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International Survey Of Older Adults Finds Shortcomings In Access, Coordination, And Patient-Centered Care

November 20, 2014 Comments off

International Survey Of Older Adults Finds Shortcomings In Access, Coordination, And Patient-Centered Care
Source: Health Affairs

Industrialized nations face the common challenge of caring for aging populations, with rising rates of chronic disease and disability. Our 2014 computer-assisted telephone survey of the health and care experiences among 15,617 adults age sixty-five or older in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States has found that US older adults were sicker than their counterparts abroad. Out-of-pocket expenses posed greater problems in the United States than elsewhere. Accessing primary care and avoiding the emergency department tended to be more difficult in the United States, Canada, and Sweden than in other surveyed countries. One-fifth or more of older adults reported receiving uncoordinated care in all countries except France. US respondents were among the most likely to have discussed health-promoting behaviors with a clinician, to have a chronic care plan tailored to their daily life, and to have engaged in end-of-life care planning. Finally, in half of the countries, one-fifth or more of chronically ill adults were caregivers themselves.

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New Comparative Law Report — Approval of Medical Devices

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Approval of Medical Devices (PDF)
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report describes the approval process for medical devices in the European Union and fifteen countries, and also indicates whether or not an expedited approval procedure is available. Many of the countries reference EU law, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Israel more readily approves devices with a CE mark (indicating approval in the EU) or an indication that they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In many nations, particularly those influenced by the EU, part of the review process is conducted not by the government but by private, independent organizations called “notified bodies.” These organizations are designated by EU Member States.

In most of the countries in the survey, medical devices are categorized based on the risks associated with their use, and the approval process varies by category. For example, in the United Kingdom, manufacturers of low-risk devices may register with the government agency and simply declare that the devices meet the requirements to be approved. Devices classed as higher risk must undergo more detailed review, by a notified body.

On the question of an expedited approval process, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Spain, and Switzerland permit some sort of rapid review in particular cases, often when a device is required for an individual patient and no substitute is available. Mexico has provided for more rapid approval of devices if they have already been approved in either Canada or the United States. No such procedure exists at present in Brazil, France, Israel, the Russian Federation, or the United Kingdom. The Russian Federation did have a rapid approval system in place prior to August 2014. Germany provides for temporary approval of devices in limited circumstances. South Africa is now considering draft legislation that would include expedited procedures in specified situations.

CA — Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages – Annual Report

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages – Annual Report
Source: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Discusses the activities of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. It informs parliamentarians and Canadians about the status of official languages in Canada and contains recommendations to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the Official Languages Act. Examines Canada’s official languages in terms of political leadership, leadership in public administration, services to the public, language in the federal workplace, and promotion of linguistic duality.

Managing Tax Debt in Canada: A Challenge for Public Finances

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Managing Tax Debt in Canada: A Challenge for Public Finances
Source: Library of Parliament

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for administering income tax, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) and most other taxes on behalf of the federal government. The CRA also has agreements with all provinces and territories, except Quebec, to collect provincial and territorial taxes on their behalf.

One of the CRA’s main responsibilities is to ensure that taxpayers meet their obligations by paying the taxes they owe. In Canada, 94% of individuals and 90% of corporations pay their taxes on time and without CRA intervention.

When the CRA is unable to collect the amounts owing in a timely manner, this is referred to as tax debt. Despite the CRA’s best efforts, this tax debt is steadily growing. As of 31 March 2013, it was $31 billion,3 an increase of $2 billion (or nearly 7%) over the previous year.

This publication addresses the issue of tax debt as it relates to Canada’s public finances. It first presents the concept of “tax debt.” It then discusses the changes to federal tax debt in recent years – and related concepts – and presents the observations of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada on this subject. The final part of this paper analyzes the legislative framework related to the collection of tax debt.

Where is the best and worst place to be a woman in Canada?

November 7, 2014 Comments off

Where is the best and worst place to be a woman in Canada?
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Where is the best and worst place in Canada to be a woman? According to our latest study, Québec City is the best place to be a woman and Edmonton the worst.

The study, by Senior Researcher Kate McInturff, ranks Canada’s 20 largest metropolitan areas based on a comparison of how men and women are faring in five areas: economic security, leadership, health, personal security, and education. As stated by McInturff, Canada has ensured equal access to education and health care for women, but that hasn’t translated into security at home or promotion at work.

CA — 2013-14 Privacy Act Annual Report to Parliament

November 4, 2014 Comments off

2013-14 Privacy Act Annual Report to Parliament
Source: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The year in particular was marked by the continuation of a long-running debate in Canada about lawful access to subscriber information along with a series of ongoing revelations about state surveillance activities that had impact globally as well as within our borders.

As another indicator, statistics show there was a continued rise in the number of complaints. Also continuing are complaints from a large number of individuals that arise from a single event. For example, the Office is currently investigating 339 complaints over a mass mailing by Health Canada which allegedly exposed the names and mailing addresses of some 40,000 people involved in the marijuana medical access program.

In a year where perhaps unprecedented attention was paid to public sector data breaches, the 228 separate data breaches voluntarily reported across the federal government in 2013-2014 were more than double those from the previous fiscal year. This marked the third consecutive year where a record high was reached for such reports. Accidental disclosure was provided as the reason indicated by reporting organizations behind more than two-thirds of the breaches.

Canada’s pay gap

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Canada’s pay gap
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A new CCPA study, Narrowing the Gap: The difference pubic sector wages make, compares the wages of full-time public and private sector workers and finds significant gaps in the wages of women, aboriginal workers, and visible minority workers. Those gaps are bigger in the private sector in every instance:

  • University educated aboriginal workers make 44% less than their non-aboriginal peers in the private sector. In the public sector, their wage gap shrinks to 14%.
  • University educated women working in the private sector earn 27% less than men. Their wage gap in the public sector is 18%.
  • University educated visible minority workers take home 20% less than their non-visible minority counterparts. In the public sector, their wage gap is 12%.

Salaries are higher in the public sector precisely for those groups of people who experience the greatest discrimination in the private sector—because the public sector goes further in correcting those discriminatory practices. The result is not higher wages but rather a more equitable system of pay.

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