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The federal and provincial governments must create a national agency to set standards for the collection and sharing of health data in order to respond more quickly to threats such as pandemics and to improve patient care, a new report says.

The report from a federal advisory group, to be released today, says governments across the country also need to change privacy laws to allow health records and data to be more easily shared – with patients, medical providers and public-health officials. That will require a significant cultural shift, away from a system that focuses solely on keeping data secure and private toward one that ensures health records and data can be used and shared safely.

A child, age 7, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children in Montreal, Quebec on November 24, 2021.ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP/Getty Images

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Vulnerabilities along border exposed as U.S. Army works to repair levee

In a gap in the Saar Creek levee, surrounded by flooded Washington state farmlands just south of the Canadian border, an excavator flips small boulders into place, then covers them with dirt and gravel. It’s a race to shore up defences before the rains begin again.

At this particular spot, less than three kilometres from British Columbia, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it expected to finish its work Monday. A number of other breaches have also been repaired.

But as yet another atmospheric river bears down on the flood-stricken region, at least one major levee breach nearby won’t be fixed before heavy rains return, amplifying the vulnerabilities not only here but in British Columbia, where the inundation around Abbotsford has come in part from waters that flowed north out of the U.S.

Military yet to enact Bill C-77, leaving crime victims powerless

More than two years, and two elections, after the government passed a bill guaranteeing the rights of victims with cases in the military justice system, the law has not been fully enacted, leaving people without basic guarantees and supports during a complex and traumatic process.

Although the law was passed in 2019, the Defence Department and the Canadian Armed Forces have not yet completed the regulations that will bring it into force.

A woman who reported that a senior officer sexually assaulted her several years ago, when she was a civilian volunteer with the Forces, says that without the law she has been unable to access mental health supports she needs to cope with the trauma and stress of coming forward.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Temperatures in Canada to swing between extremes this winter: One of Canada’s most high-profile weather forecasters says the extreme storms that have pummelled parts of the country over the past month may be a sign of what lies ahead for the coming winter.

New nuclear arms race is upon us, an architect of weapons ban treaty warns: An Austrian diplomat who was one of the architects of a new UN treaty aimed at banning nuclear weapons says the world is in the midst of a new arms race that includes a dramatic expansion of China’s arsenal. Meeting with officials at the Global Affairs Canada, Alexander Kmentt urged Ottawa to attend the first meeting of signatories to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty this March.

Business closings overtake openings: The number of monthly business closings overtook the number of openings for the first time since the early weeks of the pandemic last year, according to Statistics Canada. Business closings peaked in April, 2020, while openings peaked two months later, both driven by the initial large wave of lockdowns and reopenings.

Federal government reintroduces bill to ban conversion therapy: The government has reintroduced a bill banning conversion therapy that is wider-reaching than a previous version. If passed, it will ban the so-called practice entirely for children and adults.

Condo owners face growing insurance bills for damage to common areas: Condo owners across Canada could be on the hook for expensive damages to common areas in their buildings as condo boards try to limit the cost of surging insurance premiums by increasing the deductibles on policies – in some cases raising them to $150,000 from $10,000.


MORNING MARKETS

Vaccine concerns hit global stocks: There was a fall in world share markets and scramble to safer currencies and bonds on Tuesday after the CEO of drug maker Moderna warned that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the new Omicron variant. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 1.39 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were off 1.42 per cent and 1.20 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.63 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.58 per cent. New York futures were lower. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.23 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Cathal Kelly: “Every Olympics has its themes. Beijing 2022 will be the Scripted Olympics. No one from any country is going to show up there without their talking points well in order.”


TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

Brian GableBrian Gable/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

Spas and effect: Taking time out for a wellness reboot

Whether it’s just for one treatment at an urban retreat or an extended stay at a lavish resort, there’s a wealth of luxurious spas across the country. If you’re a newcomer to the scene, here are some retreats with a great track record of pampering.


MOMENT IN TIME: NOV. 30, 1900

Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, c. early 1880s.© Ken Welsh/Bridgeman Images

Oscar Wilde dies

It’s hard to imagine a more precipitous fall from being the toast of London society to inhabiting a cold, barren jail cell as Prisoner No. 33. In 1897, after his incarceration for “gross indecency,” writer, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was disgraced, bankrupt and in ill health. Upon his release after serving two years, he departed for France aboard the night ferry, never to return. Wilde eked out an existence correcting proofs of his plays, spending what little he had on alcohol and a room in Paris’s dingy Hôtel d’Alsace, refusing entreaties from his publisher to write. As his health continued to deteriorate, his forays out grew less frequent, reportedly prompting him to joke, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” In October of 1900, he telegrammed London to Robert Ross, scion of a prominent Toronto family and one of his few remaining friends, imploring him to come. Toward the end of November, Wilde had developed meningitis and, bedridden, slipped in and out of consciousness. Following Wilde’s instructions, Ross called for a priest to fulfill his wish to be received into the Catholic Church. He died the following day at 2 p.m., at the age of 46. Ian Morfitt


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