Week in Brief: Regulatory News

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The Week in Brief is Thentia’s weekly snapshot of regulatory news and what’s happening in the world of professional licensing, government technology, and public policy. 

Nearly 40 trapped miners at the Totten Mine in Sudbury, Ont.were successfully rescued and are now safe, mine owner Vale confirmed. Vale’s Ontario head of mining operations has since said the company will take steps to understand what led to the accident that trapped the workers. To reach the surface, the miners climbed a system of ladders with the assistance of a recovery crew from Ontario Mine Rescue and Vale’s own rescue team. The workers became stuck after a scoop bucket detached and blocked the shaft housing the elevator that lowers workers underground. The mine is now temporarily closed until Vale investigates alongside Ontario’s Ministry of Labour inspections team. 

California implemented a requirement for health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus last week, a move that has compelled many thousands of previously unvaccinated employees to get vaccine shots in the past few days, bolstering the case for employer mandates. A survey of over a dozen state hospital systems revealed vaccination rates of 90% or higher, with many more workers choosing to be vaccinated, as opposed to applying for medical or religious exemptions. In New York, many unvaccinated workers have been fired for not complying with vaccine mandates, and across the U.S. many other health care workers have been fired or suspended for refusing COVID-19 vaccines. In Albertaan ICU nurse died in a province overwhelmed by hospitalizations. 

The Rapid City, S.D., communications division released a statement about the town council’s approval of ordinance for medical marijuana, including licensing procedures and application submittal requirements for establishments that wish to qualify. The statement includes ordinance direction and application procedures for cultivating, manufacturing, and testing. It also sets limits on dispensary licenses based on population numbers. 

In Garden Park City, N.Y., regional leader in medication monitoring and addiction treatment services, Truetox Laboratories, announced the first graduating class of a unique restricted license in clinical toxicology. The graduation ceremony ended what the organization called a years-long fight “to correct a skill mismatch in clinical toxicology in New York.” This new licensure will allow applicants with toxicology degrees to work in clinical toxicology laboratory environments in New York. 

Law Society of Ontario (LSO) bencher Jared Brown (also lead counsel for Brown Litigation) said the LSO’s call for lawyers and paralegals to comment on improving the law society’s competency framework represents a chance for legal regulators “to move toward evidence-based policy in professional competence.” He called it an opportunity for Ontario’s lawyers to get away from areas with less impact on professional competence and instead focus on frameworks with robust evidence to support effectiveness. According to Sidney Troister, LSO competence task force chair, it had been two decades since the LSO comprehensively reviewed regulatory competence practices, a time during which massive changes within the legal profession have occurred. 

With more eyes than ever on the home care industry, experts are wondering if greater standardization will follow, according to Home Health Care News. Home care has been under scrutiny lately due to the coronavirus pandemic and more and more home health care experts are asking for greater standardization in the field. 

With unanimous bipartisan support, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation to extend hundreds of regulatory waivers and suspensions made to improve the state’s response to COVID-19. The law will keep nearly 500 regulatory waivers made by state agencies during the pandemic in place until March 2022. The waivers were previously set to expire at the end of September after an extension earlier this year. The suspensions will apply to a wide range of regulations and requirements, such as occupational licensing, public meeting requirements, and health care. 

Legislation to further improve occupational licensing processes for military families transferring to Massachusetts was also tabled last week. The idea behind the legislation is to help better facilitate license portability for military families that have to transfer to military installations in Massachusetts by entering the Commonwealth into a series of interstate licensure compacts and other agreements. 

An Atlanta apartment complex where a teen was killed in elevator collapse was cited for additional safety issues following an 18-year-old’s death in a recent elevator collapse. State officials found more safety issues they say should have been addressed long ago and accused property managers of ignoring Georgia building codes and shunning numerous warnings about safety problems. 

Also noteworthy: 

• Frederick M. Hess,  director of education-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, advocates the end of teacher licensing in the National Review.

• State legislatures introduced several hundred bills related to food during their 2021 legislative sessions. See the rundown on Food Safety News. 

• The pandemic gave regulators more opportunity to weed out online fraudsters, according to Barron’s. 

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