Les Nouvelles et Questions courantes

FAFIA Dismayed by the Closing of Key Women’s Group

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September 20, 2007:  The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) expresses its dismay at the closure of the offices of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL).  As a long-standing member group of FAFIA and collaborator on key policy issues affecting women, this closure represents a significant loss to women in Canada. 

NAWL, throughout its over thirty year history, has been instrumental in reforming legislation that has historically discriminated against women.  Through its wealth of legal expertise, it has advocated for the criminalization of sexual assault perpetuated by husbands and intimate partners, the inclusion of the equality clauses in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the elimination of workplace barriers, equal pay for work of equal value, as well as women’s equality rights in family law and immigration legislation. 

To read the complete release.

Canada's not ready for universal HPV immunization

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The federal government's $300 million handout to jumpstart provincially funded immunization programs for HPV vaccine Gardasil has met with support from many public health agencies, but scepticism from many in general practice.  To read the full article in The National Review of Medicine.

New UN-Backed Guidelines Issued to Tackle Mental Health Problems in Conflicts, Disasters

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United Nations and other international humanitarian agencies have agreed on a new set of guidelines to address the mental health and psychosocial needs of survivors in response to emergencies such as conflicts or disasters, identifying useful practices and flagging potentially harmful ones. 

With a clear focus on social interventions and support, they emphasize the importance of building on local resources such as teachers, health workers, healers, and women's groups to promote psychosocial well-being, and include ways to protect and care for people with severe trauma-induced mental disorders and provide psychological first aid for those in acute distress.

Debating Gardasil in Canada

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By Judith Siers- Poisson

The author of a four-article series on the Politics and PR of Cervical Cancer in the United States of America describes her experience on a panel discussion, The Debate: Gardasil, Morality and Medicare, on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on Ontario Public Television.  Also provides a link to the debate which can be viewed on-line. Read more…

NAWL closes national office

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National Association of Women and the Law has announced that it is forced to lay off all staff and shut down its national office.  NAWL's Board will keep the organization alive on a volunteer basis.  A press conference will be held on September 20th on Parliament Hill.  The press conference will be followed by a *Solidarity Lunch* hosted by NAWL. If you are in the Ottawa region, please join us to celebrate 33 years of feminist engagement with the law, and to mark this new phase in the life of NAWL.  More information on NAWL’s website.

Ontario Midwives to Deliver 1,200 More Babies

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TORONTO, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) welcomes today's announcement by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to invest in midwifery care. As a result of today's investment, each year there will be an additional 1,200 women, and newborns, who will be able to access midwifery care.

"Government clearly understands that Ontario needs more midwives now," says Kelly Stadelbauer, AOM Executive Director. "The expansion of midwifery is a significant step in addressing the overwhelming need for midwives across the province. Last year, while 10,000 pregnant women were able to access midwifery care, 6000 additional pregnant women seeking midwifery care could not be accommodated due to the current shortage of practitioners."

Currently, there are over 400 registered midwives in the province, delivering approximately 8% of births. Midwives provide primary care in low-risk situations, which account for approximately 80% of all pregnancies. As a result of this announcement, the Midwifery Education Program will be able to boost their admission number from 60 to 90 students.

"The expansion of midwifery is a clear and welcomed sign that government values the contributions of midwifery to the well-being of women and babies," says Lisa Weston, AOM Vice President. "The midwifery model, based on health promotion, leads to a low rate of complications and interventions, short hospital stays and a low rate of hospital readmissions. Not only is this beneficial for women and babies, but it also means cost savings to the health system."

In addition to the current shortage of midwives, a maternity care crisis has been threatening Ontario. Recent expert reports (including the Ontario Maternity Care Expert Panel) show that in five years from now 10,000 pregnant women in Ontario will not have any maternity care provider at all.

Canada's New Government Announces $1 million to support Aboriginal Nursing Program at the University of Lethbridge

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Aug. 28, 2007 - Today, Rick Casson, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, on behalf of Federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Clement, announced $1 million over three years under the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative to help increase the number of Aboriginal nurses working in Canada's health care system, particularly in First Nations communities.

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Canadians Concerned Over Costs of Long-Term Care

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CMA Press Release

VANCOUVER, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Results of a new poll released today by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) reveal that only just over half (55%) of Canadians are confident they will have enough savings to afford their own long-term care.

"When Medicare was created in the sixties, politicians decided that only doctor and hospital services should be covered," said CMA President Dr. Colin McMillan. "Well, it's clear from the polling results released today that Canadians feel that our bell-bottom-era system could use some updating to address the realities of health care in the twenty-first century."

The CMA commissioned public polling on the continuum of care - the array of health services that are used by individuals - to inform both the release of its Medicare Plus document and discussions to take place today among delegates to General Council in Vancouver.

The poll sought to find out what services were most important to Canadians, their level of worry as to being able to afford various services in the future, and what services should be a priority for governments.

The poll found:

- 55% were very or somewhat confident they would be able to cover long-term care expenses and 43% were not;

- Most (37%) thought long-term care should be the top priority if medicare were to be expanded, followed by home care (26%); prescription drugs (18%); dental care (11%); and vision care (2%);

- Canadians were split evenly as to whether the government should cover a portion of catastrophic drug expenses that exceed a certain amount of income (40%), or 70% of all Canadians' prescription drug expenses (40%). Only 16% said government should cover 100% of Canadians' prescription drug expenses.

- 50% said governments should maintain 100% funding of doctor and hospital services, even if individuals or their insurance would be fully responsible for other services;

HPV Vaccinations - Concerns

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The Current
While Merck-Frosst might have raised public awareness of the Human Papilloma Virus, the federal government and a growing list of provinces have elevated HPV to the top of the healthcare agenda. Now that Nova Scotia and Ontario are introducing vaccination programs, the rush for a so-called cure to cervical cancer raises concerns for some health experts.

Dr. Abby Lippman is a professor of epidemiology at McGill University, and the author of a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal released this week looking at the HPV vaccine. She was in Montreal.

Audio file at: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2007/200708/20070803.html.

Health Canada Once Again Advises Canadians to Protect Young Children from the Strangulation Hazard Associated with Cords on Curtains and Window Blinds

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The recent strangulation death of a Quebec infant attributed to a corded window covering has prompted Health Canada to again advise the Canadian public to protect young children from the strangulation hazard of cords on blinds, curtains and other window coverings.

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