Maple producers and governments wants to make sure you are getting the real, sweet syrupy deal when you buy maple syrup. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with counterparts in the U.S., and industry partners to change the way maple syrup is labeled in North America,
according to the Canadian Press. The new universal labelling system will help weed out syrup imposters, which can sometimes be just sugar and water.
The rules will also include a new description for
the syrup grades, so you know the difference between ‘No 1’ and ‘No 2’ syrups when you see them on the shelves. According to the Canadian Press, the labeling rules will take about two years to be implemented. I’m from Eastern Ontario where everyone and their mother makes maple syrup. So I grew up drowning my pancakes in the sticky stuff and indulging in melt-in-your-mouth maple candy. But I know some people prefer corn syrup or Saskatoon berry syrup on their pancakes.
Which do you prefer on your pancakes - maple syrup or something else? Try some of our favourite maple recipes:
Best Maple Butter TartsMaple-Mustard Pork FajitasCanadian Maple-Glazed DoughnutsMaple FudgeMaple Mincemeat Turnovers
Watching the fiery health-care debates south of the border over the past few years, we Canadians may feel a growing urge to proudly wave our flag for all we're doing right. Last March, Candian Living's very own medical columnist, Dr. Danielle Martin, a practicing family physician and vice-president of medical affairs and health system solutions at Women's College Hospital, appeared in front of the U.S. Senate to share lessons gleaned from Canada's single-payer health-care system. The Senate was forced to contemplate the underlying principle that sets our system apart: equity. There's a lot we have to be proud of.
"Health care should be based on need rather than ability to pay," says Dr. Martin. "That's the bedrock of our system." By paying for every citizen, we end up spending just two-thirds of what Americans pay for their limited-access system, per capita. "And we actually provide quite good care," says Dr. Martin, adding that our outcomes for cancer and heart disease are similar or even better than those in the U.S. Plus, as she pointed out to one senator, we don't have 45,000 citizens per year die while waiting for treatment. Not that our system is perfect. There are still ways to make it more equitable.
1. Improve coverage of medications.
Back in the '50s and '60s, when Medicare was in its infancy, most health care was delivered in hospitals, which meant that prescription drugs weren't a significant cost for most people. "Times have really changed," says Dr. Martin. "Many Canadians are living a long time with chronic medical conditions now, and they need to take medications long-term." In the past 50 years, drug costs have become quite a concern. In fact, a 2012 study found that one in 10 Canadians struggles to pay for medication, and many fail to fill prescriptions or take them as often as directed.
2. Deliver consistent access.
"There's a role for the federal government to play in ensuring that Canadians can count on access to similar services, no matter where they live," says Dr. Martin. In March, Canada's Health Care Accord, which united all of the provinces and territories under common goals, expired. There's a huge variation in coverage between provinces, and Dr. Martin says we need national leadership to ensure consistent care.
3. Ensure that every Canadian has access to high-quality primary care.
"No Canadian should be without a family doctor, and no Canadian should have to wait six weeks for an appointment with one," says Dr. Martin. Currently, where you live impacts your access to primary care. "It's not so much about the number of doctors, it's about the distribution—where they're practicing, and how many are choosing primary care over specialties." To solve the problem, Dr. Martin says we need bigger teams of doctors, nurses and other health-care providers, rather than individual practices. "It's about being linked in â€¨to a bigger system."
For more advice from Dr. Danielle Martin, read what she has to say about these 3 aging myths.
This story was originally titled "Care That's Fair in the July 2014 issue.
The iconic lifestyle expert shares stylish ways to give your bedroom a fresh new look.
We recently had the chance to talk to Martha—who just launched her latest collection of home decor products at Hudson’s Bay—and ask her some of our burning questions about bedrooms and bedding. Yes, she irons her bed linens. No, she doesn’t like accent cushions on her bed, instead opting to style them on a nearby chair or chaise. How often does Martha think you should change your sheets? Once a week. “Investing in good bed linens will last you for many years. Wash them once a week and they will last you for a very long time,” she says. Here’s what else Martha has to say about making your bedroom design a “good thing”:
1. Add a headboard
A headboard can instantly pull an entire bedroom together! It gives the room a focal point when layered behind your comfy, cozy pillows.
2. Use colourful accents
Liven up your room with colourful lamps, a fresh coat of paint on an old dresser, or wallpaper in your closet. A light, floral pattern makes a statement next to a solid wall without being too bold. It's eye-catching and creates depth.
3. Use mirrors
Create the illusion of more space by using a wall full of mirrors. It's a beautifully polished touch that matches almost every colour and decor.
4. Get artsy
Bare walls really only mean one thing –room for art! Keep your bedding subtle and go bold with your favorite paintings and art pieces. It will make your bedroom more personal and way more interesting.
5. Style the nightstand
The nightstand is an oft-neglected but valuable piece of furniture in your bedroom. Turn it into a picture-perfect composition that will make your bedroom feel both homey and inspiring.
Martha just released her latest book, Vegetables, and is the process of shooting a new cooking show with Snoop Dogg. We can’t wait to tune in!
Here's what to do to maximize your antioxidant intake.
1. Spice it up.
Both dried spices and fresh herbs tend to be extra potent with antioxidants. “Having a really liberal approach to herbs and spices in your cooking as opposed to a tiny sprinkle is really beneficial,” says registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen.
2. Go organic.
New research from Spain is suggesting that organic produce may have extra antioxidants. “Phytochemicals are a plant’s defence mechanism—kind of like its immune system,” says Nielsen. “So when you apply pesticides and herbicides to crops, the thinking is that the plant has less need to self-protect, so it downgrades those compounds.”
3. Eat whole foods.
You can have too much of a good thing, and when you take antioxidant supplements you run the risk they’ll aid oxidation rather than fight it. “It has a reverse effect if you take too much or take it out of the right context,” says Nielsen. “When you start isolating compounds from food, they often don’t behave in the way that you would expect.”
"I've seen more changes this year than in the past three years," says Lisa Gittens, a tax expert at H&R Block.
Here are eight things families will want to be aware of when filling out their 2016 return.
1. Last chance on certain tax credits
The government is phasing out a handful of tax credits and focusing on larger benefits. The children's arts and fitness tax credits will be halved for the 2016 tax year, and cut completely next year, meaning families will no longer be able to defray costs for things like swimming lessons, ballet and tutoring. For post-secondary students, the education and textbook credits are being eliminated in 2017, although education amounts carried forward from previous years will still be claimable.
2. No more income splitting
Also gone is the Family Tax Cut, which lets the higher-earning spouse transfer up to $50,000 of income to the lower-earner. During the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to cut it, calling it a "tax break for the wealthy."
With the benefit gone, Gittens recommends a spousal RRSP, which allows the higher-earner to contribute to the lower-earning spouse's RRSP and claim the tax benefit. "You may have an RRSP set up, but you haven't thought about setting it up for your spouse. This is an ideal time to use that strategy," she says.
3. Changes to child benefits
The Canada Child Benefit was a signature feature of the 2016 budget, replacing the old Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. It's non-taxable, so you don't have to claim it. However, in order to continue to receive the benefit, both parents must file a return, even if one doesn't generate any income, says Gittens.
Also keep in mind that the benefit started in July, so you still have to claim the taxable UCC for the first six months of the year.
4. New tax rates
New tax rates mean you may or may not be pleasantly surprised by the size of your tax bill this year. If you're in the meaty middle that earns between $45,000 and $90,000, your rate will come down to 20.5 percent from 22 percent.
"Most Canadians will be receiving more money at the end of the day than they were under the old system," says Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Wealth Strategies Group.
However, high-income earners will be paying more due to a new 33 percent bracket for people earnings more than $200,000.
5. Child care expenses
Childcare costs are usually the biggest deduction available for families, says Golombek. But what many people don't realize is that it goes beyond simply daycare. If you have a nanny, you can claim that expense, but also babysitting, if it's during the day, and summer or day camp.
6. Disability tax credit and family caregiver amount
If you have family members with a disability there are certain credits that may be available to you. The Disability Tax Credit is available to people with disabilities to reduce their taxes. For children under age 18, a parent or caregiver may be able to claim the unused amount.
If you're a caregiver to a family member with physical or mental impairments, you may also be able to claim an additional $2,121, according to the Canada Revenue Agency.
7. Selling your principal residence
Selling your home has typically not been something you've had to report on your taxes, because usually Canadians don't get taxed for capital gains on their principle residence. But starting with the 2016 tax year, individuals who sold their principal residence during the year must report the sale. The government is ostensibly doing this to crack down on people who try to pass off income-generating homes as their principal residence.
8. eFile early, get your refund early
Tax deadline is April 30, but if you want to get ahead of the game, file early, before the government is inundated with last-minute returns. You can still file the old paper return, but Gittens says you'll be looking at a turnaround time of anywhere up to eight weeks, versus 10-14 days for a return filed early and electronically.