Food Allergy Canada posts warning about mocking scene in film ‘Peter Rabbit’

By Sheryl Ubelacker

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TORONTO _ Food Allergy Canada is warning movie-goers about a scene in “Peter Rabbit,” which has created an online backlash for appearing to mock people at risk for the potentially life-threatening condition anaphylaxis.

In the film, based on the popular children’s book by Beatrix Potter and released on the weekend, the character Tom McGregor must use an EpiPen after Peter Rabbit and his furry comrades pelt him with blackberries _ a fruit to which he has a severe allergy.

“Any time you take a serious medical condition and it become the butt of any jokes or it’s not taken seriously, it can be quite difficult and concerning for people,” Beatrice Povolo, a spokeswoman for Food Allergy Canada, said Monday.

Food allergies are a serious public health condition that affect almost 485,000 children in Canada and millions more worldwide, she said.

“And when it is portrayed in this type of fashion, it provides an impression that it’s not as serious as it is, and unfortunately it can be a life-threatening condition for some people.”

The movie’s creators and Sony Pictures, the studio behind them, issued a joint statement Sunday apologizing for being insensitive in their portrayal, saying that “food allergies are a serious issue” and the film “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries, “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.”

On Monday, Food Allergy Canada posted a warning about the movie to its social media followers.

“Please be advised there is a reported scene in this children’s movie where a character is knowingly given his allergen, resulting in an anaphylactic reaction, requiring the use of his epinephrine auto-injector. Sony Pictures has since apologized for the scene,” the post reads.

“If you are considering seeing this film with your children, please talk to them beforehand and again following the movie. Any inappropriate depiction of food allergy highlights the need for greater awareness and education in the wider community. We will continue to work toward raising awareness and education regarding the seriousness of food allergy and to encourage respectful and informed dialogues about food allergy.”

The U.S. charity group Kids with Food Allergies has also posted a warning about the scene on its Facebook page, prompting some on Twitter to start using the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

The group said that allergy jokes are harmful to their community and that making light of the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”

Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, wrote an open letter to the studio asking for the opportunity to educate the company and the film’s cast on the realities of food allergies and urged the studio to “examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience.”

Quebec health insurance cards are getting a makeover

Claire Loewen · CBC News

Get ready for a new look, Quebecers — on your health insurance card, that is.

For the first time in more than 40 years, the Quebec health insurance board (RAMQ) has changed the design of its health card.

The new cards are inspired by Quebec driver’s licence, RAMQ says, complete with a black-and-white I.D. photo and lighter background colours.

The card, nicknamed the “carte-soleil,” will retain its distinctive sun, although you will have to look harder to spot it.

Starting on Jan. 24, the new cards will be distributed gradually through renewals, replacements of lost, stolen or damaged cards, or the issuance of a first card.

The RAMQ card features images that only appear under ultraviolet light. (RAMQ)

Quebecers with cards bearing the old design needn’t worry — the current cards will be valid until they expire.

Some new security features on the RAMQ card include:

  • Ink that changes colour depending on angle and light.
  • Tactile engravings.
  • Images visible only under ultraviolet light.

Last July, RAMQ announced it would be using the services of Quebec’s public automobile insurance agency, the SAAQ, to produce its cards by 2018.

This way, cards will be delivered more quickly: optimizing service by avoiding duplication of equipment and sharing expertise are among the rationale.

Originally, RAMQ was producing 2.3 million cards every year, but the demand for cards is expected to drop in half by 2018 as medicare cards will become valid for eight years instead of four.

New online resources now available to address risks associated with distracted driving

 Press Release:

Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) today launched a new web-based information hub at www.diad.tirf.ca/ehub. It was designed as a resource with tools to help governments and interested stakeholders develop effective strategies to reduce distracted driving. The hub contains the latest research, stats and data on distracted driving, laws and penalties in Canada, and a variety of educational tools and resources. This initiative is led by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), and its Drop It And Drive® program, in partnership with The Co-operators.

Despite increasing fines and penalties for distracted driving, nearly one in four fatal crashes in 2013 involved distraction. Concern continues to grow as an increasing number of jurisdictions across the country report that distraction is a leading factor in road fatalities. “All agencies are incredibly concerned about the safety of Canadians, their workforce, and their families and friends. Everyone has the same questions about the size of the problem, what is known, what data are available, and what strategies can reduce distracted driving,” said Robyn Robertson, TIRF president and CEO. “We designed the E-Hub so organizations can spend less time looking for answers and more time working on solutions.”

The CCDD is a coalition of concerned organizations that spans several sectors including education, enforcement, academia, government, health and industry, including insurance, automotive and trucking industries, and the not-for-profit sector. “As an insurer of over a million vehicles in Canada, we have a significant responsibility to educate Canadians about the risks posed by distracted driving. Consider that a driver traveling at 100km/hr travels the length of a hockey rink within just two seconds while distracted. It’s easy to see why distracted driving is a recipe for disaster,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “The work of the CCDD continues to provide actionable solutions that communities and workplaces can embrace to help resolve this growing issue, and make meaningful changes to protect drivers and pedestrians.”

In March 2017, the CCDD released a National Action Plan on Distracted Driving, and the new E-Hub was just one of the components. The E-Hub resource is housed on the newly designed Drop It And Drive® website at www.diad.tirf.ca. It contains a wealth of information that is relevant across sectors, disciplines and communities of practice. It includes summaries of more than 100 research studies and articles along with links to full studies and the organizations that produced them. Access is also provided to examples of educational resources and tools that are available, the latest data that have been published, and current laws and penalties across the country.

In addition to the fully bilingual fact sheets that were released by the CCDD in November, other elements of the Action Plan are also underway. A call to action for health practitioners was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Physical Sports Therapy. Work groups involving insurance, enforcement, the trucking industry and health professionals are being established to increase awareness in these sectors and build partnerships to reduce distracted driving. The third annual meeting of the CCDD is scheduled for Spring 2018 and will focus on technologies and their role in reducing distracted driving.

CCDD fact sheets

National Action Plan & 15-point Action Plan

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About The Co-operators: 
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit  www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Benecaid Health Benefit Solutions Inc

Press Release:

Benecaid Health Benefit Solutions Inc is a health benefit company providing health insurance plans for small and medium sized businesses. Our personalized solutions can be adapted to the changing demands of your growing company. Ordering a health plan at Benecaid you can be sure that you can always manage the bottom line and pay only for what you really need.
At Benecaid our major goal is transparent and affordable health benefits administration to allow small company owners provide their employees with best health coverage, extended health care and thus ensure their safeness. Thousands companies all over Canada rely on us.

About Benecaid:

In 2000, Benecaid was formed by a group of Health Benefits Professionals who knew there had to be a better way. Since then, we’ve emerged as the leading alternative provider of health benefits plans for Canadian small and medium sized businesses. We know your business and employees are important, and you want to protect them.

Your trust is essential. That’s why we are members of the Third Party Administrators Association of Canada (TPAAC), the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) and the Better Business Bureau. In addition, our claims adjudication is overseen by independent trustees who are Chartered Accountants.

Contact Us: 1-800-646-4964

https://www.benecaid.com/

185 The West Mall, Suite 800, Toronto, Ontario, M9C 5L5

Holiday coping skills when someone you love has dementia

During the holidays it is not only hard for the person living with this disease, but it is also hard for family and friends to journey alongside and provide the required care.

Within the next 5 years an estimated 937,000 Canadians will be living with Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia.

Joy Birch, COO of Highview Residences, outlines these key points to consider as you plan for family gatherings

  1. Safety is the highest consideration.
    Keep things simple. Avoid decorations that look like food or candy. Limit sugar and alcohol consumption. Designate one strong person to assist with any travelling, even for short trips from the car to the front door.
  2. Determine what your expectations are and keep them realistic. Rather than long periods together with large groups. plan for shorter amounts of quality time, each with fewer family members.
  3. Ask yourself what traditions are most important? For each activity make a list weighing the challenges, for example, stairs, too many noise distractions, blinking lights, bathroom concerns, etc.
  4. You, and any hosts whose homes you might visit, will need to know what your loved one with dementia requires. Make a list identifying strategies to overcome each.

For example, if your loved one requires a quiet area, be sure to have a space readily available for them to rest and remove themselves from a crowd.

Joy Birch is the COO of Highview Residences, a specialized, purpose built care home for people with dementia. Joy combines years of operational and hands on experience to provide coping mechanisms that will help support caregivers this holiday season.

SOURCE Highview Residences

Why should summer have all the leafy fun? Try a winter salad

By Melissa D’Arabian

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Summer may officially be the season of green salads, but wintertime versions have advantages that make them worth exploring.

The cooler weather seasonable greens are hearty and darker green, which makes them nutrient-rich. And, these thicker-leaved greens such as kale or spinach, can hold up to the addition of warm ingredients, opening up the possibilities for topping your salad with roasted goodies in a way that delicate butter lettuce never could.

Have some hearty root veggies in the fridge? Toss them (and some whole garlic cloves _ yum!) in some olive oil and roast them up, and add warm to raw kale leaves with lemon juice, Parmesan and black pepper and you’ve got a winter salad rivaling anything you’d make in July.

Today’s recipe takes inspiration from this season’s holiday cooking pantry ingredients that I always seem to have on hand. Apples, leftover from apple pie, are the salad’s real star, while the pumpkin vinaigrette _ also of pie fame _ plays an important supporting role.

I cut the apples into small cubes and quickly roast them in a little salt and rosemary at high heat, and the little cubes turn into sweet, herbaceous nuggets of flavour _ like raisins, but better _ and make other ingredients almost unnecessary. I add leftover turkey for protein, almonds for crunch and tomatoes for a tiny bit of acid.

You could even add blue cheese or feta if you happened to have some floating around the house, leftover from a cheese party platter. Feel free to swap out ingredients to match your pantry: As long as you are topping winter greens with something warm, whether roasted Brussels sprouts or pan-seared salmon, you’ll be on your way to a tasty winter green salad.

GREEN SALAD WITH PUMPKIN VINAIGRETTE AND ROASTED APPLES

Servings: 4

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Salad:

2 large tart apples (such as Granny Smith), cut into 1-inch cubes (unpeeled), about 3 cups

2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary

5 cups baby spinach or kale, or other hearty greens

1/2 cup baby tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 1/2 cups shredded cooked white meat chicken or turkey

1/4 cup marcona almonds

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Olive oil in a mister

Pumpkin Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary

1 teaspoon minced shallot

a few turns of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the cubed apple on a parchment-line baking tray and spray with an olive oil mister to coat the cubes. Sprinkle on the minced rosemary and salt, and gently toss the cubes to coat. Bake just until tender and edges are starting to turn golden, about 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool just a few minutes. While the apples are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Place the pumpkin puree, water, vinegar and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk the olive oil into the mixture until well-blended. Add the rosemary, shallot and black pepper and stir.

To assemble the salad: place the spinach in a bowl or platter and top with the tomatoes, chicken, almonds and warm, roasted apples. Drizzle with pumpkin vinaigrette, toss, and serve.

___

Nutrition information per serving: 239 calories; 75 calories from fat; 8 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 45 mg cholesterol; 336 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 20 g protein.

___

Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”

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