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Autumn View Edition 3, 2020

We the North
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A message from the chair

Canada needs a single payer universal prescription drug plan. In doing so we will have cheaper drugs, drugs that are affordable and better control over their distribution.

Canada is the only developed country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t include universal drug coverage. This despite a multitude of studies and commissions dating back to at least 1964 that actually recommended Pharma Care. The reason for this failure falls directly on the shoulders of the politicians who bow to the pressure from the big drug companies.

In March 2018 the federal budget committed to implement a plan for Pharma Care but here it is the fall of 2019 and we still have nothing but promises.

Too many Canadians can’t afford their necessary drugs and so cut pills in half or go without because of their huge costs. Countries that do have Pharma Care in some variation have proven it saves money and saves lives.

Our current piecemeal system to cover drug costs is determined not by need but by how much money you have, where you live and where you work. The powers that be, appear incapable of opposing the pharmaceutical company’s pressure to maintain high costs and they ignore their apparent lack of caring for safe and appropriate use. The Opioid problem of today is a perfect example.

We must change the mind set of the politicians in power and have them acquiesce to the people, instead of the large and often multinational drug companies.

Ed Faulknor, Chair
OPSEU Retired Members Division                   

Critical Illness

Some Interesting tidbits of info:

Major Reasons for Mortgage Foreclosures:

  • 3% due to death
  • 20% due to bankruptcy
  • 47% due to major illness

Canada has the 2nd highest rate of Breast Cancer in the World.

Smoking & obesity are related to 67% of cancer.

More than 50% of people diagnosed with common cancers will survive 5 years or longer.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimated that 67% of costs related to cancer treatment come from indirect expenses not covered by provincial health plans.

The Prairie Provinces have a higher number of MS incidents than the rest of Canada.

People are living longer, often with a life-threatening illness. Hence, creating financial hardship for the survivor and family.

Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 30. Parkinson’s destroys dopamine in the brain, a chemical that controls motor functions.

Christopher Reeves became paralyzed from the neck down at age 43. He declared personal bankruptcy due to the high costs of his injury.

Our life expectancy has almost doubled since 1900. The #1 & #2 killers in 1900 were Pneumonia and Tuberculosis and in 1998 they were Heart Disease and Cancer

What is critical illness Insurance Anyway?

Pays a lump sum benefit (regardless of other insurance) upon diagnosis of a covered critical condition.

Only based medical diagnosis of the condition–­ not related to inability to work.

Most policies indicate the insured must survive 30 days after the diagnosis.

Examples of covered conditions include:  Heart Attack,  Life Threatening Cancer,  Stroke,  Multiple Sclerosis,  Kidney Failure,  Paralysis, Coma,  Coronary Artery Bypass, Loss of Limbs,  speech,  hearing, sight,  Major Organ transplant,  Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s Disease,  Severe Burns.

Sharks apparently are the only animals that never get sick. As far as is known, they are immune to every known disease including cancer.

If one person in your family has a heart disease, the chances of you having heart disease increases by 204%.

If two people in your family have breast cancer, your chances of getting cancer goes up by 400%.

Viresh Mathur Ph. 416-822-4783 Email: viresh@blueumbrellafinancial.ca 

Region 7 Retirees

Region 7 Retirees Coffee, Cards and Conversation event is held the first Thursday of every month, except December as our Luncheon is that day. It’s at the OPSEU Membership Center in Thunder Bay, 326 Memorial Ave between Tim Hortons and Merle Mae from 1-4 pm.

Bring a friend, bring your spouse, they don’t have to be OPSEU members. LTTIPers also welcome. There’s no agenda other than to get together and socialize. Coffee, tea and snacks are provided. Maybe even prizes.

Upcoming dates:

  • January 2, 2020
  • February 6, 2020
  • March 5, 2020

Note – Retirees Christmas Luncheon is Thursday December 5th, you should get an invitation from OPSEU, if you don’t, email me at 13sasnider@gmail.com or call me at 807-630-4751. As this is a catered event rsvping will be important to ensure there is enough food plus people’s dietary accommodations are met.

Government of Canada

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes your breathing to stop repeatedly while you sleep. These breathing pauses or “apneas” usually last 10 to 30 seconds and can happen many times throughout the night.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when the upper airway gets blocked during sleep. Often, the blockage happens when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Relaxed throat muscles, a narrow airway, a large tongue or extra fatty tissue in the throat can also block the airway. Central apnea and mixed apnea are other types of sleep apnea, but are more rare.

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea

Family members or bed partners often pick up on the signs of sleep apnea first. Many people with sleep apnea don’t know they’re snoring and gasping for breath at night. If you have any of the following signs, see your doctor:

  • daytime sleepiness
  • loud snoring followed by silent pauses
  • gasping or choking during sleep
  • morning headache
  • irritability or mood changes
  • poor concentration or memory loss
  • lowered sex drive
  • falling asleep while driving

Fast Facts from the 2009 Canadian Community Health Survey – Sleep Apnea Rapid Response

Snoring by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. It is true that loud snoring is common in people with this disorder, but there’s a big difference between simple snoring and sleep apnea.

Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health problems. If it’s not treated, sleep apnea can lead to:

  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • motor vehicle collisions
  • depression
  • decreased sexual function
  • work-related injuries

Treatment

There are easy and effective treatments for sleep apnea. Your treatment will depend on whether your sleep apnea is mild, moderate or severe. Your doctor can help you choose the best treatment for you. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP involves wearing a special mask that keeps the throat open and stops the snoring and pauses in breathing.

The key is to confirm whether you have sleep apnea so you can start treatment. If you have any of the signs and symptoms listed above, see your doctor. Your doctor may send you for overnight testing at a sleep disorder centre where your condition can be studied thoroughly. You may also be required to do some home tests.

Lifestyle changes – like losing weight and exercising – can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and can also help reduce other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. If you have mild sleep apnea, some lifestyle changes may get rid of the symptoms altogether. Here are some of the things you can do:

Lose weight

Being overweight is a risk factor for sleep apnea. If you’re overweight, ask your doctor for advice on how to lose weight safely. Weight loss of just 10 per cent – that’s equal to 20 lbs for a 200 lbs man – can greatly reduce the number of sleep apnea episodes that happen each night.

Get moving

Exercise isn’t just a great way to maintain a healthy body weight, but also contributes to healthy sleep. (Try not to exercise for at least three hours before bedtime. A hard work out right before bed might actually cause trouble sleeping.)

Stop smoking

Smoking can make sleep apnea symptoms worse because it can irritate your throat and make you cough at night. Stopping smoking will also give you more energy for everyday physical activities.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule

Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same times every day helps you to get the right kind of sleep. You need to experience the full cycle of deep- and lighter-stage sleep to feel well rested. A regular sleeping schedule also prevents you from getting overtired, which can make sleep apnea symptoms worse.

Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills

If you have trouble sleeping, try a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or juice instead of unwinding with a glass of wine. Alcohol and certain medications (sleeping pills and some pain medications) can make throat muscles relax more than normal. As a result, airways can get blocked. Alcohol and medications can also make it harder for your brain to “wake up” and register a lack of oxygen in the body. This can cause longer and more serious pauses in breathing. If you find it hard to fall asleep, try reading a book or taking a warm bath.

Sleep on your side

Sleeping on one side instead of sleeping on your back can help to improve sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your back lets gravity pull on the tissues at the back of your throat and neck. This can cause the upper airway to become narrow or collapse completely. You can “train” yourself to sleep on your side by:

  • putting pillows against your back to prop yourself on your side.
  • using the ‘tennis ball trick’. Sew a pocket onto the back of your pajama top and put a tennis ball in it. If you start to roll to your back during sleep, the pressure from the ball will make you roll back to your side.

Trivia Questions

  1. The beaver is the national emblem of which country?
  2. Which singer’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta?
  3. The average human body contains how many pints of blood?
  4. Which US state is nearest to the old Soviet Union?
  5. In which city is Jim Morrison buried?
  6. Which is the highest waterfall in the world?

Answers on last page Autumn View

A Journey of 1,000 Miles Begins with the Current Step, not the Next One

As a culture, we tend to be obsessed over the next step.  But how often do we hear people talking about the current one? My guess is not a lot, even though we have to take the current step before taking the next one. So let me tell you a story.

I used to ride my bicycle a lot on roads in the American West. I was obsessed, and I was even pretty decent at it. My friends and I used to do a long race from Logan, Utah, over three mountain passes to Jackson, Wyo. It was just over 200 miles, and we used to do it in 10 to 12 hours.

One year, the night before the race, I got wretchedly sick and was throwing up all night. By morning, it was clear I could not ride the whole way. But the thing about these races is that they’re team events. One of the ways you can help the team is simply ride in the front of your pack and bear the brunt of the wind so your teammates can draft off you and save energy.

There was a spot about 30 miles into the race where I knew I could exit the course, so I decided to make it just that far and use all my energy helping my teammates for that stretch.

Even 30 miles sounded like an awful lot to me that morning. But I had a coach who had been training me leading up to the race, and he was always trying to get me to focus only on the current breath.

The inhalation going in right now. The exhalation going out right now.

Then, we’d translate that way of thinking to the pedal stroke. He taught me how to ride one stroke at a time — how to focus on the current stroke.

I had no aspirations of finishing the race. I had no focus on the end goal. Instead, I just did what my coach taught me and rode completely focused on the current moment. All of a sudden, I looked up and noticed that I was at the 30-mile mark. I was feeling pretty good, so I decided not to quit.

“I’ll just go to the next break,” I thought.

As you may have guessed, I didn’t get off at the next break, either. Or the next one. Or the one after that. I just kept going, one stroke at a time, until the race was over. In the end, somehow, it ended up being my best-ever performance in that race.

Was it a fluke? A freak accident? Or maybe, just maybe, was there something to what my coach had taught me?

If I had focused on the next steps — and crossing the finish line for my fastest time ever — I never would have started the race in the first place. But when I focused on the process at the most basic level, everything clicked.

Of course, this isn’t just a biking story. This could apply to business, a relationship, a big project. It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about, because one fact is always the same.

The current step comes first. You have to focus here before you focus there.

This article was written by Carl Richards for the New York Times and was sent to AV by Leony deGraaf Hastings of deGraaf Financial Strategies. leony@dgfs.ca

Why Canada could be a good hedge for investors believing a global recession looms

Heightened recession fears amid lingering U.S.-China trade tensions and disappointing data have led to another round of bond yield declines and fuelled expectations of further central bank easing globally, including by the Bank of Canada.

But we believe Canada could outperform other developed economies amid a slowing global expansion. Canada could also continue to beat economists’ expectations about domestic growth, which should prevent the Bank of Canada from following in the footsteps of the Federal Reserve with a rate cut this year.

In fact, Canada could prove to be a good hedge for investors believing a global recession is coming.

DIVERGING MOMENTUM

We see diverging momentum over the next 12 months, with U.S. GDP growth slowing while Canadian GDP growth is more likely to pick from current levels.

Earnings momentum in Canada has outpaced the U.S. and most other developed markets over the last nine months. Over the next 12 months, a stable U.S. economy and the lagged effects of the weaker loonie will help support the Canadian economy and earnings.

Canada has been relatively unscathed by the trade war because of our smaller manufacturing sector than most major economies such as the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and Italy, several of them facing troubles of their own, including Germany, where the economy contracted in the second quarter and the auto sector is struggling.

Canada has also been among countries, alongside the U.S. and Australia, to register manufacturing PMIs above 50, signaling growth.

BEATING EXPECTATIONS

Not only has the Canadian economy showed resilience relative to most major countries, but it has performed better than economists’ expectations: the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index for Canada has had a positive reading all year, while the global index has been negative since the second quarter 2018.

Going forward, Canada could continue to surprise as we believe housing risks are overstated, while oil isn’t having the drag on the economy that most analysts expect.

In the oil sector, headwinds will persist until transportation issues are resolved, and investment will be further restrained as energy companies struggle to access credit markets. However, even with these challenges, the rest of the Canadian economy has been able to pick up the slack.

NO HOUSING BUBBLE IN CANADA

On the housing front, data don’t signal any bubble. House price increases in Canada, Toronto and Vancouver in particular, have been supported by a lack of supply. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also estimates that housing market vulnerability is now moderate in Canada, following 10 quarters of high vulnerability. Most notably, Vancouver is now moderate after three years of high vulnerability.

While we don’t expect a recession in Canada, it would be the biggest threat to the housing sector through the unemployment channel that would affect households’ ability to repay their mortgages.

We believe concerns over Canada’s high amount of household debt and the ability to repay it are exaggerated: the unemployment rate remains near its record low despite its increase to 5.7% in July, while interest rates are likely to decline further, and wage gains over the past year have kept pace with housing price increases.

GLOBAL RECESSION RISK INCREASES BUT NOT THE BASE CASE SCENARIO

Overall, while the risk of a recession has increased, we still believe the Canadian economy will continue to grow.

Our recession indicators have picked up recently, as the recent revisions to U.S. GDP have highlighted weaker investment and declining corporate profitability. However, the sharp decline in bond yields globally, across the curve, should diminish recession risks by supporting economic growth.

If a recession were to occur in the U.S. or on a more global scale, all bets would be off for the Canadian economy. Yet, it would hold up better relative to Japan, the euro zone, and the U.K., which have been hit harder than Canada by the trade war and idiosyncratic risks.

As a defensive stock market, Canada would hold up better than other major developed countries. The U.S. being Canada’s largest export market, the likely depreciation of the loonie against the greenback in a recession scenario would mitigate the impact of weaker economic activity. This all means that the Canadian market would be a good hedge if you think we’re headed for a global recession.

Still, before moving to an overweight in Canadian equities from our current neutral position, we will wait for confirmation from data that the Canadian economy will pick up. In the meantime, we prefer to take exposure via the currency and remain long the Canadian dollar.

Rachael Moir is a Quantitative Investment Analyst with the Investment Management and Strategy team at MD Financial Management. She is responsible for supporting strategic and tactical asset allocation and alternative investment mandates.

This Globe and Mail article was legally licensed by AdvisorStream and was provided by Leony deGraaf Certified Financial Adviser at deGraaf Financial Strategies 1-800- 775-7047 www.dgfs.ca

NDP fighting Ford’s cuts to Seniors care

Villa Colombo Toronto facing staff layoffs and higher fees

TORONTO — Doug Ford’s cuts to long-term care are taking away millions of dollars from homes across the province, and in Toronto, that will mean residents of Villa Colombo Toronto will see staff layoffs and higher fees.

Official Opposition NDP critic for Long-Term Care, Teresa Armstrong, held a press conference at Villa Colombo Toronto on Friday, joined by families of residents who called on the Ford government to stop the cuts. Armstrong addressed government memos, proposing the elimination of two long-term care funding streams, and called for a find-and-fix inquiry into long-term care.

“Families in Ontario are already concerned about the level of care their loved ones are receiving after years of Liberal underfunding of long-term care,” said Armstrong. “Doug Ford’s planned cuts will just make matters worse.”

At Villa Colombo Toronto, Ford’s cuts mean a loss of $122,361 in 2019 and $489,444 in 2020. Jobs will be lost, and residents will get even less hands-on care and support.

The cuts scheduled for Oct. 1 include the elimination of funding to help with staff wages and money for older homes to do necessary maintenance and repairs.

“Villa Colombo needs more staff, not less, to meet the needs of my mother and other residents,” said Julie Perl, Chair of the Family Council at the home. “If these cuts go ahead, the loss of support our parents get every day will be devastating for them, for all of us who love them, and for the health care workers who are trying their best.”

“It’s hard enough for the current staff to give residents the care they need,” said Nick and Anna Lo Iacono, who have a loved one at Villa Colombo. “But it will be impossible once staff are let go because of this government’s funding cuts.”

At the same time, Ford is raising the co-payment fees that long-term care residents pay by 2.3 per cent, which is one of the highest price hikes in the last decade. A middle class senior in care will pay about $500 more a year, as a result.

“Residents here at Villa Colombo and across Ontario deserve better than this. They raised our families, they built our province, and they cared for us,” said Armstrong. “New Democrats will fight these cuts — we don’t want seniors care dragged backwards, we want even better care for our loved ones.”

The NDP has called for a find-and-fix inquiry, which would look into the safety of residents and staff, funding, staffing levels, regulation, inspections, and more. For more than a year, the NDP has called for that inquiry to be a second phase of the Wettlaufer inquiry, which reported its recommendations Wednesday. Although the Wettlaufer inquiry’s mandate was specific to the conditions that failed to prevent a killer from attacking residents, Justice Eileen Gillese reported findings of understaffing and underfunding, and called out systemic problems in long-term care that leave residents vulnerable.

Stop sacrificing your retirement to coddle your adult children.

Half of American parents are risking their retirement savings to help support adult children, according to a recent survey.

A poll conducted by Bankrate.com asked parents: Would you say you have sacrificed or are sacrificing your retirement savings to help your adult children financially?

Fifty-one percent of respondents said, yes, they were jeopardizing their retirement security a lot or somewhat. Parents said they were paying, among other expenses, cellphone bills, car insurance premiums and housing costs.

Higher-earning parents were more likely to provide financial assistance compared with lower-earning parents. Sixty-one percent of parents making more than $80,000 per year said they were sacrificing their retirement to help support children 18 and older with their bills, while 54 percent of parents earning $40,000 to $80,000 said they are paying bills for their grown children.

“I think some parents are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to sending their children on their way, financially speaking,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate.com. “For some, it is because they see no other good alternatives, or they are unwilling to press the point, such as essentially kicking their children out or being more forceful in, say, divorcing them from the Netflix account.”

Pulling back financial support can be difficult when your adult child is starting out and struggling under the weight of student loans and high housing costs. But coddling them too long at the expense of your retirement security will eventually shift the financial burden to your children, who may not be able to handle the burden of your care.

“In some cases, for the parents, they are likely either failing to do their own homework to know how much money they will require in retirement, in denial, or overly optimistic how they will make up for it on the other side, perhaps by working part-time later,” Hamrick said.

I’m not opposed to extending parental resources to help them pay off debt or ease the financial burden on adult children who are trying to establish themselves.

“I don’t think it is exclusively a financial issue,” Hamrick said. “I think there are a variety of threads attached to the emotionally charged nature of their relationships. Because of the modern nature of more closely tied psychologically boomer parents and their adult children, some are willing to pay a price to keep them close to home.”

I’ve seen this first hand. Parents cannot let go financially for fear their children will struggle too much. Or they cling too long, enabling irresponsible adult children. The financial umbilical cord has to be cut or you are going to end up with an overindulged adult still treating you like his or her personal ATM.

Read: Should parents pay off $200,000 in law school loans for a son who ended up in rehab?

The question of sacrificing your retirement savings to help support an adult child reminds me of the instructions the flight attendants give just before takeoff.

Flight attendants instruct passengers to put on their oxygen masks first, even if traveling with a child — or someone acting like a child. As parents, we have to think of our financial life as an oxygen mask.

Why?

You have to fasten your mask first because if you’re gasping for air and pass out, you cannot help yourself or your child.

If you have enough saved for retirement and to assist an adult child who is doing his or her best to launch, that’s fine. But if you aren’t saving for retirement or investing enough, put your mask on first.

Secure your retirement first.

This article was written by Michelle Singletary from The Washington Post and was forwarded to Autumn View by Leony deGraaf Hastings – leony@dgfs.ca

Canada Doing the Worst Among G7 in Fight Against Climate Change: Report

The country’s climate plan isn’t enough, and the entire G7 needs to do more.

OTTAWA — The wealthiest countries in the world — including Canada — are lagging instead of leading in the fight against global warming, a new report says.

The Climate Action Network, a global association of more than 1,300 climate groups, issued a report card on the climate plans of the G7 nations ahead of the leaders’ summit in France this weekend. The groups hope to pressure the world’s wealthiest nations to step up their climate game, noting none of them is doing enough.

There is also a hope expressed in the report that the upcoming federal election in Canada might stimulate more ambitious action. Canada, the report says, is among the worst of the already bad G7 bunch.

Watch: France’s president calls for action following fires in the Amazon.

“It’s depressing,” said Catherine Abreu, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada. “The richest countries in the world are delivering the poorest performance and some of the smallest and poorest are leading the way.”

The report card says Canada’s current policies are consistent with global warming exceeding 4 C compared to pre-industrial levels, more than twice the stated goal of the Paris agreement of staying as close to 1.5 C as possible. The United States and Japan are also both in the 4 C category, while the other four G7 members, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, have policies consistent with more than 3 C in warming.

A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Canada is leading internationally with its initiative to wean the world off coal power, and financing projects in developing nations to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

“Over the past three and a half years, our government has delivered on an ambitious, affordable plan that is doing more to cut carbon pollution than any other federal government in Canada’s history,” Sabrina Kim said in a written statement.

But the Climate Action Network ranks Canada’s climate plan as having the same impact on global warming as the policies of the United States, where President Donald Trump has rejected the Paris agreement.

The report applauds Canada’s plan to eliminate coal as a source of electricity by 2030, the national price on pollution and the goal to stop selling combustion-engine cars by 2040. But it says all of the government plans “remain insufficient to meet Canada’s targets and the Paris Agreement.”

Watch: Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Story continues below.

Canada’s current targets were developed by the Conservatives in the spring of 2015, and maintained by the Liberals six months later when they signed on to the Paris agreement a few weeks after winning the election. The goal by 2030 is to cut emissions 30 per cent below what they were in 2005.

Last December, the Liberals said computer modelling suggested Canada will get just over halfway there — 16 per cent below 2005 levels — under current plans.

Many scientists also say Canada must cut more than twice as many emissions than planned if it is to pull its weight in the war on climate change.

Climate plans are proving to be a major part of most party platforms, with the NDP, Green and Conservatives already releasing at least the broad strokes of their environment promises. The Liberals are expected to release their climate platform next month.

McKenna has said several times that Canada will increase its emissions targets in 2020, when the Paris agreement requires it, but she hasn’t indicated how much more she will aim to cut.

The Conservative plan doesn’t specifically put a number on the goal, but does describe itself as “Canada’s best chance to meet the Paris targets.” The NDP aim to increase emissions cuts in line with what scientists demand. The Green Party promises to cut emissions by 2030 to 60 per cent below 2005 levels.

This article was taken from the UFCW Politics Now publication

“It’s depressing,” said Catherine Abreu, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada. “The richest countries in the world are delivering the poorest performance and some of the smallest and poorest are leading the way.”

The report card says Canada’s current policies are consistent with global warming exceeding 4 C compared to pre-industrial levels, more than twice the stated goal of the Paris agreement of staying as close to 1.5 C as possible. The United States and Japan are also both in the 4 C category, while the other four G7 members, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, have policies consistent with more than 3 C in warming.

A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Canada is leading internationally with its initiative to wean the world off coal power, and financing projects in developing nations to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

“Over the past three and a half years, our government has delivered on an ambitious, affordable plan that is doing more to cut carbon pollution than any other federal government in Canada’s history,” Sabrina Kim said in a written statement.

But the Climate Action Network ranks Canada’s climate plan as having the same impact on global warming as the policies of the United States, where President Donald Trump has rejected the Paris agreement.

The report applauds Canada’s plan to eliminate coal as a source of electricity by 2030, the national price on pollution and the goal to stop selling combustion-engine cars by 2040. But it says all of the government plans “remain insufficient to meet Canada’s targets and the Paris Agreement.”

Watch: Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Story continues below.

Canada’s current targets were developed by the Conservatives in the spring of 2015, and maintained by the Liberals six months later when they signed on to the Paris agreement a few weeks after winning the election. The goal by 2030 is to cut emissions 30 per cent below what they were in 2005.

Last December, the Liberals said computer modelling suggested Canada will get just over halfway there — 16 per cent below 2005 levels — under current plans.

Many scientists also say Canada must cut more than twice as many emissions than planned if it is to pull its weight in the war on climate change.

Climate plans are proving to be a major part of most party platforms, with the NDP, Green and Conservatives already releasing at least the broad strokes of their environment promises. The Liberals are expected to release their climate platform next month.

McKenna has said several times that Canada will increase its emissions targets in 2020, when the Paris agreement requires it, but she hasn’t indicated how much more she will aim to cut.

The Conservative plan doesn’t specifically put a number on the goal, but does describe itself as “Canada’s best chance to meet the Paris targets.” The NDP aim to increase emissions cuts in line with what scientists demand. The Green Party promises to cut emissions by 2030 to 60 per cent below 2005 levels.

This article was taken from the UFCW Politics Now publication

How Successful Hospital to Home Transitions Can Reduce Readmission

Posted on October 13, 2017

Gina Roberts-Grey

VIEW BIO

For more than 17 years, Gina Roberts-Grey has pored over studies and interviewed leading health experts on topics ranging from healthy longevity, aging, and caregiving to dementia, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Her work has been featured in publications like Woman’s Day, AARP, Oprah, Neurology Now and many more.

8 simple steps to ensuring a smooth transition home from the hospital and reducing the chances of readmission

Readmission to the hospital is a growing problem for America’s healthcare system. Data analyzed by Medicare says about 20 percent of the 35 million patients discharged from the U.S. health system return to the hospital within the 30 days 1.

Not having a strong and well-understood hospital to home care plan is one of the leading reasons patients find themselves returning to the hospital within days or weeks of discharge, and there are many easy-to-implement steps that can help prevent readmission.

Here are eight simple steps to preventing readmission for you or a loved one:

Geek out

Technology isn’t just for posting photos of your grandkids or watching a favorite show. Everything from in-home sensors, smart phone apps, remote monitoring and more are assisting and promoting patient care and engagement. A recent Mayo Clinic study says mobile and in-home devices have led to a 40 percent decrease in hospital readmission for cardiac rehabilitation patients (who are among the largest group readmitted) 2.

Before leaving the hospital, ask if utilizing technology to record, monitor and report daily healthcare data and activities should be part of your hospital to home care plan.

Communicate

Miscommunication is responsible for about one-quarter of all readmissions, says a 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine 3. “Asking questions is the easiest way to foster clear and concise communication,” says Katie Goodman, MSSA, LSW, a social worker at Marcus Pavilion /Menorah Park, a skilled nursing facility in Beachwood, Ohio

“There are no ‘silly’ questions and neither patients, nor their family members, should ever hesitate posing any question to the physician, treatment coordinator, discharge nurse, etc.”

Goodman suggests asking questions about recommendations for home care needs, the need for skilled nursing or skilled therapy, the degree of help recommended for activities of daily living and where you can hire help. “You can also ask about any specialized equipment needed, a home exercise therapy program, can your loved one be alone and so on.”

Not sure who to ask? Goodman says “one good resource is the social worker or case manager in the facility or hospital, who answer questions constantly throughout the day.”

Think beyond medical care

Too often patients and their loved ones attempt to shoulder the responsibility of transitioning home from the hospital on their own. However, building a connected care circle to rely on helps provide ongoing education, support and care oversight that increases patient outcomes and helps to prevent hospital readmission.

Before leaving the hospital, inquire about community support like Meal on Wheels programs or visiting clergy, as well as health services like physical therapy and/or follow-up visits to a physician or specialist. Goodman says utilizing such services can enhance a patient’s overall health and well-being, to lessen the chance of hospital readmission.

Manage medication

An analysis by the American Geriatrics Society says educating patients and their families prior to discharge cuts the chance of readmission by 25 percent 4. This includes brushing up on dosing and timing of all medications—including any newly added to a treatment plan during the trip to the hospital.

Amelia Roberts, BSN, RN, a registered nurse care coordinator in Washington D.C., says at-home medication errors is a huge problem. “Medication errors at home can send people back to the hospital. Sometime people get home with new medications and are unsure what to do with the old medications they still have at home. They may still take the old medicine which can have an adverse reaction or not taking the new/correct medication properly.”

Roberts suggests asking for a detailed and written medication plan patients and their family or advocate can refer to in the event at-home questions arise. “Make sure it indicates what—if anything—to do with other medicines the person was taking to avoid any confusion.”

Follow up

Before leaving the hospital, schedule and required follow-up appointments with a primary physician or required specialists within 10 days of discharge.

This step can slip through the cracks once a person is home and settling in. But it’s an important part of the hospital to home care plan that can help prevent readmission. The follow-up visit is a time to review medication adherence, side effects, etc., as well as physical therapy progress or wound/incision healing. It’s also a chance to ask questions that may help prevent confusion or complications that lead to readmission.

Fill the fridge

Having access to fresh food that complies with a person’s discharge plan is essential. Proper nutrition can aid the healing process post-surgery, help boost or sustain energy to successfully participate in physical therapy and even help adherence to medication that need to be taken with food to prevent nausea or maximize absorption.

Keep an eye on exercise

Goodman says another leading cause of returning to the hospital or skilled nursing facility is patients not maintaining the recommended exercise programs assigned by their physical therapist.

“The best we can do is ensure patients and their caregivers are educated on the importance of keeping up with exercise,” she explains. That includes having a written home exercise program with pictures on how to do the exercise.

“Patients should be set up with home care which includes a nurse and therapist visiting in their home setting and checking up regularly to insure exercising is occurring as prescribed.”

Speak up

Goodman stresses that no matter the circumstance, question or issue, the easiest way to ensure a smooth hospital to home transition is using your voice. “Never hesitate asking a question, explaining a concern or bringing up a change in your symptoms, care needs or ability to comply with recommended treatments. In many instances, that can be how to prevent hospital readmission.”

 Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK91986/
  2. http://www.mobihealthnews.com/31580/mayo-clinic-study-finds-app-reduces-cardiac-readmissions-by-40-percent
  3. http://fmc-reg.onecount.net/onecount/redirects/post-gateway.php?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mdedge.com%2Finternalmedicinenews%2Farticle%2F107263%2Fpractice-management%2F25-hospital-readmissions-may-be-preventable
  4. http://www.hcpro.com/ACC-329301-4634/Study-Single-step-reduces-readmissions-by-25.html

Government websites: spot the legitimate among the fakes 

From: Competition Bureau Canada

News release

Don’t fall for misleading scam sites seeking personal information or credit card data

August 29, 2019 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

Browsers beware: scammers are running fake websites meant to mimic real federal government ones. These misleading websites can easily appear to be authentic. The layout, the colour scheme, the red maple leaf graphic – it all looks right. These phony sites could fleece you out of money or personal information…or both!  

When reviewing your Internet search results for government services, don’t assume that the top hit is legitimate. Fake websites may also ask for your credit card information to access forms and services that are free on real government websites. Scammers may demand personal information generally not needed for the service you’re seeking, or they may promise to accelerate your government application, for a fee. Official Government of Canada websites will never ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account or send funds through a private money transfer service. Real government websites will never threaten you or offer “special deals” on government application fees.

Learn to recognize phony government websites:

  • Make sure your browser is up-to-date: Browser filters can help detect fake websites.
  • Look for contact information:Genuine Government of Canada websites will always list a point of contact. Look for Canada.ca or gc.ca e-mails with no typos. Official government websites will also never use private email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo mail or Gmail.
  • Look for both of Canada’s official languages:Information on federal government websites is always available in English and French.

If you’re unsure:

  • Don’t give out personal details:Avoid websites that demand that you transfer money or provide information such as bank account numbers or personal identification, like your Social Insurance Number.
  • Contact 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) and ask them if you’re on the right site.

If you believe you’ve been misled by a spoofed government website, contact the Competition Bureau and file a complaint by phone at 1-800-348-5358 or online

Long-term care pharmacy is critical for keeping our loved ones safe.

Pharmacy care in long-term care homes is essential and complex. Vulnerable seniors need as many as a dozen different drugs, at various times every day for multiple conditions. Many of these seniors are affected by dementia and rely on pharmacists and nurses to help them take and manage their medications.

Long-term care pharmacists and staff provide critical, front-line care services that protect our loved ones by making sure they get the medications they need, safely. Every day, they provide supports for seniors living in long-term care homes across Ontario, including services essential for resident safety, such as:

  • daily strip packaging of drugs to provide the right doses in the right combinations at the right times to the right person;
  • 24-hour access to clinical pharmacists at long-term care homes; and
  • state of the art technology that tracks and stores medicines to make sure they are in stock and dispensed safely.

The Ontario government is cutting pharmacy services in long-term care homes by almost 50%. Without the funding necessary to maintain these critical services, overburdened long-term care homes will be forced to do more with less, putting more seniors at risk of medication errors.

Medication errors, which can be life-threatening, are among the leading causes of seniors ending up in emergency rooms, or hospitalized, where they are at greater risk.

Our seniors are at risk. The recent report from the Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry led by Justice Eileen Gillese raised the urgent need for increased funding in Ontario’s long-term care homes for seniors’ medication management. Despite this, the government is doing the exact opposite.

Help stop the cuts!
Let your voice be heard.

Trivia Answers: 1. Beaver, 2. Lady Gaga, 3. Nine, 4. Alaska, 5. Paris 6. Angel Falls, Venezuela

 

  • January 2, 2020
  • February 6, 2020
  • March 5, 2020