On March, 28th, at the Allstream Centre on the grounds of Exhibition Place in Toronto, OHEA was honoured to welcome The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, as the first speaker of the day.
Her Honour, who spoke of her home economics roots, was a true inspiration and reminded all delegates that Home Economists 'can be masters of change'.
We are proud to share Her Honour's inspiring, thought-provoking words here...
Paths of Possibility
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Toronto, March 28, 2015
Thank you so much for this invitation to be with you today. It is definitely a return to my roots – to the family of home economists.
It affords me an opportunity to say a very warm thank you to those who were among the very first to reach out with congratulations on my appointment as Lieutenant Governor just a few months ago. That recognition was very special to me. It has been a remarkable journey so far.
I am also grateful because your request provided the motivation to reflect on my own challenges and opportunities as a home economist. Looking back over an exceptionally eclectic career I realize how very fortunate I have been to follow paths of possibility on which I continue to learn and grow. It’s been all about serendipity, seizing moments of opportunity and of course, inevitable transitions. Social scientists now speak of “life course frameworks”. I’m afraid I would be a very poor role model for that concept if it meant having a clearly defined path for my life.
My career continues to be a work in progress. Each chapter, from teaching to public service at the provincial, federal and international levels and ultimately to the private sector has expanded my horizons and taught me valuable lessons.
We live in a world where ideas cross borders as if they did not exist, where cyberspace is beyond national control and where the speed and magnitude of capital flows is incredible. The horror of the sheer brutality of how human beings are treating one another in various parts of the world is affecting all of us and has surely illuminated the extent of our interconnectedness and the fragility of a world of inequity.
Two-thirds of humankind fall far short of having a decent quality of life. A billion people living in dire poverty alongside a billion living in splendour, in a world made smaller by cell phones and the internet is surely a recipe for social confrontation. The jury is still out on how to avoid a collision between growing ecological pressures, economic expansion and challenges to social cohesion.
We are on the verge of a powerful new wave of health-related life sciences. With its capacity to re-create nature and even change what it means to be human, science and technology are forcing us to confront moral dilemmas and profound choices that will require deeper global dialogue and greater systemic thinking than we have ever achieved.
But the real point of my few remarks this morning is to encourage you. Home economists can make a difference in this brave new world. We have always been able to bridge the natural and social sciences. We practice integration. Our focus has always been on ensuring a quality of life for individuals and families through understanding and modifying the ‘near environment’. And we certainly have been agile and capable of responding to change. We’ve learned to live with ambiguity. (No one seems to have written a job description tailor-made for a home economist.)
I am a home economist and I believe that we are uniquely qualified to influence the course of events. Most of my working life I’ve been asked questions like – “What’s a home economist doing in charge of Canada’s weather service?” My answer is really “Why not?”
This world needs thinking, caring, ethical human beings who have a responsibility for those with whom they live and the environment in which they live. We must not be mere observers of the changes taking place around us.
In the 1980s Canadian home economists were asking questions about our professional identity, undertaking a navel-gazing process of defining precisely what is it that we do, worrying about the seeming indifference to the profession among recent graduates and being concerned that our work did not seem to merit prestige.
But I believe in the potential of home economists. That we can be masters of change – the right people in the right place at the right time. There is no simple set of instructions on how to proceed in turbulent times. Transcending limits is now a core competency and I dare to suggest that most of you have felt outside your comfort zone – and that’s not about to change. The walls we have to scale are most often the walls within our minds.
To achieve a world that works for everyone will require uncommon dedication, creativity and energy. I have no doubt that home economists, with a commitment to social justice, generosity of spirit and tolerance can make a difference.
I wish you well in your individual and collective journeys and I thank you in advance for the contributions that I know you will make.
By Mary Carver, P.H.Ec.
Michelle J. Kwan - a 4th year Nutrition and Food Ryerson student has won 1st place in the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) media release competition for the second year in a row. The award was presented at the OHEA conference on March 23rd.
Kwan’s 2013 article Physical Activity in a Tech Savvy Workplace will be distributed nationally, in early May. Using data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 2007-2009 completed by Stats Canada (in partnership with Heath Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada), Michelle emphasizes why it is imperative for Canadians to become more physically active. Kwan offers tips for those whose jobs keep them desk-bound.
Michelle will graduate from Ryerson’s Nutrition and Food program this year. Already holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, Michelle has been an outstanding student on the Ryerson campus. She served as Communications Director for the Nutrition Course Union, as Communications & Social Media Coordinator for Critical Dietetics and as a former Leader for Nutrition Health Promotion outreach teams.
The former Miss Universe Canada delegate and fitness enthusiast is passionate about nutrition and good health and continues to share credible health information on Twitter @NutritionArtist. Watch for the name Michelle J. Kwan in ‘by lines’ for years to come.
Access Michelle’s 2012 wining release, The Power of 8, Sleep for Health and Wellness here.
OHEA congratulates Michelle and all students that entered the competition and encourages them to continue to share their knowledge.
Ontario Home Economics Association © 2013
This year's Ontario Home Economics Association Conference was a huge success! The speakers, the venue, the food, the exhibitors, the conference committee, the emcee, the raffle prizes, the silent auction, and the delegate bags were all phenomenal. We are grateful to our sponsors who made this memorable day possible and would like to take the opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude.
OHEA is very thankful for the overwhelming support of our sponsors, who were not only instrumental in the success of the conference, but who were paramount in helping us spread awareness and understanding of the incredible and diverse profession of Home Economics.
You can view our full list of sponsors here...
By: Mary Carver, P.H.Ec.
Once a year, Professional Home Economists from across Ontario come together for a weekend of business, professional development, networking and fun.
This year, the events take place at the 34th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) at the University of Toronto on March 22nd and 23rd.
So what’s behind the conference theme - Be a Winner in Challenging Times?
The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.