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January 4, 2010

 

Pt 1: Romeo Dallaire - The Canadian military is once again top-of-mind this week. Hundreds braved bitter cold to be there as five hearses carrying the bodies of four Canadian soldiers and a Calgary journalist mad their way from CFB Trenton to Toronto.

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Pt 2: Sick Days - We started this segment with some examples from the the online manual "Wiki-How." It's part of a guide to calling in sick ... even when you're not. And for the record, The Current does not advocate trying this at home.

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Pt 3: Organ Transplants - We started this segment with a clip of Valerie Quann. She lives in Toronto. And three years ago, she nearly died while waiting for a liver transplant.

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It's Monday, January 4th.

The Toronto Maple Leafs once again find themselves out of a playoff spot with one of the worst records in the NHL.

Currently, Leafs general manager Brian Burke has requested the NHL to prorogue until 2012, when a post-apocalyptic world should help the team's chances.

This is the Current.

Romeo Dallaire

The Canadian military is once again top-of-mind this week. Hundreds braved bitter cold to be there as five hearses carrying the bodies of four Canadian soldiers and a Calgary journalist mad their way from CFB Trenton to Toronto.

And Prime Minster Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament has sparked fierce criticism from the opposition because it will shut down a parliamentary inquiry into the government's handling of the Afghan detainee issue.

Canada is no longer a nation of peacekeepers. And Canadians have become more engaged with military matters than they have been for generations. But there are those who say we are still a long way from being able to have a free and open discussion about our military's record.

For his thoughts on the changing role of the military in Canadian life, we're joined by Retired Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire. He is best known for his efforts to stop the Rwandan Genocide when he was the commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda in 1994. He's now a Liberal Senator and he was in Quebec City.

The Current requested an interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay. We did not receive a response.


Listen to Part One:

 

Sick Days

We started this segment with some examples from the the online manual "Wiki-How." It's part of a guide to calling in sick ... even when you're not. And for the record, The Current does not advocate trying this at home.

According to the British consulting firm Mercer, the first week of January is one of the most popular times to call in sick. And more than a third of all sick days are taken on a Monday. So this morning, as part of our on-going series Work In Progress, we wanted to take a closer look at sick days... in particular the effect they have on employee health, company productivity, and workplace harmony.

Alain Lalonde is the Auditor General for the City of Ottawa. In November, he looked at the number of paid sick days that city employees took in 2007. And he decided it might be time to reconsider how the city looks at sick days. Alain Lalonde was in Ottawa.

Sick Day Factboard

Overall, workers in Canada have seen an increase in sick and family-related leave benefits in recent years..

And there are efforts underway right now to move in a similar direction in the United States. Those efforts include the proposed "Healthy Families Act." If passed, it would include a guarantee of seven sick days a year to workers in companies with at least 15 employees. The legislation is being backed by President Barack Obama.

Here in Canada, workers are missing more days of work for personal reasons than in the past. According to Statistics Canada, between 1997 and 2008 the average number of days missed has increased from 7.4 to 10.

Stats Canada also reports that in 2008, full-time unionized workers were absent an average of 13.9 days. Non-unionized employees took an average of 8.2 days off.

Sick Leave Study

So between a global recession and a global flu pandemic, plenty of employers are taking a close look at the number of sick days their employees are taking...
But Jody Heyman was interested in the impact paid sick leave has on workers and the economies of countries. She has studied sick leave policies across Canada and around the world. Jody Heymann is the Director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University. She's also the author of Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone. She was in Montreal.


Listen to Part Two:

 

Organ Transplants Panel

We started this segment with a clip of Valerie Quann. She lives in Toronto. And three years ago, she nearly died while waiting for a liver transplant.

In the end, Valerie Quann got lucky and her cousin was a perfect match. But not everyone is so fortunate. In 2008 there were 4,000 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant. 215 of them died. And according to a new report from the Canadian Organ Replacement Register, Canada's organ donation system is failing.

In Britain, there is a proposal to change the current consent system, so that consent to donate organs harvested would be presumed unless otherwise explicitly stated by an individual. Some say Canada should consider the same idea. But not everyone thinks that's the answer.

For their thoughts on the issue, we were joined by three people. Doctor John Gill is the President of the Canadian Organ Replacement Register. He was in Vancouver. Cheri DiNovo is an NDP member of the Ontario legislature. She co-authored a private member's bill that would have brought a presumed consent system to Ontario. She was in Toronto. And Joyce Robins is the Co-Director of Patient Concern, a British advocacy group that has argued against a presumed consent system for the United Kingdom. She was in Sussex, England.

Last Word - Sick

And as you heard earlier in the program, some people aren't letting the flu stop them from going to work. So the Florida Department of Health is mounting an ad campaign with a message for them. We ended with that.


Listen to Part Three:

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