moved for leave to introduce Bill C-251, an act to amend the Canada Health Act (conditions for contributions).
Mr. Speaker, the need for this bill arises out of the lack of a nationally organized and managed protocol for notification of infectious diseases. Although Health Canada did issue a protocol for notification recently, it is purely voluntary in nature and therefore inadequate.
I am extremely concerned about the federal government's lack of action on this important issue. With each passing year the federal politicians fail to move on this vitally needed plan and more and more lives are being put in unnecessary danger.
Canada's emergency response personnel such as firefighters routinely risk their lives to keep our communities safe, and yet government has not yet extended the courtesy of providing further protection for these workers in the course of carrying out their duties.
Emergency response personnel may come into contact with a variety of contagious diseases in the course of carrying out their duties.
As a result, a procedure is needed that allows hospitals to quickly inform these personnel when patients they have handled in a vehicle rescue or any other type of situation carry a communicable disease such as hepatitis or AIDS.
Knowing essential facts like this quickly and efficiently is the first step in preventing contact with a communicable disease from turning into something worse. Notification procedure allows for testing and early treatment of communicable diseases.
My bill advocates a notification system that is similar to corresponding American legislation recently passed in Washington which addresses concerns about formalized disease notification procedures for emergency personnel.
To ease concern about patients' invasion of privacy, my bill incorporates confidentiality safeguards.