Valued spring ritual: More than 200 employees of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada taking part in annual volunteer effort



    Community Partnership Day benefits 13 local organizations

    DORVAL, QC, May 1 /CNW Telbec/ - It's a spring ritual that's valued by
the community and by the employees of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. who
take part in it. The company's annual Community Partnership Day is being held
today with more than 200 of the Dorval-based employees taking a day away from
the office to offer their services at 13 local community organizations.
    "It's fantastic to see a company such as Novartis offering the services
of its employees to the community like this," said Paul Bissonnette, executive
director of Volunteer West Island, the community volunteer coordinating agency
which helps Novartis plan the day by matching employees to needs in the
community. "A lot can and does get accomplished when we can put such
enthusiastic people to work for the community."
    Employees will be doing a variety of valuable jobs such as sorting food
and clothing, preparing meals, cleaning and painting for organizations such as
Harvest Montreal, Share the Warmth, the West Island Palliative Care Residence,
the Omega Centre, the Teapot 50-Plus Centre, West Island Women's Shelter,
Centre Multi-ressources de Lachine, the West Island Assistance Fund, Welcome
Hall Mission, the Carrefour d'Entraide de Lachine and the Centre d'hébergement
de Dorval. Organizations being helped by the day for the first time this year
are the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped and the new
West Island Cancer Wellness Centre.
    "We appreciate the Novartis employees a lot," said Kim Cairnduff,
director of the West Island Women's Shelter where a team from Novartis will
spend the day cleaning all the windows of the large home that offers valued
shelter from conjugal violence to women and children, along with other
supportive services. "The Novartis team is very faithful and enthusiastic and
we count on them to come and do that part of our spring cleaning," she added.
"Volunteers are crucial to us."
    Novartis employees will also be holding a fundraising car wash on the
grounds of the company headquarters in Dorval. This year, the money raised
will go to the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre.
    The benefits of the employees' efforts do not all flow one way. "It's
good to get outside and help others," said Chantal Koot, an administrative
assistant with the oncology team at Novartis who is the team leader for
approximately 15 employees who will spend the day washing windows and doing
other outdoor work at the West Island Palliative Care Residence in Kirkland.
"It's a great way to give back to the community," she said.
    "I'm very proud of the enthusiastic way our employees continue to embrace
Community Partnership Day," said David Meek, president of Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Canada. "Beyond our business of discovering and developing
innovative medicines, this day allows us to help more people very directly and
in our own community."
    Community Partnership Days are held by Novartis at its facilities around
the world as part of its commitment to improving people's lives. Another major
part of the Novartis global philanthropy effort is its programs to get
medicines for diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, tuberculosis and leprosy
to patients who need them. In 2007, these programs helped 66 million patients
worldwide.
    In Canada, Novartis contributes to a wide range of charities, patient
groups and community organization, with investments of over $9 million in
grants and donations in 2008. Along with Community Partnership Day, Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Canada employees are also keen participants each year in the
"Run for the Cure" for breast cancer research, including a "Ride for the
Cure," a four-day fundraising bicycle journey from Toronto to Montreal.

    About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.

    Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field,
is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative
products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2008, the Company
invested over $96 million in research and development. Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs approximately 800 people in Canada and its
headquarters are located in Dorval, Quebec. It was named again one of the "50
Best Employers in Canada" for 2009. For further information, please consult
www.novartis.ca.

    About Novartis

    Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs
of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a
diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines,
cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and
consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions
in these areas. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies
employ approximately 98,000 full-time associates and operate in over 140
countries around the world. For more information, please visit
http://www.novartis.com.




For further information:

For further information: Silvie Letendre, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Canada Inc., Cell. (514) 449-7872, silvie.letendre@novartis.com


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