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7 Positive Good News Stories From Canada (2023)

3 Canadian Maple Leafs on a Pink Background

There's something to be said for maintaining a sense of hopefulness, especially in difficult times. Canadians know this all too well — and are simultaneously at the forefront of making the world a better, more optimistic place. 

At Good Good Good, our goal is to cover every piece of good news that happens in the world, no matter how big or small. And time and time again, we come across incredible positive news stories coming out of Canada.

Here’s a roundup of our favorite positive good news stories from Canada. (We'll continue to add more stories to it over time.) We can't help but be hopeful about the future after reading these!

The Best Good News Stories From Canada

Innovative Legislation Bans Whale and Dolphin Captivity in Canada

A federal bill in Canada is phasing out the practice of holding cetaceans — such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises — in captivity, marking a major win for activists and politicians, who say it’s an important development for animal rights in the country.

“Many scientists testified to why it was critical that we stop keeping cetaceans in captivity,” said Elizabeth May, a Green Party leader who sponsored the bill. 

“We understand why because they are obviously not akin to other animals, for instance, livestock. Cetaceans require the ocean, they require the space, they require acoustic communication over long distances.”

The bill bans the capture of wild cetaceans but does allow for rehabilitation and rescue of these animals. Additionally, breeding, import, and export are banned — except in cases of scientific research — and new animal cruelty offenses come into play related to the captivity of the animals. The bill plays a major role in clamping down on the marine mammal trade.

“This is a watershed moment for whales and dolphins, and powerful recognition that our country no longer accepts imprisoning smart, sensitive animals in tiny tanks for entertainment,” said Camille Labchuk, executive director of advocacy group Animal Justice, to the National Post.

This Man in Montreal Started a Movement To Remove Hateful Graffiti For Free

A grassroots effort in Montreal, Canada sprung up to spread peace and tolerance, and it's turned into a global movement.

Corey Fleischer was working at a graffiti removal company when he happened to notice a swastika spray-painted on a cinder block. Initially, he drove away, but he later returned and removed it in a matter of seconds. Now he locates and removes hateful graffiti throughout Montreal free of charge. He calls his movement Erasing Hate.

Armed with his #ErasingHate vest and a power washer, he drives throughout Montreal eliminating racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, and Islamaphobic symbols and phrases from public spaces such as walls and sidewalks, sharing his good deeds on Instagram along the way, with the support of his tens of thousands of followers.

A key component of the movement he started is to publicly share the location of hateful graffiti so members of the community can remove it. His followers often submit photos, and he shares them along with the graffiti's location, mobilizing people worldwide to swiftly take action to remove it. In many cases, the graffiti is gone in a matter of hours after Fleischer shares it.

These Women Are Working To Recruit More Stem Cell Donors From Black Communities

An effort to recruit stem cell donors within Black communities is being driven by a group of women who’ve had difficulty finding full genetic matches themselves.

For patients in need of stem cell transplants, such as those with leukemia and lymphoma, genetic matches are crucial — and are most commonly found within their own racial and ethnic groups.

The new Black Donors Save Lives campaign notes that fewer than 3 percent of those in the Canadian Blood Services stem cell donor registry are Black.

“That decreases their chance of finding a match,” campaign lead Sylvia Okonofua told CTVNews.ca. “It becomes a numbers game for Black people on the stem cell waiting list, where it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Okonofua, a recent University of Regina biochemistry graduate, has her sights on becoming a hematologist and timed the virtual campaign to kick off during Black History Month. The campaign uses TikToks, shareable infographics, and even an original song on YouTube to reach a wide audience.

“It was ... frustrating to know that a patient from my community is so much less likely than other patients to be helped,” she told CTVNews.ca. “When you see that your people have a really, really low chance of being helped out, it takes you aback.”

She said part of the outreach involves having Black stem cell recipients talk about their experiences with the healthcare system and speak to the historical mistrust the Black community has toward the medical community.

For Dorothy Vernon-Brown, who helped inspire this month’s campaign, the effort is personal. In 2013, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was heartbroken to discover there were no stem cell matches in Canada's registry or internationally.

She ultimately received stem cells from her sister. The latter was a half-match and has been spreading information to Black Canadians ever since, through her advocacy group, Donor Drive for Dorothy.

“Stem cell transplantation is a miracle for patients, and I wish people knew how easy it is to be a stem donor,” she tweeted. “You could give someone an opportunity like my sister gave me, to be around and live the life I want. People want to live, so if that gift is in your hands, I appeal to you to see it as something significant to do in your life.”

There are two types of donation: One is a two-hour surgical procedure, and the other is a process similar to donating plasma. When you sign up for a registry, you generally agree to donate by either method. The patient’s doctor will determine which process is better for the patient.

Alberta Eliminated Fees For Addiction Recovery Programs

Addiction treatment can be costly for many people — fees can be thousands of dollars for inpatient facilities. But the government in Canada’s Alberta province just eliminated fees for people to attend the 72 licensed, publicly funded treatment centers in the province.

The $40 daily cost for room and board will be covered for everyone who does not have health insurance plans that would cover the cost.

“We are contributing to a transformational change in the sector,” associate minister of mental health and addictions, Jason Luan, told the Canadian news organization CBC. “Our major step forward, this milestone, will signal another best practice that we hope will lead the country with our numbers, with our evidence.”

Some families even sell their cars, empty their life savings, or take out second mortgages on their homes to pay for addiction treatment, according to CBC. But this shift makes good economic sense for all. 

Luan said substance use cost Alberta $5.5 billion in 2014: to pay for health services, police, court and corrections costs, and in lost productivity. Every dollar invested in prevention can save another $12 down the road, he said.

Eliminating this barrier to treatment will hopefully encourage people who need help to pursue it. It's a win for the government and for people.

This Woman is Helping Find Missing Indigenous Women in Canada

The number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is a national crisis, but it rarely gets the attention it deserves. 

It's often coined as a silent crisis: In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimate that since 1980, 1200 Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered — a figure that advocacy groups put far higher, at around 4,000.

Gladys Radek is one of the many Indigenous activists who have set out to raise awareness on this issue and spoken out about what needs to be done for these women and girls. She has a personal tie to the cause after her niece went missing in 2005; like the majority of women who disappeared in the area, her niece was an Indigenous woman who vanished without a clue.

To channel her grief into action, Gladys organizes walks across Canada as a human rights activist. She unites families and raises awareness about the ongoing violence against Indigenous women, collecting the names of missing and murdered women and girls along the way.

It's grassroots organizers like Gladys that are making a difference for Indigenous communities. Vicki Chartrand, a sociology professor in Quebec, cites Gladys' movement as vital to the cause. “It is the Indigenous grassroots who are doing the work and who are at the heart of the struggle,” she told Hello Giggles, comparing the work that grassroots organizers do of higher value than any governmental program.

While missing and murdered Indigenous women continue to be a global crisis, it’s worth noting that there are folks like Gladys who are taking the mission into their own hands — and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.

A Canadian University Implemented a Fall Reading Break After Years of Student Campaigning

After years of advocacy from students over concerns about mental health, the University of British Columbia implemented a three-day fall reading break for the first time, from November 10 to 12 last fall.

UBC was one of the few major post-secondary institutions in Canada without such a break, according to the university's Alma Mater Society.

Kin Lo, associate professor at the Sauder School of Business and chair of the UBC senate's academic policy committee, told CBC News there has long been a demand for such a break, primarily for mental health reasons.

“Coursework at an institution like UBC can be demanding,” Lo said. “[A reading break] may be a time to take a break from studying altogether and relax the brain a little bit.”

AMS president Cole Evans said the pressure of the fall semester can take a toll, particularly in November after a period that is heavy with mid-terms and assignments.

“This has been a long time coming,” Evans told CBC News.

The highest traffic for university counseling services has historically occurred in October and November, according to a 2019 report from the AMS.

The break will fall over Remembrance Day, with students getting an additional two weekdays off. UBC made the break possible by shortening the exam period from 16 to 12 days.

Michael Lee, an expert in student mental health and professor at UBC's department of occupational science and therapy, told CBC a fall reading break can improve campus well-being if implemented properly.

Quebec Man Donates Island To Conservation Efforts, Turning Down Money From Developers

When Thor Vikström emigrated from Sweden to Canada in the 1960s, he purchased the small island of Îl Ronde with one goal in mind: to preserve and protect it for generations.

Îl Ronde, considered a rare, ecologically diverse jewel, just so happens to be wedged between two of Quebec’s major urban cities: Montreal and Laval. For decades, developers eager to build highrises, roads, and bridges have pleaded to buy this island.

However, Îl Ronde isn’t just a longstanding home to the Vikström family. Still, it's a safe haven for various species, like map turtles — deemed a “special concern” by the Canadian government — that frequently rest and find undisturbed safety on the island’s natural shores.

“I don’t want money. I want the island to be an island, and I want the life that comes and goes here to have a home,” Vikström told The Washington Post. “No amount of money can ever buy it.”

Now 93 years old, Vikström has decided to donate his seven-acre nature reserve to Nature Conservancy of Canada, a private nonprofit conservation organization he trusts will continue to care for and protect this pristine island.

Together with various other environmental agencies, Nature Conservancy of Canada plans to add Îl Ronde to their preserved-nature park, which will be composed of 4,000 acres of protected forest and farmland.

These stories were excerpted from the Goodnewspaper — Good Good Good’s monthly print newspaper filled with good news. Whether you live in the U.S., Canada, or anywhere else in the world, you can become a subscriber today

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June 20, 2022 12:14 PM
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