at the event -- and the audience will decide (with their smartphones) which entrepreneur goes home with a $10,000 grant to launch their dream business.

Other highlights of BAIE2017 include displays from over 20 carefully selected artists excelling at their craft, an eye opening panel discussion led by Shad, featuring the wisdom of expert business and community voices; live entertainment performances, free food tastings and an always exciting luxurious silent auction.

Special guests and motivational speakers scheduled to attend currently include: Olympic Hurdler Perdita Felicien, Supermodel Yasmin Warsame, Rapper & CBC Journalist - Shad, Granddaughter of Bob Marley - Donisha Prendergast, popular YouTuber and Comedian: That Dude McFly (Marlon Palmer), photographer/ Instagram luminary: Soteeoh, and distinguished Canadian poet and playwright - George Elliott Clarke, currently serving as the Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

Entertainers include Tonye Aganaba, Devontee, Matthew Romeo and Patricia Shirley.

Featured Exhibitors include Francis Jeffers, Tamar Huggins Grant, Ashaware, Braincubator, National Society of Black Engineers (UofT), Dr. Juliet Daniels, Dane Swan, Ken Daley, Babely Shades, Esmaa Mohamoud, Oluseye, Amber Williams-King, Nadijah Robinson, Sandra Brewster, Real 3D Dance Troupe, Sarah Terrill and many more!

The 3rd annual Black Arts & Innovation Expo takes place Saturday February 25th 2017 from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm at York Mills Gallery (1885 Leslie St, Toronto). Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students. For ticket info, go to EventBrite: http://tinyurl.com/j76d4nf or visit www.blackexpo.ca

American Girl's 2017 Girl of the Year™ Inspires Girls To Find Their Creative Voices And Speak Out To Make A Difference

 American Girl is ringing in the New Year with the debut of Gabriela McBride™, the company's new 2017 Girl of the Year™! Gabriela is a true creative talent who uses the power of poetry to help her break down barriers and overcome a personal challenge with stuttering. Gabriela comes to life for girls via a beautiful 18-inch Gabriela™ doll featuring curly dark-brown hair and warm brown eyes, an exclusive outfit that reflects her creative side, and a book chronicling her story. Gabriela also comes with several performance-inspired outfits and accessories, including a dance barre, rehearsal and dance outfits, plus pretend headphones and a microphone. Additional Gabriela products and books will be available starting in spring 2017, and—for the first time—the new Girl of the Year collection will be available for a full 12 months and beyond.

Gabriela's story will be told in a series of three books published by Scholastic and written by Teresa E. Harris. The first book Gabriela, hits shelves in January and tells the story of a quiet and creative girl growing up in a family of artists. Gabriela inherited a love of the arts from her parents, especially her mother, but spoken word poetry is becoming her own passion. Although Gabriela often finds herself in a battle with her own words because of her stuttering, she discovers that her poetry, filled with wit and honesty, helps her speech flow more easily and gives her the confidence to find her voice to help save her beloved community arts center from being torn down.

To connect both boys and girls with Gabby's inspiring message, American Girl is partnering with Scholastic, the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and leader in comprehensive educational materials, to create and distribute Express Yourself, a custom curriculum program that teaches 3rd-5th grade students how to use poetry as a tool for self-expression. The free materials will be available on www.scholastic.com starting March 1, 2017, and include teacher lessons and corresponding classroom activities, a poetry poster, plus parent tips and learning ideas to do at home. In addition, to celebrate National Poetry Month, the program also features a poetry contest for students that will run throughout the month of April. The Express Yourself program will encourage all students to find their creative voices and share their own personal stories, while building confidence along the way.

Other Gabby-related initiatives being held throughout the year include the following:

Gabriela Online Play: Girls can visit the Gabby-dedicated site at americangirl.com/girloftheyear for free book excerpts, videos, activities, wallpaper and e-cards, and much more.
Gabriela Retail Events: On January 1, American Girl stores are hosting Gabriela's Debut Event, where girls will get a first look at her full product collection, plus enjoy in-store activities, colorful crafts, giveaways, and a fun photo opportunity. For more details on the in-store events, visit americangirl.com/stores.
The Gabriela collection is available on January 1, 2017, through American Girl's catalogue; at americangirl.com; at all American Girl retail locations nationwide; at American Girl specialty boutiques at select Indigo™ and Chapters™ in Canada and El Palacio de Hierro locations in Mexico City; and at Toys "R" Us stores starting in March. The Gabriela books can also be purchased through retail and online booksellers.

To learn more about Gabriela and the Girl of the Year™ line, go to americangirl.com, Facebook at facebook.com/americangirl, Twitter at twitter.com/american_girl, Pinterest at pinterest.com/agofficial, and American Girl's Instagram page at instagram.com/americangirlbrand. To request an American Girl catalogue, call 1-800-845-0005.

Ontario Science Centre launches its sesquicentennial celebrations with new installation recognizing Canadian innovation 

 Celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial at the Ontario Science Centre with Canada 150: Discovery Way, a new installation that recounts the rich stories behind Canadian discoveries and innovations, and with The Energy Show, a new stage presentation that takes the Centre's iconic Electricity Demonstration to a shocking new level. To start its Canada 150 celebrations, the Ontario Science Centre is offering free general admission to the first 150 kids (ages 3-12) on January 1, 2017.

"As a centennial project, the Ontario Science Centre has been celebrating discovery, wonder and curiosity since it first opened its doors," said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "During Canada's sesquicentennial, it's natural to reflect on the growing impact that science and technology plays in our lives and how they are shaping our future. Through our diverse offerings in 2017, we will inform, engage and inspire our visitors, demonstrating that science is more than knowledge – it's about action for a better future."

Top ten ways to celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial with science at the Ontario Science Centre in 2017:

1. Take pride in Canadian scientific achievements.
What do insulin, the electric wheelchair and five-pin bowling have in common? From the far reaches of space to common household items, learn about notable Canadian scientific discoveries and innovations and the Canadian trailblazers behind them. The Canada 150: Discovery Way installation inspires through diverse, home-grown stories and uniquely Canadian artifacts. At every step along the way, visitors will be moved by great scientific achievements and may even be inspired to be Canada's next great innovator.

2. Power up at our new electrifying stage show.
Building upon the Science Centre's iconic Electricity Demonstration, The Energy Show delves deeper into the principles and concepts of energy. From solar to geothermal, and from transformation to storage, the show seeks to uncover the world's ultimate source of power. Make hypotheses, conduct experiments, upload data and test very unique equipment, including a seven-foot Tesla coil.

3. Discover how science influences art.
Experience Legacy, a life-sized, anatomically correct killer whale skeleton, carved entirely from reclaimed cedar. Created by award-winning Canadian artist Ken Hall, Legacy demonstrates how science and nature can influence art and how art can expand the appreciation of science, while challenging us to think about our future.

4. Hop on board for the ultimate in railway travel.
Beginning January 9, 2017, relive the age of steam when Rocky Mountain Express returns to our giant IMAX® Dome screen. Take a present-day steam train journey through the breathtaking vistas of the Canadian Rockies, and learn about the extraordinary story of how our nation's first transcontinental railway was laid.

5. See how humans draw inspiration from the innovations of nature.
Find out how all living things, including humans, are machines built to survive, move and discover when Biomechanics: The Machine Inside opens on February 8, 2017. Take a fascinating look at the marvels of natural engineering in an interactive, specimen-rich experience that brings the science of biomechanics and biomimicry to life and explores the exciting promise they hold for the future.

6. Get a fresh perspective on what it means to be an engineer.
Celebrate human ingenuity and innovation when Dream Big opens on February 17, 2017. Using the full power of the immersive IMAX experience, Dream Big showcases the diverse faces of engineering today: people from all walks of life working on creative solutions to improve human life and create a sustainable future for us all.

7. Learn how to milk a sturgeon.
Step into the rescue and recovery efforts of people who dedicate their lives to saving animals when Wildlife Rescue opens in May 2017. From seabirds to turtles and elephants to orangutans, this wildly interactive exhibition explores the innovative ways used to capture, raise and release endangered species back to the wild.

8. Take in Toronto's history by way of a tree trunk.
The Ontario Wood Carvers Association has given new life to the silver maple tree behind Alexander Muir's 1867 song "Maple Leaf Forever." This installation features 35 hand-carved leaves, each depicting a historically-significant event or place in Toronto's history. After more than 10,000 volunteer carving hours, this ambitious project goes on permanent display on July 1, 2017.

9. Celebrate the power of human understanding and ingenuity – from quantum to cosmos.
Explore the incredible ability of the human mind to question, make and innovate when Power of Ideas stops in Toronto from August 23 - September 1, 2017. Designed and developed by the Ontario Science Centre for the Perimeter Institute, this immersive travelling science exhibition highlights cutting edge science, technology and engineering.

10. Maximize your exposure to science in 2017.
There's a lot to see and do at the Science Centre in 2017! A new membership program launches in January 2017 to ensure you make the most out of every visit.

The Ontario Science Centre, a Centennial project, has welcomed more than 51 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

Six New Year's Resolutions for Kids 

Now that 2017 is just around the corner, have you thought about setting a new goal? Maybe it's to learn a new language or to play an instrument. Maybe you can plan a visit to your closest National Park (Fourth graders, you can get in for free!).

Whatever is important to you, here are six suggestions from Kids.gov to get your new year started:

Make smart food choices. We all love great tasting food, but some choices can make you healthier and stronger than others. Test your knowledge about food and how to eat healthy with these games.

Save money for something you want. Budgeting is easy, but you have to be patient. Learn about earning, saving, and responsible spending.

Read more. Whether you decide to start your own collection, or borrow your favorite books from the local library, reading is a rewarding experience. Get recommendations from the Library of Congress.

Protect your passwords. Create strong passwords to protect your identity on apps and online accounts and be careful about who knows them.

Up your recycling game. Play Recycle This! to learn more about which stuff goes into which bin.

Learn about cool careers. The future's exciting--and it's not too soon to start researching the kinds of jobs you'd like to try.

Minister Duclos reinforces the Government of Canada's commitment to children and families at a roundtable with key stakeholders to discuss early learning and child care
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The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, today met with academics, stakeholders, advocates, experts and representatives from national Indigenous organizations to discuss early learning and child care. This roundtable is the third meeting hosted by the Minister this year to outline the path ahead for the establishment of a strong Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Framework.

Duclos said, "Seeking the best policies to give all Canadians the opportunity to raise their families in the way they want, and supporting children that are most in need, represents the best investments that governments can make in the social and economic fabric of this country. We are confident that our collective effort in establishing these Early Learning and Child Care Frameworks will ultimately enable all Canadians to contribute to and share in the prosperity of our country."

While setting the stage for discussions to come, Minister Duclos reiterated the Government's commitment to increase the affordability, quality, flexibility and inclusivity of early learning and child care. To achieve this objective, the federal government has been working closely with provinces and territories to develop an ELCC Framework. The Framework is expected to represent a significant milestone for national collaboration, with governments agreeing to work together to address some of the key early learning and child care issues across the country.

Minister Duclos highlighted that the Government of Canada understands that access to affordable and quality child care that is culturally appropriate is critical for Indigenous parents and children. The Minister also emphasized the importance of work underway to ensure meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples to develop an Indigenous ELCC Framework.

One of the fundamental principles for the Government of Canada is that all Canadian children deserve a real and fair chance to succeed, and that early learning provides a solid foundation for future success. It also recognizes the deep connection between child care and the economic security of families. That is why, in addition to the recently introduced Canada Child Benefit, work is currently ongoing towards the establishment of a cohesive child care agenda.

"The Lawson Foundation is very impressed with the genuine willingness and ability of Minister Jean-Yves Duclos to consult and to listen to stakeholders on the importance of quality childcare in Canada, and with his deep understanding of the importance of early childhood development. We look forward to continuing this engagement as the Government continues to develop its national framework and look at the best way of supporting our children," stated Marcel Lauzière, President and CEO of The Lawson Foundation.

Changes to 2017 Parent and Grandparent Program application intake process​
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 Family reunification is a key immigration commitment of the Government of Canada. The Parent and Grandparent Program brings together thousands of families each year. For 2017, the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced changes to how sponsorship applications will be submitted under the program.

In recent years, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada limited the number of parent and grandparent applications it would accept, in order to manage intake and interest in the program, and keep the number of applications from growing. Rather than the January rush to submit applications by courier or mail, those wanting to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada will now have 30 days to fill out an online form to indicate their interest. IRCC will then randomly choose 10,000 individuals from those who filled out the form, and those people will be invited to send in their complete application package.

The online form will be available starting January 3, 2017. Sponsors will have 30 days to submit the form.

"We're listening to what past applicants had to say and making the process fairer for people who want to sponsor their parents or grandparents. We're ensuring everyone can access the application process by giving them the same chance to have their name chosen," said McCallum, Minister.

Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth welcomes ministry's plans to create a child-centered child welfare system​
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TORONTO, Dec. 8, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Minister of Children and Youth Services Michael Coteau tabled proposed legislation to modernize the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) which, among other things, places young people at the centre of all decision-making that affects them. The bill also introduces greater oversight over the province's children's aid societies; extends the age of protection from 16 to 18; and requires all service providers to inform children and youth about the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (the Advocate's Office).

"Five years ago, hundreds of young people in and from care held landmark hearings at the Legislature of Ontario, and courageously led a conversation about the fundamental change that needed to take place in our child protection and child welfare system," said Irwin Elman, Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. "Their courage, wisdom and strength to continually bring their message forward opened the currently closed system. Because of young people, Ontario is now at a place where change is possible."

Last week, the Advocate's Office made a submission to the ministry with its proposed changes to the CFSA, including the implementation of "Katelynn's Principle." Named after seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson, who was killed at the hands of her legal guardians in 2008, this principle would place the views and voices of children and youth at the centre of all legislation, policy and services provided to them. The Advocate's Office recommended "Katelynn's Principle" at the inquest examining her death.

"I am pleased that the government has committed to a child-centred approach under the new Act. I am heartened by the expressed intent of the new legislation," said Elman. "Implementation of these changes will be vital, including efforts to shift the culture of the system. My office is committed to doing our part and supporting youth at this critical stage in our province's history to use their voice to ensure there are no gaps between the promises of the new legislation and their lived experience.

"In the end, the proposed changes will only be as useful as they positively impact the lives of children and youth of the province. If the changes move us to become a province where all children are protected; where all young people have what they need, when they need it in order to thrive; and where all families – however they are constituted – are supported so they can do right by their children, then this will be a great day for all children and youth in Ontario," said Elman.

Put Those Wallets Away - Most Popular Gift for Teens This Season Doesn't Have a Price Tag​​
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New survey results reveal that what your teen wants most this holiday season is actually closer to home than you think.

Released today, the Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada (RMHC) Family Pulse Survey found that what's most important to Canadian teens is not presents - it's spending quality time together as a family.

In fact, only one per cent of teens surveyed said that giving gifts to one another was important to them.

"Quality time together as a family, allows all of us to pause and connect during an often busy and sometimes stressful holiday season," said Cathy Loblaw, President and CEO of RMHC Canada. "And, for our families staying at a Ronald McDonald House, that time together is even more precious and important when you have a sick child being treated at a nearby hospital."

The survey also found that:

Children who spent quality time together with their parents were significantly more likely to be satisfied with their family life (91% vs 51%).

Surprisingly, parents and children agreed that eating meals, watching TV or a movie and going on vacation together were the top ways to connect with one another.

While both parents and children were satisfied with their family life in general, when asked about the top way family life could be improved, teens cited spending more time together (18%) while parents wanted more financial security (20%).

For the Breemersch family, being able to spend time together was one of the most valuable parts of staying at the Ronald McDonald House. The Breemersch family stayed at RMHC Manitoba, 3 hours away from their hometown outside Brandon, Manitoba, while daughter Katrina was treated for a brain tumour. "By being able to stay together, we could continue to do all the things we would as a family at home – from eating meals together to simple things like reading before bedtime," said Kristen Breemersch, Katrina's mother.

RMHC Canada's Family Pulse Survey was conducted to understand what was important to Canadian families today. "These findings mirror what we see and hear from our families in the Ronald McDonald Houses each and every day," said Loblaw. "Families like the Breemersch family need a little bit of normal at a time when their life is anything but. Staying close to your sick child, and being together as a family, are all part of helping families through their child's healing journey. Canada's 15 Ronald McDonald Houses and 15 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide that support for over 30,000 families each year."

Yet, the need for support continues to grow. Just last year, 2,282 families were turned away due to lack of accommodation. That's why RMHC Canada is asking Canadians to show their gratitude for family togetherness, while also helping more families of sick children stay together.

Canadians can go to Gratitudenumber.ca to get their family's personal Gratitude Number and photo, and then share it with family and friends on social media. By donating or fundraising their gratitude amount, Canadian families can show their support for families staying at a Ronald McDonald House.

To learn more and to get your family's Gratitude Number, visit www.GratitudeNumber.ca.

Santa's Home is Now on Zillow ​
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Today, Zillow announces that one of the most famous homes in the world -- Santa Claus' North Pole house -- is now on Zillow. With a Zestimate® home valuei of $656,957, Santa's home is one of the most valuable residential properties in the Arctic.

Zillow was able to calculate a special Zestimate value for Santa's one-of-a-kind house using comparable homes in remote locationsii and applying a Santa premiumiii. The home has never been sold and is not on the market.

Santa Claus' log cabin has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and measures 2,500 square feet -- about 1,000 square feet larger than the average U.S. home. It sits on a unique, 25-acre lot in the North Pole and features a river rock fireplace, a gourmet kitchen and a wood-burning stove in one of the guest suites. The property also boasts a sleigh parking garage, stables and a world-class toy workshop.

"Santa's home in the North Pole is one of the most famous homes in the world, so we're thrilled it's now on Zillow," said Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman. "Millions of kids are looking forward to a visit from Santa this year, and now they have the opportunity to virtually visit Santa's house themselves."

To see Santa's home, type "Santa's house" into the search bar on Zillow.com. Visitors can flip through a photo gallery of the home and watch a video walkthrough to get a sense of the home's flow. Santa's house is not for sale, but by claiming his home, Santa was able to update his home's facts and add photos, which can impact his Zestimate value.

Additionally, children can start following Santa's Christmas Eve trek delivering presents around the world via the Official NORAD Santa Tracker, right from Santa's home detail page on Zillow. This feature is a result of Zillow's partnership with NORAD Tracks Santa, which has been following Santa's annual journey for the past 61 years.

"We track Santa as he makes his journey around the world every holiday season and ensure he returns home safely," said Preston Schlachter, spokesperson for NORAD Tracks Santa. "Santa puts a lot of miles on his sleigh delivering gifts all over the country and we're excited to partner with Zillow this holiday season to give families around the world a behind the scenes look at Santa's home base."

Zillow forecasts that Santa's home will appreciate 2.2 percent over the next year, in line with forecasted home value growth in the United States.

DHX Media and Ipsos unveil results from their first global survey of parents​
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The  DHX Media, the world's leading independent, pure-play children's content company, and Ipsos, Canada's market intelligence leader and the country's leading provider of public opinion research, announce the results from a survey of 2,700 parents in the US, Canada and the UK, designed to illuminate how children age 0-12 consume entertainment content and brands.


Dana Landry, CEO of DHX Media, said: "As a global leader in the production and distribution of children's content, it is important to check in with parents to get their views on how families consume content. DHX Media's mission is to create children's content that inspires, entertains and connects the global on-demand generation, and we are encouraged by the results of this survey. The new generation of kids has embraced mobile devices and they love streaming services. Parents are comfortable with kids enjoying content on these new platforms and they are very receptive to the potential for these models to include e-commerce."

Kids Going Mobile

The survey found that kids have embraced mobile on-demand viewing, and that tablets are their preferred screen for consuming content. In the households surveyed, 72% of children's daily viewing is from streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix and others. When viewing content, 61% of kids use tablets, with 78% of households having at least one tablet and 29% having a tablet for use by a child only. Tablets were found to be the most popular screen used by children, who used the devices to watch 45% of their streamed content.

In addition, the survey found that 40% of kids use smartphones to consume their content, 90% of households with children under 13 have at least one smartphone, and 14% have a smartphone that is used only by a child. Furthermore, nearly one-quarter of children are using smartphones to watch streamed content.

YouTube Most Popular

The survey also found that YouTube is the most popular streaming platform among respondents, followed closely by Netflix. Of the households surveyed, YouTube's Advertising-supported Video on Demand (AVOD) service garnered 15% of all streaming viewing, with Netflix coming in at 13%. When YouTube's premium Subscription-supported Video on Demand (SVOD) services are included, YouTube garners 24% of all streaming viewing.

Ready for Retail

The survey also polled parents about their receptivity to a new concept called "One Click Content to Retail". One Click Content to Retail is a new model that leverages video on an AVOD platform to serve ads to viewers which allow them to click through to purchase featured products. The results showed that 80% of parents liked the idea of being able to click through from a video to buy products for their kids and that 49% of parents said they would use One Click Content to Retail if available. Meanwhile, 81% of parents liked the idea of a child being able to keep a "Wish List" of products via One Click Content to Retail.

In addition, 85% of parents research what to purchase online at least monthly, 78% buy products online at least monthly, and nearly four out of every 10 purchases made specifically for a child are made online. Two thirds of parents are very likely buy products such as toys, games and clothing featuring a child's favourite character. Parents surveyed were as comfortable with kids viewing streaming content as with traditional TV, and nine in 10 parents say YouTube child-appropriate advertising is acceptable.

About the DHX Media-Ipsos Global Parents Survey Findings

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between September 2 and September 13, 2016, on behalf of DHX Media. For this survey, a sample of 2,700 parents with a child age 12 or under were interviewed from Ipsos online panels in three countries: the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom (900 respondents per country). The combined data was then weighted to reflect the distribution of the population across the three markets. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all parents of children aged 12 and under in the three countries been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error

About DHX Media

DHX Media Ltd. (www.dhxmedia.com) is the world's leading independent, pure-play children's content company. Owner of the world's largest independent library of children's content, at more than 11,800 half-hours, the Company is recognized globally for such brands as Teletubbies, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Caillou, In the Night Garden, Inspector Gadget, Make It Pop, Slugterra and the multiple award-winning Degrassi franchise. As a content producer and owner of intellectual property, DHX Media delivers shows that children love, licensing its content to major broadcasters and streaming services worldwide. Through its subsidiary, WildBrain, DHX Media also operates one of the largest networks of children's content on YouTube. The company's robust consumer products program generates royalties from merchandise based on its much-loved children's brands.Headquartered in Canada, DHX Media has offices in 15 cities globally, and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (DHX.A and DHX.B) and the NASDAQ Global Select Market (DHXM).

About Ipsos

Ipsos is Canada's market intelligence leader and the country's leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels. Ipsos' Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada—all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Ipsos is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group. To learn more, visit www.ipsos.ca.

Disclaimer

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" under applicable securities laws with respect to DHX Media including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company's business strategies and operational activities of DHX Media, the markets and industries in which it operates, including consumer preferences, and the growth and financial and operating performance of the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and are based on information currently available to the Company. Actual results or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, among other things, include risk factors discussed in materials filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time including matters discussed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Information Form and annual Management Discussion and Analysis, which also form part of the Company's annual report on Form 40-F filed with the SEC. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.

Kate & Mim-Mim, Slugterra, Anne of Green Gables win prestigious Shaw Rocket Prize for best in kids and youth programming​​
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The Shaw Rocket Fund is pleased to announce the winners of the 11th annual Shaw Rocket Prize, with three Canadian programs earning the most votes by children from across the country to claim top honours.

Kate & Mim-Mim, Slugterra and Anne of Green Gables each won a $25,000 prize for the best in kids and youth programming as well as the best in digital experience.

The awards were given out at a gala event held in Ottawa and attended by cast and crew members, industry representatives, and members of the Ottawa and political community.

"On behalf of the Shaw Rocket Fund, we would like to congratulate Kate & Mim-Mim, Slugterra and Anne of Green Gables for producing quality kids and youth television shows which incorporate innovative digital experiences that Canadian children and children around the world can be proud of," says Agnes Augustin, President & CEO of the Shaw Rocket Fund. "Congratulations also to all the finalists. The entries this year were superb, demonstrating that the Canadian kids and youth television industry is one to be reckoned with in today's ever changing digital world."

Kate & Mim-Mim (DHX Media) brings a world to life where the only limits are a little girl's imagination. Kate is a feisty five-year-old who, together with her toy bunny best friend Mim-Mim, travels to a fantasy world, where Mim-Mim becomes a larger-than-life playmate!

Slugterra (DHX Media) is about 15-year-old Eli Shane, who's determined to be the greatest slug-slinging hero of Slugterra after his dad. He can do this only by collecting, training, and dueling little creatures called slugs.

L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (Breakthrough Entertainment) is based on the iconic Canadian book of the same name. It is the late 1870s on beautiful Prince Edward Island. Anne Shirley is mistakenly sent there to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm. Anne must make her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and in the town of Avonlea to ensure she is never sent back to the orphanage again.

The gala event, held at the Shaw Centre and featuring a stellar lineup of performances by The Next Step and Lost and Found Music Studios, was hosted by Degrassi: Next Class star Soma Bhatia. The Honourable Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly was also on hand to present the awards.

"As Canada gets ready to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I could not be more proud to celebrate the best in Canadian kids and youth programming," says Minister Joly. "The Shaw Rocket Fund showcases the best our country has to offer and the talents of professionals in Canada's television industry. This year's focus on the best digital experience is timely and illustrates how our kids and youth programs are innovative and unique. Congratulations to this year's winners!"

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in his capacity as Minister of Youth, along with his wife Sophie Grégoire, also sent congratulations via video. "Quality programming exposes children to diversity and teaches them valuable lessons from learning the alphabet to the meaning of integrity. Today's finalists reflect everything we look for in quality children's programming and best of all, they're made right here in Canada," Trudeau says. "Thank you Shaw Rocket Fund for supporting the Canadian children's media industry and for showcasing the calibre of kids shows made in this country and proudly exported around the world."

The Shaw Rocket Prize is presented annually to Canadian children's, youth, and family programs and their associated digital content. Finalists were selected by an international jury of industry experts and children from across Canada then voted online for their favourite program. By voting, three children won one of three $2,500 scholarships and the most creative child who made a video vote won an iPad and a trip to Ottawa to attend this special event.

About Shaw Rocket Fund
The Shaw Rocket Fund, working in partnership with youth, is dedicated to investing in the Canadian children's and youth production industry with a broader mission of championing Canadian children's programming in Canada and around the world. Since 2004, the Rocket Fund has awarded $550,000 in prize money to celebrate the very best of Canadian screen-based media for kids.

www.rocketfund.ca | t: @rocketfund | facebook.com/rocketfund

Exhaustion and Lack of Time Mean Sacrifice is the New Norm for Canadian Parents​​
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​There isn't enough time and energy to juggle everything, according to Canadian parents, and the struggle to balance it all has given way to a national phenomenon of 'parental sacrifice'. A new survey by Mastercard reveals the overwhelming majority of Canadian parents (94%) make personal sacrifices to manage all of life's demanding priorities. And a majority of parents (56%) regularly seek out innovative 'life hacks' to gain back personal time. Masterpass, Mastercard's digital payment solution, offers one life hack that saves time at checkout, taking some of the struggle out of everyday life.

Bloggers and busy moms Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh of Sweet Potato Chronicles are putting Masterpass to the test this holiday season. "We do a lot of running around and are constantly juggling it all; it's often a struggle to keep all the balls in the air," says Marsh. "Anything like Masterpass that gives us time back is a lifesaver – those few minutes are the difference between making pick-up on time or not," added Keogh.

Knowing that parents see exhaustion as the new norm and 90% report feeling constantly tired, the Masterpass survey looked at what the top time-wasting activities for Canadian parents are and which activities they are sacrificing:

The top time suckers for Canadian parents:

• Meal preparation (21%)
• Doing the laundry (12%)
• Finding a parking spot (19%)
• Gift buying (11%)


The top activities Canadian parents are sacrificing:

• Time alone (53%)
• Time with friends (39%)
• Time with their partner (49%)
• Personal grooming (31%)
• Working out (42%)
• Time with the kids (21%)


With 92% of Canadian parents indicating they are looking to get time back, Masterpass can help as it eliminates everyday distress, giving parents time back - one purchase at a time. And what would Canadians do with time back? Many would spend time alone (24%), take time to be with their partner (24%), work out (13%) and connect with friends (12%).

"As a working dad myself, I appreciate the things that make life just that much easier," said Jason Davies, Vice President of Digital Payments, Mastercard Canada. "Masterpass is a secure digital payment solution for faster, more convenient shopping that stores and manages all your credit, debit and prepaid cards in one place, plus remembers all your shipping information. It's a payment solution that gives you back time for the things that matter."

Given the battle to regain lost time, it's not surprising that Canadians are keen to embrace digital solutions and innovation that make life easier, seeking out helpful life hacks, tips and tricks. One way to do that is to bypass time-consuming and frustrating checkout processes by using Masterpass with key merchants:

HonkMobile helps find and pay for a parking spot directly from the app. No frantic dashes back to the meter in the middle of the school play again!

PizzaPizza.ca with Masterpass means even easier ordering of pizza with one hand while carrying a hockey bag in the other – and getting home just in time for the pizza to arrive.

Indigo.ca enables you to cut down on gift buying time and hassle using Masterpass to make check-out and delivery fast, simple and secure.


Since its introduction in 2013, Masterpass has rapidly grown, with thousands of merchants around the world accepting the digital payment solution. In Canada, new merchants HonkMobile, Pizza Pizza and Indigo join the thousands of Canadian merchants accepting Masterpass. Additional Masterpass retailers include: Lowe's, Roots, London Drugs, 1-800 Flowers, Grand and Toy, Cineplex, Newegg, Wagjag, Via Rail, Tricolore, HMV and WestJet Vacations on mobile. For more information on Masterpass, and a full list of participating merchants, please visit www.masterpass.ca

content4good Launches SkateBoss Demo to Help Kids Learn Social Entrepreneurship through Gaming​​
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Video game developer content4good today announced the release of a playable demo for SkateBoss, where kids learn to become a social entrepreneur by running a virtual skateboard company.

SkateBoss is a new kind of business simulation game designed for kids age 8-12. It is being created to teach important skills like financial literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, along with awareness of world issues, empathy and compassion. Kids discover the powerful impact they can have on our planet and its people through the choices they make in their digital business.

Players will get to create their own skate shop, design boards and tackle the challenge of running their own startup. As the game progresses, "World Events" arise and players choose how they want to get involved or stay out of it, with consequences to their growing company.

"SkateBoss adds a new dimension to the business simulation model," says content4good founder Erin Skillen, who is a mother herself. "Our games put fun first, with the goal of engaging kids with the triple bottom line business, balancing the values of people, planet and profit."

Last year, content4good won $15,000 in creative services through a contest by small business lender Merchant Advance Capital. The creative services package included design, web development and PR, enabling content4good to revamp SkateBoss' branding and fund the creation of a new demo.

"We're excited to have facilitated an integral part of content4good's demo development phase, and that the creative services prize package has been able to bring to life a game that's going to teach kids business and financial literacy skills," says Alex Chisholm, the VP Marketing of Merchant Advance Capital.

For more information on SkateBoss, go to http://skatebossgame.com.

To learn more about content4good's story and team, go to http://content4good.com

Canada Post gearing up for letters to Santa​
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 Every year, kids from across the country write to Santa, and every year, Canada Post works hard to make sure those letters reach the North Pole – and that Santa's replies reach their destination too. With less than six weeks till Christmas, the letter-writing campaign is under way again.

The national program has been around for more than 35 years, and in that time answers to more than 26 million letters – in more than 30 languages, including Braille – have been mailed.

Connecting with Santa
Please mail letters before December 14 so Santa has enough time to send an answer – don't forget to include a return address. There's no need for postage, but make sure to get the special address right:

Santa Claus
North Pole
H0H 0H0
Canada

Keeping the tradition going
For Nadia Chegrinec, a Canada Post employee, writing to Saint Nick has been a family tradition for a decade. After the Santa Claus parade, her three kids pull out construction paper and write their letter. "And it has to be a real letter, not just a list!" says Chegrinec. Her kids need to ask how Santa's year has been and wish him well. This is important family time. "I feel as the kids are growing up, our traditions are waning, and that's one I'd like to hold on to," says Chegrinec. It's also a time for the kids to reflect on the previous year.

Nadia is part of a group of six busy moms, called the Canada Post Mom Squad, who all work at Canada Post in various departments. Throughout the holiday season, they will be offering behind-the-scene glimpses of our operations, talking about online shopping, featuring gift ideas from retailers and sharing holiday shopping tips – both online and traditional. You can find the latest Mom Squad activities on Canada Post's social media channels and at canadapost.ca/magazine.


Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth embarks on annual Listening Tour to meet with young people from across care systems
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 In recognition of National Child Day on November 20, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth will embark on his third annual Listening Tour where he will meet with children and youth from across his office's mandate areas. The 2016 Listening Tour will begin on November 18, and end on the 26.

"I never cease to be amazed by young people's courage, wisdom and their willingness to work to make Ontario and Canada an even better place where all children can grow and flourish," said Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. "There is no better way to recognize National Child Day and reaffirm our country's commitment to children's rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) than by listening to young people about their hopes, needs and challenges."

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the convention —a human rights treaty that outlines the inalienable rights of every child. November 20 marks the date the United Nations adopted the landmark convention.



 During the Listening Tour, the Provincial Advocate will meet with approximately 400 children and youth between the ages of 10 to 24 who are receiving or seeking services from the province's care systems (child welfare; youth justice; children's mental health and special needs), and First Nations children and youth. He will travel to Orillia, Hawkstone, Toronto, Oshawa, Brockville, Kingston, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Brantford, Guelph, London, Goderich and Ingersoll.

Every five years, Canada is reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on its progress in implementing the convention. Findings from the Listening Tour will inform the Advocate's "Alternate Report" which will be submitted to the UN Committee during Canada's next review, scheduled for 2018.

In preparation of that date, the Provincial Advocate has written to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario, encouraging them to involve young people leading up to the next review.

"We must engage in discussions with children and youth from across Ontario and Canada to ask how they feel we are living up to our commitments under the convention," said Elman. "Our next report to the UN is an opportunity to tell all children, through listening to them, that they matter to us. I urge Ontario, and Canada, to begin the process today in recognition of National Child Day."

A report summarizing last year's tour, "Reality Check: Findings from the second annual listening tour of the Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth," is available at: Reality Check

About the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Office of the Provincial Advocate reports directly to the Legislature and provides an independent voice for children and youth, including children with special needs and First Nations children. The advocates receive and respond to concerns from children, youth and families who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act (Provincial and Demonstration Schools).

The Office is guided by the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a strong commitment to youth involvement. For more information, visit: www.provincialadvocate.on.ca. For updates, read the Advocate's Blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Adopted in 1989, the UNCRC changed how children were viewed and treated. The human rights treaty outlines the inalienable rights of every child in three key areas: provision, participation and protection.

The Convention is based on four principles:

Article 3 : The best interests of the child should be the first consideration for actions that affect a child
Article 6 : All children have the right to life, survival and development
Article 12 : All children have the right to participate; and,
Article 2: All rights belong to all children without discrimination or exception.
The Convention also acknowledges the key role of parents and families in the lives of children and young people. For a complete listing of the UNCRC, visit the UNICEF's child friendly backgrounder.

Today, the human rights treaty has been ratified by 194 countries, including Canada in 1991. This year marks Canada's 25th anniversary since the Convention was ratified.

To ensure that countries are living up to their commitments, they must periodically appear before the United Nation's Committee on the Rights of the Child to report on their progress.
The season for giving is nearly upon us, and for the third consecutive year Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group will be celebrating with a toy drive. From now until December 12, Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group dealerships across the GTA will be collecting unwrapped toys for children of all ages. All donations will be loaded into Santa's Sprinter and delivered to the Toronto Fire Fighters Toy Drive, a registered charity that has helped thousands of families enjoy Christmas over the years.

The Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group is also pleased to announce that Santa Claus will be supporting the toy drive by taking time out of his busy schedule to make special appearances at participating dealerships across the GTA. Visits with Santa and his Merry Metris will be free and open to all, and will be commemorated with a personalized digital photo souvenir.

"It is extremely gratifying to know that the donated toys will make such a difference in the lives of children and families in need. This important initiative showcases the passion Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group employees have for giving back to the communities in which they live and work," said Philipp v. Witzendorff, Vice President and Head of Toronto Retail Operations. "We are confident that Santa will be very pleased with the capacity and service provided by our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris commercial vans this Christmas season."

During the toy drop-off at the warehouse last year, the Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group surprised the Toronto Fire Fighters Toy Drive by announcing that they would be extending the use of a Sprinter from three months to two years. That commitment has allowed the organization to fulfill its mandate and distribute toys throughout the GTA, as it will continue to do over the coming year.

"Since 2014, our close partnership with the Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group has allowed us to achieve our donation goals, and the Sprinter has been an integral part of our success," said Rick Berenz, President of the Toronto Fire Fighters Toy Drive. "This partnership is vital not only to ensuring that our toy drive is a success, but that the donations reach deserving families throughout the GTA. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter commercial van is an exceptionally versatile vehicle, and will be instrumental in helping us to achieve our mission."      


Mercedes-Benz Toronto Retail Group Celebrates the Holiday Season with a Toy Drive
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Toy-shaped Rice Krispies Treats Transform Into Real Toys For Canadian Children in Need This Holiday Season
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Children and adults wait for it all year long – glistening snow falling, warm fires crackling and happiness filling the air. The anticipation of that one magical morning every year when families come together to unwrap joy.

It should be the most wonderful time of the year. Sadly, however, the holidays don't shine as bright for everyone. Many children across Canada will go to sleep on Christmas Eve knowing, that unlike their friends, there may be nothing waiting for them under the tree the next morning.

To ensure no child goes without this holiday season, Kellogg's Rice Krispies* has once again partnered with The Salvation Army for the Rice Krispies Treats for Toys program. This beloved annual tradition, now in its fourth year, has raised more than $100,000 and makes giving back easy by transforming delicious Rice Krispies treats into real toys for less fortunate kids.

​  "Making Rice Krispies treats during the holidays is a tradition many Canadian parents and children know and love. It's a longstanding ritual that makes family time more special by bringing families together to help children in need during the holidays," says Chris Bell, Vice President Marketing, Kellogg Canada Inc. "With the Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats for Toys program, holiday treat-making is a fun, delicious family activity and a tangible way to give back."

Celebrating The True Spirit Of The Season

"The joy of seeing a child's face light up when opening a present makes the holidays so special," says Major Les Marshall, Public Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. "That's why we proudly partner with Kellogg's Rice Krispies for the Treats for Toys program each year. Together, we bring the heartwarming spirit of the holidays to kids across Canada."

Make. Share. Give

All it takes is three easy steps for parents and kids to make a big difference in the lives of other Canadian children. Here's how:

Make: Choose a favourite Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal variety, like the festive multi-coloured Limited Edition Holiday Rice Krispies cereal, Rice Krispies Brown Rice Gluten-Free cereal, or even Rice Krispies with Vanilla Flavour for a bit of sweetness. Then, using the Kellogg's Rice Krispies treats original recipe as the base to get started, create a toy-shaped treat using the recipes available on treatsfortoys.ca or get creative and design something new!

Share: Take a picture of the treat and upload the photo to treatsfortoys.ca. Photos can also be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram using #TreatsForToys.

Give: For every photo received on the website or shared on social media before December 21, 2016, Kellogg's Rice Krispies will donate $20† to The Salvation Army to buy a real toy for a child.
For all the need to know information on the Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats for Toys program, check out this fun 0:30 video: http://bit.ly/2esXjUQ.

Need Inspiration? Follow Our Recipes or Let Your Imagination Run Wild!

With Kellogg's Rice Krispies, favourite kids' toys can come to life as toy-shaped treats. From princesses to robots, to dinosaurs and more, there are endless DIY toy-shaped treat possibilities. And there's no baking required. So grab some Rice Krispies cereal, decorative icing and colourful candies, and dive into creating a unique recipe or get inspired by these creations developed by beloved Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats for Toys Ambassadors:

Christmas Morning Smilies
Smiles, silly faces and giggles, oh my! The cheerful Christmas Morning Smiles will have you and your family grinning from ear-to-ear. Check out how to DIY these smiley guys: http://bit.ly/2fC2nWK

Good Tidings Teddy
This cuddly toy is paws-itively adorable and will warm the hearts of all who bring him to life this holiday season! Bear in mind these how-to steps: http://bit.ly/2f0Hia8

Little Toy Drum
With every toy-shaped treat transforming into a $20 donation to The Salvation Army to buy a toy for a child in need – this festive drum can't be beat! See how to go from drum to yum: http://bit.ly/2eBE7qP

An integrated, multi-agency program, Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats for Toys is an award-winning, fully integrated communications campaign supported by print, online videos, social media, in-store display and POS, and public relations. 


The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education and Scotiabank Partner on "Talk With Our Kids About Money"
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The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) and Scotiabank announced today that they are partnering to build on the incredible success of the "Talk With Our Kids About Money Day" (TWOKAM) program.

Nearly 5,000 schools and over 500,000 youth across Canada participated in the program last year, which also supports parents and guardians in talking with their kids about money.
The TWOKAM Program runs all year long, but the big day of celebration is April 19 in 2017. TWOKAM is now available in all provinces in Canada and will expand next year into the territories.

Talking about money is the first step to improving financial capability -- and enabling young Canadians to undertake their financial decisions and actions with confidence and competence. CFEE has built a comprehensive website -- www.talkwithourkidsaboutmoney.com -- that provides parents, guardians and teachers with the resources they need to talk about financial literacy with kids.

To ensure the TWOKAM program is on the right track, CFEE recently surveyed over 6,000 youth from across Canada asking them what they wanted to learn about money and how they wanted to learn -- and from whom. The survey shows that young Canadians are very interested in learning about money and TWOKAM provides resources that address all of their top issues.

Youth Survey Quick Facts

Top 3 sources of financial education:

Home
School
Knowledgeable guests at school

Top 4 challenges youth face:

Earning money
Saving money
Wanting things I can't afford
Buying things I don't really need

Topics they want to learn about:

Best ways to prepare for earning money and getting a good job and career
Making good spending decisions
Ways and means to save money
How to plan for my future education -- and be able to pay for it
Taxes and how to file taxes
Investing money -- ways to invest, types of investments, and possible risks and returns
Moving out -- the costs and potential challenges when you leave home
How to avoid frauds and scams
Making larger purchases -- such as a computer, car, or home
Budgeting money
Understanding how student loans work
Credit cards -- how they work and how to pick the right one


Active choice must be default, global comparisons with ParticipACTION Report Card suggest
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For the first time, the grades from the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth are compared to grades from 37 other countries across six continents. The global comparisons were led by Dr. Mark Tremblay, Director of the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (HALO-CHEO) and Chief Scientific Officer of the ParticipACTION Report Card. The consolidated findings show Canada has above-global-average grades in physical activity infrastructure and programs, yet is trailing at the back of the pack in grades that measure physical activity and sedentary behaviour. The comparisons also reveal kids move the most in countries where being active is a priority or is an integral part of their everyday lifestyle.

"Urbanization, mechanization and an increased use of motorized transport have reduced physical activity levels globally," said Tremblay. "Canada must resist the decline in habitual movement fueled by these trends – and not just by creating policies, strategies, facilities and bike lanes, but also by encouraging and re-establishing Canadian cultural norms where being physically active year round, through outdoor play, transportation, recreation and sport, are the Canadian standard, not the exception. "

  "Countries with the most active children and youth overall, including Slovenia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, rely on very different approaches to get kids to move more," adds Tremblay. "But, what is consistent between all of them is that physical activity is driven by pervasive cultural norms – being active is not just a choice, but a way of life."

Slovenia reports the highest grade (A-) for Overall Physical Activity with 86 per cent of boys and 76 per cent of girls 6-to-18 years old getting the recommended 60 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity per day1, in comparison to just nine per cent of 5-to-17-year olds in Canada (D-). What's driving this behaviour is physical education in Slovenia's school system (A in School) – it's a cultural norm, evaluated on an annual basis and so well established that it provides appropriate measures to deal with overall inactivity levels. For example, primary schools offer access to 77 minutes of in-school, professionally taught physical activity each day.2

As another example, in Zimbabwe over 80 per cent of children use active rather than motorized transport to get to and from school3 (A- in Active Transportation), compared to 25 per cent of 5-to-17-year olds in Canada (D). Even though there may be no other choice but for Zimbabwean children and youth to make walking or biking to school a way of life, they see physical activity as an enjoyable and integral part of their lifestyle and heritage.

"In Canada, we haven't focused on shifting social norms from a culture of convenience to a culture of encouraging and embracing physical activity throughout the day, every day," said Elio Antunes, President and CEO of ParticipACTION. "In order to be successful, we need to create a climate in Canada where making the active choice is the default. For instance, in the Netherlands, being known as a cycling nation is responsible for a large part of the daily physical activity in Dutch youth. The Dutch use their bikes as a means of transportation, but also for sports and exercise – it's the way of life there."

Physical activity is not a priority in Canadian children's lifestyles; inactive modes of transportation to and from school, too much screen time and being too busy for free play are all contributing to Canada's lagging grades in the comparisons. It will take many facets of Canadian society, working together, to shift behaviours to get our children and youth more physically active.

"Let's look at family life as one arena in which to shift social expectations," Antunes adds. "Remember good habits develop early, so get active with your children at a young age and teach them the importance of physical activity and healthy living. Also, avoid hyper-parenting and give children the freedom to decide how to be active, especially outdoors, to encourage more free play, and a love for it. In essence, loosen the reins a little and let kids be kids."

More on the global comparisons

Report Cards from each of the 38 countries, as well as the results of the global comparisons, were presented at the opening plenary of the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand and published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health on November 16, 2016.

Key Canadian grades and comparisons include:

F in Sedentary Behaviours - Slovenia leads with a B+; China, Estonia, South Korea, Nigeria, Scotland and South Africa also lag with an F

D- in Overall Physical Activity - Slovenia leads with an A-; Belgium, Chile, China, Estonia, Qatar, Scotland and United Arab Emirates lag with an F

D in Active Transportation - Netherlands and Zimbabwe lead with an A and A-; United Arab Emirates and United States lag with an F

D+ in Active Play - Ghana, Kenya and Netherlands lead with a B; Thailand lags with an F

B- in Government Strategies and Investments - Denmark leads with an A-; Mozambique lags with an F

B in School - Slovenia leads with an A; Mexico lags with a D-

A- in Community and the Built Environment - Netherlands leads with an A; Ghana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe lag with an F


1 Sember et al. Results from the Republic of Slovenia 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. J Phys Act Health 2016;13 (suppl.)

2 Sember et al. Results from the Republic of Slovenia 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. J Phys Act Health 2016;13 (suppl.)

3 Manyanga et al. Results from the 2016 Zimbabwe Report Card on the Physical Activity of Children and Youth. J Phys Act Health 2016;13 (suppl.)


Canuck Kids Choosing Hip Hop Over Hockey
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While Canada is idolized as an international hockey powerhouse, Canadian children are now surprisingly more likely to lace up dance shoes than hockey skates, with 625,000 kids stepping into the dance studio versus 531,000 into the ice rink annually. According to a recent nationwide study by Solutions Research Group, this trend is particularly strong with girls aged 3-17. There are currently more girls in Canada registered in organized dance, ballet and gymnastics (24%) than girls participating in all team sports combined (22%).

As Canada’s professional dance sector enters a tremendous growth period nationwide, Ontario dance studio Canadian Dance Company has announced the launch of new studio facilities in Oakville that are set to dramatically elevate the current standard for professional and commercial dance facilities in 2017. The expansion, which boasts a 16,000 sq ft purpose-built studio and new intensive professional ballet department, comes in response to the significant increase in Canadian youth involved in dance, which is largely credited to the growing popularity of reality dance shows in Canada including Family Channel hits Backstage and The Next Step.


Ontario has experienced the most dramatic provincial increase in the dance sector in recent years. With 56,900 artists, Ontario has nearly twice as many performing artists as any other Canadian province. This development is in part due to an increase in television shows being filmed in Toronto, including international phenomenon The Next Step of which many of the principal cast trained at Canadian Dance Company, including Briar Nolet, Isaac Lupien, Myles Erlick, Devon Brown, Jamie O’Leary, Lamar Johnson and Nicholas Maiorano. 

“Incorporating dance into the reality TV sector has had a profound effect on the dance scene in Canada,” said Allain Lupien, Creative Director at Canadian Dance Company. “With an increase in the popularity of dance-related TV shows, such as So You Think You Can Dance or The Next Step and Backstage, there has been a major increase in commercial dance opportunities. With those opportunities comes tremendous exposure for the industry and when coupled with the explosion of social media platforms, young people are increasingly becoming exposed to diverse styles of dance and role models within the industry that they can aspire to.”

While competition from international talent for these roles is strong, Lupien insists that the opportunities are there for Canadian dancers willing to commit.
“Canadian dancers have a strong work ethic and are hungry for the professional opportunities that are available in Canada. These attributes make them ideal candidates, even against international competition,” said Lupien.

Santa Claus opens the official Christmas season – watch it live directly from Lapland ​


Rovaniemi enjoys exceptional popularity as a winter destination due to its fascinating nature and magical atmosphere. Even more people get to experience it this year, thanks to frequent charter flights and new direct flights from Berlin, London and Zurich. Co-operation with international operators such as Chinese Alitrip has been a significant move in terms of Asian market.

The provision of accommodation services in Rovaniemi is increasingly attractive due to the launch of new resorts such as Arctic Tree House Hotel, Santas Igloos Arctic Circle and Santa Claus Holiday Village extension. You can also find more exciting things to do, as new activities such as Aurora floating, Aurora flights, and nature watching tours have been added to the list of services. A truly breathtaking innovation is a cruise on a world's biggest travel icebreaker on the Swedish side of the border.

The beloved Santa Claus can be visited every day of the year in Santa Claus Village, Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi.

Santa Claus gives his much-awaited speech in the annual Christmas opening in his official hometown Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland 19th November. This year you can join the festivities directly from your own sofa!

Christmas opening festivities traditionally start the Christmas season in Finland. Held in Santa's official hometown Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle, the celebration gathers people from around the world to live the magic of Christmas.

The festivities start with a Christmas carol concert. Jingle bells jingle and elves gambol around when it's time for the beloved Santa Claus to step on stage and hold his annual speech. Elves have whispered that this year Santa would speak about children's rights and the meaning of charity. The speech and warm atmosphere will surely get everyone into the spirit of Christmas.

As Santa cannot fly everyone to Lapland to celebrate this special time of the year with him, he has arranged a possibility to take part in the festivities online. A live broadcast from Arctic Circle starts at 3.30pm Finnish time (UTC +2) on the Visit Rovaniemi Facebook-site (www.facebook.com/VisitRovaniemi.fi) or Livestream on http://visitrovaniemi.fi/watch-live.

Christmas opening launches an all-time winter season in Finnish Lapland

Kid approved toys that make the holiday cut
​What do Elmo, Star Wars®, and LEGO® have in common? They are all featured in the lineup of Walmart's Top 20 Kid Approved Toys as chosen by Canadian kids and just in time for holiday shopping. At its annual Toy Testers Event, Walmart, Canada's largest toy retailer and ultimate one-stop shop, asked real kids what they wanted to find under the tree.

More than 600 families participated in this year Toy Testers event, testing 135 unreleased toys to make up the top 20. Kids and their parents completed surveys rating educational value, age appropriateness, ease of use, how the child reacts to the toy and, most importantly, if it is genuinely fun to play with.

"Toy shopping can be particularly stressful for parents who might be looking for a specific kind of toy, activity, or character," said Greg Lobb, senior vice president of hardlines, seasonal, electronics and entertainment at Walmart Canada. "Walmart has everything Canadian families might have on their shopping lists, from gifts to festive bedding for guests to turkeys, and we're proud to help them get some time back during this busy season."

Toy shoppers can take advantage of Walmart's huge toy selection in-store, online on walmart.ca and now through the new Walmart app available for Android and iOS. Use the app for Rollback Alerts any time a favourite item is on Rollback and barcode scanning for access to ratings and reviews of products as well as price confirmation.

"The toys tested were aimed at kids of all ages, from infants up, but no matter the age, the top picks were predominantly toys that that inspire imagination, excitement and creative play," said Maria Garofalo, senior director of toys and chief toy officer at Walmart Canada. "Our Toy Testers event ensures Walmart has the toys that kids want at prices parents can feel good about."

Walmart's Top 20 Kid Approved Toys for 2016 are:

Age group: 0 – 23 months

Fisher-Price® Bright Beats™ Learnin' Lights Dance Mat
Playskool Love2Learn Elmo
Age group: 3 – 5 years

Shopkins' Happy Places Home Playset
Play-Doh Town Ice Cream Truck
Kinetic Sandbox Set
Paw Patrol Basic Vehicle with Figure
Deluxe Cash Register
Age group: 6 – 8 years

My Life As 18" Dolls (Walmart exclusive)
LEGO® Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster
Crayola Creations Jewel Maker Design Studio
Hatchimals
Age group: 7 plus years

LEGO® Spiderman: Doc Ock's Tentacle Trap
LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes – Super Hero Airport Battle
Mega Bloks® Kubros buildable pop culture figures
Age group: 9 plus years

LEGO® Star Wars®: Resistance X-Wing Fighter™
Nerf N-Strike Elite Hyperfire Dart Blaster
Tyco™ Terra Climber™ Radio Control Vehicle
Air Hogs Switchblade Ground and Air Race RC Helicopter
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles XPV Remote Control Skateboarding Mikey (Walmart exclusive)
Hasbro Pie Face Showdown Game


Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth comments on bill honouring Katelynn Sampson
Today, a bill was tabled in the Ontario Legislature seeking to change the way we view children and youth under the province's care and protection, and those receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act. An Act to enshrine Katelynn's Principle as the guiding principle for decisions affecting children would recognize every child in the child welfare, youth justice and education systems as an individual with rights who must be at the centre of all decision-making affecting them. The private member's bill was introduced by Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain.

Katelynn's Principle was named after seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson, who was killed at the hands of her legal guardians in 2008. Earlier this year, a coroner's inquest examining her death heard how multiple points of protection failed to interact with Katelynn.

My Office recommended Katelynn's Principle, with support from young people, to the jury in the belief that it would better protect children and youth. This principle was unanimously supported by all parties with standing at the inquest. I believe that every child, regardless of their age, should be viewed as an individual bearing rights – such as those contained within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Child and Family Services Act – and who should be seen, heard, listened to, and respected. Katelynn's Principle embodies this belief in legislation.

The jury at Katelynn's inquest shared our belief. Through Katelynn's Principle, the jury recognized that all children and youth have a valuable contribution to make about what is in their best interest and that in all decisions regarding practice, policy, and legislation that affect them, children and youth should have a say in what would work best for them.

It is my hope that the adoption of Katelynn's Principle will create a fundamental shift in our province's child welfare system that will be oriented towards a more child-centred approach.

It is also my hope that all members of the legislature, regardless of party affiliation, will support this bill that honours Katelynn and provides her with a legacy by allowing all of us to renew our commitment to every child under the province's care and protection.

Irwin Elman
Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth


Ministry of Children and Youth Services Funds Adopt4Life's Expanded Parent2Parent Support Network
Adopt4Life, Ontario's Adoptive Parents Association, is excited to partner with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in their announcement of the newly expanded Parent2Parent Support Network for adoptive families in Ontario.

The Parent2Parent Support Network aims to:

Increase the number of Ontario families pursuing adoption, helping them to address their children's and family's needs
once matched and continuing throughout their lifelong journey;

Increase knowledge in parents and professionals of the key issues in adoption, thereby reducing the isolation adoptive families often feel and strengthening permanency;

Empower parents and families to feel confident in their ability to meet their children's needs.

Experienced adoptive parents will collaborate with newer adoptive families, coaching them in their development of necessary parenting skills, and introducing them to local resources and mentoring available in their area.

Research from international, national, and local sources suggests that adoptive parents often feel isolated and may have difficulty connecting with other families who understand their experiences. Ontario's adoptive families often desire face-to-face contact with other adoptive families. Connections with other adoptive families normalize the adoption experience and provide valuable insights to help children. As a result, families feel empowered and can thrive.

Parent2Parent Support by Experienced Parent Liaisons

A growing network of Provincial and Regional Parent Liaisons across Ontario provide parent- to-parent support; identify local therapeutic, respite and other resources for parents; create and enhance parent support groups; and pair families for ongoing support through a buddy and mentor program. Parent2Parent supports are delivered through accessible online and social communities, as well as private, face-to-face support groups and individual meetings.

Provincial Parent Liaisons initially welcome all new parents to the Parent2Parent Network. Regional Parent Liaisons then provide peer support to those families, including kinship and customary care families, empowering parents to advocate for themselves. Regional Parent Liaisons will initially be available in Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo, then are expected to expand across Ontario. Supports provided will include awareness and advocacy within a family's school system and community, including connecting families with local resources such as doctors, therapists, and mental health professionals who understand the unique needs of adopted children. All Parent Liaisons also work collaboratively to connect parents with additional resources and adoption education programs from the Adoption Council of Ontario, Ministry of Children & Youth Services, as well as local Ontario Children's Aid Societies.

Pairing families through buddy and mentor programs encourages families to help each other, connecting those with similar needs and shared experiences. Buddies and mentors will further knowledge exchange regarding the supports, services, therapies, and parenting strategies available to successfully navigate the challenges adoptive families may be facing. For families in crisis, this can help in preventing adoption disruption.


WD-40 Makes Doors Creak This Halloween
​After decades of taking the creaks out of doors, WD-40 decides to let those silent doors make noise again for one special night. Thanks to the WD-40 Haunted door app, you can make any door sound like a super-creaky, scary, haunted door this Halloween.

As a kind of reverse WD-40, the brand, with their data-driven creative agency BIMM, offers this free Haunted Door app with extra scary door creaks on the one night of the year you open and close your front door the most. And to differentiate from the plethora of Halloween sound effects (SFX) apps and make the experience more authentic, the motion-activated Haunted Door SFX app only works when your door moves.

Here's a one-minute video showing you what we did. Feel free to download or embed it for publishing purposes: https://vimeo.com/188291657.

Research, in fact, shows that eight out of ten homes actually have creaky doors, but homeowners just got used to them. By offering an extra creaky door SFX app, the brand finds a way to re-heighten awareness of your own existing, albeit less dramatic, creaky doors throughout your home that could actually use some WD-40.

For your very own doortergeist this Halloween, simply download the free app, select your favourite door creak, put your phone in any strong grocery bag and hang it on the INSIDE front door handle. Each time you open the door, trick or treaters will be in for a treat. Oh, and look closely at that skull - even the details serve to reinforce the many things fixable by WD-40.


Study shows two-in-five Canadian parents may be overdressing their children in car seats
With cold weather comes bulky clothing, and while this may be a great way to keep kids warm in the winter, it can be dangerous when a child is strapped in a car seat. While the vast majority—95 per cent—of Canadian parents state that they are confident they know how to properly buckle a child in a car seat, many may actually be overdressing their children, according to new poll findings from Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.

When asked what they thought was the best way to keep a child warm while in their car seat during the winter months, 41 per cent of parents with children at home said a snowsuit or a winter coat. But bulky clothes inhibit the harness from being properly tightened, in the event of a sudden stop, a child can be propelled forward suddenly, causing a bulky jacket or snowsuit to compress. When this happens, it results in slack in their restraints and can cause the child to be ejected from the car seat, which can result in serious injury or death.

"These poll findings suggest a large knowledge gap, and we want parents to understand that the key to protecting your child is to dress them appropriately for their car seat, not the weather outside," says Jason Foroglou, Certified Car Seat Safety Technician and Agency Manager, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. "Safety for Canadians is a priority for Allstate Canada, which is why we partnered with Safety 1st Canada— to help educate and spread awareness on this important issue."

"We're concerned to learn that so many Canadian parents feel winter jackets and snowsuits are the best attire to be worn, since they're not the safest options for keeping kids secure while in their car seats," says Mimi Brandspigel, senior product manager for car seats of Dorel Juvenile Canada, makers of Safety 1st products. "This kind of winter wear tends to be big and puffy, great for keeping kids warm—but not very effective at keeping them securely strapped into their car seats."

Safety 1st recommends dressing children in warm, thin layers to allow the car seat straps to lay flat and snugly against a child's body. Yet, while this is the recommended approach to better ensure car seat safety, only one-in-10 (10 per cent) parents feel that layers are the best way to keep a child warm in their car seat in the winter months.

Options for ensuring a child remains safe and comfortable while in a car seat include:

Outfitting a child in warm, thin layers, along with a hat, mitts and boots

Warming up the car before loading up the family

Placing a blanket over a car seat after the child is properly strapped in

Using a child's coat as a blanket with their arms in the sleeves

For more details about car seat safety, visit Allstate Canada's GOOD HANDS® blog at goodhandsadvice.ca.

Ontario Science Centre first in North America to host STEM-based mobile gaming adventure Terracosm
 Peer into alternate universes without leaving the Ontario Science Centre when Terracosm, a mixed-reality, mobile gaming adventure, officially launches on October 29, 2016. Created by Toronto's Digital Howard, Terracosm invites players to travel virtually to alternate universes to complete four unique missions, using just their smartphone or tablet – all while learning about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The goal of Terracosm is to bring its players to their local science centre to solve intergalactic problems, and the Ontario Science Centre is the first in the world to beta test the experience.

"The rich virtual world of Terracosm provides a powerful context for learning and is an incredible medium to engage our young visitors in science and technology," said Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "Partnering with Digital Howard allows us to offer our visitors the unique opportunity to experience, test and provide valuable feedback on the game, thereby shaping Terracosm before it is released at other science centres and museums. It also allows us to highlight and support homegrown creativity and innovation in mobile app gaming."

Terracosm is an app-based mobile game for Android and iOS devices, propelled by a comic book style narrative, where the differing laws of science in neighbouring alternate universes are starting to have a serious impact here on Earth. Players locate portals around the Ontario Science Centre (augmented and virtual reality triggers in the form of large colourful floor graphics), which allow them to virtually access these alternate universes and play 3D mixed (augmented and virtual) reality mini-games and complete missions, each of which has been built around a fundamental STEM concept.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with the Ontario Science Centre as the flagship science centre to bring the Terracosm experience to life," said Jarrett Sherman, President, Digital Howard. "Using these incredible new technologies, players will be able to peer into imagined universes, fly through their landscapes, interact with their inhabitants, escape perilously close calls, and even play with particles at the molecular level, all without ever leaving the science centre in which they are playing the game."

Designed as a turnkey installation to complement existing offerings at science centres, Terracosm is an exciting gaming adventure designed to foster an interest and fascination in STEM subject matter in kids aged 6-11. The project is financed with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund's Experimental Stream program and the Ontario Media Development Corporation's OIDMTC tax credit.

Terracosm is a free app that can be downloaded at Google Play and App Store. The Terracosm experience is included with general admission to the Ontario Science Centre. For more information about Terracosm, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca/Calendar/323/.

The Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 50 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

Digital Howard is a Toronto-based digital entertainment company creating and producing extraordinary interactive entertainment experiences. With a focus on story, user experience and technology we challenge old paradigms through new models for the development, financing, production and deployment of 360 entertainment. Leveraging strong relationships with film and television producers, broadcasters and brands, we transform existing and original IP into digital experiences that engage and captivate audiences. Digital Howard is led by award-winning creators and producers Daniel Dales and Jarrett Sherman. Terracosm was created by Daniel Dales, Jarrett Sherman and Matthew Wexler. For more information about Digital Howard, please visit www.DigitalHoward.com.


300 Mother's Milk Donors Needed
Héma-Québec's Public Mothers' Milk Bank is intensifying its activities to recruit mothers from the metropolitan communities of Montréal and Québec City. In order to attain the objective of 500 participants each year, the organization is looking for 300 additional donors.

Every mother who is breastfeeding her child under the age of 12 months and who wants to donate her surplus milk can now take part in the Public Mothers' Milk Bank program and can sign up, based on her place of residence (Montréal or Québec City regions) rather than based on the hospital where she gave birth. In the past, only woman who had given birth in certain hospitals were eligible to donate their blood. This modification has been made so as to respond to the increasing needs of the neonatology teams of hospitals, which are ordering units of milk from the Public Mothers' Milk Bank.

Since it was created in April 2014, 480 mothers have donated their milk to the Bank, which has distributed more than 8,000 bottles of milk in five hospitals in Québec. Little Justine, who was born at 28 weeks and is now six months old, has benefited from this milk. "Since my daughter was born prematurely, I never managed to stimulate my milk production. When the medical team at the Centre mère-enfant Soleil au CHUL suggested that I turn to Héma-Québec's Public Mothers' Milk Bank to feed my baby, I didn't hesitate for a second," explained Kathleen Foster.

Mothers who wish to contribute to the Public Mothers' Milk Bank can find information and complete the registration form on Héma-Québec's Web site at www.hema-quebec.qc.ca, Mother's Milk section.

Héma-Québec manages the only public mother's milk bank in Québec. It provides pasteurized human milk to premature babies born at 32 weeks and less who require medical care and whose mothers cannot breastfeed.

Driving home the importance of road safety can make Halloween less frightening for trick-or-treaters
Each year, more than 2,400 children under the age of 14 are injured as pedestrians in Canada. That's the equivalent of about 40 busloads of kids. As children gear up to head door-to-door this Halloween, Parachute and FedEx Express Canada are urging children, parents and drivers to be extra vigilant on the roads.

For 15 years, Parachute and FedEx Express Canada have been delivering Walk This Way, a national awareness campaign to remind parents and drivers about road safety and to ensure children walk safely on Halloween, and every day, in their neighbourhoods.

"We know more than half of pedestrian fatalities occur at night or when there's low-light conditions," says Pina Starnino, Vice President of Operations at FedEx Express Canada. "Our drivers understand the importance of being especially alert around schools and pedestrian crossings year-round. On Halloween, we want to encourage parents and their children to be extra vigilant to ensure children get home safely at the end of the night."



  Child pedestrian incidents remain a leading cause of death among Canadian children. On average, 30 child pedestrians under the age of 14 are killed every year. Children between the ages of five and 14 are at greatest risk.

"On Halloween, there are more children on foot trick-or-treating, compared to other nights of the year. That means they may be at an increased risk for pedestrian injuries and fatalities," says Pamela Fuselli, Interim CEO Parachute. "The days are getting shorter, which serves as a reminder for both drivers and pedestrians to be more aware of their surroundings."

Walk This Way also stresses the importance of reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention to speeds, especially in residential areas. Parachute and FedEx Express Canada are offering these safety tips before heading out on Halloween:

Have children wear reflective items such as glow sticks, wristbands, and tape to help them be more visible to drivers.
Use non-toxic face paint and makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct a child's vision.
Always cross at crosswalks, street corners and intersections while trick-or-treating.
Drive slowly in residential areas where children are more likely to be.
Adults or older children should walk with young children since they may lack the skills to navigate streets on their own.


Parachute is generously funded by FedEx Express Canada to provide the Walk This Way pedestrian safety program year-round, providing education, resources and support for parents and community groups to increase the safety of their streets.

For a safety tip video, infographic and more information, visit parachutecanada.org/halloween.

New Study Of 1333 US Moms: 'Can Moms Be Too Concerned?'
 In a large study, MyFampal found that wealthy moms and younger moms expressed highest level of concern in their tween and teen's emotions, moods and behaviors. However, moms' concern is much less than MyFampal would predict assuming maternal concern mirrored the prevalence of DSM-IV disorders in teens.

Details

Greater household income = greater concern. A significantly greater proportion of moms in families with household income of $75K+ are concerned about their 10-17 year old's' emotions, moods and behaviors, compared with moms from households with lower income (p<0.001): More than 1 in 4 moms (28.4%) in households with income of $75K+ are concerned compared with 1 in 7 (13.1%) households with <$75K income. Overall rate of concern in moms is 14.5%

Younger moms = greater concern. Younger moms aged 35-44 years expressed greater concern than older moms (45+ years) although the difference only just reached statistical significance (p=0.05); The percentage of moms aged 35-44 years expressing concern was 17.4%, compared with 13.0% in older moms.



Study methods. New survey conducted by MyFampal on October 14-15, 2016. We asked 1333 moms, 'Do any of the children aged 10-17 years in your family have emotions, moods or behaviors that concern you?' Survey sent to moms aged 35-64 via Google Consumer Surveys (779 responses from women with children aged 10-17).

Discussion Points

The study was large (data from 779 moms was included). The prevalence of and DSM-IV disorders in US adolescents aged 13-17 (n=10 148) years has been estimated to be 40.3% at 12 months (Kessler 2012). The rate of mom concerns we found in this survey is approximately 1/3 the 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV disorders in teens (14.5% vs 40.3%). The significant increase in maternal concern in households with income >$75K in our survey reflects the increased risk of developing serious maladjustments in affluent youth described in earlier studies (Luthar 2013). So, can moms be too concerned? Maybe not.

More work needs to be done to help us understand why this is. For example:

If moms only recognize a minority of emotional, mood and behavioral disorders in their teens, who is picking up the rest?
Is the increased concern expressed by moms in wealthier families effecting affluent teens?
Are older moms better able to handle concerning teen behaviors than younger moms?
MyFampal

MyFampal provides a free web-app for families with children aged 11-16, giving parents access to a selection of questionnaires used by psychologists to assess family functioning. The app analyzes questionnaire results to show parents where a family is strong and to highlight any areas where things may not be going as well. It also provides practical recommendations you can use to build on strengths or support development.



Ripple Foundation Shines Spotlight on Children's Creativity
 Ripple Foundation's Kids Write 4 Kids is an annual writing challenge for grades 4 – 8 that provides winner(s) with the opportunity to be a published author before high school. In its fifth year, Kids Write 4 Kids has published 10 winning titles from youth authors across Canada. To support youth literacy in communities across Canada, Ripple Foundation has committed to donate the annual proceeds from all Kids Write 4 Kids book sales to that year's winners' schools. In addition to author fame, school(s) are also provided with the option to sell printed copies of their author's book for fundraising. Winner(s) will have an opportunity to take part in the following year's judging panel.

The annual contest runs every year for six months starting from October 1st. This year's contest launched on October 1st, 2016 and will be open for entries until March 31st, 2017. Ripple Foundation is 100% run by volunteers, and they will be working hard to engage communities from all provinces and territories across Canada, to ensure children from every corner of this country are aware of this opportunity. "If you want to encourage storytelling in youth aged 8 – 14, I would suggest these kids to read books written by Kids Write 4 Kids so they can be inspired by kids of their own age. It's knowing what others have achieved that helps you know it's possible that you can too," said Ivy Wong, founder of Ripple Foundation.

Mya Barnett is the author of The Big Red Balloon, a tale of a little girl in London, a young man in Texas and a boy in New York City, told from a surprising perspective. Living in Sackville, Nova Scotia, she enjoys painting in her art studio and being inspired by the people around her.

Alexis Morales is the author of A Dog and a Squirrel, a heartwarming tale of two unlikely friends that go on an adventure together. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Alexis loves to write and draw. She also could not pass up the chance to share a story of one of her favourite things: animals!

For the first time, Canadian illustrator and animator Trevor Keen lent his artistic talents to illustrating the cover art for both titles. All books are available for purchase at the Apple iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, and Kobo. They are also available in print through Amazon. Each store has all previous Kids Write 4 Kids winning titles including Mika's Fortune, Escape from the Taco Shop, A Murder of Crows, Aristotle & Galileo, A Truly Gross Adventure, Why Peacocks Have Colorful Feathers, Half Asleep and The Wish.

Want to meet some of the authors and know more about the experience? Watch videos from Kids Write 4 Kids YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/kidswrite4kids). You'll meet Safaa Ali, one of our first authors who wrote Why Peacocks Have Colorful Feathers when she was 9 years old and shared with us how Kids Write 4 Kids impacted her and boosted her confidence. Hannah Rennie, who wrote The Wish when she was 10 years old shared her stories with us on how she started to write book reviews for the local Whitecourt Stars paper.

For more information on Kids Write 4 Kids Creative Challenge and entry details, visit:
http://www.ripplepublishing.ca/kids-write-4-kids-creative-challenge/

To purchase books written by youth authors for your children, local school or library, visit: http://www.ripplepublishing.ca/category/kids-write-4-kids/kids-write-4-kids-ebooks/

To connect with Kids Write 4 Kids, visit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kidswrite4kids
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidswrite4kids
Instagram: https://instagram.com/kidswrite4kids/


Gord Downie Joining Lineup of World-Renowned Speakers and Performers at WE Day Toronto and WE Day Family on October 19
Announced today, Gord Downie will be taking to the stage for special performances at WE Day Toronto and WE Day Family on October 19, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre. WE Day, a series of inspiring stadium-sized life-changing events that take place around the world, will see Downie perform a song from his Secret Path project, a grouping of tracks paired with a graphic novel inspired by the story of Indigenous youth Chanie Wenjack, in support of The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. WE Day is part of WE -- a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world locally and globally, achieving transformative outcomes for themselves and others.

Part of a special collaboration, Downie's performance will be followed by a speech from Mike Downie, and healing song performed by Pearl Wenjack, sister of Chanie Wenjack. Downie's Secret Path is a collection of ten poems and graphic novel, illustrated by artist Jeff Lemir, inspired by the story of Chanie, a 12-year-old Ojibway boy, who passed away 50 years ago from hunger and exposure after trying to find his way home from a residential school near Kenora, Ontario. Proceeds from the sale of Secret Path will go to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation.

"I believe that each of us has a unique story to tell, and am honoured to have the opportunity to share a meaningful message with thousands of young Canadians and their families, who like me, believe that change is possible," said Gord Downie, about performing at WE Day Toronto and WE Day Family. "Today's youth have the power to build a stronger nation -- they have the potential to be a generation of leaders who lead us on a path toward change."

"To many, Gord Downie is considered the voice of our nation, and we are incredibly honoured and humbled to have him join the WE Movement and share his music and message with thousands of young people and families at WE Day," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder, WE. "Through his music, Gord has united millions of Canadians and we believe his voice and message will continue to inspire future generations, encouraging them to take a stand for what they believe in and continue to push for change."

WE has been empowering young people to transform communities at home and around the globe for over 20 years -- now the movement is also empowering families across the country to live WE. On October 19, 2016, 20,000 students and educators will come together to celebrate the 10th WE Day Toronto, for a full-day, live event. Following the daytime event, families will join the Air Canada Centre for the inaugural WE Day Family event, starting at 6:15 p.m. ET. WE Day Family is designed to help families bring the power of change into their homes by bonding around causes that truly matter, raising caring and compassionate children, and setting them on a path for success.

Also announced today, Multi-platinum, JUNO and MMVA Award-winning recording group and WE ambassadors, Hedley will be joining Downie and previously announced WE Day Family speakers and performers, including Lilly Singh, Barenaked Ladies, Nelly Furtado, Rick Hansen, Margaret Trudeau, and more. WE Day Toronto will see Downie joining another star-studded lineup, including Zendaya, Jason Derulo, Macklemore, Lilly Singh, Hedley, Winnie Harlow, Chris Hadfield, Penny Oleksiak, and WE co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger, along with many more.

In partnership with MTV, and alongside National Co-Title Sponsors RBC and TELUS, WE Day Toronto will bring together 20,000 students and educators to celebrate the commitment they have made to take action on local and global causes they care about and inspire another year of change. Following the daytime youth event, the inaugural WE Day Family event will take place. This event, made possible by RBC, will bring together thousands of families for an evening of inspirational speakers, world-renowned performers and presenters, sharing their personal stories of leadership and triumph.

WE Day Toronto will be taped for a special broadcast premiering Monday, November 28, 2016 at 11 p.m. ET on MTV and Much. The special encores the following day at 8 p.m. ET on MTV, and Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV.

As supporters of WE Day Toronto National Co-Title Sponsors, RBC is helping youth believe in themselves, take on leadership roles and be inspired to take action to make the world a better place, TELUS supports the We give where we live® initiative, believing in the power of technology and communications to improve the lives of Canadians. With the support of RBC, WE Day Family provides parents the advice and tools they need to raise socially conscious children.
Learn how to join the WE movement as a family or be part of the WE Day Family event at www.we.org/wedayfamily.

About WE Day

WE Day is part of WE -- a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. WE Day is the celebration of people coming together and filling stadiums around the globe to experience the greatest classroom in the world for a full day, live event. You can't buy a ticket to WE Day -- young people earn their entry by taking action on one local and one global cause. WE Day unites world-renowned speakers, presenters and award-winning performers with thousands of young people and families to celebrate and inspire another year of incredible change. This year alone over 200,000 young people will come together in 15 stadium gatherings across Canada, the U.S., and U.K. to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative.

WE Day is connected to the yearlong free educational program, WE Schools, which provides curriculum, educational resources and action campaigns to help students develop the leadership skills to succeed academically, in the workplace and as active citizens.
Join the WE movement today and learn more at WE.org.



Five in six children under two not getting enough nutrition for growth and brain development - UNICEF
NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Five in six children under two years old are not fed enough nutritious food for their age, depriving them of the energy and nutrients they need at the most critical time in their physical and cognitive development, according to a new UNICEF report.

"Infants and young children have the greatest nutrient needs than at any other time in life. But the bodies and brains of millions of young children do not reach their full potential because they are receiving too little food, too late," said France Begin, Senior Nutrition Adviser at UNICEF. "Poor nutrition at such a young age causes irreversible mental and physical damage."

UNICEF data show that poor nutritional practices – including the delayed introduction of solid foods, infrequent meals and lack of food variety – are widespread, depriving children of essential nutrients when their growing brains, bones and bodies need them the most. The findings reveal that:

Young children wait too long for their first bites. One in five babies hasn't been fed any solid foods by the age of 11 months.
Half of children aged six months to two years are not fed the minimum number of meals for their age, increasing their risk of stunting.

Less than one-third of children in this age group eat a diverse diet – meaning from four or more food groups daily – causing deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.

Almost half of pre-school aged children suffer from anemia.
Only half of children aged six to 11 months receive any foods from animal sources – including fish, meat, eggs and dairy – which are essential to supply zinc and iron.

The high cost of foods from animal sources makes it difficult for the poorest families to improve their children's diet. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, only one in six children from the poorest households aged six to 11 months eats a minimally diverse diet, compared to one in three from the richest households.
Improving nutrition for young children could save 100,000 lives a year.

Making nutritious foods affordable and accessible to the poorest children will require stronger and more targeted investments from governments and the private sector. Cash or in-kind transfers to vulnerable families; crop diversification programs; and fortification of staple foods are key to improving nutrition for young children. Community-based health services that help caregivers learn better feeding practices, and safe water and sanitation – absolutely critical in preventing diarrhea among children – are also vital.

"We cannot afford to fail in our fight to improve nutrition for young children. Their ability to grow, learn and contribute to their country's future depends on it," Begin said.


Celebrity chef and health experts stir up excitement around childhood nutrition
TORONTO, Oct. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - British chef/author Jamie Oliver and members of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition and other experts discussed the need for an action plan to overhaul the nutrition landscape in Canada. Acknowledging that there is no "magic bullet" to improve unhealthy diets the panel identified a range of solutions to support Canadian families to make healthy choices. Strategies include restricting food and beverage marketing to kids, implementing a levy on sugary beverages to fund healthy living initiatives, improved nutrition labeling, ensuring healthy choices in schools and other settings, investing in Indigenous food programs, and better food education.

Jamie Oliver spoke about the enormity of the food business globally and the urgent need for action around childhood nutrition and obesity. He acknowledged Health Minister Jane Philpott's clear mandate on restricting marketing to kids and expressed his hope that Canada would seize the opportunity to be a global leader around nutrition policy and action. He pointed out that Canada is on the brink of something huge and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to implement a plan that "can't be good, it has to be fantastic."



 "We know that over 90 per cent of food decisions in the household are driven by children. The "nag factor" does not come out of nowhere – it is driven by marketing messages. It is not a fair fight for parents. Winning the battle for harmony often means losing the battle for health," said Geoff Craig, Chief Marketing Officer, Heart and Stroke Foundation adding, "Industry self-regulation is a failure. The standards are lax, participation is voluntary and there is more advertising and marketing targeted to children than ever before."

Panel members included Geoff Craig, Chief Marketing Officer, Heart and Stroke Foundation; Dr. Jan Hux, Chief Science Officer, Canadian Diabetes Association; Dr. Tom Warshawski, Chair, Childhood Obesity Foundation, Senator Nancy Greene Raine; and Nathan Sing, youth advocate. The session was moderated by Nick Saul, President and CEO, Community Food Centres Canada.

Stats

The majority – 90 per cent – of marketed food and beverage products is high in fat, sugar and salt.

The Internet is a key venue – 85% of food brands most heavily promoted to children have websites that directly target children or have content that interests them.

70% of Canadian children do not eat the minimum daily recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Sugar-loaded beverages are the single greatest contributor of sugar in our diets – one can contains 40 grams, or 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Evidence links excess sugar intake and sugary drinks, with adverse health effects including obesity, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and other metabolic conditions, dental caries, and certain types of cancer.

31% of Canadian children and youth ages 5 to 17 are overweight or obese.

Over the past 70 years, consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods in Canada has doubled, from 30% of the average family's food purchases to 60%.

Always® Celebrates International Day of the Girl with Confidence and Encourages Girls to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl with Significant Canada Commitments
TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - More than half (56%) of girls* lose confidence during puberty, more than seven out of 10 girls today** feel limited by society's expectations about women, and half of girls*** quit sports by the end of puberty. Always®, the leader in global feminine care, is on a mission to stop the drop in confidence among girls and is taking bold steps to reduce these shocking statistics. Today, Always is proud to announce a partnership with the Canadian Women's Foundation and to launch new resources that will help parents, coaches and educators across Canada close the confidence gap.

"In August 2016, Always announced a global partnership with UN Women and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to encourage all girls to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl. In Canada, we are committing to girls' success through our support of the Canadian Women's Foundation's Girls' Fund, which will help one thousand girls develop their confidence this year," said Sue Lynne Cha, Associate Brand Director, Procter & Gamble Canada. "We're so excited to create meaningful partnerships that make a real difference for girls, and drive awareness on the important role that society plays in building girls' confidence."

In collaboration with UN Women and the IOC, Always developed tools and resources designed to help parents, coaches and educators ensure that girls have a positive experience and stay confident when engaging in sports at puberty. The materials were designed in partnership with Dr Jen Welter, renowned sports psychologist, and can be downloaded at always.com.



  To mark UN Women International Day of the Girl, Always is committing its support to the Canadian Women's Foundation's Girls' Fund to help one thousand girls, ages nine to 13 via 22 organizations in 44 communities across Canada. This grant supports programs that encourage girls to participate in sports and physical activity, explore science and technology, develop critical thinking skills and take on leadership in a supportive all-girl environment and engage their bodies, minds, and spirits to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.

"Girls are routinely exposed to stereotypes that erode their confidence and embed self-limiting beliefs," says Beth Malcolm, Director of the Girls' Fund at the Canadian Women's Foundation. "The Always #LikeAGirl campaign demonstrates a natural alignment with our work, and this partnership is a deep acknowledgement of the powerful role that girl-centered programs can play in stopping the drop in girls' confidence. Always' support will help us to continue this important work of empowering girls to defy stereotypes."

Among girls who have participated in the Foundation-funded programs over the past three years, 92% reported feeling more confident, 96% reported feeling better about being a girl, and 88% reported having new strengths or skills.

One example that demonstrates the positive impact of those programs is Nikki's story. Having been an avid sports player as a child, Nikki felt intimidated and shy when she started high school, and was hesitant about trying out for her school's basketball team. With the support of her young female mentor from the Canadian Women's Foundation-funded On The Move program (run by Hamilton Boys and Girls Club), she decided to try out for the team. Nikki became team captain and has been leading with confidence, inviting girls to join in and feel good about their abilities.

The Always brand's commitment to girls' confidence also extends to educators. For more than two decades, Always has been supporting coaches, nurses and teachers by providing support materials for puberty education to organizations and schools across Canada. In 2017, a new Always Global Confidence Curriculum will be launched with a renewed focus on how educators can help girls stay confident throughout puberty. The new curriculum, which incorporates the latest research on confidence-building, was co-developed by Always and education thought leaders and experts. The new materials will be available starting in January 2017.

"Educators have told us time and time again that they need resources to help them answer student questions, facilitate discussions, supplement their existing knowledge, plan their lessons or give them new ideas. The Always puberty education materials have proven useful and effective to our educators, with three out of four telling us they ordered and implemented the program three or more times, and a vast majority (98%) rating the quality of the resources as very good or good", said Chris Markham, Executive Director & CEO, Ontario Physical and Health Education Association.

Always wants to rally people everywhere – girls, boys, women, men, teachers, coaches, moms, dads, sisters, brothers – to spark a change and help girls stay confident. Everyone plays a unique and vital role, not just in helping girls participate in confidence-building activities, but ensuring the benefits of their participation – increased confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills – extend into their lives, well beyond puberty.

Always has been championing girls' confidence for more than 30 years and intends to continue this work through a variety of initiatives, including its new partnership with the Canadian Women's Foundation, the release of new tools for parents and coaches, available at Always.com, and confidence-focused puberty education materials.

About Always #LikeAGirl

The Always #LikeAGirl movement is being fueled by the millions of girls around the world who are changing #LikeAGirl to mean amazing things. The Always #LikeAGirl campaign launched in June 2014 was inspired by the insight that the start of puberty and the first period mark the lowest moment in confidence for girls and how harmful words can add to that drop in confidence. It demonstrated the profound effect the phrase "like a girl" can have on girls' self-confidence and it inspired a movement, which has started to change public perception: after seeing the #LikeAGirl video, most people (76 percent of women ages 16 to 24 and 59 percent of men) said the video changed their perception of the phrase "like a girl,"* according to the Always Puberty & Confidence Wave II Study. But it could not stop there. In 2015, a new Always study revealed that 72 percent of girls feel society limits them by telling them what they should and should not do or be. And more than half of girls felt that societal limitations would be the same or worse ten years from now, showing a lack of hope for change. Always could not accept that and launched the Unstoppable #LikeAGirl campaign to empower all girls to show the world that they could do or be anything and everything. In March 2016, the brand tackled the subtle bias conveyed through emojis, and the resulting conversation can be credited in part for a proposal to UNICODE Consortium that has yielded more female options. In June 2016, the brand released new survey data which finds that half of girls quit sports by age 17 and that seven in ten girls do not feel encouraged to play, despite data that links sports participation to increased confidence. To help keep girls in sports, Always launched the new Always #LikeAGirl – Keep Playing initiative, now in progress. For more information about the #LikeAGirl movement, visit www.always.com.

Survey Methodology
*The Always Confidence & Puberty Wave II Study was conducted by MSLGROUP using the Research Now Panel that surveyed a total of 1,800 Americans (1,300 American females aged 16 to 49 years old and 500 American males aged 16 to 49). There was a nationally representative sample group of 1,000 females and 500 males as well as an additional boost of 150 African American and 150 Hispanic American females. The survey was implemented between the dates of December 5, 2014 through December 12, 2014.

**The Always Confidence & Puberty Wave III Study was conducted by MSLGROUP Research utilizing Research Now Panels that surveyed a total of 1,800 Americans (1,300 American females aged 16 to 24 years old and 500 American males aged 16 to 24). There was a nationally representative sample group of 1,000 females and 500 males as well as an additional boost of 150 African American and 150 Hispanic American females. The survey was implemented between the dates of April 30, 2015 through May 8, 2015.

***The Always Confidence & Puberty Wave IV Study was conducted by MSLGROUP Research utilizing Research Now Panels that surveyed a total of 1,514 Americans. There was a nationally representative sample group of 1,006 females aged 16 to 24 year old and 508 males aged 16 to 24. The survey was implemented between the dates of December 30, 2015 through January 7, 2016.


Consulting with Canadians to introduce more flexible and inclusive support for parents and family caregivers
GATINEAU, QC, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - The Employment Insurance (EI) program stands among the pillars of Canada's social safety net, helping Canadians during major milestones throughout their working life. The Government is committed to improving the EI program so that it is better aligned with today's labour market realities and is responsive to the needs of Canadian workers and employers.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, reinforces this commitment today by launching an online consultation to seek the views of Canadians on providing more flexible EI maternity and parental benefits as well as more inclusive caregiving benefits for Canadians who provide care to a family member.

Through the ESDC Consultations portal, the Government of Canada is consulting with Canadians between October 6 and November 4, 2016, to gather their thoughts on what is important to them and how they could benefit from additional support.

The Government is looking to all Canadians, particularly parents and caregivers, to join the conversation and share their views and experiences. This is an opportunity for Canadians to share their thoughts on the sort of adjustments that are required to improve Canada's EI maternity, parental and caregiving benefits programs.


We are also seeking input from employers, advocacy groups, unions, academics, experts, the medical community and provinces and territories on this important issue.

These consultations, as well as the EI measures that came into effect this past summer, are part of the Government's plan to help Canada's middle class and those working hard to join it.


"Caring for a child or seriously ill family member puts tremendous pressure on many Canadians to balance their family and work responsibilities. Employment Insurance parental and caregiving benefits and leaves should be flexible and inclusive to meet the needs of today's families. This is why I want to hear Canadians' views on how we can better support parents and caregivers," said The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.



The Budget 2016 will provide $2.7 billion over the next two years for improvements to EI to help Canadians across the country.

The Government of Canada is considering options to help parents and their families by providing for greater flexibility in EI parental benefits and unpaid leave under the Canada Labour Code.

The Government of Canada is considering options to provide more flexible and inclusive EI caregiving benefits and unpaid leave under the Canada Labour Code to more Canadians who provide care to a family member.

The Government of Canada has a number of policies in place to help Canadians who are in need, and is always looking at ways to improve programs and services to help support Canadians.

In addition to assisting Canadians during unemployment, the Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary financial assistance to employees and insured self-employed persons who are pregnant; caring for a newborn; newly adopted, or critically ill child; sick, or caring for a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death. These benefits, as well as job-protected leaves under the Canada Labour Code (CLC), play an important role in supporting working Canadians to balance work and family responsibilities.

Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits and CLC Leaves

The maternity benefit provides up to 15 weeks of benefits to EI eligible birth mothers, including surrogates, related to childbearing and to support physical and/or emotional recovery during the weeks surrounding the birth. These benefits are payable as early as 8 weeks prior to the expected date of birth, and as late as 17 weeks after the birth of the child.

The parental benefit provides up to 35 weeks of support to EI eligible parents (biological and adoptive parents) who leave the workforce to care for a newborn or newly-adopted child or children. The parental benefit is offered per family and may be shared—it can be taken at the same time by eligible parents, or separately. Benefits may be taken in the 52 weeks following the birth or placement of a child for adoption. The benefit and leave are available to eligible opposite-sex and same-sex parents.

It should be noted that the maternity and parental benefits offered under the EI program only apply to parents who reside outside of Quebec. The Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) provides benefits to workers and self-employed Quebec residents who are eligible to take a maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave.

The CLC currently provides corresponding unpaid job-protected maternity and parental leaves for employees under federal jurisdiction. Under the CLC, an employee working in a federally regulated enterprise who has completed six consecutive months of continuous employment with the same employer is entitled to:

Up to 17 weeks of unpaid maternity leave (which can be taken up to 11 weeks prior to expected birth date and up to 17 weeks following childbirth).
Up to 37 weeks of unpaid parental leave. The leave can be taken during the 52 week (one year) period beginning on the day the child is born or is placed for the purposes of adoption in the employee's home. The total amount of leave that may be taken by two employed parents in respect of the same birth or adoption cannot exceed 37 weeks.
Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits and CLC Leave

Since January 3, 2016, the EI compassionate care benefit allows claimants to collect up to 26 weeks of benefits. Further, the period during which benefits can be taken was expanded to 52 weeks (up from 26 weeks). Compassionate care benefits can be shared between family members. In order to be eligible for benefits, claimants must be providing care to a seriously ill or injured family member or friend with a significant risk of death in the next 26 weeks. Claimants also need to have accumulated at least 600 insurable hours in the 52 weeks prior to their claim in order to be eligible for compassionate care benefits. The CLC provides a corresponding unpaid leave to employees of federally regulated enterprises of up to 28 weeks to ensure that their jobs are protected while they are providing care.

Parents of Critically Ill Children Benefits and CLC Leave

EI special benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children (PCIC) first became available to eligible insured workers, and to self-employed individuals who have opted into EI, on June 9, 2013. PCIC benefits are available to EI-eligible parents caring for a child under 18 years of age with a critical illness or injury. The child's condition must have changed significantly from their baseline state of health and be considered life-threatening. Under PCIC benefits, claimants are provided with up to 35 weeks of benefits and benefits can also be shared among eligible parents. The CLC provides a corresponding unpaid leave to employees of federally regulated enterprises of up to 37 weeks to ensure that their jobs are protected while they are providing care.

Employment Insurance Special Benefits for Self-employed Persons

Self-employed workers have been able to opt into the EI program on a voluntary basis since January 31, 2010, by entering into an agreement with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) to pay EI premiums in order to obtain access to EI special benefits including maternity, parental, compassionate care, and PCIC benefits, and meet other eligibility criteria.  


Study shows advertising is still an obstacle to raising kids without gender stereotypes
 Children's brands risk parental backlash by ignoring changing attitudes towards gender barriers

TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - A new study from Harbinger and Ehm & Co has found younger generations of parents, who are trying to raise their children without imposing gender stereotypes, see marketers as key obstacles to their efforts.

The study suggests that marketers risk a consumer backlash for ascribing gender to otherwise gender-neutral products and should consider supporting societal views that align with how parents feel about gender-appropriate behavior for children.

Shift to gender-neutral parenting

The study reveals a generational shift is at work with seven in 10 parents (70.4%) being more open-minded in how they raise their children vs. how they were raised with regard to gender norms.



While parents are more relaxed about what is considered gender appropriate behavior in kids, younger parents, in particular, say their efforts to raise kids without gender boundaries are made more difficult by a society that is heavily influenced by TV, movies, product availability and advertising. For example, when comparing responses of parents with at least one child in the same age group, the study found Millennial parents are more than twice as likely (47%) as Boomer parents (21%) to say brands/advertising make it difficult for them to raise their kids without imposing gender stereotypes.

Reflective of the sense among parents that marketers aren't supporting their changing attitudes towards gender behavior is their perception that popular family brands such as Nintendo, Apple and Lego have become less gender neutral and more 'for boys'.

"We believe a reason why some brands are seen as less gender neutral is related to the increase in gendered alternatives available," says Jennifer Lomax, vice president, Harbinger. "Marketers have seen an opportunity to enter markets and grow margins with gendered product innovations, including licensing popular children's characters or adding line extensions."

Double standard

While parents overall are becoming more open-minded about gender boundaries, their actions can still skew towards traditional gender roles. Comments from respondents suggest this double standard results from parents wanting to protect themselves and children from being judged by a world that's heavily influenced by media and brands:

Parents are more likely to impose stricter gender boundaries for sons (12%) than for daughters (1%).
Parents consider it more acceptable for girls to play with trucks and cars (95%) than for boys to play with dolls (89%).
Parents are much more likely to buy gender specific items like bicycles for boys (26%) than for girls (11%).
Dads, in particular, are more susceptible to peer pressure around gender and more likely than moms to set clearly defined gender boundaries for their children:

In dual parent households, dads (30%) are much more likely than moms (4%) to be the stricter parent with regard to clearly defined gender roles.
Dads (14%) are twice as likely as moms (7%) to admit to making choices based on societal norms or pressures.
Power of moms

Comments from moms, in particular, reveal a frustration over brands that ascribe a gender to otherwise unisex children's items and activities, suggesting marketers pay close attention to them in creating and selling gendered products.

"The real power to effect change lies in the hands of consumers and moms in particular," says Erica Ehm, CEO and Creative Director, Ehm & Co. "The most impactful thing parents can do if they are not happy with perceived gender limitations imposed by media and brands is to vote with their wallets. Don't purchase from or engage with companies that don't share your values."

The Harbinger/Ehm & Co study found moms are the key household decision-maker and the parent who is most looking for gender-neutral alternatives for her children:

Moms (53%) vs. dads (37%) are the dominant decision-maker for children's activities and sports for sons and daughters.
Moms, in general, are half as likely as dads to always choose the gendered alternative of bikes, sports equipment, toys and snacks/candy.
"Ultimately, we're not saying do away completely with traditional gender conventions, but we do caution marketers to be sensitive to changing parental attitudes, to ensure they are not perceived as an obstacle," says Lomax. "Product design, packaging and promotion are powerful levers marketers should consider in helping children explore and play without being limited or excluded on the basis of gender."

Download the study whitepaper

Download the full Harbinger/Ehm & Co study whitepaper, Parenting, Kids and Gender Boundaries at www.harbingerideas.com or at www.ehmco.com/gender-white-paper.

Sign up for the webinar

Visit www.harbingerideas.com to register for the Harbinger/Ehm & Co Webinar – Parenting, Kids and Gender Boundaries – on October 13, 1:00 pm (ET).

See what moms are talking about

Gender is a top of mind topic for parents and there's a powerful conversation happening on the subject.

Find out what moms are talking about and read more stories about children and gender boundaries at YMC (www.ymc.ca/life/relationships/a-conversation-about-gender).

Study methodology

A survey of 1,663 English-speaking parents was conducted from June 14-28, 2016, through Ehm & Co's network of parents via its award-winning YMC property (YummyMummyClub.ca). 



Wild Weather touches down at the Ontario Science Centre
TORONTO, Oct. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Warning: extreme weather alert in effect at the Ontario Science Centre! Track a tornado, step into a storm and look into a lightning strike when Wild Weather touches down at the Centre on October 5, 2016. Wild Weather is presented with support from exhibition knowledge partner Western Engineering.

"Severe weather events have become more frequent and extreme impacting our communities, our infrastructure and our lives," said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "Wild Weather will not only immerse visitors in extreme weather events, but will start a public dialogue about climate change and its impact."

Developed and produced by Science North in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre, this engaging, entertaining 600-square-metre-exhibition comprises eight zones. From thunderstorms to summer heat waves, hurricanes to blizzards, visitors can uncover the science behind the weather around us and learn how new scientific advances are unravelling many of weather's mysteries. They can experience what it's like to fly a research aircraft through a hurricane, view the destruction caused by tornadoes, follow turbulent cloud formations and lightning strikes, become a citizen scientist in the midst of a raging winter storm and meet a researcher studying the force of wind in the lab.

"Wild Weather is an informative, interactive experience that will educate and empower Ontarians about severe weather and get them talking about climate change – a pressing issue that affects us all," said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "This joint Ontario Science Centre/Science North exhibition demonstrates the importance of leadership and innovation, and the benefit of collaboration in science education."

Through interactive exhibits, multimedia experiences, models and large-scale graphics, visitors will experience weather phenomena from around the world to gain a better understanding of the science behind severe weather, its connection to climate change, and new and emerging technologies such as wind engineering.

"Western Engineering works to minimize the impact of extreme weather by better understanding the vulnerability of buildings and structures to wind effects, allowing us to improve building code," said Andrew N. Hrymak, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Western University. "As the knowledge partner for Wild Weather, we can share and discuss the practical implications of our research with visitors while, hopefully, inspiring future wind engineers."

In addition to weather-related programs, the Ontario Science Centre will participate in a global citizen science project from October 1 – 15, 2016, inviting the public to observe and record local cloud coverage using the NASA-developed app GLOBE Observer. Clouds are highly variable and predicting their future evolution is a major challenge facing today's climate scientists. Human observations of clouds around the world are valuable to compare with satellite remote sensing data. The results of this global project will be shared at the Science Centre on November 10, 2016, the first-ever International Science Centre and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD). To participate in this citizen science project, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca/CloudCoverage/.

Wild Weather runs daily until January 7, 2017 and is included with general admission. For more information about the exhibition and to purchase tickets, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca/WildWeather.

The Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 50 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.


Cineplex Community Day Event Brings Free, Family-Friendly Movies Across Canada
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 4, 2016) - Today, Cineplex Entertainment announced that on Saturday, October 22, movie-lovers across Canada can enjoy a morning of free movies at their local Cineplex theatre - all in support of its national charitable partner, WE, a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. Cineplex Community Day ("Community Day") treats guests to a selection of great family-friendly movies with all proceeds from donations and select concession sales supporting WE.

"As one of Canada's largest employers of young people, we are inspired by youth who take a starring role in making a difference in the world around them," said Ellis Jacob, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cineplex Entertainment. "We are proud to partner with WE and help to support their local program in Canada. While Community Day is one morning of free movies, Cineplex is dedicated to providing year-round support of WE initiatives to educate, empower and celebrate Canada's youth and their stories."

This year's exciting film line-up includes recently released popular films like The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, Zootopia, The Finest Hours and The Jungle Book. Movie-lovers in attendance can enjoy a morning of free movies and select concessions like popcorn, soft drinks and certain candy items priced at $2.00 each. Theatres will also be selling ME to WE Cineplex 'Change Bracelets' for $2.00 each, which feature a motivational statement to inspire youth to create positive change. All proceeds from select concession and bracelet sales will benefit WE.

"Community Day is a great way for families and friends from across the country to come together, celebrate and be inspired by all those who are creating positive change both locally and globally," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder, WE. "Thanks to Cineplex and all of the incredible support from Community Day, we are able to empower young people across the country to make amazing impacts through our WE Schools program. Just this past school year, students involved in the program volunteered over four million hours and raised over $11 million for the local and global causes they care about."

On the morning of October 22, nearly all of Cineplex's 164 theatres across Canada will open their doors to guests, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Doors will open at 8:30 AM, movies will begin between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM, and all locations will return to regular programming in the afternoon. Films are being shown in English and French depending upon the market, so guests are encouraged to visit Cineplex.com/CommunityDay for a list of participating theatres, showtimes and available languages.

The company thanks its corporate employees and theatre cast members who volunteer their time as well as Mars Canada and Wrigley Canada for providing products or services to make Community Day a reality.

Supporters can also join the Community Day conversation online with Cineplex Entertainment on Facebook (Facebook.com/Cineplex), Twitter (@CineplexMovies) or Instagram (@CineplexMovies).


Halloween Haunt Opens for 15 Terrifying Nights September 30
VAUGHAN, ON, Sept. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Nightmares will come to life as Canada's Wonderland opens its gates for its 12th annual Halloween Haunt this Friday, September 30. Halloween Haunt, Canada's biggest playground of terror, features 20 haunted attractions, including horrifying mazes, scare zones, live shows, and thrilling rides in the dark.

Halloween Haunt is expanding its realm of fear even further this season with three new scare zones. Guests will face bone-chilling sights when they visit Cryohazard, the aftermath of a science experiment gone horribly awry, The Plague, a once peaceful village now infected with a grisly virus, and Trick or Treat, where heinous trick-or-treaters are not out for candy, they're out for blood.

Adding to Halloween Haunt's evening of terror are three live shows, including the all-new wickedly crafted Sinner's Lounge, a dark cirque spectacular showcasing incredible feats of athleticism and horror.

Halloween Haunt opens for 15 horrifying nights between Friday, September 30 and Monday, October 31 from 7:00 PM until midnight. Halloween Haunt is designed to scare and therefore not recommended for anyone under the age of 13. Most park rides and attractions will be in operation. Guests are not permitted to attend the event in costume.

For more information on Halloween Haunt tickets and operating schedule, please visit www.canadaswonderland.com/haunt .

Canada's Wonderland is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN." In addition to Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Fair owns and operates 10 other amusement parks, two water parks, one indoor water park, and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract.


More than $2.5 million to support physical activity programs for kids and youth across Canada
Every year once school starts, working parents are put in a tricky spot. It can be difficult to strike a balance between work hours and school hours, and this difficulty often manifests itself in the form of a couple of hours where the parent can’t be with their child before and/or after school.

Many parents choose to enroll their children in before- or after-school programs, arrange for their children to be watched by family or friends, or are fortunate enough to have flexible work hours that allow them to be available once school lets out for the day.

Many other parents, though, explore the possibility of leaving their children home alone or with siblings, trusting them to stay safe, take care of themselves and lock up the house when they leave.
During this year’s National School Safety Week, the Canada Safety Council wants to remind parents of a few safety aspects to consider before making the decision to leave their children home alone.

Firstly, make sure your child is prepared for the added responsibility. The Canada Safety Council recommends that no child below the age of 10 be left home alone, and additional consideration should be given to the child’s temperament, maturity health as well as any legislation that may be in effect in your province.

A child should not be left home because it’s the easy option or because it costs less than an after-school program. It’s far more important to ensure that children are well equipped to look after their own wellbeing.



That begins from a mental standpoint. Ask the child if they feel as though they’ll be able to handle the responsibility. Take care to address any concerns or fears they may have, and ensure that you take the necessary amount of time for the child to fully understand the responsibilities being assigned to them.
For a child being left home alone before school, these responsibilities could include:
Fixing themselves breakfast

Packing their lunch for the day

Ensuring they are out of the house in time to catch the school bus, if applicable; and

Locking the doors before leaving for school
A child who has a few hours after school may have responsibilities including:
Locking the door behind them after arriving home

Calling a parent or guardian to let them know they have arrived home safely

Doing homework in an unsupervised environment; and

Doing chores, if applicable
Children should also be taught how to handle emergency situations, including what to do in case of injury, natural disaster or power outages. The child should always have access to a first aid kit containing different-sized bandages, sterile gauze pads, tweezers, peroxide and a digital thermometer. 
Other advice for parents to consider:
Set firm rules for the child, with clear do’s and don’ts. This can include restrictions on TV or Internet time, what to eat as a snack, as well as general restrictions on what they are to do with their time.
Keep in touch with your child – be sure that you’re available at all times by phone in case of emergency.

Make sure your home is safe and secure, with as few injury risks as possible.
Limit the amount of time your child is home alone to a couple of hours, at most. If it’s going to be any longer, hire a babysitter or find a before- or after-school program that can handle the extended hours. 

More than $2.5 million to support physical activity programs for kids and youth across Canada
 RBC, ParticipACTION and the Public Health Agency of Canada announced the 2016 RBC Learn to Play Project grants today, with more than $2.5 million going to 212 community-based organizations across Canada. These grants will help support kid and youth sport and recreation programs for the upcoming year.

Since 2013, the RBC Learn to Play Project has taught children how to jump, throw, run, swim, skate and more. Mastering these fundamental movement skills – skills that are required to get physically active – has helped Canadian kids feel confident about taking part in a variety of physical activities and sports. And parents agree:

"My son's brightest moment was when he became the water polo champion at summer camp. Turns out the skills he acquired from participating in the RBC Learn to Play Project really paid off. Thank you!"

"I had a negative idea about my young daughter taking part in physical exercise previous to my experience with the RBC Learn to Play Project. But my daughter received huge benefit from it and now she is more attentive at school, engaged in her homework and is generally more cheerful. I am grateful towards the program."

In the first year of the RBC Learn to Play Project, community sport organizations and initiatives delivered almost 9,000 programming hours, allowing more than 61,000 children to participate in 186 funded programs. Almost all of the grantees (91 per cent) reported increased collaboration between organizations and sectors to implement physical activity and sport programs.


"Through this partnership and granting program, we've seen that kids have increased confidence and are motivated to be involved in physical activity and sport in general," said Valerie Chort, vice president of Corporate Citizenship, RBC. "We are encouraged with the positive impact the Project has had on kids' lives to date, and are excited to award these grants to engage more kids to get active."

The RBC Learn to Play Project has generated hundreds of success stories from across the country, like Para New Brunswick, who received $15,000 to develop a system that engages youth with physical disabilities. An estimated 5,836 kids participated in more than 250 hours of programming as a result of this program and three new partnerships with schools were reported.

"By providing organizations with the funding and resources to teach kids basic skills, we've been able to empower them to feel confident and competent to move their bodies, engage in sport and and create lifelong relationships with physical activity," said Elio Antunes, President and CEO, ParticipACTION.

"Physical activity is an important building block for children and youth. When children are physically active and get the sleep they need to learn and grow, they have more energy, and are more alert and productive in the classroom, said the Honourable Jane Philpott, Canada's Minister of Health. "The Government of Canada is proud to be a partner in helping kids be active in their communities."
Better Bus Safety
 (Family Features) For millions of school-age children, each day begins and ends with a bus ride. While parents entrust their children's safety to the capable hands of bus drivers, these tips from the National Association for Pupil Transportation provide some measures parents can take and lessons they can teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.

Before the Bus Arrives

Ensure backpacks are packed securely so papers and other items don't scatter as the bus approaches.
Create a morning routine that puts kids at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pickup time. This helps avoid a last-minute rush, when safety lessons are easily forgotten, and ensures kids are safely in place for boarding.

Encourage children to wear bright, contrasting colors so they can be seen easier by drivers.
Instruct children to walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, advise them to stay out of the street, walk single-file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as possible.

If kids must cross a street, driveway or alley, remind them to stop and look both ways before crossing.

Verify that the bus stop location offers good visibility for the bus driver; if changes are needed, talk with nearby homeowners or school district officials to implement changes. Never let kids wait in a house or car, where the driver may miss seeing them approach the bus.

Remind children that the bus stop is not a playground. Balls or other toys could roll into the street and horseplay can result in someone falling into the path of oncoming traffic.


On the Bus Ride

Instruct children to allow the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.

When boarding the bus, items can get bumped and dropped. Caution children that before picking anything up, they should talk to the driver and follow instructions to safely retrieve their possessions.

Teach safe riding habits: stay seated with head, hands and feet inside at all times; use a seatbelt (if available); keep bags and books out of the aisle and remain seated until the bus stops moving.
Remind kids that just like when riding in your car, loud noises are off limits so they don't distract the driver.

Leaving the Bus

Remind children to look before stepping off the bus. If they must cross the street, teach them to do so in front of the bus by taking five big steps away from the front of the bus, looking up and waiting for the driver to signal that it is safe to start into the street.

For parents who meet their kids at the bus, remember that in their excitement kids may dart across the street. Eliminate the risk by waiting on the side of the street where kids exit the bus.
Make the bus ride part of your daily "how was school?" discussion. Encourage kids to talk about the things they see and hear on the bus, so you can discuss appropriate behaviors and, if necessary, report any concerns to school administrators.

Bullying is more prevalent than ever and buses are no exception. Ask your child to tell you about any bullying they observe, whether against another child or themselves, and talk about how to shut down bully behavior.

Another Safety Solution

Beyond teaching safety precautions around the bus, there is another option to ensure kids are transported to school and arrive home safely each day. Many school districts are moving away from noisy, pollution-inducing and expensive diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.

Safety

Jenna Bush Hager, a teacher, author, journalist and parent of two, has partnered with the Propane Education & Research Council to educate parents and school districts about the benefits of propane school buses.

School buses powered by propane offer numerous safety advantages, including being quieter than diesel buses when operating, making it easier for drivers to hear both inside and outside the bus. This can have a direct impact on student behavior, and many districts have reported fewer disciplinary issues as a result. An interactive audio quiz detailing the difference can be found at QuieterSchoolBuses.com.

"As a former teacher, I know that parents often overlook how the ride to and from school can impact a child's performance in the classroom," Hager said. "A child's attitude or behavior before they arrive at school can set the tone for the whole day."

In addition, these buses meet rigorous U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and each is equipped with an automatic shut-off feature that prevents fuel flow to the engine when not running.

Another safety consideration is the health impact of older diesel buses. The shorter height of younger students can put them face-to-face with a black cloud of diesel smoke every school day. With propane buses, however, students aren't exposed to the harmful particulate matter in diesel exhaust, which is known to aggravate asthma and has been identified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen.

Savings

Not only is propane consistently less expensive than diesel, the buses themselves don't require the same expensive repairs and replacement parts that today's modern diesel buses demand. Saving money on transportation costs puts schools in a better position to meet students' needs in the classroom and other areas, such as fine arts and athletic programs.

Speak Up

Is your school district exploring a switch from diesel buses to cleaner alternatives? Join the discussion (or start one) by downloading resources including fact sheets, videos and more at BetterOurBuses.com.
Come Play at Hudson's Bay
This fall, Hudson's Bay, Canada's iconic retailer, is inviting families across Canada to "Come Play at Hudson's Bay" with the launch of dedicated toy shops in more than 60 Hudson's Bay locations across Canada.

Opening this September, the new departments are designed to offer a specialty toy experience with only the very best from more than 40 brands including Lego, Playmobil, Star Wars, Nerf, Barbie, Our Generation Dolls, Melissa & Doug, Fisher Price, Paw Patrol and Hasbro. The curated assortment will include pre-school & construction toys, dolls, plush toys, arts & crafts, games action figures and toy vehicles for children pre-school to age 12.

"We are excited to launch toys at Hudson's Bay this Fall," said Liz Rodbell, President, Hudson's Bay. "Our mission has always been to offer all our customers the very best brands across all categories whether it is fashion, cosmetics or home. Toys are a natural fit for our business and strengthens our position as a destination shopping experience for all generations."

Each Hudson's Bay toy department will range in size; from 500 square foot outposts to three 5,000 square foot flagships, conveniently located in major downtown city centres – Hudson's Bay Bloor Street in Toronto, Vancouver downtown and Montreal downtown. Toys will also be available on thebay.com.

To celebrate the launch, Hudson's Bay will host a fun-filled event on October 1, 2016 at the Toronto Queen Street flagship, where children can enjoy photo opportunities with favourite mascots and characters, face-painting and balloons, and live, interactive product demos.

Tips to Get Kids Outside and Away From Screens
 (Family Features) Remember taking off for a day of adventure on your bike, returning home only for dinner? Kids these days don't have the same incredible experience of exploratory, unstructured play. According to a new survey commissioned by Nature's Path, 54 percent of moms say their kids spend more time playing in front of a screen than playing outside.

"Playing outside in nature is critically important for kids' development. Research shows it improves everything from problem-solving to cognitive ability to social relations," said parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. "Between screen time and the busy schedules of both parents and kids, today's children are spending less time outside and missing out on this fun and beneficial part of childhood."

According to the survey, the majority of moms try to regularly get their kids outside to enjoy the lifelong learning and health benefits of playing in nature. The biggest barriers that prevent this are: fear of letting kids play outside alone, being too busy juggling other priorities and not having the time to supervise outdoor play.


Here are five fun ideas to get you and your kids outside and exploring nature:

1. Get crafty. Let your kids collect leaves, flowers, stones, pinecones or anything that strikes their fancy -- and then craft together. Make leaf prints, press flowers between plastic sheets to create placemats, paint stones or sticks to look like animals or make a terrarium in a bottle. The possibilities are as endless as their imaginations.

2. Schedule it. Kids are used to planned sports and activities, so schedule an hour of outdoor play that they will come to expect. That's where the planning ends -- give them some ideas, but let them use their imaginations and engage in unstructured free play.

3. Explore at night. Turn a simple walk around the neighborhood into an adventure by going outside in the evening. Let kids take flashlights and glow sticks to help explore nature in a whole new way. Talk about the sights and smells at night and look at the stars together.

4. Share your favorite activities and make new memories. When you were young, did you love to skip stones on a pond? Build a fort? Jump in to piles of leaves? Tell your kids about your favorite pastimes and experience them together.

5. Get schools involved. According to the survey, the vast majority of moms (94 percent) agree it's important that schools also help kids discover nature. Moms can help schools by bringing them a program that's easy to implement. Nature's Path EnviroKidz Ecokeepers is a hands-on, exploration-based program that blends a traditional activity passport for kids to fill-in with a modern-day treasure hunt that uses GPS on smartphones to find hidden caches. It's free for schools and camps, and complements science and physical education curriculum. Parents can also download the Ecokeepers explorer guide and resources featuring activities to do with the family. The geocache app can be downloaded free from geocaching.com or your smartphone's app store.

While busy schedules don't always make it easy for moms to do everything they'd like to do with their kids, a little planning can help to get kids outside to experience all the benefits of outdoor play.
OWL Magazine launches new digital publication
Following the successful launch of its new website OWLconnected.com, OWL Magazine is excited to introduce OWLconnected eMag, a bi-weekly, current affairs digital magazine for readers ages 9-13. With intuitive touch navigation, this new eMagazine will present information in an interesting and age-appropriate way. Each issue of OWLconnected eMag will feature: news of the week, an in-depth story, an illustrated infographic, sports and entertainment stories, and an interactive quiz. A special section called "The Buzz" will present reader-generated content, and a 90-second animated video will appear in each issue that highlights an event, news story, or important person or historical figure. OWLconnected eMag will be published 26 times a year.

"As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we are thrilled to be launching a new and dynamic digital magazine for readers," shares Kendra Brown, Editor of OWL. "Our OWLconnected eMag is designed to open kids' eyes to the news and information from all around the globe in a fun and interactive way. Inspiring preteens is what OWL does best and we are proud to be adding this new publication to our library of offerings."

OWLconnected eMag is free for current subscribers of OWL Magazine and available for tablet, Mac and PC. For more information visit http://emag.owlconnected.com/.

About OWL Magazine:
Founded in 1976, OWL is a must-read for kids aged 9 – 13 and loaded with quizzes, comics, and cool tech news, expert interviews, ground-breaking discoveries and innovations, and hands-on building, book and movie reviews, reader art and advice, contests and much more.

About Owlkids:
Owlkids, a division of Bayard Canada, publishes award-winning magazines and books for children ages 2 to 14. Our magazines, Chirp (ages 3-6), chickaDEE (ages 6-9), and OWL (ages 9-13), delight and engage more than 1 million readers every year. Our book publishing program, Owlkids Books, has over 300 print and digital books available for young readers. Launched in 1976, Owlkids is based in Toronto. 
Amusing Race at Centreville
September 17 - 18 | 24 - 25
Weekends in September, 2016 Centreville's Amusing Race combines trivia questions and roadblocks to send you on an exciting journey through Centreville and Far Enough Farm. Centreville’s Amusing Race is a fun scavenger hunt for families.

Located on Toronto Centre Island, Centreville is the ultimate summer destination for kids. With over 30 rides and attractions, this theme park offers up a full day of family fun!

Getting to Centreville on the ferry is almost as exciting as the park itself. You can also head on over to Far Enough Farm where you can interact with cute farm animals.

Everyone who enters The Amusing Race at Centreville, has a chance to Win 1 Night

Accommodation (for two) at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel Toronto. 

Or, Centreville Family Fun Pack (family of four): One Family All Day Ride Pass with a Pizza Pizza lunch at Centreville.

Or, Toronto Wiggles Concert Family Pack (family of four).

It’s Always Sunny at Centreville!
Go Local and Go Green at the Fall Toronto Baby Show October 1 & 2
Toronto's highly anticipated pregnancy and early parenting show returns to the Enercare Centre On October 1 & 2. With a renewed focus on local artisans as well as more sustainable offerings for parents, The Baby Show addresses the changing needs and concerns of the modern day family.

Produced by Hestia International Inc., The Baby Show will feature over 130 national and local exhibitors offering products, information, training, and much needed pampering for expecting and new parents.

"Parents are looking for safe and sustainable products and services whenever possible," says Sandy Pedrogao, The Baby Show's show manager. "One of the biggest issues is that those types of products aren't always visible. We're excited to introduce these eco-friendly and local products and services to new parents at The Baby Show."



 
Toronto's Premium Pregnancy and Early Parenting Exhibition Features an Expanded Focus on Local Products and Sustainable Offerings for New Parents
  SHOW HIGHLIGHTS

The Healthy Moms Toronto Zone (expanded): A dedicated area for exhibitors focusing on health and wellness and natural/organic/ecofriendly products and services specifically for moms and babies.

Etsy Junior Area: A section on the show floor for artisans showcasing handmade, local products from brands found on Etsy.

Prenatal yoga classes: With a focus on body awareness and relaxation, expectant moms who take part can win one of 20 yoga mats from Gaiam.

VIP Baby Shower: Sponsored by Dear-Born Baby, 50 lucky moms-to-be will win a coveted spot at the most exclusive baby shower in town with an impressive grand prize!

COOL STUFF

Little Feet 3D: 3D ultrasounds allow expectant parents to see what their baby actually looks like.
Peace Collective: Unique tees for adults and babies. $4 of each t-shirt sale goes to Breakfast for Learning charity.

Dads with Attitude: Hip hop inspired onesies for baby.

Dressed to Deliver: Birthing gowns that provide a stylish alternative to hospital gowns.

Hotmilk Lingerie: Maternity and nursing wear.
Wall Wear: Custom wall decals for home and nursery.
Diono: Launching a new travel bassinet, the Dreamliner.

Lulla Doll: Innovative new sleep aid for baby that tired parents will love.

EXPERT HIGHLIGHTS

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis: This generation's Dr. Spock, Dr. Paul, author of Baby Comes Home, will discuss caring for your newborn baby from head to toe.

Taya Griffin: Well-known for helping mothers achieve their breastfeeding goals, Taya will discuss how to get off to the best breastfeeding start.

Dara Bergeron: Creator of Belly Bootcamp fitness for modern mommies, Dara will go through pregnancy exercise through the trimesters with a focus on health and wellness instead of weight loss.

Ann Douglas: The best-selling parenting author will discuss the truth about parenthood.

Margaret Wallis-Duffy: A Registered Massage Therapist and International Certified Baby Massage Instructor, Margaret will demonstrate the basics of infant massage.

When:
Saturday, October 1, 2016 9:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday, October 2, 2016 10:00am - 5:00pm

Where:
Enercare Centre, Hall D
Exhibition Place
100 Princes' Blvd., Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

Details:
General Admission: $15.00
Kids 12 and under are free
About The Baby Show

The Baby Show is produced by Hestia International Inc., which has been in the parenting industry for over 10 years. As publisher of Oh Baby! Magazine -- a free digest-sized pregnancy and early parenting magazine distributed across Canada, its goal is to educate new and expectant parents through print media, social media and the consumer show platform.
For the latest updates on The Baby Show, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

For more information, visit http://www.thebabyshows.com/toronto/fall/.

Baby Box program officially rolls out to Ontario parents today

 In May, The Baby Box Co. announced a program to provide safe-sleep certified Baby Boxes to all new parents in Ontario. Today, the first of those Baby Boxes will be distributed to Ontario parents.
Inspired by Finland's more than 75-year-old tradition, each Baby Box provides a safe sleeping environment for infants. The firm mattress, waterproof cover and 100% cotton fitted sheet in the Baby Box create a sleep space - compliant with Health Canada's bassinet standard - helps reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. The Baby Boxes are available free of charge to Ontario parents who have had or are having a child after August 1, 2016 and who complete their community's education syllabus on Baby Box University.
"Approximately 80% of parents who receive a Baby Box use it as a primary safe sleep space for their infant, up to about six months of age," said Jennifer Clary, CEO of The Baby Box Co. "A Baby Box program can have a real and measurable impact on both the health and well-being of Ontario's infants, and the confidence of Ontario's new parents." 

In Ontario, 145,000 Baby Boxes will be distributed annually through hospitals, community agencies and health centres across the province, making it the largest Baby Box program in the world to date. The Baby Box Co. is also providing Baby Boxes for similar programs in Canada's other provinces, which are scheduled to launch later this year.

Baby Boxes also act as a care package for the first few months of newborns' lives. Each Ontario Baby Box is filled with new baby essentials including Pampers diapers and wipes, Vroom baby brain boosting activities, Hello Fresh free meal delivery vouchers,Parents Canada magazines, cloth breast pads, Good Night Sleep Site and Babes & Beyond tips, baby body wash and shampoo, a onesie, teether and a diaper tote bag.

Upholding the Finnish tradition of education, the Ontario Baby Box program engages parents with Baby Box University, through which local health care experts share current information about safe sleep, breastfeeding, nutrition, postpartum healing, early childhood development, regional resources and more.

For a list of participating hospitals and organizations in Ontario and details on how to register, parents are encouraged to visithttp://www.babyboxco.com/blogs/news/all-about-ontario.
About The Baby Box Co.

Entrepreneurs Michelle Vick and Jennifer Clary founded The Baby Box Co. to offer a safe sleep environment to babies everywhere. The Baby Box Co. is an innovative, integrated program to support parents and improve maternal and infant healthcare outcomes globally. The Baby Box Co. partners with hospitals, government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide products and safe sleep resources to families on a large scale. Baby Boxes are also available direct to consumer either as a standalone item or filled with new baby essentials handpicked by the experts at The Baby Box Co. Serving families in 52 countries, The Baby Box Co. is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore. For more information or to purchase a Baby Box, please visit www.babyboxco.com. The Baby Box University education resource is at www.babyboxuniversity.com.
Canada's Wonderland to add wet & wild thrills with two new attractions in 2017
Canada's Wonderland announced today it will be showcasing two new unique and adrenaline-pumping attractions in 2017. With the addition of towering water slides in Splash Works and a new thrill ride that will be the first of its kind in North America, guests will experience two exhilarating parks and one memorable 2017 season.   
Muskoka Plunge, a 60 ft. (18 m) tall waterslide complex featuring four speed slides, will kick-off the summer fun in Splash Works. Riders will feel the adrenaline rush when they step into an enclosed launch chamber and suddenly plummet into a high-speed free fall through S-curves and 360° loops at speeds of approximately 40 km/h.
For thrill-seekers that prefer to stay dry, Canada's Wonderland will be adding to its arsenal of world-class thrill rides with Soaring Timbers. This unique ride experience will send guests spiraling through the sky on two massive rotating gondolas that swing riders through sweeping arcs while rotating 360 degrees.
Canada's Wonderland has also recently announced a limited time offer on 2017 Season Passes for only $68.99 ($21.00 less than the current Season Pass price). As an additional benefit to purchasing next year's Season Pass now, new Passholders will receive one free visit this year and renewing Passholders will receive one free 2016 Fast Lane Plus pass, valid for one day this season.

For more information visit canadaswonderland.com. 

Canada's Wonderland is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN."  In addition to Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Fair owns and operates 10 other amusement parks, two water parks, one indoor water park, and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract.

Build learning into kids' summertime fun!

Unstructured play is great, but two national non-profit organizations suggest some simple ways parents can reinforce summertime learning.
SmartSAVER offers fun and rewarding suggestions for parents to help kids set goals and learn money skills by starting a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

* Take 10 minutes with your kids to complete the online RESP application at SmartSAVER.org with your choice of participating financial institutions. With an RESP account, your child can start to receive government contributions for their future education, like the Canada Learning Bond that contributes up to $2,000 into each eligible child's account.

* Try the online calculator at www.smartsaver.org/startmyresp-calculator/ to check how much your child could get and to show them how their savings can grow with the Canada Education Savings matching grant.

* Visit the bank with your child so they can check on or even add money to their RESP.

Find more RESP information at SmartSAVER.org.
ABC Life Literacy Canada encourages families to keep their literacy skills sharp all summer. Research shows that children who read during summer retain their literacy skills and build a head start on September learning. Try these fun activities:

* Follow a recipe together to practice reading, math and comprehension all at once!

* Traveling by car, bus or streetcar? Read signs, billboards and license plates together. Show your children how to find your destination using maps.

* Send postcards from places you visit. If you're vacationing locally, send one to yourself!

* Build a summer book of memories. Tape in pictures and paper souvenirs and ask family members to write comments and captions.

Find more activities at FamilyLiteracyDay.ca.

The Kids Come Out To Celebrate Carnival

By KJ Mullins with files from Stephen Weir

Carnival and festive times are part of childhood but in the annual Grand Parade at Toronto's Caribbean Carnival you will not see any children on the route. That's because kids have their very own Junior Carnival Parade taking place this weekend in Malvern!

On Tuesday 104 junior Mas members were at Malvern Town Centre in Scarborough to hold a costume launch. The kids were in high spirits as they hit the stage and strutted their stuff ready for this weekend's action.

The Junior Carnival, Showcase and Culinary Chef competition begins Saturday at 10:00 AM at Malvern & Neilson Park. The parade will begin at the rear of 30 Sewells Rd., goes west on McLevin Avenue to Neilson Road and north on Neilson Road to Neilson Park Drive. Over 2,500 children will perform for the judges and play Mas are expected to take part in the event.

The parade disperses in the park and the party continues with a Family Day event. This will include popular DJ Music, a junior Showcase sponsored by Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA), featuring Junior Calypso and Soca Artists, Steelband, Drumming and Dance. There will be Children activities, music, a market place with Food Vendors, Arts & Craft Vendors and more.

A new feature for this year is a The Junior Chef Culinary Competition: sponsored by Grace Foods. The competition will provide a platform for young aspiring chefs, to demonstrate their culinary skills. The consulting chef for this competition will be celebrity chef; Latoya Fagon.

“The competition provides a platform for young aspiring chefs to demonstrate their culinary skills and promote passion for healthy eating and lifestyle,” explained Denise Hererra-Jackson, the CEO of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. “The competition is aimed at spreading Caribbean Gastronomic Culture by using local products with Caribbean flavours inspired by Grace Foods.”

The free family day event ends at 8 pm.

Spin Master achieves a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title to celebrate Etch A Sketch Day

Etch A Sketch Facts

  • Etch A Sketch was introduced on July 12, 1960
  • It was one of the first toys advertised on TV
  • More than 175 million have been sold around the world
  • In February 2016 Spin Master acquired Etch A Sketch and Doodle Sketch

Spin Master  – a leading global entertainment company – marked Etch A Sketch Day by setting an Etch A Sketch GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title earlier today.

Spin Master acquired the iconic Etch A Sketch brand earlier this year. To celebrate the company's first Etch A Sketch Day – the anniversary of the day the first Etch A Sketch was sold – 440 Spin Master employees around the world set a brand new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for Most People Drawing on an Etch A Sketch Globally at the Same Time. The record attempt spanned nations and time zones with participants in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. At 12 noon EST they collectively sketched sets of stairs.

"Etch A Sketch is regarded as one of the most memorable and creative toys of the twentieth century," said Ben Gadbois, President and COO, Spin Master Ltd. "We're thrilled to honor the brand's first Etch A Sketch Day as part of the Spin Master family in epic style and look forward to celebrating many more milestones as we reach new generations of consumers."

Adding to the festivities, the Amazing ETCH MAN, Christoph Brown, recognized as the world's fastest Etch A Sketch artist, joined Spin Master in Toronto to create Etch A Sketch portraits.

Capture the spirit of adventure at the Ontario Science Centre this summer
Unbelievable exhibition, new films, extended hours and special IMAX prices signal summer fun is here
 Longer days and warmer weather mean summer is here! The Ontario Science Centre helps make the most of your summer with interactive exhibitions, larger-than-life IMAX films, engaging programs and week-long day camps. Extended hours and $9 IMAX tickets from July 1 to September 5 put the Centre at the top of cultural attractions to experience when school's out.

"This summer, we encourage visitors to awaken their curiosity and inner adventurer and to explore the world around them, starting right here at the Science Centre," said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "Whether they crawl through a life-size model of a prehistoric snake, see the beauty and vulnerability of the Earth through an astronaut's eyes or journey through America's majestic national parks on a giant OMNIMAX screen, our summer line-up highlights how the spirit of adventure is essential to scientific endeavour."

Channel explorer and adventurer Robert Ripley's inquisitive spirit by exploring, investigating and learning firsthand about the science that underlies and explains the seemingly inexplicable in the exhibition The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Through experiments, challenges, touchable specimens, computer interactives and multimedia experiences, this highly engaging exhibition allows visitors to delve into Ripley's legendary compendium of oddities, anomalies and fantastic feats, and make Ripley's passion for discovery their own.

Gain a unique perspective and increased understanding of our planet as never seen before
with the IMAX space epic A Beautiful Planet. The film features stunning footage of Earth – and the effects humanity has had on it over time – captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Experience the ultimate off-trail adventure to some of the planet's most awe-inspiring natural wonders and untamed wilderness with the film America Wild: National Parks Adventure, which opens July 1. Soar over red rock canyons, hurtle down steep mountain peaks and explore America's legendary national parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Redwood National Park and the Everglades.

To allow visitors to fully appreciate the Science Centre's spectacular summer line-up, hours will be extended from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday to Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Additionally, IMAX tickets will be $9 for all age categories from July 1 to September 5, 2016. For information about our summer IMAX special or to purchase tickets, please visit www.OntarioSciencecentre.ca/Prices/.

The Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 50 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystem, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.
Coleman Canada champions movement to make July 15th National Get Outside Day
Get Outside campaign inspires Canadians to enjoy our nation's great outdoors
With Canada Day just around the corner, we're reminded of the many reasons we love our country. Perhaps the most prominent and one we're often revered for, is the vast natural beauty and diversity of the Canadian landscape. Unfortunately, many Canadians are unable to find the time, or lack the ideas, to enjoy our nation's great outdoors. In fact, Coleman Canada discovered that nearly two-thirds of Canadians spend fewer than two hours per week outside doing recreational activities1.

This shocking revelation led to the launch of the Get Outside Day movement, to excite and encourage Canadians to get outside and reap the physical and mental benefits of spending time outdoors. Now in its third year, Coleman continues to build a hub for the movement with the support of likeminded partners backing the cause. A dedicated website, www.getoutsidecanada.com, along with a full social media campaign, provide inspiration and ideas for how Canadians can make the most of their time outdoors.

Knowing that time is also a barrier, Coleman continues to petition the Canadian government to declare one day this summer National Get Outside Day – a day dedicated to spending much-needed time outdoors. The third Friday of July – July 15th – is the proposed date for 2016, and with over 1,350 signatures received so far, all Canadians are encouraged to support the cause.

"As Canadians, we're proud to call this beautiful country home, but it's unfortunate that so many of us are unable to find the time to get outside and enjoy what Canada has to offer," said Ezio Sbrizzi, President, Coleman Canada. "As Canada's leading outdoor company, we needed to do something about it which is why we started the Get Outside campaign. Now more than ever we remain committed to the cause, rallying the Canadian government to allow all of us more time to enjoy our country's great outdoors. We know that's a long shot for this year, but our entire team at Coleman will be taking July 15th off to recognize and celebrate Get Outside Day at Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville, Ontario. We encourage all Canadians to get outside that day to support the cause!"

In an effort to provide Canadians with fun and easy ideas to enjoy their time outdoors, Coleman has expanded the Get Outside Day website to include five new pillars focusing on: camping, cooking, fishing, staycation and watersports. If setting up a tent and making your home the woods for a weekend isn't your idea of fun, why not try a picnic in the park, paddling across the water in a canoe, or creating your own summer Olympics in the backyard? There's a little something for everyone, with tons of ideas and inspiration to make the most of their time outside, all summer (and year) long!

"There are endless ways Canadians can explore what our country has to offer, and we want to help provide inspiration for those looking for simple ideas, as well as those with a more adventurous spirit," said Sbrizzi. "And we're not alone in this endeavour – we are astonished by the number of partners who firmly believe in this cause and have supported it by spreading the word, and contributing their expertise to the www.getoutsidecanada.com hub of inspiration. If we can help inspire people to get outside, not only on July 15th, but all year long in any and all ways possible, we've done our part."

To learn more about the petition to make July 15th a national holiday, and for suggestions, inspiration and ideas on how you and your loved ones can #GetOutside this summer season, visit www.getoutsidecanada.com. To share your photos, videos or comments, please visit us on Twitter at @getoutsideday and on Facebook at Coleman Canada and use the #GetOutside hashtag.

1 Coleman Canada Outdoor Report, May 2014.

Keeping Kids and Dogs Safe Together This Summer

​ Summer is peak season for dog bites – especially among children, who spend more time outdoors during July and August, increasing the potential for problem encounters.

An estimated 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control; more than half of the bites resulting in serious injury happen to children under age 14. Dog bite prevention requires action by both human and pet parents.

"Whether a family has a dog in the household or not, parents must teach children how to behave safely around dogs," says Traci Simo, head of Manners dog obedience training for Canine Company. She says every child should know these four basic rules:

Never pet a dog you don't know without first asking the owner. If given permission, let the dog sniff your hand before touching him.
Don't grab a dog from behind or place your arms around his neck because he may feel threatened.

Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
If a strange dog approaches you, stand still. In most cases, the dog will sniff you and go away once it decides you are not a threat. Don't run. Dogs love to chase, and may become excited and lunge. Walk slowly with your hands at your side.

"We all think our own dog will never bite," adds Simo, "but even a sweet, friendly dog can strike out from fear, for protection or in defense." Pet parents are legally responsible for injuries their dog causes, so it's important for pet parents to take these precautions:

Follow leash laws. Don't let your dog run free unless you have an Invisible Fence® system that will keep him contained in your yard.
Have your dog spayed or neutered. Studies show that dogs are three times more likely to bite if they are NOT neutered.

Train your dog to obey basic commands like 'sit,' 'stay' and 'come.' While it's best to start when the dog is a puppy, no dog is too old to learn obedience skills.

If a dog demonstrates any aggressive behaviors, don't wait for a bite to happen. Seek professional advice from a qualified trainer right away.


Earth Rangers presenting animal shows for kids at Toronto Island Park this summe
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City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation welcomes Earth Rangers, the kids’ conservation organization, to Toronto Island Park for a series of live animal shows throughout the summer starting Saturday, June 25. Residents are invited to meet Earth Rangers Animal Ambassadors and learn about the restoration of Franklin the Turtle's Habitat Pond.

“The live animal shows will provide educational and entertaining summer outings for children and families,” said Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “I encourage residents and visitors to come to our iconic Toronto Island Park and learn about conservation and wildlife, as well as the important restoration work taking place at Franklin the Turtle’s Habitat Pond.”

As part of their Bring Back the Wild! program, Earth Rangers, along with the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Friends of the Toronto Island/Toronto Island Residents, TD Bank, CRH Canada and Live Green Toronto, is partnering with the City of Toronto to naturalize the Habitat Pond through the removal of invasive species, the introduction of native plant species and the installation of basking logs to provide an ideal habitat for turtles, frogs, fish, birds and other wetland species. 

The live animal shows will take place at TD Storybook Place in the Franklin Children's Garden at Toronto Island Park. Weekend shows run from June 25 to September 5 (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Weekday shows begin on July 6 and run until August 5 (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Admission to all shows is free. 

More information is available at http://toronto.ca/islands and http://www.earthrangers.org.

Celebrate Canada Day with Parks Canada - Parks Canada welcomes visitors with free admission on Canada Day

"Canada Day is the ideal time for Canadians and visitors from around the world to celebrate and share Canada's national heritage, and what's more Canadian than our national parks and historic sites. I encourage everyone to visit any of Parks Canada's places for free on Canada Day. It's a great way for friends and families to experience one of Canada's many natural and cultural treasures. Happy Canada Day!"

Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
Catherine McKenna
​Parks Canada's places represent the very best that Canada has to offer and tell stories of who we are, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.

The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, invites Canadians and international visitors to celebrate Canada's 149th birthday on Friday, July 1, with free admission at all national parks, national marine conservation areas, and Parks Canada-administered national historic sites. Lockage at all stations on the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Rideau Canal as well as at Quebec's historic canals will also be free for the day.

Quick Facts
  • Parks Canada manages a network of 46 national parks, 168 national historic sites, four national marine conservation areas, one national urban park and eight historic canals that make up the rich tapestry of Canada's cultural and natural heritage.
  • Fort Anne is Canada's oldest national historic site, created in 1917, and Labrador's Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve was named the 46th national park in 2015.
  • Parks Canada is Canada's largest provider of natural and cultural tourism destinations and its iconic parks and sites form the cornerstones of the Canadian tourism industry.
  • Parks Canada continues to improve its visitor offer with investments in infrastructure – particularly in campgrounds and day use-areas, the addition of oTENTik accommodations across the country, and even more innovative and educational events and activities.
  • Parks Canada works with more than 300 Indigenous communities across Canada in conserving, restoring and presenting Canada's natural and cultural heritage.
These treasured places enable us to experience our rich history and natural heritage in a special way. As we near the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government invites all Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn more about our environment and history this summer.

As announced in Budget 2016, the Government is also pleased to announce that admission and lockage will be free all year in 2017 in celebration of Canada 150.

Visit www.pc.gc.ca to find out about the special events that Parks Canada is planning across the country on Canada Day.

Football Father's Day With Love

Photo Essay By Walter Tautorat

  1. 0
    There are a lot of similarities between life and football. A series of X’s and O’s and connecting lines meant to give us a chance to make gains in incremental amounts.
  2. 1
    A chance to advance into new territory while steadfastly defending our own.
  3. 2
    Often things don’t go as planned and you have to adjust on the spot, change your approach, call an audible or just plain run for your life.
  4. 3
    We try to surround ourselves and work in tandem with our brothers, sisters, families and friends.
  5. 4
    We make the best of plans and suddenly you look up and you are alone. Exposed. Vulnerable. Scared. My first momentous game changer happened on July 5th, 1979.
  6. 5
    I was in Kitchener Ontario, in a room with a few others. It was a Thursday, the Blue Jays were playing a game on the television and a Nurse called my name
  7. 6
    handed me a beautiful little pink bundle and said,”Mr. Tautorat, I believe this is yours !”. My insides exploded in joy and fear.
  8. 7
    I knew instantly that my life had just changed forever. Plans changed, life changed but to this day every time i see Tammy my heart still feels that radiant burst.
  9. 8
    I was blessed twice more with the birth of my sons David and Andy. As life goes, through a series of events I was given the opportunity to raise my youngest son on my own.
  10. 9
    An experience that I thank God for daily. The next chapter of life gave me the most wonderful gifts of a son-in-law, Craig and three incredible grandchildren, Owen, Abi and Max.
  11. 10
    I watched my oldest son Dave play football for Cambridge for several years so the joy of seeing my oldest grandson Owen play for the same team was particularly heart warming and brought back a flood of memories.
  12. 11
    It’s nice to win, and this Cambridge Lions team seems to do that on a regular but I think true victory is found in the love shown and felt in those around us.
  13. 12
    The kids took me for a bite after the game. Max tapped my shoulder and asked what the tattoo on my arm says. I answered ” Live, Love and Laugh” in German. He looked me in the eye, smiled that million dollar smile, laughed and kept eating.
  14. 13
    I knew that I didn’t have to explain that any further to him. Thanks Tammy, Craig, Owen, Abi and Max for sharing such an awesome Father’s Day! Thanks to Dave and Andy, always glad to hear from you boys too! To all the Dad’s that have been benched or temporarily side-lined by matters beyond their control, stay strong, where there is love there is life and where there is faith there is hope. To the Cambridge Lions, you guys rock and hope to see you guys play again soon!

Tourism Toronto launches interactive Yo-Toronto.com trip planning website for kids

 Parents can involve their kids in family travel planning with a new kids-first web site Yo-Toronto.com, launched today by Tourism Toronto. Designed to inspire and entertain younger guests, the site is filled with games, activities, videos, and fun facts.  The colourful map navigation and quick, up-beat videos allow kids to explore over 20 Toronto landmarks and attractions to shape their family trip.  
Accessible via desktop computer, phone or tablet, Yo-Toronto.com offers video highlights to create your must-see in Toronto lists, print-friendly activities to take on the road, scavenger hunt-styled games, and 'best of' lists to help families get the most out of their time in the city.

"Planning a trip can be such a powerful part of the learning process that many parents want to provide their kids through travel. Yo-Toronto is a kids-first site meant to give kids the opportunity to participate in the trip planning experience," said Johanne Bélanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. "Toronto is truly Canada's downtown, offering families the biggest and best attractions and a global diversity of food, festivals and culture. It's an ideal combination of fun and learning and that should include the part of the trip that happens before the family even gets in to the car or boards the plane."

Parents can plan the details of their Toronto trip through the expanded SeeTorontoNow.com including hotels, neighbourhoods, events and practical tips like transportation options. Meanwhile, at Yo-Toronto.com, kids can explore attractions like Toronto Zoo, CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Hockey Hall of Fame, Harbourfront Centre, Air Canada Centre, Casa Loma, Railway Museum, Toronto Islands, Bata Shoe Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Fort York, Treetop Trekking, Fantasy Fair at Woodbine, Canada's Wonderland, BMO Field, Legoland, Playdium, and Rogers Centre. 
 Keep kids entertained with downloadable activities from colouring a historic castle and testing wildlife knowledge to discovering a rollercoaster maze or laughing out loud with jokes. There's even fun learning facts such as the CN Tower has an incredible 1,776 steps and six glass-fronted elevators in case that climb is a bit much; Canada's Wonderland is home to the 93-metre-tall (306 feet) Leviathan, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada; There's a secret underground tunnel that connects Casa Loma to its horse stables; the Toronto Zoo is one of the world's largest with more than 5,000 animals representing over 500 species; the ROM only recently found out the name of its Egyptian mummy, known as Nefret-Mut, meaning "beautiful one of the goddess Mut."

Toronto is Canada's most-visited destination, welcoming 14.3 million overnight visitors in 2015. Family travel to Toronto is increasing in all seasons with the recent additions of major new attractions like Ripley's Aquarium of Canada and the addition of Giant Pandas at the Toronto Zoo, and special events throughout the year like TIFF Kids Film Festival, BuskerFest, the Canadian National Exhibition, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Toronto Christmas Market. Toronto also provides easy ways for parents to introduce children to arts and culture through special kids programming at museums and galleries, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Harbourfront Centre, and major theatrical productions.

Developed by Tourism Toronto in partnership with SpaFax agency, the artistic design of the new website came from Toronto natives John Crossingham (writer) and Clayton Hanmer (illustrator). Mr. Crossingham is best known for his talent in music, having been part of bands including Broken Social Scene and Raising the Fawn and the author of Speak Music. Mr. Hanmer, a winner of many industry awards, has had his work appear in diverse publications such as National Geographic Kids, Nickelodeon, The Walrus, The Globe & Mail, and the New York Times.

Babies React to Their Mother's Voice When it is Emitted Through the Vagina from the 16th week of Pregnancy

A new audio device enables pregnant women to communicate with their babies before they are born 

The foetus moves its mouth in an exaggerated manner when it hears a human voice. This occurs from the 16th week of pregnancy (with a foetus of 11cm) and only when the voice reaches it through an intravaginal device developed for this purpose. This is one of the conclusions of the study presented by Dr. Álex García-Faura, the Scientific Director of the Institut Marquès, at the 25th European Congress of Perinatal Medicine held in Maastricht (Netherlands).

The study finds that babies hear practically no external noise and only react when sound reaches them through the vagina, which confirms that they hardly hear voices through the mother's abdomen. Their reactions were studied using Babypod®, a small device that is inserted into the vagina like a tampon and is connected to a mobile phone, enabling the voice of the mother or anyone else to reach the foetus.

"Foetuses react with vocalisation movements when we can reach them with voice messages through their mother's vagina. The response is different when we emit music and we put this down to music and voice activating different brain circuits: music activates neuronal circuits that trigger emotions", says Dr. García-Faura, who has compared the differing reactions by using transabdominal ultrasounds. Accordingly, 70% of foetuses move their mouths when they are talked to; when they hear music they make more complex movements that also include the protrusion of their tongues.

This study is part of Institut Marquès's pioneering line of research that is based on the benefits of music at the onset of life. The findings on the recognition of the mother's voice raises a new challenge: "Foetuses respond in the same way to all voices. This leads us to a new question: to learn whether the hundreds of babies that you have already stimulated during pregnancy will be able to recognise their parents' voices if they have heard them during pregnancy from within the womb and also to find out whether this represents a stimulus for language and communication development", the specialist says.

Apart from enabling communication with the foetus, Babypod® is safe and has highly important medical applications: it allows foetal deafness to be ruled out and facilitates ultrasounds that, by producing a response in the baby, improve the viewing of foetal structures.

Further information on the website: http://institutomarques.com/area-cientifica/musica-y-estimulacion-fetal/.
The world's most popular children's entertainment act The Wiggles! turn 25 this year
Coming off a smash hit Australian tour of 220 sell-out shows and more than 110,000 tickets sold, the world's most popular children's entertainment group, The Wiggles, will return to North America this fall for their "Wiggle Town!" tour.


Ready to delight families across the continent with their incomparable brand of preschool entertainment, The Wiggles will be celebrating their 25th birthday and supporting their brand new CD and DVD, Wiggle Town!, as well as a new season of their hit TV series airing on Hulu in the U.S. and Treehouse in Canada. For a preview of Wiggle Town! click here.

Joined on stage by their lovable friends Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog and Henry the Octopus, founding member Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle), Emma Watkins (Yellow Wiggle), Simon Pryce (Red Wiggle) and Lachlan Gillespie (Purple Wiggle) can't wait to deliver a wiggly good time for their audiences!

"We can't wait to welcome everyone to Wiggle Town!," said Emma. "Of course we'll play our classic wiggly favorites like 'Rock-a-Bye Your Bear', 'Fruit Salad' and 'Do the Propeller!' affirmed Lachy. Simon added excitedly, "The North American tour is always one of the big highlights of our year and I can't wait to sing, dance and play 'Simon Says' with all our wonderful North American friends!" "We are so excited to be taking our Wiggle Town show to our friends in North America, the audiences will be hearing, seeing and singing along to all their favorite Wiggle songs from the past 25 years of Wiggling! We cannot wiggly wait!" enthused Anthony.

The "Wiggle Town!" tour will include new music from the Wiggle Town! album. Kids will shake to "Come on Down to Wiggle Town!," bop to "Do the Pretzel", and heel-toe to "Captain Barnyard Dance" – just to name a few.

After 25 years of performing, The Wiggles are the world's #1 Children's entertainment group. With 7 million albums, 23 million DVDs, and 8 million books sold the Wiggles have performed to millions of fans worldwide, and count amongst their fans such high-profile celebrities as Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Jerry Seinfeld, Cate Blanchett, Chris Rock, Shaquille O'Neal and Harry Styles.

Major Wiggles brand partnerships include Wicked Cool Toys, Hulu TV, Treehouse TV, SiriusXM Radio, PlayKids, EOne, and Corus Entertainment and Netflix in Canada.

For even more Wiggly fun, become a fan of the group's official Facebook page Facebook.com/TheWiggles or follow them on Twitter via Twitter.com/TheWiggles. You can also see behind-the-scenes of Wiggly life and stay up-to-date with Wiggly news by following the gang on Instagram @thewiggles.

In 2016 The Wiggles celebrate their 25th birthday! With 7 million albums, 23 million DVDs, and 8 million books sold, The Wiggles have performed to millions of fans across the globe.

Since releasing their self-titled album in 1991 the group has wiggled its way to worldwide fame. More than 50 CD and DVD releases later, they have earned 17 x gold, 12 x platinum, 3 x double-platinum, 10 x multi-platinum awards for their music and DVD sales and have been awarded 12 x ARIA Awards for Best Children's Album (making ARIA history as the most awarded ARIA winner in the one category.

A new Wiggles era has begun and Anthony, Emma, Lachy and Simon are making new Wiggly history every day!  
North American Tour Dates:

Saturday, 9/17
Boston, MA
Orpheum Theatre
Sunday, 9/18
Westbury, NY
Theatre at Westbury
Thursday, 9/22
Wilmington, DE
The Playhouse on Rodney Square
Friday, 9/23
Baltimore, MD
Hippodrome Theatre
Saturday, 9/24
Washington, DC
The Warner Theatre
Sunday, 9/25
Upper Darby, PA
Tower Theatre
Tuesday, 9/27
Pittsburgh, PA
Byham Theatre
Wednesday, 9/28
Harrisburg, PA
The Forum Auditorium

Friday, 9/30
Rahway NJ
The Union County Performing Arts Center
Saturday, 10/1
Montclair, NJ
Wellmont Theatre
Sunday, 10/2
Englewood, NJ
Bergen Performing Arts Center
Tuesday, 10/4
Montreal, QC
Théâtre St. Denis
Wednesday, 10/5
Ottawa, ON
Centrepointe Theatre
Thursday, 10/6
Peterborough, ON
Showplace Performance Theatre
Saturday, 10/8
Toronto, ON
Ricoh Coliseum
Tuesday, 10/11
Kitchener, ON
Centre in the Square
Wednesday, 10/12
Brampton, ON
Rose Theatre
Thursday, 10/13
Hamilton, ON
Hamilton Place
Saturday, 10/15
St. John's, NL
Mile One Centre


On sale to the general public June 10.

For a complete list of tour dates and ticket information for the "Wiggle Town!" tour, please visit: www.thewiggles.com/events.



 

Tim Hortons Camp Day brews $12.6 million to make 19,000 kids' futures brighter

- Tim Hortons Guests and Restaurant Owners raise $12.6 million for the Tim Horton Children's Foundation, helping to send kids from low-income families on a life-changing camp experience -

On June 1, 100 per cent of proceeds from coffee sales at participating Tim Hortons Restaurants, along with Camp Day bracelet sales and donations large and small from generous Guests and Restaurant Owners, raised $12.6 million for the Tim Horton Children's Foundation (THCF). All funds raised will help impact the lives of 19,000 kids from low-income families by sending them to one of seven THCF camps across North America this year, and supporting them to positively change their outlook on life.

THCF camps provide so much more than visits to camp. The purposeful programming helps kids develop important life skills and the confidence to build a brighter future for themselves. In the past 25 years, more than $162 million has been raised – including proceeds from this year – providing more than 237,000 kids with the opportunity to become more responsible, caring and motivated individuals.

"Camp Day is possible only with the support of our loyal Guests, dedicated Restaurant Owners and Team Members, local celebrities, and volunteers, who take the time to help us serve coffee and raise funds for the Tim Horton Children's Foundation," says David Clanachan, President & COO Tim Hortons Canada and Chair, THCF. "We thank everyone for making our 25th annual Camp Day a success. Because of you, thousands of children will be given a camp experience that will provide the skills, confidence and strength to achieve their full potential."

With the funds raised on Camp Day, Tim Hortons Restaurant Owners sponsor kids directly from their local communities to attend camp. They work closely with local youth organizations and schools to identify children who would benefit most from the experience. The THCF camp experience comes at absolutely no cost to kids or their families.

"We are so grateful to everyone who supported Camp Day this year and helped us create thousands of opportunities for kids to develop the tools they need to grow into thriving, contributing members of their communities," says Dave Newnham, President and Executive Director, Tim Horton Children's Foundation. "At our THCF camps, we have a very deliberate approach to empowering our campers. Without Camp Day, our largest annual fundraiser, these life changing experiences would not be possible."

This year, Guests helped raise awareness about Camp Day by purchasing a Camp Day braided bracelet and spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #CampDay. These bracelets (available in four different colours for $2 plus tax while supplies last) were inspired by the THCF GR8 Beads program which helps kids gain valuable life skills and values, such as responsibility and teamwork, that they can apply at home, school and in their communities. Guests were also able to see the impact of their coffee purchase right on their cup with a new Camp Day design and speech bubble that showcased some of the important outcomes of THCF Camps: helping kids believe in themselves, helping to create a brighter future, helping to build courage and confidence, and helping kids to be their best.

Guests can continue to make donations to the Tim Horton Children's Foundation throughout the year at thcf.com.        
Camp Day supporters can join the conversation online
Tag #CampDay
Like THCF on Facebook facebook.com/timhortonchildrensfoundation
Follow THCF on Twitter @THCF1974
Follow THCF on Instagram @THCF1974
Subscribe to THCF on YouTube @youtube.com/THCF1974
Like Tim Hortons on Facebook facebook.com/TimHortons
Follow Tim Hortons on Twitter @Tim Hortons
Follow Tim Hortons on Instagram @TimHortons
Subscribe to Tim Hortons on YouTube youtube.com/TimHortons

About the Tim Horton Children's Foundation
The Tim Horton Children's Foundation (THCF) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1974 that is committed to providing an enriched and memorable camp experience for children and youth from low-income families. The Foundation's funding comes from Tim Hortons Camp Day, fundraising activities, special events, and year-round public donations collected through counter and drive-thru coin boxes, as well as other donations. By the end of 2016, more than 237,000 children will have attended a Foundation camp at no cost to them or their families. For more information about the Tim Horton Children's Foundation, please visit www.thcf.com.

About the Tim Horton Children's Foundation Camps
The first Tim Horton Children's Foundation camp opened in Parry Sound, ON in 1975 with just 200 kids. Today, the Foundation operates seven camps across North America and will serve more than 19,000 children from low-income families in 2016. Camp programs include a traditional summer camp for kids ages nine to 12, an experience lasting three to seven days in length for schools and youth-serving agencies throughout the fall, winter and spring, and a five-level Youth Leadership Program for participants ages 13 to 17, focused on building lifelong leadership skills. Guests can make donations year-round at thcf.com.   

Teen Resource Centre and Pathways to Education Canada partner to break the cycle of poverty for Saint John youth

The Teen Resource Centre (TRC) and Pathways to Education Canada are pleased to announce that they have partnered to help support Saint John youth to graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education, training, or employment.
Scheduled to launch in September 2016, the TRC will deliver the award-winning Pathways to Education Program – a combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports proven to lower high school dropout rates – to high school students living in Waterloo Village and South End.

"We are thrilled to partner with Pathways to Education Canada to support Saint John youth from Waterloo Village and South End, where poverty rates exceed 30 per cent, and the child poverty rate is 49.5 per cent," says June Breau-Nason, Executive Director of the TRC. "We are proud to be the host agency and Program partner for this great initiative for youth who need it most."

Pathways to Education and the TRC acknowledge the Government of Canada's continued support of the Pathways Program and Canada's youth. The provision of $34.5 million over four years to Pathways to Education has been a vital component in making this expansion possible.

"Pathways to Education Canada does great work in helping at-risk youth in low-income communities," says the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. "The new Saint John Program will help Pathways extend its reach to more young people who are facing barriers, and provide them with the tools they need to graduate from high school."

Recent community studies indicate that, among respondents, 90 per cent of Waterloo Village and South End youth identify social issues – like bullying, feeling misunderstood, issues at home, or anxiety – as a major contributor to having trouble in school. One quarter of youth do not believe they will graduate from high school. A further 25 per cent say that, if they do, it will take at least five or six years. Nearly half think that there are significant barriers preventing them from continuing to post-secondary.
About Pathways to Education Canada – www.pathwaystoeducation.ca

Pathways to Education is a national, charitable organization working to make Canada a Graduation Nation. Partnering with dedicated organizations in low-income communities, Pathways supports youth to graduate from high school and achieve their full potential. Celebrating 15 years of successful programming, our award-winning combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports continues to successfully break the cycle of poverty through the power of education.

About the TRC – www.trc4youth.org

The Teen Resource Centre (TRC) provides a safe and encouraging environment for youth to explore their full potential. We offer services and programs for youth between the ages of 12-24, designed to foster in them the creativity, energy and leadership our community needs to grow and thrive. We also provide services and programs that assist youth with their physical and mental health, provide on-site services to assist youth who are homeless or living in vulnerable situations, facilitate career path and mentoring to help youth build life skills, create opportunities for community volunteerism and leadership training, and encourage youth to explore and discover their interests and passions. The support and services provided by the TRC directly contributes to a healthy and vibrant youth population, reducing the risks associated with crime, homelessness, addiction and recidivism.
"Pathways to Education has a successful track record of improving high school graduation rates in low-income communities across Canada. We welcome our partnership with TRC to begin the process for the youth and families of Waterloo Village and the South End in Saint John," says Sue Gillespie, President and CEO, Pathways to Education Canada. "Improving high school graduation rates has proven to have a positive impact on youth, their families, their communities, and our country. We are proud to be working together to break the cycle of poverty through the power of education."

Celebrating 15 years of programming, Pathways to Education's results have been groundbreaking. High school graduation rates have increased by an average of 75 per cent, and 73 per cent of all students who graduated from high school while in the Pathways to Education Program have gone on to post-secondary education or training.

Pathways to Education provides students with weekly tutoring, flexible and personalized mentoring, financial incentives and scholarship funding, as well as advocacy support to provide a bridge between the student and their school, family, program, and community. These supports come at no cost to the youth or their families.

"Anticipation is really building for our first cohort of Grade 9 students starting the Program in September 2016," says Heather Doyle, Pathways to Education Program Manager for the TRC. "Each year we will welcome a new Grade 9 cohort, and work with each group of young people until they graduate. We look forward to working with Pathways to Education and the community to close Saint John's educational achievement gap." 

MLSE Foundation awards $50,000 Community Action Grant to ProAction Cops & Kids

MLSE Foundation announced ProAction Cops & Kids as this year's recipient of the $50,000 MLSE Foundation Community Action Grant during the annual Toronto Police Games at The Hangar at Downsview Park on Saturday morning. MLSE Foundation representatives were joined by Jean Milligan, ProAction Cops & Kids Executive Director and youth from the organization for the announcement. The $50,000 grant will directly support the Bridging Communities and Police through Athletics Expanded program (BCPA-Expanded).

"We're excited to announce ProAction Cops & Kids and their BCPA-Expanded program as the recipient of the MLSE Foundation Community Action Grant," said Michael Bartlett, Executive Director, MLSE Foundation. "Their collaboration between youth, local police and community partners is a great initiative that contributes to a more engaged and safer community."

The Bridging Communities and Police through Athletics program (BCPA) is a multisport, three year initiative that began in September 2013. Over the past three years, this program has engaged at risk youth, police and community partners in various sports to increase the physical activity of youth while creating stronger youth-community-police relationships. This initiative is currently being delivered in partnership with the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the Toronto Police Amateur Athletic Association (TPAAA). BCPA intends to grow this successful program throughout Toronto as well as replicate it in three other ProAction chapters: Durham, Hamilton and Niagara Region, known as BCPA-Expanded.


"Thanks to the generous support of MLSE Foundation, hundreds of kids are being given the opportunity to play in a sport they otherwise would not be able to afford," said Jean Milligan, Executive Director, ProAction Cops & Kids. "With police officers as coaches and mentors, these young people are developing healthier and more active lifestyles while learning how to make positive life choices that lead to safer communities."

The BCPA-Expanded program will provide a unique opportunity for young people to work directly with police officers in a non-threatening, sports focused environment. The BCPA-Expanded program will include over 20 different sports teams across these communities and benefit 600 young people. Officers from different divisions will organize teams in basketball, soccer, flag football, volleyball and/or hockey and recruit up to 20 young people per officer to play on their teams throughout the school year.

The MLSE Foundation Community Action Grant is a $50,000 multisport grant awarded to charitable organizations supporting youth sports programming in the city. Eligible organizations can apply at mlsefoundation.org next season, where submissions are reviewed by a selection committee before a winner is chosen and announced at a special event in their community.
About ProAction Cops & Kids
ProAction Cops & Kids is a charity that for 25 years has supported programs that are developed and delivered by police officers to build strong relationships between officers and at-risk youth. ProAction partners with police services in Toronto, Hamilton, Durham and Niagara Regions to offer a diverse range of programs that engage young people from all backgrounds and with varied interests.

ProAction is proud to support police officers as they reach out to youth in our communities and establish relationships that help lead these young people towards better life choices. While engaging youth in healthy, pro-social activities, police officers are able to develop an understanding of the challenges youth face while mentoring and guiding these young people to success. The mutual understanding and respect that is created builds stronger and safer communities. To learn more about the great programs funded by ProAction Cops & Kids, please visit www.copsandkids.ca.

About MLSE Foundation
MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of MLSE's teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and Toronto Marlies, the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sports and recreation. Since launching in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has invested more than $19 million into our community. For more information visit mlsefoundation.org, or follow @MLSEFoundation.

Community Fun Fest at Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre

Community Fun Fest - Saturday, June 18th (11:30 - 2:30pm). Help us celebrate 25 years of neighbourhood programs & services! Free Fun activities for kids of all ages (games, crafts & Bouncy Castles!), Programs Showcase, Tea with our Seniors, Free Fitness & Dance classes, Room 13 multi-media/visual arts show, Adult Colouring & Wine, BBQ, Entertainment, Fundraiser Car Wash, Starbucks refreshment tent & more! 

Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre
627 Queens Quay West
(Bathurst & Queens Quay)
Toronto, ON  M5V 3G3
t: 416.392.1509
f: 416.392.1512
info@waterfrontnc.ca

Ontario Science Centre invites visitors to explore the science behind the unbelievable with The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not!® exhibition
 It's not weird; it's science! Explore the science of the unbelievable at The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not!®, which opened at the Ontario Science Centre on May 20. A joint production between Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Science North, the family-friendly exhibition presents an extraordinary collection of intriguing objects and astonishing artifacts from Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Through experiments, challenges, touchable specimens, computer interactives and multimedia experiences, this highly engaging exhibition allows visitors to delve into Robert Ripley's legendary compendium of oddities, anomalies and fantastic feats. From crawling through a life-size model of a prehistoric snake to measuring up against the world's tallest man, and from investigating incredible examples of body modification to experiencing some of the world's most perplexing optical illusions, The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not!® encourages visitors to follow their natural curiosity in the unusual and explore the science behind the unbelievable.

"This highly interactive exhibition is colourful, exciting, bursting with family fun and very hands-on," said Jim Pattison Jr., President of Ripley Entertainment Inc. "Robert Ripley was always fascinated by the scientific side of his finds as he travelled the world."

The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not!® is funded in part by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. The exhibition runs daily until September 5, 2016 and is included with general admission. For more information about The Science of Ripley's Believe It or Not!® and to purchase tickets, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca/TheScienceOfRipleys/.

The Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 50 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

"Curiosity is an innate human quality and one that led Robert Ripley to accumulate his astonishing collections," said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "With this exhibition, we invite visitors to exercise their own curiosity to learn about the science that underlies and explains the seemingly inexplicable, and make Ripley's passion for discovery their own."
Kick-off the camping season with Canadian RVing and Camping Week and help make wishes come true
Today, Go RVing Canada and the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) announce the launch of Canadian RVing and Camping Week. From May 24-29, the unofficial kick-off to camping season, participating campgrounds across Canada will celebrate everything that makes camping and RVing great with activities, discounted camping rates, and a special fundraising initiative for Make-A-Wish® Canada.

As part of the week's celebrations, Go RVing Canada and CCRVC are raising funds for Make-A-Wish Canada to help grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. On Saturday, May 28, campgrounds across Canada will come together to sell Wish lanterns with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish Canada. At 10 p.m. (local time) campers will gather, make a Wish and shine their light for Make-A-Wish Canada.


"Canadian RVing and Camping Week is an outstanding initiative with so many possibilities to help make wishes come true for our wish kids," said Jennifer Klotz-Ritter, president & CEO, Make-A-Wish Canada. "We've fulfilled many camping wishes over the years and through our work with Go RVing Canada, we hope to make even more wishes come true."

Canadian RVing and Camping Week brings together campgrounds across the country and encourages campers to explore the great outdoors. Select campgrounds across Canada will offer special discounts and will host activities aimed at raising as many funds as possible for Make-A-Wish Canada.

"We hope that this week will encourage more families to take advantage of the fun and affordable vacation RVing has to offer," said Chris Mahony, Executive Director, Go RVing Canada. "The RV lifestyle offers freedom and flexibility unlike other family holiday experiences and camping is a great way for families to unwind, re-connect with each other and explore the great outdoors."

Camping in Canada

Camping is not only one of Canada's favourite pasttimes, it is also a major contributor to the national economy with more than $4.7 million of economic impact yearly. There are more than 60,000 jobs supported by the camping industry and the industry itself generates more than $1 billion in taxes.i

"Parks Canada places are gateways to nature, adventure and discovery," said Robert Loken, Manager, National Operations and Sales. "National parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas represent the very best that Canada has to offer. We hope that Canadian RVing and Camping Week will encourage both new and experienced campers alike to go camping this Spring while also helping to support Make-A-Wish Canada."

How to Participate?

To help reach the goal of $20,000 for Make-A-Wish Canada, campers can book their stay at a participating campground and join in the Wish Event. To find out more about Canadian RVing and Camping Week, including special discounts and participating campgrounds, visit GoRVing.ca/RVCampingWeek.  

FIND ADVENTURE  IN THE CITY

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Kids inspire $10,000 donation from Ontario's doctors to the Canadian Red Cross
Children from across the province put pen – and pencil and crayon – to paper to share how their 'doc rocks'. This was part of a campaign to celebrate Ontario's doctors and to benefit those in need.

This activity was part of the Ontario Medical Association's (OMA) Doctors' Day campaign to celebrate the special relationship young patients have with their doctors. To recognize the contribution of Ontario's physicians and to honour the bravery of young patients, the OMA committed to donating $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross on behalf of those who participated in this year's Doctors' Day campaign.

"Ontario's doctors are proud to make a donation to the Red Cross, especially at a time when the needs of our fellow Canadians in Alberta are so great," said Dr. Virginia Walley, President of the Ontario Medical Association. "We would like to thank all of the children who sent us their messages, as well as the schools, hospitals and health-care organizations that helped facilitate this wonderful campaign."

More than 1,000 children submitted a "My doc rocks because…" drawing with a variety of touching, funny and heartfelt messages.

Children wrote "My doc rocks because…
…he saved my life when my heart stopped beating."
…once I walk in she smiles."
…he always has time for me when I'm sick and he cures me in a snap. He also rocks because he is trust worthy and he is in a rock and roll band."
…she helps me when I break a bone and if doctors weren't here we would have broken bones, disease and there would be sickness and sadness everywhere."

May 1st was recognized by the provincial government in 2011 as the official day of appreciation for Ontario's doctors. The date was chosen to mark the birthday of Canada's first female physician, Dr. Emily Stowe.



Ontario's doctors have a long history of advocating for the health and well-being of their patients and for the communities in which they practice. Every day, Ontario's 29,000 doctors put patients first. From hospitals to long-term care homes, and from clinics to patient's homes, Ontario's doctors make a positive difference in the lives of their patients by providing high-quality care when it's needed most.

"I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I say it is a privilege to serve the patients of this province," said Dr. Walley. "There have been many expressions of support and events this month organized by local communities to say thanks to their doctors. Today is my opportunity to say thank you to all the patients we care for and to all members of the health-care team who we have the pleasure of working with every day."

Click here to view a sample of children's drawings and their Doctors' Day messages.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents more than 34,000 physicians and medical students across the province. Ontario's doctors work closely with patients to encourage healthy living practices and illness prevention. In addition to delivering front-line services to patients, Ontario's doctors play a significant role in helping shape health care policy, as well as implementing initiatives that strengthen and enhance Ontario's health care system.

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Nature by Numbers at Canada's Largest Indoor Aquarium

​A new exhibit at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada gives credence to the old adage, if you can't beat them - join them. Opening today, SWARM is a collection of animal 'mobs', showcased through interesting facts, touch tanks and interactive displays.

From silvery Lookdowns and colourful Halloween Crabs to Coral Catfish and Blue Blubber Jellyfish, SWARM features over 1,000 new animals. Meet the Clean Team at the Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp tank, and let these omnivorous scavengers get to work on ridding your hands and nails of dead skin. Or, take a peek at the Flashlight Fish and watch how these nocturnal creatures glow in the dark.

The 2,300 square foot exhibit is the first rotating gallery to join Ripley's since the Aquarium opened in 2013. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is open 9am daily, 365 days a year, including this Victoria Day long weekend.

For more information, visit www.ripleysaquariumofcanada.com 

Ontario Province Is Launching A Baby Box Program To Provide Safe Sleep Resources To New Parents

The Baby Box Co., the company that distributes internationally safe-certified Baby Boxes filled with educational materials and physician-recommended childcare products to expecting and new parents, today announced that a universal Baby Box program is launching in Ontario with the first Baby Boxes to be distributed in August 2016. Ontario will become the largest Baby Box program in the world with over 145,000 Baby Boxes to be distributed to Ontario families in year one of the program.

All expecting and new parents in Ontario will be eligible to receive a Baby Box for free as long as they receive prenatal care and review the Ontario education syllabus created by local healthcare professionals on Baby Box University.

In addition to The Baby Box Co.'s education department, which assists communities all over the world with Baby Box program development, the Ontario Baby Box program is organized by The Children's Aid Foundation, The New Moms Project, and The Mary Berglund Community Health Centre Hub. A network of primary health care facilities spread throughout the province are supporting these groups with distribution to ensure the Baby Box program is accessible to all Ontario residents.


​"The Baby Box Co. program model is designed for scale so we can reach more expecting mothers in the prenatal phase," said Gloria Pronger, Executive Director of the Mary Berglund Community Health Centre Hub. "This supports and aligns with our model of healthcare, and is an incredible opportunity to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Ontario."




Contents for the Ontario Baby Boxes are still being finalized, but CEO Jennifer Clary has confirmed that Pampers, which provided the diapers and wipes for Alberta's Welcome to Parenthood Baby Box program, is supporting Ontario families as well. "We are thrilled Pampers is continuing their partnership with The Baby Box Co. and are so grateful for their contribution of diapers and wipes. We look forward to making a formal announcement about all Ontario Baby Box partners and contents in July."

The Baby Box Co.'s Chief Education Offer Jennifer Weber also expressed excitement over the company's partnership with Vroom, a Bezos Family Foundation project. "All of the contents in the Ontario Baby Boxes as well as in our other community programs' Baby Boxes moving forward will be tagged with Vroom tips designed to provide parents and caregivers with fun ways to boost early learning. Education is at the heart of The Baby Box Co. and our alignment with Vroom epitomizes this commitment."

Entrepreneurs Michelle Vick and Jennifer Clary founded The Baby Box Co. to offer a safe sleep environment to babies everywhere. The Baby Box Co. partners with hospitals, government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide products and safe sleep resources to families on a large scale. Baby Boxes are also available direct to consumer either as a standalone item or filled with new baby essentials handpicked by the experts at The Baby Box Co. The Baby Box Co. is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in UK, Australia, Canada and Singapore. For more information or to purchase a Baby Box, please visit www.babyboxco.com.

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Children and youth with special needs speak with Ontario leaders about their hardship, frustration and alienation​
 
Children and youth with special needs gathered to speak with government representatives, education leaders, health professionals and service providers about their lives, dreams, and changes they need to achieve their goals.

These youth represent the views of more than 170 submissions received by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth as part of the "I Have Something to Say" project. The lived experiences and ideas for change shared by young people – many of whom have numerous or complex special needs – their families and caregivers from across Ontario are captured in a new report, "We Have Something to Say: Young people and their families speak out about special needs and change."

An estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18, or one in nine children, have a special need in Ontario. Special needs include behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, mental health issues, and long-term medical conditions.

Irwin Elman, Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth said, "Like you and I, young people with special needs have ideas, dreams and talents; yet many are kept on the sidelines of their own lives when it comes to decision-making, denied opportunities, and access to the critical supports and services they need. As a result, many children and their families find themselves struggling, alienated, and discouraged from achieving their goals."

The report captures the experiences of young people, their families and caregivers/care providers and the barriers they face because society often associates them with their special need. Many spoke of navigating multiple, confusing and fragmented systems of care tied to educational, health, financial and community services and supports. The Advocate's Office repeatedly heard stories of families feeling overwhelmed having to play the additional role of medical caregivers, which in turn put substantial emotional, physical and financial burden. These frustrations are exacerbated if families live in isolated or remote communities, or are newcomers to Canada where English or French is not their first language.

A consistent theme is that young people received limited access to critical supports in the classrooms and in their health care. They also felt left out of the decisions about their lives or were denied opportunities to socialize with their friends, other kids, because of the label of "special needs or disability."

"High school was the first low point in my life," said Rana Nasrazadani, a member of the youth advisory committee. The discouragement and lack of support was something that I had never experienced before and it strongly affected me. I was also left out of important discussions about my progress. It made me feel pretty bad. At the age of 16, you should be able to manage your own stuff. But they took that away from me."




​The report outlines recommendations to bring multiple ministries together to address service gaps for children with special needs; involve young people in decision-making processes; change the way that young people are perceived by services providers, educators and government; and offer better supports for families. A copy of the report and the full list of recommendations are available at: www.provincialadvocate.on.ca

"Submissions by young people and their families or caregivers speak to the need for a paradigm shift in Ontario where their voices are heard and they are seen as individuals who are not limited by their special needs," said Elman. "We are asking decision-makers to listen to these lived experiences and partner with young people to help them achieve their goals."

Young people and their families are encouraged to join the "We Have Something to Say" movement by sharing their stories and ideas for change at: #wehavesomethingtosay

About the "I Have Something to Say" project
In early 2014, the Advocate's Office launched the I Have Something to Say project to elevate the voices of young people with disabilities in an effort to improve communication between children and youth with disabilities and those who are in a position to provide them services to fill the gap between policy and practice.

The Advocate's Office conducted one-on-one interviews with young people, and received approximately 170 submissions in the form of written work, art, songs, videos and other mediums from hundreds of youth representing a cross-section of many different ages and abilities on the unique barriers they face trying to find or access services. Over time, the voices represented in the submissions took form and shaped the We Have Something to Say movement. This represents a mobilization as a community of young people, families, caregivers, service providers and others seeking to be part of creating collective, transformative change – the first of its kind in Ontario.

The Advocate's Office has compiled their ideas in the report on what changes are needed in the system to ensure they receive the care and support they require in order to live healthily, thrive and succeed.

About the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Office of the Provincial Advocate reports directly to the Legislature and provides an independent voice for children and youth, including children with disabilities and First Nations children. The advocates receive and respond to concerns from children, youth and families who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act (Provincial and Demonstration Schools). The Office is guided by the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a strong commitment to youth involvement. For more information, visit: www.provincialadvocate.on.ca.

For updates, read the Advocate's Blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.   


 
Important Safety Notice: Voluntary Recall of Select Joe Fresh® Pre-Walker Footlets
​ Loblaw Companies Limited is voluntarily recalling Joe Fresh® pre-walker Footlets in pink, navy and grey that have the style code BGS6GW2045 or BBS6FW2039 (see attached images). Fabric attached to the back of the slipper has the potential to detach and may pose a choking hazard to children.

The shoes were sold at the following locations since February 12, 2016.

Ontario:
Joe Fresh®, Real Canadian Superstore®, Fortinos®, Loblaws®, nofrills®, Your Independent Grocer®, Zehrs® and JoeFresh.com

Atlantic:
Atlantic Superstore®, Dominion®, Joe Fresh® and JoeFresh.com

Québec:
Joe Fresh®, Maxi® & Cie, Loblaws®, Provigo® and JoeFresh.com

West:
Joe Fresh®, Real Canadian Superstore®, Real Canadian Wholesale Club™, Extra Foods®, nofrills®, Your Independent Grocer® and JoeFresh.com

One instance of the fabric detaching has been reported and there have been no reports of injury.

All potentially affected products have been removed from store shelves. Customers can return the product to any store where Joe Fresh® apparel is sold and the customer service desk will provide a full refund.

We apologize for any concern this recall may have caused. The health and safety of our customers and their children is our top priority.


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First of its kind pregnancy, birth and parenting centre breaks down barriers across the GTA​
 


Stenback adds, "We brought together an amazing team of expert practitioners focused on restoring our faith in the miracle of pregnancy and the childbirth process. They work with couples to improve fertility; with pregnant women to optimize the way they feel and move, and to improve birth outcomes; with babies and children to reduce colic, improve digestion and immune function; and with women to restore pelvic health, assist with breastfeeding challenges, address anxiety and mood disorders, and return to a strong, healthy body."

WOMB clients are empowered to do this with the support of Birth and Postnatal Doulas, Lactation Consultants, Midwives, Naturopaths, Osteopathy, Chiropractors, Pelvic Health Physiotherapy, Massage Therapy, Counsellors and Coaches, Yoga, Fitness and Workshops.

A lot of the new traffic coming into The WOMB these days is through word of mouth. Many of the moms return daily for an appointment, a class, or just to sit, have a tea and connect with the community of parents that frequent the centre. They bring their friends and then they bring their own mothers.

"We've even had an increase in moms whose babies are 20 to 40 years old! Grandmothers often remark, 'I wish we had this when I was a young mother!' Well, I wish it was around when my kids were younger too!", Fleming laughs, clearly identifying where her inspiration came from.

One program that Fleming and Stenback hold dear to their hearts is a free workshop they call Childbirth Without Fear. Stenback remarks, "It is changing the way women view childbirth – they feel stronger and more confident. When women feel less fear, then their birth tends to proceed with more ease and tend to be shorter." Fleming adds, "We feel so passionate about this topic and the impact of the Doula. Not only does it impact the mom and baby's health but imagine how much it impacts health care spending."

This program has become so popular that Fleming and Stenback have had to take it on the road, speaking to Public Health organizations, Childbirth Educators, and to Allied Health Professionals.

Next up, the dynamic duo are opening "Nourished – A WOMB Specialty Shop and Gathering Room". They are expecting a slew of mommy bloggers, families and community partners for a celebration of cupcakes and fun (as well as discounts, prizes and draws) on April 21, 2016 from 10am – 3pm and a Mocktails for Mommies Shopping event from 6pm-9pm.

But that's not it. Fleming and Stenback are busily working on bringing The WOMB to each and every community. Whether that is franchising or opening more of their own centres, remains to be seen. But one thing they will never compromise is the amazing love, inspiration and education that comes from each and every person who works in The WOMB, to each and every person who comes into The WOMB.
Or that, a large percentage of the 1 in 7 women who suffer from "postpartum depression" can be supported simply by being connected to a caring and compassionate community?

Or that, nearly 60% of women will experience bladder leakage and don't even know that it may be preventable and fixable without surgery?

A local team of experts are on a mission to love, to teach and to inspire families to be proactive with their health right from the beginning...With a support and health network for all stages of parenthood and beyond.

The WOMB is a comprehensive wellness and health centre for fertility, pregnancy and parenting in Milton, ON. Opened in June 2014, The WOMB is the first of its kind in Canada – having welcomed nearly 20,000 visitors since then.

Co-founders and Doulas, Lorri Fleming and Angie Stenback had been dreaming about their centre for over 10 years. Fleming says, "Pregnancy and childbirth is a very special time in a woman's life. But let's be honest, it's can also be a scary and overwhelming time from both a physical and emotional perspective. Many of us look back and think, 'If I only knew'. Having the right support system during pregnancy and in the early postpartum days helps ensure that women and their families enjoy the childbirth process and early experiences of parenthood with more confidence and physical wellness."

Canada's Wonderland Celebrates 35th Birthday on Victoria Day

Fireworks kick off the celebration on Sunday, May 22

Canada's Wonderland celebrates its 35th birthday on Monday, May 23 and the party starts early with an explosive fireworks show that will light up the sky on Sunday night.

Canada's Wonderland officially opened its gates for the first time on May 23, 1981 with Wayne Gretzky, joining then Premier of Ontario, William Davis, for a spectacular opening ceremony that included 10,000 helium balloons, 13 parachutists, 350 white doves and representatives from the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions of Canada.

Since 1981, Canada's Wonderland has been providing lifelong memories to families and friends alike with live entertainment, special events and over 770,000,000 rides for thrill seekers of all ages. Thirty-five years later, this season is shaping up to be the most exciting one yet with two new rides and the most elaborate line-up of special events, live entertainment and street festivals in history.

Throughout the weekend, guests can enjoy an array of live entertainment including the WoofJocks Canine All-Stars Splash show, street performers and dance parties with Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. The fireworks show will light up the sky on Sunday, May 22, at 10 p.m. with 4,000 fireworks hitting heights of over 600 feet. Before the fireworks kick off, there will also be a special Fire Diver performance off Wonder Mountain.

Specially priced online tickets are available for Monday, May 23 for only $35.00. Season Passes are also available for $69.99 until midnight on May 23.

For more Park information including, tickets events and hours of operation, visit www.canadaswonderland.com.

Canada's Wonderland is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN." In addition to Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, three water parks, one indoor water park resort and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif. under a management contract.