This article and report first appeared on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce website October 30, 2018.
Data for Good: The $32-billion Boost, the first of a three part series exploring Canada’s data opportunity and the critical intersections between prosperity, technology and privacy.
Data for Good: The $32-billion Boost examines how personal data is used to help innovate and create products and services that improve people’s lives and specifically how Canada can help lead the global digital community and conversation.
The goal of this effort is to answer a critical question: Will Canada act or be acted upon by the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The fourth industrial revolution is an absolute juggernaut of technological evolution, which is moving exponentially faster than the first three. With AI anticipated to boost our GDP $32 billion by 2021, Canada needs the right framework to be an actor in the coming data economy that allows for trust and incentivizes innovation.
In our second series, we will look at some of the major data breaches of the past few years and examine the emerging trends in technology that have put the collection, storage and use of personal information at risk.
Click here to read Data for Good: The $32-billion Boost.
APTN launched in 1999 as the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Indigenous Peoples. A respected non-profit, charitable broadcaster and the only one of its kind in North America.
Before this year's 10th Annual Spirit of Winnipeg Awards, we asked APTN what makes them successful, what they love about Winnipeg, and who they wish to inspire.
1. What do people need to know to understand who your organization is?
APTN is the world’s first national Indigenous Television Network and Canada’s only independent national Indigenous network.
APTN provides platforms from which Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) can tell their stories - share their stories with all Canadians via APTN’s programming and news platforms – via traditional TV – via social media platforms. (APTN launched because Canada’s Indigenous populations believed that mainstream media did not allow for the telling of our stories.)
Through documentaries, news magazines, dramas, entertainment specials, children’s series, cooking shows and education programs, APTN opened a window into the remarkably diverse worlds of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and throughout the world.
2. Who do you help with what you do?
We bring the stories that matter most to Indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians. We’ve also maintained our commitment to reconciliation.
In the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's 94 Calls to Action, number 85 specifically states:
We call upon Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, as an independent non-profit broadcaster with programming by, for and about Aboriginal Peoples, to support reconciliation, including but not limited to:
a) Continuing to provide leadership in programming and organizational culture that reflects the diverse cultures, languages and perspectives of Aboriginal Peoples.
b) Continuing to develop media initiatives that inform and educate the Canadian public, and connect Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.
3. Who do you credit with your success?
APTN understands that its continued success is paramount and contingent upon the people that the network recruits. That is why in addition to supporting the professional development of staff, APTN is committed to fostering the talent and skills of young and emerging Indigenous Peoples. Through work placement, internship and mentorship programs, the network offers unprecedented opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis media professionals.
The network creates significant employment opportunities and offers a healthy and positive workplace for employees to learn, thrive and grow – both professionally and personally. APTN’s ultimate goal is to help its employees reach their true potential, celebrate their achievements and encouraging employee excellence, volunteerism and community involvement.
Also, when APTN launched, there were very few Indigenous Peoples trained in the broadcasting industry. The network’s first hires were predominantly non-Indigenous. Through APTN’s training and development programs, including mentorships, the network was able to overcome the shortage. And today, we are proud to see that 65% our employees are of Indigenous ancestry.
4. What does Winnipeg mean to you?
Winnipeg means a meeting place to us and our ancestors who came before us. It is located on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional territory of the Anishinabek and the homeland of the Métis nation.APTN’s head office is centrally located in Winnipeg to convey the stories from regions straight across the country.
Being central makes us accessible. Winnipeg is also a location with a deep talent pool and has one of the highest urban Indigenous population in Canada.
5. Who do you want to inspire?
The youth! They are our future. We state it in our mission:
“APTN is sharing our Peoples’ journey, celebrating our cultures, inspiring our children and honouring the wisdom of our Elders.”
Do you know a business making Winnipeg better?
The Spirit of Winnipeg Awards Gala gives award finalists and recipients a community spotlight, media coverage, invaluable networking opportunities and well-earned praise for their contributions to our city for all Winnipeggers.
Application deadline: Monday, November 26 at 11:59 PM.
by: Paul K. Grower
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act’s (PIPEDA) new Breach Notification Rules will come into force on November 1, 2018. This article provides a brief synopsis of what these rules entail, but it should not be construed as legal advice. Members of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce are encouraged to speak with legal counsel to better understand how the Rules will affect their business.
In order for the Rules to apply, there must be a loss of, unauthorized access to or unauthorized disclosure of personal information that is under the control of a member (in other words, a “breach”).
It is important to note that responsibility for the reports/notifications outlined below will lie with the member if the member controls the personal information. However, if a breach occurs at, for example, an arm’s length storage facility hired by the member to store personal information, it will be BOTH the member’s responsibility and the storage facility’s responsibility to comply with the Rules.
The Rules outline that if it is reasonable in the circumstances to believe that the breach creates a real risk of significant harm to an individual, the member (and if applicable, any other third party) is then obligated, as soon as it is feasible to do so, to:
In the report filed with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the member must (to the extent that the member knows):
It is expected that this report will be updated as information is further gathered/determined.
In the notification provided to the individual, the member must (to the extent that the member knows):
The goal of the notification to the individual is to provide sufficient information to allow the individual to understand the significance to them of the breach, such that they can take steps, if any are possible, to reduce the risk of harm.
Also, it is expected that the individuals affected will be directly contacted by the member (phone, email, mail, etc.), subject to exceptions of harm to the individual and/or hardship to the member and/or lack of contact information. If any of the exceptions apply, indirect notification—via public communications (e.g. media, website, etc.)—will need to be utilized.
The legislation specifies that “significant harm” includes bodily harm, humiliation, damage to reputation or relationships, loss of employment, business or professional opportunities, financial loss, identity theft, negative effects on the credit record, and damage to or loss of property.
In determining whether there is a “real risk” of such harm, the sensitivity of the information and the probability that it will be misused need to be considered.
It is important to note that if a breach occurs—and it is determined by the member that it does NOT create a real risk of significant harm to an individual—the member must still maintain a record of the breach for at least two (2) years thereafter. The purpose for retaining these records is to allow the Privacy Commissioner to verify a member’s compliance with the Rules. Therefore, if a breach is not reported to the Privacy Commissioner, the information that would have been provided to the Privacy Commissioner, if it had been reported, must be maintained.
Most importantly, these Rules provide for fines of up to $100,000 if an organization knowingly violates their obligations.
Are you in the workforce? You’ll benefit from cannabis education.
As the legalization of cannabis sparks a new normal in Canadian society, The Winnipeg Chamber is hosting a full-day Cannabis Conference on November 28 at RBC Convention Centre. The conference features industry leaders who will provide clarity on legalization and how new cannabis policies and opportunities will impact your workplace.
No matter your industry, all workplaces benefit from cannabis education. Here's how:
Do you work in Human Resources?
Attend the Cannabis Conference and you’ll receive nine professional development hours with Chartered Professionals in Human Resources’ (CPHR) accredited program. As an HR professional, you handle employee relations and support. Being in-the-know about the very latest cannabis laws will help you develop customized plans for your workplace, including updating internal policies, drug testing, recruitment, and disciplinary actions.
Are you an executive or manager?
The perspective of your clients, partners and competitors on cannabis and cannabis use will vary. What should you consider when associating your personal or company brand with cannabis? The Cannabis Conference has a session focuses exclusively on clearing the smoke on public relations considerations.
Executives and managers need to know how to identify when an employee is under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Cannabis education will help you understand Manitoba’s new cannabis laws and structure. Attend The Chamber’s Cannabis Conference to discover the appropriate steps to respond to impairment in the workplace and the importance of drug and alcohol policies.
Do you work in healthcare?
As a healthcare professional, you’ll likely be called on to assist in identifying and mitigating addiction risks associated with cannabis use. Cannabis education will help you become familiarized with cannabis products and their side effects. Attend The Chamber’s Cannabis Conference to understand what resources are available to you to navigate cannabis in both medical and recreational contexts.
Do you practice law?
Many businesses will likely need to seek your legal counsel when drafting new drug and alcohol policies. Organizations will also turn to you, legal professionals, for consultation on specific disciplinary actions and for help navigating cannabis rules and regulations. Attend The Chamber’s Cannabis Conference to strengthen your business network and to get insights from top insurers, licensed producers, employers and other legal experts on the best way to prepare your clients for cannabis.
Do you own a business?
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. The legalization of recreational cannabis poses an increased liability to specific industries and business owners. Do you have enough cannabis education to develop a customized plan for your workplace to mitigate risks? The Chamber’s Cannabis Conference will help you understand how to communicate expectations to employees around responsible cannabis use.
Are you a member of the workforce… in any industry?
To be blunt, anyone interested in the new era of cannabis legalization will benefit from The Chamber’s full-day Cannabis Conference.
To recap, the conference will cover:
Join us for the Conference:
On August 28th, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce was one of a select group of stakeholders invited to participate in a consultation with the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
Established as part of Budget 2018, the Council has been tasked with providing advice to the government on how best to implement a national prescription drug coverage program.
While the Chamber was happy to represent Winnipeg’s business community in this important discussion, Chamber CEO Loren Remillard noted it’ a concern the government appears to have decided to proceed with an expensive national program without understanding what problem it’s trying to solve.
“If the issue is coverage for those who aren’t currently insured, then a national program should complement what the private sector is already doing,” Remillard said. “If this is about the expense of drugs, then let’s look at ways to reduce those costs for everyone.”
Currently, more than 25 million Canadians have access to prescription drug coverage through their group health benefit plans. Many employer-sponsored plans cover a wider range of medications than existing provincial plans and also offer innovations like case management programs for individuals with chronic conditions.
“What has worked best in this country is an approach that embraces the best of the private, public and non-profit sectors,” said Remillard. “With Pharmacare, we urge the government to proceed with caution, and to recognize the role the private sector plays in providing health care, and the significant number of Canadians who are employed in the health benefits industry.”
The federal government has released a discussion paper on National Pharmacare and is seeking feedback from the public. This will also be one of the topics of discussion at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM taking place in Thunder Bay later this month.
What do you think about a national prescription drug program, and how might it impact your business? Send your thoughts to Colin Fast, Director of Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This piece first appeared in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Five Minutes for Business June 14, 2018
Tariffs. Trade talks. Pipelines. Electoral change. While the Canadian economy continues to grow (albeit somewhat slowly), these are just some of the factors that might slow it down. As we head into summer, and the mid-point of 2018, now is a good time to take stock of Canada’s economic performance and consider what the latter half of the year might have in store for us.
The economy stumbled into 2018, slogging its way through weak consumer spending and housing markets. Real GDP increased at a pace of 1.3 per cent in the first three months of 2018 — the slowest quarterly growth in nearly two years. The Canadian economy grew at less than a two per cent rate for the third consecutive quarter, a far cry from the nearly 4 per cent average between July 2016 and June 2017.
The good news is that economic growth seems poised to accelerate. While the cumulative result was disappointing, the quarter finished strong with February GDP up 0.4 per cent month-over-month, followed by a 0.3 per cent increase in March. Exports increased 1.6 per cent in April, a good sign for an economy that will need export markets to make a bigger contribution to growth in place of consumer spending. This encouraging finish has hastened confidence that the economy is improving with stronger momentum going into Q2.
The bad news is that uncertainty about a variety of economic issues is weighing on business investment. Any optimism about the economy taking a turn for the better is tempered by the risk that uncertainty will drive investment away from Canada. Imports declined in April, indicating that business investment and domestic demand were scaled back during the month.
Ongoing insecurity about trade policies continues to cast a shadow over Canada’s outlook. The recent steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the United States—and the Canadian retaliation— are increasing investors’ concerns about the future of NAFTA, and even what a U.S. withdrawal would mean for Canada. With a new government in Ontario, Canada will have its work cut out to maintain a united front in response to further possible retaliatory measures.
Further complicating matters are the extraordinary measures taken by the federal government to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline — a step that never should have been necessary. This is another sign that we need to take a long hard look at our broken regulatory system and ensure Canada remains an attractive place to invest and do business.
These developments have heightened the existing doubts about Canada’s business competitiveness. The Canadian tax system is losing relative competitiveness compared to its peers due to recent tax reform in the United States and France. Significant uncertainty also surrounds how the Canada Revenue Agency will assess the new small business tax changes in the 2018 Budget. These factors are causing business investors to seek other markets or sit on their wallets.
The outlook for business investment is crucial because everything else the Bank of Canada usually considers in monetary policy decisions suggests the economy can handle higher borrowing costs. The central bank has been cautious thus far but recently signalled that higher interest rates will be warranted and that the governing council will take a gradual approach to policy adjustments.
The current data on economic growth supports this. Canadian households may be able to manage rising mortgage and consumer debt, as long as Canada’s economy continues to grow and unemployment remains relatively low. However, the risk that Canada’s economic prospects and investor confidence can be derailed by any number of uncertain issues remains high. The IMF’s recent mission to Canada concluded that our economic outlook is subject to significant risks—including a sharp correction in the housing market and a banking system with heavy exposure to household and corporate debt.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Crystal Ball Report predicted uncertainty for Canada’s economic and political outlook in 2018. Financial and economic imbalances have created a tenuous economic recovery. Rising protectionism has the potential to escalate into a trade war. Markets and business models are being disrupted by new technologies and opportunities. Overall, Canadian businesses are grappling with the speed of change.
Adding to this, Canada’s economic performance in the first half of 2018 demonstrates that one of the few certainties in today’s economy is an enduring state of uncertainty.
Thank you to the Crystal Ball Report sponsors
This piece first appeared in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Five Minutes for Business May 10, 2018.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps within a rolled steel coil), you have no doubt seen all the news these days about the looming threat of steel and aluminum tariffs being imposed by the United States.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated an investigation into whether steel and aluminum imports were impairing America’s national security. These investigations occurred under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The investigation’s recommendations were released in February and proposed a number of measures, including a mix of tariffs and quotas on steel and aluminum exports from around the globe.
President Trump opted to impose global tariffs of 25 per cent on steel products and 10 per cent on aluminum products that are entering the U.S. To be exempted from the tariff stick, Washington seems to be offering the quota carrot to countries. South Korea has already negotiated its package, which focuses on quotas, and agreements in principle have been reached with Brazil, Argentina and Australia on yet to be specified measures. Although, as recent news from Brazil indicates, some of these agreements in principle may have a ways to go.
But looking closer to the home, the threat of tariffs continues to loom large for Canada. We received a temporary exemption — along with the European Union and Mexico — until June 1. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s position continues to be that Canada should be fully and permanently exempted from any tariffs, quotas or other measures designed to reduce the cross-border flow of steel and aluminum products. Canadian imports to the U.S. do not pose a national security threat. In fact, Canadian aluminum is integrated into the U.S. defence industry to allow America to build its military hardware. In the case of steel, Canada is the top export destination for U.S. steel products, with trade roughly balanced between our countries.
The Chamber applauds the federal government for its firm stance on this issue in opposing U.S. pressure for Canada to accept export restrictions. We also fully support the government’s position to oppose any links between these tariffs and the NAFTA negotiations. Such a connection would only be an unhelpful distraction from what should be our main focus.
There are certainly wider systemic issues that affect the industry; U.S. tariffs will divert third-country steel and aluminum products onto already saturated global markets. Additionally, there is the issue of trans-shipment, where companies could attempt to use Canada as a backdoor to circumvent U.S. tariffs. It is vital the government be watchful of these issues. The government’s recent announcement of additional funding for the Canada Border Services Agency is a good first step, meeting a request from the Chamber and our members. At the end of the day, it is about providing certainty for business. This means no arbitrary implementation of tariffs or quotas and ensuring the rules are consistently enforced.
Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience.
Each year, Winnipeg welcomes thousands of newcomers. They may come as international students, young families looking for a better life for their children, or as refugees forced to flee their homes. Each person has unique needs and stories, but they are all united in their desire to feel at home again.
Recently, the 2018 Leadership Winnipeg class had the opportunity to visit three agencies that support recent refugees and immigrants making Winnipeg a place to call home.
Our first visit was to the Immigrant Centre at 100 Adelaide Street. Stepping into the building, it felt like I was entering a trendy tech start-up, with beautiful hardwood floors and exposed beams and offices without doors. At 8:45 am, the front lobby was already busy with clients, chatting in several languages while sitting on the over-sized plush benches that lined the waiting area.
Jorge Fernandez, Executive Director of the Immigrant Centre, and an alumnus of Leadership Winnipeg, met with our class and shared the organization’s vision and mission. The Immigrant Centre serves all newcomers that arrive in Winnipeg, assessing their needs and creating a personalized plan to help with the settlement process. Clients receive information and services to assist with housing, banking, employment, language and nutrition. In some cases, clients access services while they are still in their country of origin through the online Pre-Arrival Centre.
Jorge is an immigrant himself and was a client of the Immigrant Centre when he arrived in Winnipeg in the late 1980s. Today, Jorge is what one of my classmates described as, “the happiest CEO in history,” and the pride and optimism he demonstrates for the Immigrant Centre was contagious. It’s clear Jorge and his growing team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure they meet the needs of newcomers.
We left the Immigrant Centre and walked a few blocks down Bannatyne to the Welcome Place, which is run by the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC). The MIIC was founded in 1948, when Europe’s post-war instability and uncertainty led to thousands of displaced people and immigrants. Today, the Welcome Place serves the needs of refugees arriving in Winnipeg, including government-assisted refugees, privately sponsored refugees, and refugee claimants. In recent years, the Welcome Place has been dealing with an increase in refugee claimants crossing the border from the United States.
Felicien Rubayita, Co-Manager of Settlement Services, spoke to us about the unique challenges refugees face and the ways the Welcome Place assists once they are in Winnipeg. Compared to someone who chooses to immigrate to another country, a refugee is fleeing their country of origin because they have a well-founded fear of persecution. They rarely have time to plan, learn the language of their new country, or take many belongings.
Felicien’s story reflects this desperate flight. A former medical doctor, he fled his home country of Rwanda in 2008 in the middle of the night. When he finally arrived in Canada, he discovered he was missing one document to prove his qualifications and was forced to start his education in Canada at a Grade 12 level.
When a refugee comes to Winnipeg, they are met at the airport (or the border in the case of many refugee claimants) by MIIC staff and taken to the Welcome Place. There, their immediate needs are looked after and they are given clean, safe accommodations for up to two weeks. The staff works with their clients to process paperwork, locate housing, and teach them valuable skills for living in Winnipeg, such as how to take a bus or adjust to the climate.
Winnipeg has seen a drastic increase in the number of refugees coming to the city. As we toured the site, we could see the strain this has put on Welcome Place’s already busy building. Extra workstations were set up in hallways and the residences were full. The bedrooms were clean and functional, but basic. The Welcome Place provides each family with a care package containing kitchen items and toiletries, which is theirs to take when they move to their next home. It’s a small but meaningful gesture that helps their clients rebuild their lives in Canada.
We left the Welcome Place and walked over to Edmonton Street. In a nondescript building tucked behind the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, is Holy Names House of Peace. Founded in 2004 by Sister Lesley Sacouman, House of Peace provides a safe, peaceful home for 18 refugee and immigrant women (“Neighbours”) for up to two years. As we removed our shoes and crossed over the threshold, a quiet calm surrounded our group.
Sister Lesley gave us a tour, stopping to point out the beautiful furnishings and decorations that surrounded us – each item thoughtfully donated by community members or former Neighbours. As Sister Lesley explained, “I don’t think any of us heal in chaos… and so I wanted for them, a home that would be beautiful.”
In addition to providing a safe home for the Neighbours, Holy Names House of Peace serves the community of Winnipeg with a variety of programs, workshops and support groups. The St. Francis chapel is open to anyone looking for quiet and warmth.
Canada has a long history of immigration and providing refuge to newcomers in need. The Immigrant Centre, Welcome Place, and Holy Names House of Peace continue that tradition and each provide crucial services to Winnipeg’s newcomers. While they have different missions and approaches, each organization believes in supporting newcomers so they can heal, thrive, contribute and, ultimately, feel at home in Winnipeg.
Leadership Winnipeg is grateful for the support of our Vision Partners
As our upcoming event with Josh Blair and the TELUS Health team on innovative solutions to Canada's healthcare issues approaches, we asked them to pick a pressing issue more Canadians should be aware of.
This is the second article in their Strong Foundations series, examining five non-negotiable foundations that will support and sustain a truly integrated healthcare ecosystem for Canadians. Its focus is the opportunity to tackle medication management challenges by enabling electronic communication between prescribing physicians, pharmacists, insurers and patients.
It was first published by TELUS Health in January 2018.
In Canada, we like to believe that our health system is among the best in the world. In many ways, it is. But there are aspects of our system that have fallen far behind the standard of practice in other countries. One of the laggards is the way we manage medications, which has an impact on patient safety, medication adherence and ultimately patient outcomes.
Electronic prescribing is fundamental to medication management. In most OECD countries, electronic prescribing has become the norm.
Furthermore, in some States in the US, there are statutes that prohibit prescribing on paper. For example, New York State mandated that practitioners must prescribe electronically. In Maine, an act to prevent opiate abuse by strengthening prescription monitoring of controlled substances was introduced which requires that opioid prescriptions be sent electronically
Why has Canada been so slow?
I believe a major barrier to technology adoption is the fact that our Constitution assigns jurisdictional responsibility for healthcare to the Provincial governments. For many decades, that was a distinct advantage because healthcare decisions were made regionally, close to the people that were receiving the services. Supported by Federal transfer payments, the Provinces funded health care services that were truly world class for many years.
Yet over the last two decades, just as information technology became increasingly important for coordinated and effective care delivery, Canada has slipped in international rankings. Could there be a cause and effect relationship here?
Information technology shows very strong economies of scale: proven, effective solutions can be adopted and applied on a large scale with relatively small incremental costs because hardware is so inexpensive. However, system requirements and standards that are different for each Province have made eHealth solutions very difficult to deliver on a national scale. The resulting patchwork of systems are costlier to manage, maintain and expand than a national platform would be. Several Provinces have worked diligently to implement drug information systems but have not succeeded in delivering electronic prescribing. National pharmacy retailers and software vendors are understandably reluctant to conform to 10 different provincial standards given the cost and complexity that would represent.
The result: everyone waits on the sidelines for a national standard solution to emerge. That is until recently.
Bringing electronic prescribing to the nation
In 2017, Canada Health Infoway launched a solution called PrescribeIT™ that went live in August. It offers a single, national solution that will integrate with provincial drug repositories and provider registries. To-date, six Provinces and a range of pharmacy retailers have expressed a willingness to get on board. This is Canada’s best opportunity to close the electronic prescribing gap, compared to other developed countries.
Many are unaware of the full potential electronic prescribing offers to Canada’s healthcare system, ranging from improved patient safety, to increased medication adherence, to better collaboration between providers. Particular benefits include:
New paradigm offers more than automation of current practice
Electronic prescribing is more than a simple duplication of the paper process. It allows new transactions that have no analog in the paper world. For instance, the physician EMR receives automatic notification from the pharmacy when a prescription is filled. This allows the medication profile the physician sees in the EMR to display adherence information. Similarly, when a physician discontinues a medication in the EMR, a stop order is sent to the pharmacy, taking the medication off the active list in the pharmacy management system.
These are the benefits offered by the version of PrescribeIT™ to be deployed to physicians and pharmacists this year.
But this is only the beginning. Once Canada has the ePrescribing platform in place, there is so much more that can be done.
Giving care providers the full picture
One of the big limitations of our current system of medication management is that none of the care givers sees a complete record of the medications a patient is taking.
The pharmacist does not see what prescriptions are filled in other pharmacies. And, in some Provinces, regulations and patient confidentiality agreements make data sharing between pharmacies challenging.
The physician only sees the prescriptions they have written personally. Those written by specialists, hospitals or walk-in clinics never get to the physician unless the patient shares the information and the physician takes the time to type it into the EMR.
The patient is the ultimate integrator of medication therapy, usually by means of a slip of paper with a list of medications or a plastic bag filled with pill bottles.
Some Provinces have created impressive drug repositories that have a complete record of the medications dispensed within their borders. Unfortunately, utilization of these valuable data sources by health providers is limited for reasons of convenience (i.e. the time it takes to log into another system is onerous) or lack of system access. Furthermore, these repositories lack information about unfilled prescriptions or discontinued medications, rendering them ineffective for addressing poor drug adherence.
Opening avenues to future healthcare frontiers
Once electronic prescribing is widely adopted and integration with provincial drug information systems is in place, Canada will have the ability to progress other important capabilities, such as medication reconciliation. This will allow synchronization between EMRs, hospital systems, pharmacy systems and provincial repositories. All members of a care team (including the patient) would have access to the complete medication history for the first time. The safety benefits of this are dramatic, as drug-to-drug interaction checking against the entire medication list for each patient will be possible within the EMR. Further, adherence information will be available to all, allowing a more proactive approach to patient education.
The time to act is now
We know from other countries that it takes years to spread adoption of ePrescribing across an entire health system. As a nation, we need to move quickly to incorporate ePrescribing into practice. Provinces, pharmacies, hospitals and physicians need to put this to the top of their priority list in a coordinated effort to improve the performance of our health system. Many lives are depending on it.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a tremendous boost to Canada, the U.S and Mexico’s economies since coming into force in 1994. Almost twenty million jobs between the three countries are reliant on trade. Over five million American jobs have been created due to NAFTA, and Canadian and Mexican direct investment into the U.S has grown tenfold over that time.
Given the incredible importance of the file, it was a pleasure for The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce to host our Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Chrystia Freeland recently. Not only is managing Canada's foreign relations difficult task at the best of times, Minister Freeland is leading the NAFTA re-negotiation with the U.S. and Mexico.
During a fireside chat with former Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chair Sean Finn, Minister Freeland shared some insights on what it is like to be on the front lines renegotiating arguably what has been the most successful trade deal of all time. Recent reports have indicated the talks have moved into overdrive, and there has been a newfound sense of urgency to get a deal down.
Minister Freeland was optimistic and upbeat, but reiterated that a deal isn’t done. She thanked Chambers of Commerce and businesses across Canada for their input during the negotiations, and noted she will always stand up for Canadian interests. Minister Freeland shared that she feels a lot of progress can be made in regards to reducing red tape for goods moving across the Canada-U.S. border in the negotiations. A lot of that comes from updating an agreement that is close to 25 years old. For example, the original NAFTA deal includes provisions around cassette players in cars.
Minister Freeland also shared some thoughts on recent unprecedented aggression by the Russian Federation, and Canada’s response. She also spoke about the creation of the Canada-U.S Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders and on increasing women in leadership roles. She shared that Canadian leadership is essential in this area, as we have to lead in the area or no-one else will.
Lastly the Minister left with the heart-warming message that the best part of her job is getting to represent our great country on a daily basis. Amidst global uncertainty, we sometimes forget just how lucky we are to call Canada home.