News Stories of Interest, Monday, June 27, 2016

It’s Independence Day in Djibouti (from France in 1977). It’s Multiculturalism Day in Canada, by Royal Proclamation on Nov. 13, 2002. Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: “This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.” It’s also Mixed Race Day in Brazil and Seven Sleepers Day in Germany, which is sort of like Teutonic Groundhog Day.

Dozens of Covenant Health nurses paid over $150,000

Dozens of Covenant Health’s registered nurses and nurse practitioners were paid more than $150,000 a year, according to salaries disclosed for the first time under the NDP government’s new "Sunshine List." The disclosure also includes the salary, and contract, of Covenant Health Chief Executive Officer Patrick Dumelie. At more than $560,000, Dumelie’s pay in 2015 appears to be a reduction of nearly $300,000 from 2013, reported at $826,000 per year. CBC suggests Covenant may simply not be reporting CEO pay from other sources.

Canada Post strike could halt snail mail delivery by Friday

A breakdown in negotiations between Canada Post Corp. and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers could see mail service across the country grind to a halt. Or not, depending on what CUPW decides to do and how the negotiations go between now and then.

Elisabeth Ballermann of HSAA steps down after 21 years

The provincial union representing paramedics, occupational therapists, laboratory technicians and other health workers will get a new leader for the first time in more than two decades.
Elisabeth Ballermann, who has served as president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta since 1995, will resign her position Aug. 20. The association made the announcement Saturday, the same day Ballermann was acclaimed as secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees. FYI, Mike Parker will take over as HSAA president.

Mental health calls spike in Edmonton

The number of people Edmonton city police have taken for mental health assessments has jumped by 25 per cent in the past year. Bed closures at Alberta Hospital have only amplified the problem, Chief Rod Knecht told a legislative committee meeting recently, leaving officers with just four sites to which they can take someone.

Assisted-dying law faces new challenge

A B.C. woman with spinal muscular atrophy is joining the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association to challenge the federal government’s new assisted dying legislation. She said that if her condition worsens, she could find herself trapped in physical and mental suffering for years and even decades.

AHS celebrates ‘countless acts of heroism’ in Fort Mac

Alberta Health Services made sure the efforts of their Fort McMurray during last month’s evacuation was not forgotten. During a celebration Friday at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu, Area 10 Senior Operating Director David Matear and Councillor Keith McGrath spoke to staff in the hospital’s cafeteria cafeteria, thanking them for their efforts.

Alberta WCB boss paid close to a million dollars last year

New salary disclosures from the Alberta government reveal that the head of the Workers’ Compensation Board was paid almost $900,000 last year. The salary for Guy Kerr, posted online by the province, shows he was paid $742,000 in base salary along with $154,000 in added benefits.

Fentanyl antidote kits from non-profits saving lives

A program to distribute take-home naxolone kits to drug users has prevented 119 deaths in central Alberta over the last year, CBC reports. Inside the world of drug users who experiment with unregulated drugs. Prescribing practices have contributed to opioid addiction in Canada.

St. Albert to get new first-responder radios

St. Albert first responders will soon be better equipped to deal with disasters and emergency situations. The NDP government announced that the province-wide radio communication system known as AFRRCS (Alberta First Responder Radio Communication System), will be officially coming online July 1.

Study says teen checkups should include suicide risk screen

Suicide is among the leading causes of death in U.S. adolescents and while it’s not entirely preventable, doctors can minimize the risk by asking the right questions during routine checkups, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

Asbestos related cancer costs Canada billions

A first-ever estimate of the toll of asbestos-related cancers on society pegs the cost of new cases at $1.7-billion per year in Canada, and notes that is likely an under-estimate.

Historic nurses’ strike averted at Boston hospital

The 3,300 Brigham and Women’s Hospital nurses, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have reached a tentative agreement with the hospital that protects safe patient care, enhances hospital security, successfully fights off attempts to implement non-union benefits for new nurses and includes a fair wage increase.

Minnesota nurse strike leads to union care complaints

The Minnesota Nurses Association announced a series of filings with regulatory agencies on Friday alleging problems in patient care at five not-for-profit Minnesota hospitals that are affected by a nursing strike until Sunday morning.

David Climenhaga
Communications Advisor
United Nurses of Alberta
780-425-1025 (Office)
780-717-2943 (Cellular)