November 2014

Health & Safety

Holiday cheer: A checklist for employers

The holiday season is around the corner—and with it comes festivities and celebrations. Whether these seasonal events are large or small, employee health and safety remains a key priority for employers.

The case law on employer liability:

Over the years, a number of court decisions have signalled that employers face a risk of liability should an employee be permitted to drink too much at a work-related function. There is the potential negative impact on the employment environment generally, and on an employer’s reputation, should an employee become intoxicated and engage in inappropriate behaviour. There is also the potential for safety-related liability, especially should an intoxicated employee drive home afterward, with the possibility of injury to the employee or to an innocent third party.

Workplace safety board still rewards dangers employers

A flawed workplace insurance program exposed in 2008 for giving rebates to dangerous employers is still handing out the cash rewards, a new report by the Ontario Federation of Labour has found.

The problem was earlier exposed by a 2008 Star investigation that found Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) gave tens of millions of dollars in rebates to companies that had been found guilty of provincial safety violations leading to deaths, amputations and other gruesome injuries.

University of Fredericton launches fully-online certificate program in psychological health and safety in the workplace

Bullying complaints, human rights violations, and accusations of harassment are just some of the potential outcomes of a psychologically unsafe workplace. Increasingly, the onus is on employers to protect the psychological safety of their employees in the workplace. The University of Fredericton (UFred) has responded to this need with the launch of its new,  fully-online Certificate in Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace, developed with the support of the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (the Centre). The is the first certificate program in Canada to be delivered completely online with a specific focus on the new National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard).

Prescription drug recalls triple in less than 10 years: ‘This is a threat to every Canadian’s life’

The number of recalls and alerts for defective prescription drugs in Canada has soared over the last nine years, often highlighting problems that could put patients in significant danger, a new, British-led study reports.

The annual volume of faulty medicines disclosed by Health Canada more than tripled to 143 last year from 42 in 2005, according to the research, just published in the journal BMJ Open. Less than half as many cases came to light in the U.K. over the same period, the team reported.

Enforcement an issue with Ont’s bill 168 workplace violence and harassment obligations

Workplace violence and harassment are in the news once more in Ontario, though the high-profile cases are under federal, not provincial, jurisdiction at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and in the Houses of Parliament.

Workplace violence and harassment in provincially regulated workplaces in Ontario are governed by Part III.0.1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which was added to the Act in 2010 by Bill 168. When it was passed into law in 2010, Ontario’s Bill 168 was heralded as groundbreaking.

Human Resources

Modest economic growth limits salary gains in 2015

Canadian organizations are planning moderate base salary increases for 2015 in response to Canada's sluggish economic growth. The average pay increase for non-unionized employees is projected to be 2.9 per cent next year, one percentage point higher than the forecasted inflation rate for 2015, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Compensation Planning Outlook 2015.

"The good news is that most Canadian organizations are planning salary increases for 2015. However, employers remain cautious about Canada's economic performance and are opting for the same modest wage increases seen in the past few years," said Ian Cullwick, Vice-President, Leadership and Human Resources Research.

Move over, millennials: for some Canadian companies, 50+ is the new 25

When it comes to hiring older workers, Canadian employers are really beginning to see the benefits of a 50+ staff. Companies like BC Public Service, Manitoba Hydro, University of Toronto, and the Department of Finance Canada all actively hire older workers for their experience and commitment. The companies mentioned above as well as other employers in Canada not only consistently recruit 50+ workers, they also create positions for retirees regularly as well.

Only 23% of employers use social media to find talent, where 99% of candidates are

Nearly 100 per cent of Canadian professionals and skilled individuals are on at least one social media network and more than half use them as tools to hunt for employment—yet just 23 per cent of employers say they use social media to find talent.

According to the first-ever Where People Are Guide from national recruitment company Hays Canada, half of employers lack recruitment strategies and jobs are often marketed to the wrong audience. The report, based on a national poll of 1,000 hiring managers, human resources professionals and candidates, shows that while employers tend to favour generic online job boards, post-secondary career sites and traditional online ads, candidates gravitate to social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

New Canadian toolkit helps health care facilities reduce GHG emissions and save water

The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care (the Coalition) announced the launch of a new critical review tool designed to help Canadian health care facilities reduce their environmental footprint. The free Greenhouse Gas and Water Conservation Guide (GHG Guide) is available to anyone in the Canadian health sector via an innovative web platform, and provides strategies and outreach materials on water and GHG management, two of the key components of climate change mitigation.

Many health care organisations across Canada have already demonstrated a desire to meet the climate change challenge head on by improving and adapting their operations to become more sustainable, efficient, and resilient. Thanks to Environment Canada's EcoAction Community Funding Program, the Coalition, and our partners, the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES) and Synergie Sante Environnement (SSE), are able to offer guidance to health care organisations taking a serious leadership role in climate change preparation and mitigation.

Conference Board of Canada study finds employers concerned about sustainability of pension plans and employees’ retirement knowledge

Canadian employers see healthy workplace retirement plans as a key factor in employee retention, but they are concerned about pension plan sustainability and about their employees' level of knowledge of retirement planning, according to a new study from the Conference Board of Canada, co-sponsored by Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health benefits solutions business of Aon plc AON, +1.01% and the National Association of Federal Retirees.

Industry

Canadian Ebola vaccine development taken over by Merck

Merck & Co Inc on Monday said it would buy worldwide commercial rights to NewLink Genetics Corp's experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus.

NewLink, whose subsidiary licensed commercial rights to the rVSV-EBOV vaccine in 2010, said it would receive $50 million US plus royalties from Merck.

Apotex claims Health Canada’s ban on its drugs made in India is ‘unlawful’

Reeling from lost sales and fleeing customers, Toronto drug giant Apotex is lashing out at Health Canada, alleging in a lawsuit that the regulator’s recent ban of drugs from its Indian factories was illegal and politically motivated.

Apotex alleges Health Minister Rona Ambrose acted with “malice” toward the company and buckled under political pressure after a series of Star articles exposed widespread problems in the company’s Bangalore facilities.

Rogers family announces largest-ever donation to Canadian health institution

The family of the late cable magnate Ted Rogers has announced the‎ largest donation ever to a Canadian health-care institution or university, a $130-million gift to establish a new heart research centre in Toronto.

The gift will be split three ways between the Hospital for Sick Children, the University Health Network and the University of Toronto. Each intend to contribute an additional one-third of the Rogers' gift, taking the total to more than $260-million.

Health spending up by only $61 per person in 2014

The cost of health care in Canada will go up this year, but the increase is expected to be the smallest in the past 17 years, a new report suggests.

The report on health-care spending in Canada estimates that total health expenditures will rise by only 2.1 per cent, or $61 more per person compared to last year’s health costs.

Spending on drugs has flattened out. And concerns about the cost of a greying population on the health system aren’t currently driving costs up in a significant way, according to the report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Access to health care in Canada

The 20% to 30% of Canadians who live in rural areas face many different lifestyle routines compared to urban city dwellers, one of which is access to health care. The fact is the majority of Canadian health care resources exist in urban centres, leaving rural residents having to travel on average 60 km to visit a family doctor (with some travelling much further in remote communities).

The Canadian health care system is organized so that each provincial or territorial government is responsible for administering its own health care to its population. Each of these independent governments recognizes the difficulty their rural residents face and have undertaken measures to improve their health care access.

Two Canadian health care apps that could save lives and tax dollars

Medical innovation is something Canada is good at. Implementing medical innovation, on the other hand, not so much. There are many reasons for this: decentralized administration, compliance issues, risk aversion – the list goes on. But the root cause can be traced to something more basic.

Unlike other technology markets, government-run insurers drive demand. Thus, new technologies that do get adopted are frequently developed with the provider, not the patient, in mind. This results in marvellous but costly products that, while effective, tend to only address health care taking place within the walls of hospitals.

Product Recall’s and Advisories

Information Update - Marijuana for Medical Purposes - Advertising and Licensed Producers

Urgent safety information for insulin pump users

STELARA (ustekinumab) - Risk of Rare Serious Skin Conditions - For Health Professionals

FERAHEME (ferumoxytol) - Important Changes to the Delivery and New Restrictions on the Use Due to Information on Serious Allergic Reactions - For Health Professionals

IMOVANE (zopiclone) - New Dosage Recommendations to Minimize the Risk of Next-Day Impairment - For Health Professionals

REMINYL ER (galantamine hydrobromide) - New Safety Information Regarding the Risk of Serious Skin Reactions - For Health Professionals

Health Canada reviewing possible safety concerns with certain long-term antiplatelet (blood thinner) therapy; Benefits of treatment still outweigh potential risks

Dialog+ SW 9.XX Two Pump Machines (incl. HDF online) (2014-11-17)

Dimension Vista System - MYO Calibrator (2014-11-14)

Superstat Modified Collagen Hemostat (2012-11-13)

TPHA Screen (2014-11-12)

Polyflux Revaclear Dialyzers (2014-11-12)

Various Dimension Vista Flex Reagent Cartridges (2014-11-12)

Attune Fixed Bearing Tibial and Femoral Component Impactor, Attune Rotating Platform Tibial Impact, and Attune Intuition Impaction Handle (2014-11-11)

Clinitek Novus Automated Urine Chemistry Analyzer (with and without rack handler) (2014-11-10)

CT TAVI Planning Application in Intellispace Portal V.6 (2014-11-09)

Mosaiq (2014-11-07)

Brightview Gamma Camera Systems (2014-11-07)

Gra-MaxX Gold: Seized from "ShopForYou", Vancouver, B.C. due to serious safety risks

Brightview XCT Imaging System - Tilt System (2014-11-07)

Megafood Daily Energy 52.5 g (2014-11-06)

Auto 2D Quantification Software, Auto Cardiac Motion QUantification software and Q-Station (2014-11-06)

Dimension Vista 1500 and 500 Lab Systems (2014-11-06)

Aristolochia clematitis (2014-11-05)

neoBLUE LED Phototherapy (neoBLUE 2 with replacement board) (2014-11-05)

LeoniPlus and LeoniPlus with HFO (2014-11-05)

Pak, Ultrasound Fluidics Management System (2014-11-04)

HemoCue Glucose 201 Microcuvette (2014-11-04)

Zimmer PSI Knee-Nexgen PRI Jigs & Offset Tibia Rotation Right (2014-11-03)

Kool-Kit Neonate (2014-11-03)

Paradigm Sure-T Infusion and Silhouette Infusion Sets (2014-11-03)

Syngo Imaging XS VA70A (2014-11-03)

AFB III Staining Kit (2014-11-03)

Physiologic DiGiPro Thermometer (2014-10-30)

ABL800 Flex System-CREA Electrode and Membrane (2014-10-29)

Mammomat Inspiration System - Main Unit (2014-10-29)