Archive | May, 2011

Over 300 people attend diabetes seminar at Ontario Khalsa Darbar

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

Over 300 participants took part in the Diabetes Health Session at Ontario Khalsa Darbar (Dixie Gurudwara) on Friday, May 13th. Matthew Anderson, CEO for William Osler Health System kicked-off the event, speaking of the importance of education in managing chronic diseases that are prevalent in our community such as diabetes and introducing  the presenters from Osler’s Diabetes Education Centre.

 

Presented in Punjabi by Babita Sandhu (registered nurse) and Rupiner Grai (dietician) from the Osler’s Diabetes Education Centre, they provided detailed information on how diabetes can be controlled through simple lifestyle changes, such as planning meals ahead of time and by making small substitutions so your meals are healthier and more nutritious. People received valuable at information booths set up for the session and community youth helped with an exercise segment of the session.  The event saw many people sign-up for further diabetes assessments at the Diabetes Education Centre.

 

 

Osler provides education sessions on a number of health and wellness topics throughout the year, and advertises these in the local community newspapers.

 

Kashmir Singh Treasurer of Ontario Khalsa Darbar and Ranjit Singh Dulai accepted a ‘Community Health Supporter’ plaque in recognition of their support of community education sessions, such as this, from Osler’s CEO Matthew Anderson, Anne Randall, CEO of the Osler Foundation and Gurwinder Gill of the Osler Diversity Department.

 

 

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Toby Lennox, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)

Americans don’t care about Canadians Toby Lennox, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications of Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

“The South Asian community is incredibly dynamic, incredibly wealthy and incredibly growing portion of our community.”

With Osama bin Laden getting killed in Pakistan, the hazard among the Pakistani community travelling outside of the South Asia is that now they will suffer because a terrorist was abusing the country where they have roots from. The other South Asian communities travelling abroad get the same uneasy feeling because of the colour of their skin.

Toby Lennox, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Communications, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)

At the Toronto Person International Airport, the threat level changes with the global events.

“The threat level changes all the time,” says Mr. Toby Lennox, Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications of Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) in an interview with Generation Next. GTAA’s job is to respond to the changing threat levels.

Security concerns aside, he says, there are thousands of people from South Asian community who are employed at the GTAA.

“We are missing this whole other story [when the conversations are about security only] that there are..thousands of South Asians working at the Airport Authority..that is so important to us,” stated Mr. Lennox.

At the very highest levels of the administration of GTAA, there is a recognition that “the South Asian community is incredibly dynamic, incredibly wealthy and incredibly growing portion of our community,” says Mr. Lennox.

He believes that “the direct access” is crucial as “that’s family, that’s friends, that’s business.” And the IIFA buzz has certainly reached them and they are ready to welcome the guests coming from India for the mega Bollywood event from June 23rd to June 25th in Toronto.

GTAA has a challenging job of balancing the customer service with the security process. While GTAA does not do security, the administration tries to structure passenger’s experience around security process.

The last time a friend flew from New York City to Toronto Pearson International Airport, it took her at least 50 minutes to get to the customs agent with zero courtesy and listening ability, and another 30 minutes before she could exit the building. Before she could reach the line up to get clearance from the security, she was welcomed by an exhausted looking GTAA official who could barely manage the large influx of people.

“You have people waiting in long lines. And that..makes people uncomfortable..people think they can do better things..What we can do is to both engage the passenger in the in line up by saying ‘hello, Welcome to Pearson International Airport and Have a good flight’ to make it a little less intrusive..Everybody accepts that you’ve to go through security. But if people say it wasn’t as bad and we understand it..that’s our job,” says the VP of Communications. GTAA is also thinking about establishing an outreach arm to engage the South Asian community.

While the Canadian governments don’t want to put all eggs in one basket and rely heavily on America, the fact remains that more than 75 per cent of Canada’s trade is with America. Mr. Lennox notes that 35 United States’ states are Canada’s number one trading partners, and these are not just Northern states like New York but southern states like Wisconsin and Georgia.

The problem, however is, “Americans don’t care about Canadians,” says Mr. Lennox bluntly.

“The traffic that we are seeing going between Canada and the US is growing at the rate that exceeds the rate of growth of traffic within the United States. Our concern is to make sure that we have enough custom agents that can handle that increase demand. The United States has other priorities, it’s the  Mexican border, international airports in the United States and then Canada. My job is to go into the United States and remind them how important that link is,” he states.

 

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Brownman Clothing: Smart, Cool, Fashionable, Cheeky and Identifiable

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

“I find off of our website that it’s mostly American and British [buyers]. Canadians are a little cautious when it comes to fashion. We want to see somebody wear it first. We want to understand the type of person that’s wearing it first. We want to understand the culture around it before buying. Once you get that understanding, it gets a lot better.”

“ That’s a very good question. They [the Canadian retailers] are and they’re not. They are in the sense that they want to be a part of the growing South Asian population. But they don’t understand how to work with us to get them to do it. There are all sorts of restrictions like “you can’t promote it, you can’t put our name, you can’t say this, you can’t say we’re here but you need to promote”…It’s a catch 22 for them as well, they don’t want to come off as a department store that favours one culture over the other.”

With a degree from Seneca College, Faisal Tahseen was out of job as a junior creative when the recession hit in 1990s. “I was out of a job and I thought okay so now what? I went freelance and did my own design and website development. Then about six years ago, Brownman came out,” says Faisal sharing his idea of Brownman Clothing.

 

The name is unique. Why choose the name “Brownman?”

 

There’s a story Faisal shares with us. He grew up in Scarborough in a neighbourhood with very few South Asians. In high school, somebody walked up to him and said “you know Faisal, you’re not black, you’re not white, what are you? And I said well I’m a brown man..And that name stuck.”

 

Brownman Clothing is a T-shirt company that has slogans the South Asian community can relate to.

 

Some of these slogans are:

 

“Hijabis are hot.”

 

“I love Curry.”

 

“Desi Princess”

 

“Bollywood actors in training.”

 

“I ♥ brown boys.”

 

“Hijabis Rock.”

 

 

Some of these slogans are quite provocative. But that wasn’t Faisal’s intention when he put them on T-shirts. It was all about demand and coming up with a unique idea, an idea that South Asians can relate to.

 

“ There’s nothing [South Asian] that is smart, cool, fashionable, cheeky and something that I want for South Asians. It’s not that you’ll find Brownman as very provoking. We feel it’s smart, it’s cute and identifiable. If you saw a desi girl wearing it, you would say “oh, mhm”,” says Faisal whose parents were “freaking out” on his career choice.

 

The South Asian community’s response to slogans is mix. There are those who send hate mails. Does he feel threatened? “I do,” states Faisal.

 

Then, there are emails that seem to come from parents stating “”I wouldn’t put my kids in this, I think you should tone it down, I like this but because you have this I’ll not support you”. But on the flip side you get people saying this is exactly what South Asians need! We need to show that we’re not all religious fundamentalists, that we pray constantly, that we’re stuck up and Bollywood dancers. We need to show that we do have an identity and that we are creative,” Faisal tells us.

 

How about non-South Asian Canadians? Are they interested in wearing Brownman Clothing?

 

Faisal’s sense is “I find off of our website that it’s mostly American and British [buyers]. Canadians are a little cautious when it comes to fashion. We want to see somebody wear it first. We want to understand the type of person that’s wearing it first. We want to understand the culture around it before buying. Once you get that understanding, it gets a lot better.”

 

With growing South Asian community in the GTA, are GTA retailers open to the idea of carrying creations of Brownman Clothing?

 

Faisal can speak from personal experience. “That’s a very good question. They [the Canadian retailers] are and they’re not. They are in the sense that they want to be a part of the growing South Asian population. But they don’t understand how to work with us to get them to do it. There are all sorts of restrictions like “you can’t promote it, you can’t put our name, you can’t say this, you can’t say we’re here but you need to promote”…It’s a catch 22 for them as well, they don’t want to come off as a department store that favours one culture over the other.”

 

There are also instances where South Asians’ do not want to be labelled as desis.

 

Is it reverse racism then, we ask.

 

“Sometimes what happens is that you have lots of immigrants and they are trying to relate to the Western culture so they don’t want to wear something that specifies them as desi. Whereas people who are in their mid to late twenties and thirties, they’re confident and don’t have to adhere to peer pressure, they look and think that ‘yeah it’s pretty cool, I’m proud of being desi and I’m proud of eating naan and kababs everyday and I want people to know it,’” he responds.

 

Quite blunt and frank in his opinions, Faisal is of the opinion that “Don’t be afraid, because then I can learn. If somebody says to me you can’t do this, it drives me even more because I want to prove them wrong. I always try it, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harinder Takhar: The Voice of Reason that Must be Heard

Harinder Takhar: The Voice of Reason that Must be Heard

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

Ontario Minister of Government Services Harinder Takhar and MPP from Mississauga Erindale

While many South Asian elected officials grumble that there is much leg pulling in the community, Minister Takhar seems to remain above the fray. From sidelines he may suggest or indicate to these officials that they need to focus on the job, yet his name rarely pops out in open in any given controversy. What’s the secret?

“Other than three or provinces, Conservatives have governments in the rest of Canada, but have they given the choices? No they haven’t.”

“When you read the paper, you read half of the story sometimes. The newspapers talk about high tuition fees etc, but have they ever talked about how we have the largest number of scholarships available for the students?.”

“Our kids are way smarter than we were at their age. I talk to my daughters and they amaze me sometimes with the kinds of questions and thinking they have. I don’t think I had that at their age. If they have that, then we should trust them to make the right decisions.”

 

 

If you live in Mississauga and are engaged with the community, it would be very hard for you to miss Member of Ontario Legislature from Mississauga-Erindale, Haridner Takhar and the Minister of Government Services.

 

Government Services is perceived to be one of the most powerful ministries of the Ontario government. But Minister Takhar is modest. He says “I think the power is with the people, let’s get that right.”

 

In an interview with Generation Next, Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty said that his decisions are informed by his diverse caucus. Premier of Ontario said that South Asian members of his caucus “keep me connected” to the South Asian community.

 

So they do.

 

When the controversy over sex education erupted last year, MPP Takhar was as uncomfortable with it as many other South Asians and members of other communities were. “It’s not that the sex education is not in the curriculum, it is, but some of the wording..people were not comfortable with it,” Mr. Takhar clarifies.

 

He went to the Premier with his concern and counselled the Premier. “When it [sex education news] came out, I went to the premier and told him that in the ethnic community, this thing is going to go the wrong way in the way people think. He [the Premier] listened..The next day, he [Mr. McGuinty] came back to me and said, are you happy now?” withdrawing the idea.

 

With Peel Region’s population inhabiting a large number of immigrants, should they have the right to vote and choose their elected officials.

 

Minister Takhar believes “the right to vote is a privilege and it needs to be earned. And the way to earn it is to become a loyal citizen of the country that you live in.”

 

Many people believe that although the visible minorities have become the visible majorities now, , their representation in the government, legislatures and the corporate world is not as vibrant as it should be.

 

Minister Takhar’s way of looking at it is “In our little caucus, we have about seventy people, four from the Sikh community..we have almost every community represented, Greek, Italian, Pakistani and so on..If you add those up, this is a major step forward. In the cabinet we have a Greek, we have an Italian, a Sikh..different people from different backgrounds, so they are all represented. But if you look twenty years ago, that would never have happened. We have made a step forward and we are moving in the right direction. Can more be done? Absolutely.”

 

The Ontario Liberals have a tough challenge ahead in the October 6th election. With voter trend shifting from Liberals to Conservatives and New Democrats, Liberals will have a tough fight up ahead, a battle that Ontario Liberals are not taking as seriously as they should if they want to maintain a majority Liberal government in Ontario. Can Ontario Liberals be squeezed between federal Tories and ‘the Ford Nation?’

 

“We have a track record, we believe in a couple of things. We believe in good quality education, we believe in good hospitals, we believe in improving our infrastructure. Rob Ford ran on a different agenda and I personally think, so far, he has done a good job..If Toronto works, Ontario works. So we want to make sure we work with them as we go along,” states Mr. Takhar.

 

Mr. Takhar also thinks that the Tory talk about giving choice to Ontario families is a sham.

 

“Other than three or provinces, Conservatives have governments in the rest of Canada, but have they given the choices? No they haven’t. We are at least saying we’re going to introduce a full-day Kindergarten everywhere, and we’re giving them before and after school opportunities. Isn’t that the choice? You don’t want it, that’s fine but at least you have the option to do that. So the Liberal bills are always in the middle, we want to make sure people’s interests are taken care of and sometimes that leads to putting some rules and regulations in place,” he explains.

 

 

While MPP Takhar says that there are hardly any complaints that his constituency office received on the issue of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), many businesses in his riding are outraged with the extra money people have to pay. This outrage is even more pronounced after Tory majority win federally.

 

The HST can be explained in a number of different ways. Mr. Takar explains it as “We have not imposed taxes actually..the GST (8%) and PST (5%) were already there, and if you add them together, it is 13%. The HST is 13 %. So 83% of the items are the same and 17% of the items are different. But we have also given $12 billion dollars worth of income taxes breaks.”

 

At the end of the day, however, people look at the HST as a tax imposed by the Liberal government. People are especially sceptical of it when the Ontario government is giving raises to unions and police. The rebates being mailed are too little at a time when gas prices have soared to almost 50 per cent more than what we paid last year around the same time of the year.

 

The same goes with the hydro bills. On the one hand, Ontario’s power is being given free of cost to Quebec and New York, yet Ontarians are paying higher and higher hydro bills. These hydro bills include a number of costs, one of which is there to pay off the debt that has been incurred by the previous Tory government. Nonetheless Mr. Takhar says “I’m not blaming the Conservatives…the Conservatives did actually put that extra cost on the bill and they also got that money but they didn’t pay the debt off. We [the Liberal government] got that money and we paid about $1billion dollars of debt off every year for the past seven years. the Conservatives never did that. They got the money but they never paid the debt off.”

 

Higher cost for education is another issue. While university administrations agree that Ontario has the lowest tuition fee when compared internationally, the taxes Ontarians and Canadians pay are higher than what other governments impose also.

 

Minister Takhar says “when you read the paper, you read half of the story sometimes. The newspapers talk about high tuition fees etc, but have they ever talked about how we have the largest number of scholarships available for the students? We have given the guarantee that any student who wants to pursue higher education and cannot afford it, will be taken care of. We put $6 billion into education.”

 

With South Asian community growing to be the largest visible minority in the GTA, it’s interesting that elected officials recognize the contribution of the South Asian media, yet when it comes to spending dollars to publicize the governmental messages, the dollars spent are negligible. Advertising Review Board is under Minister Takhar’s Ministry. “We need to look at it,” he recognizes. “I will have some conversation with them. But I bring that idea up all the time and say, ethnic papers are important..it’s quite economical for us to do advertising in ethnic papers..so we need to do more,” he adds.

 

While many South Asian elected officials grumble that there is much leg pulling in the community, Minister Takhar seems to remain above the fray. From sidelines he may suggest or indicate to these officials that they need to focus on the job, yet his name rarely pops out in open in any given controversy. What’s the secret?

 

“The most important thing for me is that you keep doing the right thing, put your head down and keep doing the right thing. I’ve worked with all groups, from the gurudwaras to other community groups, so I assist them the way I can. But I don’t get involved heavily in anything, I treat them the way I treat the other communities,” he shares.

 

He is also the one who is known in the South Asian community as a beacon of promoting Ontario-India relations. MPP Takhar is believed to be the one who initiated the conversations about bringing IIFA to Toronto, an event that is set to bring $100 million gross sales revenue to Ontario.

 

MPP Takhar is also known to groom South Asian youth to be politicians. He has at least two South Asian females in his office, both appear to be his protégés. Mr. Takhar’s philosophy is “You need to help people and if you find the right people and can help groom them, it’s your duty and obligation to do that.”

 

Father of two daughters, Mr. Takhar believes that the South Asian parents should trust their kids as they are smarter. “Our kids are way smarter than we were at their age. I talk to my daughters and they amaze me sometimes with the kinds of questions and thinking they have. I don’t think I had that at their age. If they have that, then we should trust them to make the right decisions,” he says.

 

Minister Takhar urges the South Asian community to be engaged and involved in the school councils, at hospital boards, in organizations like United Way and the Education and Safety Council of Ontario. “People need to get involved..sometimes we [the South Asians] try to find a shortcut to running for public office without doing any work in the community.

 

 

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Obama’s Immigration Smorgasbord

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

Members of Congress may be motivated by politics or otherwise believe deeply in taking one approach or the other toward reforming the nation’s immigration laws.  But it appears the public believes in doing both.

A very recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press showed that 72 percent of the American public supports providing a way for illegal immigrants currently in the country to gain legal citizenship if they pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.  Slightly more (78 percent) support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security.  If you do the math, at least half of all Americans support both legalization and stronger enforcement.

 

 

President Barack Obama’s speech once again laid out a smorgasbord of policies for how to reform U.S. immigration policy. While he jested about moats and alligators along the border in El Paso, President Obama has been beleaguered by immigration reform, as was his predecessor, but the problem may not be with the occupant of that office.

During and since the collapse of the Bush administration’s failed 2007 immigration overhaul effort, the debate has typically been framed by two polarized and opposing policy strategies: “enforcement-first” versus “comprehensive.”

In the enforcement camp, proponents focus on the rule of law, strengthening border security, keeping out illegal immigrants, and new strategies for worksite verification. With this accomplished, only then, per this view, should we start the discussion about other issues, including legalizing the millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

Comprehensive reform includes all of the above measures, but also focuses on changes to the immigration admissions system and an earned legalization program. This perspective emphasizes the point that in order to have a system that works properly all of these components must be operating at once. The biggest dividing line between the two positions is that the comprehensive reform camp supports a legalization program for immigrants who are already in the United States if they pass a background check, pay a fine and are working. Enforcement-first backers often morph into “enforcement only” supporters at this suggestion.

Members of Congress may be motivated by politics or otherwise believe deeply in taking one approach or the other toward reforming the nation’s immigration laws.  But it appears the public believes in doing both.

A very recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press showed that 72 percent of the American public supports providing a way for illegal immigrants currently in the country to gain legal citizenship if they pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.  Slightly more (78 percent) support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security.  If you do the math, at least half of all Americans support both legalization and stronger enforcement.

But that’s the national picture.  If you did the same poll state by state, metro by metro, county by county, you would find a lot of variation.

On enforcement, there are states such as Arizona and Georgia that want more than the federal government is offering and have proposed and implemented their own policies. There are other states like Illinois and New York that are unhappy about the Secure Communities Initiative, a federal enforcement program that requires local enforcement agencies to share biometric information for every detained person with federal immigration officials. (They are subject to deportation if they are in this country without authorization).

Then there is Utah.  They have a state enforcement policy similar to Arizona’s but also have designed their own program that would allow immigrants who are illegally present to be certified to work in Utah.

State action is putting multiple pressures on federal lawmakers.  In acknowledging Congress as perhaps the biggest obstacle in front of immigration reform, the president enlisted the American people to add their voices to the debate, giving out the White House web address to “sign up to help.”

Will we reach consensus on the best way to reform federal immigration policy across America? President Obama convincingly argued for a need to balance the strong and effective enforcement efforts with something for the other side.  As he put it, “So, the question is whether those in Congress who previously walked away in the name of enforcement are now ready to come back to the table and finish the work we’ve started. We have to put the politics aside.”

Once Congress tires of arguing the same debates, perhaps we can talk sensibly and rationally about the best way to move ahead with immigration reform.

Source: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0511_immigration_singer.aspx

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Markham Stoufville Hospital

“Bleak” Meditation room Changed into “ Very Inviting” space Donald Shields, Reverend at Markham Stouffville Hospital

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

“If spirituality has the power to give a person a day or a minute without pain or maybe give them the hope..that I’ve seen. People have gone to their graves thinking that some divine intervention will happen and that’s okay..that’s what they need in their journey.”

Donald Shields, Reverend at Markham Stoufville Hospital

In providing healthcare to patients, many times hospitals need to be ready to address the behaviours governed by culture. Markham Stoufville Hospital seems to be equipped to address some of these concerns.

The staff “has become more accepting and attuned to the spiritual and the cultural needs of the community,” says Reverend Donald Shields, a Chaplain at the Hospital. He provides spiritual care to the patients and trains the staff to be sensitive to various cultural and religious needs of the patients. There are staff members who wear hijab and have roots in Asian and South Asian countries.

“12 years ago, the Hospital recognized that Markham was going through some dynamic changes…it was at the cusp of becoming multicultural. To be a leading-edge hospital we need to do as much as we can to educate and accommodate the emerging cultures. East Indian, Islamic Asian,” says Reverend Shields in a conversation with Generation Next.

Reverend Shields tells Generation Next’s readers an instance whereby a staff member was quite upset on the husband’s aloofness from his wife. The wife was delivering a baby. The staff thought that the husband was acting like a  “chauvinist.” However the imam explained to her that the wife was exposed among a mixed community. The wife’s shame could have been exasperated because she may never have been exposed in front of anyone except for her husband. It was a moment of enlightenment for the staff member.

Instances like these challenge the assumptions of people who provide healthcare, “but when you dig a little deeper, the cultural practices sometimes dictate the individual’s behaviour.”

Reverend Shields tells us that in the end-of-life care cases, sometimes there is a conflict between healthcare needs and the culture of the patient’s family. “Dynamics of the family, who you talk to, polarity that exists in the family..so dynamics can get even more tough,” says Reverend Shields. While many times South Asian or Muslim women’s voice is suppressed within the family, Reverend Shields is unaware of any such cases.

Twelve years ago, Markham Stouffville Hospital had “a rather bleak and somewhat Christian” meditation room. Today the multi faith room at Markham Stouffville Hospital has prayer mats, religious scripts from various faiths, symbols of various faiths like Om, making it a “very inviting place where people of every faith and no faith can come in,” says Reverend Shields. Similarly dietary needs of patients like vegetarian food, halal and kosher is also accommodated.

In the South Asian community, the common perception is that if you have absolute faith, you’ll walk out of the hospital or any other difficult situation alive and well. This faith ties into religion more than the science or healthcare. Addressing the spirituality, Reverend Shields says that he hasn’t seen a miracle like “somebody getting up from a bed and walking out of the hospital fully well happen. If spirituality has the power to give a person a day or a minute without pain or maybe give them the hope..that I’ve seen. People have gone to their graves thinking that some divine intervention will happen and that’s okay..that’s what they need in their journey.”

Reverend Shields is encouraged by Markham’s diverse community’s response to institutions like Markham Stouffville Hospital. Various organizations from diverse communities have worked together to raise funds for their Hospital.

 

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Brownman Clothing 2011 Model Contest

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

Crystal Mahabir

Nurse at Emanuel Village Retirement Home

Amal Akram

Teacher at a Montessori school in Mississauga

Jassi Rana

Insurance Advisor at RBC

 

Rafique Qasim

4th year electrical engineering student at Ryerson University

 

Ruby Satha

3rd year Psychology student at Brock University

Kushal Patel

Entrepreneur who studied Chemistry and Environmental Sciences to please his parents and models for his passion.

Makeup artists and a team of stylists from Spa+Salon Career College and Adaa Artistry

Photos by: www.canadastills.com

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Non-Stop Convenience

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

Air India held its Travel Agents ‘Outstanding Sales Performance Awards’ also referred to as the ‘Million Dollar Travel Agents Award’ evening on May 13, 2011 at the Elite Banquet Hall in Toronto.

In his address to the audience, Mr. Harry Francis, Manager Canada for Air India, also thanked all those present for their tremendous contribution and support to Air India, which he was confidant would continue. Air India he advised, offers a daily non-stop Boeing 777-300 state -of-the art aircrafts from Toronto to Delhi , the fastest flights from Canada to India, which flies into the new marvelous Indira Gandhi International airport (T3) in New Delhi. These flights continue on and terminate at Amritsar, an important and popular destination for many travelers from Toronto. Passengers travelling from Toronto to Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad and Kolkata have the facility today, of tagging their baggage and clearing custom formalities at these destinations. It is expected that this facility will be available for passengers destined to Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and other Indian domestic destinations in due course. Mr. Francis mentioned that with the merger of Air India (AI) and Indian Airlines (IC), Air India now operates under one single Code – AI, and today offers connections to 43 cities in India and 28 International destinations through Delhi airport. Air India was looking forward to be a part of the Star Alliance, the world’s first and largest alliance with 27 member airlines, serving 181 countries with over 1160 airports across the world.

The response and feedback to the non-stop flights from Toronto from the community has been overwhelming and very positive added Mr. Francis, especially with the convenience and comfort levels Air India now offers passengers, travelling to India. Air India is also encouraged with the substantial increase in passengers travelling in their First & Business class cabins on these non-stop flights, which features seats that convert to flat beds, providing a relaxing and sound sleep.

 

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IMG_6830

“Picture House, The Art of Bollywood”

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

Asma Arshad, Chair of CCAI

“Picture House: The Art of Bollywood”, a tribute to the unique art practice of hand painted cinema billboards and posters created by three generations of talented artists opened at the Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM).

 

Hon Harinder Takhar MPP, Minister for Government Services delivered the opening remarks. Speaking to artists, art enthusiasts and Bollywood fans, he expressed his love for Indian cinema dating back 60 years ago.

 

Joel Peters, Senior VP of Toronto Tourism, said that he has been inspired by Bollywood stars and their charitable work. He is convinced that Bollywood stars have a huge potential to mobilize the community toward charitable work. This, he said was evident in last year’s IIFA events at Colombo, Sri Lanka.

 

Sahebzada A Khan, the Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto, in his address introduced the Amin ur Rahman a Pakistani Canadian artist whose show White Wash opened simultaneously.   The Consul General talked about Mr. Rahman’s work in the backdrop of suicide bombings and the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

 

It was interesting to see that the new Bollywood movies don’t really put the names of the movies in Urdu language while the old movies had the names in Hindi, Urdu and English.

 

Others to speak at the opening were Robert Freeman Ex Director and Curator of the Gallery, Jonathan Dent VP CIBC, Asma Arshad Mahmood Chair CCAI and Co-Curator of the show, Ali Adil Khan Director CCAI and Co-Curator of the show, Ken Gyle Curator of White Washh and Ashsish Gandhi of CIBC. Jim Tovey Councillor for Ward 1 also attended with his wife.

Exhibition at Art Gallery of Museum

 

 

 

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Patient Relations & Diversity Services

Brampton Civic Hospital: An Overview

Posted on 17 May 2011 by admin

“Sometimes people get frustrated, there’s crying, there’s sneezing and coughing…every person we see deserves the due diligence and due care in order for us to make no mistakes..the wait is for a reason..to provide the best care” – Dr. Oscar at ER

What’s holding back “is the government really,” Dr. Rocco says. The Comprehensive proposal of having an angioplasty machine was submitted to the Ministry of Health in January of 2010. In over 16 months “we haven’t got any official feedback.”

“My greatest concern will be the issue of regionalized care..that’s what’s most important for us..if it goes back to centralized model [that’s run] out of Ministry of Health..then we would be in the same lineup as..Ottawa and Windsor. We very much prefer regional model care..which virtually every other part of the world has,” Mr. Matt Anderson on LHIN.

Mr. Matt Anderson, President and CEO of William Osler Foundation tells the media that the Hospital has been waiting since January 2010 to get the Ministry of Health to fund $2 million machine for angioplasty

While the Brampton Civic hospital has had a few bumps in outreaching to the South Asian community, the Hospital is very much looking forward to working with the community now. A few days ago, the hospital arranged a South Asian media tour of the hospital. The media was taken to the Emergency Ward, Cardiology department, natal care services and Multifaith room.

It was incredible to see how the government’s inefficiency in providing healthcare and lack of responsiveness results in higher healthcare costs and inconvenience to patients who are already in much pain and distress. This inefficiency also leads to higher salaries for doctors who don’t need to be paid twice to provide one service. While hospitals like Brampton Civic Hospital may have sufficient resources, money wasted on one department can be effectively used in another department to provide better healthcare to patients.

Focus on Natural Light

As we walked into the Brampton Civic Hospital, we were told that the lounge at the very entrance of the hospital is redecorated depending upon the seasons and festivities. A couple of weeks ago it was decorated in a way to offer Spring feeling to patients, families and friends. Ramneet Gaddi was our tour guide. While walking up and down the Brampton Civic Hospital on a Sunday, she never let us forget that the Hospital’s building is designed in a way to let plenty of natural light into the hospital. It reminded me of my dad who constantly told us as children that natural sunlight is free Vitamin D and good for moral spirit.

The ER

Dr. Oscar Karbi, physician at ER with Ms. Ferrari

As we walked into the Emergency Ward, there were fewer people than what I had expected for the ER. Ms. Kiki Ferrari, Director of Emergency and Critical Care Services, in her soft voice told us that Brampton Civic Hospital’s ER is one of the busiest departments of hospitals in Ontario.

The ER was visited by 110,000 patients in 2010. The patient growth was 24 per cent when on an average the growth rate is usually 3 per cent. But “we meet our volume’s needs,” said Ms. Ferrari. “In fact we have lowered our wait times by 1.5 hours,” she said. The ER at Brampton Civic Hospital meets the Ontario Ministry of Health’s criteria of getting the patients out of the ER within eight hours.

She pointed out that the nurse at the triage is trained to know which patients need to be seen urgently and which patients can actually wait a little longer, “The goal,” however “is not to have anybody wait,” she stated. “The large portions of the patients who come in are very sick..they require a large number of doctors and nurses’ attention, so it takes them away from other patients,” noted Ms. Ferrari.

As we walked into the ER, a patient’s family member complained that the patient was yet to be seen by a doctor or a nurse after three hours of wait. Later Ms. Ferrari clarified that the patient was seen by a health professional.

She noted that many times, nurses have actually seen a patient, but patients still feel that they are not being seen. “Some people don’t recognize that they have seen a nurse already if they are waiting to be stretchered in the hallway.”  The patients are moved in depending on the stretcher availability.

The ER has a 24 hours diagnostic centre where X-rays, CT scans, MRIs etc can be done as the need may be. Brampton Civic Hospital has its own Pediatric  area that provides “the most appropriate care.”

The ER at the Hospital has two physicians at the night time. “Other hospitals are coming to us to ask how we got the two physicians at night time,” says Ms. Ferrari with a great sense of deserved pride.

Dr. Oscar, a physician at Brampton Civic Hospital’s ER pointed out that “this is a very very high volume hospital. Sometimes the community sees that there is no doctor around, but there is always a doctor around..to provide the best care. Sometimes people get frustrated, there’s crying, there’s sneezing and coughing…every person we see deserves the due diligence and due care in order for us to make no mistakes..the wait is for a reason..to provide the best care.”

Many times people visit the ER only because other healthcare centres are closed or people are not sure where to go to other than the ER. When should people come to the ER?

“Everybody has their own definition of emergency in their mind. But if it’s emergency, you have to come to the Hospital…don’t wait if you feel that it’s an emergency.. We have more physicians working in the evenings because the community comes toward the evening,” he said.

Cardiovascular Department

Dr. Dominic Rocco at Cardiovascular Department

Heart patients at Brampton Civic Hospital can only get blockages identified in a procedure called Angiogram. To remove these blockages from arteries, a procedure called Angioplasty has to be done at Trillium Hospital in Mississauga.

Dr. Dominic Rocco, Corporate Chief of Cardiology & Medical Doctor says that not having the equipment to perform angioplasty at Brampton Civic hospital results in  2 -3 extra days’ patient stay at the hospital taking up much need stretchers, psycho-social issues where the patient has to go to another hospital, medical issue of poking into arteries, and of course the costs it incurs.

Most patients go to Trillium hospital to get the angioplasty done where Dr. Rocco gets paid twice for the same work. There are about 2,000 angiograms done at Brampton Civic hospital each year. These patients have to wait to get the angioplasty done costing about half a million in taking up the beds alone,  when the equipment for angioplasty costs about $2 million meaning “savings for the government,” Dr. Rocco says.

Why doesn’t Brampton Civic Hospital get the necessary equipment?

What’s holding back “is the government really,” Dr. Rocco says. Dr. Rocco also told the media that the Hospital has the Central West LHIN’s support on the issue. The Comprehensive proposal of having an angioplasty machine was submitted to the Ministry of Health in January of 2010. In over 16 months “we haven’t got any official feedback,” Dr. Roccos says.

In her recent visit to Brampton Civic Hospital, Minister Deb Matthews was asked about the issue, however she expressed her ignorance to the matter.

Charm Clinic:

A combination of genetics and life style is making South Asian youth in 30s and 40s prone to heart diseases. The Charm Clinic at the Hospital is preventive in nature where the bigger issue with the South Asian community is not smoking but diabetes and cultural factors that immigrated with South Asian immigrants to Canada.

Neo-Natal Care:

As we entered the neonatal services room, we were told to wash our hands because infants are susceptible to catching disease easier than the adults. Here we were told that the new parents would be wise to take birthing classes especially if there are chances of pre-mature birth.

The doctors here haven’t really seen South Asian parents to be angry on the birth of a daughter.  If it gets to the point where parents have hard time coping, social workers help and so do the people who provide spiritual care.

Spiritual Care

Patient Relations & Diversity Services

Brampton Civic Hospital provides training to its staff to provide culturally sensitive healthcare to its patients. It’s Multifaith Room has Holy Scriptures from various faiths, musical instruments that people may need. “This Hospital seems to pay more attention to spiritual care than any other hospital I have worked at,” said Dr. Rocco who has worked with hospitals that have been run by Catholics at the United States.

While we were in the Department of Diversity Services, Ms. Gurwinder Gill’s colleague commented that “if it was up to her, she’ll keep us here the whole day.” The same comment was heard again when Dr. Rocco was showing us around his department. Their love for what they do was quite evident and admirable.

Lifestyle

There is a gym at the Hospital too. It’s equipped with various machines that you’ll find in your average gym.

People’s fitness improves after they have had a heart attack, said Dr. Dominic Raco.

Most people have a better “fitness level” after they have had the heart attack than before. “Before they didn’t exercise or they didn’t eat right,” he said.

Dr. Rocco advises brisk 30-minute walk 3-4 times a week to keep yourself healthy.

During the tour, Ramneet emphasized on taking stairs over elevators to keep the South Asian media fit.

Organ Transplant

My first introduction to Brampton Civic Hospital was through a friend who had to take her mother every week to the Hospital for dialysis. His mother was in a list for kidney transplant, but there was a very very long wait. They tried getting a transplant from India, then.

Ms. Ferrari who is also the Chair of Organ Donation Committee says that most patients when asked about organ donation will say yes. An individual who has cultural knowledge and sensitivity will be sent to ask the patient about organ donation.

Dr. Rocco says that the problem is not the resources but the fact that there aren’t enough donors. There are lesser and lesser deaths among young people which makes organ procurement harder.

LHIN

The leader of Progressive Conservatives of Ontario Tim Hudak has said that he will scrap Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) if the PC forms a government.

Mr. Matt Anderson, the CEO and President of William Osler Health Foundation responds by saying “My greatest concern will be the issue of regionalized care..that’s what’s most important for us..if it goes back to centralized model [that’s run] out of Ministry of Health..then we would be in the same lineup as..Ottawa and Windsor. We very much prefer regional model care..which virtually every other part of the world has.”

Jobs at Cardiovascular Department

Ontario has shortage of doctors and nurses, yet internationally medical graduates (IMGs) drive cabs. William Osler is looking to hire two physicians at its Cardiovascular department. What Dr. Rocco would be looking for in candidates is whether they are well qualified and can fit with other physicians. He noted that the Canadian medical colleges are fairly homogenous whereas the heterogeneity of IMGs makes it hard for hospitals to hire them.

What’s interesting is that while McGuinty government is working hard to attract international students, Ontario’s medical students are travelling abroad to countries like Ireland to become doctors. With them is going about $100,000 a year that these Ontarians spend on medical education in Ireland.

 

 

By Asma Amanat

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