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Jun 012017

(NC) Children are never too young to learn basic financial skills. The earlier you start, and the more you teach them, the easier it will be for them to navigate the complexities of personal finance as they grow up. While some schools are now adding financial literacy into the curriculum, there’s an important role for parents to play in teaching kids how to manage their money. Here are some ways you can help your kids become financially literate.

  1. Nothing in life is free. How many times have your kids asked for a new toy, with no understanding of the cost? Even young children can be taught the concept that things cost money. Let them know how much the item they’re asking for costs, and compare it to the costs of other items. It won’t register right away, but it will introduce the idea and give them something to think about.

  2. An allowance. A great way to start teaching your children about money is to start giving them some. Help them set a savings goal. Is there a special toy they want? How much does it cost, and how much do they need to save to buy it? The allowance doesn’t have to be a lot––even a small amount will help teach them the value of saving.

  3. Earning their allowance. You can take this one step further, and create a special list of chores. You may want your kids to pick up their toys, do their homework, or bring their dishes to the kitchen without any specific reward, but for larger chores, consider letting them earn a token amount that they can put towards their savings.

  4. Open a bank account. Now that your child is learning how to value money and save, it’s probably time for them to open a bank account. Start getting them more familiar with words like compound interest!

  5. Give a little (or a lot). An important lesson in life is learning that there are people who need a hand up. Now that your child is saving, don’t forget to talk to them about charity, and why giving to others is just as important as saving responsibly. Talk to them about charities you support and why. Habitat for Humanity Canada is a great example, because they don’t offer a handout, but a hand up. It’s a smart investment too — for every $1 you donate, there are $4 in benefits to the community.

Scott McGillivray is the star of hit TV series Moving the McGillvrays and Income Property on HGTV Canada and proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity Canada. Learn more at

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May 262017

(BPT) – Mental health disorders impact thousands of people every day, including many of our friends, neighbors and co-workers. Everyone reading this likely knows someone struggling with mental illness and is aware of the toll it can take on individuals, families and communities. Mental health challenges do not discriminate — they affect people from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic level.

While stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders impact an estimated 43 million adults nationwide each year, the World Health Organization reports that only about one in four people with a diagnosed disorder is likely to pursue treatment.

Unfortunately, barriers prevent people from getting the mental health care they may need. The reasons are many. Consider these statistics: 4,000 areas in the U.S. have only one psychiatrist for 30,000 or more people; the average waiting time for a first psychiatric visit is 25 days; and stigma is the fourth highest-ranked barrier to help-seeking.

The good news is that people who access care more quickly may be more likely to engage in their treatment and have a better outcome. With the right treatment and support, people can recover from mental health disorders to live healthy, self-directed lives as valuable members of their community. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or loved one to help someone take that first step on their path to recovery.

For some people, that best first step may be a virtual visit with a mental health provider via a mobile device or computer. For many, access to virtual care may already be available as part of their health care benefits.

Virtual care can shorten wait times for an appointment, fit work and personal schedules, and eliminate travel time and expense. An appointment conducted in the safe, comfortable environment of home may reduce stigma. And, research shows that outcomes of a virtual visit with a mental health provider are similar to in-person sessions for multiple disorders.

Raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health issues are keys to supporting well-being within our communities. Today, people can access effective, proven treatment in a variety of formats, including using video-calling technology. It’s up to all of us to reach out and encourage our friends, neighbors and family members in need to access these available resources.

For more information and links to recovery support resources in your area, visit To learn more about available health care benefits, call the number on the back of your health plan identification card.

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Jan 282017

(NC) Tax time can be a hectic part of the year. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to get ready. Check out these tips to get through the season without breaking a sweat.

  1. Get ready. Everything you need to know to do your taxes, including important due dates, is available at

  2. Do your taxes on time — and online. If you owe taxes, file your return and pay on time to avoid late-filing penalties and interest. If you don’t owe taxes, you should still do your taxes on time to receive your Canada child benefit and GST/HST credit payments without delay. If you’re expecting a refund, it can be in your bank account in as little as eight days if you file online and sign up for direct deposit.

You can prepare your return yourself using the “auto-fill my return” service to fill in parts of your return, available in some NETFILE-certified tax preparation software programs when you are registered in the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account. Check out the CRA website to see certified products — you may also be eligible for free software.

  1. Claim your deductions, benefits and credits. Learn about the deductions, benefits and credits you may be eligible for on the CRA website. These include child and family benefits, credits for medical expenses and charitable donations, the disability tax credit, and more.

  2. Get help. If you have a modest income and simple tax situation and need help completing your return, many community organizations host free tax preparation clinics that can help. The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is a great resource that helps thousands for free every year.

  3. Ask for a payment plan. Some taxpayers may not be able to pay all their taxes by the due date. If you owe taxes but can’t pay, you may be able to set up a payment arrangement to pay in smaller amounts over time.

Jan 082017

(NC) When Victor Wasaba retired five years ago, he didn’t want to spend his golden years sitting on the couch watching TV. The 71-year-old Winnipegger wanted to use his time away from work to be active and socialize with friends.

“Once a month I meet with the guys from my old repair crew and we go out for breakfast,” he says. “We catch up, laugh at all the same jokes and really enjoy each other’s company. It’s nice because it gives me something to look forward to.”

What Wasaba may not realize is that his regular breakfasts are likely improving his health. Many studies show that an active social life can help people stay heathier and live longer.

One study, conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, concluded that strong social ties in general can be beneficial to both mental and physical health. They found that an active social life has been linked to a lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, greater ability to carry out physical tasks, improved happiness, and better cognitive functioning.

Conversely, a relative lack of social ties is associated with depression, later-life cognitive decline, and increased mortality. One Harvard Medical School study found that a lack of strong social relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50 per cent. People who smoke up to 15 cigarettes a day have the same kind of increased risk, according to the study.

There are many ways to keep an active social life in retirement, like volunteering or picking up a new sport or activity. Communities in warm climates, like Florida or Palm Springs, cater to active retirees.

One approach is to revisit friendships that lapsed during your working years. That’s what Wasaba has done. “It gives me a sense of belonging,” he says. “I always make a conscious effort to stay in touch with everyone. After we meet up, I feel really good about myself for the rest of the day.” And he’s staying healthy in the process.

Contact an advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. More information is available from an Investors Group consultant.

Dec 232016

(NC) Osteoporosic fractures are more common in Canadians than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined. What many of us fail to realize is that osteoporosis and its prevention are rooted in proactive action. Prevention begins in young adulthood as bone mineralization peaks in our twenties. Both men and women begin to lose bone mass in their mid-thirties.

Since bone mass increases through young adulthood, reaching maximum peak bone mass by age 20, it’s essential to do everything possible to increase your peak bone mass to offset bone loss in later years.

According to a recent survey, 85 per cent of people don’t realize that osteoporosis typically goes undetected, with a broken bone often being the first sign of the disease. Here are three tips for becoming proactive about osteoporosis prevention:

  1. Get active. Increasing daily physical activity and exercising regularly is important for everyone. Improving muscle mass and strength helps to slow the rate of bone loss. Weight-bearing activities where you are upright, like walking and running, are the best way to do it.

  2. Increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D rich foods. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium, protein and nutrients that contribute to the development and maintenance of strong, healthy bones. Increased consumption of calcium-rich dairy products has a beneficial impact on fortifying bone density. Milk is one of the rare dietary source of vitamin D, so try to drink two glasses every day.

  3. Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Quit smoking, limit your alcohol consumption, and drink coffee in moderation. Get a bone mineral density test if you’re at risk.

Find more information on reducing your risk of osteoporosis at, and get delicious recipes at

Dec 212016

(NC) Nearly a decade since Canada’s national Do Not Call List (DNCL) was launched, this consumer protection measure against unwanted calls is falling short of public expectations. According to a national survey conducted by Leger, Canadians are coping creatively with the rising volume of annoying calls they field on their mobile and home phones.

The research also revealed that 63 per cent of those polled say most calls to their home phone line are unwanted. Further, more than half of mobile phone users reported that they are receiving more undesirable telemarketing calls than they did a year ago.

Unfortunately, the much-anticipated DNCL, introduced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) in 2008, has not resolved the country’s growing issue of telemarketing calls. The survey found that 62 per cent of Canadians do not believe the registry is effective at reducing unwanted calls, and more than a quarter of those who registered say it has not lowered the number of unwanted calls they receive at all.

Canadians find creative ways to thwart unwanted calls

Considering their frustration with unwelcome calls, the survey discovered that Canadians have adopted creative coping mechanisms to handle pesky telemarketers.

For example, 49 per cent of mobile phone users depend on Caller ID so they can ignore unwanted calls or let them go straight to voicemail. Another 52 per cent answer their phone. but hang up as soon as they realize it is an unwanted call. More than a quarter of Canadians admit they are forced to ignore incoming calls during peak telemarketing hours, but check their messages later.

These tactics may prove less effective today than in the past, since experts point out that telemarketers often use “spoofing” technology, by which they mask or falsify the information that appears on a Caller ID service.

Whatever the reason telemarketing calls are sneaking through, Canadians are clearly annoyed, with 95 per cent stating they find the calls disturbing. With a quarter of exasperated consumers reporting that they have considered changing their phone number to eliminate the problem, it is clear that Canadians are grasping at ways to end the barrage of bothersome calls.

The CRTC has listened, and as of November 2016, has urged all phone providers to develop technical solutions that better protect their customers.

There are tested and proven tools available in Canada today, such as Primus’ Telemarketing Guard, that can help eliminate unwanted calls. With this innovative technology within reach, it is now up to consumers to select a phone provider that will help them take control of their calls.

For more information, visit

Jun 272016

(NC) If you’re in England, one of the hottest summer music festival tickets is Glastonbury; if you’re in the United States, it’s likely Lollapalooza. For concertgoers in Canada, must-see music festivals take place across the country all summer long.

Prince Photos: Prince Plays Montreal Jazz Festival Prince Photos - Prince Plays Montreal Jazz Festival - Zimbio

Prince Photos: Prince Plays Montreal Jazz Festival

Between June and September there are hundreds of music festivals in Canada. Whether your favourite is jazz, blues, folk, country, rock, indie or classical — during the summer months there’s sure to be a festival catering to your musical tastes somewhere in our home and native land. Check out these top contenders for great music, both internationally and locally renowned.

Osheaga. Montreal’s late-July Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Routinely attracting 120,000 fans over the course of several days, the festival showcases local and national talent alongside acclaimed international headliners. The main event takes place at parc Jean-Drapeau with concerts and art exhibitions held throughout the city in the week leading up to the big show.

TD Jazz festivals. Celebrates music across Canada by welcoming world-class musicians, critically acclaimed jazz artists and rising stars, the TD jazz festivals top the list. From mid-June to mid-July, the world’s top jazz musicians play in nine cities including Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.

TD Echo Beach. While fabulous music is the heart of summer festivals, many are adding food, art, comedy and other elements to enhance the experience and make it more accessible for all ages and personalities. Located in downtown Toronto, TD Echo Beach features spectacular views of the city skyline and a real sand beach where families and friends can listen to great tunes while kids happily build sandcastles at their feet. Check local listings for upcoming shows through August.

Honourable mentions: Scattered between the big cities from coast-to-coast are hundreds of music festivals that also attract top talent and big crowds. Check out the events like Roots & Blues Festival in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Find a list of some of the hottest summer music festivals across the country online at

Apr 242016

But the Province Still Lags Behind Other Jurisdictions when it Comes to Pharmacy Services

(NC) If you’ve been going to your pharmacist for just prescriptions, you have been missing out on an assortment of services that your local pharmacist can provide for you – and their vision for the future could help even more patients achieve their health outcomes.

Beyond filling prescriptions, the role of Ontario’s pharmacists also includes:87016

Administering flu shots

Providing smoking cessation counselling and prescribing medications (when appropriate) to support some patients who want to quit smoking

Providing MedsCheck medication reviews at no charge for eligible patients

Adapting and renewing prescriptions (when appropriate)

Helping patients meet their health and wellness goals by providing information and support on a wide variety of health-related topics

“Pharmacists are the medication experts on your healthcare team, but we’re also available to provide services over and above filling your prescriptions – from doing a MedsCheck review or giving you the flu shot, to helping you quit smoking or better manage your diabetes,” notes Sean Simpson, Chair of the Board at the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA). “But there is so much more pharmacists could be doing to improve patient outcomes if the role of pharmacists in Ontario was expanded to include some of the services that are available through pharmacies in other provinces.”

In almost every other province, patients can visit their pharmacist for immunizations beyond just flu shots, as well as for the assessment and treatment of common ailments like pink eye, eczema or diaper rash – ensuring that non-critical patients don’t tie up emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. Currently, Ontario is one of only a few provinces that hasn’t expanded pharmacists’ role in these ways.

“As pharmacists, we have the skills and the knowledge to offer even more healthcare services to our patients and to play an even larger role in improving patient health outcomes,” said Simpson. “You just have to look at the success of vaccination programs and common ailments programs in other jurisdictions to see that patients trust their pharmacists to support their health and wellbeing in so many ways over and above medication management.”

By leveraging the unique expertise and accessibility of pharmacy professionals, Ontario has the opportunity to reduce healthcare costs and reallocate system resources to where they are most needed and will ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system.

By the numbers:

• Treating minor ailments and administering vaccines beyond the flu shot could prevent up to 600,000 emergency room visits, 1,500 hospitalizations and free up 2.4 million physician hours to focus on more critical care.

• A provincial common (or minor) ailments program would redirect treatment of non-critical patients from family physicians, walk in clinics, and the emergency room, reducing costly emergency room visits and easing hospital wait times.

– A 2012 Accenture study found a possible $12.3 million cost savings to Ontario over five years if pharmacists were enabled to treat common ailments.

• Extending the pharmacy-based smoking cessation program for all smokers in Ontario would lead to significant savings and decrease the risks associated with smoking related diseases and hospital use.

– The expansion could result in a $360 million cost savings over 30 years according to a 2012 study by Accenture.

• By allowing pharmacists to provide routine injections and by making immunizations more accessible and convenient (beyond the flu shot), Ontario will increase vaccination rates and keep patients out of doctor’s offices and hospitals.

– Twenty-eight per cent of people who received the flu shot said they would not have been immunized if the pharmacy program was not available.

If you’re wondering what else pharmacists can do for patients, go in to your local pharmacy and get to know your pharmacist better – they are your true partner in health.

Check in Online

Join the #PharmacistsOfferMore conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can also visit or follow @OntPharmacists to ask questions.

Apr 232016

(BPT) – Results of a survey of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain sheds light on constipation, a common side effect of opioid therapy.22776679

The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of AstraZeneca. The survey results show that out of the 2,797 survey respondents who were prescribed opioids to manage chronic pain, 1,001 people (36 percent) reported they had personally experienced constipation in the past 3 months while they took prescribed opioid pain medication.

The survey highlights the impacts on the life of patients who took opioids and experienced constipation.

The findings show that of the 1,001 survey respondents who took opioids and experienced constipation within the past 3 months, the following observations were made due to their constipation:

* 81 percent of the 1,001 respondents reported constipation had at least a “minor negative impact” on their overall quality of life

* 40 percent of the 1,001 respondents reported skipping at least one social event in the past year

* 47 percent of the 441 employed respondents reported missing at least one day of work in the past year

* 34 percent of the 407 respondents who had children reported missing at least one of their child’s school events in the past year

Additionally, the survey found that communication barriers can keep patients who took opioids and experienced constipation from speaking up. Seventy- seven percent strongly or somewhat agreed that constipation is a condition people are ashamed or embarrassed to talk about. Furthermore, 26 percent of the 1,001 survey respondents who took opioids and experienced constipation reported they had not talked to any health professional about their constipation.

AstraZeneca’s Dr Cathy Datto, US Lead Medical Affairs, Neuroscience, says, “Starting a conversation with your healthcare provider is the first step to finding support.” She also recommends for more information.

About the survey:

The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of AstraZeneca between March 27 – April 8, 2015. The results of the survey were drawn from 2,797 US adults aged 18 or older who were prescribed opioids to manage chronic pain, 1,001 who had personally experienced constipation in the past 3 months while they took prescribed opioid pain medication.

Apr 212016

(BPT) – From identity theft to home burglary, it’s an unfortunate fact that senior citizens are often a target for criminals. By taking simple security measures while at home and out traveling, you can dramatically reduce the likelihood you or a loved one is victimized.23390461

Always lock doors: Whether you’re in a home or an apartment, always keep doors locked. It’s a simple yet effective step to keep property and the residents safe, during the day and in the evening.

Secure patio doors: Determined criminals won’t stop even though the front door is locked. Use the Master Lock 265DCCSEN Security Door Bar to restrict patio and sliding glass doors from being pried open.

Ask for identification: When service or delivery people come to the door, ask for ID. If you still feel uneasy, get a number to reschedule the visit and then call the company directly to confirm the employee’s status.

Secure small valuables: Whether home or away, use a light portable safe. The Master Lock 5900D SafeSpace Portable Personal Safe keeps cash, documents, electronics and small valuables safe, plus the cable can be wrapped around a fixed object or serve as a carrying handle.

Vary routine while home: While home, try to vary the routine periodically. Criminals track when you come and go, so if it’s obvious you’re always gone during certain times, your home can easily be targeted.

Maintain routine while gone: If traveling, make it seem like someone is home. If you can’t get a house sitter, make sure to stop the newspaper and mail delivery and have a neighbor bring your trash in on the appropriate days.

Keep keys close: Skip the obvious doormat or planter and instead store spare keys and access cards securely by using a Master Lock 5422D Push Button Portable Key Safe. Plus, the protective weather cover prevents freezing and jamming.

Travel with less: When traveling, avoid drawing attention by wearing minimal jewelry and carrying only the necessary cash. You’ll feel confident and enjoy your trip more when you leave jewelry and other valuables at home.

No need to name: For phone books, organization directories and apartment lobbies, list your first initial rather than your full first name. This can help protect your identification; strangers won’t know your full name while friends and relatives will recognize your initial.

With these simple safety measures, senior citizens can feel protected in their homes for years to come.

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