Canada’s Government Establishes Program Eligibility for the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released guidelines on the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, which is scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2007.

The Minister confirmed that as recommended by the Expert Panel for the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the definition of eligible programs will support children’s participation in all programs that significantly contribute to their fitness. In addition, the Minister indicated that substantial additional support would be provided to children eligible for the disability tax credit to recognize the unique barriers they face in becoming more active.

“Studies show that regular physical activity has many positive effects on children, including balanced growth and development and improved physical fitness,” said Minister Flaherty. “This measure will help parents offset some of the costs associated with these activities and start children down the road to a lifetime of healthy, active living.”

Minister Flaherty noted that he would soon introduce regulatory changes that would define an eligible program for the purposes of the credit and amendments to the Income Tax Act to implement the proposed enhancements for children with disabilities (see the attached backgrounder for more information).

“We know that families have limited budgets, and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit will help make it possible for more young Canadians to get involved in sport and physical activity,” said the Honourable Peter Van Loan, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister for Sport. “I am pleased that we are delivering on this important commitment for families and taxpayers.”

Call for Nominations: CAHPERD Board of Directors and President-Elect

Nominations for CAHPERD’s Board of Directors and President-Elect are due March 15, 2007.

Provincial/Territorial Representatives from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Provincial/Territorial representatives will be elected to the Board of Directors according to the CAHPERD by-laws. Provincial/territorial representatives serve a two-year term to begin May 2007.

President-Elect – The President-elect will be elected to the CAHPERD Board of Directors according its by-laws. The President-elect will serve a four years term (one year as President-elect, two years as President, and a year as Past-President) to begin in May 2007.

Procedure:
-Nominations should be sent to Christine Bureaud, Assistant/Operations Manager, CAHPERD Office.
-Any voting member of the Association can nominate a candidate for election to the Board of Directors. S/he shall sign the nomination along with one other signature from that province/territory. The nominee must also sign the nomination with a statement of agreement to place his/her name on the ballot.
-No restrictions shall be placed on the Nominating Committee as to whom the nominees shall be, except that they shall be voting members of the Association and shall not contravene provisions of the by-laws.
-A picture and biographical sketch of the nominee should accompany the nomination form. This picture and information will be mailed to all CAHPERD members in that province/territory
-Nomination forms must be submitted as soon as possible, but not later than March 15, 2007.

Public Health Agency of Canada Launches Healthy Lunches to Go

Imagine packed lunches that are healthy, easy to make, that even your kids will eat. It may sound too good to be true, but it is not.

Take the CHN Healthy Lunches to Go tour and find out how fast and easy it can be to pack healthy and delicious lunches for the whole family. This short tour offers nutrition information, tips, recipe ideas and fun interactive tools. It also looks at some of the roadblocks we all face in making healthy lunches part of our daily routine, and suggests simple steps for dealing with them.

Canada’s Government launches updated Food Guide

OTTAWA – Health Minister Tony Clement today launched the new 2007 version of Canada’s Food Guide — “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide” at the Real Canadian Superstore in Orleans, Ontario. The Honourable Christian Paradis, MP for Mégantic–L’Érable and Secretary of State (Agriculture), made a similar announcement at the IGA Extra in Gatineau, Quebec.

“Canada’s Food Guide has been providing Canadians with straightforward tips and messages on healthy eating for 65 years. Today, Canada’s New Government is proud to launch our new Food Guide. It provides the best, most current information available for eating well and living healthy,” said Minister Clement. “One important new feature of this Food Guide is that it now offers Canadians information on the amount and types of food recommended for their age and gender.”

“The Food Guide recommends a careful selection of foods balanced by physical activity,” said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer for Canada. “By increasing their levels of physical activity, improving eating habits and achieving healthy weights, Canadians can help ensure good health and prevent many chronic diseases, including some cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

The new Food Guide was developed through widespread consultation with approximately 7,000 stakeholders including dietitians, scientists, physicians and public health personnel with an interest in health and chronic disease prevention.
“Canada’s Food Guide is an invaluable tool not only for Canadians but for all dietitians working with Canadians to promote health,” said Marsha Sharp, Chief Executive Officer of Dietitians of Canada.

For the first time, Canadians can find detailed information on the amount and types of food recommended for their age and gender. The new Food Guide encourages Canadians to focus on vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and to include milk, meat and their alternatives, and to limit foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. Health Canada is also now recommending a Vitamin D supplement for Canadians over the age of 50.
“Canada’s new Food Guide reinforces the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s messages to Canadians about the importance of consuming vegetables and fruit, limiting trans fats and combining a healthy diet with regular physical activity,” said the organization’s CEO, Sally Brown.

Given the growing concern about the rates of overweight and obesity among Canadians, providing advice on the portion sizes and the quality of food choices was a key consideration in the development of the Food Guide. The Food Guide also emphasizes the importance of combining regular physical activity with healthy eating. “The new Food Guide is an important tool that, along with exercise, can help many Canadians maintain a healthy body weight,” said Dr. Arya M. Sharma, Scientific Director of the Canadian Obesity Network.

Canadians now have a wealth of information available at their fingertips with an enhanced, interactive Web component. “My Food Guide” will help users personalize Food Guide information according to their age, sex and food preferences, and will also include more culturally relevant foods from a variety of ethnic cuisines. By this Spring, Canadians will be able to print “My Food Guide” in a number of different languages. Health Canada is also developing a specially tailored Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people that will be released this Spring.

Canadians have relied on various versions of the Food Guide for nutrition advice since it was first published during the Second World War. Since 1942, it has been transformed many times — adopting new names, new looks, and new messages — but it has never wavered from its original purpose of guiding food selection and promoting nutritional health, using the best, most current information available.

More than 28,000 Children and Youth Catch the Spirit of the Canada Games Day!

More than 28,000 children and youth from schools across Canada have registered to date for the first Canada Games Day National School Challenge, happening on Friday June 8th, 2007.

CAHPERD has invigorated its National School Challenge program with a new event that is sure to be exhilarating for both students and teachers. The National Canada Games Day Challenge is a nation-wide school challenge hosted in partnership by the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) and the Canada Games Council. This challenge was designed to mirror the energy and spirit of the Canada Games.

“National School Challenges like the Canada Games Day not only inspires future champions, but also creates an atmosphere that makes physical activity fun and exciting for everyone,” said Grant McManes, President of CAHPERD. “This is a truly Canadian National School Challenge that instills the importance of leading an active, healthy life and exposes children and youth to new sports they can enjoy.”

For the challenge, students will be divided into teams representing the thirteen Canadian provinces and territories and compete in three events based on existing sports in the Winter and Summer Canada Games. The events include a relay, a slalom relay, and dry-land canoeing. Following each event, students will be challenged with Canadian trivia questions that will increase their knowledge of Canadian provinces and territories, geography, history, and sports.

“The Canada Games Council is excited to partner with CAHPERD on this special National School Challenge” says Sue Hylland, President and CEO, Canada Games Council. “We are committed to inspiring dreams and building champions in Canadian children and youth 365 days a year and this Challenge does that. It’s going to be a great day for students and teachers across this country.”

An online registration process makes it easy to track how many schools are involved and will connect media to participating schools in their community.

The Canada Games Day is the final National School Challenge for the 2006-2007 school year. In November, students participated in MOGA Madness (the Most Outrageous Group Activity) and in May students played a giant game of tag through the SpecTAGular National School Challenge.

Held once every two years, alternating between summer and winter, the Canada Games represent the highest level of national competition for the next generation of national team athletes and future champions. Canada Games Days represents one of the new programs under the Canada Games Council’s between Games initiatives titled Dreams and Champions Programs.

CAHPERD is a national, charitable, voluntary-sector organization whose primary concern is to influence the healthy development of children and youth by advocating for quality, school-based physical and health education.