Empowerment, insight and connection at FREE Women’s conference

Vancouver, –    In honour of International Women’s Day,  Vancouver-area women of all backgrounds are invited to take part in a special, free women’s event – the Multicultural Women’s Conference and Fair on March 25, 2017, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Dr.).

Let’s keep the momentum of women’s issues moving forward with a positive, empowering event that aims to bring women of all backgrounds together to connect, learn and inspire each other. After all, balancing all the demands we place on ourselves as women is not easy. Neither is overcoming the external professional, gender and cultural challenges we encounter.

“Sometimes we need an event like the Multicultural Women’s Conference and Fair for an opportunity to be inspired, and gain new insights from other women,” says Margaret Jetelina, editor of Canadian Immigrant magazine, the presenter of the event. “It’s about learning and making connections, and moving women’s issues forward.”

Here’s an overview of the activities and workshops being offered at the Multicultural Women’s Conference and Fair:


10 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.: WELCOME plus a special BollyX dance/fitness presentation by Clara Chan


10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.: TRADESHOW OF EXHIBITORS, which includes:

  • free Resumé Clinic by MOSAIC


  • “Get your Corporate Headshot” station with photographer Maddie Adams


  • “Mini Manicure” station by Beauty Night Society


  • Women’s Empowerment Art Therapy sessions with art therapist and life coach Nicole Gfeller


10:30 a.m.:  TOOLS AND TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR BUSINESS with Alpana Sharma of Women’s Enterprise Centre

11:30 a.m.:  CAREERS WITH THE VPD + SAFETY DEMO with Detectives Andrea Dunn, Michelle Neufeld and Julie Birtch

12:30 p.m.:  BE MINDFUL, BE YOUR BEST with Jasmine Bharucha, realtor, author and singer

1 p.m.:  CONFIDENCE AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO CAREER SUCCESS with leadership coach Manpreet Dhillon

1:45 p.m.: THE WOMAN’S VOICE: SPEAKING TIPS with Catherine Steele of English Pronunciation for Success

2:15 p.m.: NETWORKING TRUTHS, TIPS AND TRICKS with Karen Southall Watts, entrepreneur and business trainer

2:45 p.m.: PARENTING WORKSHOP: THE POWER OF CONNECTION with Cheryl Song, parenting trainer and columnist

3:15 p.m.: CREATING A HAPPY BALANCE with Dr. Nareeta Stephenson of Strawberries and Sunshine Healing Centre

Registration for the event at www.canadianimmigrant.ca/womensfair<http://www.canadianimmigrant.ca/womensfair>.

For a spot in the art therapy group session, please email mjetelina@metroland.com.

Take a shot at protecting yourself and others from the flu

All British Columbians are encouraged to get immunized and reduce the chance of getting the flu and passing it on to others.

Health Minister Terry Lake and provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall rolled up their sleeves for the flu shot today and announced that the influenza vaccine will be available throughout the province by early November at public health clinics, physicians’ offices, travel clinics and pharmacies.

“It doesn’t take long to stop and get your flu shot,” said Lake. “By getting immunized, you’re not only protecting yourself, but also anyone who may be vulnerable to complications from the flu, which can cause serious illness, and even hospitalization. I get the flu shot every year to protect myself, my family and everyone around me.”

The flu shot is free in B.C. to people at risk from complications, and their close contacts:

  • children between six months and five years;
  • seniors 65 and older;
  • pregnant women;
  • Aboriginal people;
  • individuals with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems;
  • anyone who lives with any of these people; and
  • visitors to long-term care facilities and hospitals.

The nasal-spray flu vaccine is provided free at public health clinics and physicians’ offices to children from two to 17 years of age who are at risk of serious illness from influenza or who live with someone who is at risk.

“Influenza causes more deaths than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined,” said Kendall. “The flu can be a serious disease and is highly contagious. Getting your flu shot early and washing your hands frequently, you can to protect yourself and others and prevent spreading the flu.”

“As someone battling cancer and as the mother of an immunocompromised child, I can personally attest to the importance of doing everything you can to protect your family,” said Victoria breast cancer patient Jacqueline Zweng. “That’s why the flu shot is so important. Getting sick might seem like an inconvenience to some people, but to others it can be life or death.”

Each year, about 3,500 Canadians die from influenza and its complications across Canada. Hospitalized patients and seniors in residential care are more vulnerable to influenza than healthy adults.

To help protect them, all health authority employees, students, physicians, residents, contractors, vendors, volunteers and visitors to health-care facilities must get immunized by Dec. 1, or wear a mask when in a patient care area. The vaccine is offered free for these groups as well.

“The annual flu vaccine is the single-most effective way to reduce the spread of influenza,” said Dr. Alan Ruddiman, president of Doctors of BC. “By protecting yourself, you also protect the people around you who may be more vulnerable to serious flu illness – the young, the elderly, and physicians themselves who care for patients already in compromised health situations. I strongly encourage all British Columbians to receive their annual flu shot.”

“Pharmacists are a convenient and accessible option for getting your flu shot this year,” said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. “More than 95 per cent of pharmacies in communities across B.C. have pharmacists who are trained and authorized to give immunizations.”

To find the nearest flu shot clinic, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visit the Influenza Clinic Finder: http://www.immunizebc.ca/clinics/flu#8/49.246/-123.116

Comox Valley creates local flavours for B.C.

From water buffalo yogurt and gelato to estate-grown wines and distilled honey-based spirits, the agrifoods industry continues to thrive in Courtenay and Comox.

The provincial government’s Buy Local Program helps B.C. fisheries, farmers and food processors promote their products and supports food-supply security in British Columbia. The program is providing up to $44,000 of funding to several companies located in the Comox Valley to help increase sales and brand awareness.

Wayward Distillation House is bringing Canada’s only honey-based spirits to shelves all over the province. To stand out from commercial distilleries, the company sources local, natural ingredients from the Comox Valley to create Wayward distilled spirits. The use of B.C. honey adds subtle and intricate flavours to its products, while supporting local growers and producers.

Local winery, 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery is promoting their Stall Speed non-estate brand of wines to British Columbians who are looking for hotter-climate grapes that cannot be grown in the Comox Valley’s cool climate. With ethically and traditionally farmed Okanagan grapes, the wine is produced and bottled in the Comox Valley. 40 Knots is not only known for its wines, but also for the scenery and tasting room.

Water buffalo milk products continue to make waves in the agrifoods industry, with McClintock’s Farm being on the forefront of producing water buffalo yogurt and gelato. The Courtenay based operation is one of three operating water buffalo dairies, offering British Columbians new options for old favourites.

The Buy Local program has received $8 million in B.C. government funding since 2012 to increase sales of locally grown and processed agrifood and seafood products within the province.

The B.C. government’s Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan supports the building of domestic markets and maintaining a secure food supply. The plan is a component of the BC Jobs Plan, and the roadmap to leading the agrifoods sector to becoming a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020.

The provincial government’s Buy Local program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia. Applications are available at: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/buy-local/

Canadian Minister of Health announces revision of the Food Guide

Minister of Health announces revision of the Food Guide, Healthy Eating initiatives, as part of a vision for a healthy Canada

Staying healthy is about more than visiting a doctor. It is the result of the choices we make every day. The Government of Canada is taking action to help Canadians make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada has started a process to revise Canada’s Food Guide to reflect the latest scientific evidence on diet and health, and to better support Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, in making healthy food choices. The announcement was made at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

“Everyone can agree that eating well, staying active and living a healthy lifestyle are important to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Our Government’s actions are aimed at ensuring positive and meaningful impacts on the overall health of Canadians for generations to come,” the Honourable Jane Philpott Minister of Health.

As part of the Food Guide revision, Health Canada today launched a consultation with Canadians, which will run to December 8, to determine how Health Canada can provide better dietary guidance that meets the needs of Canadians.

In Canada, four out of five Canadians risk developing conditions such as cancer, heart disease or Type 2 diabetes; six out of ten adults are overweight and one-third of youth are overweight or obese. Poor diet is the primary risk factor for obesity and many chronic diseases, and places a significant burden on the health of Canadians and our health care system.

This revision is part of a multi-year Healthy Eating Strategy. As part of the Strategy, Health Canada will use every tool at its disposal—legislation, regulation, guidance and education—to create conditions to support healthy eating. In addition to revising Canada’s Food Guide, the Healthy Eating Strategy outlines how Health Canada will achieve the commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Health related to sodium, trans fat, sugars, food colours, marketing to children, and the Nutrition North Program. Health Canada will continue to engage with stakeholders and experts to further refine the strategy as it moves forward.

The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the vision for a healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.

Halloween Safety tips

Halloween is a very exciting time for children and often the last thing on their minds as they head out the door for an evening of trick or treating, is safety. This is where parents, guardians and care givers need to step up to ensure their evening is not marred by an accident which could have prevented.

Here are a few safety tips to follow.


  • ensure your little goblins can see from behind their mask, make sure they are wearing comfortable footwear and their costumes are reflective
  • only trick or treat at houses where lights are on
  • never eat treats until an adult has inspected them
  •  Adults should carry a flashlight with them
  •  walk only on the sides of roads or sidewalks


  •  slow down and expect children to pop out at any time from any direction
  •  be prepared to react, stay alert


  •  when handing out candy, ensure your porch light is left on and your walkway is clear of debris that could cause a child to fall.

Nanaimo Police Department

Why bigger isn’t better in weight training


When it comes to building muscle in the weight room, size doesn’t matter. So before you grab the biggest weight in the rack, consider the latest study from McMaster and Waterloo universities, stating muscle size and strength are not related to the size of the weight lifted.

That’s a bold statement considering the long-held belief that the heavier the load, the bigger the muscles. But the Canadian researchers took tradition to task and found that lifting smaller weights for more repetitions was as effective at building muscle as lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions, as long as the muscle was appropriately fatigued by the end of the last rep of the set.

To be clear, the definition of a heavy load is 70 to 85 per cent of one repetition maximum (the heaviest load that you can lift once). And the recommended number of repetitions of a heavy load, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, is eight to 12 reps for one to three sets.

Taking on the ACSM, not to mention the gym rats who are wary of change, is no small task, but there were inklings a few years ago that the ACSM’s recommendations are out of date. The McMaster researchers published a couple of studies in 2010 and 2012 that foreshadowed their latest results. This most recent study, published this year in the Journal of Applied Physiology, adds to the growing evidence that bigger isn’t better.

To prove their point, the researchers gathered 49 young men with at least two years of weight training experience, divided them into two groups — one high rep and one low rep — and sent them to the gym, where they worked out four days a week for 12 weeks.

The high-rep group performed three sets of 20 to 25 reps with a load that varied between 30 and 50 per cent of one repetition max (1RM), while the low-rep group performed three sets of eight to 12 repetitions with a load between 75 and 90 per cent of 1RM. The workout consisted of five exercises that targeted both upper and lower body muscles, and each of the subjects had their loads adjusted so that they reached muscular fatigue by the last rep of each set.

At the end of the 12-week program, there was little difference between the amount of muscle and strength gained in the two groups, with the exception of the bench press, where 1RM increased to a greater extent in the low-rep group.

Also worth noting is that there was no difference between the high- and low-rep groups in the surge of muscle-building hormones reputed to occur after a weight-training workout. This suggests that strength training does little to promote a hormonal-based increase in muscular size or strength.

Keep in mind that the results of this study are based on training to muscular fatigue, or what the authors call “muscular failure.” This term can be defined as occurring when exercisers are no longer able to perform an additional repetition while maintaining good form. Basic muscle physiology suggests that only when muscles are taken to full exhaustion do they adapt by building themselves back up bigger and stronger. So the lesson learned from these results is that your muscles don’t care what size weights you lift, as long as you lift enough weight often enough to reach muscular fatigue.

Why has it taken so long to make this discovery? The study’s authors suggest that most researchers use similar training volumes (total number of reps) when studying the effects of weight training, so it makes sense that heavier weights would produce greater muscular fatigue. But when the volume of training was based on the end goal of reaching muscular failure, with the low-weight group able to perform the extra reps necessary to fatigue the muscle, the results showed similar gains in muscle strength and size. In the McMaster study, the subjects in the high-rep/low-weight group performed 38 per cent more reps than the low-rep/high-weight group.

“We propose that exercising until volitional failure with adequate volume and load (between 30-90 per cent 1RM) will sufficiently activate muscle motor units, which drives skeletal muscle hypertrophy,” said the researchers.

How does this affect the average Joe and Jill’s gym workout? It suggests that anyone looking to build muscle size and strength should focus not on the heft of the weight or an associated recommended number of repetitions, but they should ensure that they perform enough repetitions to take the muscle to full fatigue or failure.

So whether you reach exhaustion doing 50 squats while holding a couple of dumbbells or by performing six squats using a bar loaded with as much weight as you can muster, your muscles will realize the same degree of adaptation. That’s good news for anyone who routinely tries to lift too much weight in an effort to gain the best results. Being more conservative in the amount of weight you lift reduces the risk of injury and ensures that you can maintain proper form throughout your workout — something your body will thank you for later.


PICS Receives $500,000 for 75 Child Care Spaces in Cloverdale

SURREY – Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society has received $500,000 from the provincial government to create 75 child care spaces in their new state-of-the-art long term care home PICS Diversity Village that will be built in Cloverdale soon. MLA Stephanie Cadieux, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale has announced that PICS is one of six Surrey organizations to receive funding from the Provincial Government. As part of Child-Care Month in British Columbia the government is investing $1.22 million under the B.C. Early Years Strategy to create 280 new licensed child-care spaces at these facilities for families in Surrey. Thanking the provincial government, PICS CEO Charan Gill said, “I am extremely pleased to note that this grant will give the much needed boost to the social-infrastructure needs of families in Surrey’s fastest growing communities in the province. We have been advocating for affordable childcare spaces for a long time and we are very happy that the government is listening,” he said. Welcoming this grant Devinder Chattha, Director of Language Studies, Settlement & Social Programs said, “Every month hundreds of new families move to Cloverdale, which until now was underserved as far as affordable and quality child care is concerned and therefore creating 75 additional spaces here at PICS brand new facility will certainly be a boon to families in the area.” “We thank MLA Cadieux for choosing PICS to offer quality and affordable child care in the area,” she said. MLA Stephanie Cadieux said, “There are more than 300 babies born in Surrey every month. That coupled with approximately 800 people moving into our community every 30 days makes Surrey the fastest growing city in B.C”, said Surrey Cloverdale MLA Stephanie Cadieux. “Access to quality licensed child care is fundamental to what helps make Surrey a desired community to call home for many.” PICS has already acquired two acres of land for PICS Diversity Village, a 140 bed culturally appropriate complex care home for seniors in Cloverdale. PICS has widespread support from all levels of government, especially the provincial government. “This funding is a strong indicator that with the rapidly changing demographics, the provincial government realizes the importance of developing social-infrastructure projects. We hope that the government continues to support PICS as we surge towards building PICS Diversity Village, the next big infrastructure project in Cloverdale,” said Mr. Gill. For more information or interviews please call Shruti Prakash-J

The vitamin that made elderly mice live longer, and stopped their organs from aging

By Zoe Demarco

Scientists say that they have found evidence that an already-celebrated vitamin can stop the aging process of organs in mice. It could also have the potential to treat degenerative diseases in humans.

Called nicotinamide riboside (NR for short), the vitamin was given to elderly mice. Compared to their non-vitamin taking counterparts, the mice were better able to regenerate their muscles and organs. They also lived longer.

The study was published Thursday in the journal Science.

As humans, mice, and other mammals age, our muscles and organs are less able to regenerate and repair themselves when they’re damaged. This leads to many common age-related disorders, according to Medical Xpress.

Gavin Young/Calgary Herald

Gavin Young/Calgary HeraldNicotinamide riboside has also been shown to regenerate brain and skin cells.

The scientists, from Switzerland, Brazil, and the University of Ottawa, first looked at how mitochondria change with age. Mitochondria, often called the “powerhouse of the cell,” are the parts that keep it full of energy. The scientists found that the mitochondria’s ability to function properly was important for stem cells — the cells responsible for regeneration — to stay healthy as well.

“We demonstrated that fatigue in stem cells was one of the main causes of poor regeneration or even degeneration in certain tissues or organs,” Hongbo Zhang, one of the authors of the study, told Medical Xpress.

This is where nicotinamide riboside comes in. It’s a precursor to a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+ for short), which helps mitochondria function.

So, basically, nicotinamide riboside helps to form NAD+. NAD+ keeps the mitochondria working. The mitochondria keeps stem cells healthy. And stem cells help our organs to regenerate.

NR is closely related to heart-healthy vitamin B3. Other studies have shown that it has the ability to boost metabolism and has the same regenerative abilities on the brain and skin cells.

“This work could have very important implications in the field of regenerative medicine,” said Johan Auwerx, head of the study. “We are not talking about introducing foreign substances into the body but rather restoring the body’s ability to repair itself with a product that can be taken with food.”

While the study produced no negative side effects in the mice, the regenerative effects apply to all cells, even harmful ones such as those that cause dementia. Further studies are planned, said Medical Xpress.

How to help girls build a positive body image


“Hello, I’m a fat person, fat, fat, fat.”

Taken out of context, these words, from the mouth of a 6-year-old female toy tester at the Mattel headquarters, are a bit jarring. They are the kind of words you hope your child won’t use out in the world. They are words laced with hurt and judgment.

For her Time cover story on the new and improved Barbie, Eliana Dockterman observed young girls at play with the new dolls. While the first child referenced was direct with her body comments, another girl attempted to spare the feelings of the doll by spelling out the word, “F-A-T.”

How do very young children learn to judge others by the shapes and sizes of their bodies? Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer. Between subtle messages in the home, the influence of media, peer interactions and the shrinking of childhood (many girls are growing up quickly these days), young girls consume and internalize countless messages about body image every single day.

Many parents know to be careful about the words they use when discussing their own bodies. We know, for example, that saying things like, “I feel fat today” or “do I look fat in these jeans?” sends harmful messages to young girls. Parents avoid those overt statements and replace them with comments about physical strength in an effort to teach young girls body confidence. But what about the more subtle statements that sometimes slip through the cracks?

Standing in line at Gap not long ago, I witnessed a mother-daughter conversation that sent a subtle, but powerful message about body image. A young girl, about 6 years old, ran up to her mother with a pair of winter gloves in her hands. “I found some but I don’t like them that much,” she stated, in that matter-of-fact tone kids of that age often use. “They make my fingers look too skinny.” She looked up her mom for confirmation. Her mother’s response took me by surprise. “That’s better than looking fat,” she uttered, without missing a beat.

Perhaps it was an isolated incident. We’ve all experienced impatient moments and bad days and sometimes we respond before we consider the potential impact of the response. But what if it wasn’t an isolated incident? What if that message was one of many?

For years I worked with a young girl who struggled with body image, self-esteem and anxiety. Her home life was defined by a seemingly endless discussion on weight gain, weight loss, exercise and fad diets.

Ever on a quest to find the perfect diet, her mother constantly removed foods from the house and talked obsessively about calories, sugars and “bad” foods. Don’t get me wrong; her mother had good intentions. Maintaining a healthy weight was a lifelong struggle for her, and she wanted to make the challenge easier for her daughter.

The body and diet talk was overwhelming for this young girl, however, and she developed her own coping strategy to combat the negative emotions she experienced almost daily: sneak eating. She saved her coins to purchase snacks from the school vending machine and ate them in the dark of night. In doing so, she lived up to her own carefully constructed self-fulfilling prophecy: a young girl powerless over the lure of junk food.

Recent findings show that kids as young as 32 months pick up on fat shaming attitudes of their moms, and a report released by Common Sense Media reveals that half of girls and one third of boys between 6 and 8 think their ideal weight is thinner than their current size. It’s time to consider how we talk to kids about body image.

It’s easy to set a few rules around body talk, including removing “fat” from your vocabulary and not commenting on the size or shape of someone else’s body. Where it gets complicated, however, is when your daughter comes home with difficult questions. “Am I fat?” or “will I get fat if I eat this?” speak volumes about the inner struggle of a young child.

“I have always felt that the most important thing a parent can do is to be honest,” explains Natterson. “But when there is an issue – particularly around weight – it can be incredibly difficult to walk the fine line between protecting your child and being truthful.”

How should parents handle questions and concerns about body image? Start here:

Answer the question with a question

Natterson suggests using conversation starters to help children uncover the feelings beneath the surface. She suggests, “What makes you ask that question?” as a starting point. “This is seriously the BEST answer because it allows your child to explain where the concern is coming from,” Natterson explains.

It’s important to keep the dialogue open. When we jump in with solutions to “fix” the problem, we close down the conversation. To help young girls work through these difficult topics and overwhelming emotions, we need to listen more than we talk.

Watch your words

Words like “fat” and “chubby” are sometimes used in jest to describe animals in books, toys or other fictional characters. While that seems harmless in the moment, it can send mixed messages. Sometimes the subtle messages internalized early on can lead to negative thinking later on.

Emily Roberts, psychotherapist and author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are, cautions parents to choose their words carefully. “Don’t fat shame, weight shame or categorize others by their weight,” says Roberts, “This sends the message that their weight is what you see, not their character.”

Talk about strengths

Children need to feel heard and understood. To that end, it’s important to listen to your daughter’s concerns about body image. Empathize with her and talk about what it feels like to struggle with the emotional and physical changes that naturally occur as children grow. Then steer the conversation toward the positive.

It is imperative that young girls hear body positive messages. Talk about physical strength and what their bodies can do for them (hanging from those monkey bars isn’t easy, after all). Educate them about healthy eating and playful exercise. Cook meals together and help your daughters take control of their own health so that will internalize a positive message: They have the power to live healthy and happy lives. That’s a message worth sharing.

Katie Hurley is a child and adolescent psychotherapist and parenting educator in Los Angeles, and the author of “The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World.” You can find her on Twitter and on her blog, Practical Parenting.

BC Government has reached a tentative agreement with nurses

VICTORIA – The Nurses’ Bargaining Association and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) have reached a tentative five-year agreement consistent with the Province’s Economic Stability Mandate, Health Minister Terry Lake announced today.

“Over the past year, health employers have worked collaboratively with nurses to reach an agreement that both prioritizes patient needs and recognizes the value nurses provide to the health care system,” said Lake. “I would like to thank the parties for their hard work to get to this stage.”

The tentative five-year agreement covers nearly 42,000 registered, psychiatric, and licensed practical nurses working across the health sector throughout the province. The Nurses’ Bargaining Association is comprised of several member-unions including the BC Nurses’ Union, Health Sciences Association and Hospital Employees’ Union.

Currently, there are more than 250,000 public-sector employees covered by ratified agreements negotiated under the Economic Stability Mandate. This represents over 80% of all unionized employees in B.C.

Government’s Economic Stability Mandate provides public sector employers with the ability to negotiate longer-term agreements within a fixed fiscal envelope and offers employees an opportunity to participate in the Province’s economic growth.  Settlements are expected to be unique between sectors and reflect government’s priorities of having labour stability, affordable service delivery and a balanced budget. Over the coming weeks, the Nurses’ Bargaining Association and HEABC will work toward ratifying this agreement with their respective members. Following ratification, the parties will continue to build on ongoing collaborative efforts to implement strategic improvements to the health care system that improve care for patients and better support staff, including nurses. Details of the agreement will be available once the ratification process is complete.