Home Economics: a Winner in Challenging Times

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?

Pick up any newspaper and read about daily challenges. Canadian household debt is huge while food and housing security is an issue for some people. For others, food allergies, obesity and difficult relationships are issues of the day. Life’s challenges are diversified and complex.

Time and resource management are problematic. Preparing quick and healthy meals, shopping smart, reading labels, budgeting, getting adequate fiber but not too much sodium, coping with food intolerances, practicing safe food habits, recycling and staying fit are hurdles for many people. Others struggle to care for aging relatives or to save money for retirement.

Professional Home Economists have the skills and knowledge to help people deal with the logistics of home and family life.

Home Economics is a winning discipline. It’s all about life!

Called Family Studies in Ontario high schools, courses include smart living skills, care and concern for others. Additional and newly released Family Studies courses await Ministry of Education implementation. Soon, students will have even more Family Studies course options to choose from including – fashion and housing design, food and its relationship to health and culture.

The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook (Whitecap) was a winner in 2012! Authored by 58 professional home economists and university nutrition students, the book quickly became a national best-seller. With the same winning spirit, OHEA supports professional home economists in their on-going role to help people clear the hurdles to a desirable quality of life.

Delegates to the OHEA Conference will refresh their thinking amid motivational speakers, topical experts, idea sharing, exhibits and collaboration with colleagues.

Funny-girl, TV personality, cookbook author, quinoa expert and professional home economist Mairlyn Smith, is Conference Chair and Emcee – alone worth the price of registration.

But wait! Conference registration also includes a downloadable walking tour of Toronto’s trendy Leslieville area and admission to the Textile Museum – how cool is that?

Keynote SpeakerPerdita Felicien – Olympian & World Champion Hurdler kicks-off the day.

More Conference Presenters:

  • Ellen Pruden, BEd – Manitoba Canola Growers – Find Your ‘Be Well’ Lifestyle
  • Dr. Alison Novak, PhD – Successful Aging at Home
  • Dr. Joey Shulman, DC – The Metabolism Boosting Diet
  • Jason Chennette, PR Strategist – Marketing Your Strengths in a Crowd
  • Allison Jorgens, P.H.Ec. – Protect Yourself from Misleading Food Labels
  • Deb Campbell, P.H.Ec. – Food Security in Rural Ontario
  • Carol T. Culhane, MBA, P.H.Ec. – Glorifying the Human Colon
  • Karen Brunger, BHEc – Recognize Potential with a Winning Image

Home Economists know the importance of laughter. Second City Alumnus Babes, Maggie Butterfield and Carolyn Scott, will join Mairlyn Smith to wrap up the conference with serious fun!

Winners of a Student Media Release Competition and Cupcake Contest will be announced, and a silent auction/raffle and a special conference cookbook nook are popular stops for shoppers.

On-site culinary knife sharpening by Sharp My Knife is available with a reservation: http://www.ohea.on.ca/uploads/1/2/6/0/12605917/knife_sharpening_registration_postcard.pdf

Conference sponsors include Manitoba Canola Growers, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Janes® Family Foods, Ontario Pork, Woolwich Dairy Inc., Bernardin and enerjive™.

More conference information and registration details are available at: www.ohea.ca.


Mary Carver, P.H.Ec., is an Ottawa-based Professional Home Economist and member of the Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulated body of Professional Home Economists that promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.