April 2015

Health & Safety

 International Day of Mourning: Number of workplace deaths on the rise in Canada

 Last Thursday William Cerqueira fell to his death while working on a construction site in downtown Toronto. He fell from the 17th floor of a building on busy Adelaide Street, just west of Bay Street, while trying to strip a piece of plywood.

 This tragedy will be repeated more than 1,000 times this year.

 On April 28, the Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job, workers across the country will mourn for William Cerquiera and thousands of other workers that have been killed or injured on the job.

 Canada’s public safety minister tells VPD its officers are expected to act against marijuana disputes

 An April 28 letter co-signed signed by Steven Blaney and Health Minister Rona Ambrose emphasizes the storefront sale of cannabis is illegal and warns Vancouver not to go ahead with a proposed legal framework for the industry.

 “We are deeply concerned about upcoming council discussions on a proposal to ‘regulate’ illegal drug dispensaries,” it reads. “Storefront sales of marijuana legitimize and normalize the use of marijuana and can have only one effect: increasing marijuana use addiction,” it continues.

 Government, union create task force to improve mental health in federal workplaces

 The government of Canada and the union representing its employees have announced they will work together on their commitment to improving psychological health and safety in the federal workplace.

 "Mental health issues have long been important to me," said Tony Clement, president of the Treasury Board. "I am prepared to work with all bargaining agents, as we take this step in improving how we deal with mental health challenges in our workplaces, and reducing the stigma that is often attached to mental illness."

 CHEO urging patients to learn about vaccinations

 A new CHEO campaign and website is urging parents to learn about the importance and benefits of vaccinations in hopes to help increase Canada's low vaccination rates.

 Spread Facts Not Infections, launched Wednesday as a part of National Immunization Week, is CHEO's answer to Canada's growing anti-vaccination movement -- a movement CHEO doesn't support.

 It’s time to ensure medications are safe for children in Canada

 Last week, Health Canada announced that medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will now have to carry a warning, alerting consumers to the fact they may lead to an increased suicide risk.

 Alarming, to say the least, considering that this class of drugs – which includes Ritalin, Adderall and Biphentin – are taken widely by young people across the country. (Statistics Canada reports that from 2007 to 2011, about 6 per cent of males and 2.5 per cent of females between the ages of 6 and 14 took medications to treat ADHD.)

 Young workers keeping quiet about hazardous working conditions: Study

 The research found about one-third of young workers — as young as 15 — have experienced at least one job-related injury in the last month while working part-time. Furthermore, young workers are not likely to know how to respond when faced with hazardous work situations.

 The study authors, Nick Turner professor at University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business, Sean Turner of the University of Regina and Kevin Kelloway of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, examined the self-reported frequency of non-lost work time injuries, or "micro-accidents," over a four-week period. They sampled more than 19,000 young workers in Canada.

Human Resources

 Canada’s compassionate care benefits needs a rethink

 Under the theme of helping families make ends meet, the 2015 federal budget announced that the Compassionate Care Benefit is to be extended, effective January, 2016, going from six weeks to six months. The basic aim of this benefit, introduced in 2004, is to better support Canadians caring for a gravely ill family member. An eligible person will be able to receive up to $13,624 from this extended benefit. The benefit, which is treated as taxable income, can be shared with other family members but each family member must be eligible for the benefit.

 Finance Canada estimates the budgetary cost will be $9-million in 2015-16 and thereafter cost up to $37-million a year.

 People questions? Data has the answers

 Almost all leaders say their most important asset is their people, but when seeking counsel on strategic direction, they go to finance and marketing – the data-driven bastions of any organization. But today, with the increasing use of data analytics everywhere, leaders in outperforming organizations are looking more to their chief human resources officers to have a direct effect on business performance.

 They know that as work force challenges become more complex, they need fact-based insights – not intuition – to address difficult people-related questions that are central to success. The power of work force analytics is its ability to challenge conventional wisdom, influence behaviour, and enable HR and business leaders to make smarter work force decisions that are good for business.

 When is it “reasonable” to request ‘more’ medical information?

 The adjudicator improperly distinguished Re Thompson General Hospital, which stands for the proposition that in certain circumstances, employers may demand further medical information of employees before allowing them to return to work after being on sick leave. Considering the factual circumstances, it was reasonable for the respondent, who has an obligation to ensure the safety of its employees, to request further medical information from the appellant upon his return. The two-line doctor's note that the appellant provided did not contain enough information for the respondent to satisfactorily conclude that the appellant may safely return to work.

 In a recent decision the Federal Court of Appeal says that it is "reasonable" to request more or better medical information when the circumstances warrant that request. Here's our comment on this case. As always, it is worth reading the full decision for additional nuance and guidance and you can do so by clicking on the above link.

 Big data trend now being applied to managing human resources

 A growing number of human resources executives are starting to dig deep into computerized statistical data on employees, to make decisions regarding salaries, promotions, and even benefit programs.

 It's a trend that excites some and worries others.

 Andrew Martin, who oversees human resources at the Joey chain of restaurants, which operates 30 locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Washington State, believes the use of so-called "people analytics" is great for companies and for employees.

 How one international company maintains a 3% turnover rate

 At a time when most companies are struggling to hold onto staff, 3M Canada boasts a 3% annual turnover rate. The organisation’s strategy is ‘build, develop, and engage’, and is designed to offer development options based on where employees are in their career.

 “We promote having individual development plans,” said 3M’s Human Resources Director, Janette Batten. “We want to track your progress, measure it, and make sure you’re moving the needle.”   


 Drug shortages complex global problem, pressure on Canada’s health system as  a whole

 Everyone agrees that we all have a right to understand the facts about our health care and to feel confident in the safety of the drugs we’re prescribed.  

 Our government is particularly proud of the passage of Vanessa’s Law in late 2014. Vanessa’s Law represents the most profound and important changes to the Food and Drugs Act in more than 50 years. With this law, the government will have the ability to recall unsafe products and courts will be able to impose tough new penalties for unsafe health products, including jail time and new fines of up to $5-million per day.

 Nurses in First Nations outposts lack required training: audit

 Many nurses working in remote First Nations communities lack the required training in advanced medical techniques and procedures, an auditor general’s probe has found.

 Working far from advanced medical facilities, nurses in these communities often face emergency situations that demand skills beyond their nursing training.

 But when auditors reviewed a sample of records, they found only one of 45 nurses had completed the required five mandatory training courses.

 Measles vaccine patch could eliminate needles, save thousands of kids annually

 While antivaxxer-related outbreaks keep happening in places like North America once deemed measles-free, the disease was never eradicated in developing countries where it still kills 400 children every single day. But a "game-changer" solution is coming that could save their lives.

 Unlike parents here who refuse vaccines due to religious beliefs or misinformation, many who live in remote areas don't even have the opportunity to vaccinate their children due to a lack of medical resources.

 Budget will see tough decisions in health care

 Ontario’s number of hospital beds per capita is among the lowest, not only in Canada but across the developed world.

 The province makes no apologies for this. In fact, downsizing hospitals and diverting resources to home-, community- and long-term care — all cheaper alternatives — is central to the government’s strategy to transform the health system.

 But selling the idea to the public is another matter.

 Why this U.S. doctor is moving to Canada

 I’m a U.S. family physician who has decided to relocate to Canada. The hassles of working in the dysfunctional health care “system” in the U.S. have simply become too intense.

 I’m not alone. According to a physician recruiter in Windsor, Ont., over the past decade more than 100 U.S. doctors have relocated to her city alone. More generally, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that Canada has been gaining more physicians from international migration than it’s been losing.

 Canada’s best jobs 2015: Health & Community Service Manager

 This category, defined by Employment and Social Development Canada as covering health, education, social and community services, can include high-level leadership in fields from parks and rec to employment support to public health. With only 6,200 positions at this level, it requires a high degree of seniority and responsibility.