Current News

Medical Marijuana RX?

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Doctors should think twice before prescribing medical marijuana: guideline . . . this supports the BC College of Physicians as well as the Mayo Clinic’s reports along with many industry leading professionals.  Are we prepared to consider the by-products of this social and cultural direction?

The Simplified Guideline for Prescribing Medical Cannabinoids in Primary Care, published Thursday in the medical journal Canadian Family Physician, says there is limited evidence to support the reported benefits of medical marijuana for many conditions. (Read the guideline below).

It adds that any benefit could be balanced or even outweighed by the potential harm.

“While enthusiasm for medical marijuana is very strong among some people, good quality research has not caught up,” project leader Mike Allan, director of evidence-based medicine at the University of Alberta, said in a news release.

The guideline was created by a committee of 10 researchers after an in-depth review of clinical trials. It was peer reviewed by 40 others, including doctors, pharmacists, nurses and patients.

As reported in Global News Feb 15, 2018 – read the full article here

Doctors should think twice before prescribing medical marijuana: guideline


Breakfast Education Seminar – Save the date: Tuesday, 13 March 2018

ENCOMPASS News, Events Comments Off on Breakfast Education Seminar – Save the date: Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Join us for an intriguing discussion as Organizational Solutions Inc. will be addressing disability management challenges. They will share how we can sustain these rising costs while helping to manage the physical and emotional impact of illness or disability.

Manulife Financial will be discussing generational differences and the impact on plan utilization, 2018 Health and Dental Trends, plus other important, informative (and sometimes confusing) benefits topics.

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Liz Scott – Organizational Solutions Inc.
Bringing over 25 years of experience and expertise within Disability Management, Dr. Liz Scott is the Principal & CEO of OSI, author of “Comprehensive Disability Management” and respected professor at McGill, Guelph and Ryerson Universities.

Peter Katrakis – Manulife Financial
Group Benefits Account Executive with over 10 years of experience; Peter provides both clients & brokers with expertise, an eye for detail and sound advice within the Benefits space.

Jason Moseley – Manulife Financial
Benefits Account Executive with a breadth of experience spanning the insurance and banking industries; Jason brings a “Make it Better” mantra while servicing locally within BC

Where:  Hotel El Dorado 500 Cook Road (On the Lake), Kelowna, BC V1W 3G9

When:  Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Time: 7:30 AM: Breakfast
8:00 AM sharp – 10:30 AM: Seminar
Where: Hotel Eldorado,  500 Cook Rd, Kelowna, BC, V1W 3G9

Reservations Required – Limited Seating
Please RSVP to:

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2018 – 2021 BC Minimum Wage Increases Announced

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Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:15 AM – From the Office of the Premier

British Columbia’s lowest-paid workers will earn a $15-an-hour minimum wage by June 2021, Premier John Horgan announced today, endorsing the recommendations of the Fair Wages Commission.

The Fair Wages Commission recommended the following schedule of increases:

  • June 1, 2018: $12.65 an hour ($1.30 increase)
  • June 1, 2019: $13.85 ($1.20 increase)
  • June 1, 2020: $14.60 ($0.75 increase)
  • June 1, 2021: $15.20 ($0.60 increase)


Depending on economic conditions, the commission recommended that government consider of an additional hourly increase of up to $.20, to $15.40 an hour in 2021.

The Fair Wages Commission report with recommendations can be found here:

Information on B.C.’s minimum wage can be found online:

For a recent Monster article

A backgrounder can be found here:


B. C. ruling adds further clarity to long-term disability saga

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Does disability interfere with an organization’s right to terminate employment and employer-provided benefits?

It’s a question that commonly arises when it comes to employees who have been away from work and in receipt of long-term disability benefits for extended periods of time. Generally, and subject to applicable statutory entitlements respecting termination pay and severance, it is permissible to terminate an employee who’s unable to work due to disability, either on account of innocent absenteeism (in the case of unionized employees) or frustration of contract (in situations involving non-unionized workers).

Read: Court dismisses age discrimination appeal in long-term disability case

While there are differences between the tests applied to unionized and non-unionized employees, a key issue will always be whether a disabled worker has a reasonable prospect of recovering and returning to work in the foreseeable future. From that perspective, an employer seeking to terminate a disabled employee will need to establish that the individual is incapable of performing the essential duties of the position, with or without modifications to accommodate restrictions; is unable to perform any other productive work; and has no reasonable prospect of returning to work.

In addition, employers must consider the implications for long-term disability and other types of coverage since, at least in the unionized context, an employer’s right to terminate a disabled employee in that case will depend on whether the dismissal deprives the worker of continued access to negotiated benefits specifically tied to the illness or disability. The question becomes whether disability benefits will continue despite the termination, an issue that requires a review of applicable disability policies and provisions in the collective agreement.

Considerations for other benefits

As for other benefits, such as extended health and dental plans, the prevailing view is that they don’t vest at the point an employee becomes disabled and that continued coverage doesn’t impede an employer’s ability to terminate employment. The British Columbia Labour Relations Board confirmed that view in its July 2017 decision in Langley (Township) v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 403.

Read: ‘Welcome news’ in B.C. court statement on non-culpable absenteeism

The case dealt with an earlier arbitration decision on the township’s termination of several employees who had been off on long-term disability for lengthy periods of time and who had been receiving group life, dental and health benefits during their absences. The terminations had no impact on the employees’ entitlements to long-term disability benefits. The move did, however, mean an end to other group benefits as entitlement required ongoing employment.

The board, relying on undisputed evidence that the township had moved forward with the terminations based on the length of time the terminated employees had been away from work, set aside an earlier decision that had ordered reinstatement and continued group benefits coverage. In support of its decision, the board cited other cases that held that there’s no general right to receive non-disability benefits simply because an employee is on long-term disability and that, in the absence of specific contractual language to oust that rule, entitlement to such coverage depends on the ability to fulfil the bargain of work for pay.

Read: Alberta LTD ruling offers lessons about exclusions for pre-existing conditions

Helpfully, the board’s decision in Langley confirms the understanding that employees on long-term disability don’t have an automatic right to continued employment for the sole purpose of maintaining other employer-provided benefits coverage. Nonetheless, as always, the termination of an employee on long-term disability requires careful consideration. As such, an employer will first want to evaluate an employee’s prospect for recovery and return to work, as well as opportunities for accommodation.

Jordan Fremont is a partner at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP in Toronto. Gabrielle Fortier-Cofsky is an associate in the firm’s Ottawa office.

Get a PDF of this article.

February is Heart Month

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How can YOU make a difference during Heart Health Month

  • Wear red on National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 2nd to increase awareness of heart disease.  Then share a photo of you and your friends in your best red gear on social media with the hashtag #theheartfoundation.


February is Heart Month, a time to bring attention to the importance of cardiovascular health, and what we can to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada.

We can all reduce our risk of heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices, including quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels. To help Canadians make some of these lifestyle changes, the Government of Canada is supporting innovative programs and partnerships like Run to Quit, Carrot Rewards, APPLE Schools and Kid Food Nation, in communities across Canada. These initiatives support healthy living and help to prevent chronic diseases in all ages.

During Heart Month, I encourage all Canadians to take the opportunity to learn more about the risks factors for heart disease and what can be done to prevent it. Making one small change towards a healthier lifestyle can make a big difference.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.

Meds to cost much less – The Canadian Press – Jan 29, 2018

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CASTANET Jan 30, 2018

A new agreement will see the prices of nearly 70 commonly prescribed generic drugs discounted by up to 90 per cent of their brand name equivalents.The price discounts are to start on April 1 and will more than triple the number of drugs that were discounted under the previous generics initiative.

The drugs are collectively used by millions of Canadians to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression.

Officials say patients will see the savings when they fill their prescriptions, whether it’s through a public drug plan, an employee plan or paying out of pocket.

The initiative is expected to generate savings of up to $3 billion for public drug plans over five years.

The agreement between the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance — which represents the provinces, territories and federal government — and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association was reached after discussions led by Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

For further information – check out the following link:


January is . . . Alzheimer Awareness Month

ENCOMPASS News, Health & Wellness Comments Off on January is . . . Alzheimer Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in Canada. It is a progressive and irreversible disease. Sadly, there is no cure – and just as troubling, the number of Canadians who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is expected to double by 2031.

While the main risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age, it is also important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Younger people, in their 40s or 50s, have been diagnosed with the early onset form of the disease.

Many countries around the world are facing a similar situation. That is why the Government of Canada has joined its G7 partners in addressing this growing challenge. Together, we committed to coordinate international efforts with an aim to find a cure or disease-modifying treatment for dementia by 2025.


January is also Soup & Hot Tea Month

 Do your mind, body & soul some good by enjoying the warmth and comfort

of a steaming mug with family & friends!

Addictions Programs and Overdose Rates

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A recent article in the Vancouver Sun reported that drug overdoses in BC have more than doubled in 2017. The report states that most victims worked in trades, with a disproportionate number in the construction industry.

Report findings show most of those affected are: 

  • Reluctant to discuss health concerns
  • Suffering from co-current mental health issues
  • Display symptoms of PTSD
  • Between 31 to 40 years of age


Read the article in the Vancouver Sun


On January 31, Bell will donate $.05 towards mental health for each applicable text, call, tweet and video.

Learn More



Top Wellness Trends for 2018

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Benefits Canada highlights the top Canadian wellness trends we’ll see in workplaces in 2018.


Read the full article here

  1. Mindfulness 

Research shows that practicing mindfulness can improve stress management and promote self-care, enabling employees to make better choices both at home at work.

  1. Personalized wellness coaching

Wellness coaching uses a one-on-one approach that provides support, guidance and encouragement to individuals looking to meet health and wellness goals.

  1. High-intensity interval training 

Employers should look to promote or provide high-intensity interval training classes, as this type of training can make employees more productive and efficient, while also improving cardiovascular health.

  1. Financial wellness

Employees are now looking to their employers for help navigating personal finances. Employers can help employees improve their financial well-being by encouraging them to learn more about their finances.

  1. Standing desks

Sitting has been labeled as a health risk worse than smoking and as a result more employers are looking to offer access to standing desks.

Giving Employers the BEST options in Group & HR Solutions for their Employees!

Big White Ski Resort Contest – WInner Announcement

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On Thursday, December 21st we were able to make this Christmas season very special for one remarkable student – David Hartley!


This year, one special way that we wanted to give back to our great community is to offer, with our long term client Big White Ski Resort, an amazing gift for one incredible youth.  This package included one Youth Pass with Equipment & Group Lesson, and Bus Pass for the 2017/2018 season!

The contest ran in November to the middle of December 2017.  Nominations were judged based on personal character and community commitment!

We spent a few days reviewing the Nomination Forms with Big White Ski Resort staff.  On December 21, ENCOMPASS Benefit’s Principal, Bret Loge, as well as Benefits Support Specialist, Maddie Wilks, presented this incredible youth with a Christmas surprise of his life! Big White Ski Resort’s Michael J & other team members were able to join us for the presentation.

David’s nominator, Stephanie, wrote two pages about David, describing his selfless character and recognition of community need. Stephanie is an advisor at the Glenmore Interior Savings branch, so we arranged for David, his mother Noreen and other friends and family to meet us there to present this prize to David.


Congratulations David for being a remarkable youth in our community and enjoy your winter ski season!