Thursday, January 30, 2014

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan Becomes Member-Owner of The Co-operators

GUELPH, OntarioJanuary 30, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Co-operators is pleased to welcome Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan Inc. (APAS) as the newest member-owner of the Canadian insurance and financial services co-operative. Following the approval of the Board of Directors of The Co-operators, APAS's membership was effectiveJanuary 1, 2014. The Co-operators now has 44 member-owners, including Canadian co-operatives, credit union centrals and other organizations.
"We are delighted to welcome the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan as our newest member," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators.
"The Co-operators was formed by farmers in Saskatchewan in 1945 and has maintained its strong relationships with agricultural organizations since that time. We look forward to building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with APAS in the years ahead."
APAS was formed in 2000 to provide thousands of agricultural producers in Saskatchewan with a democratically elected, grassroots organization that represents their interests. It develops policy positions that promote the economic wellbeing of Saskatchewan's agricultural producers, support sustainable agricultural practices and contribute to the viability of rural communities. "APAS is proud to be the newest owner-member of The Co-operators", said Norm Hall, President of APAS. "We look forward to working alongside our fellow members to extend the many benefits and advantages that come with membership in The Co-operators."
A co-operative is owned and democratically controlled by members who use its services or products. The membership of The Co-operators consists of 44 organizations from every region of the country, representing the agriculture, finance, retail/consumer, service, health, and labour sectors of the Canadian economy.
About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $34 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit

Monday, January 20, 2014

Where You Live Matters: Report shows Canadians have different health care experiences

Health Council of Canada releases 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey results

TORONTO, Ontario January 20, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Health Council of Canada released results from the 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of the General Public. Where You Live Matters: Canadian views on health care quality is the eighth and final bulletin in the Canadian Health Care Matters series.

The report focuses on differences across the 10 provinces, comparisons among the 11 OECD countries that participated in the survey, and changes in Canada's performance over the past decade. These results show that where a person lives does matter. Canada shows largely disappointing performance compared to other high-income countries, some of which have made impressive progress. Also, there is considerable variation among provinces.

Survey results show that Canadians' views about the health care system have grown more positive in the last decade, and more than half (61 per cent) rate their health status as very good or excellent, putting Canada among the top three of the 11 countries surveyed. However, there remain large and concerning variations in patients' experiences in terms of access to care, coordination and integration of care, patient safety and preventive care.

"While this report indicates that Canadians' views on health care and their own health status appears optimistic, it raises important questions on the wide variations we see among provinces in a number of areas such as access to after-hours care, emergency department wait times, affordability of care, coordination among care providers, and the uptake of screening programs," says Dr. Mark Dobrow, Director, Analysis and Reporting, Health Council of Canada.

Among the major areas of concern for Canadians are cost and access to care. About one-quarter of Canadians are concerned they would not be able to afford needed care if they became seriously ill. In addition, between three per cent and 15 per cent of Canadians do not have a regular doctor or clinic where they go for care. Accessing medical care after hours (without going to the emergency department) is difficult for 62 per cent of Canadians (up to 73 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador).

The report also found that wait times remain a concern for Canadians, as only 31 to 46 per cent of Canadians, depending on the province, could get a same-day or next-day appointment when needed (excluding emergency department visits). Canada is in last place among all countries surveyed in this regard, with no improvement since 2004.

In addition, screening activities vary across provinces. Between 12 to 34 per cent of women aged 40 to 74 state they have never been screened for breast cancer. Also 23 to 49 per cent of Canadians age 50 or older state they have never had a test to screen for bowel or colon cancer. "These provincial variations and complexities surrounding screening are the focus of an upcoming report on screening from the Health Council to be released in February," explains Dr. Dobrow.

Preventive care appears to remain a low priority, as up to 73 per cent of Canadians did not get a seasonal preventive flu shot last year. Also, about half of Canadians surveyed said they have not had a doctor or other clinic staff talk with them about healthy eating or exercise in the past two years, and 76 per cent have not talked about alcohol use.

According to Dr. Dobrow,

"our provinces and territories will need to dig deeper into the survey data and other sources to understand the reasons for their differences and consider what can be done to reduce inequities in health and health care for all Canadians."

To read the full report, visit

About the Health Council of Canada

Created by the 2003 First Ministers' Accord on Health Care Renewal, the Health Council of Canada is an independent national agency that reports on the progress of health care renewal. The Council provides a system-wide perspective on health care reform in Canada, and disseminates information on innovative practices across the country. The Councillors are appointed by the participating provincial and territorial governments and the Government of Canada. In April 2013 the federal government announced that it will be winding-up funding for the Council such that the Council will conclude its operations by March 31, 2014.

About the survey

The 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of the General Public reflects the perceptions of a random sample of the general public (age 18 years and older) across 11 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Participants were interviewed by telephone (land line or cell phone) between March and June 2013.

Friday, January 17, 2014

OPP & OFSC kick off Snowmobile Safety Week

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Speed was factor in all five recent fatal snowmobile collisions says OPP

ORILLIA, Ontario, January 17, 2014 /Canada NewsWire/ - January 18 to 26, 2014 is Snowmobile Safety Week and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) kicked off the campaign with some important messages about staying safe throughout the snowmobile season in Ontario.

OPP Commissioner Lewis, Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander for Traffic Safety and Operational Support were joined by OFSC Vice-President Graham Snyder, members of the Highway Safety Division and other OPP and OFSC members to share information about the risks and dangers associated with snowmobiling.

The OPP also shed light on the five fatal snowmobile collisions that have taken the lives of six people so far this season, citing speed as a causal factor in all five of these incidents, four of which occurred on roads and none on OFSC prescribed trails.

According to the OPP, a change in behaviour is needed in some segments of the snowmobile community because speed was a causal factor in half of the 18 snowmobile fatalities that occurred last season (2012-2013) and the other half were attributed to drinking and riding.

The OPP and OFSC praised the collaboration of the S.T.O.P. (Snowmobile Trail Officer Patrol) and S.A.V.E. (Snowmobile ATV and Vessel Enforcement) Unit members in their efforts to make snowmobiling in Ontario safe through a combination of enforcement and education.

Frigid temperatures, unstable terrain, lakes and rivers and reduced visibility were identified as some of the natural elements that make snowmobilers a particularly vulnerable group of riders. The OPP and OFSC emphasized the importance of riding sober, avoiding lakes and rivers and they recommended staying on OFSC prescribed trails to increase their chances of enjoying incident-free riding. OFSC prescribed trails are groomed, maintained and patrolled throughout the season.

As part of the kick-off, S.T.O.P. Chair Andy Chvedukas recounted a story about a significant snowmobile collision that almost cost him his life and left him severely injured. Chvedukas' snowmobile collided with a tree when he glanced back for just a few seconds to see if his fellow riders were still behind him.

The OPP and OFSC are asking snowmobilers across the province to get on board with their efforts to make snowmobiling in Ontario safe and enjoyable by riding within the law.

The OPP is committed to saving lives on Ontario's highways, trails and waterways through the reduction of preventable injury and death. Initiatives are developed and delivered through the Provincial Traffic Safety Program.

The OFSC is committed to proactive leadership in promoting safe, responsible riding, on and off Ontario snowmobile trails, by building safer snowmobiling knowledge, attitudes and behaviours through rider education, safety legislation, development and enforcement.

For more information, click on the following links:

Safe Snowmobiling: Owning and Operating a Snowmobile in Ontario

Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs

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