.CA – Far more than just Canada’s top-level domain

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) was created over 20 years ago to administer Canada’s national top-level domain: .CA.  Individuals and organisations of all shapes and sizes can showcase their Canadian presence and support of Canadian values by using .CA domain names instead of (or in addition to) .COM, .ORG, or other top-level domains.  There are more than 2.7M registered .CA domain names. Using .CA domain names also helps create a better Online Canada through CIRA’s many initiatives that build programs, products, and services that leverage all the Internet has to offer to help build a better online Canada, while providing a safe, secure, and trusted online experience to all Canadians.

The Community Investment Program (CIP), an annual grant fund awarded by CIRA, has awarded more than 130 grants focused on improving Canadian internet infrastructure, online access, and digital literacy.  In May 2019, CIRA awarded $1.25M towards these goals. This year’s recipients included a program for internet access and digital literacy development for the homeless through the Orillia Christian Centre; a live chat counselling service for youth through the HandsTheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; illustrated children’s stories on online privacy protection and cyber-bullying; a community wireless network in the Mamawapowin community of the Samson Cree First Nation;  an oral history digital portal exploring the history of Jewish life in Western Canada; and many others. These programs span Canadian geography and cultures, bringing together people of all walks of life locally in their communities and in cyberspace.

CIRA’s goal is also to mirror self-proclaimed Canadian values online, where we are recognized as world leaders in technology, security, accessibility, and open participation best practices.  Many other countries follow Canada’s lead when developing their national internet policies. CIRA stands for the principles of a free and just society, as enshrined in the Canadian constitution, and puts them to practice in cyberspace.  It advocates for maintaining an open, accessible, diverse internet that is not controlled by a single country or political interest. Canada’s multicultural approach to our society mirrors well to the online world where CIRA advocates for the best interests of Canadians on the international stage.

CIRA is a not-for-profit, grassroots, member-driven organisation that works in collaboration with the Canadian Federal Government and technology industry partners to manage .CA domains, shape Canadian internet policy, and champion the Internet at home and abroad.  Anyone who has registered a .CA domain name for their personal, business, or organisational website can become a member for free and participate in in-person and virtual meetups, discussions, policy development, networking events, business development, knowledge sharing, and elections to bring Canada’s internet community together and to help shape the future of an Online Canada.

Register your membership today to become a part of Canada’s 15,000+ member internet community and have your say! Visit https://cira.ca/membership to learn more.

Hospital Emergency Rooms Need Better Pain Management

Pain is the primary reason people go to a hospital’s emergency room (ER), yet addressing this pain is far down the list of priorities in the ER setting, which infuriates patients and creates a hostile hospital environment for medical practitioners and patients alike.

I talked with 15 local residents, randomly selected at the local Tim Hortons, and every single one of them told me that they or a loved one or a friend had visited the ER at the new Humber River Regional Hospital in the past year with acute pain.  While each patient had different conditions and symptoms, they were all outraged that not only was their pain dismissed or ignored by medical professionals, but also that they were often left for hours in isolated rooms, in agony, without any idea when, or if, someone would help them.  More than one patient left after waiting for more than 4 hours and went to a different hospital to seek help for their agonizing pain.

Studies have shown that reduction of pain levels directly translates into patient satisfaction of ER visits.  Prompt pain management also improves mood, decreases length of hospital stay, and even decreases mortality rates!  With Ontario facing worsening patient satisfaction in overcrowded ERs, why is pain management so far down the list of priorities during ER visits?  

While pain management does present challenges, medical practitioners in ER departments are all trained in proper treatment practices and guidelines.  Something as simple as administering a standard dose of an over-the-counter painkiller may make the difference between incredible suffering and being able to tolerate the already frustrating wait times.  It is understandable that triage in the ER must focus on those with the most severe medical trauma, which doesn’t always match the pain people feel. Nevertheless, all patients should be receive rapid pain management during the triage process, not hours later when a doctor finally gets to them (https://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/acute-pain-management-in-the-emergency-department-emphasis-on-nsaids-2165-7548.1000171.php?aid=22063).  As the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada has argued, “controlling pain early in the presentation of a patient’s illness or soon after an injury is an important duty of healthcare practitioners”.  To that effect, all hospitals should “develop and sustain comprehensive pain management systems and protocols” in their emergency rooms.  Such a simple thing will go a long way to improving the experiences of patients visiting Ontario’s hospitals.  That’s truly “patient care reinvented”.


Community Brews – Bellwoods Brewery: Ghost Orchid and Wizard Wolf

A little over five years ago, Mike “Smoothie Master” Clark and Luke “Bureaucracy Wrangler” Pestl founded the Bellwoods Brewery and pub in downtown Toronto.  From day one they battled demand that exceeded the production capabilities of their small facility and attempted to consistently deliver the “most delicious beers that ever existed” to local beer lovers.  Patrons lined up around the corner along Ossington Avenue, sometimes for hours, to taste the latest Bellwoods creation.  Pairing simple, delicious food with surprising and unique brews, the brew pub quickly became locally and internationally famous.

As Bellwoods amassed dozens of brewing awards, including Most Innovative Brewery at the 2016 Golden Tap Awards, a second brewery was opened in late 2016 in North York at 20 Hafis Road, near Lawrence and Keele.  The new brewery’s modern equipment has allowed more regular brewing of the full range of delicious beers that Bellwoods has created over the years.  Its adjoining bottle shop and tasting room allows locals to sample delicious flavour combinations that they may never have encountered in a beer!  The available selection of taps and bottles is updated daily on the website (http://www.bellwoodsbrewery.com) so patrons can drop by to snag their favourite brew as soon as it hits the shelves.  Two of my favourite brews Bellwoods brews that you absolutely have to try are Ghost Orchid and Wizard Wolf.