Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Memorandum - Ebola Virus Disease

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August 1, 2014

MEMORANDUM

TO: Medical Officers of Health, Ontario health workers and health sector employers

RE: Ebola Virus Disease

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the ministry) continues to monitor the Ebola virus disease (EVD) situation overseas and has taken measures to ensure the province’s health sector is prepared should a returning traveller from a country where EVD is circulating be suspected of having the disease. As of July 27, 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone stands at 1,323 including 729 deaths.

Public Health Ontario has recently updated their Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) page. Please refer to the links below for information on the clinical features of VHF and the collection of laboratory specimens:

Update for Clinicians

VHF laboratory test information

International travel has always been associated with potential risks. These situations highlight the importance of routinely asking about travel and travel activities to obtain valuable information regarding potential exposures to infectious diseases. On July 31, 2014 the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) updated a Travel Health Notice related to travel to the EVD outbreak in West Africa advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

There have been recent media reports of health care workers travelling to affected countries and becoming infected. A recent WHO Risk Assessment notes that "there is a risk for healthcare workers and volunteers, especially if involved in caring for EVD patients. However, if the recommended level of precaution for such settings is implemented, transmission of the disease should be prevented. The risk level can be considered very low to low unless these precautions are not followed, e.g. no personal protective equipment, needle stick injury etc."

The ministry will continue to gather information about this disease situation as it becomes available through PHAC and other international sources, in order to monitor and assess the risk to the people of Ontario. Please use your established communication channels for sharing this information with health care providers in your jurisdiction.

Original Signed by

Graham Pollett,

MD, MHSc, FRCPC

Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health

 

HEAT STRESS ADVISORY - Message from Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer

With the summer heating up, it’s important to remember to take precautions and extra care when working in hot conditions.

Heat stress is a significant cause of workplace illness that may also lead to death. Heat-related illnesses can affect anyone, even the young and fit, and are preventable.

By law, employers must take every step necessary to protect workers by training them on the prevention of heat stress in the workplace.

Outdoor workers are the most vulnerable, including municipal workers, people working at golf courses, summer camps, amusement parks, farms, landscaping sites and construction sites.

Indoor workplaces are also susceptible to heat stress through heat exposure. These include foundries, industrial laundries, bakeries and other workplaces.

New workers are also at a greater risk for heat stress. The more inexperienced a worker is on the job, the more likely they will need time off to recover from heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat illnesses.

Prevention is the key to safety when working in hot conditions.

When combined with hard physical work, fluid loss, fatigue or a medical condition, heat stress can lead to accidents and serious health consequences for workers.  Some signs of heat stress to be aware of include excessive sweating, headaches, rashes, cramping and fainting.

Here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe:

  • Remember to drink plenty of water for the conditions, not for your thirst
  • Wear light, loose clothes, and when outside cover your head and use sunscreen
  • Remember to take frequent breaks, and where possible, see if work can be scheduled for a cooler part of the day               

Information to help protect yourself is available online at Ontario.ca/HeatStress and from the Ministry of Labour’s workplace partners.

To report unsafe work practices, please contact the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008.


AVIS CONCERNANT LE STRESS DÛ À LA CHALEUR

MESSAGE DU DIRECTEUR GÉNÉRAL DE LA PRÉVENTION

En raison des températures qui grimpent pendant l’été, il est important de se rappeler de prendre des précautions et d’être vigilent lorsque l’on travaille dans un environnement chaud.

Le stress dû à la chaleur, ou stress thermique, est une cause importante des maladies professionnelles et peut même entraîner la mort. N’importe qui peut contracter une maladie liée à la chaleur, même les jeunes et les personnes en bonne forme physique, et ce type de maladie est évitable.

En vertu de la loi, les employeurs doivent prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour protéger les travailleurs en leur donnant une formation sur la prévention du stress dû à la chaleur dans leur lieu de travail.

Les personnes qui travaillent à l’extérieur sont les plus vulnérables, notamment les travailleurs municipaux et les travailleurs de terrains de golf, de camps d’été, de parcs d’attractions, de fermes, de lieux faisant l’objet de travaux d’aménagement et de chantiers de construction.

Les lieux de travail à l’intérieur sont également des endroits où les travailleurs sont vulnérables au stress dû à la chaleur en raison d’une exposition à la chaleur. Il s’agit entre autres de fonderies, de blanchisseries industrielles et de boulangeries.

Les nouveaux travailleurs courent également des risques plus élevés concernant le stress thermique. Moins un travailleur a de l’expérience, plus les chances sont élevées qu’il nécessitera plus de temps pour se rétablir d’un coup de chaleur, d’un épuisement par la chaleur ou d’un autre trouble lié à la chaleur.

La prévention est la clé de la sécurité lorsqu’on travaille dans un environnement chaud.

Le stress dû à la chaleur, conjugué à un travail physique intense, une perte liquidienne, la fatigue ou état pathologique préexistant, peuvent mener à des accidents et de graves conséquences sur la santé des travailleurs.


Une transpiration excessive, des maux de tête, des rougeurs, des crampes et une perte de connaissance sont parmi les signes qu’il faut connaître pour repérer le stress dû à la chaleur.

Voici quelques moyens à prendre pour assurer votre sécurité :

  • Rappelez-vous de boire beaucoup d’eau parce qu’il faut chaud et non parce que vous avez soif
  • Portez des vêtements légers et amples, couvrez-vous la tête et utilisez un écran solaire à l’extérieur
  • Rappelez-vous de prendre fréquemment des pauses et, lorsque ceci est possible, demandez de reporter le travail à une période de la journée où il fait moins chaud                                

Des renseignements sur les moyens de vous protéger se trouvent en ligne à  Ontario.ca/chaleur-et-stress et sont offerts par les partenaires du ministère du Travail.

Pour signaler des pratiques de travail dangereuses, veuillez communiquer sans frais avec l’InfoCentre de santé et de sécurité au travail du ministère du Travail au 1 877 202-0008.

Congratulations to our 2013-2014 SEIU Local 1 Canada Scholarship Winners

We would like to congratulate our 2013-2014 SEIU Local 1 Canada scholarship winners.

The individuals below have exemplified excellence in their academic studies as well as demonstrated leadership through making a positive impact in their communities which exemplifies the very heart of what SEIU stands for. Congratulations again to our scholarship recipients, and we continue to encourage everyone in pursuing their goals.

Chalani Ranasinghe
Recipient of the Shelley Martel Scholarship

Daughter of Bernard Ranasinghe who works at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Sarah Makin
Recipient of the Ted Roscoe Memorial Scholarship

Daughter of Diane Makin who works at Lennox and Addington County General Hospital.

Melissa Davidson
Recipient of the Albert G. Hearn Scholarship

Daughter of Donna Davidson who works at Revera Home Health - Thunder Bay.

Sebastian Skamski
Recipient of the Leading the Way Scholarship

Son of Lidia Tarasiuk-Skamski who works at John Paul II Care Center of Copernicus Lodge.

 

Thank you to everyone who applied. Please check back in the fall for our 2014-2015 scholarship applications.

We wish all students the best for the upcoming school year!

Below the Line

Celebrate Administrative Professionals Week with us, and WIN a tablet or gift card! April 21 - 25

Administrative Professionals are the backbone of every workplace! They manage the office and patients to ensure our healthcare is provided smoothly and effectively, ensure doctors have the right information to make a proper diagnosis, and handle countless requests and demands throughout the day.

Join SEIU Healthcare as we celebrate these hard working professionals! During Administrative Professionals Week, we are holding two contests:

  1. ALL SEIU Healthcare members: Like, Comment or Share on our Facebook page between April 21-23, and you will be automatically entered to win 1 of 3 $100 gift cards. Three lucky winners will be chosen at random, and winners will be announced Friday, April 25, 2014.
  2. SEIU Healthcare Administrative Professionals: How have you made an impact at the workplace? Tell us how you keep our healthcare system moving by April 26th and you could win a tablet (first prize), or 1 of 10 $50 gift cards (10 runner-up prizes). Winners will be announced by May 2nd on Facebook and will be contacted via email. We will post the first prize story in our monthly newsletter! Remember to submit your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 26th!


Good Luck!

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What do we want? Sweet $16! When? THIS MONTH!

Our Sweet $16 campaign to fix our homecare system continues and we have a new video to show you. It explains to Ontarians what PSWs do and reinforces our four concrete asks of the government:

fb youtube ad

We need your help to spread the word! Contact your MPPand ask them to keep fighting for Sweet $16. We know the government is hearing our members loud and clear, so now’s the time to keep up the pressure and get real commitments. This is advocacy in action!

Since we launched on March 18, the campaign has reached thousands of people via newspaper ads and social media posts and discussions. We encourage you to also check out our posts and videos about it on our new blog.

Here are some telling comments from Facebook:

Chrystal Joy Becker: This is just the beginning!!! Positive Motion!! Spread the information!! Take time to pay attention when voting!!! Together we can change OUR future!!

Darryl Spencer: Definitely an undervalued profession... It’s sad the think that so often while PSWs give so much to their clients that they would have to deal with the extra burden of living in poverty. Society needs a wakeup call about what's important, we need to value the people who take care of those who can't care for themselves... One day one of those people could be us.

Thank you for standing with us in this important fight!