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Posts Tagged "benefits"

11May

Town Talk: Gallery gala benefits Lions Gate Hospital just up the road

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Farah Sayani chaired and Lions Gate Hospital Foundation chair Pierre Lebel aided a gala at the North Vancouver waterfront Polygon Gallery that reportedly netted $1.2 million for new-technology services.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

HOSPITAL AID: It’s hard to beat the cross-harbour view from the Polygon Gallery at the foot of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Avenue.

But those who gathered there recently were figuratively looking the other way and 15 blocks up the hill to Lions Gate Hospital. Chaired by Farah Sayani, a 19th-annual event reportedly netted close to $1.2 million to support new-technology services at a hospital that recently completed a $100-million medical-and-surgical campaign. Ian Telfer and wife Nancy Burke represented the event’s published title sponsor, Goldcorp Inc., which was acquired by Newmont Mining Corp. recently to become Newmont Goldcorp. Perhaps relieved by events, Goldcorp chair Telfer looked a decade younger, as Burke always does.


Nancy Burke and long-time Goldcorp chair Ian Telfer represented the previously sold firm as the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation gala’s title sponsor.

Malcolm Parry /

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TOASTING SISTERS: It takes chutzpah to stage alcohol-themed events in high-performance-car showrooms. But Cheryl Nakamoto and Cam and Sarah McNeill’s Grape Juice wine tasting and auction in Asgar Verji’s Weissach Porsche showroom reportedly added $84,000 to a 12-year total nearing $900,000. This recent sum will elevate 42 girls from Big Sisters of Lower Mainland’s 137 wait-list, said executive director Hanne Madsen. She’s also pleased to launch Big Sisters’ Career Camp program for 36 girls in Grades 10 to 12 to spend a two-overnight July weekend readying for university at her Simon Fraser alma mater. Madsen, meanwhile, fancied a 1963 Porsche 356 coupe that would have cost her $100,000-plus.


Cam McNeill, Cheryl Nakamoto and Sarah McNeill’s Grape Juice event reportedly benefitted Big Sisters of Lower Mainland to the tune of $84,000.

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Big Sisters of Lower Mainland’s Hanne Madsen figured a $100,000-range 1963 Porsche 356 coupe would be an engaging alternative to her Honda Odyssey.

Malcolm Parry /

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TOUGH TIMES REVISITED: Williams Lake sisters Jeeti, Kira and Salakshan Poonin’s childhood years of sexual abuse are a quarter century behind them. Now residing in Vancouver, they had the courage to recount youthful anguish, along with challenges to the legal system and non-protecting parents, in director Baljit Sangra’s 85-minute movie Because We are Girls. Encouraging other women to not stay silent about abuse, it opened the recent DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver as part of the Justice Forum series.


Jeeti, Salakshana and Kira Poonin backed Baljit Sangra whose Because We Are Girls documentary revealed their quarter-century-past sexual abuse.

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CHOCS AWAY: Caren McSherry’s Hastings-off-Clark Gourmet Warehouse filled up recently with folks munching on chocolate in order to help children who seldom get that chance. That was when Firefighter of The Year Justin Mulcahy and Vancouver Firefighter Charities executive director James Docherty staged a contest between seven chocolatiers ranging from Christopher Bonzon to Thomas Haas. Mentored by Daniel Capadouca, Okanagan College’s Jalayne Jones won, and the event reportedly raised $21,000 for Snacks For Kids, Project Chef and the Strathcona Community Centre Backpack Program.


Dotty Kanke and Caren McSherry tempted firefighter Justin Mulcahy when the Chocolate Challenge event benefited children deprived of foodstuffs.

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LIONS’ PRIDE: The Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club celebrated its 65th anniversary at Keefer Street’s Floata restaurant recently. Close to 700 banqueters, including club president David Mao and event committee and three-time Lion of the Year chair Syrus Lee, saw non-member Richard K. Wong receive the organization’s Medal of Merit. Hong Kong-born former banker Wong was cited for “promoting intrinsic Canadian ideals of diversity, harmony and inclusion.” He continues to be involved in dozens of community and charitable endeavours. Wife Grace is feted for public service, too, not least as the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. community-service agency’s former chair. The Wongs also attended the club’s flag-raising ceremony on a newly installed pole in the adjacent Memorial Square. Possibly more delighted was 97-year-old former Master Warrant Officer George Chow, who fought with Canadian troops at the June 6, 1944 Normandy landing and the liberation of Holland. His many medals include that of the French Legion of Honour. Still, Victoria-born Chow’s long ambition was to see the Canadian flag fly over Vancouver’s Chinatown. Objective realized.


Former S.U.C.C.E.S.S. service agency chair Grace Wong saw the Chinatown Lions Club honor husband George’s countless community works.

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Consul General of China Tong Xiaoling congratulated George Chow, 97, who fought at the 1944 Normandy landings and then for the liberation of Holland.

Malcolm Parry /

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TRUTH TO TELL: Chinatown Lions Club board member and accounting firm principal Hebron Shyng expressed an amusing but pertinent opinion of the Canadian Revenue Agency: “I’d like to thank the CRA, without whose incomprehensible regulations I wouldn’t have a job.”

SLOW SPEEDSTERS: Most of the 250 police-escorted cars nose-to-tailing to Whistler in the recent Diamond Rally would have cost well over $100,000. Still, along with Luxury and Supercar Weekend and other related events, the rally has been money in the bank for Craig Stowe and Nadia Iadisernia. With collector-enthusiast Robbie Dixon, they have enjoined owners of cars that can exceed posted speeds three times over to putter along rural blacktop and benefit various charities as an option to startling pedestrians by razzing around downtown streets.


Diamond Rally organizers Craig Stowe and Nadia Iadisernia saw this Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR and 250 other exotics prepare for a Whistler roundtrip.

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CHERRY CHEERY: Linda Poole celebrated another Cherry Blossom Festival by staging Sakura Night in the Stanley Park Pavilion. Seven restaurants, from Benkei Ramen to Zen, served Japanese-themed cuisine, and five beer and wine purveyors helped attendees wash it down. Among the latter, Stanley Park Brewing general manager Doug Devlin said that the firm’s long-gestating restaurant-brew pub should open in the park’s 2016-closed Fish House premises by mid-June. Ten location-only beers will be served alongside the firm’s six existing one, Devlin said. The 260-seat restaurant will be managed by Andre Bourque and Ryan Moreno’s Surrey-based Joseph Richard Group as the first Vancouver operation in their Richmond-to-Chilliwack chain.


Linda Poole, who stages the Cherry Blossom Festival’s Sakura Night, always counts on be-gowned friend Daphne Crocetti to fly in from Switzerland.

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Plying beer at a Cherry Blossom Festival event, Neesha Hothi and Doug Devlin said Stanley Park Brewing’s brew-pub reopening of the Fish House is nigh.

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: While Queen Victoria might finally be amused to have a great-great-great-great-great-grandson named Archie, his great-grandma, Queen Elizabeth, would doubtless welcome a Betty.

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2May

B.C. study finds no mental health benefits to eating human placenta

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New research debunks the supposed mental health benefits of eating your own placenta.

UBC and the B.C. Mental Health and Substance Use Services’ Research Institute says their study found no difference in the mental health of mothers who had eaten their placenta versus those who had not.

The data came from a 10-year genetic study involving 138 women with a history of mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. Lead investigator Jehannine Austin says the comparison took into account a mother’s psychiatric diagnosis, medication use, age and income.


A woman grinds dehydrated human placenta.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

She says moms who had consumed their placenta did not have more energy, had no increase in their vitamin B12 levels, and required no less help breastfeeding than those who had not consumed their placentas. She adds that eating one’s placenta also did not appear to worsen mental health.

Nevertheless, Austin discourages the practice in light of Health Canada’s warning late last year that it could lead to bacterial or viral infections in mothers or their babies.

Austin’s study was published online Thursday in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

Proponents of human placenta preparations believe it helps prevent postpartum depression, overcome anemia, increase energy levels and boost breast milk production.


In this file photo taken on November 3, 2018, Kim Kardashian-West arrives for the 2018 LACMA Art+Film Gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California.

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Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Alicia Silverstone and Hilary Duff are among the famous moms who have popularized the trend, in which the organ is sometimes dehydrated and put into capsules, but it has drawn increasing scrutiny in the medical community.

“People are taking them because they see celebrities in the news doing it and they talk about their experience with doing it and so other women think, ‘Oh that sounds like a good idea,”‘ said Austin, executive director of the research institute and a professor in medicine at UBC.

“But the point that we’re trying to really make, having analyzed our data, is that there’s no evidence from our study to suggest that this actually helps in any way.

“It doesn’t help with mood, it doesn’t help with energy, it doesn’t help with nutrition levels and it doesn’t help with breastfeeding.”


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8Jan

‘Abuse is possible’ with B.C. nurses’ unlimited massage benefits

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Unlike most other public and private employees, nurses do not have a limit on the number of massages they and their family members can get each year and there are no co-pays.


Unlike most other public and private employees, nurses do not have a limit on the number of massages they and their family members can get each year and there are no co-pays.


David De Lossy / Getty Images files

The B.C. Nurses Union is investigating how one nurse’s family managed to use $174,000 in massage therapy benefits over the course of a year through the taxpayer-funded extended benefits plan.

This amid a raging controversy triggered by news that public health care employers spent $31 million in nurses’ massage therapy costs in 2017, a 900-per-cent increase from 2008.

Unlike most other public and private employees, nurses do not have a limit on the number of massages they and their family members can get each year and there are no co-pays; massages are 100 per cent employer paid at rates up to $110 per hour.

According to BCNU contract bargaining documents, a disproportionate number of nurses are using most of the massage benefits. Twenty-one per cent ate up 82 per cent of the expenditure on massage therapy.  The vast majority — 80 per cent — of union members used less than $1,000 per year in such benefits.

But there are cases of apparent abuse, according to nurses union CEO Umar Sheikh.

In a town hall question and answer teleconference for nurses soon after the tentative contract was reached last month, he told union members that under the system of unlimited massages “abuse is possible.”

He cited the $174,000 case and said at that rate, the nurse and his or her dependents would have had 1.8 massages per day. There is a provision in the nurses union benefits package to curb such egregious spending but the language is vague, with reference to “reasonable and customary limits” on such perks.

 

Sheikh said there is no proposal to revoke massage therapy for “vulnerable” nurses who need them for medical and preventive purposes, but the proposed review to take place over the next year would consider whether to introduce a cap to curb the exponential growth in costs to publicly funded hospitals and other health care facilities.

Massage therapy is a popular health and wellness treatment approach and many have said it can help nurses reduce stress and its associated symptoms, not to mention relieve muscle and joint pain. B.C. has eight schools for massage therapy training and there are about 400 new registrants each year. In 2015, there were 4,183 active registrants, up from 3,653 just two years earlier.

The Registered Massage Therapists Association of B.C. said the “significant rise” in massage therapy use is attributable to studies showing evidence of benefits, an increase in the public’s interest in non-surgical and drug-free treatments and higher educational standards among therapists.

According to companies that specialize in health benefits, private companies and public employee plans typically have limits on the dollar value or number of massages that are covered per year. A recent survey showed that the upper limit of coverage in the most elite plans is $400 per person. The B.C. Public Service Benefits Guide shows that employees can claim up to $750 a year per person for massage therapy.

Sanofi Canada Healthcare Surveys have shown that massage therapy is one of the fastest growing benefits and that nearly half of those who have extended health care benefits filed at least one claim for massage therapy. The steady growth in the use of employer-sponsored massage therapy has caused much consternation and navel-gazing in the insurance industry. Green Shield Canada, which calls itself Canada’s only national not-for-profit health and dental benefits company, recently posted this commentary: We Spend More on Massage than Mental Health Services…Time For A Change?


B.C. Nurses Union CEO Umar Sheikh.

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Green Shield Canada has initiated a rethink on massage benefits, removing it as a core benefit in its new SMARTspend plans, as they are called, “in order to reinvest significant funds in more serious health challenges.”

Under siege Tuesday from angry nurses who read the first Postmedia story about the tentative contract, Sheikh declined to be interviewed. On social media channels, some nurses were vociferous in their protests over some elements of the agreement, including the plan to consider capping massage benefits.

Nurses are also angry that Sheikh said the average annual wage for nurses is about $45 an hour. For the 36,420 registered nurses in the B.C. Nurses Union, it is currently $42.35, according to a union factsheet. For 9,229 licensed practical nurses, the average in 2018 was $29.42. If nurses approve the tentative agreement by the Jan. 21 deadline, licensed practical nurses’ wages on April 1 would range from $27.87 per hour to $32.46 per hour, depending on job descriptions and experience. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses would be paid anywhere from $34.83 to $55.18 per hour.

While nurses’ benefits are part of their collective agreements, in other health care unions there are joint benefit trusts that are co-managed by union and employer-appointed trustees who get funding from employers that is fixed to a percentage of the payroll.

Roy Thorpe-Dorward, spokesman for the Health Employers Association of B.C., said “no benefit costs are unlimited.”

“Working together, both parties (unions and employers) are motivated to operate efficient and sustainable benefits plans that provide the best possible benefits for employees,” he said, adding that historically health sector agreements have included caps on “paramedical” expenses such as massage therapy.

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16Nov

Town Talk: $3.99 million benefits VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation

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Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs.



Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

STARRY HIGH: Hospitals always have the edge when fundraising. So it was when the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala reportedly raised $4,000 for each star in its title. OK: $4 million. That total delighted multi-time chair Devi Sangara and Naz Panahi, who co-chaired this year after several at-bats with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Ball and Arthritis Research Canada’s annual ARThritis Soirée.

Aquilini Group founder Luigi Aquilini was flanked by former police chief Jim Chu (left) and surgeon John Yee at the Night of a Thousand Stars event.


Aquilini Group founder Luigi Aquilini was flanked by former police chief Jim Chu (left) and surgeon John Yee at the Night of a Thousand Stars event.

Malcolm Parry /

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Still, the four megabucks raised were overpowered by last December’s $25 million donation from Gaglardi family members who received the foundation’s Leadership Award at the gala. The night’s proceeds will pay for a new MRI machine and support various programs at the two hospitals, the G.F. Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. It was rewarding to see attending surgeons Marcel Dvorak and John Yee’s whose labours kept me working and, in Yee’s case, alive. Anyone disgruntled by this column now knows who to blame.

Spine surgeon and orthopedics professor Marcel Dvorak accompanied wife Sue at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's $3.99-million gala.


Spine surgeon and orthopedics professor Marcel Dvorak accompanied wife Sue at the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s $3.99-million gala.

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Founder Carol Lee chaired and Mayor Kennedy Stewart attended the Vancouver Chinatown gala to benefit a downtown social-housing complex.


Founder Carol Lee chaired and Mayor Kennedy Stewart attended the Vancouver Chinatown gala to benefit a downtown social-housing complex.

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Festive dragons surrounded Vancouver Chinatown gala chairs Carole Taylor and Sam Feldman while kicking off a Fairmont Hotel Vancouver banquet.


Festive dragons surrounded Vancouver Chinatown gala chairs Carole Taylor and Sam Feldman while kicking off a Fairmont Hotel Vancouver banquet.

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FORTUNE COOKING: Newly elected mayor Kennedy Stewart joined diverse attendees at the 11-year-old Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala. The $1.1 million reportedly raised will benefit the 58 West Hastings social-housing complex. That sum was noteworthy for an event that Carol Lee founded only last year and that was MCed by former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor and music-biz agent Sam Feldman.  Fairmont Hotel Vancouver chefs served dim sum, shrimp har gow, chicken sui mai and smoked maple sablefish to guests, many being devotees of the brisket, chicken, duck and pork at Lee’s year-old and much lauded Chinatown BBQ on East Pender Street.

Mortgage brokerage executive Meryll Dreyer launched a benefit for KARES that will fund programs to serve disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds.


Mortgage brokerage executive Meryll Dreyer launched a benefit for KARES that will fund programs to serve disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds.

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DOWN PAYMENT: Charity fundraisers seldom make seven figures at their first or even second events as the Vancouver Chinatown gala did. Still, Dreyer Group Mortgages COO Meryll Dreyer was pleased when her debut event for KARES (Kids At Risk Embracing Success) reportedly brought in $50,000 to aid disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds. Dreyer hopes to parallel the similar Invis Angels in The Night program where she also had a starter role.

Langley sheep farmer Marianne Iberg showed Shetland ewe Thumbelina at a celebration for wool in Gastown's Secret Location store.


Langley sheep farmer Marianne Iberg showed Shetland ewe Thumbelina at a celebration for wool in Gastown’s Secret Location store.

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BAA BAA: Fashion-industry professionals and customers celebrated Canadian Wool Week at Gastown’s Secret Location store recently. Before becoming cosy garments, sheep’s wool is washed, dried, oiled, carded, died, glazed and woven, not to mention sheared from sheep twice annually in two-to-eight-kg lots. Giving the event perspective, Butterfly Fibres principal Marianne Iberg brought three-year-old Shetland-breed twin ewes Sweetpea and Thumbelina from her family’s Langley farm. With winter imminent, having their fleeces clipper-ready mightn’t be the sheep’s best prospect. Encouraging for us, though.

The gift following Cindy and Ryan Beedie's 50th birthday party was his $50-million commitment to scholarships for bright but hard-up students.


The gift following Cindy and Ryan Beedie’s 50th birthday party was his $50-million commitment to scholarships for bright but hard-up students.

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SHINING LIGHT: Ryan and Cindy Beedie’s pre-48th-birthday party at Malkin Bowl in 2016 had Huey Lewis and the News entertain 3,000 guests. Lewis’s hit song, Build Me Up, may have suggested a possible birthday present. Ditto Take Me To The Top by Loverboy’s Mike Reno, who sang at a repeat outdoors party this year. The present actually took shape at the couple’s official 50th birthday rock party in the Commodore Ballroom on Sept. 7. It would be $50 million. Not for them, though. That sum would launch the Beedie Luminaries Foundation. According to property-development firm principal Ryan, the foundation will provide scholarships to “bright, driven students from disadvantaged backgrounds … who are smart, but constrained by circumstance.” Some recipients may progress to Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, possibly humming Lewis’s Give Me The Keys.

RED, WHITE AND BLUET: Philippe Tortell, Mark Turin and Margot Young, University of B.C. anthropology, oceanography and law professors, edited and recently released a book titled Memory. It was sparked by post-First World recollections and a 2017 discussion at the varsity’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies that Tortell directs. Accepting that “the essays share an appreciation of the fragility and fluidity of memory,” the editors also note: “Why we forget is just as important as thinking about what we can remember.” French consul general Philippe Sutter, who donated a memorable amount of Château De Fesles wine to the release readings, contrasted attendees’ red and white poppies by adding the cornflower “bluet” with which his nation respects fallen warriors.

EVER REMEMBERED: Margot Young’s father Walter headed the UBC and, later, the University of Victoria’s political science departments. As a wittily perceptive political columnist to Vancouver magazine, when local periodicals had such things, he was politely asked why one monthly opus was a little overdue. “It’s a good reason,” he replied languidly by phone. “I have a brain tumour.” He perished, to widespread dismay, at age 51.

LOVIN’ YOU: Peter Wall, whose institute published the Memory book, will present his own composition while hosting the Wall Ball on Dec. 18. Past events featured live cattle, an ostrich, Santa Claus and miniskirted elves criss-crossing the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre’s glass ceiling while ball-goers dined below. This year, Canadian tenor Richard Margison will perform a “love song” for Vancouver that Wall wrote and frequently warbles.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Where’s Wally Buono? In our hearts.

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