#unprovenstemcelltreatments; #LeighTurner; #HealthCanada; #RegenerativeMedicine; #Food and Drug Act
Ottawa, Sep 27 (Canadian-Media): According to a study published yesterday numerous unlicensed clinics in Canada were offering unproven stem cell treatments for a wide variety of medical conditions, media reports said.
Stem cells give rise to many different cell types in the body and offer the potential for treating a wide array of diseases.
But rigorous research is still needed to determine the efficacy of these treatments, said regenerative medicine experts.
Leigh Turner, Canadian-born researcher, and an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics was able to identified 30 businesses marketing stem cell therapies at 43 clinics, unapproved by Health Canada -- the federal department of Canada responsible for national public health -- across the country.
Turner's study, published Wednesday in the journal Regenerative Medicine, involved an extensive online search for direct-to-consumer websites offering stem cell therapies to Canadians.
Turner researched 24 Clinics, advocating their treatments over the internet offering stem cell treatments for orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions and sports-related injuries including, 24 in Ontario -- 17 clinics in the Greater Toronto Area (which includes Toronto and nearby cities) alone -- eight in British Columbia, six in Alberta, three in Quebec, one each in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
It was also found out that patients typically paid large amount of money from their own pocket as the services of these clinics are also not covered by provincial health insurance plans.
And in some cases, such unresearched interventions can do harmful, Turner said.
Turner's paper challenged Health Canada to enforce regulations and to crack down on clinics making claims about effectiveness that are not based on scientific evidence.
Health Canada had ordered to stop illegal practices of a few clinics and is following up on other clinics and added any non-compliance to these orders would be strictly dealt with.
Under the Food and Drug Act, all stem cells therapies are considered drugs and must meet specific requirements before they can be marketed in Canada.
Only one advanced stem cell product, Prochymal for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease, has been approved for sale in Canada.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Ottawa, Sept 26, (Canadian-Media): In observance of first Ontario's Rowan's Concussion Law Day today, Ontario is commitment to making sports safer for kids by developing a multimedia campaign that will raise awareness about concussion safety, media reports said.
Rowan's Law Day is commemorated, in honour of the memory of 17-year-old Rowan Stringer, who died after sustaining multiple concussions while playing rugby with her Ottawa high school.
Since then, her family had advocated for change.
Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, sponsored Rowan's Concussion Law in the Legislative Assembly.
On March 7, 2018, Ontario passed Rowan's Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 and related amendments to the Education Act.
This new legislation, which received all-party support, is intended to protect amateur athletes by improving concussion safety on the field and at school.
This day is observed on the last Wednesday in September to raise awareness about concussions in sport.
"I am pleased that our new government is carrying on with the work that was started in 2015," said MacLeod.
"Rowan was a very positive kid. She wanted to help the kids and her plan was to be a pediatric nurse," her father said Wednesday. "We look at this as helping her deliver on what she would've done in her life, making a difference in people's lives."
Concussions represented 21 percent of student injuries treated by a doctor or nurse, said Sylvia Jones, Ontario's minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and added that this awareness campaign would help students understand what to do when they suspect they've sustained a concussion, and gives educators and coaches the tools they need to seek help for their students.
"We're not talking about discouraging people from playing rugby or from playing on the ice," she said. "What we want to do is make sure that they understand what a concussion looks like."
Rowan's Law created new rules aimed at protecting injured students from further injury, and introduced new protocols that aim to prevent concussions in the first place.
But the work isn't done yet — the regulations that accompany the bill still have to be written, and a system to track concussion data has yet to be established.
Stringer said there have been many tough days after losing Rowan, but he hopes the outcome will help save lives.
"Her death was completely preventable," he said. "That drives you to make sure that you do everything you can so that it doesn't happen again."
"Reducing the risk of concussions is always the goal. But concussions happen and knowing what to do - whether you're an athlete, a parent, a coach or a teacher - can save lives," said Sylvia. "We'll honour Rowan Stringer's memory by launching a province-wide multimedia campaign to raise awareness about concussion safety."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
From: Health Canada
The governments of Canada and British Columbia (B.C.) have signed a bilateral agreement outlining how the province plans to invest approximately $656 million in targeted federal funding over five years to improve access to home and community care and mental health and addiction services. In 2021-22, this agreement will be renewed for the remaining five years of the 10-year commitment.
B.C.’s Action Plan aligns with the objectives and pan-Canadian priorities set out in the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities and will be implemented through a multi-pronged approach.
Home Care and Community Care
Over the next five years, B.C. will be strengthening its home and community care services, including enhancing supports that will allow British Columbians with increasing care needs to stay in their homes as long as possible. Federal funding in this area will focus on:
B.C. will use federal funding for mental health and addiction services to implement a series of early action initiatives to respond to some of the most pressing gaps in the province’s mental health and addiction services system. Federal funding in these areas will focus on:
Budget 2017 committed $11 billion over 10 years in new federal investments to improve access to mental health and addiction services as well as to home and community care across Canada. Provinces and territories already received the first year of this funding through a legislated transfer following their endorsement of the Common Statement of Principles on Shared Health Priorities.* Funding for the remaining years will flow to provinces and territories through a series of bilateral agreements.
The Common Statement of Principles sets out the objectives and pan-Canadian priorities for federal investments in home care and mental health. It commits governments to addressing specific health system gaps and to focusing efforts in areas that will have the greatest impact. Bilateral agreements will set out the details of how federal funding will be used in alignment with the Common Statement of Principles. As of August 2017, provinces and territories accepted their share of the $11 billion in federal health funding.
Provinces and territories have also committed to working collectively and with the Canadian Institute for Health Information to develop a focused set of common indicators to measure progress and report to Canadians.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments have also committed to engaging with regional and national Indigenous leaders on their priorities for improving the health outcomes of Indigenous peoples.
* The federal government has agreed to an asymmetrical arrangement with Quebec, distinct from the Common Statement of Principles.
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#RachelNotley; #Alberta, #Canada; #HIV/AIDS; #SarahHoffman; #PrEP; Calgary'sPrideWeek; #DavieBuyersClub; #Humanimmunodeficiencyvirus; #acquiredimmunedeficiencysyndrome
Alberta, Sep 3 (Canadian-Media): An announcement was made Saturday by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley during a Calgary's Pride fundraising event in Calgary that beginning Oct. 1, Alberta will be providing universal coverage for PrEP, an HIV-prevention drug, which is up to 99 percent effective at stopping the transmission of the disease, media reports said.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is spread primarily by unprotected sex, contaminated blood transfusions, unsterilized needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
The virus weakens the immune system and is not curable, it can only be managed with treatment.
If untreated, the virus can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which severely damages immune system.
According to non-profit organization HIV Community Link, out of about 80,500 Canadians diagnosed with HIV, about one in five people don't know they have been infected.
In Alberta alone last year, more than 200 people were diagnosed.
The generic of the medication is $250 per month — about $8.30 a day — and the brand name, Truvada, can cost up to $1,000 per month.
The high cost of PrEP is a barrier for many people, and Notley said that by making it more accessible to public would reduce the incidence ofs of HIV.
Alberta is the seventh province in Canada to introduce PrEp coverage.
Along with coverage, Notley said with the government's plan to increase the number of physicians, designated to prescribe PrEP, it will be available across the province.
Alex Smith. a Calgary nurse and founder of the Davie Buyers Club, a website and a guide that helps people to access PrEP and shows Canadians how to order a 90-day supply of the medication.
90-day supply of the medication is the maximum legal quantity for personal use that can be imported from India, Thailand and Singapore into Canada.
Further details on how coverage will be rolled out in the coming week will be provided by Sarah Hoffman, Alberta's Health Minister, said Notley,
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#federallegalizationofcannabis; #Ontario; #onlineretailchannel; #privateretailmodel; #VicFedeli; #CarolineMulroney; #OfficialOntarioCannabisRetailerSeal; #OntarioCannabisStore; #zero-tolerancepolicy; #Manitoba; #Saskatchewan; #Alberta
Ottawa, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): Following the federal legalization of cannabis on October 17, Ontario will immediately introduce an online retail channel for cannabis, to be followed by a private retail model by April 1, 2019, media reports said.
Details about how the province will manage cannabis retail following the federal government's decision to legalize the drug effective October 17, 2018 were shared yesterday by Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney.
Combination of online and regulated private retail for child safety and to eliminate the illegal market would be prioritized.
The use of Official Ontario Cannabis Retailer Seal to identify licensed retailers and providers would facilitate consumers to purchas federally quality controlled products from a legitimate retailer.
Starting on October 17, consumers 19 and older will be able to purchase cannabis via an online retail platform provided by the Ontario Cannabis Store.
A verification system that will ensure safe at home delivery for cannabis products would be in place for the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) online channel to meet the federally imposed obligation to make provinces ready for retail sales for the start of legalization.
"We will be ready to put in place a safe, legal system for cannabis retail that will protect consumers," said Mulroney. "We will also be ready to undermine the illegal market and protect Ontario's roads. Most importantly of all, we will be ready to protect our kids."
"Throughout this process we have held fast to some non-negotiable principles: Public safety is paramount," said Fedeli. "We will make sure our youth are safe; our roads are safe and that we work with our municipalities to ensure our neighbourhoods are safe."
Ministers also announced to begin consultations -- with municipalities, Indigenous communities, law enforcement, public health advocates, businesses and consumer groups and representatives of the other provinces with private retail -- in advance to opening up a tightly regulated private retail model for cannabis that will be launched by April 1, 2019 .
"The Government of Ontario will not be in the business of running physical cannabis stores," said Fedeli. "Instead, we will work with private sector businesses to build a safe, reliable retail system that will divert sales away from the illegal market."
Private retailers will have to follow a series of provincial rules, such as prohibiting the sale of cannabis to anyone under the age of 19.
Ontario will begin to consult on a number of rules all retailers will be mandated to follow including set hours of operation and staff training. Federal law lays out numerous other retail requirements, including restricted advertising, that products are not visible to children, and that all sales must be made over the counter.
The Ministers also announced a zero-tolerance policy, including severely escalating fines, for any retailer or dispensary who continues to operate in the illicit markets.
It is illegal to drive drug-impaired and it’s just as dangerous as driving drunk.
Police officers will be authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside to enforce the law.
On October 17, 2018, Ontario will enact new measures.
New road safety laws include serious penalties that will increase consequences and costs for those who drive under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Ontario will have zero-tolerance for impaired young, novice or commercial drivers.
Consumers will only be allowed to use recreational cannabis in a private residence, including the outdoor space of a home. Recreational cannabis use will not be allowed in any public spaces, workplaces or motorized vehicles.
The government will provide municipalities with a one-time window under which they can choose to opt-out of permitting physical cannabis retail stores within their boundaries. The provincial government will provide $40 million to municipalities over two years to help local governments keep their communities safe.
"In order to protect our communities — we have to work closely with our municipalities. In fact, they are our essential partners," concluded Fedeli. "We are committed to creating a safe retail model that eliminates the illegal cannabis market in Ontario. We are taking a balanced and responsible approach to building a system that works."
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are also moving ahead with a private model for retail storefronts to help eliminate the illegal market. Ontario will work with our partners to build on what they learn as we consult on our private model.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#medicalassistanceindying; #HealthCanada; #GinettePetitpasTaylor
Ottawa, Aug 9 (Canadian-Media): Final regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II that create a federal pan-Canadian monitoring system on medical assistance in dying were published today by the Government of Canada, media reports said.
These regulations, however, will come into force November 1, 2018
Medical assistance in dying being a personal issue for all Canadians, addressing these should be done, says Government of Canada, with utmost compassion and empathy.
"Medical assistance in dying is a sensitive, complex issue and many Canadians have deeply-held views on the subject. We are committed to ensuring that Canadians who choose medical assistance in dying have access to these services. These regulations promote transparency and will help us monitor how this service is being implemented across the country."
said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Federal Minister of Health.
Ginette Petitpas Taylor/Facebook
The legislation that allowed eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying was passed by the Parliament on June 17, 2016, and is now part of the Criminal Code, according to the eligibility requirements and safeguards in the law.
Since then 3,714 medically assisted deaths have taken place in Canada.
Physicians and nurse practitioners should receive receive written requests for medical assistance in dying, and for pharmacists who dispense medication for assisted dying to prevent them from accusations of criminal offence.
The regulations set out reporting requirements for physicians and nurse practitioners.
Any personal data collected will be protected under the federal Privacy Act.
According to the latest data, medically assisted deaths account for approximately 1.07 percent of all deaths nationally,
majority of them were between 56 and 90 years old, with average age of approximately 73 years.
This information would be used in publishing Annual reports on Canada's medical assistance in dying, including the number of requests received, the number of medically assisted deaths and the number of people found ineligible.
The regulations come into force on November 1, 2018, and providers could familiarise themselves with new reporting requirements until that date..
Transparency and public trust should be the criteria in implementing legislation across Canada.
Wishes of the dying individuals should be clearly understood while monitoring assisted dying.
Health Canada plans to produce interim reports until the permanent monitoring and reporting system becomes operational.
Annual federal reporting using the data collected under the Regulations is expected to begin in 2019.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#MimicoCreek; #blue-greenalgae; #HumberBayParkEast; #Cyanobacteria #TorontoPublicHealth; #TPH; #MinistryofEnvironmentConservationandParks
Toronto, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): Confirmation of the presence of blue-green algae blooms at the mouth of Mimico Creek and in Humber Bay Park East had been received by Toronto Public Health (TPH) from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, media reports said.
Toronto Public Health/Facebook
Water samples taken and tested by the Ministry indicated the presence of blue-green algae.
Cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as blue-green algae occurs naturally in a wide variety of environments including ponds, rivers, lakes and streams.
These are reportedly easily visible plant-like organisms that can range in colour from olive-green to red and should be avoided due to the potential health risks associated with it.
Some species of blue-green algae produce toxins that are harmful to the health of humans and animals.
Adverse health effects are mainly caused by drinking and coming into contact with water that is contaminated with blue-green algae toxins.
Exposure to blue-green algae toxins, if present in sufficient amounts, can cause symptoms including: Headaches; Fever; Diarrhoea; Abdominal pain; Nausea or vomiting; Skin rashes; and Mucous membrane irritation
Residents are encouraged by TPH to take precautions when visiting this part of the Toronto waterfront as beaches in this area are not regularly monitored for water quality or supervised by lifeguards.
Public is asked not enter the water in this section of Mimico Creek and to avoid contact with or ingestion of the water.
Pets should also not allowed by the residents to enter the water in Mimico Creek.
Individuals who come into contact with the water should wash themselves off as soon as possible with clean water.
If any of the above symptoms are experienced following a potential exposure to blue-green algae, a health care provider should immediately be contacted.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#DrEileendeVilla; #TorontoBoardofHealth; #Ontario; #decriminalizealldrugs; #AngieHamilton; #FamiliesforAddictionRecovery; #MattJohnson; #PeterLeslie; #LynnAnneMulrooney; #DougFord
Toronto, Jul 16 (Canadian-Media): According to the Toronto's chief medical officer Dr Eileen de Villa, the Toronto Board of Health, became the first in Canada to officially call on the federal government to decriminalize all drugs, media reports said
Dr Eileen de Villa/Facebook
Besides removing the penalties for personal drug use, the motion which was passed unanimously on Monday, required the federal government to add more harm-reduction and treatment services.
It should also set up a task force to examine the feasibility of legalizing and regulating all drugs the same way as alcohol.
“I am really grateful to this board for taking this bold step, which is going to save lives,” said Angie Hamilton, the executive director of Families for Addiction Recovery. “It’s going to save our kids.”
During the meeting Hamilton said that addiction was a common illness, and children should receive treatment, not punishment, for being ill.
Other experts who supported the motion, included Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre worker Matt Johnson, Toronto Harm Reduction Task Force educator Peter Leslie and Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario senior policy analyst Lynn Anne Mulrooney.
Mulrooney pointed out that decriminalization did not address the problem of people dying from poisoned drug supply; rather a fully regulated legalization should be considered.
303 opioid-overdose deaths occurred in Toronto in 2017, a 63-percent increase from the year before and more than double the amount from 2015.
Between August and October, 2017, Fentanyl was responsible for three-quarters of overdose deaths in Ontario .
The move reportedly is unlikely to get support from the new Ontario government.
Premier Doug Ford had clearly stated his personal opposition to harm-reduction efforts such as supervised drug-use sites.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mulrooney said she hopes the motion will start a national conversation on harm reduction, especially if other nurses’ associations speak out as the RNAO has done.
“I think there’s a lot of nurses … that have already moved for a long time towards harm reduction and supervised injection services, so I think this is the next logical step,” she said.
Hamilton also hoped that the decision could eventually affect the law.
People who use drugs can be seen as less credible, she said, so it was important to have the weight of public health behind them.
“We’re guided by science and compassion,” she said. “And that’s what should guide all of these discussions. And I really think if we did that, we would be saving an awful lot of lives.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#ChristineElliott; #OHIP; #OntarioPremierDougFord
Ottawa, Jun 30 (Canadian-Media): Christine Elliott, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, released a statement today regarding changes to OHIP +.
OHIP, Ontario Health Insurance Plan is the government-run health insurance plan for the Canadian province of Ontario and funded by a payroll deduction tax.
Christine Elliott' statement regarding changes to OHIP + is as follows:
"Today, our government is announcing our intent to fix the OHIP+ program by focussing benefits on those who do not have existing prescription drug benefits.
Children and youth who are not covered by private benefits would continue to receive their eligible prescriptions for free. Those who are covered by private plans would bill those plans first, with the government covering all remaining eligible costs of prescriptions.
This new system would be more efficient, saving the taxpayers money and dedicating resources to the people who need it most.
Even more importantly, it would continue to guarantee that children and youth still receive the prescription drugs they need.
Since insurance plans can cover thousands more drugs than the 4,400 currently available through OHIP+, children and youth would have access to more medications than under the current program.
Private insurers have previously given the government a grace period for some medications, which is set to expire on July 1. We are asking those insurance groups to extend this grace period as we make these changes.
We look forward to working with insurance groups to ensure a smooth transition to this updated system.
Premier Ford promised the people he would find efficiencies without compromising service or jobs, and we are delivering."
#TorontoFireServices; #violationsoftheOntarioFireCode; #OntarioFireCodeandFireProtectionandPreventionAct #ChiefJimJessop
Toronto, June 21 (Canadian-Media): Following numerous inspections and measures taken by Toronto Fire Services (TFS) to protect the occupants of the building between 2013 and 201, the owners of 484 Spadina Ave. (Jeffrey Wynn, Trustee and 2436196 Ontario Inc.) pleaded guilty in Provincial Offences Court on June 20, media reports said.
Jeffrey Wynn was fined $33,000 plus a 25 percent victim fine surcharge and 2436196 Ontario Inc. was fined $153,500 plus a 25 percent victim fine surcharge.
The four storeys Waverly Hotel, operated with 63 rooms and the basement was occupied by a nightclub.
Numerous violations of the Ontario Fire Code which TFS had been issuing for a number of months, while the building continued to be occupied remained uncorrected
The violations included: absence of operating smoke alarms, absence of required fire separations; open fire doors; absence of required number of exits per floor area, excessive combustible material accumulated, absence of exit signs, fire-rated doors that would not close and latch, no records of tests for the fire alarm system, emergency lighting units, sprinkler and stand pipe system.
"The work undertaken by Toronto Fire Services inspectors on this file transpired over several months and required countless hours and the usage of numerous enforcement mechanisms under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act to ensure the safety of the residents while the violations remain uncorrected," said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop. "Toronto Fire Services is committed to ensuring appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve compliance and will take all necessary measures in these types of cases to reduce the probability and consequence of a fire, especially in an occupied building."
Toronto Fire Services/Facebook
Toronto Fire Services continues to work to reduce risk through fire prevention and enforcement strategies involving owners who fail to meet the Ontario Fire Code and jeopardize the safety of individuals and responding firefighters. Toronto Fire Services is committed to ensuring that appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve fire safety through compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and Fire Protection and Prevention Act.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)