Accomplishments mark progress made to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
OTTAWA, Dec. 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, highlighted the Government's key accomplishments in protecting the health and safety of Canadians in 2014.
Most notably, the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa's Law) passed through Parliament. With this law, Canadians will be better informed about medications they are prescribed, and the Government will be empowered to recall unsafe products from the market. Vanessa's Law introduces the most profound and important changes to the Food and Drugs Act that have been made since it was introduced more than 50 years ago.
Also of significant importance, the Public Health Agency of Canada has been working with all levels of government to stop the spread of the Ebola virus to Canada. Preventing further transmission of the Ebola virus is essential to controlling the current outbreak. Canada is making every possible effort to improve current safety measures. This includes:
- Launching the "Join The Fight Against Ebola" recruitment campaign to promote the recruitment of Canadian healthcare workers through the Canadian Red Cross;
- Working with the Provinces and Territories on domestic readiness and supporting further development of Ebola medical countermeasures – namely Canada's Ebola vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatments;
- Enhancing public health measures at the border;
- Contributing to the international response;
- Launching Phase I clinical trial for Canada's experimental Ebola vaccine (VSV-EBOV) and a call for expressions of interest in Phase 2/3 clinical trials in Africa;
- Deploying mobile laboratories to Sierra Leone to assist with the outbreak response.
To date, the Government of Canada has contributed over $110 million at home and abroad to help combat Ebola in West Africa.
This year also saw the launch of Health Canada's Regulatory Transparency and Openness Framework and Action Plan. With this focus on openness and transparency about regulatory decision-making, Health Canada has begun regularly posting practical, understandable summaries of drug product safety reviews. In addition to the annual inspection summary report that is already posted under the Transparency Framework, we are now publishing more detailed inspection information on domestic companies and facilities, including inspection dates, license status, types of risks observed and measures taken by Health Canada.
The Minister of Health also launched the Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation, chaired by Dr. David Naylor. The Panel has been asked to identify promising areas of innovation within the healthcare system and to advise on how the federal government can better support those ideas.
Minister Ambrose also took a moment to highlight some of the other notable achievements that have taken place across the Health Portfolio over the past year including:
- Keeping our children active and healthy by supporting dynamic initiatives such as The Play Exchange, Canada's Active Living Challenge; the Build Our Kids' Success (BOKS) before school physical activity program; and the RBC Learn to Play project;
- Co-hosting a symposium focused on identifying actions to address prescription drug abuse and addiction, bringing together over 40 people, including officials from different levels of government, doctors, pharmacists, First Nations representatives, law enforcement and addictions specialists to discuss prescription drug abuse;
- Proposing changes to nutrition information on food labels, an important decision that was a result of consulting with everyday Canadians;
- Joining with the Cancer Society to launch the "Break It Off" smoking cessation campaign to encourage young adults to end their "bad relationship" with smoking;
- Providing Canadians with the ability to record and store vaccination information, access/manage vaccination schedules and appointments through a brand new mobile ImmunizeCA app;
- Improving the performance of Canada's food safety system by introducing new Inspection Verification Teams (IVT);
- Empowering consumers with the option to know when they are buying mechanically tenderized beef through new labelling requirements;
- Making it easier for Canadians to choose gluten-free foods;
- Co-hosting a round table with the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and 12 national healthcare and mental health organizations, seeking advice, guidance and commitment on how best to prevent and respond to family violence and child maltreatment;
- Launching "Stop Family Violence", a new web-based source of current information for health professionals and the public.
- Co-hosting a roundtable at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) on family violence and child abuse, focussing on the roles that health professionals play in prevention and in supporting victims.
- Tackling prescription drug abuse and marijuana use among teens by launching the Preventing Drug Abuse Media Campaign, which equips parents with the information and tools needed to talk with their teenagers about the harmful effects of prescription drug abuse and marijuana use;
- Proposed regulatory amendments that would further restrict flavoured tobacco products that appeal to youth;
- Following through with promises made in the 2013 Speech from the Throne by improving plain-language labelling for drug products;
- Taking steps to protect Canadians from drugs that are at high risk of abuse by launching consultations on tamper-resistant properties for prescription drugs;
- Continuing with our commitment to provide access to safe, clean drinking water to First Nations by launching online consultations for the development of water regulations in conjunction with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada;
- Teaming up with Canadian Blood Services to rally Canadians to donate blood at a local clinic and/or register to become organ and tissue donors;
- Taking action to better inform consumers of the dangers of tanning beds by introducing stronger labelling requirements on these devices;
- Delivering on our commitment to explore the relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and health effects by releasing the findings of the Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study;
- Taking steps to improve the level of protection for workers handling hazardous materials in the workplace by through new classification and labelling requirements;
- Working with our North American partners in United States and Mexico to strengthen information sharing in health emergencies;
- Protecting Canadians from infectious diseases with the Lyme Disease Action Plan and a new framework on tuberculosis prevention and control;
- Launch of Antimicrobial Resistance and Use in Canada: A Federal Framework for Action and launch of Antibiotic Awareness Campaign;
- Expanding Canada's capacity to combat a range of established and emerging infectious diseases by opening a world class infectious disease research hub;
- Making important and significant investments in health research under the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), such as launching the Manitoba SUPPORT Unit, the Newfoundland and Labrador SUPPORT Unit, and the Network in Adolescent and Youth Mental Health; investing in sarcoma cancer research and maternal and child health, and supporting Stand Up to Cancer Canada;
- Delivering on global dementia research commitments in announcing 32 Brain Research Projects;
- Releasing Mapping Connections: An Understanding of Neurological Conditions in Canada, which presents the findings from the most comprehensive study of neurological conditions ever to be conducted in Canada;
- Releasing the National Dementia Research and Prevention Plan, a publication outlining the Government of Canada's investments, partnerships and key initiatives related to dementia research and prevention to improve the standards of care and reduce the burden on families dealing with dementia;
- Announcing the intention to work with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to bring "Dementia Friends" to Canada in the coming year. Dementia Friends will help Canadians become better informed about how they can support people living with dementia in their communities;
- Investing, along with the True Patriot Love Foundation, in the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research aimed at improving research capacity devoted to the health and wellness of Canadian Forces personnel, Veterans, and their families.
"The end of a calendar year allows us each a unique opportunity – while surrounded by family and friends over the holidays - to reflect on our recent accomplishments. As Minister of Health, and with the dedicated and talented members of the Health Portfolio, I know that we've accomplished a great deal in making Canada, and the world, a healthier and safer place this year. I wish all of you a happy, healthy and safe 2015 and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next 12 months."
Minister of Health
Minister's Video Message: Year in Review
Minister's Video Message: Vanessa's Law
Minister's Video Message: Healthy Living
Minister's Video Message: Protecting Canadians
Minister's Video Message: Innovation and Research
SOURCE: Health Canada
For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Health Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709; Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media