Posts Tagged "products"


Western Forest Products, union disagree over mediator as strike drags on | CBC News

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Western Forests Products and the union representing about 2,600 striking forest workers in British Columbia say both sides want to begin negotiations but can’t agree on a mediator.

The strike began on July 1 and involves hourly employees and contractors, affecting the company’s six mills and its timberland operations in the province.

United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler said in a news release the union is ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available for talks.

Butler said the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.

Susan Dolinski, vice-president of corporate affairs at Western Forests Products, said in an interview the company has been asking for mediation for weeks through the Labour Relations Board and both sides have expressed their preference for a mediator.

She said the difference of opinion should in no way be interpreted as the company refusing mediation.

“In fact, we made multiple requests to the Labour Relations Board for mediation since June 25. We would certainly welcome a return to the bargaining table.”

Dolinski says the timing of the union’s announcement came on the heels of an important Labour Relations Board decision where it ruled that the strike was illegal for three company contractors.

Strike unlawful for 105 employees

The board ruled Thursday that the strike was unlawful for about 105 employees who work for the contractors.

The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.

The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

Dolinski said the coastal forest industry is experiencing significant market challenges and the strike is only going to exacerbate that situation.

The union said in a release the company continues to conflate problems with fibre shortages and mill closures in the Interior with issues on the coast, which has very different fibre supplies, markets and product values that make them separate industries.

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Western Forest Products rejects well-known mediator after asking for help: union

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Project breaks barriers, creates access to affordable menstrual products

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People will soon have easier, more affordable access to menstrual products with the launch of the United Way Period Promise research project.

Through a $95,000 B.C. government grant, the project will distribute menstrual products to 12 non-profit agencies that serve vulnerable populations throughout the province. The agencies will make them easily accessible to clients from July 2019 to July 2020.

The project will collect quarterly data on the number of people served and products used, how the lack of access to menstrual products because of financial limitations, known as “period poverty,” affects people’s lives and how addressing the issue can benefit communities.

“Period poverty creates barriers and stigma, and leaves people isolated,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The United Way’s project will use the knowledge and experience of local organizations already working closely with vulnerable people. This research will help us better understand how we can create solutions that will make a difference.”

Always and Tampax have partnered with the United Way to provide menstrual products at a significantly reduced rate, allowing the United Way to increase the amount of participating non-profit agencies. The increase will broaden the project’s reach and help the United Way create a more robust research report to assist in addressing period poverty in British Columbia. The report will be presented to government in December 2020.

The grant is part of a larger shift in government toward better supports and services for the people who need them most. It also aligns with TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, with guiding principles of affordability, opportunity, reconciliation and social inclusion. This project demonstrates how government, the non-profit sector and the business sector can work together to find local solutions to complex poverty issues.

Addressing poverty is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.


Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity —

“Having a period is a part of life for more than half our population, and not being able to afford basic hygiene products can be devastating. Tackling period poverty closes the gap on gender inequality. By providing affordable menstrual products, those who menstruate will have the freedom to participate fully in life’s activities.”

Michael McKnight, president and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland —

“United Way is all about making our communities more accessible for everybody, and we’re excited to work with the provincial government, community agencies and sponsors to help solve such a personal challenge that so many people face. The Period Promise research project is just one more way that we are working with a variety of partners to make where we live healthy, caring and inclusive.”

Nikki Hill, co-chair, Period Promise campaign —

“The simple truth is that people who can’t afford menstrual products are often going to community agencies to find them, and sometimes they just aren’t available. The government’s commitment to work with the United Way Period Promise campaign shows that they get it, and that they are looking for solutions that will make access to tampons and pads easier for everybody who needs them. Their leadership should be applauded.”

Sussanne Skidmore, co-chair, Period Promise campaign and secretary-treasurer, BC Federation of Labour —

“For the BC Federation of Labour and the labour movement, working with the United Way on Period Promise has just been an extension of the work we do to make our province better. Period Promise is only enhancing our commitment to helping vulnerable people live and work with dignity across B.C., and we’re proud to be involved.”

Barbara Wood, board president, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House —

“This initiative and the Period Promise campaign help reduce menstruation stigma and contribute toward greater equality for women, trans and non-binary people. We hope that facilitating access to free menstruation products will reduce barriers faced by community members needing to access support and live with dignity. Thanks to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and the United Way of the Lower Mainland for leadership. Kiwassa is proud to be a part of this important initiative and sharing our learning on its impact.”

Learn More:

Find out more about the United Way Period Promise campaign: https://www.periodpromise.ca/  

Read TogetherBC: B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: https://www.gov.bc.ca/TogetherBC

To read more about other poverty reduction grants this year, visit:

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Government supports access to free menstrual products for students, people in need

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Under a ministerial order that was issued Friday, April 5, 2019, all B.C. public schools will be required to provide free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by the end of 2019.

In issuing the order, Education Minister Rob Fleming said it’s time to normalize and equalize access to menstrual products in schools, helping to create a better learning environment for students.

“Students should never have to miss school, extracurricular, sports or social activities because they can’t afford or don’t have access to menstrual products,” said Fleming, adding that current research indicates that one in seven students has missed school due to their periods because they cannot afford products.

“This is a common-sense step forward that is, frankly, long overdue. We look forward to working with school districts and communities to make sure students get the access they need with no stigma and no barriers.”

The ministerial order – which takes effect immediately but allows districts until the end of 2019 to comply – comes with $300,000 in provincial startup funding. Over the coming months, the ministry will continue to work with school districts, community and education partners to look at the needs of each district, identify gaps and ensure they have the funding needed to meet this new requirement.

In addition, government is also providing a one-time grant of $95,000 to support the United Way Period Promise Research Project, to fund menstrual products for up to 10 non-profit agencies and research into how best to provide services and products for people who menstruate.

“The cost and availability of menstrual products is a real concern for those who are poor and often face the choice of purchasing those products or buying other essentials, like food,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “I encourage other organizations to join our government in supporting the Period Promise campaign, to help end the stigma that causes social isolation, and begin to address that larger issue around affordability.”

“Having your period is a part of life, and easy and affordable access to menstrual products should be simple,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “Menstrual products should be available to people when and where they need them, which is why we’re improving access in schools and in communities. These actions are going to make a big difference in the lives of people who menstruate, and I’m proud that our government is taking leadership on this issue.”

The United Way funding builds on the work government is doing to reduce poverty in British Columbia. In March 2019, the B.C. government released TogetherBC, the Province’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. TogetherBC brings together investments from across government that will help reduce overall poverty in the province by 25%, and cut child poverty in half, over the next five years.


Glen Hansman, president, B.C. Teachers’ Federation –

“By ensuring school districts make menstrual products free and accessible to all students who need them, the government is taking an important action towards improving equity in our schools. There are many reasons why students need access to menstrual products at school. Many of our members can share stories of students who have felt shame or embarrassment, or have even gone home, because they did not have access to a tampon or pad or could not afford one. Today’s announcement will also help deal with what the United Way’s Period Promise campaign calls ‘period poverty.’ I want to thank the Minister of Education and this government, as well as those working on the United Way campaign, for making this announcement today.”

Mark Gifford, chair, New Westminster Schools Board of Education

“Our board is proud to have led the way in breaking down barriers and ensuring access to free menstrual products in all of our schools. It’s a basic gender-equity issue and our work helps ensure female and transgender students can manage normal bodily functions without stigma, cost, or disruptions to their learning. We are thrilled with the minister’s announcement today and applaud such swift action in support of advancing a fundamental right of access across the province.”

Andrea Sinclair, president, B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils –

“This is a long-standing ‘hidden and unspoken’ problem for students who need menstrual products. There continues to be stigma surrounding this, which causes unnecessary anxiety and reduced confidence for students, including reduced attendance. We need to remove the barriers to access, eliminate the stigma and normalize the conversation for student well-being. We are encouraged by this action and fully support it. Today’s announcement is another example of the ministry listening and acting for the best interest of students.”

Michael McKnight, president and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland

“The inspiring support United Way’s Period Promise campaign has received demonstrates the impact we create when we mobilize to address issues in our own neighbourhoods. I want to thank the Government of B.C. for its commitment to tackling period poverty, and thank the passionate individuals tackling vulnerability and isolation in all its forms, in our local communities.”

Sussanne Skidmore, secretary-treasurer, BC Federation of Labour, volunteer co-chair of United Way’s Period Promise campaign –

“The community and government response to the issue of period poverty has been incredible. The hundreds of thousands of donated menstrual products we’ve received will make a concrete difference in people’s lives, and with support from the Government of B.C., we can also create change on a wider scale, long-term.”

Learn More:

Participate in the United Way Period Promise campaign: https://www.uwlm.ca/

Read TogetherBC: B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: https://www.gov.bc.ca/TogetherBC 

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Lead and mercury poisonings in herbal products prompt clinic shutdowns

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An side look at the now-closed A1 Herbal Ayurvedic Clinic Ltd. in Surrey on Jan. 28.


Cases of lead and mercury poisoning in consumers using toxic herbal products have led to clinic shutdowns, Health Canada seizures and recalls, consumer warnings and new B.C. rules for labs performing urine and blood testing.

On Monday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said Fraser Health has shut down a Surrey business called A1 Herbal Ayurvedic Clinic Ltd. after an inspection that also resulted in Health Canada seizing illegal products, ingredients from India and equipment on the premises.

Health Canada conducted the raid in Surrey and at an affiliated clinic in Brampton, Ont., after the BCCDC told the feds about a case of heavy-metal toxicity in a B.C. patient taking products from the Surrey clinic.

“Taking these items can lead to severe illness and even death,” the BCCDC said in a news alert, adding that people who bought products from the clinic and have concerns about their health should see a doctor.

The Surrey clinic operators couldn’t be reached for comment.

Health Canada said it had previously cancelled the A1 Herbal outlet’s natural health-products licence because it hadn’t been inspected or approved by the federal government for safety, effectiveness and quality. The company was, in fact, operating without a necessary Health Canada licence that indicates good practices in manufacturing, packaging and labelling of products.

Ayurvedic products are usually imported from India for customary healing practices. While exposure to lead has decreased substantially because of laws preventing its use in paint, gasoline and other products, it would appear heavy-metal poisoning remains a not insignificant problem in B.C., although data on deaths and illnesses isn’t available.

A report published early in the February B.C. Medical Journal describes another case of toxic lead poisoning in a 64-year old B.C. man who got progressively ill after taking an Ayurvedic herbal remedy he bought in India to “treat” his diabetes. The patient sought medical help for five months before being diagnosed with lead poisoning. He went to various hospital emergency rooms, getting “intensive workups” with CT scans, MRI imaging and endoscopies before being properly diagnosed by an internist who suspected lead poisoning and ordered the proper test.

Dr. Tom Kosatsky, a medical director at the BCCDC and co-author of the journal article, said the eventually recalled product called Quizz had “lots of lead and some mercury” in it and the patient’s symptoms — abdominal pain, dizziness, weight loss and nausea — were consistent with lead poisoning.

Kosatsky said it’s apparent that there are a lot of people suspected of having lead poisoning because B.C. doctors ordered nearly 5,000 tests looking for high levels of mercury and lead in blood and urine last year. Some of the testing is for occupational screenings among people who work with metals at their jobs while other tests are done in those suspected of toxicity from foods or products consumed.

Of all the tests conducted, there were over 100 lab-test results last year that were suspiciously high and required further tests and followup treatment.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that it’s clear that herbal remedies are popular with consumers. But the public should know they should only buy products that have met Health Canada standards; such information can be found on the product label.

Henry said investigations often show that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Lead toxicity can affect multiple communities, so under the new Public Health Act regulations, labs testing patient specimens will be compelled to report to the BCCDC and to Henry all tests ordered along with results. Heavy metals can be partly eliminated from the body through an intravenous or oral medication process called chelation.

Under the new rules that came into effect earlier this month, the BCCDC will “assess trends in testing and in metal biomarker levels by geography and demography.” And for results that suggest toxicity, the agency will contact doctors for the purposes of conducting follow-ups with patients to nail down the “likely source of exposure.”

Quebec is the only other province that requires such reports to public health, Kosatsky said, adding that Health Canada will soon be releasing clinical guidelines to help doctors identify heavy-metal poisonings and how to manage such cases.

Symptoms of lead and/or mercury poisoning:

Anemia (low iron), changes in blood pressure, concentration problems, kidney and brain damage, memory loss, tremors, headaches, insomnia, constipation, stomach pain, reproductive disorders and miscarriages/stillbirth.

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