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Canada Funds Eleven New Global Health Innovations In India

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Toronto: Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, has announced an investment of up to $3.1 million CAD in 11 innovations in India, designed to save and improve the lives of women and children.

Ten proof-of-concept projects will receive $112,000 CAD each and one Bangalore-based project, proven successful in trials, is now deemed ready for a $2 million CAD scale-up. It enables a mobile phone to work as a glucose metre for diabetics.

The funding was announced by the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, during the Grand Challenges Canada India Health Innovation Summit in Toronto, hosted by Grand Challenges Canada and the National Council of Indo Canadians.

More than 125 guests from over 27 Indo-Canadian organizations, including Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India and Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, attended the Summit on Monday, December 15th in Toronto, celebrating and showcasing global health innovators from India and Canadian innovators from Indian descent who are working to improve the health of the most vulnerable in India.

This event and the funding announcement builds on the Programme of Cooperation that was signed in February 2014 between Grand Challenges Canada and the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology, in order to promote the development of long-term cooperation between Canada and India in the fields of global health, early child development, women and children’s health and mental health.

“Canada has welcomed generations of newcomers from India who have helped build a pluralistic and prosperous Canada. Both Canada and India share a mutual regard for innovation, and the valuable benefits it brings to our lives and our communities. By working together, we can leverage the expertise of our countries, through innovation and technology, for best practices to improve the health of our citizens,” said the Honourable Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister.

To date, Grand Challenges Canada has funded 80 innovations in India, for a total investment of more than $16 million CAD. These projects are being implemented by institutions based in India and by institutions based in Canada or other countries, in partnership with Indian institutions. Many of these innovations are improving maternal, newborn and child health, which is Canada’s flagship development priority.

Bangalore, India, secured a $2 million CAD investment commitment for the development of the Aina device, a mobile blood monitoring device that plugs into a smartphone and enables the testing of six basic blood parameters. This innovation can be easily used in home, clinical or remote settings, and allows for transmission of medical data directly from patients to health professionals.

Grand Challenges Canada’s $1 million CAD commitment comes from funds available under a $10 million CAD strategic partnership between Grand Challenges Canada and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD). These funds aim to accelerate the scale-up of highly promising health innovations in developing countries. The $1 million CAD commitment by Grand Challenges Canada in Jana Care will be matched by a syndicate of investors, including Unitus Impact. Unitus Impact is a venture capital firm investing in scalable businesses that increase incomes and improve the livelihoods of the working poor in Asia’s fastest growing economies. Unitus Impact will invest through its recently launched Livelihood Impact Fund, which had its first close in July 2014 with investments from prominent family offices, foundations and high net worth individuals in Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States.


“Canada is pleased to support the Aina device, a health innovation that promises to improve the quality of health of individuals in India suffering from diabetes,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “Through innovation we have the potential to transform the health and lives of people in developing countries. This is what our Government’s partnership with Grand Challenges Canada is all about.”

Geoff Woolley, Unitus Impact CEO, said, “We are very excited to partner with Grand Challenges Canada to support Jana Care in its mission to improve the quality of diabetes care in India and other developing countries. The company’s innovative technology, combined with its lifestyle coaching curriculum, has the potential to improve the livelihoods of millions of patients. The focus of our Livelihood Impact Fund is to partner with high-quality entrepreneurs who are tackling critical societal issues, and we are proud to support Sidhant Jena and his team.”

Under Grand Challenges Canada’s Stars in Global Health program, a total of ten innovators were awarded seed grants of $112,000 CAD each: two Canadian innovators (Hamilton, Toronto) and eight innovators based in India. The projects include a neonatal wrist band that monitors an infant’s temperature and alerts the mother to warm her child, and a tele-controlled ophthalmology slit lamp that makes eye exams for patients in remote locations a reality.

Said Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India, “I would like to compliment and applaud Grand Challenges Canada for the initiative to strengthen cooperation between India and Canada in finding sustainable, long-term solutions in global health through integrated science, technology, social and business innovation to improve lives of people at the grass-roots level.”

Said Sudhir Handa, Chair, National Council of Indo Canadians, “Canada and India have long-standing relations, built upon strong interpersonal connections with an Indian diaspora of more than one million in Canada. These existing and new innovations are a testimony to the fact that attracting the best and the brightest talent from India and Indo-Canadians can make a big impact.”

“We thank the Government of Canada for its commitment to innovative projects that address health and development challenges in India, thus helping to save and improve the lives of so many, including, newborns, women and children,” said Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada.

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Ontario to reopen province, guiding principles unveiled

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Ontario to reopen province, guiding principles unveiled

THE Ontario government on Monday released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.

The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.

Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“Our top priority remains protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario and supporting our frontline heroes as we do everything in our power to contain and defeat this deadly virus,” said Ford. “At the same time, we are preparing for the responsible restart of our economy. This next phase of our response to COVID-19 is designed to help us map out what needs to be done, and when, to get us back on the road to recovery.”

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

“Recent public health indicators show us that we’re beginning to turn a corner in the COVID-19 outbreak, while economic data, feedback from businesses and insights from our communities are outlining how we need to plan for economic recovery,” said Phillips. “Turning on an economy after an unprecedented shut-down is not as simple as flipping a switch. We need to plan this out carefully to ensure we do not spark a sudden outbreak, undo the progress we have made and put the safety of the public at risk.”

To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

“It is because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians to stay at home and stop the spread of COVID-19 that we are able to consider plans to move into the next phase of our battle against this virus,” said Elliott. “The Chief Medical Officer of Health has outlined some criteria he will use to advise government on when we may begin to slowly and safely ease public health measures and restart our economy. To be able to do so, w e need everyone to continue their extraordinary efforts so that we can meet these thresholds and begin to move forward.”

Supporting the next phases of Ontario’s Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, chaired by Minister Phillips, will be consulting with key sectors in all regions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward. The government and Members of Provincial Parliament will lead discussions with business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others.

The work of the committee will build on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the first phase of the government’s $17 billion response, that is delivering targeted relief for businesses and families across Ontario.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has had far-reaching economic impacts for businesses and communities across Ontario,” said Fedeli. “In the face of these challenges, businesses and individuals have stepped up to support our frontline workers, produce essential equipment and keep our supply chains moving. Our plan to carefully and methodically reopen Ontario’s economy will ensure that businesses are supported on our path to renewed economic prosperity.”

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Stephen Lecce, Ontario education minister appoints investigator to examine Peel District School Board

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Ontario education minister appoints investigator to examine Peel District School Board

ONTARIO’S Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, on Tuesday announced he has appointed Arleen Huggins to conduct an investigation into the Peel District School Board’s compliance with the Minister’s binding Directions to the Board issued on March 13.

“We expect our school leaders – trustees, senior administration, and educators – to ensure all students are learning in safe and inclusive classrooms,” said Lecce. “This is why effective, transparent, and accountable school board governance is essential to the success and well-being of students in Ontario’s publicly funded schools.”

Huggins is a practising lawyer with 30 years experience in employment law, human rights law, workplace harassment and discrimination investigations and commercial litigation. She is a former President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and a Former Chair of both the Canadian Bar Association Standing Committee on Equity and the Ontario Bar Association Equal Opportunity Committee.  Huggins was also on the founding Board of the African Canadian Legal Clinic and has served on the Doctors Without Borders Human Resources Committee and the federal Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC) for the GTA.

With the issuance of 27 binding Directions to the Board on March 13, the minister provided clear direction with specific timelines and deliverables to address systemic discrimination, particularly anti-Black racism, as well as dysfunctional governance, leadership and human resources practices within the PDSB.

“When it comes to confronting racism and discrimination, I will not accept delay or inaction,” added Lecce. “The message I am sending is — do better. Our kids deserve better. And I will do whatever it takes to ensure these issues are addressed immediately and effectively.”

The Ontario Government said it is committed to ensuring PDSB complies with the minister’s binding directions so that parents, students and the community get the positive change that they need and deserve.

Huggins will deliver her report to the minister on or before May 18.

The PDSB is responsible for 257 schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, and over 155,000 students representing a rich array of racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds.

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COVID-19″ More Indo-Canadians returning are from India

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More flights carrying Canadians leave India

CANADIAN High Commissioner in New Delhi, Nadir Patel, tweeted on Wednesday morning that the 15th special flight from India to Canada – had left Mumbai, bringing home more Canadian travelers stranded in India.

He added: “More special flights taking place in the coming days, thanks to all for your patience while we work through the complexities.”

On Tuesday, the 14th special flight with Canadians took off from Kolkata and Patel tweeted: “Huge thanks to our colleagues Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell & his team for collaborating to make this happen.”

The 13th special flight with Canadians had departed from Bangalore on Monday, covering six states in the south.

And last Sunday (April 26) the 12th special flight from India departed from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with nearly 300 Canadians aboard.

More flights carrying Canadians leave India

More flights carrying Canadians leave India

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