Posts Tagged "review"


B.C. officials to review records to ensure students vaccinated against measles

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In this file photo taken on April 05, 2019 shows a nurse preparing the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine


The B.C. government says public health officials will start reviewing school enrolment records of kindergarten to Grade 12 students to ensure children are immunized against contagious diseases including measles.

The Health Ministry says officials will do their review between August and October and contact parents if their children are not up to date on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

It says most parents are already complying with the vaccination requirement so there is no need for them to do anything before their children begin classes in September, when it will be mandatory to report students’ immunization records.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the goal of the first year of the reporting requirement will be to get children caught up on vaccinations by the end of the school year.

He says a provincial catch-up vaccination program has seen 33,000 children immunized since April.

Dix says public health nurses have reported that more families who were initially hesitant are now choosing to immunize their kids.

“They’ve noticed more new and expecting parents take an active interest in their child’s vaccination schedule,” he says.

“It should be said that older students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 have been our most significant uptake in terms of immunization. Many or most of them had the opportunity to read immunization consent.”

The voluntary program was introduced after a measles outbreak in B.C. linked to two French schools in Vancouver.

Health authorities have already reviewed more than half a million students’ immunization records and parents or guardians of those with incomplete or missing records have been notified.

Measles spreads through virus-laden droplets after an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Infection with the measles virus starts with a high fever, coughing, sneezing and red eyes, followed by a blotchy, painful rash that starts on the face and spreads to cover the whole body.

The disease can lead to complications such as ear infections, blindness, pneumonia and encephalitis, which is a swelling of the brain, and can be fatal.

The first shot of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is given when children are a year old, and the second dose usually follows when they are about four to six years old.


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Book review: Whatever Gets You Through is a reminder that you are never alone

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Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault

Edited by Stacey May Fowles and Jen Sookfong Lee | Greystone Books

$22.95, 219 pp

There is a war being waged constantly — a war against women. Whatever Gets You Through is a dispatch from the front lines.

The numbers alone represent a nightmare. In 2017, nearly 24,000 sexual assaults were reported to Canadian police and judged to be “founded.” And that number, horrific as it is, is a gross undercount. Only one assault in 20 is reported to police and only one per cent of sexual assaults on women leads to conviction. Aboriginal women, poor women, women of colour, trans women, sex workers and women living with disabilities are all more at risk for assault.

In B.C., there are over 1,000 sexual assaults every week. Over half of B.C. women over 16 have experienced physical or sexual violence, primarily at the hands of men. And assaults are often lethal. Indigenous women and girls, as the national inquiry has taught us, are particularly vulnerable to the murderous violence that fuses sexism and racism.

But numbers alone can numb the heart. Every woman and girl assaulted had a name, a face, a history. A new collection of survivors’ stories, Whatever Gets You Through, provides a valuable reminder of this by giving readers 12 vivid accounts of life after sexual assault.

The editors of this important book, Stacey May Fowles and Jen Sookfong Lee, have chosen a dozen voices for this survivors’ chorus. Each of these voices is unique, and none seem tempted by the saccharine truisms of pop psychology or TV versions of “redemptive recovery.” They all tell their own difficult truths in memorable language.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s essay, “Not Over It, Not Fixed, and Living a Life Worth Living, A Disability Justice Vision of Survivorhood” is a particularly eloquent and angry text, and like her recent book Care Work, brilliantly written.

Kai Cheng Thom, a Toronto based trans woman already well known for her fiction, poetry and community organizing, contributes a profound meditation on illness, pain, the body and memory. Other contributors reflect upon their varied paths to survival, from therapy to fabric art to peer support.

Women readers may find in this book the comfort of knowing they are not alone. Every man should read this book, although many will flinch from its painful truths and moral challenge.  As men, we have to change our own unacceptable behaviours and challenge other men to do so as well. Anything less is collusion in the war.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. He welcomes feedback and story tips at [email protected]

Stacey May Fowles (above) and Jen Sookfong Lee edited Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault. Photo by N. Maxwell Lander.

N. Maxwell Lander /


Jen Sookfong Lee (above) and Stacey May Fowles edited Whatever Gets You Through: Twelve Survivors on Life after Sexual Assault. Photo by Sherri Koop.

Sherri Koop /


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Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ advocate to step down and review of office

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The B.C. Care Providers Association is calling for the resignation of Isobel Mackenzie, the province’s seniors’ advocate, alleging her relationship with the Hospital Employees’ Union leadership has been too “cosy.”


The B.C. Care Providers Association is calling for the resignation of the province’s seniors’ advocate, alleging her relationship with the Hospital Employees’ Union leadership has been too “cosy.”

In a statement, the association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate.

But seniors’ advocate Isobel Mackenzie says she never did anything inappropriate, adding that consulting and collaborating with stakeholders is part of her mandate.

The association alleges that documents obtained through a freedom of information request show Mackenzie collaborated closely with the Hospital Employees’ Union leadership in shaping a report on the transfer of patients from care homes to hospitals.

The report, called “From Residential Care to Hospital: An Emerging Pattern,” was released in August and followed complaints from emergency room clinicians that some care homes were sending residents to the emergency department unnecessarily.

The association alleges she shared draft language of the report with the union, incorporated its feedback and notified the union of the planned timing of the report’s release.

In contrast, it says the care providers association was never advised in advance by Mackenzie’s office on the release of the report and its members were never notified beforehand of its findings.

“We have tried to work with the seniors’ advocate over the years with mixed results,” it says in a statement.

“The release of this FOI provides us with a disturbing insight into which organization is having the most profound influence over the OSA.”

Mackenzie told The Canadian Press the report was independent from the Hospital Employees’ Union.

“What they’ve chosen to say is, ‘Well she colluded with the HEU on this report,’ to which I’m saying, ‘Well how?’ The results, the methodology, the data sources — it’s all there. That has nothing to do with the HEU,” she said.

She said sharing contents of reports with some stakeholders or members of an opposition party is common practice.

“Everybody does that,” she said.

In the past, Mackenzie said she has shared content from reports that are favourable to the B.C. Care Providers Association in advance and not with the Hospital Employees’ Union.

In this case, she said her office shared contents of the report in advance with health authorities, the union and contracted care providers, which includes members of the B.C. Care Providers Association. She said her office has a relationship with care providers, but no obligation to the industry association.

Mackenzie suggested the association is calling for her resignation because it didn’t like the content of a report that found contracted care providers transfer patients to hospitals more often.

“The B.C. Care Providers took great offence to this report. What’s interesting is when the reports serve their interests, they don’t have this problem,” she said.

Mackenzie said she is not considering resigning.

The association is also calling for a full and independent review of the office.

Unlike other advocates that are independent, such as the B.C. Ombudsperson or the children and youth advocate, the seniors’ advocate reports to the Health Ministry, which couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The association says it also wasn’t consulted on a decision by the B.C. government to move more than 4,000 home support jobs from the private sector to public health authorities, and accused Mackenzie of failing to press the government on that decision.

“Not one question was posed by her to government on their reason for the change, or if any analysis had been provided,” it said.

“For BCCPA, this was a tipping point.”

Mackenzie said she was briefed by the deputy minister and health authorities in advance of the decision and she found there was an argument to be made for the change.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the office’s position under his ministry has never stopped Mackenzie, who was appointed five years ago by the previous Liberal government, from criticizing him or the ministry freely.

“She has criticized the NDP government, the Liberal government, the care providers and just about everyone else in her advocacy,” Dix said Thursday.

Dix said he has personally been on the receiving end of her criticism but he recognizes that’s her mandate and said she does a “good job.”

“If people want to make the argument for a long-term review of what the status of the office should be, that’s something the care providers and everyone else could look at and I think absolutely could be considered,” he said.

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Review: Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask (and more!)

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Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask

Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask.


Kora Organics

Noni Glow Sleeping Mask

They say: A face mask from supermodel Miranda Kerr’s brand Kora Organics that features Silver Ear mushroom, coconut milk and caviar-lime extract to deliver “smoother, plumper-looking skin” while you sleep. The product is said to be suitable for all skin types including normal, dry, combination and oily.

We say: Our tester loved the way this gel-texture mask left her skin looking hydrated and “bouncy” in the morning. Applied to clean, dry skin, a small dollop of the mask smooths easily onto skin and dries quickly, leaving only a slightly tacky feel. In the morning, the mask washes off easily with warm water.

$60 | Sephora; sephora.com

Nanette de Gaspé Bain Noir Cannabis Sativa Bath Soak Treatment

Nanette de Gaspé

Bain Noir Cannabis Sativa Bath Soak Treatment

They say: A luxurious bath soak from Nanette de Gaspé that features hemp-derived Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, as well as Meadowfoam and Poppy Seed Oils, to “soothe, revive and protect the skin while also de-stressing the mind and body.”

We say: Cannabis, in various shapes and forms, has been a hot ingredient in beauty and wellness products in recent years. Our tester, who is new to the movement, was pleased with the entire product experience of this luxe bath soak. A small scoop of the dark-purple formula into the water provided a powerful punch of pleasant scent — not to mention a deep hue. A 20-minute soak left her body, not to mention her mind, feeling completely relaxed.

$325 | Holt Renfrew; nannettedegaspe.com

Nude by Nature Touch of Glow Highlight Stick

Nude by Nature

Touch of Glow Highlight Stick

They say: A glide-on “cream-to-powder” highlighting formula featuring active natural ingredients such as Australian Kakadu Plum, Quandong and Desert Lime. The fragrance-free formula also features Carnauba Wax and Vitamin E to smooth and soften the complexion.

We say: Our tester was impressed with both the colour payoff and the feel of this product. The easy-to-apply stick blends easily onto skin with one’s fingertip and stays comfortable (read: non-sticky or greasy) throughout the day. Our testers, women in their 30s and 60s, used the shade 04 Opal on their cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose for an instant, non-glittery glow.

$28 | Nudebynature.ca

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Theatre review: Pitch-perfect Kill Me Now takes a harrowing emotional journey into taboo territory

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Luisa Jojic and Bob Frazer in Kill Me Now.


Kill Me Now

When: To Oct. 27

Where: Firehall Arts Centre

Tickets and Info: $17-$33 at www.firehallartscentre.ca

What perfect timing that Brad Fraser’s Kill Me Now got its Vancouver premiere the day that Canada legalized marijuana. As one long-standing taboo falls, others with which our society is still struggling to come to terms get explored in a heartfelt, pitch-perfect production of a play that pulls none of its powerful punches.

Fraser has long been one of the bad boys of Canadian theatre, an outspoken queer playwright mixing sex, violence and outrageous humour in works like Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Poor Super Man and True Love Lies

Sex and humour remain important parts of the texture of Kill Me Now, but its centre is an emotionally harrowing story of love and family that dares you not to cry. Roy Surette’s Touchstone Theatre production features some of the best acting you’ll ever see in theatrical scenarios that most of us have probably never seen.

Widowed father Jake (Bob Frazer) is raising his disabled 17-year-old son Joey (Adam Grant Warren). With severely limited physical dexterity and slurred speech, Joey needs a lot of assistance. Jake bathes him, puts cream on his sore bum and lifts him in and out of his wheelchair. Jake’s sister Twyla (Luisa Jojic) helps. She gets Joey an iPad that gives him some personal power.

But with puberty, Joey also has sexual needs and a growing desire for independence, fuelled by his blunt, very funny, slightly older friend Rowdy (Braiden Houle). Rowdy’s fetal alcohol syndrome doesn’t slow him down at all. He presents himself to a potential sexual partner this way: “Mildly retarded and well-hung — not many can resist.”

For a while, it looks like the most controversial issue will be Joey’s awkwardly timed erections and whether his father should help masturbate him. But when Jake himself gets seriously sick, life and death come into play. Notions of ability and disability begin to shift as this ad hoc family, including Jake’s married lover Robyn (Corina Akeson), rallies around him.

Fraser handles the ethical issues, including the vexed question of assisted suicide, with sensitivity and complexity, and Surette’s cast invests his characters with a deeply human realism.

Joey is in most ways a typical hormone-driven teenager. Warren, an actor who lives with cerebral palsy, makes both Joey’s physical disability and his emotional and psychological normality utterly convincing. He and Frazer have exquisite onstage chemistry, shown in the tension and loving tenderness between son and father.

Frazer’s performance is simply devastating. The protective father whose son’s needs consume his life gradually morphs into a creature overwhelmed by his own unremitting physical pain.

Houle does a great job maintaining Rowdy’s comic role while showing his character’s growth into a pillar of strength for those around him whose needs far outweigh his. Jojic nicely balances Twyla’s own emotional stresses with her commitment to helping Joey and Jake. Akeson carefully navigates Robyn’s awkward injection of herself as outsider into her lover’s traumatized household.

The central section of David Roberts’ set aptly reflects the key theme as the actors themselves rotate it to change locations. These characters learn the hard way that they can and must take charge of their own lives. It’s a lesson beautifully, painfully, compassionately illustrated in this marvellous play.

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