Health

Canada Has Bird Flu Virus, 7 Countries Ban Poultry From B.C.
Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:16 AM
A highly contagious H5N2 strain of the avian bird flu virus has infected at least 140,000 poultry in Canada. Seven countries have now placed restrictions against importing poultry or poultry products from B.C. or Canada. These include the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, South Africa and Mexico. 
 
Demoting top public health scientist wrongheaded
Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:13 AM
Buried in the current omnibus budget bill currently being studied by Parliament is a plan to demote the chief public health officer of Canada. He will no longer hold a deputy minister rank, he will have no direct line to the federal minister of health, he will be subservient to a bureaucratic agency president and he will have no secure public funding. The new chief public health officer has said he is in favour of this plan, as shrugging off managerial oversight for the Public Health Agency will free him to provide scientific advice. That may be so, but will anybody be listening? Will he even be allowed to speak? 
 
Pseudo-science in the House? Scientists challenge a bill on Lyme disease
Publish Date: 04-DEC-2014 02:40 PM
This week, infectious disease specialists stood before a Senate committee to voice their concerns about proposed legislation on a national Lyme disease strategy. They say the bill's preamble dismisses accepted evidence and is "anti-science". Brent speaks to Dr. William Bowie who represented the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Canada at the Senate hearing this week, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May who sponsored the private member's bill.  
 
Scientists will be forced to knock on doors under health research grant changes
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:42 AM
There’s a new controversy raging in Canada’s scientific community as word spreads about impending changes to the country’s major health science research organization. In what has been called a "rebellion," emails are flying as scientists share news about a recent decision by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Governing Council. They say it will force scientists to shop around for matching external funds before they can access public money that used to be granted with no strings attached. 
 
Federal Government Scientists Seek to Protect Scientific Integrity Through Collective Bargaining
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:36 AM
Federal government scientists are upping the ante in their dispute with the Harper government over continuing cuts to federal science programs and the muzzling of federal government scientists by bringing their concerns directly to the bargaining table. This week, the union representing federal government scientists will table a proposal that would obligate the government to negotiate scientific integrity policies, ensuring adequate public standards of science and support for science are upheld. "Preserving scientific integrity within the federal government is crucial to ensure we can continue to protect Canadians' health, safety and the environment as well as promote genuine innovation," says Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents approximately 15,000 federal government scientists, engineers and researchers.  
 
Musellement: les scientifiques fédéraux passent par leur convention collective (French)
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:32 AM
Las d’être «muselés» par le gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques du gouvernement fédéral adoptent une voie originale: celle de négocier des clauses de protection de l’intégrité de leur travail dans leurs conventions collectives. L’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada, qui représente quelque 15 000 scientifiques à l’emploi du gouvernement fédéral, présente à la table de négociation une proposition qui obligera le fédéral à négocier des clauses protégeant la liberté d’expression des scientifiques fédéraux, le réinvestissement dans les programmes de recherche et la protection du savoir et des bibliothèques scientifiques. 
 
Public sector union to take muzzled science issue to bargaining table
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:30 AM
The union representing government scientists, engineers and professionals says its next contract demands will include an integrity policy to free up muzzled researchers and promote evidence-based policy making. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents 55,000 federal employees, says a scientific-integrity policy is needed to ensure innovation and to protect public health, safety and the environment. 
 
Canadian Unions to Bargain for Scientific Integrity Reform
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:27 AM
As Canadian government scientists start bargaining for their next contract, they aren’t asking for more sick days or a sizable raise—they’re asking for scientific integrity protections, such as the ability to share their research regardless of the results. To put it simply, Canadian scientists are prioritizing the public interest over their own self-interest. On the table will be the right to speak publicly about their work, collaborate with peers, access scientific literature, and have adequate funding to carry out their responsibilities. The unions are also asking for federal departments to be required to develop enforceable policies that would protect researchers and hold those who manipulate or suppress science accountable. 
 
Scientists push for ‘scientific integrity’ at bargaining table
Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:25 AM
Canada’s federal scientists are going to the bargaining table this week with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote “scientific integrity” in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, is tabling a negotiating position for managing science in the “public interest” with a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators that dramatically push the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the public service. 
 
Federal scientists muzzled by PMO
Publish Date: 28-NOV-2014 08:39 AM
Canada’s federal government wants the public to know that it is promoting the “prudent use” of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. But it doesn’t want the public to know what that means — and it certainly doesn’t want the public to hear what its scientists and veterinarians have to say about what many are calling a “crisis” in modern agriculture and public health. 
 
Les changements climatiques menacent la sécurité alimentaire, selon la Banque mondiale (French)
Publish Date: 24-NOV-2014 03:17 PM
Le réchauffement climatique risque d’aggraver « considérablement » la pauvreté sur le globe en asséchant les récoltes agricoles et en menaçant la sécurité alimentaire de millions de personnes, a avertit la Banque mondiale (BM) dimanche. 
 
Fired researcher was evaluating anti-smoking program with drugs that can cause severe reactions
Publish Date: 21-NOV-2014 11:42 AM
When PhD student Roderick MacIsaac was fired from the Ministry of Health, his study of an anti-smoking program that was to be used in the evaluation of B.C.’s controversial Smoking Cessation Program was halted. MacIsaac was one of seven ministry health researchers terminated in 2012, and he committed suicide in the months that followed. 
 
Le G20 s'engage à «éradiquer» l'épidémie d'Ebola (French)
Publish Date: 15-NOV-2014 09:59 AM
Les pays les plus riches du monde réunis au G20 en Australie se sont engagés samedi à «éradiquer» l'épidémie d'Ebola qui a fait plus de 5000 morts en Afrique de l'Ouest et touche désormais un autre pays de la région, le Mali. 
 
Ottawa spending $30.5M on Ebola programs to bolster Canada’s readiness
Publish Date: 03-NOV-2014 08:32 AM
The federal government is spending $30.5 million on programs to shore up Canada’s readiness to deal with Ebola in this country, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said Monday. While most of the money will be spent in Canada, Ambrose said $3 million of that will go to the World Health Organization to help fund its efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa.  
 
Budget Bill: Government refocuses public health czar’s job
Publish Date: 23-OCT-2014 08:40 AM
The Conservatives plan to create a new public health czar to focus solely on advising the government on public health issues.The move is part of the sweeping changes introduced in the Conservatives’ latest budget implementation bill, which was tabled in Parliament Thursday… But Daviau wasn’t as optimistic about the Conservatives’ plans for a Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, which she said was an inadequate attempt to replace Canada’s northernmost research lab, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut. 
 
New Ebola guidelines: Testing in Ontario labs for quicker results
Publish Date: 17-OCT-2014 02:42 PM
When Ottawa went through an Ebola scare earlier this week samples from the suspected cases had to be sent to a national laboratory in Winnipeg for examination before the all-clear was given. 
 
Ebola: WHO admits it botched response to outbreak
Publish Date: 17-OCT-2014 02:39 PM
Texas health care workers who were exposed to the deadly Ebola virus are being asked to sign legally binding documents agreeing not to go to public places or use public transportation. 
 
Could Ebola vaccine delay be due to an intellectual property spat ?
Publish Date: 03-OCT-2014 11:27 AM
Questions remain over why a made-in-Canada experimental Ebola vaccine is still sitting in a Winnipeg laboratory instead of being dispensed in West Africa, with a scientific journal suggesting that an intellectual property dispute may be to blame. It's been more than six weeks since the Canadian government promised to donate the vaccine to the international community to help fight the ongoing Ebola outbreak.  
 
Scientists rail against imposed ignorance: Goar
Publish Date: 02-OCT-2014 11:18 AM
A year ago, a handful of Toronto scientists decided they could no longer watch helplessly as the government of Canada systematically stifled information on everything from climate change to drug safety. They formed a collective called Scientists for the Right to Know. This week, they held a public forum at the Munk School of Global Affairs. It was called Imposed Ignorance, a panel discussion highlighting what Canadians are losing and why it matters. 
 
Le Canada est prêt à déceler les cas d’infection, affirme Rona Ambrose (French)
Publish Date: 01-OCT-2014 11:50 AM
Au lendemain de la détection d’un premier cas d’Ebola aux États-Unis, la ministre de la Santé, Rona Ambrose, soutient que les risques d’infection pour les Canadiens demeurent « très bas » et que le Canada est fin prêt à déceler des cas suspects qui se présenteraient aux divers postes frontaliers ou dans les hôpitaux.