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LEX-ATLAS: COVID-19

CHLPE's Colleen M. Flood and Bryan Thomas are public health sub-editors for Lex-Atlas: COVID-19 (LAC19). With nearly 200 jurists participating, this large-scale international project builds a report and analysis of national legal responses to COVID-19 around the world. National responses have varied considerably. Epidemiological performance is but one measure, and a difficult one to judge when transparency is doubtful. Countries have employed emergency powers differently, but understanding them requires attention to the broader constitutional structure in which they are situated. It is hoped LAC19 will assist policy makers in future pandemic preparedness, to fashion ongoing responses to COVID-19, and to assist scholars and historians to come to evaluative judgments of state responses. The project is also a great source for original news and analysis articles, blog posts, and more.

Go to Lex-Atlas: COVID-19 >

Read Editorial (part I): Mandatory vaccination and the law (Bryan Thomas, co-author) >

Read Editorial (part II): Conditional policies and vaccine passports (Bryan Thomas, co-author) >

Read more >

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2021-09-20
CARING OVER THE LIFECYCLE: THE ROLES OF FAMILIES AND WELFARE STATES TODAY AND INTO THE FUTURE

CHLPE's Michael Wolfson is Principal Investigator on WellCare, a CIHR-funded project investigating the future of elder care. WellCare is part of a broader international endeavour headed by the EU under the banner Better Lives, Better Years.

An increasing proportion of the population at higher ages combined with increasing life expectancies and declining birth rates could generate major tensions for meeting Canada's elder care needs by 2050. Such needs are approached by some combination of informal care provided by family members and formal care either privately purchased or from publicly funded government programs. The WellCare project will compare the many ways formal and informal care is provided across four countries—Spain, Austria, the U.K., and Canada. With this analysis, complemented by computer modelling, the project will illuminate alternative approaches to meeting caring responsibilities. A central aspect of the analysis will be inter-generational equity. The results will include new insights and actionable policy ideas for Canada. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch at healthlaw@uottawa.ca.

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2021-09-20
OPINION: THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION MUST STOP ITS ATTACK ON TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION

Chair of CHLPE's Advisory Board, Professor David Sweanor, was one of four signatories to a letter to the World Health Organization in response to its approach to tobacco harm reduction: "The World Health Organisation puts the death toll from tobacco use at over eight million people annually and suggests an economic cost of US$1.4 trillion in health care burdens and lost productivity. The burning question is what WHO and governments are doing about this. Our concern is that the response of the World Health Organisation is inadequate, based on flawed science and poor analysis, and compromised by special interests..."

Read the letter to WHO >

Accompanying media website >

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2021-09-20
COVID-19 VACCINES EXPIRING IN WEALTHY NATIONS AS DEVELOPING WORLD STRUGGLES

While the world’s wealthiest countries are paying hesitant citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and stockpiling vaccine supply for potential booster shots, the developing world is struggling to get even a first vaccine into the arms of its citizens. The fact that some of this supply is about to reach its expiration date just adds insult to injury. Adam Houston writes in BioSpace...
Full text >

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2021-09-20
SUMMER INSTITUTE 2021 WRAPS

CHLPE's first Summer Institute in Health Law ran in August, focussing on issues of COVID-19. The Institute was comprised of 11 morning/afternoon sessions helmed by 14 professors. 33 attendees including students, nurses, physicians, lawyers, policymakers, researchers, and more completed the program. We had hundreds of applications for a very limited number of spots. But this was only the first in an annual series of Summer Institutes, so we look forward to welcoming a new cohort next year. Congrats to our first round of alumni!

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2021-09-20
REGULATING ADAPTIVE MACHINE LEARNING ENABLED MEDICAL DEVICES

Michael Da Silva, Post-Doctoral Fellow at CHLPE and Lead Research Associate on the AI + Society Initiative, has been appointed to a Health Canada external reference group to tackle how to regulate "adaptive machine learning" artificial intelligence (AI) in medical devices. Such AI changes its operation in response to data acquired over time, with the aim of improving its performance. For example, a device for diabetes management could adapt based on how a patient’s body responds to treatment. This is an exciting advance but it also prevents us from fully know how a device's risks will evolve with use. By current Health Canada regulations, this effectively bars such devices from the Canadian market. The reference group will advise on ways to evolve our regulations to open the door to adaptive AI without unduly compromising safety standards.

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2021-09-20
UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER IN A PANDEMIC

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in 2020, Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) entered the public spotlight like never before. Amidst this increased visibility, the role is deeply contested. Much of the disagreement concerns whether CMOs should act independently of the government: while some argue CMOs should act as independent voices who work to shape government policy to protect public health, others stress that CMOs are civil servants whose job is to support the government. Such debates about the CMO role can be explained by its inherently contradictory nature, which requires incumbents to balance their commitments as physicians with their mandates as civil servants...

Margaret Macaulay, Patrick Fafard and Adèle Cassola write in the Globe and Mail as well as a deeper take in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

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