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Newsletter. Issue 2004-07. April. 03, 2004
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Health & Wellness

Old Age Security Benefit Rates to Increase on April 1, 2004
OTTAWA, March 26 /CNW/ - Social Development Canada today announced that Old Age Security (OAS) benefit rates will increase as of April 1, 2004.
The basic OAS pension, paid to people 65 years of age and over, will be $463.39 per month. This is an increase of 0.2 percent over the rate for the previous three months.
The maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Allowance payments, which are based on the recipient's family income during the previous year, will also increase by 0.2 percent.
Increases in OAS rates are based on changes in the average Consumer Price Index (CPI). Since 1973, all OAS benefits have been adjusted quarterly (in January, April, July and October).
Canada's Old Age Security program provides seniors with a secure base of retirement income. It also provides additional benefits to eligible low-income pensioners and their spouses or common-law partners in the form of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Allowance.
The OAS program is the first level of Canada's three-level retirement income system. It is funded through general tax revenues and provides a basic minimum income for Canadian seniors. The OAS program is the most widely accessible source of income for older Canadians, providing four million seniors with more than $26 billion in 2002/2003.
The second level, the Canada Pension Plan (or the Quebec Pension Plan in Quebec), is funded through contributions by Canadian workers and their employers and the self?employed, as well as through earnings on investment of the Plan's funds. In addition to retirement benefits, the Plan also provides disability benefits, death benefits, survivor benefits, and benefits for children.
Together, the CPP and the OAS program-the first two levels of the retirement income system-enhance the quality of life of Canada's seniors by providing a modest base on which to build additional income for retirement.
The third level is made up of private savings, including employer- sponsored pension plans and registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). A table showing the maximum rate for each benefit is attached.

BACKGROUNDER
Maximum Old Age Security Benefit Rates as of April 1, 2004
Type of Old Age Security Benefit
Maximum Monthly Benefit Rates
April - June 2004
Basic Old Age Security pension $463.39
Guaranteed Income Supplement
Single
$550.73
Spouse/Common-law partner of
 
- a non-pensioner $550.73
- a pensioner $358.73
- an Allowance recipient $358.73
The Allowance  
- regular $822.12
- survivor $907.64

Canada - Tough new energy efficiency standards help protect the environment and save consumers money
QUEEN'S PARK, ON, March 26 /CNW/ - A regulation setting tough new energy efficiency standards for nine products will increase energy conservation, help protect the environment and result in savings for consumers, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced today.
"This regulation is good news for consumers and good news for a healthier environment," said Duncan. "Efficient energy use saves consumers money and helps keep our air clean by reducing our reliance on coal-fired electricity and other energy sources that generate greenhouse gases."
The regulation, filed under Ontario's Energy Efficiency Act, will set high standards for two new products - thermostats used with individual-room electric space-heaters, and industrial and commercial gas-fired package furnaces with inputs above 400,000 BTU per hour. It will also set tougher standards for another seven products already covered by the act. The proposed compliance date for the two new products is January 1, 2005, and it is estimated that the regulation will provide more than $2 million in savings to residential and commercial energy users in the first year. "Since the Energy Efficiency Act was passed in 1988, it has resulted in
estimated savings equivalent to a year's worth of power for the cities of London and Windsor combined," said Duncan. Passed in 1988 under the Peterson government, Ontario's Energy Efficiency Act was the first legislation of its kind in Canada. It gives the Province authority to set minimum efficiency standards and compliance dates for residential, commercial and industrial electrical products sold or leased in Ontario. The act currently covers 54 products, with estimated energy cost savings of nearly $300 million since 1988. "This act, and its subsequent regulations, is a testament to the commitment of Liberal governments past and present to conservation and energy efficiency," noted Duncan.
The seven other products already covered include power transformers; incandescent reflector lamps; gas-fired automatic storage-type water heaters; household dishwashers; dusk-to-dawn luminaries; packaged chillers for commercial buildings; and household electric ranges.
The McGuinty government is committed to protecting the interests of Ontarians by making positive changes to Ontario's electricity sector. These changes are aimed at creating a conservation culture and a cleaner Ontario, while ensuring a reliable, sustainable and diverse supply of competitively priced power for the province.
Disponible en français.
For more information visit www.energy.gov.on.ca

Want to be in driver's seat on your mental health?
TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario and the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) today launched Mental Health Tune Up 2004, a two-day event scheduled for May 4 and 5 that brings over 80 mental health and wellness organizations together to help everyone build their own tool kit to handle the bumps in life's road. The event will challenge all Ontarians to put themselves in the driver's seat when it comes
to their mental health.
This is the third year that these partners have brought Mental Health Tune Up to Toronto. Close to 5,000 people are expected to get on the road to peak performance, resilience and improved mental outlook by visiting nine different Tune Up zones - children, personal mental health, family, seniors, workplace, mind and body, adolescent and young adults, women's and men's
issues and special needs - to meet and mingle with over 80 mental health organizations, psychologists and counsellors as well as to sit in on 26 seminars and view movies on topics relevant to parents and family members, friends and teachers. "Mental health and wellness matters to everyone and there will be something for everyone at Mental Health Tune Up," said Dr. Karen Katchen, chair of the OPA's Public Education Committee and co-chair of the Tune Up event.
One in 5 people will suffer mental illness during their lifetime. "People often don't know where to turn for assistance for themselves, family or friends," said Judy Watson, Vice President of CMHA, Ontario and co-chair of Tune Up. "Mental Health Tune Up helps people make much-needed connections with mental health resources and expertise." "Talk with a Doc," which provides a one-one on consultation, is a great way to make that connection and will be offered in more than 12 languages this year. Also new this year is the multicultural, multi-lingual Drop-In Centre.
Tune Up also attracts considerable crowds with its annual keynote speaker who officially opens the event at 10:00 a.m. on May 4, followed by the annual Mental Health Champion Award presentation. This year, Canadian Olympian Marnie McBean is the keynote speaker and will offer considerable insights to the efforts an athlete must make to stay physically and mentally tuned-up. Maple Leaf and Team Canada veteran Ron Ellis, who wrote a book on his personal experiences with depression called "Over the Boards," will be the award recipient.
McBean is one of Canada's most accomplished Olympic athletes. She is one of only two Canadians ever to have won three gold medals in the summer Olympics, striking gold twice in Barcelona and once in Atlanta. At Mental Health Tune Up, she will turn her public speaking skills and infectious enthusiasm to the importance of mental wellness to achieve peak performance - in work, athletic pursuits and all areas of life.
Ron Ellis combined skill and sporting play throughout his hockey career. Ron spent his entire 15 year NHL tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he became one of the most respected individuals to ever wear the 'blue and white.' Ron is an inspiration to many, not only for his successful hockey career, but for his courage in overcoming clinical depression, and sharing his story. He will receive the Mental Health Champion Award in recognition of his commitment to do whatever possible to alleviate the stigma of mental illness, particularly in the workplace, by sharing his personal journey.

Mental Health Tune Up is a partnership of OPA and CMHA, Ontario. To learn more about the event, visit www.mentalhealthtuneup.ca.

New Study Just Released on the Treatment of Arthritic Dogs
OTTAWA, March 26 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cervid Council is pleased to announce the publication in the Canadian Veterinary Medical Journal of a study outlining the positive effects of elk velvet antler on arthritic dogs. For further information on velvet antler products and their availability contact the Canadian Cervid Council office at (613) 798-9994 or e-mail cccinfo@deerandelkcanada.ca.
Clinical evaluation of a powder of quality elk velvet antler for the treatment of osteoarthrosis in dogs
Maxim Moreau, Jacques Dupuis, Norbert H Bonneau, Manon Lécuyer.
Abstract - A powder of quality elk velvet antler (QEVA) was evaluated on client-owned dogs with osteoarthrosis (OA) in a clinical, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study. Thirteen dogs received a placebo for 30 days and then QEVA for 60 days. Twenty-five other dogs received QEVA for 60 days. Gait analysis measured with a force plate, clinical signs assessed by an orthopedic surgeon, performances in daily life activities and vitality assessed by the owners, and complete blood analyses were obtained at days 0, after 30 days of placebo and/or 60 days of QEVA. On placebo, the 13 dogs did not show significant improvement (P greater than 0.05); however, their gait, their performances in daily life activities, and their vitality were significantly
improved on QEVA, based on changes in values exceeding those observed when placebo was administered. The 25 dogs on QEVA for 60 days showed similar improvements. No clinical changes were revealed on blood analyses. Administration of QEVA was effective in alleviating the condition in arthritic dogs.
"For a complete copy of the article published in the February issue, please contact Heather Broughton at: (613) 236-1162 ext 24 or by email at hbroughton@cvma-acmv.org."


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