Mandatory vaccinations are not part of the new health care legislation that provides a review of the way the government manages health care.
Health Minister John Haggie on Tuesday presented the Law on Protection and Promotion of Public Health, which aims to accompany health decisions in all decisions in all government departments.
Legislation gives the government options to deal with everything from a full scale pandemic to help boost the bicycle helmet for the province. The approach to health "in all policies" enumerated in the law will require all government departments to think about the implications of health in all the laws or policies they are developing.
While the spirit of the act promotes better public health, one thing you can not do is to force people to break. The current legislation has left room for the minister to vaccinate obligatory, but never made.
Haggie says the government can not force people to break away from the respect for the individual freedoms contained in the Charter of Rights, no matter how useful public health vaccines are.
"I'm sure there are groups of people out there who would say we should have a mandatory vaccination. I'm equally sure there are people who say vaccination should be completely optional," Haggie said.
Legislation empowers regional health authorities to develop policies that help residents to be healthy – but definitions are deliberately unclear. Promoting public health could mean considering new water management systems or even allowing new regulations for the fast food industry. In Quebec, similar legislation allowed the government to forego, for example, selling toys with fast-food children's toys.
The 55-page law is largely composed of a legal language that allows some previously unconstitutional medical practice to be maintained. For example, if a person contracts a deadly, highly contagious disease, health authorities should have a legal basis for quarantine – even if they are against their will. These provisions will have to be tested in court, but Haggie says he believes such extreme measures are being protected by the new legislation. Haggie also argued that at least for such measures was very high.
"If you look at what we have now, it would not have been a charter challenge. You could drive a bus through it," Haggie said.
"It is all designed to balance the needs of the society as a whole and its protection and the rights of an individual." She goes through a reasonable legal test when it comes to protecting the rights of individuals and giving them means of appeal, obligatory review of the order and protection of the law. "
The law also creates clear definitions for chronic or inappropriate diseases such as cancer or heart disease.
Dr. Darrell Wade, chairman of the Newfoundland and Labrador public health association, says it is "the most advanced law on public health in the country."
"We are extremely pleased to focus on non-contagious diseases," says Wade, "the things that kill Newfoundland and Labardor are not the cholera of the previous era." "It's cancer, it's a heart disease, it's diabetes," Wade said.
"For the minister and government to really focus on some of these causes of illness, it is really important to us".
The law is expected to come into force on January 1st.
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