October 2014

Health and Safety

Flu season looms in Canada as Healthcare workers prepare for this winter’s flu shots

Summer is starting to seem like a distant memory. And the remains of your Thanksgiving turkey may not yet be boiling for soup stock.

Still, public health officials are hoping you will soon turn your thoughts to preparing for flu season.

As temperatures drop, the viruses that make people sick during what we call flu season start to circulate. Flu season isn’t like hunting season. There is no fixed date for its start; it begins when people start getting sick.

Canada’s Safest Employers Awards to recognize efforts to protect psychological health and safety in the workplace

To coincide with World Mental Health Day, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (the Centre) is pleased to announce the creation of a new award category focused on psychological safety in the Canada’s Safest Employers Awards, offered by Canadian Occupational Safety.

Canada’s Safest Employers Awards recognize Canadian companies that are making a difference in protecting the safety of their workers. The first-ever national Psychological Safety Award, sponsored by the Centre, was created to recognize an employer that is a leader in working towards identifying and reducing or eliminating psychological hazards to employee well-being in the workplace, such as bullying, harassment or chronic pressure.

Over 40 drugs under import ban allowed for sale in Canada

More than 40 drugs originating from three factories in India recently slapped with import bans are now allowed for sale because Health Canada has deemed them “medically necessary.”

The drugs, including popular hypertension and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, are manufactured at two factories owned by Apotex, a Toronto-based generic pharmaceutical company, and a third facility, IPCA Laboratories. U.S. inspectors found data manipulation problems at all three factories.

Take Our Kids to Work day chance for businesses to demonstrate commitment to safety

Grade nine students across Canada visiting workplaces for Take Our Kids to Work day offers a good opportunity for organizations to educate the future workforce and reinforce a commitment to safety.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) says the national program, which takes place on Nov. 5, reminds organizations that safety of workers is a priority. Ensuring visiting students are safe from hazards is a top priority.

Dietary supplements may contain risky prescription drugs even after safety recalls, study says

In supplements bought online, researchers detected hidden steroids, similar ingredients to Viagra and Prozac and a weight loss drug linked with heart attacks.

They tested 27 products promising big muscles, sexual prowess, weight loss and more. Of those, 18 contained ingredients not approved for over-the-counter use; 17 still had the same drug that prompted the recalls.

Changes to the Canadian Labour Code: Work refusals and narrower definition of danger

The amendments provide for a new definition of “danger” that is more restrictive and will no longer include potential hazards or conditions, or any current or future activity that could reasonably be expected to cause injury or illness. As a result, work refusals will only be justified where an employee is faced with imminent or serious threat to his life or health. The new definition of danger is as follows:

“Any hazard, condition or activity that could reasonably be expected to be an imminent or serious threat to the life or health of a person exposed to it before the hazard or condition can be corrected or the activity altered.”

Human Resources

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act update

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 ( “AODA”) develops, implements, and enforces accessibility standards with the aim of achieving accessibility for persons with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures, and premises.

The Integrated Accessibility Standards (the “IAS”) under AODA establishes accessibility standards for public and private sector organizations that provide goods, services or facilities to the public or other third parties.

Effective January 1, 2014, large employers in Ontario, were required to prepare an Accessibility Policy and a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. By January 1, 2015, large employers must ensure that their employees are trained on the IAS and the Human Rights Code. Employers must also comply with several other accessibility initiatives under the IAS by January 1, 2016.

For more information on the updates to the Act, please view this article.

Why Canadians need to get more aggressive with their retirement saving

Every dollar saved for retirement means a more secure future for young adults just starting out.

We know those millennials need all the help they can get right now. Good jobs are hard to find and launching a career with a decent salary is a real challenge. The last thing these 20- and 30-somethings need is the prospect of being asked to pay higher taxes to support an aging population that didn’t save enough and thus has to rely increasingly on government programs.

Mental health leader to speak on importance of ending stigma

“When I tell them what I do, every single time they start to tell me about themselves, a family member or someone else close to them,” she says. “Every person has a story to tell — yet it’s the thing we still shroud in secrecy.”

The “thing” Bradley refers to is mental illness, which an estimated 6.7 million Canadians suffer from. It affects one in five people, in differing degrees of severity, at some point in their lives. While most of us would rather indulge in solitude or a movie while in flight, Bradley — who has dedicated the past three decades of her life to helping and advocating for the mentally ill — welcomes such intense connections.

Canada’s unemployment rate at its lowest level in nearly 6 years

Statistics Canada said Friday the country’s economy generated 74,100 net new jobs in September, knocking the unemployment rate down to its lowest level in nearly six years.

The unemployment rate for September fell by 0.2 percentage points to 6.8 per cent — its lowest since December 2008.

Economists had expected the economy to create 20,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate to hold steady at seven per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Ceridian warns that the replacement cost for disengaged employees is 5 billion dollars annually

Ceridian's 2014 Pulse of Talent reveals that companies should do more to increase employee engagement and avoid the high cost of turnover, low workplace commitment and potential brand damage. The annual Pulse of Talent survey was commissioned by Ceridian and conducted by Nielsen. Survey respondents were interviewed regarding their perceptions of employee engagement and loyalty, recruiting, training, job security, compensation, productivity, workplace wellness and employer branding, among other topics. Key findings show that although organizations have made significant progress when it comes to facilitating employee engagement - engagement is still an important workplace issue that affects the bottom line and deserves attention.


Ebola risk in Canada rated as ‘very low’

The risk of Ebola in Canada is still minimal and the country is well prepared to protect Canadians against an outbreak, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Wednesday.

Speaking one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the Public Health Agency of Canada still rates the risk to Canadians as "very low."

Health care workers practice Ebola response

Health care workers are practicing what it would be like if a suspected case of Ebola arrives in Saskatchewan.

Nurses, doctors and other professionals participated in an Ebola drill Wednesday that began at a downtown health clinic and concluded at the Regina General Hospital.

“This is really about learning. It’s about identifying what’s working well for us in each of the areas, and then to identify what did not go as well,” said Dr. Tania Diener, the RQHR medical health officer.

Health care costs needn’t leave Canadian Governments drowning in debt

Though the announcement of a federal budget surplus appears to be imminent, Canada’s fiscal situation isn’t nearly as strong as you might assume.

That’s one reading of the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s 2014 Fiscal Sustainability Report, which assesses whether current policy at the federal and subnational (provincial, territorial, local, and aboriginal) levels can safely be carried out far into the future without increasing the nation’s indebtedness.

Nova Scotia bill to ban health-care strikes until 2015

Nova Scotia's Liberal government introduced legislation on Monday that will ban health-care strikes until April 2015, as labour leaders promised to fight the bill that will drastically reduce the number of bargaining units in the health-care system.

The government is touting Bill 1 — known as the Health Authorities Act — as a way of streamlining bargaining to reduce the number of times it negotiates new collective agreements with its unions, while the unions maintain a single bargaining association would best represent the interests of workers.

It’s time to include dental health in the healthcare system

There are many reasons why some Canadians choose not to go to the dentist, but a new report released recently from the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) found that cost is a major factor – and that Canada’s most vulnerable populations have the highest rates of dental decay, pain and disease and at the same time are the worst access to this much needed healthcare service.

The price tag for hospital care and most physician services is covered through our publicly-funded healthcare system, but dental care is largely paid for privately in Canada.

Canada’s nurses say safe staffing critical for safe patients

Today, leaders of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) and the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) showed provincial and territorial health leaders the inextricable link between safe staffing, patient safety and quality care. The meeting took place at a roundtable briefing held during federal, provincial and territorial health ministers' meetings. Nurse leaders and provincial and territorial health ministers discussed national and international lessons from examples such as England's public inquiry into the relationship between safe staffing, patient safety and quality care. 

Product Recalls and Advisories

Health Canada seizes dangerous health products from online retailer

YERVOY 200 mg/40 mL (5 mg/mL) (Ipilimumab for injection), single-use vial - Recall of 2 Lots Due to Cracked Vials - Notice to Hospitals

Health Canada puts measures in place for medically necessary products affected by import restriction from 3 facilities in India

Various Advia Centaur System (2014-10-15)

Updated consumer information on Mylan Pharmaceuticals nitroglycerin spray recall

Mylan-Nitro Sublingual Spray 0.4 mg Per Metered Dose - Unaffected Product Has Now Become Available - For Health Professionals

Symbia T Gamma Camera/CT Scanner and Symbia S Photon Emission Computed Tomography System (SPECT) (2014-10-14)

Steris 5085 and 5085SRT Surgical Table (2014-10-13)

Non-Hyperimmune Immunoglobulin Products - Changes to Canadian Product Monographs - Notice to Hospitals

Safety information on the risk of blood clots with immunoglobulin products

Tapered Screw-Vent Implant (2014-10-09)

Elite XPL (Pulsed Light) Handpiece (2014-10-08)

Advia Centaur CP and XP System-B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) assay and Advia Centaur System-B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) assay (2014-10-08)

Persona Articular Surface Inserter (2014-10-07)

Puritan Bennett 980 Series Ventilator (2014-10-06)

Cosmetic Pros Recall (2014-10-06)

Diclofenac - Update to Heart and Stroke Related Safety Information and Decrease in the Maximum Recommended Daily Dose for Tablets and Suppositories - For Health Professionals

Radiolucent Bone Lever with Double Tip (2014-10-06)

Torisel (2014-10-06)

Buscopan Tablets 10 mg (2014-10-02)

N Latex B2 Microglobulin (2014-10-01)

Stryker Smartlife - Small and Large Aseptic Housing (2014-09-30)

Vitros 5600 Integrated Systems (2014-09-30)

Health Canada takes action to stop import of products from three sites in India

G.O.L.F.F.-(Anti-Fog Solution for Endoscopes) (2014-09-29)

Advia Centaur, Advia Centaur CP and XP System (2014-09-29)

Biomedic Acetaminophen with Codeine (2014-09-28)

UniCel DxC 600I Synchron Access Clinical Analyzer and Access 2 Immunoassay Systems (2014-09-28)

ABX PENTRA Magnesium RTU (2014-09-26)

Hudson RCI Nebulizer Adaptor (2014-09-26)

Infusor, Intermate (2014-09-26)

Ceftriaxone for Injection 10 g/vial - Recall of Seven Lots Due to Particulate Matter - Notice to Hospitals

Cadwell P/N 229038-000 Medical Power Supply (2014-09-26)

Recommended Management of Gonococcal Infections during Cefixime Shortage