July 2015

Health & Safety

NDP health and labour critics call on government to take action against nurse assaults

Ontario’s NDP health and labour critics are calling on the government to take action following a report detailing the rising number of nurses reporting assaults by patients.

In an open letter, labour critic Cindy Forster and health critic France Gélinas urged Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to improve the safety of patients and staff in Ontario’s health-care system.

“It is deeply disturbing that nurses and health-care professionals are facing increasing levels of workplace violence in our province,” wrote Gélinas and Forster.

Study to probe paramedic wellness

Frontenac County and Queen's University are to lead a federal government-funded study into paramedic health and wellness.

The two-year project is one of five to share $12 million in funding announced Friday from the Department of National Defence's Canadian Safety and Security Program.

The project is to survey paramedics across Canada about their demographics and physical and mental wellness.

Safe Food Canada – The Learning Partnership receives federal funding of $850K to enhance food safety nationwide

The Learning Partnership (SFC), a not-for-profit organisation made up of leaders from the Canadian food industry, government regulatory bodies and academia all dedicated to the creation and coordination of food protection learning partnerships, receives $850,000 in federal funding.

This Tuesday, Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville Brad Butt announced this support on behalf of the Honorable Minister Rona Ambrose, from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Federal Assistance Program (FAP).  Having invested over $517 million between 2008 and 2013 towards food safety initiatives, the Canadian Government again is signalling that food protection is top priority.

Canadian companies looking to steer clear of workplace injuries

Although your business puts the safety of its employees and customers first, accidents at the workplace can still happen.

In fact, according to a recent study by the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada, nearly 250,000 workplace injuries take place in the country each year.

Of those injuries, more than 40,000 occur in the health and social service industry. Likewise, roughly 25,000 injuries take place in the Canadian construction industry. As for the retail and food/beverage industries, a whopping 35,000 injuries take place each year.

Prescription drug labels become easier to read

The labels affixed to prescription drugs in Canada should soon be more reader-friendly.

This month, Health Canada’s plain language labelling regulations will be implemented, forcing manufacturers of prescription drugs to submit mock-up labels and packages to Health Canada for review.

The plain language labelling regulation will require manufacturers to prove that any brand name of an upcoming prescription drug will not be confused with medication that is already approved.

Human Resources

Hospitals, employers navigating waters after gay marriage ruling

Now that the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, hospitals and employers are figuring out how to navigate the healthcare implications of the decision.One area that might be affected is hospital visitation rights. However, most of the hospitals MedPage Today spoke to said the ruling wouldn't affect their policies since they were already fairly inclusive.

For example, "Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center is not affected by the Supreme Court's decision regarding same-sex marriage," medical center spokeswoman Carissa Etters, in Richmond, said in an email. "The medical center has a patient-centered open visitation policy that allows the patient to designate those who can visit them. This policy has been in place for several years. The patient can also designate someone who can identify visitors on their behalf. This person does not have to be family."

Unproductive at the office? Thank the mid-week holiday

Some people, but not all, are back at work today after the mid-week holiday. And the real question, is did you accomplish anything before Canada Day split the week in two?

Human resources experts say the next couple of days will likely be unproductive at the office.

So, Monday was Monday, Tuesday was Friday, Wednesday was Saturday, today is Monday again and tomorrow is Friday.

Workforce issues: Canada agency launches plan to retain newcomers

If the travel agency industry wants to attract and retain new entrants successfully, owners and managers need to make staff training and development a top priority. It’s that simple.

That’s the consensus of many industry members who have done just that.

Among them is James Shearer, COO of TravelMasters. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based agency is making a sizable investment in an education program that it hopes will help it retain and develop new agents successfully.

43 percent of workers overworked, burnt out: Study

Forty-three per cent of Canadian workers are overworked and burnt out, according to a survey by Staples Canada. And yet 89 per cent are happy at work, found the survey of 1,074 employees.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents said being burnt out erodes productivity and is a motivator for a new job search.

“It’s not a surprise that employees are feeling overworked and burnt out,” said expert Dan Schawbel of WorkplaceTrends.com and managing partner of Millennial Branding. “Businesses nationwide are tasked to do more with less, so while many workers are still happy at work, employers need to adjust to win the war for talent and optimize productivity, engagement and loyalty with employees.”

Turning engagement upside down

I think what we’re seen is a lot of organizations have been plugging away, doing their engagement research every year, but many organizations spend 80% of their time on the research and only 20% on the implementation.

Many are getting frustrated – they’re trying to do the right thing but aren’t really getting cut-through. We’re slipping down the global engagement rankings because a lot of organizations are trying to do the same old same old and using the umbrella approach, the concept that one size fits all. It hasn’t really ever worked. It’s just that HR has been limited with time and budget and therefore that’s the only paradigm seen: we’ve done our research, let’s put some broad brushstroke umbrella solutions in around where the weak points are let’s hope that’s going to keep the tribe relatively satisfied. That’s the top-down approach.


A primer on Canadian medical device regulations

In the almost 25 years I spent regulating medical devices within Health Canada, one thing remained a constant trend in my conversations with foreign manufacturers, particularly the small to medium size companies: the general lack of understanding of the Canadian medical devices regulatory framework and requirements. To a certain extent, this was not surprising given Canada’s population and market size in comparison to the United States or the European Union, or given Canada’s largely “public” healthcare system where budgets for healthcare are constantly under pressure. The Canadian market was likely not the first choice for many companies. However, it may be important for manufacturers who have already obtained market clearance or authorization in the United States to know that they likely have all the necessary safety, effectiveness, and quality information required to comply with Canadian requirements.

Reality check: New anti-Harper health care ad doesn’t tell whole story

Engage Canada, an anti-Conservative Party group, has a new ad that’s getting heavy play on Canadian television.

The ad looks at the Harper government’s record on health care, and makes several specific claims relating to the party’s policies.

Watch the ad here.

Ageism still rampant in health care

As Canada's population ages, our doctors are spending more of their time with older patients. And according to a troubling new Canadian  study, ageism is alive and well among many of them. The research was just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The study showed that the treatment patients received was influenced by their age.  Researchers looked at the records of close to 1500 patients with spinal cord injuries who are part of the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Registry.  Of the total, 167 were age 70 or older.  Compared to younger patients with spinal cord injuries, the older ones were more likely to experience delays in treatment. It took twice as long for older patients to go from injury to being transferred to a spinal cord treatment centre. Older patients were less likely than younger ones to have surgery to stabilize the spine.  They were also much more likely to die during their initial stay in hospital.

Canadian men’s poor health costs $36.9B a year: study

Men who are out of shape, overweight, drink too much and smoke are costing Canada $36.9 billion a year, according to a new study.

The study, commissioned by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, calculated the financial impact of the leading causes of chronic disease among Canadian men: excess weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking.

Sick doctors admit to spreading infections at work

Workplaces need to change their culture because even in hospitals, too many health-care workers show up for work when sick, and risk spreading infections to their patients, a new study suggests.

The study published in Monday's online issue of JAMA Pediatrics suggests while 95 per cent of attending physicians, certified registered nurse practitioners, midwives and other health-care workers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who answered an anonymous survey said they believed working while sick puts patients at risk. Eighty-three per cent of these health-care workers admitted to going to work while not feeling well, at least once in the past year.