Campus Life - Kamloops  

TRU study confirms BCLC’s positive impact on Kamloops

A report by TRU economist Peter Tsigaris says the BC Lottery Corporation headquarters in Kamloops has contributed about $2.2 billion to the economic and social development of the city over the past 35 years.

The study says for every two full-time jobs at BCLC, a new job is created in Kamloops. It estimate BCLC’s total employment impact in 2019-20 was 667 full-time jobs, including 445 BCLC jobs and an additional 222 in the community.

Importance of social impact

Every year, BCLC remits net income to the province, which distributes a portion to not-for-profit organizations through Community Gaming Grants, and to municipal governments and First Nations through Host Local Government Payments for hosting one or more gambling facilities.

“The Community Gaming Grant gives about $3.2 million a year, and the Host Local Government Payments, which are given to local governments that host casinos or gambling facilities, gave around $2.7 million to Kamloops in 2019,” says Tsigaris.

“We gain in terms of economic impact but there’s also the social component, which I tried to quantify. BCLC gives all their net income back to the community via the province, which is fascinating.”

The study also shows that BCLC’s Kamloops employees believe in making a positive impact in their communities.

“Employees volunteered an estimated 475,659 hours during the past 35 years, with a cumulative social impact estimated at $32.2 million,” says Tsigaris. “Over the same time period, they donated almost $4 million to local charities.”

The report also notes that BCLC has provided $2.6 million in corporate sponsorship and employee-led fundraising for Kamloops-based community organizations and events since 1985, for a total cumulative social impact of $6.2 million.

Community as a whole benefits

And, as Tsigaris points out, his research reaffirms the significant impact of charitable giving.

“When you give money to someone who is disadvantaged, they benefit from every dollar that you give them. But also, the community benefits in that there is more of an egalitarian community, the funds help the person with health and financial issues, and this brings up the whole community.

“For every one dollar contributed to the social cause – to not-for-profit organizations – the community benefits by $2.40, so it is a big impact there. Then, for every dollar the person gets, they probably spend it, so the social contribution also has an economic impact. I found that part fascinating, and I don’t think anyone has looked into this effect before in an impact study.”

Overall, the study estimated the social valuation at $373 million over the past 35 years for Kamloops. Including the economic impact of the social contributions, the total impact is estimated at $590 million.

Read the report here.

Researchers look at COVID cough

A group of researchers has developed a noninvasive way to prescreen for COVID-19 that’s quick, easily accessible, and discreet. Their technological tool, which analyzes cough sounds through a smartphone and desktop app, helps confirm your diagnosis.

“Testing for COVID-19, as we know it today, is invasive – a nasal swab is inserted, or blood samples are taken,” says lead researcher Dr. Emad Mohammed, TRU assistant professor of software engineering and University of Calgary adjunct assistant professor.

“If someone has done it once, they may be hesitant to get it done again, especially if they’re asymptomatic. It also allows someone who is asymptomatic and who may have COVID to stay home while not alarming those around you.”

Mohammed and his colleagues at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering – Mohammad Keyhani, Amir Sanati-Nezhad, Hossein Hejazi and Behrouz Far – believed there was a better way.

“We wanted to come up with a solution that the person could use in isolation and that would be completely independent from the healthcare provider,” says Mohammed. “We knew a mobile device would work because they’re personal, they have a unique signature, so nobody else can use them—not your closest friend or relative.”

Sounds of infection

In a co-authored article published in Nature magazine, the researchers describe how they used audio recordings of individual coughs — some from people who had tested positive for COVID-19, some negative —to differentiate  between a COVID and a non-COVID cough.

Mohammed likens it to someone with a musical ear.

“Suppose there is a musician who is listening to a violin. If he closes his eyes and listens to it, then he will know it’s a violin. Moreover, if there’s something wrong with the violin, he can tell you exactly what’s wrong. This was the natural intuition behind this app.”

Mohammed and his team believe once the app is available, it will change how people prescreen themselves. “It’s not a diagnostic or a prognostic app. It’s a prescreening app, letting you know if there’s something wrong or not, which is important to know. It can also give you peace of mind.”

Next steps

There are still a few steps left before the public can access the tool.

“We are on hold, awaiting bioethics approval through the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary,” says Mohammed. “Once we have that we will deploy the app onto many sites. We look forward to the day we can do that.”

Listen to Mohammed’s conversation with The App Show’s Mike Acerbo on CKNW. Hear the interview (Sept. 12 edition, interview at 17:00)

TRU alum takes third in law essay competition

TRU Law alum Candace Formosa placed third for the essay she submitted while still a student to the annual Insolvency Institute of Canada Law Student Writing Award program.

Formosa won the $2,500 third-place prize for her paper titled Dampening the Effect of Redwater through a Reverse Vesting Order. She has graduated from TRU and is an articling student for the major firm, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.

Formosa is particularly grateful to Tom Cumming for providing her with invaluable knowledge and insight on her essay.

The Insolvency Institute of Canada awards monetary prizes to the top three papers in the annual competition. The 2021 winner of the $7,500 first-place prize was Maria Belykh from Western University for her paper on CCAA Supplier Protection: A System in Need of Reform. Kristen Robertson from Queen’s University came second, winning $5,000 for her paper, It’s all the Effect: The Anti-Deprivation Rule Post-Chandos Construction.

TRU nursing leaders honoured for influence

Rani Srivastava and Lisa Bourque Bearskin have had different paths, but their strengths as leaders and change influencers have put them into the same fellowship.

TRU Dean of Nursing Rani Srivastava and CIHR Indigenous Research Chair in Nursing Lisa Bourque Bearskin are being inducted into the Canadian Academy of Nursing Fellowship this Friday, Oct. 15.

The virtual ceremony starts at 9 a.m. and celebrates the country’s most accomplished nurses, whether they work in clinical practice, education, administration, research or policy. Anyone can attend, but they ask that you register in advance.

And while Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin had vastly different beginnings in their nursing careers, both have been unwavering in their commitment to helping others, sparking much-needed change in the profession and providing leadership.

Nursing put them on a journey of self-discovery. And what they learned was that they are leaders and mentors and advocates. They have positively influenced others.

To hear them talk about why or how they got into nursing, you’d think they were both born for the profession, even when they didn’t know it.

Srivastava always knew she wanted to go to university and study something related to health and science.

“As I was looking at the application, there was a box that said nursing. I had certainly encountered nursing in my world, and I thought, I think I can do that. So I checked it off and I thought we’ll see. If I like it I’ll stay, and if I don’t, I’ll figure something out after first year,” she recalls.

“But I have to tell you from the time I entered nursing, I’ve never looked back. I’ve loved it from day one. And I think what I love about it is the opportunities it has given me to be with people, it has done wonders for me as a person, and from a career perspective, I’ve had amazing opportunities to do all kinds of wonderful things. So I’ve never had a second thought about it.”

Bourque Bearskin’s experience was entirely different. She was influenced by her mother and grandmother (kohkum). She saw how they were badly treated, discriminated against and harmed. She also saw how her kohkum took care of her mother, who was a victim of violence and trauma, while she herself took care of her siblings and other family members.

“I was always taught to care, from a very young age. It was just how we did things,” she says.

In fact, her kohkum encouraged her to go to school and learn to be a nurse.

Bourque Bearskin left school in Grade 11, which kept her out of nursing programs but allowed her to become a health-care aide. She upgraded, worked her way up through various caring positions, and in 1991, was accepted into a degree program. And now she has her PhD, which is still rare among Indigenous nurses in Canada.

“I captured the heart of one social worker and one teacher, they offered me these opportunities. After being removed from my family, as part of the child removal era, specifically the residential schools and sixties scoop experience, I learned what it was like to not fit in and this brought a fiery spirit to what I wanted to do. I always followed that path, of caring for people, I wanted to show others I was just as capable,” she says.

In doing her PhD, she worked with four Indigenous nurses — all community nursing leaders, some would say healers and helpers in their own way — over the span of a decade.

“It really spoke to the importance and the need to valuing knowledge system, there’s this other way of knowing, there’s this other way of being that wasn’t being addressed in nursing. I knew that that’s where I could contribute, I knew where I could open up some gaps and contribute to advancing nursing knowledge,” she says.

“Nursing knowledge was and still is very rooted in a medical model, treatment focused. When we talk about Indigenous health, it’s about wellness, it’s about healing, coming together, it’s about learning about the health-care system. And for health-care practitioners, it’s about reclaiming our own history, how we’ve treated and how we’ve worked with Indigenous populations, it is such a unique practice, that deserves our attention.”

During their very different careers, both Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin moved into leadership roles and have influenced the paths of others.

Rani Srivastava and her family.

Srivastava remembers an undergrad student she met while recruiting graduates into mental-health nursing. She didn’t even realize she had influenced the young student. It wasn’t until some years later, when they met again when the student was doing her PhD, that she found out how much of an influence she had.

“I can think of her — and I can think of a few other colleagues, graduate students, or nurses in practice — who through the conversations I’ve had with them, question and hopefully have belief in themselves. . . . The change I’ve seen is the self confidence, the willingness to go after something that they thought wasn’t attainable for them,” she says. This is what she received from her mentors, and what she hopes will help others.

“Those are some of the impacts I can see when I think about individuals and how I hope I have been an influence. They would have discovered their way, they’re fantastic people. But sometimes the conversations we had facilitated that.”

Bourque Bearskin says the fellowship is a way to encourage others.

Lisa Bourque Bearskin in her early nursing days with family.

“If I can support other Indigenous peoples to engage in advanced studies, that’s my purpose. That’s my greatest reward, to honour those other Indigenous nurses who have come before me. . . . I want to honor and recognize all the years of service to those who came before me. And my obligations now are to those nurses that are coming behind me and trying make that pathway a little bit smoother for them.”

On Friday, Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin will be tuning in for their virtual induction ceremony.

“Nursing has taught me about people. One of the areas I’ve done a lot of work in has been around the space of inclusion and belonging and I think this is a profession that has huge diversity across the profession. When I think about the future, I think we have a lot of opportunity to lead the way in what it means to really create inclusive healing societies and I’m excited by that,” says Srivastava.

Bourque Bearskin is grateful to her family, her nation, her Indigenous colleagues, TRU and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc for the opportunities she has had as she paves the way for the nurses of the future.

“There’s still so much work to do. . . . To prepare for seven generations ahead. I would be very worried about my grandchildren coming into health care,” she says, noting racism is still a problem.

“We all want to be of service for our nations. To be part of this academy just shows and signifies there are a number of Indigenous nursing leaders who have been nominated into this fellowship and it creates a safe space where we are now recognized as valued and as equals. As being good enough. Throughout my career, I always felt I wasn’t good enough. Being nominated by my Indigenous colleagues was that key message to say you are good enough Lisa, you have made an important contribution.”

Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin were nominated and encouraged by co-workers and peers to apply for the fellowship. While they had to submit their own information, others provided support through reference letters. Now they have earned the right to use the credential Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing (FCAN).

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