#Canada; #AbusiveSenators; #harassmentpolicy; #NoPublicScrutiny
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: With the aim to root out abuse by tapping third-party investigators to probes harassment, and by enacting clear punishments to discourage harassers, the new harassment policy was drafted by the Independent Quebec Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain, the chair of the human resources subcommittee.
Raymonde Saint-Germain. Image credit: Twitter handle
Inaction against harassment policy of senators faced sometimes by parliamentarians serves as a gift for would-be harassers because abusing senators and staff are being sheltered from public scrutiny, one member of the Red Chamber says.
"I have suffered intense bullying throughout my career. There should be rules that prohibit this sort of harassment as unethical behavior for a senator," former Saskatchewan senator Lillian Dyck said. "It just shouldn't happen," CBC News reported.
After years of shielding senators from scandal by the Senate human resources department instead of properly probing allegations of staffer abuse, the new policy gives complainants the option of going to an outside third-party independent investigator to lodge a complaint.
Total secrecy on the part of the complainant and the alleged harasser involved in such an outside probe is maintained by the new policy.
In addition all the senators and staff have been directed by the senate to complete mandatory anti-harassment training.
Saint-Germain said the privacy provisions protect employees who come forward with complaints but don't want their cases publicized in any way.
#Canada; #CRA; #LockTaxPayersAccounts; #cybersecurity;
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: An investigation revealing the possibility of some usernames and passwords were obtained by unauthorized third parties, may result in locking of more than 800,000 taxpayers out of its online platform tomorrow as a precautionary cybersecurity measure, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reported.
Cybersecurity. Image credit: Pinterest
The agency said the move is being taken after a similar action in February, when over 100,000 accounts accounts were locked.
"Like the accounts that were locked in February, these user IDs and passwords were not compromised as a result of a breach of CRA's online systems. Rather, they may have been obtained by unauthorized third parties and through a variety of means by sources external to the CRA," said CRA in a news release.
External data breaches and email phishing scams as possible sources of compromised personal information were cited by the CRA and said such "preventative measures ... may become more frequent to safeguard taxpayers' information."
CRA's move in the middle of one of the most complicated tax seasons in recent memory, when millions of Canadians prepare to file taxes after receiving COVID-19 benefits would cause affected taxpayers to remove their emails from their accounts and would not enable them to reset passwords using the traditional method on the agency's website, said CRA.
Access to their CRA account by the individuals could be done by a different login method, such as their banking login, or by creating a new user ID and password by requesting a unique personal identification number (PIN) be sent by mail.
Those who have signed up for email notifications from CRA My Account will receive emails, while other affected individuals will receive their instructions by mail.
The issues are expected to be fixed by March 22, CRA said, but anyone who hasn't been able to regain access by that date should call the agency.
For the safety of their personal information, all users of CRA's services are being encouraged by the CRA to create a personal identification number (PIN) in CRA My Account to help confirm their identity on future calls with the CRA, sign up for email notifications, monitor their accounts for suspicious activities, including unsolicited account changes, change passwords regularly, keep account information up to date, and install software to remove malware from computers and devices.
#CanadaNationalDefense; #CFNIS; #FrancesAllen
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: The Department of National Defense announced today that amid number of general officer appointments and transfers, Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen has been promoted to vice-chief of the defense staff (VCDS), replacing Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, a statement from the Department of National Defence announced Tuesday morning.
Lt Gen Frances Allen. Image credit: Facebook page of Royal Canadian Air Force
The shakeup is the result of the crisis within the military as Admiral Art McDonald and Gen. Jonathan Vance, the two most senior officers, remain under investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) for alleged sexual misconduct.
McDonald, who had only been in the Chief of the Defence job a month, stepped aside as the head of the Canadian Army, after learning last week that he was under investigation.
Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre was given the temporary appointment by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
Rouleau, who is the former commander of special forces, has been moved into a new role as senior adviser on future capabilities.
Allen will become the first woman to hold the position of vice chief and in that capacity and will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the military.
#HealthCanada; #JohnsonAndJohnsonCOVID19Vaccine; #Jansen
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine produced by the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary, Janssen Inc. is the fourth to receive approval from Health Canada for use in Canada, the first that requires only a single dose and easy storage and can be used for adults aged 18 and older, Health Canada reported.
Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine. Image credit: Facebook page
"As with all COVID-19 vaccines, Health Canada authorized the Janssen one after an independent and thorough scientific review for safety, efficacy, and quality," Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, told a media briefing in Ottawa today.
"After assessing all the data, we concluded there was strong evidence that showed the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the potential risks."
With its efficacy rate of 66.9 percent, much less compared to 90 percent with previously approved vaccines, Sharma said the shot offers strong protection against the threats that matter most: serious illness, hospitalizations, and death.
"While each of the vaccines Health Canada has authorized has different efficacy numbers, the reality is that you will have a greatly reduced chance of getting COVID-19 with any of the ... vaccines that have been authorized," said Sharma.
Canada has ordered 10 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, with options for up to 28 million more, with the full order of 10 million should be delivered by September, said Joëlle Paquette, director-general for vaccines at Public Services and Procurement Canada yesterday.
"At the moment, we are still in discussion with Johnson and Johnson to determine where their doses will be coming from and the delivery schedule," Paquette said.
#Ontario; #Defence; #SexualAssault; #HarjitSajjan
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan's alleged refusal to probe evidence of possible misconduct of sexually assaulting women in the military by the former chief of the defense staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, media reports said.
Harjit Sajjan. Image credit: Twitter handle
Women who experienced sexual assault in the military expressed their disappointment and shock by Sajjan's refusal to take action
The retired master corporal Stéphanie Raymond, who was allegedly raped by a superior and then being turned out of the army in 2013 for reporting it, is demanding Sajjan's resignation.
Sajjan needs to provide a clear, coherent explanation for his actions, said Marie-Claude Gagnon, a former naval reservist and founder of the group 'It's Just 700', which fronted the class action lawsuit against the federal government over sexual misconduct in the military.
If Sajjan fails to provide a clear explanation, added Gagnon he should either retire or be fired.
Sajjan had allegedly received an informal complaint of sexual misconduct involviog Gen. Jonathan Vance in March 2018 meeting and refused to look at the evidence brought to his knowledge, said former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne in his testimony Wednesday before the House of Commons defense committee.
Walbourne insisted that Sajjan had a duty to be informed to ensure the safety of others.
Sajjan did not use his power to order a board of inquiry investigation, nor did he appoint a military judge to head an investigation, which under Under Section 45 of the National Defence Act, and the Queen's Regulations and Orders, which govern military conduct permitted him.
The top general should have been afforded an opportunity three years ago to defend himself, Retired colonel Michel Drapeau said.
#Ontario, #AstraZenecaVaccine; #Priority; #EssentialWorkers; #Seniors
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: As Ontario's The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended not to use Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for people 65 and over, experts say that it should be a priority to administer Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to essential workers who are more prone to contract and transmit COVID-19.
AstraZeneca Vaccine. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Although Health Canada authorized the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine's use last week for all adults, health experts expressed concern about its effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 being about 62 percent in contrast to about 95 percent efficacy reported by Pifzer-BioNTech and Moderna.
However, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said after the vaccine was approved last Friday more information is forthcoming showing efficacy may be higher for Oxford-AstraZeneca.
Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with most of them expected to arrive from the United States between April and September. British Columbia's Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said essential workers including first responders, teachers, and those who work in poultry factories where outbreaks have occurred may be offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine sooner, depending on availability.
She said that while people will have limited choice on whether they could wait for the other two vaccines they should take the first vaccine that is offered.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, told reporters on Monday that although Ontario has not decided about who is essential when it comes to vaccine rollout, that question is being considered by the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.