Tag Archives: Public Health

Human-centred solutions are urgently required: Open letter to Ford government

The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA), the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-Healthcare and Unifor have denounced the Ford government’s “band aid pay-as-you-vote gimmick,” an offer of a one-time $5,000 payment to some nurses as an incentive not to leave their jobs.

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COVID-19 pandemic on the rise

Reports from around the world indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Reports include: south Korea 400,000 new cases in one day; France over 100,000 new cases for a second consecutive day; Vietnam 180,000 new cases on March 16. China has 14,850 new cases. Its Jilin region built eight makeshift hospitals to control new outbreaks.

In the United States, the White House said it will start to wind down a COVID-19 program that pays to test, treat and vaccinate people who don’t have health insurance despite 23,663,746 new active cases as of two days ago. Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s budget for 2022 stands at $768 billion.

In Canada, as of March 16, the count of active cases was 115,048 out of total cases of COVID-19 in Canada since the pandemic began of 3,379,200. This includes 39,653 in BC, 6,559 in Alberta, 15,413 in Ontario, 12,704 in Quebec, 6,689 in Nova Scotia, and 4,039 on Prince Edward Island. Given the number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high.

(With files from Public Health Agency of Canada)

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Dossier: Working people speak out on the pandemic and take their stand

March in Fredericton, New Brunswick on November 2, 2021 as legislature opens

Note to Readers

(Updated November 5) – Workers’ Forum presents the views and reports of workers on how to handle the pandemic and their struggles for the working conditions they require to make their contribution to the well-being of the population as a whole. They speak in their own name. To popularize these views and information, we are providing updated links to Workers’ Forum when it is published.

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Urgent need for workers to unite the people in the fight for the rights of all

By Pierre Chénier

A prominent feature of the last leaders’ debate on September 9, was what has come to be known as Quebec-bashing. A self-serving manipulation of the issue of values makes sure no discussion takes place on what values people actually hold and how they can be expressed in a manner decided by the people themselves.

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New Brunswick workers seek solution to crisis in recruitment and retention

Marches Across the Province in Support of Public Sector Workers

Fredericton, August 28, 2021 (Fred Hahn)

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Reality Check. When Venezuela and Cuba offered aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina


Eighty per cent of New Orleans was inundated when levies broke during Hurricane Katrina.


Originally published March 2, 2019 during the US “humanitarian aid” offensive against Venezuela

Fifteen years ago, at 6 a.m. on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the most infamous social disaster in the modern history of the United States preceding the 2020 pandemic. Hurricanes are measured by the velocity of their winds, the height of their storm surges, and other similar properties. But disasters are remembered by their impact on the social and natural environment, and on that scale Katrina is one of the most destructive disasters in U.S. history. The presidency of George W. Bush responded by federalizing military rule, providing a template in many respects to that of the Donald Trump presidency in 2020 to the Covid-19 pandemic. Continue reading


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About the COVID-19 pandemic and required measures

Infographics on Measures to Limit the Spread of Infection

An important aspect of slowing the spread of infection are hygiene and social isolation measures recommended by the World Health Organization and public health authorities. The Government of Canada has issued a series of infographics to explain these measures:

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Election in conditions of the pandemic’s fourth wave

On August 23, Ontario reported 639 new cases of COVID-19. Of those, 124 people (21 per cent) were fully vaccinated, 65 were partially vaccinated and the remainder were unvaccinated. Of people in hospital in Ontario on the same day, 23 were fully vaccinated, nine were partially vaccinated and 103 were unvaccinated.

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This Day. National Day of Mourning for workers killed, injured or made ill on the job

Monument in Edmonton, Alberta

Westray Miners Memorial, Nova Scotia


On the occasion of the National Day of Mourning, April 28, the Workers’ Centre of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) issued the statement, “The fight for lives is the fight for rights!”: Continue reading

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Cuba leads in global fight against COVID-19 pandemic

By Isaac Saney

Cuban Doctors head for Italy In April, 2020.

Cuba continues to receive international accolades for its singular role in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This is illustrated by the numerous nominations of Cuba’s internationalist medical contingent – the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade against Disasters and Serious Epidemics – for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Continue reading

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Irish reject British Army Covid 19 militarization of public health

In a little-mentioned program, NATO is using the global Covid 19 pandemic as the pretext to deploy military forces in the public health system, presented as “essential” and “good Samaritan saviours” and a “normal” response to “exceptional circumstances”, even as it exclaims against medical programs of Russia, China and Cuba. Canada, which has placed the federal distribution of vaccines under the administration of the Canadian Forces, deployed hundreds of soldiers into long-term care facilities and Indigenous communities with disastrous consequences, is no isolated exception, as this news item from Republican News in Ireland illustrates. 


(January 23) – A deployment of British Army paramedics to hospitals in occupied Ireland has angered many nationalists, particularly among families of those killed and injured by British soldiers.

Following a request by the Stormont authorities, the occupying British Army garrison based in the North of Ireland is to be increased by over a hundred. Continue reading

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Honouring and supporting Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade

Mail Art Project Call for Submissions

The Nobel Peace Project is an international Mail Art initiative founded over 20 years ago in Nobel, Ontario by artists Susan Gold/Smith and AG Smith as a response to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

In 2020, for the first time, the Nobel Peace Project has taken on a theme directly connected to the Nobel Peace Prize and is calling for submissions to celebrate and support the nomination of Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade for the award in 2021. Continue reading

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Pfizer and the Sovereign: Cuba’s COVID19 vaccine offers an interesting counterpoint to the Pfizer roll-out in the US

By Naomi Schoenfeld

(December 21) – As 2020 draws to a close, the COVID19 pandemic rages on, yet, undoubtedly, we have entered a distinct phase as a number of countries now begin or plan for mass distribution and administration of newly developed vaccines. As of this writing, there are six approved vaccines and over 50 candidates in development (Craven, 2020, WHO 2020). In the UK, the NHS recently started administering the Pfizer BioNTech mRNA vaccine, and the US followed suit one week later. COVID19 vaccine development has reinvigorated a certain type of vaccine nationalism not seen for decades. Each vaccine or candidate gets a particular pedigree, narrative and aura of trustworthiness according to its origins. The vaccines and candidates are a mix of private-sector developed or public/private partnership, with only a few candidates from universities or the public sector (WHO, 2020). In Cuba’s state-run socialist biopharmaceutical system, their new COVID19 vaccine, called Soberana or “The Sovereign,” is effortlessly enfolded into a long-standing national narrative of vaccine prowess. Continue reading

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Coronavirus alarm blends Yellow Peril and Red Scare

Coronavirus Alarm Blends Yellow Peril and Red Scare

Gothamist photo (1/31/20) of Asian Americans wearing surgical masks, illustrating a story about the absence of coronavirus (at that point) in New York City.


As an Asian-American, I’m not surprised that there are numerous reports surfacing of racist and xenophobic responses arising in the US (and elsewhere) as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, where “coughing while Asian” is being compared to “driving while black.” In case there are any doubts that media coverage is being racialized, reports about new coronavirus updates in the US, particularly in areas like New York City, are using unrelated header images of East Asian people wearing face masks to drive the impression that Chinese people are unique carriers of disease, even when they aren’t Chinese. Continue reading

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NATO & EU first: Human rights organizations criticize obstruction of Covid-19 vaccine supply to poorer countries

WROCLAW, POLAND – FEBRUARY 19, 2020: Word UNITY made of wooden letters, and NATO FLAG (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) with flags of member countries in the background. promesaartstudio – stock.adobe.com

The Canadian government has signed purchase agreements with seven different pharmaceutical companies for up to 418 million doses of the various Covid-19 vaccines under development – far more than it needs for its own population. This is said to be hedging bets in case some vaccines do not pan out as well. These companies are Pfizer-BioNTech (U.S.-Germany), Moderna (U.S.), Medicago (Canada), University of Oxford-AstraZeneca (UK-Sweden), Johnson & Johnson (U.S.), Novavax (U.S.) and Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline (France-Britain). German-foreign-policy.com reports on the global consequences of the rich countries securing most of the supplies for themselves. Continue reading

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New Brunswick government’s attempt to impose wage freeze on all public sector workers

No to Negation of Workers’ Rights!

April 12, 2019. CUPE health care workers rally in Fredericton in defence of the right to negotiate acceptable wages and working conditions.

On December 11, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs informed officials of the Canadian Union of Public Employees New Brunswick at a meeting that his government is planning to impose a wage freeze followed by wage restraint on all the public sector workers in the province, unionized and non-unionized. This comes in the midst of the stresses and anxiety caused by pandemic working conditions. Already, for twelve years, New Brunswick workers have been fighting against wage freezes imposed by successive governments which have declared they have “wage restraint mandates.’ Continue reading

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United States: Election clash continues

By Kathleen Chandler

November 12, 2020. Nurses in San Francisco demand safe staffing levels and conditions of work they require.

(November 21) – The continuing clash in the United States over the results of the presidential election, in the face of COVID-19 cases surging across the country, has only further confirmed the sentiment among the people that the country is headed in the wrong direction and those in government, at all levels, are unfit to govern. Health care workers and other first responders and essential workers still do not have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing. For example, nurses in Minnesota caring for COVID-19 patients say they have not been tested since the pandemic began. Firefighters and teachers are sleeping in their cars so as not to infect their families. It is commonly felt and spoken of that what is occurring is criminal and government must be held accountable – for all the deaths and for not guaranteeing free PPE, testing, and health care for all in need. Continue reading

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Nova Scotia: The right to work safely is essential to keep COVID-19 under control

November 2020. NSGEU President Jason MacLean addresses press conference on dealing with second wave of COVID-1

Interview with Jason MacLean, the President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union by Workers’ Forum online newspaper.

Workers’ Forum: There are virulent outbreaks of COVID-19 across the country. Can you tell us what the situation is in Nova Scotia?

Jason MacLean: We have here the Atlantic bubble that makes our area a little bit more unique than other areas of Canada. Continue reading

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Ontario Day of Action: Defend the Rights of Residents and Workers in Long-Term Care Homes

The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) together with frontline health and elder care advocate organizations are holding a Day of Action on Long-Term Care in Ontario on October 8 at 11:00 am. The OHC is calling for immediate action by the Ford government to recruit and train staff; improve pay and working conditions and provide full-time work; and to implement a minimum care standard of four hours of hands on care per resident per day. The OHC is also calling for an end to for-profit long-term care. Continue reading

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Soberana – Cuba’s Covid-19 vaccine

By Gerardo Szalkowicz

If not for the unwritten premise of the imperialist media that anything good about Cuba is not to be reported, it would be striking that this piece of news has gone practically unnoticed: that in recent days the vaccine “Soberana 01” [“Sovereign” in English – Ed Note] began clinical trials in humans and became the first in Latin America – and in the entire so-called underdeveloped world – to advance to this second phase. Continue reading

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Nova Scotia: Demand for public inquiry into Northwood tragedy

The Need to Enforce Rights: Accountability is a serious concern. Introductory commentary by Tony Seed to an interview by Workers’ Forum with Jason MacLean, President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union (NSGEU).

The lack of accountability on the part of governments at all levels for what is happening to the people is a serious concern. There is no doubt that decisions that governments have taken and are taking have created the conditions for the dramatic and tragic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and safety of the people in Canada no less than the United States. Thirty years of anti-social offensive in health care and social services – with massive cutbacks, increased privatization, further concentration of decision-making power in ministerial hands and the marginalization and exclusion of the experience and opinions and demands of frontline workers, have wrecked the capacity of the health care system to face the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

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Nova Scotia union refuses to participate in the provincial government’s secretive Northwood review

In a press release dated July 30, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) announced that due to the secretive nature of the Northwood review, NSGEU President Jason MacLean has decided not to take part in the process. Northwood Manor is a huge facility in Halifax, with close to 600 residents and over 400 workers caring for them, where 53 residents died this spring of COVID-19. Hundreds of residents and workers were also infected. At the end of June, the Nova Scotia government announced that it is conducting a review of the COVID-19 death toll at this long-term care home for seniors. NSGEU members, who do not normally work at Northwood Manor, were redeployed there during the height of the pandemic, by ministerial order. Continue reading

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Stand with health care workers to say No! to Ontario Bill 195! Oppose the violation of workers’ rights in the name of dealing with COVID-19!

The Ontario Nurses Association is organizing pickets against Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 introduced July 7 which empowers the Ontario cabinet to continue to enforce temporary orders issued under the COVID-19 state of emergency once the emergency is lifted at the end of July. Continue reading

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San Francisco approves resolution to strengthen relations with Cuba and request medical cooperation


(July 22) – The California City Bureau of Supervisors approved a resolution calling for closer relations with Cuba and cooperation especially in the area of ​​health.

The resolution asks the United States authorities to facilitate the entry into that country of the interferon produced in Cuba by the CIGB and to request support from Cuban health experts to confront COVID-19, after the effective fight against the pandemic in the Caribbean nation. Continue reading

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The need to fix long-term care: Workers demand public inquiry into 53 Northwood deaths in Halifax

At the end of June, the Nova Scotia government announced it is conducting a review of the COVID-19 death toll at the Northwood Manor long-term care facility for seniors in Halifax.

Northwood Manor is a huge facility, with close to 600 residents and 400 workers caring for them, where 53 residents died this spring of COVID-19. Hundreds of residents and workers were also infected. Continue reading


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Danny Glover highlights Cuban solidarity in the face of a pandemic

Glover considered that all the successes of the Cuban health system and its international solidarity are possible thanks to the existence of great political will.

Danny Glover highlights Cuban solidarity in the face of a pandemic

The renowned American actor Danny Glover stressed that the solidarity built by the Cuban internationalism present in medical collaboration is the type of expression necessary in communities around the world.

During a videoconference through solidarity networks with Cuba in the United States and Canada on June 16 – the #SavingLives Campaign – the famous artist stressed that the response given by the Caribbean nation to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the dispatch of medical brigades to more than twenty countries , started 60 years ago. Continue reading

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Interview with Evo Morales: Bolivia under dictatorship, US the real power


A little more than six months after the coup d’état (10-11 November 2019) against President Evo Morales in Bolivia, now exiled in Argentina, he warned of the serious situation his country is facing under a de facto government headed by the self-proclaimed President Jeanine Añez, who in addition to repression involving massacres against the population and persecution and imprisonment of political leaders and militants, is systematically destroying the social and economic model and achievements of the overthrown government of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). Continue reading

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Fidel Versus COVID-19 and Beyond

By Iroel Sánchez

Fidel at the National Center of Medical Genetics, with Dr. Juan C. Dupuy Núñez, founding coordinator of the Henry Reeve International Medical Contingent Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics | Granma Archives

The fact that Cuba’s response to the COVID-19 has been far more effective than most countries in the region, including the United States and also several European nations, is a reality that is becoming evident. Continue reading

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Globe and Mail ignores cuba’s contribution to fight against global pandemic

Members of the Henry Reeve Brigade in Havana, April 25, 2020, as they prepare to leave for South Africa to fight COVID-19 pandemic.

The following letter was sent to the Globe and Mail on May 13 by Isaac Saney, Co-Chair & Spokesperson, Canadian Network On Cuba and a Cuba Specialist, Dalhousie University in Halifax. Continue reading

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NATO medical force arrives in US

‘Coronavirus response: Romanian medical personnel and experts supporting their United States colleagues’

NATO reports that “Romanian military medical personnel and specialists in the field of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) left today on 25 May 2020 for Alabama, in the United States, to join forces with their American colleagues, as part of NATO Allies’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

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