Health & Wellness

CFB Petawawa affected by strike

Some 700 resident single military personnel at CFB Petawawa, Ont., are without heat or hot water after civilian workers who maintain services were deemed non-essential during the Public Service Alliance of Canada strike. Family housing is not affected. [node:read-more:link]

Havana Syndrome still unexplained

More than eight months after the U.S. administration agreed to compensate some “Havana Syndrome” victims for mysterious symptoms ostensibly connected with their foreign postings, the Defense Department continues to investigate, including whether a “weapon” was involved. The symptoms were first reported by embassy staff in Cuba. [node:read-more:link]

Privatized vets’ care challenged

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees want the government to tear up a contract which has privatized veterans’ health services. Partners in Canadian Veterans Rehabilitation Services, a joint venture between Loblaws-owned Lifemark Health Group in Toronto and WCG International Consultants in Victoria was awarded the $570-million contract last year. “This was a poorly thought-out plan that only benefits the contractors and its owners,” UVAW President Virginia Vaillancourt said March 2. [node:read-more:link]

Feds return-to-work protocols

A month before federal government employees return-to-office mandates take effect, several departments are dropping requirements to wear masks and practise physical distancing. Despite union resistance, many employees must attend their workplace at least two days a week or 40 per cent of their pre-pandemic presence. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Navy drops the ball

Some 4,000 serving and retired military personnel and their families, temporarily relocated from their base homes in Hawaii last year after a U.S. Navy fuel storage tank leak contaminated their drinking water, are being taxed on the Defense Department compensation. They received a notice that the funds were deemed “other income” subject to state and federal taxes. [node:read-more:link]

Coronavirus here to stay?

The World Health Organization said today that the coronavirus remain a global emergency even though an expert panel says higher levels of immunity can virus-related deaths. “There is no doubt that we're in a far better situation” than a year ago, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging vulnerable group to be fully vaccinated and ignore “misinformation” about masking and social distancing. [node:read-more:link]

Make-or-break health summit?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that he has invited premiers to Ottawa for a February 7 “working meeting” he hopes will address country-wide health care funding problems. The federal government also is looking for a national accord on data and health information as well as long-term deals which would include specific metrics relevant to individual provincial and territorial needs. [node:read-more:link]

Hesitant about a return to the office?

Any repercussions against federal employees refusing to return to their offices after working from home during the pandemic will be on a case-by-case basis, says Treasury Board President Mona Fortier. She announced last month that all departments must bring workers back to the office at least two to three times a week by the end of March but there has been pushback by public service unions. [node:read-more:link]

Brain injuries under investigation

Military veteran Dennis Manuge, who led a successful class action against Veterans Affairs Canada over disability payments, continues to recover from injuries he suffered while in service. He now is promoting Project Enlist Canada, a partnership with concussion and brain researchers investigating brain degeneration in athletes as well as veterans who are asked to bequeath their brains to the project. [node:read-more:link]

Vaccine mandate lifted in U.S.

U.S. military personnel are no longer required to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed off on the policy reversal January 10 but said he would “continue to promote and encourage” vaccinations even as the government continues to deal with multiple lawsuits. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. military spouses getting help

Federal legislation designed to make it easier for most spouses of U.S. military personnel military to transfer their professional licences when they move has been signed into law by President Joe Biden. The Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act faculitares reciprocity in all professions except the practice of law. An estimated 132,000 spouses could be affected. [node:read-more:link]

Return-to-work for public service

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier insists that the federal government’s return-to-office mandate, which begins taking effect January 16, is not to be decided in collective bargaining with public service unions. “It’s the right of the employer; it’s the management’s right,” she said December 27. At least two public service unions have called on the government to retract its directive. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. defence budget approved

Signed into law by President Joe Biden, the latest U.S. annual defence authorization bill provides for $817 billion in spending, up $45 billion from what his administration had initially proposed. The measure also repeals the military’s mandatory coronavirus vaccination requirements. [node:read-more:link]

Valcartier compensation deadline looms

January 15 is the deadline for current and former Canadian Armed forces personnel stationed in Valcartier, Quebec, between 1995 and 2000 to apply to join a class-action lawsuit over contaminated water supplies. Claimants are eligible for up to $1,000 for each month they lived at the base where trichloroethylene, a carcinogenic degreasing agent, had leaked into groundwater over several decades [node:read-more:link]


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