Here are some of the best online sources of transportation safety information for BC and Canada:
Transport Canada Safety info for all transportation topics
DriveBC.ca Highway driving condition reports ---1-800-550-4997
Report unsafe commercial vehicles ---1-888-775-8785
Motor Vehicle Safety Recall Database (Transport Canada)
DriveSmartBC.ca BC-focused information with helpful traffic law & road safety articles; information on dash-cams, case law, and much more.
The Safe Driver Safety tips and tutorial videos from the Director of Training for Young Drivers of Canada.
MyCarDoesWhat? Information on new vehicle safety technology
BC Motor Vehicle Sales Authority ---1-877-294-9889 Information & complaints
RVsafety.com Recreational vehicle safety & training
MADD.ca End impaired driving; support for victims of impaired drivers
DropitandDrive.com Raising awareness of dangers of distracted driving & walking
Cyclists' Essential Do’s & Don’ts After a Crash by the BC Cycling Coalition
MedEffect Canada provides patients and health professionals a way to report adverse drug reactions and learn about new safety information. Report online or phone Health Canada ---1-866-234-2345 (toll-free).
RxISK.org is a free, independent drug safety website to help you weigh the benefits of any medication against its potential dangers. Their goals are to educate and patients to enable them to have better conversations about medication with their doctors and also to collect data on the unintended consequences of prescription medications and draw attention to those problems.
DrugWatch.com is a US website that helps lists prescription drug and medical devices class action lawsuits. Sponsored by a U.S. law firm that specializes in "mass torts and complex litigations where consumers were injured by the wrongdoings of large corporations."
Learn about how antibiotics (use and overuse) can negatively affect the gut microbiome at SynergyNutrition.ca and get tips on how to improve microbiome health (essential for our overall wellbeing).
Learn about prescription drug and pharmaceutical industry problems from Alan Cassels who writes for Common Ground.
There are many organizations that offer help to the public, yet the public might not be aware that these resources are available to them. If people don't know these resources exist, they can't know to search for them.
Finding help quickly and easily with issues like unemployment, divorce, mental health or insolvency can be crucial for many people in those situations. Letting people know their rights and entitlements, including monetary benefits, housing and legal counsel can make the difference between people being overcome by problems, or being able to prevent and surmount them. People who want to volunteer to give something back to their community, to start a business, or to find learning opportunities can all benefit from knowing about community and government resources.
Despite the popularity of searching for information online, the existence of many useful resources remains obscure as they have only a cursory presence online or are poorly promoted.
For people needing help because they are experiencing a personal or family crisis, or they are looking to make a life change, the Internet can and does fall short - assuming those in need can even get online. This is commoner than you think: Canada's telecoms services are among the most expensive worldwide and 27% of people with incomes under $30,000 yearly in Victoria lack Internet access.
But even if someone is online, using the internet to find information is a skill in itself. Many elderly people, or those with sight or literacy problems, lack computer skills or are technophobic. Given how contact details such for many helping organizations are buried in a small corner of a bewilderingly large or complex website, the internet is far from ideal.
Those belonging to vulnerable groups who are most in need of assistance - the impoverished, elderly, disabled, and newcomers to an area - stand the greatest risk of missing out. At a recent talk (January 2016*) the new B.C. Ombudsperson reported that their office receives many phone calls from people who are simply unsure of where to turn for help with a problem. Phone still remains the most popular method of contact over email and online forms.
Clearly we have a problem -- even though community resources exist, too many people remain unaware or unable to reach out.
My Help Book BC offers a simple way to help people learn about important community information that may prove crucial to help them or someone they care about.
Check here for more information on purchase locations. Bulk discounts and free copies are also available.
*Jay Chalke, January 13, 2016, OAP meeting Victoria BC
Big thanks to the Peninsula News Review (Sidney BC, Canada) for covering the release of the newest edition of My Help Book BC - Victoria Edition 2016 in their paper published Friday February 12, 2016.
The article mentions the problem of the digital divide; a (MHB) blog post on the topic provides additional information and links to data from Stats Canada.
Here are locations where My Help Book is available for sale. There have also been several hundred copies distributed for free in the community. While the price is about the same as a cup of coffee ($2.50) there are also bulk discounts available.
The e-Edition of the Peninsula News Review is available here.
Here are some of the main Canadian resources to help you avoid common scams and frauds (a small excerpt from pg 70 of My Help Book BC 2016).
Don't feel stupid if you've been a victim of fraud.
People who specialize in fraud are highly motivated and have lots of practice. And it probably means you are a good person and think the best of people. This is something to be proud of not ashamed. But you do need to protect yourself.
Here are two signs of fraud to watch out for:
1) False Authority. Watch out for people who cloak themselves a with a sense of authority, expertise, fake professionalism, or who convey a high status by flashing signs of wealth. They count on the fact that most people do not have much experience or confidence to aggressively question people in positions of authority or status. This can even happen in the form of official looking invoices or renewal notices by mail or email.
2) False Urgency: If you are feeling a sense of panic, emergency or urgency and feel thus compelled to take some kind of action (or something bad will happen) -- take a big breath, step back, and stop yourself from taking any action until you have time to check on the details. If this urgency comes to you from someone claiming any kind of authority or familiarity -- in person, by telephone, email, or mail, realize this might be a warning sign something is wrong. Command yourself to: "WAIT DON'T ACT" even though you feel compelled to click on that "yes I need help with my computer" button, or think you are going to be frozen out of your email or bank account, or think you are going to miss a once in a life-time deal. Your mantra should be "I NEED TO CHECK DETAILS FIRST".
If you are worried about something: Independently look up the number from a reliable source of whatever company or authority you are worried about. e.g. your bank, internet provider, Revenue Canada or utility company. Find the number from your utility bill for example. Then you call them to see if something is wrong. And if you need computer help, call someone reputable and local.
If you have a small sense something is not right, don't worried about looking silly, call a trusted family member or friend and ask for advice. Everyone has been tricked at one point or another - scams are nothing new. A business advice book from 1894 states: "Beware of the Swindler, He is everywhere and in all kinds of business." The book goes on to warn about "the cheap jewelry swindle", "the barb-wire swindle", "the lightning rod swindle", and "Always read before signing" because "Carelessness in failing to acquaint themselves with the contents of a paper before signing it has worked incalculable harm to thousands of well intentioned people." (These scams of yore come from Safe Methods of Business by J.E. Hansford, J.L. Nichols & Co., Toronto On, 1894.)
Unifor Local 468-W works for the Health of BC and advocates for Social Justice. Unifor Canada is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families in Canada and around the world.
Local 468-W also wants to let people know about an important resource for non-unionized workers in BC created by the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) in conjunction with Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS) in Victoria.
Employment Rights in BC provides clear information on employee rights and rules in BC as set out in the Employment Standards Act, Human Rights Code, Labour Relations Code, Workers Compensation Act and Personal Information Protection Act. The Guide is available in English, Punjabi and Filipino.
Download the Employment Rights Guide here: www.heu.org/rightsatwork
and help spread the word about this important resource.
Or pick up printed copies from the TAPS office in downtown Victoria.
Canadian (and BC) consumer safety and recall information websites:
GetPrepared.gc.ca Emergency preparedness info
HealthyCanadians.gc.ca Product recalls, children’s health, food safety and more
CanadaSafetyCouncil.org Safety information on many topics
Preventable.ca Promoting safety; preventing injuries; education and information
ParachuteCanada.org Home safety tips for parents; preventing injuries, saving lives
SafetyAuthority.ca Utilities safety, plus safety information & training
Office of Consumer Affairs - Industry Canada
ConsumerHandbook.ca - Canadian Consumer Handbook (customizable)
ConsumerInformation.ca Recalls and more from Industry Canada
ConsumerProtectionBC.ca ---1-888-564-9963 Information, services, news & more
Consumers Association of Canada Education & advocacy on marketplace issues
ConsumerDangers.com (US-based) Consumer protection and recall information
BC Motor Vehicle Sales Authority ---1-877-294-9889 Information & complaints
DriveSmartBC.ca BC-focused community website on traffic law and road safety
MyCarDoesWhat.org Information on new vehicle safety technology
RVsafety.com Recreational vehicle safety & training
LifeSaving.bc.ca (BC Yukon Branch) Water safety & lifeguard training
Canadian Safe Boating Council Safety information & outreach
Canadian Office of Boating Safety (Transport Canada) Info, education & regulations
Transport Canada Safety info for all transportation topics (including regulation of drones)
From the Safety and Consumer Sections of My Help Book BC 2016
Donna Randall created the Essential Family Caregiving Agreement to help families and individuals who are caring for a loved one, especially those who are, or will be, caring for seniors and elders.
She has created an easy-to-use tool to make personalized Caregiving Plans and Agreements which takes into account both the needs of the caregiver(s) and care recipient. Because the health needs of a family member can suddenly change, taking the time to create a detailed plan will reduce stress when and if this happens.
"When the condition of a care recipient results in altering daily affairs, everyone involved is affected. When such a change occurs, it is better to have a plan in place, rather than making decisions under pressure. By talking about and formalizing details, you can avoid difficulties now and later." -- Donna Randall
Donna serves families in the Greater Victoria area and beyond (online). Check out her website and blog of informative and touching senior caregiving stories. If you would like to share your caregiving experiences, please get in touch with her via her website.
How the Essential Family Caregiving Agreement came to be:
Donna developed The Essential Family Caregiving Agreement from personal experience with her own elder mother who had an unexpected sudden health decline. Through this, she experienced numerous caregiving complexities involving the health care system, health services, and lack thereof. She had to navigate these systems while going from one crisis to another. She determined that there must be a better way to help families and individuals who are caring for someone with health problems, medical challenges, and finally palliative care needs. Later, when another caregiving responsibility arose with another family member, Donna and her family consulted lawyers to ask for advice. Lawyers strongly recommended a formal family caregiving agreement. After searching for one and finding none, Donna created The Essential Family Caregiving Agreement and Guidance Materials using her professional writing and research skills, as well as her personal experiences. It is her goal to streamline the process for those contemplating the responsibility of family caregiving with her main focus on helping those looking after an aging and ailing family member. Donna has worked with many non-profits (health, education and arts sectors) in her capacity as a professional writer and has a Masters of Arts degree.
Is the care of a loved one in your hands? Donna at DFRENT.org can help. Email: dfr (at) dfrent (dot) org.
My Help Book BC - Victoria Edition 2016 is now available at new locations including Sidney, Downtown Victoria, Quadra and Hillside and Esquimalt. Find more details here. Numerous promotional copies have also been distributed in the Greater Victoria area.
Just published! A new, updated and expanded My Help Book BC - Victoria Edition 2016 is now available. The format is wider than the 2014 edition, with a bigger font, heavier paper and expanded from 60 to 88 pages with extra blank pages at the end for personalized notes. My Help Book BC follows in the footsteps of almanacs but with a focus on helping people find community resources for life problems and opportunities. There are also bonus sections on self-advocacy, checklists for moving, what to do if you have lost your ID and fraud prevention tips. (Read full Table of Contents here).
Copies of My Help Book BC - Victoria Edition 2016 are currently available for sale ($2.50) at Tanner's Books in Sidney and Gorgeous Coffee in Victoria. Check here to find updates to distribution locations and where to find free promotional copies.
My Opportunity & Help Book BC