Climate change is among the major challenges for health this century, and adaptation to manage adverse health outcomes will be unavoidable. The risks in Ontario - Canada's most populous province - include increasing temperatures, more frequent and intense extreme weather events, and alterations to precipitation regimes. Socio-economic-demographic patterns could magnify the implications climate change has for Ontario, including the presence of rapidly growing vulnerable populations, exacerbation of warming trends by heat-islands in large urban areas, and connectedness to global transportation networks. This study examines climate change adaptation in the public health sector in Ontario using information from interviews with government officials.
Fifty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted, four with provincial and federal health officials and 49 with actors in public health and health relevant sectors at the municipal level. We identify adaptation efforts, barriers and opportunities for current and future intervention.
Results indicate recognition that climate change will affect the health of Ontarians. Health officials are concerned about how a changing climate could exacerbate existing health issues or create new health burdens, specifically extreme heat (71%), severe weather (68%) and poor air-quality (57%). Adaptation is currently taking the form of mainstreaming climate change into existing public health programs. While adaptive progress has relied on local leadership, federal support, political will, and inter-agency efforts, a lack of resources constrains the sustainability of long-term adaptation programs and the acquisition of data necessary to support effective policies.
This study provides a snapshot of climate change adaptation and needs in the public health sector in Ontario. Public health departments will need to capitalize on opportunities to integrate climate change into policies and programs, while higher levels of government must improve efforts to support local adaptation and provide the capacity through which local adaptation can succeed.
Despite significant gains in legal rights for people with disabilities, the employment rate for individuals with disabilities in many countries remains extremely low. Programs to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce can have an important impact on individuals' economic and social prospects, as well as societal benefits.
This article aims to explore Telenor Open Mind, a job training program at Norway's largest telecommunications company with financial support from Norway's Labor and Welfare Organization (NAV), which acts as a springboard for individuals with disabilities into the workplace.
A qualitative case study design was utilized to explore the Telenor Open Mind Program. Drawing on field research conducted in Oslo during 2011, this article explores subjective experiences of individuals involved with the program, through interviews and program observations.
Telenor Open Mind's two-year program is comprised of a three month training period, in which individuals participate in computer and self-development courses followed by a 21-month paid internship where participants gain hands-on experience. The program has an average 75% rate of employment upon completion and a high rate of participant satisfaction. Participation in the program led to increased self-confidence and social development. The company experienced benefits from greater workplace satisfaction and reductions in sick leave rates.
The Telenor Open Mind program has provided benefits for participants, the company, and society as a whole. Participants gain training, work experience, and increased employability. Telenor gains dedicated and trained employees, in addition to reducing sick leave absences among all employees. Finally, society benefits from the Open Mind program as the individuals who gain employment become tax-payers, and no longer need to receive benefits from the government.
National paid sick day and paid sick leave policies are compared in 22 countries ranked highly in terms of economic and human development. The authors calculate the financial support available to workers facing two different kinds of health problems: a case of the flu that requires missing 5 days of work, and a cancer treatment that requires 50 days of absence. Only 3 countries--the United States, Canada, and Japan--have no national policy requiring employers to provide paid sick days for workers who need to miss 5 days of work to recover from the flu. Eleven countries guarantee workers earning the national median wage full pay for all 5 days. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the full-time equivalent benefits are more generous for low-wage workers than for workers earning the national median. The United States is the only country that does not provide paid sick leave for a worker undergoing a 50-day cancer treatment. Luxembourg and Norway provide 50 full-time equivalent working days of leave, while New Zealand provides the least, at 5 days. In 6 countries, paid sick leave benefits are more generous for low-wage workers than for median-wage workers.
Ensuring working mothers' ability to breast-feed is crucial given that breast-feeding substantially reduces infant morbidity and mortality while promoting maternal health. Working conditions, rules on the job, supervisors and co-workers can all raise or lower barriers to breast-feeding. Around the world, 127 countries guarantee working women the right to breast-feed. Canada does not provide this assurance, despite the fact that the majority of infants are born to women in the labour force. This has profound implications for the health of infants and mothers alike. Solutions exist: extending current policies to ensure adequate maternity leave is available for all Canadians, legislating a right to breast-feed while working, and adapting workplaces to make this practical.