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Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner finds doctors snooped in Humboldt Broncos patient records

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Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner has found eight people inappropriately gained access to electronic health records of 10 Humboldt Broncos team members involved in a bus crash last April.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured in the crash between the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi trailer at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.

« Due to the high-profile nature of the crash, eHealth Saskatchewan understood the risk of snooping, » said a report from information and privacy commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski.

The report said the health agency began monitoring the profiles of the patients — which include lab results, medication information and chronic diseases — three days after the crash.

The wreckage of a fatal crash outside of Tisdale, Sask., is seen in April. A privacy report says medical records of crash victims were inappropriately accessed by people in the health care system. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

« Between April 9, 2018, and May 15, 2018, eHealth detected eight users of the viewer, mostly physicians, accessed without apparent authority the profiles of 10 patients. »

The report shows eHealth reported the breaches to the privacy commissioner on July 5.

Privacy commissioner ‘disappointed’

Kruzeniski said he’s disappointed that the seven doctors and an office manager inappropriately looked at the records.

« This has been a major tragedy in our province and I’m disappointed that people got tempted, » he said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Monday. « Now that it’s happened, it’s my job to work with others through education and legislative change [to] make the system work. »

His report, which has been posted online, detailed the privacy breaches.

In one case, an employee of a medical clinic examined the health information of three people involved in the collision.

The office manager admitted she consulted the records because « her family members had heard one of the individuals had died and she wanted to verify the information; she thought another individual was a patient … [and] she wanted to verify a detail that was reported by the media about one of the individuals. »

The report said the employee’s access to eHealth was suspended and she was given further training, but she has since resigned from her job.

Another case involved a doctor at a Humboldt clinic who viewed the records of two people, including one who was a patient prior to the crash.

« Dr. D wanted to know what injuries the individual sustained, if the individual received care or if it was an instant fatality, » said the report. « For the other individual, it explained Dr. D was concerned. »

3 emergency care doctors among those reviewing patient records

Other cases included three doctors who provided emergency care at the Nipawin Hospital and who reviewed patient records of those they treated.

« They believed they were in the individuals’ ‘circle of care, »‘ said the report.

The privacy commissioner said the province’s Health Information Protection Act does not address circles of care so the doctors were no longer authorized to access the records.

Another case saw a medical resident view the information of three patients because she wanted to get closure on the cases, which is not an acceptable reason.

During the monitoring period, two other medical residents were found to have looked at the records of one of the people involved in the crash when the residents were reviewing the records of dozens of patients with a particular illness.

Monthly privacy audits recommended

In his report, Kruzeniski has made a number of recommendations to eHealth — including that it conduct regular monthly audits for the next three years of the physicians who inappropriately gained accessed to information.

Kruzeniski also recommended that the organization comply with a need-to-know principle rather than a circle-of-care concept and that it develop a solution to force users of the system to regularly review their training.



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Edmonton’s funicular was a popular river valley ride in its first year: report – Edmonton

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The river valley funicular proved a “popular destination” in its first year of operation, according to a City of Edmonton report.

But it also faced a number of challenges.

Successes

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“As of Nov. 25, 2018, the funicular had made 114,038 trips, either up or down the track,” reads a report from the city’s citizen services and community and recreation facilities departments. “During point counts, staff recorded as many as 135 passengers using the funicular in an hour and as many as 28 trips in an hour.”

The report looked at who uses the funicular and found 22 per cent of its users ride it as part of their commute to work. Thirty-one percent of the funicular’s users take it to access the North Saskatchewan River valley.

The funicular, the top of which is located at 100 Street north of the river valley, opened to the public in December 2017. The project cost $24 million and received funding from all three levels of government as well as the River Valley Alliance.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s river valley funicular opens to public, on time and on budget

Watch below: (From Dec. 9, 2017) There is now a new way for Edmontonians to experience the biggest green space in the city. The river valley has its very own funicular, which officially opened to the public on Saturday. Julia Wong has more.






The report said it “has increased access to the river valley for Edmontonians and visitors and has created a landmark and connection between downtown
and the river valley. ”

While the report spelled out the transport method’s successes, it also highlighted ongoing challenges, including misuse of its emergency stop button, door malfunctions and system failures.

Challenges

In total, the funicular experienced 116 system failures in its first year and experienced an emergency stop 322 times. There were 112 instances of door, wind or overload issues and 15 elevator emergencies. The site experienced one emergency over its first 12 months, however, the report did not elaborate on what that entailed.

READ MORE: Edmonton funicular vandalism leads to questions about graffiti response

Watch below: (From August 2018) Broken glass and graffiti could be spotted at Edmonton’s funicular recently and some of the damage has been there for moths. As Fletcher Kent reports, some people want the city to do a better job of cleaning up after vandals.






“Staff responded to approximately 550 alarms during the funicular’s first year of operation,” the report reads. “It should be noted that this location experienced the second highest number of alarms reported for the City of Edmonton in 2018.”

According to the review, over 57 per cent of alarms were a result of the funicular’s users pressing pressing the emergency stop button.

“These incidents resulted in temporary stoppages until the system was reset,” the report says. Of the door, wind or overloading issues, the report found that the majority of those related to door problems, often tied to ice and snow buildup and sensor problems.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s funicular ‘sluggish’ when colder than -25 C

Costs

The report notes that the funicular’s annual operating budget was projected to be between $480,000 and $960,000.

“During the first year, the total operating cost for the funicular and site was $716,468, or three per cent of the total project cost,” the report reads. “As this infrastructure remains new to Edmonton, it is expected that there will be some fluctuations in the annual operating costs.

“A three-year comparison will be required to confirm long term operating costs.”

The lion’s share of the funicular’s costs in its first year were tied to “preventative maintenance and daily start-up.” That represented over $345,000 of the money spent. The second-leading cost associated with the mechanized river access infrastructure was “non-emergency breakdown response and repair,” at over $112,000.

The future

The city has taken efforts to enhance the funicular over the past two months. Some of the steps taken included installing a “heating loop” in the door sill to stop ice from forming at the lower doors, installing a glass roof over the lower doors to reduce issues caused by winter weather and installing markers at the staircase for people with visual impairments.

The report says that in its second year, the funicular’s operational efficiency will continue to be assessed and processes will be improved while community engagement about the infrastructure will continue.

READ MORE: Song sings praises of Edmonton’s funicular, becomes social media sensation

Watch below: (From Dec. 20, 2017) It’s Edmonton’s newest attraction and now, a song about the river valley funicular could become the city’s latest viral video. ‘Fun Funicular’ has received thousands of views on Facebook since it was posted a few days ago.






© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Canada’s main stock index reaches highest level since Oct. 5

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Canada’s main stock index posted a triple-digit gain Friday after oil hit a three-month high to extend the market’s winning streak to six weeks.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 142.26 points to 15,838.24, after hitting a peak during the day of 15,866.60. That’s the highest level since Oct. 5.

The Toronto market is just 4.4 per cent off the all-time high set last July and up 10.6 per cent so far this year.

Allan Small, senior investment adviser at HollisWealth, foresees the positive momentum continuing as long as geopolitical issues, especially the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, remain positive.

« Yes the year-to-date numbers look really strong in such a short period of time, but we’re just getting back to where we were trading at the end of the summer and early fall, » he said in an interview.

« Let’s get back from the highs … and that’s where things start to get a little bit more dicey. You may see the market start to trade sideways for a little bit until we get some sort of clarity on future and I think that’s where we kind of stall out. »

North American markets increased by as much as 1.7 per cent on continuing optimism about a trade deal with China after U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters he might extend the March 2 deadline for the imposition of tariffs, said Small.

We’ve heard some positive things come out of the administration over the past few days and I think it is no doubt that that’s what’s carrying the markets higher.– Allan Small, senior investment adviser at HollisWealth

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 443.86 points at 25,883.25. The S&P 500 index was up 29.87 points at 2,775.60, while the Nasdaq composite was up 45.46 points at 7,472.41.

« We’ve heard some positive things come out of the administration over the past few days and I think it is no doubt that that’s what’s carrying the markets higher, » said Small.

Energy sector gains

In Toronto, the key energy sector gained 3.2 per cent as Frontera Energy Corp. increased eight per cent, followed by Encana Corp., Canadian Natural Resources and Suncor Energy Inc.

The April crude contract was up $1.19 at $55.98 US per barrel, the highest level since mid-November on a weaker U.S. dollar and support from production curtailments by OPEC.

The March natural gas contract was up 5.2 cents at $2.62 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 75.38 cents US, compared with an average of 75.20 cents US on Thursday.

The April gold contract was up $8.20 at $1,322.10 an ounce and the March copper contract was 2.4 cents at $2.80 a pound.

The Toronto market had widespread gains as industrials and financials rose.

The positive streak was also extended for another week on strong corporate earnings from several firms, including TransCanada Corp. and Manulife Financial Corp. In addition to beating analyst estimates, several raised their dividends and share buybacks.

« All the stuff that’s great for investors and adding to this positive feel for the market, » he added.



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Don’t allow cannabis edibles that look like candy, medical officer of health says

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Cannabis products made in shapes that appeal to children — such as gummy bears or lollipops — should be banned when the sale of edibles becomes legal later this year, Toronto’s medical officer of health says.

The city’s board of health should also urge the federal government to ban cannabis vaping liquids that are offered in “youth-friendly” flavours that mimic candy or soft drinks, Dr. Eileen de Villa said Friday.

“One of the major objectives of the legislation is to actually protect health and, in particular, to protect youth from the potential harmful effects associated with cannabis,” de Villa said.

“We feel the best thing to do in terms of protecting youth, is to avoid having these edible products in a gummy bear, lollipop or other shapes that might be appealing to youth.”

De Villa added that there’s a need for clearly defined labelling, which includes both dosing information and warnings about the risks of combining cannabis edibles with alcohol or highly caffeinated drinks.

Consultations on those amendments are set to end next week.

Villa also supports on how much THC — the primary active component of cannabis — is available in one-time-use vaping devices, and would like them to include a mechanism that limits the maximum quantity inhaled in a single puff.

“The federal regulations already have quite a bit in this regard,” she said.

Industry consultant Mitchell Osak commended Toronto Public Health for what he deemed a list of prudent suggestions ahead of the products becoming legal.

“The recommendations are consistent with the federal government’s objective around safe and responsible usage and protection of youth,” said Osak, a managing director of business consulting and technology services at Grant Thornton LLP, who advises companies in the Canadian cannabis industry including licensed producers, investors and governments.

Despite their illegal status, edible cannabis products are currently being sold at stores throughout Toronto.

A spokesperson for one dispensary visited by the Star this week said its customers are being given “childproof” bags to prevent youngsters from accidentally eating cannabis products that come in the form of a candy or a cookie.

That doesn’t go far enough, says Osak, who believes that restricting the colour and design of the products is the right approach.

During a visit to a Cannabis and Fine Edibles (C.A.F.E.) location on Harbord St. this week, the Star observed a wide array of edibles ranging in potency from 55 to 300 milligrams of THC.

All of them exceeded the government’s proposed limit of 10 milligrams, which Osak described as “a little too cautious.” He’s concerned that such low levels of THC will push customers towards the black market.

Information labels on products sold at C.A.F.E caution users to start with a small portion in order to determine one’s tolerance level.

C.A.F.E. spokesperson David Thompson said “childproof” bags and information on packaging are some of the ways the underground cannabis retailer — which has several locations across the city — is trying to improve safety for customers.

“We make sure to try to place our edible dosing guidelines on each and every package that leaves the store,” Thompson said, adding, “We believe Health Canada’s position to begin at ultralow dose concentrations is warranted.”

He said C.A.F.E. is advising edible producers to read the regulations that are being discussed and to begin implementing the recommendations.

“Health Canada has to be a beacon and a responsible steward to affect change over time,” he said. “We do not see any of this as a problem.”

Jason Miller is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Reach him on email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca



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