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.
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.
Protection for at-risk species falters over Ottawa delays, scientists say Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 10:04 AM Scientists monitoring Canada’s process for identifying and protecting endangered wildlife say the system is floundering because the federal government is taking too long to list species that are deemed at risk while not doing enough to improve the status of those that are already listed. So serious is the problem that none of the 67 species that have been recommended for listing under the Species at Risk Act for the first time since January, 2011 has been taken forward to the point where a decision to list it or not can be made, as federal legislation requires.
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.
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.
Fracking review panel : independent of what, exactly ? Publish Date: 19-NOV-2014 02:21 PM A little over a month ago, the provincial government announced the composition of its “independent” panel to review fracking in the province. As many of us are aware, the panel was announced in August as follow-up to the temporary moratorium on fracking which resulted from massive public opposition to a proposal to introduce the controversial method of oil and gas extraction on the west coast of the island. And although the panel hasn’t yet met, it’s already drawing fire from many quarters. I’ll leave it to others to critique the backgrounds and expertise of those who are on the panel. My own critique would centre on who is not on the panel. There are some serious gaps, and these offer the most telling condemnation of the process.
Blurred lines: Harper and the f-word Publish Date: 12-OCT-2014 09:14 AM I first realized how insidious a process fascism could be—and I mean the word literally: more, much more, in a moment—when I discovered the propensity of “conservatives” to defend/rehabilitate the far-right Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who managed to shock even Heinrich Himmler with his bloodthirstiness
Open Government 2.0: Learning from the past Publish Date: 10-OCT-2014 09:55 AM For those interested in open government, October could shape up to be an exciting month. The government of Canada is set to release the second version of its open government action plan.
Les États ne respectent pas leurs engagements (French) Publish Date: 07-OCT-2014 11:55 AM Malgré les engagements internationaux en faveur de la protection de la biodiversité mondiale, la surpêche demeure la norme, la déforestation se poursuit, les milieux humides continuent de disparaître, l’extinction menace de plus en plus d’espèces animales et certaines formes de pollution sont en hausse.
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.”
Leona Aglukkaq says Paris 2015 climate deal will take ‘courage’ Publish Date: 23-SEP-2014 09:20 AM Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq says Canada is working toward an agreement that would include commitments by all major emitters ahead of the next climate change conference in Paris in 2015. Canada has yet to bring in regulations for the oil and gas sectors, despite a promise to do so by the end of 2012.
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.
Stephen Harper’s climate change timeline Publish Date: 19-SEP-2014 08:41 AM A labour union representing federal scientists, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, would also estimate that the Canadian government was in the middle of a three-year purge, cutting nearly $3 billion in spending and up to 5,000 jobs from its science-based departments, including many scientific research positions and programs in charge of monitoring air, water, and wildlife.
Canada needs a stronger stand on climate change Publish Date: 19-SEP-2014 08:41 AM Canada is running a sustainability deficit. But our politicians aren’t taking this seriously — they seem to believe that balancing a green and sustainable economy is less important than balancing its budgets. As British Columbian researchers who study sustainability and impacts of climate change, we believe Canada needs strong federal climate change policies and actions.
The time to face up to climate change is now Publish Date: 16-SEP-2014 09:35 AM On Sept. 21, more than 1,000 events are planned around the world to demand stronger action on climate change, echoing New York’s People’s Climate March. As Canadian researchers who study climate change and sustainability, we strongly support this global mobilization. Canada is running a sustainability deficit. Unlike budgetary deficits, this does not seem to preoccupy our politicians. Canada has repeatedly missed its own climate change emission reduction targets. Last January, Environment Canada acknowledged that Canada won’t meet its least ambitious target to date, proposed in 2009 as part of international climate negotiations coined the Copenhagen Accord.
Oil and gas pollution committee quietly silenced Publish Date: 16-SEP-2014 09:24 AM Environment Canada appears to have quietly ended key discussions that were intended to tackle carbon pollution from the oil and gas industry. A committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies was created in the fall of 2011 to develop options to reduce industrial greenhouse gases from the oilsands sector, the country’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions.
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.