In 2014, CFI Canada launched our Consumer Education and Advocacy focus in response to the growing incursion of pseudoscience (and religion) into healthcare because we share your concerns.
We don’t have a large staff team or government funding.  What we do have is the drive and passion of volunteers, members, donors and supporters like you.
We also have a commitment to ensure that Canadians have access to clinically-proven healthcare and evidence-based practices.  We feel that the government has a responsibility to protect Canadians from those who are willing to sell any unproven product or service.
Please consider making a contribution to help us fight to keep pseudo-science and religion out of healthcare!
Here are just a few of the projects that your support enables:
Tracking the Connection Between Organized Religion and Public Health
In the fall of 2014 we asked “Is it far-fetched to be concerned that organized religions and pseudo-science purveyors may be vectors for public health risks in Canada?”
Since then we have begun to investigate this question in context of measles vaccination cases.  With only very modest investigation, the question does not seem far fetched at all!  Volunteers from branches across Canada will be pooling their energies and talents to further explore (and report) links between what may be very disparate communities.
We’re doing this because the question as we posed it is only the start; our interest is to provide critical thinking skills to Canadians to help them answer a more important question: How Do We Put a Stop to Anti-Vaccination Risks to Public Health?  This article at Science 2.0 provides some interesting perspective from the US.

 

CFI Canada is seeking Canadian perspective. In Ottawa, a day-care has begun to promote itself as free from vaccination.  One of the owners of the daycare has been quoted saying:
The first thing that we want to say is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This isn’t to say those people who vaccinate don’t have their child’s best interest at heart,” Paapa said.
CFIC is very concerned by a statement like that. CFIC’s           mission is to provide education and tools for critical and           scientific thinking.  We will be sending a letter to this           daycare to request details of their investigation into the           matter of vaccination and to share with them information and           tools to use critical thinking and scientific evidence on           matters where children’s health is at risk.
HPV Vaccination
Members may recall that  CFIC issued a letter to the Chair of Toronto’s Catholic School Board issued a statement following his claim that HPV vaccinations are a “moral issue”.  This reminded us of similar problems in Alberta….and also the Kenyan example of Catholic Church and physicians opposing tetanus vaccinations.
Mr. Del Grande did eventually reply to us with the following statement:
Well the media did a great job in making the news rather than reporting it.  I used two examples of issues where a moral lens needs to be used when dealing with such topics.  I repeat, they were examples. There was no mention to open anything up as the Star would suggest. But let’s be clear you have your job to do and I have mine which [is] to examine what we do in a faith guided morality.
As National Executive Director of CFIC, I thanked Mr. Del Grande for replying to our letter and indicated….
   Given that you have referenced the job which you have to do, I would  appreciate receiving a copy of your position description as Chair of the  Toronto Catholic District School Board – that is to say, the job  description which the taxpayers of Ontario are paying to have  fulfilled.   I am interested to see the wording which describes your  tasks and duties to, as you have stated,  “examine what we do in a faith  guided morality.”  Your assistance in obtaining this document would be  appreciated. Mr. Del Grande, your reply to my letter seems to suggest that you have  no plans to open the matter of HPV Vaccinations for evaluation.  Despite  the protestations in your email, clearly the public and media will take note when elected officials choose to make examples of specific issues.   As I’m sure you are aware, these “examples” often find their way into  future actions by elected officials.  Certainly CFI Canada is concerned  when people in leadership roles begin to assert moral claims on matters  where they have no relevance and will stand ready to renew our offer of  education when and if it is required. 
We will keep our members and supporters up to date as we continue to track this issue.
Regulation of Questionable Health Services Educational Programs
In the summer of 2014, one of our members in Vancouver told us about the College of Medical Intuition and also told us about the BC government’s Private Career Training Institutions Agency.  When we looked into for ourselves, we knew that CFI Canada had to do something about this.
We’ve sent several letters to BC government contacts to urge the government to make changes to their accreditation systems which will prevent the further erosion of the education and healthcare systems.  Our simple request: require evidence that taught curriculum and healthcare services are based on evidence and fact.
We have also discovered that the Institute of Holistic Nutrition is also registered with PCTIA in BC.  This organization, with campuses in Ontario and BC carries the following quote on their website:

IHN’s Vancouver Campus is PCTIA approved. The Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) succeeded the Private Post-Secondary Education Commission of BC (PPSEC) as the regulatory agency for private training institutions in the province of BC.

CFIC is concerned by the trend in post-secondary education, whether at accredited Colleges and Universities, through arms-length approval organizations such as PCTIA or indeed the growing list of self-appointed “certifying bodies” that are emerging on the periphery of the medical and educational systems.
We  will be providing further information and updates on our consumer education webpage.
Celsius 42 Tumour Cell Solution
Late in 2014 one of CFIC’s member let us know about his letter to MP Rona Ambrose regarding medical devices coming into Canada for localized hyperthermia treatment of cancer.
When we advised our members and supporters of this investigation, one member was able to share some recollections with us:
Before I retired…. I worked as a research scientist in the medical devices industry and many years with Heath Canada’s Medical Devices Bureau. In my last position I did quite a few investigations into the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, including fraudulent devices.  Unfortunately my findings and recommendations were not always acted upon by upper management, because the number one -unwritten- rule was: “Make no waves”.
Watch for updates to this story on our Consumer Education webpage.
Is it possible that hyperthermia treatments will be effective?  We just don’t know and we must require clinical evidence before they are launched on a vulnerable public.
Something we do understand better is how our system of protections for Canadian healthcare services works and where some gaps in regulation and oversight exists.
Please consider getting involved in the CFIC community.  By joining CFIC’s growing ranks of volunteers and members, you can contribute to our knowledge of how the system works and participate in providing the education and tools Canadians need to successfully navigate education, health and life choices filled with purveyors of pseudo-science, religion and other claims without evidence.
Be part of protecting Canadians from the incursion of pseudoscience and religion into healthcare.

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