June 2015

Health & Safety

Summer safety: What you need to know about sunscreen and protecting your skin

Summer’s here: weekends at the cottage, trips to beach and plenty of evenings barbecuing on the patio. Wherever you’re soaking up the sun, make sure you’re looking after your skin.

Sun safety is often overlooked during the busy summer season. Global News asked two Canadian dermatologists for their tips on what to look for on a sunscreen label, how to properly apply sunblock and what to do if you’ve burnt your skin.

Health Canada approves CanniMed pot study

Many arthritis patients have high hopes that the first Health Canada-approved medical marijuana clinical trial provides evidence that cannabis can help them.

Saskatoon-based CanniMed, a subsidiary of Prairie Plant Systems Inc., announced it is now recruiting 40 patients for a yearlong trial studying marijuana's effect on adults with osteoarthritis of the knee.

The company has partnered with McGill University Health Centre in Montreal and Dalhousie University in Halifax to run the trial at two different sites.

Health Canada to being review of Invokana and Forxiga risks

Health Canada has announced that it will begin a safety review of (canagliflozin) Invokana and (dapagliflozin) Forxiga, medications which are part of a new class of drugs known as SGLT2 inhibitors that are approved to treat type 2 diabetes. The review will investigate possible Invokana and Forxiga risks related to a potentially deadly condition called ketoacidosis, in which high levels of certain kinds of acids (ketones) build up in the blood.

The announcement, issued on June 22, comes on the heals of an earlier safety communication from the FDA regarding potential risks associated with the drugs. Whereas ketoacidosis is generally associated with type 1 diabetes, there have been reports of the condition in connection to patients treating their type 2 diabetes with SGLT2 inhibitors, including one report of hospitalization identified by Health Canada.

Information update – operation Pangea highlights the dangers of buying health products online

As part of Health Canada's ongoing commitment to help protect the health and safety of Canadians, the department partnered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) for the eighth consecutive year to target counterfeit and unlicensed health products being sold on the Canadian market.

This year's eighth annual Operation Pangea, an international week of action that took place from June 9-16 was the largest of its kind so far. It saw 115 countries and 236 police, customs, and health regulatory agencies participating worldwide and resulted in a record number of illicit and counterfeit health products being seized. Health Canada inspected 3,694 packages, refused 2,043 packages and seized 1,278 packages containing counterfeit or unlicensed health products at the border during this week of action.

Health Canada says pesticide position remains unchanged despite WTO decision

Health Canada says its position on popular herbicide 2,4-D has not changed, despite the chemical being classified a “possible carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency earlier this week.

In an email Wednesday, a spokesperson for the department said Health Canada reviewed 2,4D in 2008 and concluded “the continued use of 2,4-D for both agricultural and residential use does not pose a health concern when used according to label directions.”

Human Resources

USB Drive with 9,000 employees’ information missing from N.L. office

Newfoundland and Labrador's largest health authority says a USB drive containing the personal information of 9,000 employees is missing.

Eastern Health said in a release today the flash drive contains a spreadsheet with the names, employee numbers and social insurance numbers of about 3,300 of its employees, and the names and employee numbers only of another 5,700.

The flash drive was last used on June 17 as part of a project in the health authority's human resources department, and was discovered missing by the project manager on June 19. It has no passwords or other security measures in place.

Is your business ignoring half the workforce?

It’s been proven in study after study – the more diverse your team, the more innovative and productive it will be.

Bringing diversity into your workplace isn’t an exercise in social justice, but of fiscal necessity. The first waves of baby boomers have already hit retirement age. Employers need to prepare by proactively recruiting from new or different pools of talent.

People in Canada can go to Youtube to learn how to deal with discrimination

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has produced a series of videos, now on its YouTube channel, to help people in Canada deal with discrimination and navigate the human rights complaint process.

Using live actors as well as animation, "Human Rights and You: A video series" tells the stories of Lily and Dan — two fictional characters using the CHRC complaint process to deal with workplace discrimination. Lily's story is about sexual harassment and Dan's story is about discrimination related to age and disability after a workplace injury.

Nurses call for a health human resources plan as nursing supply declines for the first time in two decades

One of the factors affecting the nursing supply is retirement. Among RNs, who make up the majority of the nursing workforce, the proportion of RNs approaching retirement age is growing steadily. According to CIHI's report, almost 26% of RNs are 55 or older. More worrying still, almost 40% of RNs are aged 50 or older. The growing number of nurses either retiring or seeking work in other sectors may account for the larger decline (-1%) of RN supply, when compared to other regulated categories. The CIHI report also notes that since 2009-2010, the number of students admitted to Entry-to-Practice (ETP) RN programs has been declining.

The Mental Health at Work Challenge Cross-Canada Tour concludes

The Economic Club of Canada along with representatives from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Lundbeck Canada, Cookson James Loyalty, Excellence Canada and Mental Health International, this week, concluded the final leg of a the cross-Canada 'Wellth Management' tour. The series worked to open up dialogue and encourage workplaces to implement the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard).


Canada getting more autonomy in medical school accreditation

Canada will get more power to accredit its own medical schools, under an agreement that took years to negotiate and that reduces the U.S. influence on the criteria used to review schools.

“We are going to have a made-in-Canada process so that the Canadian decision is the one that counts,” said Tom Marrie, the dean of Dalhousie University’s medical school, who has worked with both Dalhousie and the University of Alberta to help them get off probation. The new process is coming too late for McGill, which was placed on probation this month.

Health professionals across Canada protest healthcare cuts for refugee claimants

Healthcare professionals protested Monday in 20 cities across Canada at the Conservative government’s decision to appeal a Federal Court of Canada ruling that found changes to the healthcare system for refugee claimants were unconstitutional.

In July 2014, the court found government funding cuts in 2012 to the Interim Federal Health program, which left many refugees with minimal healthcare coverage, were “cruel and unusual”.

Canadians have made a killing off this U.S. health-care stock

IMS Health Holdings Inc. may be one of the most successful investments in recent Canadian history.

It’s not where IMS, a health-care information and technology company, is actually listed, since it trades on the New York Stock Exchange, not the TSX. And it’s headquartered in Danbury, Conn., rather than in any burg north of the border.

Instead, what makes IMS worthy of consideration is the investment the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board made in it just over five years ago. In 2010, as the markets were shaking off the cobwebs of the financial crisis, CPPIB joined in a group of private-equity buyers to purchase the public IMS.

Canada needs to invest in new hospitals, says health care association

Dr. Richard Johnston knew the health care system was in trouble when he walked down a hallway at University of Alberta Hospital and saw an older woman housed in a linen closet instead of a proper room. At nearby Royal Alexandra Hospital, where he also worked as an intensive care specialist, elevators were out of service for months and a patient had to have his urgent surgery rescheduled because of the lack of recovery rooms.

“We just have to build a new building,” he said.

Alberta NDP reverses cuts to health care and education, freezes tuition

The Alberta NDP government is planning to spend $624 million to reverse cuts to health care, education and human services proposed by the previous PC regime.

If passed, Bill 3, the interim supply bill, will fund the 12,000 new students expected to enroll in Alberta schools this fall, freeze tuition at post-secondary institutions for two years and add $500 million to the health care budget.

The funding would prevent the loss of 1,500 health care workers, according to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.