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Alberta

Edmonton-based Apple Schools selected for LEAP’s Healthy Futures Accelerator

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Eleven Innovative Social Ventures Selected for LEAP’s Healthy Futures Accelerator  

Edmonton’s APPLE Schools is one of 3 Alberta organizations selected for LEAP’s Healthy Futures Accelerator (see full list of organizations below). An innovative school-focused health promotion initiative, Apple Schools currently enhances the lives of 21,000 students each year by improving their healthy eating, physical activity, and mental health habits. Programs offered by the organization help to reduce childhood obesity and chronic disease later in life. Its model has been proven effective through 20+ research studies over 10 years in partnership with University of Alberta School of Public Health.

With support from LEAP, APPLE Schools has a goal of reaching 62,000 student over the next five years.

“Based on our experience through the selection process, we are confident that our impact will grow with the guidance and support we receive from LEAP over the next 5 years,” said Marisa Orfei, Acting Executive Director of Apples Schools. “We are looking forward to collaborating with LEAP to support even more healthy kids in healthy schools.”

Research has shown that students in APPLE Schools have better nutrition habits, are more physically active, and are more likely to be a healthy weight than other students across Alberta. They are better learners and score higher on academic tests. These results extend to activity outside of class, and students from all socio-economic backgrounds benefit from APPLE Schools, including many vulnerable communities with high First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations.

LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact recently announced 11 social ventures selected for Healthy Futures, an accelerator designed to scale initiatives that help Canadians to move more, sit less, eat better, and stop smoking. The aim is to prevent unhealthy behaviours contributing to chronic diseases impacting Canadians, a concerning trend that has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the next five years, LEAP will partner with the ventures to improve the lives of over two million Canadians annually.

“While the pandemic has highlighted the importance of chronic disease prevention, significant numbers of Canadians have not yet embraced the building blocks that can lead to a lifetime of good health,” said Joan Dea, Chair of the Board with LEAP. “LEAP is excited to be collaborating with passionate leaders and their high-impact social ventures to address public health in Canada, particularly among equity- seeking communities.”

With financial contribution from Public Health Agency of Canada, LEAP will provide in-depth strategic and operational support, coaching, capacity building and funding to the selected social ventures. These ventures currently serve 600,000 Canadians annually across all provinces and territories.

Over the next five years, the goal is for the cohort to scale their combined impact to improve the lives of over two million Canadians annually.  Funding and pro bono support worth up to $10 million will be made available to the ventures, taking their needs and stages of development into account. Pro bono expertise will also be contributed by best-in- class business partners including Boston Consulting Group, EY, McCarthy Tétrault, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Offord Group and Google.org.

The numbers behind the selected Healthy Futures social ventures:

  • From May to June 2020, 7,000+ ventures were engaged through the open call for applications for Healthy Futures. More than 150 high-calibre submissions were received.
  • Over the course of four months, through a rigorous, data-driven assessment, LEAP’s staff, its Board, an investment committee, and a panel of experts identified each venture’s potential for impact and selected the top 11 applicants
  • Seven selected ventures support equity-seeking communities, including four ventures serving Indigenous communities, one venture serving Black Canadians, one venture serving youth with disabilities, and one venture serving low socio-economic status Canadians.
  • Four ventures target rural and remote communities, including:

74 First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, 15 First Nations communities in the North, 21,000 students in 75 rural schools across four provinces served annually, and 1,500+ First Nations youth across 50 communities served annually.

  • Nine ventures are female-led.
  • Five ventures are using tech-enabled interventions to scale their impact nationwide.

Selected Healthy Futures Social Ventures at a Glance:

APPLE Schools enhances the lives of 21,000 students in 75 schools annually by improving their healthy eating, physical activity, and mental health habits. Over the next five years with support from LEAP, APPLE Schools will extend its reach to 62,000 students in 200 schools.

Black Health Alliance works to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada. Support from LEAP will allow Black Health Alliance to launch THRIVE, a strategic, scalable, and results-based initiative aiming to improve health and well-being outcomes in Black communities.

Challenger Baseball is an adaptive baseball program led by Jays Care Foundation for individuals living with disabilities. Together with LEAP, Jays Care Foundation will identify new pathways to scale Challenger Baseball to meet its goal of reaching 30,000 athletes annually in five years, from 8,500 today.

Fresh Routes Mobile Grocery Stores bring healthy, fresh, and affordable food into neighbourhoods facing barriers — allowing choice, maintaining dignity, and building community. Fresh Routes operates out of Alberta, serving 2,000 Canadians every month. LEAP will enable its expansion over the next five years, growing the number of routes and extending its reach into Manitoba.

Green Iglu’s integrated, community-focused approach promotes food sovereignty across Canada through educational programming that enables remote communities to grow nutritious food. LEAP will support Green Iglu’s scaling plans to deepen its impact and broaden its reach across more communities in Canada.

iamYiam is an award-winning preventive health partner which empowers people and organizations to take charge of their health. iamYiam currently serves 100,000+ users in 26 countries. Through its partnership with LEAP, iamYiam will establish a foundation in Canada to reach marginalized population groups.

Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program is a relationship-based, mentor-led healthy living afterschool program delivered by Indigenous adolescents for children in their community. In partnership with LEAP, Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program will enhance the breadth of its programming in the existing 50 communities where it currently operates, and expand to 100+ communities in the next five years

MyHeart Counts Canada is an AI-driven mobile application in development within McGill University Health Centre, which will provide real-time feedback and support to individuals that improve physical activity, using behavioral strategies based on unique needs. LEAP’s support will allow MyHeart Counts Canada to bring emerging technology to marginalized populations and reach 100,000 Canadians.

Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue charity with a dual mission of hunger relief and environmental protection. With LEAP’s support, Second Harvest will expand its web-based application to improve efficiencies, develop a national infrastructure program to reach more rural communities, and renovate a new facility to support the volume of food rescued.

Smoking Treatment Optimization Program (STOP) provides quit smoking treatment to 24,000 people each year across Ontario. STOP has an ambitious goal to grow nationally and expand its reach from 270,000 people treated so far to two million Canadians who smoke, and in partnership with LEAP, will identify a sustainable growth model to achieve these goals.

Youth4Change is a proposed advocacy and education initiative targeting youth and young adults to reduce smoking rates within First Nations communities. Strategic guidance and funding from LEAP will allow Youth4Change to define and develop tools to support programming in 74 Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan.

“Investing in community-based interventions is vital to the health of every Canadian, and that is truer than ever before due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joe Manget, Board Lead, Healthy Futures at LEAP. “We have ambitious goals for this cohort of social ventures and are excited to see the social ventures grow and scale their impact over the next 5 years.

“We are thrilled to have been selected for Healthy Futures,” said Dr. Kate Storey – Associate Professor, School of Public Health & Stollery Science Lab Distinguished Researcher. “We feel this opportunity will allow the Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program team to reach even more Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities. We are very much looking forward to working with LEAP, and grateful to be part of the LEAP community.”

About LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact

LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact (LEAP) believes in a society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. We catalyze large scale social impact by selecting, supporting and scaling breakthrough social ventures and unleashing the potential of collaboration. We achieve collective impact by working across issue focused cohorts and with our sector partners, all business leaders in their respective industries: Boston Consulting Group, EY LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, the Offord Group, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, and Google.org. To date, over 750,000 Canadians have been reached in every province and territory. Learn more at leap-pecautcentre.ca.

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Alberta

WestJet extends temporary suspension of international sun flights until June

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CALGARY — WestJet says it will extend its temporary suspension of international sun flights to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean until June 4.

Canadian airlines in January suspended all flights to sun destinations until April 30 at the request of the federal government. 

WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims said in a release that it made the decision with the clear expectation that as more Canadians are vaccinated, government policy will change.

He says guests with affected itineraries will be notified of the cancellations.

WestJet says since Nov. 1, 2020, it has been providing refunds for all travellers where WestJet initiated flight cancellations.

Sims says WestJet continues to advocate for the replacement of mandatory hotel quarantines with a testing regime that is equitable and consistent with global standards at all points of entry into Canada.

“Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, this policy transition will support the safe restart of travel and help stimulate the Canadian economy, where one in ten jobs are tourism-related,” he said Tuesday.

“A safe travel-restart framework is the most effective way to support those interests and restore jobs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canada's world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

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CALGARY — Canada’s world champions in beach volleyball are amping up preparations for the Summer Olympics coming over the horizon.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes apart and docked from competition for much of 2020.

The Canadian duo plans to compete in at least five tournaments over the next two months starting Thursday in Cancun, Mexico.

The world governing body of volleyball, FIVB, created a hub of three straight World Tour events in Cancun to afford teams the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games opening July 23.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes booked their Tokyo berth when they won the women’s world title in 2019. 

The upcoming tournaments, however, are crucial game reps for a duo that’s short on them.

“I think Cancun will be a real test for us against every team because it is such a lengthy event, to see where we’re really at,” Pavan told The Canadian Press.

“Other teams are scrambling to accumulate points. Obviously we want to win every tournament we play . . . but to be able to take a very objective approach and just see it as information gathering for Tokyo is definitely a luxury.

“We are able to use all of these events to gather information both on ourselves and the things we need to get better at, but also on tactics teams are using against us, or improvements or changes they may have made during COVID.”

Toronto’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson also in the Cancun women’s field have essentially qualified for Tokyo based on their FIVB Olympic provisional ranking of sixth.

Canada can send a maximum of two teams in each gender, but the men have some work to do this spring.

Samuel Pedlow of Barrie, Ont., and Sam Schacter of Richmond Hill, Ont., rank just outside the top 18 in the provisional rankings. 

Calgary’s Ben Saxton and Toronto’s Grant O’Gorman are also trying to qualify.

Pavan, 34, and Humana-Paredes, 28, aren’t facing qualification pressure, but they want to recover their game form in the upcoming tournaments.

“Do I think we’re playing at the level that we need to be in July? Absolutely not,” Pavan said. 

“I don’t think we’re performing at a gold-medal level right now, but fortunately we still have a few months to be able to hit our stride.”

The duo intends to compete in World Tour events in Sochi, Russia in May and Ostrava, Czech Republic in early June. 

They’re also contemplating another tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland in early July to avoid six weeks without a match heading into Tokyo.

Pavan lives in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Canada’s requirement of a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving outside the country was a barrier to the teammates crossing the border to practise together.

Neither woman felt she could afford the deconditioning that happens during two weeks of isolation too many times.

Humana-Paredes headed to California on Jan. 2 to join her teammate and stayed there. She doesn’t expect to return to Canada until after the Olympic Games conclude Aug. 8.

“I won’t be able to go home until after Tokyo,” Humana-Paredes said. “That’s the mindset I’ve had to come to terms with.  For the majority of the time, I’m in a good head space and happy to be able to train and be with my team and continue to get better. 

“Sometimes I miss by people back home and than can weigh on me a little sometimes. Last summer was so difficult because there was so much uncertainty.  We do have a schedule to look forward to, a routine and things we can plan for and the Olympics are still on.”

Her boyfriend, Connor Braid of Victoria, is a member of Canada’s rugby sevens team bound for Tokyo.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes finished second in the Katara Beach World Cup in Doha, Qatar on March 12 in their first major international competition in 18 months.

The field didn’t include all of the world’s best teams, said Pavan, but the result was important for the Canadians’ confidence.

“We had signed up for the event, but we didn’t feel ready and we actually made the final decision to go a week before the event,” Pavan said. 

“We were unsure, but we decided to just use it as a measuring stick. There were some teams that weren’t there, but to be able to fight through that event while not being as crisp as we’re used to was good.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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