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2020-11-30
IS IT "HOARDING" OR GOOD PLANNING? CANADA LEADS WORLD IN PROCURING COVID-19 VACCINE

Canada has pre-ordered far more COVID-19 vaccine per capita, and from more potential suppliers, than any other country. And that includes the two manufacturers—Pifzer and Moderna—that recently reported promising results on the effectiveness of their products. But to international development organizations, Canada’s accomplishment is something else—a sign of how rich countries are “hoarding” coronavirus vaccine in a way that will deprive poorer nations for months or years. The moral question aside, they argue that that’s a self-defeating strategy given the risk that outbreaks will continue to occur in Canada until all countries have been sufficiently immunized. CHLPE's Jason Nickerson is cited in the National Post.

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Jason Nickerson also recently appeared on TVO's The Agenda – "Tracking Canada’s Vaccine Race":

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...and before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs as part of their study on Vulnerabilities Created and Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic:

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2020-11-30
ON THE WITNESS STAND: DISRUPTING BIG TOBACCO

David Sweanor, Chair of CHLPE's External Advisory Committee and the first lawyer globally to work full-time in public policy advocacy against big tobacco, recently testified before the Parliament of Australia's Select Committee on Tobacco Harm Reduction. The brief transcript makes for an interesting conversation about the disruptive effect of vaping technologies on big tobacco companies:

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2020-11-30
WHAT CAN THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR ALBERTA DO?

Professor Patrick Fafard (Public Policy) was interviewed by CBC Radio in Calgary about the role and powers of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, and how her role compares to that of her counterparts in other countries. Does Dr. Deena Hinshaw have the power to lock the province down? Or is that Premier Kenney's call in the end?

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2020-11-30
KAREN ELTIS CITED BY SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

Professor Karen Eltis’s work was cited in the November Supreme Court decision Quebec (Attorney General) v. 9147-0732 Québec inc. The court grappled with looking to foreign and international legal sources to aid in interpreting the Canadian Charter’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. In doing so, it looked to Karen Eltis’s work on comparative constitutional law and the “living tree” approach to Charter interpretation.

Read McCarthy Tetrault’s summary of the case >

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2020-11-30
THE LIFE-SAVING MEDICINE SHE NEEDS IS CHEAP, COMMON, AND UNAVAILABLE IN CANADA

While doctors removed a rare parasite growing on Cassidy Armstrong's liver before it killed her, she doesn't know if she'll receive the medication she'll need for the rest of her life. Her temporary supply of the drug is running out and she's still waiting for Health Canada to provide long-term access. CHLPE Ph.D. candidate Adam Houston is quoted in CBC News.

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2020-10-28
MIND-BRAIN-LAW READING GROUP RESTARTS

Mind-Brain-Law is a multi-disciplinary discussion group for people interested in the ethical, legal and social impact of the science and technology of the brain and mind. The group selects a recent interesting and important journal article to read and discuss, and uses it as a jumping-off point to explore broader implications. The group is open to students, scholars, and practitioners, both locally and nationally/internationally. The first meeting of 2020–21 will be on November 17. Spots are limited—RSVP is required.

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2020-09-25
RECONCILING CIVIL LIBERTIES AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Today the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) released a policy briefing entitled Reconciling Civil Liberties and Public Health in the Response to COVID-19, co-authored by several CHLPE members. Click to download the report or its executive summary.

The RSC has broadly developed resources and reports to ensure open access to independent, evidence-based science regarding COVID-19: https://rsc-src.ca/en/covid-19.

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2020-09-10
B.C. COURT DISMISSES CAMBIE SURGERIES CLAIM

The Supreme Court of British Columbia released its decision in Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia (Attorney General). The plaintiffs claimed that provisions in the Medicare Protection Act violate rights under ss. 7 and 15 of the Charter, specifically the right to life, liberty, and security of the person and the right to equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination. The court did not find an infringement of either section (finding that an infringement of security of the person was nonetheless in accordance with principles of fundamental justice). The case is expected to end in the Supreme Court of Canada.
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See also the recent book Is Two-Tier Health Care the Future?, a dive into the public-private health care debate in Canada.

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2020-09-10
ADDRESSING VULNERABILITIES FOR A MORE EQUITABLE PANDEMIC RESPONSE

Vulnerabilities and interconnectedness at the centre of the COVID-19 pandemic are examined in this new series of articles in Policy Options. At issue are the vulnerabilities of people harmed by the virus directly as well as those harmed by our measures to slow the virus’s march; vulnerabilities in our institutions, governance and legal structures; and vulnerabilities in other countries and the global level.
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2020-09-10
COMMUNICATION ABOUT COVID-19 FROM PROVINCIAL CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS OF HEALTH

Professor Patrick Fafard (Public Policy) is first author on a study of to what extent messaging by provincial chief medical officers of health varied across jurisdictions and over time in the early months of the pandemic.
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2020-09-10
COVID-19 AND VACCINE NATIONALISM: AFRICA’S PATHWAY TO ACCESS

Professor Chidi Oguamanam (Law) addresses the lack of credible statistics on the extent of the COVID-19 infection in African countries and the absence of significant palliatives for ordinary citizens, businesses and corporations.
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2020-09-10
COVID-19 SHINES AN UNFLATTERING LIGHT ON MANY OF CANADA'S VULNERABILITIES

As countries scramble to develop a vaccine to combat COVID-19, consider the possibility that although your taxes are funding a great deal of that research and testing, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be inoculated if and when a vaccine becomes available. Why? Because it’s possible that the patent will be owned by a pharmaceutical company that will decide who can get it and how much they’ll have to pay for it. The Ottawa Citizeninterviews Colleen Flood on the conception and delivery of the book Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19, where 40 contributors address this and many similar topics.
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2020-09-10
HOW CAN I SAFELY RETURN TO WORK DURING THE PANDEMIC?

Staying healthy as work resumes for many is going to require employees to not only strictly adhere to preventative measures — like hand hygiene and physical distancing — but to know their rights, say experts in infectious disease and occupational health and safety law. CBC interviews Prof. Katherine Lippel (Law) among others.
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2020-08-17
OUR POST-PANDEMIC FUTURE

In the weeks and months ahead, politicians, policy experts, academics, businesses, non-profit organizations and the broader public will have to make important choices as we rebuild our lives, societies and the international order. Vanessa MacDonnell, Sophie Thériault, and Sridhar Venkatapuram write in iPolitics.

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2020-08-17
OTTAWA MUST PUT DATA FIRST AND TIE TO HEALTH FUNDING

The federal government looks yet again about to transfer billions of dollars to the provinces with essentially no strings attached. One major quid pro quo could address Canada’s profound lack of high-quality data, especially highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While U.S. analysts are able in near real time to estimate and project COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths down to the county level, Canada is barely able to produce comparable data by province… Professor Michael Wolfson writes in the Toronto Star.

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2020-08-17
THERE’S A DRUG TO TREAT COVID-19, BUT CANADA MUST ACT SOON TO ENSURE ACCESS

There’s a drug treatment demonstrated to shorten a patient’s recovery time from COVID-19. But the U.S. just bought it all up. Why compulsory licensing is the right tool for right now—Adam Houston writes in the Tyee.

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Read more by Adam Houston in healthydebate.ca:

New Tricks for Old Drugs? Canada Must Change How It Accesses Essential Medicines

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2020-08-17
CANADA NEEDS TO START TAKING LONG-TERM CARE MORE SERIOUSLY

One of the reckonings Canada must face in the eventual aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic is the failure of many long-term care facilities to protect their residents from the disease. How bad is it? To date, 81% of the people who have died from COVID-19 in Canada have been residents of nursing homes. In comparable countries, the toll has been much lower. The Globe and Mail editorial board write based on a report by the Royal Society of Canada.

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Read also the original report by the RSC Task Force on COVID-19, of which CHLPE Director Colleen Flood is a member:

Restoring Trust: COVID-19 and The Future of Long-Term Care

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2020-08-17
IMMUNITY CHECKS COULD HELP ENSURE FANS’ SAFETY AT SPORTING EVENTS

CHLPE Dr. Kumanan Wilson suggests that proof of coronavirus immunity can be a way to ensure the safety of those who attend certain arenas when sports finally emerge from their slumber. In the New York Post.

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2020-08-17
COVID-19 AND CANADA’S MOBILE LABOUR FORCE

Since mid-March, Canadians have been told the best way to control the pandemic is for them to go home and stay home. Still, an immobilised population requires access to essential goods and services including health and home care, food, manufacturing (as for medical supplies), construction and maintenance, and transportation services for goods and people who are still mobile. Over the past eight years, the On the Move Partnership (OTM) has examined what we call the “mobile labour force”, the roughly 15% of the Canadian workforce who engage in complex/extended daily mobility like travel to other regions or provinces/territories, transportation and fisheries workers, and international labour migrants.

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2020-08-17
MORE CANADIANS ARE REFUSING WORK DUE TO COVID-19—BUT IT'S TOUGH TO GET AUTHORITIES TO AGREE

Data on work refusals reported to provincial labour authorities shows there's been a spike in the number of people who have formally refused to work citing dangerous conditions. But virtually none of those work refusals are being upheld, which may illustrate just how unprepared existing labour laws are for dealing with COVID-19. Feat. Professor Katherine Lippel in CBC News.

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2020-06-22
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS WANTS TRUDEAU TO COMMIT TO FAIR ACCESS TO COVID-19 VACCINES

The government of Canada is full of good intentions but in the global race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, Doctors Without Borders says that’s not good enough. CHLPE's Dr. Jason Nickerson, a population health expert who’s worked in some of the world’s toughest hot spots, says the Canadian government needs to back up its words. In the Toronto Star.

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2020-06-22
TRACKING PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN GLOBAL COVID-19 RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Researchers around the world are racing to develop COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. However, there are no guarantees about whether these will be affordable and accessible to all people. This tracking tool aims to map where public funding and taxpayer-supported R&D initiatives are taking place in order to better support policy making that will use every means necessary to ensure that vaccines and therapies are affordable to all. Maintained by the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines; the Student National Medical Association; and the American Medical Student Association.

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2020-06-22
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A VACCINE STILL RAISES A LOT OF QUESTIONS

Where are we at with the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be distributed when it exists? Professor Patrick Fafard (Political Studies) contributes on Radio-Canada.

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2020-06-22
AS THE RACE FOR A VACCINE RAMPS UP, SO DO CALLS FOR VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION

Researchers are carrying out trials at an unprecedented pace in efforts to bring a successful vaccine to market in a matter of months instead of years. And although vaccine-related reactions are rare, experts say a fast vaccine—especially one developed using new technology—may come with unknown risks. Experts warn we have fallen short in developing a fund to compensate those who may be injured. CHLPE's Dr. Kumanan Wilson (Internal Medicine) contributes. In CTV News.

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