Friday, July 25, 2008

Set up a corporate whistleblower program

Say “whistleblower” to some execs and the reaction your likely to get is one of fear and loathing. It shouldn’t be that way. Whistleblowers can help keep your company out of trouble by catching fraud and corruption – things harmful to your company’s reputation and bottom line over the long haul – early on. But many companies do not have a whistleblowing program in place.
Earlier this month, the International Chamber of Commerce, a free trade organization founded in Paris in 1919, issued a set of comprehensive whistleblowing guidelines for anyone to use.

“Fraud remains one of the most problematic issues for business worldwide, no matter the country of operation, industry sector, or size,” Francois Vincke, Chair of ICC’s Anti-Corruption Commission, said in a statement on the organization’s website. “While whistleblowing programs are a highly effective way to flag fraud early on, many companies do not have these schemes in place due to cultural or legal differences. ICC’s guide is the first set of practical tools that takes these factors into account, no matter the jurisdiction.”

The website also noted a 2007 KPMG study fond that “25 percent of the incidents of fraud uncovered among 360 incidents analyzed came to light thanks to a whistleblowing system put into place by companies.”
The ICC recommends an eight-step plan for implementing a whistleblowing program that protects your company and your employees:

  1. Create a whistleblowing program as part of internal integrity practices
  2. Handle reports early on, in full confidentiality
  3. Appoint a high-level executive to manage the whistleblowing unit
  4. Communicate in as many languages as there are countries of operation
  5. Abide by external legal restrictions
  6. Allow reporting to be anonymous or disclosed, compulsory or voluntary
  7. Acknowledge, record and screen all reports
  8. Enable employees to report incidents without fear of retaliation, discrimination, or disciplinary action

For more, see the ICC Guidelines on Whistleblowing. Thanks to EthicsWorld for bringing this to our attention.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

topical survey of issues

Threats to our way of life

Article By: Elizabeth Rogers

Food crises, water shortages, pandemics and other disasters -- what do they mean for our future? More news from ideaCity 2008.

It seems the daily news is a maelstrom of new research and innovation mixed with dire warnings against impending crises. It's confusing at best, and alarming at times. Are things getting better, or are they getting worse? Can we find reasons to be happy (and hopeful) in the face of such threats as food prices spiralling out of control, water running out and pandemic illnesses potentially wiping out part of our population

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Canadian Rant -

Canadian Rant.... I AM CANADIAN

I am in the minority in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and every casino in this country. I was born in the sixties, yet I am somehow responsible for some First Nations people being screwed out of their land in the 1700's! I pay import tax on cars made in Ontario. I am allowed to skydive and smoke, but not allowed to drive without a seat belt. All the money I make until mid July must go to paying taxes. I live and work among people who believe Americans are Ignorant.... These same people cannot name this country's new territory.

On April 1st, 1999, the map of Canada changed for the first time in 50 years with the creation of Nunavut Territory. The Northwest Territories was split and approximately 2 million square kilometres of the central and eastern arctic became 'Nunavut'. Although I am sometimes forced to live on hamburgers and don't have a pot to piss in, I sleep well knowing that my taxes helped purchase a nice six figure home in Vancouver for some unskilled refugee. Although they are unpatriotic and constantly try to separate...Quebec still provides most of my nation's prime ministers.95% of my nation's international conflicts are over fish.I'm supposed to call black people African Canadians, although I'm sure none of them have ever been to Africa for that matter.

I am being told that paying a 200% tax on alcohol is fair. I am also being told that the same tax on gasoline is also fair.

Even if I have no idea what happened to that old rifle my Grandfather gave me when I was 14, I will be considered a criminal if I don't register it. I am being told that spending $15 billion to promote the French language in the rest of Canada is fair when the province of Quebec doesn't support or recognize the English language.

I am being told that paying $1million for 3 Stripes ("The Voice of Fire painting in Ottawa) by the National Art Gallery was a good purchase, even though 99% of this country didn't want it or will ever see it.

When I look at my pension and realize that I take home a third of what I actually make, I say "Oh well, at least we have better health care than the Americans."I must bail out farmers when their crops are too wet or too dry because I control the rain.I must bail out big corporations who drive their business into the ground and say yeah that's ok when they move all their manufacturing plants and jobs to a third world country and say no problem.

My National Anthem has versions in both official languages. Canada is the highest taxed nation in North America, the biggest military buffer for the United States, and the number one destination for fleeing terrorists.

I am not an angry white male. I am an angry taxpayer who is broke. I am Canadian !!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

how to avoid a retirement home

How to Avoid the Nursing Home

As my aunt hits her mid-eighties, she has no intention of moving from the house she and my uncle bought when he came home from World War II. She's far from alone in this wish, as an AARP poll indicates that nine out of 10 older Americans prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, rather than go to an assisted living or nursing facility -- and really, who could argue? As our nation's demographic shifts upward, we need to develop more effective, affordable and widely accessible programs and services that enable older people to remain safely and comfortably at home.
I read recently about Beacon Hill Village -- which is known as an "intentional aging-in-place" organization helping people in Central Boston spend their later years at home. Local residents determined to stay in familiar surroundings with friends and family nearby created and funded a nonprofit organization that works like a virtual retirement community. Members pay an annual fee ($580 for individuals, $850 for households) for regular services such as food shopping, drivers to take them where they need to go, and a schedule of outings, exercise classes and lectures. Additional services such as home repair and in-home care are also available for an extra fee as needed. Vendors are carefully screened and discounts are negotiated for members.
This is a growing trend, with more than 100 aging-in-place communities established and more in the works. The first ones grew from grass roots efforts spearheaded by residents, and now government and social service agencies are getting involved as well. Peter Notarstefano, director of Home and Community Based Services at the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), told me that setting up these organizations can be a lot of work, but those who do so find the rewards well worth the effort.
Money, for funding an organization as well as paying individual fees, is the biggest barrier to establishing aging-in-place communities, and indeed most of the existing ones are in affluent areas populated by well-educated and well-connected professionals. However, some government and social service agencies are beginning to step up and share funds and expertise. United Jewish Communities, a national nonprofit, has used federal grant money to develop 45 "Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities" (NORCs: as demonstration projects in neighborhoods or buildings where many older people live, including those who lack the means to join fee-based ones. These programs can take advantage of existing services like Meals on Wheels, and fitness classes and outings sponsored by local organizations such as senior centers and YMCAs. Then they focus on filling in identified gaps, such as providing affordable housing for those who can no longer physically or financially manage a large house but want to remain in their community... funding physical adjustments such as ramps and handrails to support mobility challenges... and providing supportive services, such as case managers.
These are steps in the right direction but the government is not focusing on solving the core problems that would reduce costs in the long-term. Notarstefano calls the government policy on spending for the elderly "short-sighted," pointing out, for example, that Medicare won't pay for fall-preventing safety measures such as inexpensive grab bars in the bathroom, but will readily pay doctor and hospital bills resulting from a fall. Medicaid picks up most of the bills for nursing home care, which costs on average $77,745 a year, according to AAHSA. Notarstefano's conclusion: Funding and coordinating more services to enable people to stay safely in their own homes is not only kinder and gentler, in the long run, it's more cost-effective.
Given that there is no effective oversight of medical practices, billing or program mandates, elders are on their own when it comes to seeking non-medical industry services. Whether aging in place is a goal you want to pursue on your own -- or with like-minded members of your community -- there are many resources and organizations to tap into...
AARP ( This leading nonprofit offers a wealth of resources for aging in place. For example, there's a list of Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS), contractors who are specially trained in making home modifications for older people. Click on to find CAPS in your area.
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging ( The 5,700 member organizations of this not-for-profit offer adult day services, home health care, community services, as well as senior housing, assisted living residences, continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes and more.
The Eldercare Locator ( This national service connects older people to resources -- such as local agencies and community-based agencies that serve seniors and their caregivers -- that help them live independently in their own communities. It is administered in part by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
The National Aging In Place Council ( NAIPC draws together experts from all areas of expertise -- including aging, health care, financial services, legal, design and building sectors -- to help make independent living possible. Click on "A Guide to Aging in Place" for a wide range of practical and helpful tips, from promoting independence to understanding your risks.