Take pride in Pride Week


Pride Week is a 10-day event held during the end of June each year. It is a celebration of the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) community. It started out as a small protest march in the early 1970s. Today, the pride march is one of the largest organized gay pride events in the world that draws in nearly one million people every year.

For the most part, the Canadian labour movement has been at the forefront of the struggle for LGBTIQ rights. Canada’s unions have fought for inclusive language in collective agreements in diverse workplaces across the country to promote equality and protect and empower workers. And some of the very first legislation in Canada around same-sex benefits was enacted, thanks in part to organized labour’s support and advocacy. But the engagement of unions in LGBTIQ history is uneven. While some unions took up the demands of LGBTIQ workers, others ignored the call for solidarity and kept a long distance from organizing for safety, dignity and pride of their LGBTIQ members. And while some unions have ‘caught up’ in recent years, by devoting resources and energy to LGBTIQ issues, still others haven’t.

In May 2008, Pride at Work Canada was formed by a group of dedicated individuals with a vision – to improve the climate of inclusiveness for LGBTIQ employees in the workplace. Its vision is for Canada to be a nation where LGBTIQ individuals can achieve their full potential at work. Its mandate is to promote inclusion, encouraging organizations to support authenticity at a corporate level and create workplaces where LGBTIQ employees will be able to be themselves and, ultimately, to be more productive.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the rainbow Pride flag on Parliament Hill to mark the beginning of Pride season. This marked the first time a Pride flag has ever been officially raised on Parliament Hill, an important sign of the progress the LGBTIQ community has made in this country. This followed the introduction of Bill C-16 which will amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to ban discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

The goal is to create a world, without homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and all other forms of oppression so that every person can achieve their full potential, free from discrimination and bias.

Happy Pride Week!

By: Mark Klein


#FridayFeeling: 7 feel-good hashtags for each day of the week

 “Hashtag” skit with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake


What is it about the weekend that we love so much? Could it be the BBQ waiting to be fired in the backyard, being able to press the snooze button on our alarms, or finally being able to catch up with family and friends? Whatever it is, the weekend is a time we look forward to, and it doesn’t only apply to people who work in certain jobs. In fact, studies have shown that the “weekend effect” makes people happier regardless of occupation.

So, what if every day could feel like the weekend?

Each day, Twitter populates a “Trending” section where the most used hashtags and topics being talked about appear. On that list, there’s at least one hashtag that trends specifically to getting us pumped and motivated, if not reflective and inspired for the day. Thinking of getting a meal plan ready for the week? Tweet it out and use #MondayMotivation – motivate others while also getting ideas for next week.

With social media, and Twitter in particular, people who share the same joys (and pains) are just a hashtag away, creating a real sense of community and ability to get inspired as well as inspire others.

Check out these 7 feel-good Twitter hashtags and connect with us throughout the week @SEIUHealthCan:

  1. #MondayMotivation
  2. #TuesdayTip
  3. #WednesdayWisdom
  4. #ThursdayThought
  5. #FridayFeeling
  6. #SaturdayVibes
  7. #SundayFunday

Got hashtags to share? Tweet them to us @SEIUHealthCan and include #healthaholicblog!

By: Richelle Himaya

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Health is real wealth

seiu healthcare healthaholic blog health is real wealth

Wellness is important to us all, and by creating an environment that is healthy and encouraging, you can help build your workplace into a hub for positive change.

With summer right around the corner, there are many things you can do within your workplace to help create a healthy and happy work environment inside and outside the workplace. Here are a few tips that can help you on your road to wellness.


Everyone likes to be outside on a nice, sunny day. By organizing walks outdoors during lunch or coffee breaks, it gives people the opportunity to soak up some much needed vitamin D from the sun as well as burn off a few calories with some friends. Walking allows people to go at their own pace and set goals however they like. Even if it’s raining outside, indoor walks with the right company can make cloudy days into sunny ones.


With patio season quickly approaching, who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing beverage on a hot summer’s day? We all know that those sugary drinks aren’t good for you, and too much alcohol is damaging to your liver.  Anyone looking to lose weight could be helped by upping their water intake. Studies have found that when participants drink water before a meal, they lose weight faster than those who did not drink water. Extra water helps us eat less by making us feel full, and it may also boost metabolism, so drink up!


We know how hard it can be to prepare meals in advance, with a busy schedule who has the time to pack a lunch? Studies have shown that people who eat lunch out less frequently are more likely to lose weight. Even one fast-food meal a week can do damage, including increasing your risk for heart disease. Snack machines usually don’t have many healthy options. Get around this by preparing your own snacks ahead of time. From fresh fruit to mixed nuts, pre-planning will help you make healthy choices and avoid impulse buys.

By: Andrew Miller

Seniors’ Month turns 32 this year


2016 marks the 32nd anniversary of Seniors’ Month, which recognizes the important role seniors play in our communities.  This year’s theme is “Seniors Making a Difference.”

Seniors in Canada are living longer and healthier lives than previous generations. In 2014, over 6 million Canadians were aged 65 or older, representing 15.6 percent of Canada’s population. By 2030—in less than two decades—seniors will number over 9.5 million and make up 23 percent of Canadians. Additionally, by 2036, the average life expectancy at birth for women will rise to 86.2 years from the current 84.2 and to 82.9 years from the current 80 for men.


While many seniors lead fulfilling lives without significant physical or cognitive changes, aging can be debilitating. Physical ailments, mobility issues, chronic pain, cognitive and sensory impairments can affect one’s functional ability. Other challenges such as retirement, changes in income, widowhood, the loss of friendships through death, and new caregiving responsibilities can lead to social and emotional isolation. Research indicates that promoting and maintaining mental health among seniors has a positive impact on their overall health and well-being and significantly affects quality of life.


In 2011, 92 percent of seniors in Canada lived in a private home. Recent Government of Canada investments in affordable and social housing, age-friendly communities, support for caregivers and programs to combat homelessness are helping seniors stay in their own homes and remain physically and socially active.

Many communities have services just for seniors. These include:

  • adult day programs – including social, fitness and other healthy activities;
  • transportation services – for people who don’t have public transportation or need help to use it;
  • community hospice services – including counselling, support groups, yoga and art classes, grief support;
  • residential hospices – where end-of-life care is provided in a home-like environment for those who can no longer stay in their own homes. People in residential hospices receive a wide range of palliative services to keep them comfortable.


SEIU Healthcare is proud of our members who support and assist our senior citizens and we wish everyone a happy Seniors’ Month.

Remembering Everything Nightingale Fought For

Modern day nursing is going through a renaissance. Being one of the oldest professions in healthcare comes with many challenges, and being adaptable seems to be a constant factor when being connected to this career choice.

Nursing Day is celebrated every year on May 12 in many countries across the world. This day is in honour of Florence Nightingale, a British nurse who founded the modern nursing profession in the 1800s.

Nightingale was born into an upper class British family in 1820. She made her first impressive mark in the field of healthcare during the Crimean War, which took place from 1853-1856 in the Black Sea region near Russia and Turkey. She led a team of 38 women who nursed and cared for wounded British soldiers in the conflict. Her team found the medical facilities weren’t caring for the wounded soldiers adequately. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was neglected and mass infections were common. Thanks to Nightingale’s efforts, she helped reduce the death rate at the site from 42 to 2 percent.

After the war she came back to Great Britain and founded the Nightingale Training School in 1860 to train and educate women to become nurses. She also wrote a book called Notes on Nursing, which served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School and other new nursing schools.

This book is considered a classic introduction to nursing. It was published at a time when the simple rules of health were only beginning to be known. The book did a lot to improve care in an era when hospitals were riddled with infection and many people viewed nursing as a lower-class occupation.

Not only was Nightingale a nursing pioneer, she was also a social reformer. She wanted to improve healthcare for all sections of British society regardless of their wealth or income, advocated for starvation relief in India, and expanded the role of women in the workforce.

Florence Nightingale did a lot of work expanding the scope of practice for nurses to provide better care for patients. Some of the issues she faced are similar to what nurses’ experience today. Nurses have to lobby their managers, employers and the government to expand their scope of practice to provide superior patient care in our healthcare facilities.

In today’s nursing environments, often nurses are assigned to provide care to ungrateful, violent and verbally abusive individuals. Nurses are scheduled to work long hours, with little or no breaks, and are constantly on their feet for most of their shifts to deal with patients with a variety of ailments.

Canada’s constantly growing aging population has the government searching for new ways to attract more nurses to the field and to provide alternatives for people who need help. Nursing has a proud history but clearly it isn’t attracting students to his healthcare profession since admission into nursing programs in Canada are in a downward spiral. Nursing can be a thankless job, but it can also be one of the most rewarding professions for those whom care and have a passion for giving and positive change.

Let’s remember everything Nightingale fought for and continue to push for the change that is needed to advance the future for nursing across Canada and globally. We will all be healthier for it!

By: Andrew Miller

Celebrating Mother’s Day on May 8

seiu healthcare mothers day

Sunday, May 8 is Mother’s Day. This is the day to thank your mother for all the hard work, dedication, love, and commitment she has given you throughout your life to make you the person you are today.

SEIU Healthcare represents tens of thousands of women who work hard helping patients, clients and residents. Many of them are also strong mothers who spend their lives caring for their children.

Mother’s Day is a big holiday. It’s not just celebrated in Canada and the United States. It’s celebrated in over 180 countries across the world in every continent.

The national effort to create Mother’s Day began in the early 1900s by a woman named Anna Jarvis. Anna’s mother was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. Anna wanted to honour her mother by setting aside a day to honour all mothers. She believed they were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

By 1911 all US states began to observe the day. In 1914, President Woodrow made Mother’s Day a National Holiday to honor mothers. Mother’s Day was adopted by other countries, and it is now celebrated all over the world.

By: Greg Dwulit

Musical Memories

Over the weekend I spent some time with the eldest member of the family- our grandmother. At 87 years, parts of her memory have naturally faded to the point where she is vigilant, but mostly discreet in her actions. On the other side of the couch, was my 8 year old niece: chatty, active and showing us the latest video she liked on YouTube.

This interesting dichotomy reminded me of an article I had come across on the impact of jazz music on people with Alzheimer’s. The article states that:

“Anything you are emotionally attached to can affect the brain,” Tanzi said. “Music memory can activate the brain. In a nursing home, you might see a moderate-to-advanced Alzheimer’s patient suddenly at the piano playing music and singing, even if they haven’t uttered a sentence in weeks….The pathology goes all around the music memories areas, but doesn’t touch them,” he said. “The best way to activate music memory is with the music you love the most.”

Music can indeed be a magical remedy for a tough day, the treatment for a loss, the elixir to a celebration, so it’s no surprise that we can reinvigorate someone’s mind and spirit through the power of music. But the impact that “music memory” practitioner’s provides is nevertheless fascinating.

Do you have any experience utilizing music with Alzheimer’s patients, or as a form of therapy? Please share your experience with us!

By: Shilpa R. Sharma