Education and Health Communique #5

National First Vice-President and Chairperson of Education and Health Fran Lucas, September 19, 2017

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Resolutions
Four resolutions were adopted at the 97th annual national convention in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, with two additional proposed resolutions sent to this standing committee for action and awareness. They include:

1. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Environmental Sensitivities (ES) submitted by Manitoba Provincial Council. There were three underlying factors for referring this resolution to education and health:
• There is an International Awareness Day for MCS/ES on May 12, sponsored by Action CIND, a Canadian registered charity whose vision is to advance the recognition, empathy, treatment and support services for chronic immunological and neurological diseases (CIND) by raising awareness, advancing research, developing education, providing information and support services and collaborating with other organizations in Canada and internationally.
• The Canadian Human Rights Commission has a policy paper on MCS/ES entitled “Policy on Environmental Sensitivities” (chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/sites/default/files/policy_sensitivity_0.pdf).
• The federal government has regulatory measures in the workplace as per the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Become aware of issues in these policy and awareness practices, ascertain what more needs to be done as it pertains to your province/territory and recommend actions on the findings as deemed necessary.

2. Banning the Marketing of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages to Children submitted by Nova Scotia Provincial Council. When the national resolutions committee visited the federal government last year, the approach to a multi-year plan to promote public health through a healthy eating strategy including Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide was provided. Public consultations on the guide and on banning the marketing of foods and beverages to children have been held. Announcements of the government’s consultations and response to these issues may be reviewed at canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-restricting-unhealthy-food-and-beverage-marketing-to-children.html.Encourage members to become aware of this issue.

Environment
This year the environment sub-committee will focus on water, very much in keeping with Pope Francis’ emphasis on water in Laudato Si’. “Access to safe, drinkable water is a basic and universal human right”. For councils wishing to host workshops and seminars on Laudato Si’ the following resources are recommended:
• Living Out Laudato Si’: A Commentary and Practical Resource for Canadian Catholics cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/Living_Out_Laudato_Si_En.pdf.
• On care for our common home: A dialogue guide for Laudato Si’ cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/announcements/4539-a-dialogue-guide-for-laudato-si-on-care-for-our-common-home
• Green Churches Canada greenchurches.ca/. “The Green Churches Network helps faith communities to opt for better ecological practices and to educate their members to live in a way that respects their environment.”

Scholarships and Bursaries
The National Bursary Fund needs assistance as funds have dwindled due to low interest rates. Bursaries aid members pursuing studies, courses, seminars, workshops and diploma/degree programs in areas of spiritual growth, adult faith formation, youth ministry, ministry to patients in palliative care, ministry to shut-ins, parliamentary procedure or literacy tutoring. Encourage councils and members to send in donations to national office to help give this fund some new life!

Health
The topic of mental health through life stages will be this year’s focus for this standing committee. Beginning this fall, the committee will focus on children and youth, the middle years, issues more particular to seniors and those facing retirement, and will take a special look at immigrant and refugee populations and the mental health challenges they face, which can be very unique to their situations. There is so much to learn and so many possible actions to take.

Life member Becky Kallal, health sub-committee chairperson, attended a talk by Timothy Caulfield, a professor of law and of public health at the University of Alberta, and a Canada research chair in health law and policy. His self-proclaimed passion is to debunk health myths. Becky’s report has been sent directly to you. Professor Caulfield is hosting a six-part television series on Vision TV that began on September 18th which Becky hopes to bring highlights from as well.

Education
Life member Gabriele Kalincak, education sub-committee chairperson, has sent an e-mail directly to you with the request to research the current status of Catholic education in your provincial schools. Only three provinces maintain a Catholic school system supported in part by their provincial government. It is time to educate members on how Catholic education is being disseminated across the country. Gabriele would appreciate the requested information by October 6th so that the results may be compiled and distributed in a timely fashion.

Fran Lucas
National Chairperson of Education and Health