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Shoppers-branded Botox clinics launch in Oakville, Ont.

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Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, January 10, 2019 5:14PM EST

TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart takes its most aggressive step into the beauty business this weekend with its first stand-alone clinic to offer Botox injections, fillers, laser treatments and medical-grade peels.

But while the Beauty Clinic by Shoppers Drug Mart is being touted as “a natural extension” of the drugstore chain’s moves into the cosmetics space, some wary observers fear it further commodifies medical procedures increasingly regarded as casual touch-ups that don’t require the expertise of a physician or surgeon.

The inaugural shop opens Saturday in Oakville, Ont., just west of Toronto, after a soft opening Dec. 22 that saw a steady stream of customers come through the sparsely furnished, three-bay clinic, says Sarah Draper, senior director of healthcare partnerships & innovation.

“This is really what our customers have been asking for,” says Draper.

“We’re kind of a trusted expert in the space and are positioned pretty well, I think, to offer enhanced beauty services in a setting that’s comfortable and convenient for people.”

Tucked into the corner of a suburban strip mall, the nearly all-white colour scheme, minimalist decor and serene atmosphere evoke a spa-like retreat.

A “concierge” greets arrivals and confirms appointments in the entryway, where a bank of medical-grade beauty products covers one wall. Visitors are ushered into a tucked-away waiting area, where cushioned seats, tablets and sleek wood privacy screens offer a quiet space to fill out paperwork.

Draper says one of three nurse practitioners then conducts one-on-one consultations with each client and takes “an in-depth medical history” to determine a treatment regimen.

“Our nurse practitioners all have medical esthetics certification and over a decade experience in nursing,” she says, noting their higher medical classification gives them authority to prescribe and administer injectables.

A medical esthetician handles lasers, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion.

The Loblaw-owned chain says procedures and training were developed in consultation with doctors who provide ongoing advice, but physicians are not onsite.

That’s what bothers Dr. Michael Brandt, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Toronto who wonders about quality and whether staff are able to adequately respond to medical emergencies.

“You wouldn’t sign up for surgery at a grocery store,” says Brandt, noting that while there are many excellent providers in the field, the lucrative industry has also attracted less qualified practitioners.

“All medical procedures have indications, contra-indications, alternatives and limits as to what each of those procedures can provide and with each of these procedures you need to go through a very careful assessment of the patient and then make an accurate diagnosis. None of this is cookie-cutter.”

And while nurse practitioners have the authority to conduct these beauty treatments, Brandt questioned whether all of them should.

“Just because a professional has the authority to perform a procedure does not automatically mean it is appropriate to do so,” he says, noting there are nonetheless very qualified nurse practitioners in esthetics. “Is it appropriate for a nurse practitioner to be performing surgery? They might have the capacity to do it, they might be allowed as a delegated act to do it, but most people would choose to have a surgeon perform their surgery.”

Brandt warned that if improperly applied, lasers carry the risk of severe burns, scarring and discolourations. If a filler is injected into a blood vessel, it can cause an occlusion of that vessel, killing anything it supplies.

Still, there’s no denying that growing public interest has ignited a specialized industry previously the domain of dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Milica Duran, a co-ordinator for the esthetician program at Centennial College in Toronto, calls it “the fastest growing industry in the world.”

“Our numbers and the interest has been skyrocketing,” she says of the school’s programs, which includes a special one for nurses entering the field.

Job openings, too, are growing: “Now we have more placement sites than students.”

She credits that to advertisements, youth-obsessed images on social media, and the aging population.

“We have our baby boomers, we have more money here happening, more social media, more awareness, more education,” says Duran. “This is why so many nurses want to go into the field — there are so many doctors’ offices that cannot find qualified staff.”

Oakville esthetician Cynthia Webb notes that while some dermatologists and surgeons do their own injections, most delegate to a nurse, such as herself.

She works for a Toronto plastic surgeon and conducts treatments in that clinic, as well as in her own clinic. She can’t help but wonder whether the retail giant will erode business for independent operations like hers.

She notes that many patient decisions are driven by cost, and that’s what can get them into trouble.

“When they call, the first thing they’ll ask is: ‘How much is a unit of Botox?’ Well, you’re not paying for the Botox or the neuromodulator or the filler. You’re paying for the experience of the practitioner,” says Webb, a registered nurse who sends all her patients to a doctor for consults and follow-ups.

Shoppers Drug Mart customers can earn PC Optimum points on a variety of services, and Botox injections start at $10 per unit.

Draper says prices are “in line with the market” and that the goal is not to be more competitive than the little guy.

“For us, this is really about providing the service that our customers want in a trusted and convenient space and improving on the beauty offering that we have at the table.”

Duran isn’t surprised Shoppers has entered the fray and guesses they will expand rapidly beyond the Oakville pilot and a Toronto location set to open later this year.

“We’ve come so far with lasers, chemical peels and this is all very lucrative,” she says. “All plastic surgeons, all dermatologists have either nurses or medical estheticians working for them, even GPs as well. Everyone’s in on it.”

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Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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