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2023 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award Nominees Announced

MusiCounts, Canada’s leading music education charity, is thrilled to announce the nominees for the 2023 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by CST Foundation.

Each year since 2005, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award has recognized and honoured an exceptional Canadian music teacher’s impact both on students at their school and the broader music education profession. MusiCounts is proud to shine a light on the five 2023 Award nominees from across Canada.

Jewel Casselman – Lakewood School, Winnipeg, MB
Susan Evoy – St. Teresa’s Elementary & Waterford Valley High School, St. John’s, NL
Stephen Richardson – École St.Joseph School, Yellowknife, NWT
Kelly Stronach – Mitchell Woods Public School, Guelph, ON
Heidi Wood – Joane Cardinal-Schubert High School, Calgary, AB.

“It is a delight to recognize these five exceptional educators as finalists for the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, presented by CST Foundation,” said Kristy Fletcher, President of MusiCounts. “Educators across the country devote their time, energy, and expertise to keeping the beating heart of a school – the music classroom – alive. Congratulations to this year’s nominees, who represent the highest achievement and dedication in their profession!”.

To date, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award has celebrated the accomplishments of 17 extraordinary music educators across Canada who strive to preserve the livelihood of music education in their school and community. Today, the 2023 Award nominees were revealed at the JUNO Nominee Announcement Presented by Ontario Creates.

“We congratulate this year’s nominees for Teacher of the Year Award and thank them for their commitment and dedication to bringing music and music appreciation to classrooms across the country,” said Sherry J. MacDonald, President and CEO, CST Foundation. “All of the nominees have demonstrated a passion for providing excellence in music education and improving the lives of their students.”

The recipient of the Award will be announced on The 2023 JUNO Awards, broadcast live from Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB on March 13, 2023 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, CBC Listen, and globally at, CBC Music’s Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, a grant for their school through the MusiCounts Band Aid Program, and a JUNO Award statuette.
Images of the 2023 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award nominees are available here.
For additional information on MusiCounts, please visit

About MusiCounts
MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards. MusiCounts’ vision is to ensure that all youth in Canada have access to music education through their schools and communities. This vision is realized through grant programs that invest directly into schools and communities across Canada that put musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most. Additionally, MusiCounts creates educational resources for teachers and students; empowers young people to pursue music as a career; and celebrates teachers, artists, and philanthropists who champion music education.

MusiCounts is funded by many of Canada’s most dedicated individuals, events, and corporate citizens. Since 1997 MusiCounts has awarded over $16,000,000 in support of music education in Canada. These funds have benefitted nearly 1,500 schools and communities, supported over 290 post-secondary music program graduates, and honoured 17 extraordinary music teachers and seven MusiCounts Inspired Mind Ambassadors.

CST Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families access post secondary education. For over 60 years, CST has been delivering on its mission through its advocacy and philanthropy initiatives. CST has helped over 800,000 students achieve their post-secondary dreams. For more information on CST’s mission, visit

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A 29-year-old woman has been charged for posing as a teenager to enroll at a public high school in New Jersey. Hyejeong Shin, a graduate of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, was charged on Jan. 24 with one count of providing a false government document with the intent to verify one’s identity or age, the New Brunswick Police Department stated in a news release on Wednesday. Shin allegedly submitted a fake birth certificate that indicated she was 15 years old to the New Brunswick Board of Education to enroll at New Brunswick High School.

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Where Tech Talent Goes To Thrive

here is a worldwide shortage of digital skills. In a world increasingly reliant on technology, demand for technological skillsets is rising by as much as 50%. Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of today’s workers don’t feel equipped to learn the digital skills needed by businesses.

The most acute shortage is in advanced skills like programming, especially for new technologies like AI and blockchain.

This demand gives skilled tech workers, entrepreneurs, and leaders the pick of where to base themselves. As cities and nations compete to attract tech talent, what makes these prized individuals choose one place over another?.

Initial Attraction
In a survey of ‘tech migrants’, Boston Consulting Group identified a mixture of short-, medium-, and long-term levers businesses and cities could use to attract talent.

The initial attraction is often brute economics: higher pay and lower taxes. That’s certainly what brings people to Dubai, says Vladimir Vrzhovski, Tech and Digital Lead at Mercer: “Dubai pays about 30% higher than most of the mature tech hubs around Europe and Asia.” It also has a lower cost of living, especially when its 0% income tax is taken into account.

Businesses operating in the city’s free zones – like the tech-focused Dubai Internet City (DIC) and Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Innovation Hub – also benefit from 0% corporation tax. BCG credits the incentive with bringing big names like Amazon, Google, and Oracle to the emirate.

It is an echo of London’s rise to tech prominence, offering tax relief on tech investments via its Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to funnel the city’s vast pools of finance towards digital businesses.

The presence of blue-chip names affords another major draw for tech talent: opportunities.

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Adding exercise into treatment may reduce substance use, study shows

One key to fighting addiction may be exercise, according to a new study.

Researchers undertook a review of the existing literature around physical activity and its relationship to substance use, and they found that regular exercise was associated with lowered use in about 75% of the studies investigating that question, according to the analysis.

The review, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at 43 studies with more than 3,000 total participants. In addition to a reduction or cessation in substance use, the studies also found improved markers of physical health and decreased depressive symptoms, the study said.

“People think that during treatment people should only do psychotherapeutic treatments … but that’s not what we’ve seen in our study,” said lead study author Florence Piché, a doctoral student and researcher at Université de Montréal in Canada. “It’s very beneficial to do physical activity in addition to the treatments.”

There are limitations to the findings. The review found that most of the studies the researchers examined had a high risk of bias, meaning more research is needed to confirm their findings, said Dr. Aaron Kandola, research fellow at Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London.

The studies were also not directly comparable enough to build a comprehensive and generalizable understanding of the relationship, Kandola said in an email. Kandola was not part of the research.

However, the findings were still significant and useful, he added.

“Substance use disorders are a major public health problem lacking low-cost, evidence-based solutions,” he said, adding that substance use disorders are worsening in many high-income countries — including the United States.

Finding more accessible solutions to this disorder is especially important because it often occurs with other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, which disproportionately affect people with fewer socioeconomic resources and areas with higher deprivation, he said.

Physical activity may be a useful and accessible part of a treatment plan for substance use disorder, said Dr. Mark Smith, professor of psychology at Davidson College in North Carolina. Smith was not part of the research.

“I think there’s now a sufficient amount of data to indicate that various forms of physical activity and exercise are generally effective at reducing substance use in individuals seeking treatment,” he said.

What exercise does
Most people can benefit from engaging in physical activity, Kandola said.

One benefit the studies found is improvements in physical health such as cardiovascular endurance or muscle strength, Smith said. And although that may not be the primary goal of the research, he said this finding is important because it shows the physical activity is doing its job to promote physical health.

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Blood sugar drug tirzepatide also leads to substantial weight loss in diabetes patients, Eli Lilly says

There’s more evidence that the injectable drug tirzepatide helps people with diabetes lose weight as well as control their blood sugar, according to the drug’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company.

In a new study, more than 900 adults with obesity and diabetes took the drug for a year and five months, and those on the highest dose lost an average of 34 pounds, or nearly 16% of their starting weight. It also helped people reduce their blood sugar, the company said in a news release. The data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal.

“We have not hit 15% in any other phase three trial for weight management in this type two diabetes population,” said Dr. Nadia Ahmad, an associate vice president at Eli Lilly and medical director of obesity clinical development for the company.

Ahmad said the company was pleased with these results, given how hard it is for people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight.

Tirzepatide is currently sold as Mounjaro and approved to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar.

Lilly says it will use the new study, along with results from an earlier study of weight loss in people without diabetes, to ask the US Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approval for tirzepatide purely for weight loss, which would make it a direct competitor to the blockbuster obesity drug Wegovy.

Plenty of people aren’t waiting for the FDA’s nod.

“I am aware of and I’ve heard, you know, it being sort of used off label for weight loss and individuals who do not have diabetes,” said Dr. Kimberly Gudzune, medical director of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Gudzune was not involved in the tirzepatide study.

Gudzune points out that once a drug is FDA approved it can be prescribed for any reason a doctor sees as medically necessary.

Tirzepatide, along with several similar types of drugs taken for diabetes, went into shortage last year as success stories posted on social media fueled runaway demand for their weight loss benefits. The shortages made the medications difficult for patients with diabetes to get.

Tirzepatide works by mimicking the action of two different gut hormones. When blood sugar rises after eating, the drug stimulates the body to produce more insulin, which lowers blood sugar. It also slows down the movement of food from the stomach, making people feel fuller for longer. In clinical trials, people who took tirzepatide experienced more nausea, vomiting and diarrhea compared with those who took a placebo injection.

Semaglutide, manufactured by Novo Nordisk, has also been approved as a weight loss medication for overweight adults with at least one associated health problem since 2021. When prescribed for weight loss, it is sold under the brand name Wegovy. When prescribed for diabetes, the injection is sold under the brand name Ozempic.

High demand, coupled with manufacturing problems, threw Wegovy into shortage for much of the last year. That shortage then rippled into shortages for diabetes patients as doctors began prescribing other diabetes medications off-label for weight loss.

There has already been a lot of buzz about tirzepatide’s potential as an obesity medication. In a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, people who were overweight or obese, but did not have diabetes, lost an average of 52 pounds on the highest dose of the drug, or more than 20% of their starting weight.

“In the last year has been really exciting just to have more tools in the toolbox, so to speak. And tools that, you know, we’re seeing really achieving outcomes that patients for the longest time have been hoping to achieve,” Gudzune said.

If those results hold up in the real world, that would make it the most potent of the injectable weight loss medications.

Indeed, this week Lilly aims to begin a study that will test Mounjaro against Wegovy head-to-head in 700 participants at 61 sites in the United States and Canada, according to The study will conclude in February 2025.

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