January 2014

Health & Safety

Canadian network to produce a top 10 list of new and emerging health technologies in Canada

Of the countless innovative technologies emerging on the health care horizon, which ones truly hold the greatest promise of improving the lives of patients and the Canadian health care systems? It's a challenging question confronting today's health care decision-makers, and one that inspired the creation of the Canadian Network for Environmental Scanning in Health (CNESH). CNESH is now inviting the community at large to help it find the answers.

Health Canada urges doctors to inoculate patients against H1N1 flu virus, but Alberta expects to run out of flu vaccine by Friday

Four years after “swine flu” gripped the nation, federal health officials are urging doctors to use “every opportunity” to vaccinate people at high risk of flu as H1N1 resurfaces as this season’s dominant flu strain.

But the hard part will be persuading people to be inoculated. Not even past threats of a full-blown pandemic have been enough to convince the majority of Canadians to get a flu shot.

New $7.5 million fund to advance BC’s research into Alzheimer’s Disease

British Columbian researchers got a boost today with the announcement of a new $7.5 million fund to seek solutions to Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, a global public health priority that currently affects up to 70,000 people in the province.

Five teams of leading-edge researchers will receive $1.5 million, three-year grants from the new British Columbia Alzheimer's Research Award program. The awards will seek discovery of causes of and innovative treatments for this disease and were created by a new partnership of national and provincial funding agencies.

Think global: CAMH partners with international agencies to improve mental health in lower income countries

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), with funding from Grand Challenges Canada, is partnering with international agencies to help improve global mental health.

Each partnership has a common theme of building on innovative approaches and aiming for sustainable, scalable change. Yet the three projects are diverse - they will introduce mental health literacy in the school curriculum in Nicaragua, harness the success of entrepreneurs dedicated to social change, and make patients and families the core of efforts to support anti-stigmatizing hospital treatment in India.

What’s all the smoke about electronic cigarettes?

Mike Mulligan said his electronic cigarette business has the potential for a lot of growth in the next few years, if it isn't shut down by Health Canada first.

“E-cigarette products, including e-liquids, that contain any amount of nicotine or have a health claim, fall within the scope of the Food and Drugs Act, and require approval by Health Canada before they can be imported, advertised or sold in Canada,” said Blossom Leung, a Health Canada spokesperson, in an email to Northern Life. “To date, no such products have been approved.”

Human Resources

Ottawa’s crackdown on temporary foreign workers “bad policy”, says critic

Tough new regulations aimed at quelling fears that foreigners are snatching jobs from Canadians kicked in on Tuesday, empowering government officials to conduct workplace inspections without warrants and to blacklist employers who break the rules.

The regulations also allow government officials to interview foreign workers about their working conditions and to demand documentation from employers proving they have complied with the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Workplace rules on medical marijuana not consistent among Canadian Federal Agencies

A survey of federal agencies and departments with a connection to public safety has found no consistent policies regarding employees who use medical marijuana.

The issue made national headlines last month when a Mountie in New Brunswick publicly complained about not being able to smoke medical marijuana while in uniform. The force subsequently stripped Cpl. Ron Francis, who says he uses medical marijuana to help him with post-traumatic stress disorder, of his red serge.

Government puts the chill on EI rates, but premiums still hiked for some in 2014

The federal government says it’s freezing Employment Insurance premiums, and generally keeping taxes low.

But the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation says the EI “rate freeze” will actually mean that premiums will go up slightly for some.

In its annual New Year’s Tax Changes report, the federation calculates that maximum employee EI rates will go up by $23 in 2014 to $914.

It says maximum EI premiums paid by employers will also rise by $31 to $1,279.

Overall, EI premium rates will remain at 2013 levels, at $1.88 per $100 of insurable earnings.

Canada loses nearly 46,000 jobs in December

Canada lost 45,900 jobs in December, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points to 7.2 per cent as more people looked for work.

The monthly loss means Canada's economy only added 102,000 jobs for all of 2013, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The poor showing surprised economists, a consensus of whom polled by Bloomberg were expecting a small gain of about 14,000 jobs during the month.

Collecting and disclosing personal information – Are you at Risk?

Employers collect and store an enormous amount of data about their employees. This information is often required in order to properly process payroll and administer benefit programs. Any information about an identifiable individual is considered "personal information," namely, name, SIN, age, sex, marital status, address, phone number, medical information, performance data, etc. and may have privacy rights attached to it.


Nova Scotia faces shortage of healthcare workers

Nova Scotia's new health minister is being warned the province could face alarming shortages across a range of professions in the health-care system as workers approach retirement, which includes a shortage of 800 nurses within five years.

The warning is contained in ministerial briefing notes prepared soon after the Liberals took power on October 22nd. The notes were obtained by the Canadian Press through the province's freedom of information legislation.

Health robotics reports 221 net new contracts in 2013 (232% of 2012’s sales bookings), with 51 units in Q4

Health Robotics today reported FY2013 new sales of 69 Robots [20 for Oncology, and 49 for non-hazardous IVs and TPNs] or 177% of FY2012 Robot Sales Units, plus 152 i.v.SOFT workflow software contracts or 217% of FY2012 i.v.SOFT Sales Units. Revenue Bookings rocketed to 232% of FY2012, making 2013 yet another record year for the undisputed global Sterile (IV) Compounding Automation leader.

For 4Q2013, Health Robotics reported 51 net new installations under contract, including 18 I.V. Robots (2 for Chemotherapy, and 16 for non-hazardous IVs and TPNs) and 33 i.v.SOFT workflow software agreements, now reaching 530 worldwide installations.

Stayhealthy receives license from Health Canada for Stayhealthy© HealthCENTER KioskTM models 650 and 650-C

Stayhealthy, Inc., an innovative, privately-owned health solutions company in health and fitness measurement, recently received medical license to sell from Health Canada’s Medical Devices Bureau for the Stayhealthy® HealthCENTER Kiosk™ Models 650 and 650-C, its FDA-cleared, self-serve health kiosk which offers clinical-grade health screenings.

5 occupations in high demand amid Canada’s surprising job losses

If you’re feeling nervous about your career in the wake of Canada’s unexpected unemployment rate increase and surprising loss of 45,900 jobs in December, fear not.

Here are five occupations in which there won’t be enough job applicants to meet demand in the next seven years, according to trends in labour supply and demand in Canada. Out of the top 5 occupations, the health care industry tops the first 3.

Canada finds additional half-million flu shots it could buy; could still run out

Canada has identified an additional half-million flu shots it could purchase to try to meet a soaring late-season demand for the product.

However the deputy head of the Public Health Agency of Canada admits the country may still run out of vaccine, if people in Central and Eastern Canada follow the lead of Western Canadians and rush to get flu shots.

The unexpected surge has caught health officials across the country off guard, coming at a time when vaccine clinics would normally be winding down. With manufacturers now busy producing flu shots for the upcoming Southern Hemisphere winter, there is limited additional supply to buy.

Product Recalls and Advisories

Jevtana (cabazitaxel) - Potential for Medication Errors During Preparation Leading to Overdose - For Health Professionals

Sublinox (zolpidem tartrate) - New Dosage Recommendations to Minimize Risk of Next-Day Impairment in Both Women and Men - For Health Professionals

Natural health product (Alive Vitamins - Royal Jelly 1200 mg) recalled due to contamination with the antibiotic chloramphenicol