Fit to be researched

“Fifty percent of people who start an exercise program will quit within six months.” In this TEDx talk, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, who is speaking at What Matters Now on April 9, reveals some of the latest research on why this happens and what can be done about it.

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immigration canada document

Welcoming newcomers

Robyn Dugas | August 25, 2015

Most research into Canadian immigration focuses on its three largest cities: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Yet mid-sized cities such as Ottawa are just as dependent on newcomers to maintain populations, boost local economies and offset labour shortages. “Canada’s approach to managing the admission of newcomers is undergoing a fundamental change," says Western University social psychologist Stelian Medianu. "In particular, the new system that is taking shape will lead to greater involvement by employers and by colleges and universities.” But in places such as Ottawa, these organizations may lack the infrastructure and tools to help integrate immigrants. The answer, says Medianu, is interagency collaboration. Settlement agencies have the expertise — so why not bring that expertise to employers, universities and colleges as they help immigrants transition to Canadian society? Connecting with the experts Medianu’s research is just one part of the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership, a nation-wide alliance of university, government and community partners researching the integration of immigrants and minorities in Canada. He is working with an umbrella group representing Ottawa's settlement organizations called Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI) Coalition. With the coalition's help, Medianu is identifying the needs of each stakeholder group: employers, educational institutions, immigrants and international students. He is also researching the most successful initiatives around the world to determine which ones could be put to use in the Ottawa region. His work is part of a year-long Mitacs Accelerate internship. Mitacs is a national non-profit organization that supports research partnerships between universities and partner organizations. Medianu is identifying how each LASI-affiliated settlement group is uniquely suited to furthering immigrant integration. "Each settlement agency has its own capacity and expertise," he says.  "Together they can create suites of services that better match the needs of employers, educational institutions and newcomers.” With that information at hand, Medianu has been  mapping potential partnerships between these settlement groups and the companies and institutions that could benefit from their expertise. At the end of the project, he’ll provide LASI with recommendations and research results that will help its member organizations build fruitful partnerships in the community and, ultimately, provide a streamlined settlement experience for new Canadians in mid-sized cities.

Tracking turtles

Sharon Oosthoek | August 24, 2015

James Paterson spent the spring of 2009 and 2010 hiding behind trees and crouching in the underbrush of Algonquin Park. Thus camouflaged, he allowed himself an occasional peek as he waited patiently for turtles to lay their eggs in the woods. But as soon as they left, he would dash out with a screen to cover the nests and protect the eggs from predators. read more »
Refugee children in settlement camp.

When exile drags on

Araina Bond | August 19, 2015

When James Milner visited Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps in November 2001, they had been in place for almost a decade.  The camps are now nearly 25 years old and their occupants — mostly Somalis fleeing civil war and drought — number 350,000, making the camps the largest refugee settlement in the world. read more »
Research Matters team

Stories from the road

Katie Woodstock | August 17, 2015

Katie Woodstock is part of our Research Matters team touring the province this summer to spread the word about research breakthroughs at Ontario’s 21 publicly funded universities. This month’s theme of migration and long-distance travel is a good fit for the experience that Sarah, Alex, Badri and I have had this summer as we travel across the province to talk with people about why university research matters. So far, we’ve covered 10 cities and more than 10, 000 kilometres to promote game-changing discoveries, including insulin, Technicolor, and the Yukon Gold potato. It has been amazing to see the pride people feel in knowing just how many important innovations have come from this province. But these game-changers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discoveries from Ontario universities. While we have been teaching people about the huge diversity and significance of Ontario university research, we have been learning the same lesson ourselves. One of the highlights of the summer has been the opportunity to speak with a huge variety of researchers about their work. We met a team in Gravenhurst that looks at whether turtles living near roads are more stressed, a researcher in London who looks at how music affects our memories and a researcher from Leamington who investigates the anti-cancer properties of dandelion roots. I have seen the wide impact that university research has had in this province, which is one of the many things making our long-distance journey this summer so worth it. Interested in chatting with us? Come to one of our upcoming events and test your knowledge with our fun trivia game. We hope to see you there!
Blackpoll warbler with geolocator backpack.

Tiny bird, epic journey

Sharon Oosthoek | August 13, 2015

For more than half a century, bird enthusiasts puzzled over the fall migration route of a boreal forest songbird called a blackpoll warbler. Scientists suspected the tiny bird might be flying for three days non-stop from the east coast of North America straight over the Atlantic Ocean to its wintering grounds in South America. But the notion that a 12 gram bird could fly continuously across 2,800 kilometres of open water seemed far-fetched. read more »
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