McGuinty Government Supports Emergency Workers on the Job



    Mandatory Blood Testing Speeds Up Results, Provides Peace Of Mind

    TORONTO, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is protecting emergency
workers who may have been exposed to bloodborne illnesses on the job,
Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter said today.
    "We want to do everything we can to protect those who work so hard to
protect us," said Kwinter. "Faster, more effective blood testing will help
give our emergency workers and their families the peace of mind they deserve."

    
    The newly proclaimed Mandatory Blood Testing Act, 2006, will immediately
    begin protecting emergency workers by:

      - Making it faster to order a blood sample to determine if a person has
        been exposed to certain communicable diseases
      - Reducing the voluntary compliance period to provide a sample from
        seven days to two days
      - Reducing the time it takes to obtain a blood sample from more than
        two months to less than three weeks.

    The Mandatory Blood Testing Act, 2006, builds on the government's ongoing
    efforts to protect workers and their families. Other measures include:

      - Amending the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to compensate
        firefighters for fire-related illnesses
      - Hiring 200 new health and safety inspectors to complete inspections
        of high-risk workplaces up to four times a year
      - Introducing a new regulation to protect people who work in confined
        spaces.

    "Our emergency workers bravely put their lives on the line to keep us
safe," said Kwinter. "This new law will help protect those workers and make
sure they can do their jobs with greater confidence."

    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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                           MANDATORY BLOOD TESTING
    

    The government has reduced the time needed to process a request for a
mandatory blood test, to less than three weeks. Previously, the process could
take more than two months.
    The Mandatory Blood Testing Act, 2006, ensures that police officers,
firefighters, correctional services staff and others get faster access to
information that can help them decide on the best way to reduce the risk of
illness should they be exposed to a serious disease.
    Persons providing emergency first aid can be exposed to bloodborne
diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Victims of crime, Good
Samaritans and others could be similarly exposed.

    
    Blood testing has been streamlined by:

      - Reducing the time allowed for individuals to voluntarily provide a
        blood sample from seven days to two days
      - Giving the authority to issue mandatory blood testing orders to the
        Consent and Capacity Board
      - Requiring the Consent and Capacity Board to complete a hearing and
        issue an order within eight days of receiving an application
      - Requiring a blood sample to be taken within seven days following an
        order from the Consent and Capacity Board.
    

    The Consent and Capacity Board is an independent body that conducts
hearings under the Mental Health Act, the Health Care Consent Act, the
Personal Health Information Protection Act and the Substitute Decisions Act.
The members of the board include psychiatrists, lawyers and members of the
public.
    Further information on the new legislation and the associated forms can
be found on the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services website
at www.ontario.ca/bloodtesting.

    
    Contact:
    Anthony Brown, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services,
    (416) 314-7772

    Disponible en français

                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Annette Phillips, Minister's Office, (416)
326-8265, (647) 205-6598 (cellular); Anthony Brown, Communications Branch,
(416)314-7772

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Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

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