Canada rail safety jobs vacant as budget cuts bite Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 02:47 PM Budget cuts have left safety-related engineering positions vacant in the Canadian agency responsible for overseeing shipments of dangerous goods, government records show, fuelling worries about trains moving oil across the country. Rail safety is in focus with the boom in oil shipments and a spate of derailments across North America, and the vacancies create a safety risk, industry experts and Canada’s public engineers’ union say.
La sécurité des transports n'est pas négociable (French) Publish Date: 25-NOV-2014 01:15 PM Il est souvent dit que le premier devoir d'un gouvernement est d'assurer la protection de ses citoyens, et ce dans le respect de ses valeurs et de ses droits. Bien sûr, cela n'empêche pas des accidents de se produire. Par contre, la population canadienne s'attend à ce que ses dirigeants prennent leurs responsabilités et mettent en place les mesures nécessaires pour diminuer les risques d'accident ou la gravité de ces derniers.
Health Canada is not protecting health of Canadians Publish Date: 27-SEP-2014 03:25 PM Health Canada is not looking out for you. This month in the House of Commons, Health Minister Rona Ambrose admitted that her department let potentially dangerous medicines be sold to Canadians. Those drugs were made by a Canadian company, Apotex, which according to the Toronto Star, “altered and in some cases destroyed test data that showed their products were tainted or potentially unsafe.”
Labelling GMOs about transparency, not health say advocates Publish Date: 22-SEP-2014 09:04 AM Advocates pushing for the government to adopt mandatory labelling regulation of genetically-modified foods may have received a boost, ironically, thanks to a recent Health Canada study. On June 10, Health Canada released a report, “Consulting Canadians to Modernize and Improve Food Labels: What We Heard,” detailing what Health Canada has learned about Canadians’ priorities on modernizing and improving food labelling. Within the grander nutrition and clarity concerns, a desire to better detail how and where food was made also emerged, including “labelling genetically-engineered or genetically-modified ingredients in food products and declaring the presence or use of pesticides, agricultural chemicals, antibiotics or growth hormones.”
Drinking water contaminated by excreted drugs a growing concern Publish Date: 22-SEP-2014 08:01 AM Whatever goes into us, also comes out of us, through our own biological effluent, every time we flush the toilet. The excreted drugs pass right through most sewage treatment processes and end up in rivers and lakes, and then in our drinking water. A Canadian study quietly released last month reported record-breaking levels of three pharmaceuticals in river water in southwestern Ontario.
Tenderized beef will soon need labels Publish Date: 20-JUL-2014 01:25 PM Canadian shoppers will be able to see next month if the beef they’re buying has been mechanically tenderized. Labelling regulations to take effect Aug. 21 are designed to protect consumers after the largest meat recall in the country’s history two years ago. Health Canada says beef that has been mechanically tenderized must have a sticker saying that. Packaged steaks must also have cooking instructions.
Health minister unveils proposed changes to food nutrition labels Publish Date: 14-JUL-2014 09:09 AM Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose has unveiled proposed changes to food nutrition labels that she says aim to make them both easier to read, and more "relevant" to Canadians’ lives. Speaking in Edmonton on Monday, Ambrose said the proposed changes are the result of a series of consultations between the government and Canadian families that focused on the current food nutrition labels, and how they might be changed.
A rising tide: the case against Canada as a world citizen Publish Date: 01-MAY-2014 11:27 AM A generation ago, Canada was perceived to be an exemplary global citizen by the rest of the world: it took the lead on a host of international issues, including the Convention of Child Rights, freedom of information, acid rain, world peacekeeping, sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime, and humanitarian and development assistance—much of this under conservative leadership.
During recent years, Canada's reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions. The Climate Action Network1 recently ranked Canada 55th of 58 countries in tackling of greenhouse emissions. Results of other analyses2 show a government systematically removing obstacles to resource extraction initiatives by gutting existing legislation, cutting budgets of relevant departments, and eliminating independent policy and arms-length monitoring bodies.
Federal government spends $9.2M on rail crossing safety Publish Date: 28-APR-2014 10:45 AM MILTON, Ont. – The federal government says it will spend $9.2 million this year to improve safety at railway crossings. The money is being made available as part of a cost-sharing agreement with railways and governments that have authority over local roads. Transport Canada says the improvements could include installing flashing lights and bells, gate barriers and other devices at crossings.
Des millions de litres d’eau contaminée pompés à Lac-Mégantic (French only) Publish Date: 16-APR-2014 08:51 AM Le retour du printemps n’a pas seulement remis en circulation du pétrole qui s’était déposé au fond de la rivière Chaudière à la suite de la catastrophe de Lac-Mégantic. Depuis une semaine, des millions de litres d’eau contaminée ont aussi été pompés sur le site même de la tragédie ferroviaire. Selon ce qu’a précisé mercredi au Devoir un porte-parole du ministère de l’Environnement, Paul Benoît, «de six à sept millions de litres d’eaux huileuses» ont ainsi dû être récupérés au cours des derniers jours. Ces millions de litres d’eau contaminée par le pétrole sont pompés à partir des «tranchées de récupération» aménagées pour éviter la migration de la pollution. L’eau est ensuite acheminée vers une unité de traitement sur place, ou encore à un bassin de rétention construit pour contenir les grands volumes de liquides récupérés lors de la fonte ou lorsqu’il pleut.
151 Prescription drugs under safety investigation in Canada Publish Date: 15-APR-2014 02:57 PM Toronto Star has published a list of 151 prescription drugs undergoing safety investigations in 2o13. The Star obtained the information only after persistently bugging officials at Health Canada. With a remarkable example of doublespeak, up till now Canada’s drug safety authority though the best way to keep us safe was to keep this information secret from both the individuals who put these drugs in their bodies and from the Doctors who prescribe them. Quite why Health Canada ever thought this was their role is yours to guess and ask. Maybe they reasoned that the mass panic ensuing from making the information available would cause us all to ask for motte drugs in such a rush that Docs would run out of prescription pads.
Drugs reviews mostly stay secret Publish Date: 03-APR-2014 02:05 PM Health Canada is keeping secret the vast majority of the drug reviews it conducts despite a clear promise from the federal minister to publish this critical safety information. Only 24 of 152 drug reviews completed last year by Health Canada are being considered for public release, the Toronto Star has learned. The drug safety reviews that will be open to the public are those triggered by alarms raised by foreign regulators, medical or scientific literature or Health Canada’s routine monitoring activities. “We thought they were rolling out a Mercedes, turns out it’s a Vespa,” said Dr. David Juurlink, a clinical pharmacologist and drug safety researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
Lac-Mégantic: 1/16e de la puissance d'Hiroshima (French only) Publish Date: 18-MAR-2014 02:09 PM «Si un jour je vais en enfer, je saurai à quel point c'est chaud!» Tels ont été les mots du directeur du Service de protection contre les incendies de Sherbrooke (SPCIS) Gaétan Drouin pour décrire l'intensité de la boule de feu qu'il a dû combattre à Lac-Mégantic, le 6 juillet 2013. «La force des explosions représentait 1/16e de la puissance d'Hiroshima, illustre-t-il encore. Un incendie d'hydrocarbures comme celui-là était du jamais vu en Amérique du Nord. C'était d'une ampleur telle... Je sens encore l'odeur du pétrole sur le site. Réussir à éteindre un incendie d'une telle ampleur dans un délai de 12 à 14 heures, ça veut dire que les gens ont travaillé très fort sur le terrain. Nous avons utilisé une quantité de mousse astronomique, soit 8000 gallons, pour procéder à l'extinction.»
Troubled waters: Nuclear radiation found in B.C. may pose health concerns Publish Date: 14-MAR-2014 09:28 AM A radioactive metal from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan has been discovered in the Fraser Valley, causing researchers to raise the alarm about the long-term impact of radiation on B.C.’s west coast. Examination of a soil sample from Kilby Provincial Park, near Agassiz, has for the first time in this province found Cesium 134, further evidence of Fukushima radioactivity being transported to Canada by air and water.
Memo to Harper predicted boom in transporting oil by rail Publish Date: 18-FEB-2014 08:50 AM An internal memorandum to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, prepared more than two years before the Lac-Megantic railway disaster, noted that oil shipments by train were on the verge of expanding by up to 20 times the volume. The memo has prompted the Liberals to ask why the government wasn’t more focused on safety at an earlier stage.
Éditorial Le Droit – Sonner l’alarme (Sounding the Alarm) (french only) Publish Date: 14-FEB-2014 03:28 PM En mars 2013, l'ingénieur fédéral Jean-Pierre Gagnon, un des milliers de fonctionnaires touchés par les coupes de l'année précédente du gouvernement Harper, a quitté son emploi. Selon l'Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada (IPFPC), M. Gagnon était l'un des principaux experts nord-américains en transport ferroviaire de matières dangereuses, tout particulièrement soucieux de la sécurité des wagons citernes DOT-111. C'était quelques mois avant la tragédie de Lac-Mégantic...
Ewart : Budget ignores rail and marine safety Publish Date: 13-FEB-2014 03:26 PM Getting Canadian oil and gas to lucrative global markets "is a priority" for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, but this week's budget didn't include new funding commitments in response to recent federal reports on improving rail and oil tanker safety. The budget did allocate $28 million over two years to the National Energy Board to help review project applications - TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline was named specifically - so they are completed within the two-year time limit set by Ottawa.
CFIA Consultations and Canadian Food Safety (PDF)
Publish Date: 19-DEC-2014 02:44 AM
As part of the 2014 CFIA Consultations, the Professional Institute of The Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) has submitted a detailed analysis of each of the following proposals:
Scientists Rally in Support of Federal Research
Publish Date: 27-NOV-2014 11:16 AM
On the morning of October 22, researchers and science staff from Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture & Agri-food Canada and the Department of National Defence demonstrated in Québec city at the entrance of Université Laval in support of research in the federal government.
The Canada First Research Excellence Fund seems to be the Harper government’s response to fierce criticism about its science policies. It was announced with much fanfare last week (although it had appeared in the spring budget) by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as an unprecedented investment to strengthen Canada’s position in the world of science. But it came on the heels of an uproar in the scientific community over the imminent shuttering of a world-class science facility at the University of Ottawa, highlighting precisely what many critics believe is wrong with the Conservatives’ approach to science.
Irrités par les interventions du gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques fédéraux ont concocté un répulsif inusité: des clauses à insérer dans leur convention collective. Reste à voir si le remède sera homologué.