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canadienne October !

Ethics and Responsibility

Plus ... the Dalai Lama speaks on science and spirituality

Canadian octobre

2004 Vol. 56, No./no 9

L’Actualité chimique canadienne


Canadian Chemical News

October ! octobre


Vol. 56, No./no 9

Table of contents Table des matières

A publication of the CIC Une publication de l’ICC





Page 18

Feature Articles/Articles de fond

• Guest Column/Chroniqueur invité The Chemical Industry in Canada in 2020 Bernard West, MCIC


• Personals/Personnalités


The politicization of stem cell research

• News Briefs/Nouvelles en bref


Janet Rossant

• Chemputing Can You See What You’re Doing? Marvin D. Silbert, FCIC


Choosing Hype or Hope?

Balancing Act



A close inspection of the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act.

• Chemfusion Strictly Strychnine Joe Schwarcz, MCIC


• Interfaces Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Life Sciences Bryn Williams-Jones


• Hello Dalai


Wasted Expertise

• CSChE News/Nouvelles de la CSChE


A new program integrates foreign-trained professionals into the Ontario workplace.

• NCW News/Nouvelles de la SNC


Colleen Mellor

• Careers/Carrières


• Events/Événements


• Professional Directory/Répertoire professionnel


Daphne C. Ripley, MCIC

Will My Strawberries Glow in the Dark?


Is it right to expose food to radiation?

Larisa Mikelsons, MCIC, and J. C. Scaiano, FCIC

Common Ground



Is ISO 14001 supplanting Responsible Care® in the realm of environmental ethics?

Harvey F. Chartrand Cover/Couverture What’s right? What’s rash? What are the rules? ACCN considers the role that ethics and responsibilty play in the Canadian chemical industries. Cover art by Jacqui Oakley

Open for Business Regina’s NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research


Guest Column Chroniqueur invité Section head

The Chemical Industry in Canada in 2020 A futuristic look at what chemistry could be


he business of chemistry in Canada has a long and proud heritage, but is now at a crossroads. Globalization has meant decisions are no longer made in Canada, and manufacturing has moved to the sources with the least expensive raw materials. Further, the public and regulatory authorities perceive chemicals and the industry negatively. The highly inventive and entrepreneurial use of chemistry to solve problems and drive innovation in the whole of industry must be rekindled. What would a transformed industry look like? Here is an idealized sketch of the industry in 2020: The Canadian chemical business consists of many smallish companies focusing in on specific market sectors in Canada, North America, and worldwide. The products are recognized as safe, effective, and efficient. The industry is built on all the fundamental aspects of Responsible Care® and Sustainable Development. The invention of products is done cooperatively with customers and other stakeholders using creative methods in research and commercialization, which are equally aimed at improving the chemical industry and finding chemical solutions to customers’ problems. Feedstocks are primarily renewable and the processes used to make the finished products use resources efficiently and produce no waste or emissions. The storage, distribution, and transportation of products is radically new; safe, secure, efficient, and without emissions. The end use of products is as closed loop as possible. Chemical products act as catalysts in our customers’ products and processes and are returned to be reused. The industry is a bigger percentage of the economy, but the footprint in the environment is tiny. The business of chemistry is a sector where people want to have careers. Sound idealistic? The trends, the driving forces, and the technologies all exist to accomplish these changes over two decades. The Responsible Care framework is already defined. Public and government concerns continue to pressure improvement in the health and safety of chemicals. Additionally, the concern over climate change, which will pressure all industry to be more 2 L’Actualité chimique canadienne


efficient and reduce emissions and waste, drives the industry. New technology is encouraging change. Renewable feedstocks, such as biomass, are available. Coal and petroleum will be used only where they cannot yet be replaced. There is major pressure to improve the “Supply and Use Chain” because of cost and security. The types of products that are invented and the processes for making them will affect the supply chain and be shaped by the chain. How to get from here to there? It will be vital to fund the development work and to attract and fund the entrepreneurs to start using these techniques. The federal government has, until now, been ambivalent to the industry. However, government has a role to play in the renewal of the industry, as well as research and teaching institutions. There is also a primary role for financial institutions and people with money. Work has begun to develop a self-funding mechanism in Ontario. A transformed chemical industry will contribute growth to the Canadian economy and reflect its social values. It will attract new owners, developers, and employees because it will be a “clean” and “valued” industry, created by them. The “mind of management” will be Canadian and set a standard for the rest of the world. Canada will export the new products and processes that will drive the creative cycle. I believe that now is the time to take the opportunity to lead the transformation of the business of chemistry in Canada into something truly unique. We must all put our minds and energy to work for this future. Excerpts from this article were printed in the July/August 2004 issue of CHEM! magazine.

Bernard West, MCIC, is vice-chair of the CIC. He co-chairs the Ontario Chemistry Value Chain Initiative Steering Committee.West was president and CEO of chemicals with Canada Colors and Chemicals Limited located in Don Mills, ON. He was actively involved with the CCPA Specialty Chemicals Initiatives and world-renowned Responsible Care® since the mid 1980s. He was awarded the CCPA Outstanding Leadership Award in 2003.

octobre 2004

Editor-in-Chief/Rédactrice en chef Michelle Piquette Managing Editor/Directrice de la rédaction Heather Dana Munroe Graphic Designer/Infographiste Krista Leroux Editorial Board/Conseil de la rédaction Terrance Rummery, FCIC, Chair/Président Catherine A. Cardy, MCIC Cathleen Crudden, MCIC John Margeson, MCIC Milena Sejnoha, MCIC Bernard West, MCIC Editorial Office/Bureau de la rédaction 130, rue Slater Street, Suite/bureau 550 Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2 613-232-6252 • Fax/Téléc. 613-232-5862 • Advertising/Publicité Subscription Rates/Tarifs d’abonnement Non CIC members/Non-membres de l’ICC : in/au Canada CAN$50; outside/à l’extérieur du Canada CAN$75 or/ou US$60. Single copy/Un exemplaire CAN$8. L’Actualité chimique canadienne/Canadian Chemical News (ACCN) is published 10 times a year by The Chemical Institute of Canada / est publié 10 fois par année par l’Institut de chimie du Canada. Recommended by The Chemical Institute of Canada, the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, and the Canadian Society for Chemical Technology. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the official position of the Institute, or of the societies that recommend the magazine. Recommandé par l’Institut de chimie du Canada, la Société canadienne de chimie, la Société canadienne de génie chimique et la Société canadienne de technologie chimique. Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement la position officielle de l’Institut ou des sociétés constituantes qui soutiennent la revue. Change of Address/Changement d’adresse Printed in Canada by Gilmore Printing Services Inc. and postage paid in Ottawa, ON./ Imprimé au Canada par Gilmore Printing Services Inc. et port payé à Ottawa, ON. Publications Mail Agreement Number/ No de convention de la Poste-publications : 40021620. (USPS# 0007-718) Indexed in the Canadian Business Index and available on-line in the Canadian Business and Current Affairs database. / Répertorié dans la Canadian Business Index et à votre disposition sur ligne dans la banque de données Canadian Business and Current Affairs. ISSN 0823-5228

Personals Personnalités


Dominic Rochefort, MICC

Paul Li, MCIC’s lab-on-a-chip is smaller than a credit card.

Paul Li, MCIC’s tiny labon-a-biochip has caught the attention of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. A biochip is a collection of miniaturized test sites arranged on a solid substrate that permits many tests to be performed at the same time. Li, an assistant professor of chemistry at Simon Fraser University, uses his invention to study the medicinal properties of compounds he has extracted from herbs. Li designed and fabricated the biochip lab to make single cell analysis a reality. The lab is only half the size of a credit card, yet has channels for separation and analysis of individual bioactive herbal ingredients, and a chamber to test the effect of individual ingredients on a human or animal cancer cell. Li’s invention is significant to the pharmaceutical industry and complementary medicine. The latter faces rigorous drug testing to comply with government regulation. In the March 25, 2004 Web issue of Lab on a Chip, a chemical journal, peer scientists flagged the journal’s article about Li’s microfluidic chip as a hot item to read. The cover of the journal’s June issue also featured an image of Li’s invention: the single-

cell fluorescence utility chip. Another journal, Chemical Sciences, highlighted Li’s invention in its May 2004 issue. Michael Sefton, FCIC, director of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and a professor in chemical engineering and applied chemistry at the University of Toronto, was installed as president-elect of the Society for Biomaterials at its annual meeting in Sydney, Australia. Sefton assumes his position as president of the society effective May 2005 for a one-year term. The Society for Biomaterials is a professional society that promotes advances in all phases of materials research and development.

et ses recherches portent sur l’analyse des réactions électrochimiques impliquées dans la production d’énergie par les piles à combustibles, dans l’optique du développement de nouveaux catalyseurs.

Distinction This year’s winner of the 2004 Analytical Chemistry Division Graduate Student Award in Honour of Douglas E. Ryan is Michael Bogan, MCIC, from

David Dolphin, FCIC

University L’Université de Montréal est fière d’annoncer la venue au département de chimie de Dominic Rochefort, MICC. Rochefort a reçu son PhD de l’Université de Montréal et, par la suite, a effectué deux séjours post-doctoraux, l’un à l’INRS-énergie, à Varennes, sous la direction de Daniel Guay, et l’autre à la Cornell University sous la direction de Héctor Abrunia. Sa spécialité est la chimie analytique

of Biomolecules,” under the supervision of George Agnes, ACIC. The thesis has resulted in several manuscripts, including an accelerated article in Analytical Chemistry, and three patents so far. His thesis describes how electrodynamically levitated droplets can be used to create sample spots ~20 µm in diameter and deposited with ±5 µm precision that provide routine detection of attomole quantities of peptides and proteins by MALDI-MS while consuming <50 nL of solution. His immediate future plans are to pursue a postdoctoral position funded by his NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship to gain experience in the application of mass spectrometry to proteomics and bioaerosols.

Michael Bogan, MCIC

Simon Fraser University. Bogan received his BSc from Simon Fraser University and continued there with a PhD thesis, “Wall-less Sample Preparation Strategies for Matrix-assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-MS) October 2004

David Dolphin, FCIC, was honoured at the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry event held in Philadelphia, PA on August 22, 2004. Dolphin developed Visudyne®, the only current biopharmaceutical treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50. The medication treats the wet form of AMD, characterized by the formation of abnormal blood vessels that grow under the central part of the retina. Visudyne is first injected into the patient’s arm and then activated by shining a nonthermal laser light into the eye.


Canadian Chemical News 3

Personals Personnalités Section head

The CIC welcomes Lucie Frigon.

marketing manager. She brings more than 12 years of experience in her field, working for top Canadian companies in the aerospace industry, the information technology industry, and the hydroelectric/nuclear energy industry. She has considerable strength in Web site development and maintenance, internal and external communications, and understanding/communicating complex subjects. She possesses a Diploma of College Studies in pure and applied sciences (CEGEP in Quebec), a BSc from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in translation, and a certificate from the Université de Montréal in communications. Frigon is looking forward to collaborating with all National Office departments as well as with the three society boards to promote the interests of the CIC. If you have great ideas to improve the CIC’s communications and promotion, she will be happy to chat with you.

Lucie Frigon has joined the CIC as the new communications and

Lewis Kay, MCIC, is this year’s recipient of the Günther

Dolphin is vice-president of technology development at QLT Inc. in Vancouver, BC. He was at QLT Inc. when he discovered and developed drugs for photodynamic therapy. He was an associate professor of chemistry at Harvard University before becoming an associate professor at the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Nottingham, England, in 1965.

News Briefs Nouvelles en bref Section head

The Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA)

has announced the recipients of this year’s Merit Awards. The Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Bernard West, MCIC, in recognition of his contributions to the CCPA and the industry throughout his career. West has been a key figure in the evolution of the association and after 13 years of service, he is the CCPA’s longest standing Board member. West was awarded at the Annual Awards Dinner June 17, 2004.

In Memoriam The CIC extends its condolences to the family of John Cowan Ingles, MCIC.

CCPA Chair Steve Griffiths presented Bernard West, MCIC, with the Outstanding Leadership Award.

Danger of On-Line Drug Deals

Photo by Cheryl Yau

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Laukien Prize, established in 1999 to recognize cutting-edge experimental nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) research with a high probability of enabling beneficial new applications. Announced at the 2004 Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference, Kay received the award for his innovative contributions to NMR of biological macromolecules.


octobre 2004

The risk to patients from drugs sold through cross-border Internet pharmacies is as great as the risk from tainted blood in the 1980s, according to the Consumer Advocare Network. “Internet pharmacies are poorly regulated and monitored,” says Durhane WongRieger, chair of the Consumer Advocare Network. “Internet pharmacies are selling prescription drugs [ … ] from countries that don’t have the same standards or regulatory oversight Canada does. Canadians wouldn’t want to take

many of those drugs, yet we are selling them to our closest neighbours. Canada is just a warehouse through which these potentially deadly drugs are being distributed.” Health Canada has stated it will not act to stop the sale of drugs from Canadian Internet pharmacies to American patients because it does not have “evidence of harm.” Health Canada officials also claim there is no evidence of shortages. Camford Chemical Report

News Briefs Nouvelles en bref Section head

Attention cat owners: that kitty litter you’re pouring into Fluffy’s box in the basement may well have its origins in an unlikely spot—the barley breeding program at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). Absorbency of high-starch barley, bred at the U of S, makes it ideal for a new brand of kitty litter, marketed from Saskatoon. LitterMate™ is a new product made entirely of barley and common baking soda. It was developed by a local company to take advantage of that crop’s unique moisture absorption qualities, qualities bred into the plants by scientists in the Crop Development Centre. These kinds of industrial applications, said U of S plant breeder Brian Rossnagel, have been a consideration in the university’s specialty starch barley program for more than two decades. Angela Gabruch, project coordinator for LitterMate and a 2003 graduate of the College of Commerce, said the idea for the natural-sourced litter came from a wheat-based kitty litter available in California. Knowing that waxy hull-less

Industrial Pollution Plan The Ontario government will act on the recommendations in the final report of the Industrial Pollution Action Team (IPAT). Environmental Minister Leona Dombrowsky made the announcement after accepting the panel’s report.

varieties of barley like CDC Candle and CDC Alamo, developed by the U of S, have a higher absorption capacity than wheat, InfraReady Products Limited, a Saskatoon-based supplier of food ingredients, created its own product. Its main selling features are that it is clumpable, flushable, biodegradable, compostable, and renewable. “It’s also nice and soft for the cats,” said Gabruch, “and if they get a little hungry, they can eat it, but we don’t necessarily recommend that.” She added that InfraReady sees LitterMate “as a launching pad for other bio-products” like an absorbing agent for use in shops and garages, and to aid in cleaning up environmentally hazardous spills. Rossnagel said the first proposed industrial use for the high-starch barley varieties was as an absorbent to separate potash from the slurry created when the mineral is mined using a solution system. That never came to pass, he said, but “we saw the value of the (barley’s) stickiness and viscosity.” One current possibility is to use barley as an adjunct to drilling mud used in the oil industry. Work on specialty starch barley varieties continues to be “an ongoing small part of our barley program,” said Rossnagel.

Photo by Marjorie Manicke

Barley Bioproduct is the Cat’s Meow

University of Saskatchewan’s On Campus News

“We will not tolerate industrial spills that shut down water intakes and disrupt lives. All Ontarians deserve safe, clean, and liveable communities they can call home,” says Dombrowsky. “I want to thank the panel for their work. In response, we will be developing an action plan on industrial pollution that will be like nothing my ministry has ever developed before.” IPAT was formed in the spring of 2004 in response to a number of industrial spills that

occurred along the St. Clair River, including several that resulted in the closure of municipal water intakes. The team, led by co-chairs Maria VanBommel, MPP, and Isolbel W. Heathcote, of the University of Guelph, conducted investigations in five main areas: spill prevention; spill detection on- and off-site; spill response and notification; human and ecosystem health impacts; and communications. Camford Chemical Report

October 2004


Canadian Chemical News 5

Big Boo$t for Composite Materials Composite materials research received a $2-million boost from the Canada–Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement at a presentation to the Composites Innovation Centre located at the University of Manitoba’s Smartpark. “Your board, along with the university and support of government, is making a very exciting future in this centre,” said Tim Sale, Manitoba’s minister for energy, science and technology. Ottawa and the province each contributed $1 million to cutting edge research and development in composite technology coordinated by the Composites Innovation Centre—a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2003 to enhance the capabilities of local and regional manufacturers. Composites are reinforcing fibres such as fibreglass or carbon embedded in a plastic material. They replace bulky materials like metals to lower weight and energy

as well as reduce the number of parts used and assembly costs. Composite materials markets include aerospace and automotive manufacturing, sporting goods, household appliances, and more. “The world of composite manufacturing has become the holy grail of how to increase efficiency and decrease the load on our planet,” Sale said. “All of these things move us to higher quality jobs and more sustainable processes.” Western Economic Diversification Minister Rey Pagtakhan said composite materials research has turned science-fiction dreams of lightweight building materials into a scientific reality. “Research is the beginning of innovation,” Pagtakhan said. The financial support was welcomed by Composites Innovation Centre board chair Mark Ross. “We incorporated back in October and like any start-up company our growth has been constrained by funding. This funding will help develop the industry here in Manitoba,” Ross said. University of Manitoba president Emőke Szathmáry looks forward to future co-operation

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between the Composites Innovation Centre and university research clusters including the Composite Materials and Structures Research Group. “The five core members of this group, all professors of civil engineering and of mechanical and manufacturing engineering, have knowledge and skills to share, as do their students,” Szathmáry said. “Know-how and technological innovation are fundamental attributes of engineers, and they want to put their skills to good use with industrial partners who can make applications possible.” Manitoba has the largest concentration of composite research, development, and fabrication firms in Canada and the Composites Innovation Centre will help local companies become even more progressive and cost efficient. They will also support training in the field as specialists and students will have access to an advanced research facility that was not previously available in Manitoba. For more information about the Composites Innovation Centre visit University of Manitoba Bulletin

Photo by Heather Dana Munroe

Photo by Rogue Corona

News Briefs Nouvelles en bref Section head

News Briefs Nouvelles en bref Section head

A Drop to Drink The Freedonia Group expects world demand for water treatment products will grow by 6.6 percent annually through 2007 to nearly US$35 billion. Gains throughout the developing world will reflect ongoing efforts to deliver clean, potable water to over one billion people who currently lack access. Opportunities will also exist in developed nations where stiffer environmental standards are fueling demand. Many nations in Western Europe are seeking to comply with the European Union’s urban wastewater treatment directive, which has deadlines in 2005. The most promising markets are those emerging in Latin America and the Pacific Rim, where faster population growth and more rapidly increasing levels of industrial output will stimulate demand for water treatment in industries such as electronic components, chemicals, pulp and paper, and metal manufacturing. China will

record some of the strongest increases, with water treatment product demand rising over 17 percent annually through 2007. Expanding populations will also demand more electricity, thus stimulating utilities to consume more water treatment chemicals for steam cooling. These developing areas have fewer environmental regulations than developed areas, so the demand for water treatment products is not as great as in North America or Western Europe. Coagulants and flocculants are typically components of the filtration and separation process, especially in applications where ultrapure water is not required. Moreover, although disinfection equipment is rapidly establishing a presence in municipal water treatment, it is often doing so as a complement to traditional chlorination processes. The joint use technique allows water treatment operators to use less chemical biocides while still meeting residual chlorine requirements for drinking water. Camford Chemical Report

Dynamic Duo and their Unique Lab Husband-and-wife researchers Myrna and André Simpson, MCIC, are quite a team. André Simpson, MCIC, is an assistant professor of chemistry and the new director of the NMR research at University of Toronto at Scarborough’s Environmental Magnetic Resonance Centre. Myrna Simpson is an assistant professor of environmental chemistry and associate director of the Centre. Together they supervise activities at the $2.47-million facility. The facility is the first of its kind in Canada dedicated to research in environmental science. Unveiled this year, it provides an unprecedented view of the molecular secrets found in organic matter— shedding new light on fields such as climate change, environmental contamination, and forensic science. Bruker BioSpin Canada donated the facility’s instrumentation—a gift-in-kind worth $1.57 million—while the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, and the University of Toronto each provided $300,000. The lab’s specially designed NMR spectrometer and innovative technology allow researchers to analyze organic matter—such as that found in soil, water, leaves, and air—at the molecular level. Once a sample is analyzed,

the instrument produces a computerized “molecular map” of the compounds present in the substance. Researchers are compiling a database of compounds that have already been analyzed to ease subsequent identification of samples. “Any research is limited by the quality of the research tools,” said Myrna Simpson. “By having access to this unbelievable instrumentation, we’re going to be able to make leaps and bounds in our understanding of environmental processes. We’ll be able to solve a lot of fundamental problems.” The instrument can also be used to scan a sample on multiple occasions over a period of time, providing a “time-lapse” glimpse of decomposition, she added. The facility is already attracting collaborators, including other Canadian scientists. Installation of the spectrometer began October 2003 and was completed in March 2004 with the assistance of one of Bruker BioSpin’s engineers who travelled from Germany to help with assembly of the technology. The opening of the centre is a “powerful example” of what can be achieved through partnerships, said Carmen Charette, interim president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. “The investment we are celebrating … will strengthen Canada’s capacity to effectively compete locally, nationally, and internationally in this important area of research.” University of Toronto Bulletin

like what you see? Send your news and story ideas to

see what you like? Professors Myrna and André Simpson, MCIC, in their new Environmental NMR Centre

October 2004


Canadian Chemical News 7

News Briefs Nouvelles en bref Section head

High Marks for Animal Care and Human Study Ethics

The University of Saskatchewan On Campus News

Photo by Ijansempoi Ronen

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has earned kudos from national bodies for both its ethics reviews for research involving humans and its treatment and use of animals in research. The U of S was found to have “avery sound animal care and use program” when it was assessed by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). The CCAC is the national body that sets standards for experimental animal care and use and monitors compliance. The assessment panel, which included scientists and veterinarians from other institutions, met with members of the University Committee on Animal Care and Supply (UCACS). They visited facilities used to house animals in the agriculture/veterinary sector of the university including the department of animal and poultry science, the veterinary college, VIDO, the Prairie Swine Centre, and other research facilities. Commendations were given to the high levels of animal care provided in all areas by the dedicated, well-qualified animal care personnel. The UCACS education and training program also received high marks, recognizing contributions made by Animal Resource Centre director Ernie Olfert and assistant director Colette Wheler to the CCAC’s core education and training materials.

Just Say No to Sharing Prescription Meds?

On the human research side, the U of S had its first site visit by the National Council on Ethics in Human Research (NCEHR) since the Tri-Council Policy Statement was introduced in 1998. The Tri-Council Policy Statement brought sweeping and fundamental changes to ethics review. The aim of these visits is to identify areas of policy concern and suggest ways of enhancing both the quality of ethics review and participant protection. The four-member NCEHR survey team looked at the policies and processes for both the biomedical and behavioural research ethics boards which review a total of 500 protocols per year. The report on the Biomedical Review Board (Bio-REB) states that researchers and board members agree the board is conducting “thorough reviews of high quality.” The nine-member Behavioural REB (Beh-REB) was commended for its thoroughness and the fact it conducts reviews in a timely manner. “In general, the researchers were very pleased with the ethics review process,” states the NCEHR team. “They feel that the REB is genuinely concerned for the protection of participants and not just concerned about possible liability.” An Ethics Education Committee has been struck and will embark this fall on a series of initiatives to keep REB members and researchers informed of ethics issues, requirements and approval processes. A key point is that ethics boards are not impediments to research. They are there to assist researchers to do ethical research so that human subjects are always treated according to national and international standards.

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“Canada’s medicare system, which includes low-cost prescription drugs, may be threatened by Americans taking advantage of our scheme,” says Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada. “Many Americans are looking to Canada to solve the U.S. problem of high-cost prescription drugs,” adds Cran. The situation in the U.S. has escalated to the point where major states such as Illinois are setting up statewide systems to enable citizens to import prescription drugs from Canada. Boston, MA, has set up a formal program to assist thousands of employees and retirees with purchasing drugs from Canada by mail. “Canadian consumers are sympathetic to the plight of our American friends in their effort to obtain lower-cost prescription drugs,” says Cran. “However, Canadian consumers have an important question for our health ministers. What will be the impact on Canada’s health system if millions of Americans purchase lower-cost drugs in Canada?” Canadian consumers are concerned prescription drug prices may skyrocket or that supply will be diverted to meet the needs of American buyers. Illinois has also considered turning to Ireland as another possible source of prescription drugs. Health authorities in Ireland have expressed deep concern that citizens of that nation would be hit with a supply shortage and be unable to obtain their own medications. “Recent statements by some U.S. politicians are also disturbing,” adds Cran. “Congressman Rahm Emanuel from Illinois has stated that American consumers are paying higher prices for drugs and are subsidizing consumers in Canada and other countries. He is calling for higher drug prices in Canada so that U.S. prices will fall.” The Consumers’ Association is calling on Canadian health ministers to provide a clear statement regarding the impact on price and supply of Americans buying prescription drugs in Canada. Camford Chemical Report


Can You See What You’re Doing? Marvin D. Silbert, FCIC


just had my annual eye check-up and needed a minor change in my right eye. I left my computer glasses with the optometrist over the weekend to get the new lens and suddenly rediscovered what an ordeal it was to use a computer while wearing trifocals. That’s one of the reasons many older people hate using computers. You have to have your head in the right position and as you try to keep it there, you develop one of those super headaches described in those 2-ethanoyloxybenzoic acid commercials. I wore bifocals when I bought my first computer and quickly realized there had to be a better way. Finding the better way was anything but simple and getting there took more than a decade. A good percentage of you have less-thanperfect eyes and are (or should be) wearing glasses. Those lenses include a magnification or reduction to make your eyes focus correctly on distant objects, a correction to compensate for the eye lens being less-than perfectly shaped, and maybe another correction to reorient your eyes if they don’t quite point the same direction. Younger people can easily adjust from near to far objects. As we age, we lose that ability and start to need a magnifying glass to read or perform other up-close tasks. We don’t have to carry a magnifying glass around as that additional magnification can be combined with the distance prescription. Bifocals became popular as they overcame the nuisance of switching back and forth between glasses for distance and glasses for reading. They do this by grinding that close-up correction into the lower section of the distance glasses. The problem is that the field of view for close-up work tends to get a bit too restrictive. The best choice for long periods of computer work is to get a pair of single-vision glasses. There is no one size that fits all. They must be customized to your specific working distance. I sat in front of my screen and my wife measured the distance between my eyes and the screen, the way I sit in front of my computer. I then went to the well-known North American chain where I bought the glasses I was wearing

at that time and asked for a single-vision pair to work at that distance. “We can’t do that. We don’t write prescriptions; we just fill them.” It didn’t help to appeal to the professional pride of the optician on duty. In the end, I went back to the ophthalmologist and asked for another prescription for computer use. I got the glasses and they were fine for viewing the screen, but not all that good for reading a printed page or newspaper. I still had to go back and forth between my computer glasses and bifocals. A few years later, another ophthalmologist promised he could do better. He did, but not enough. Over the years, I always ended up with something that helped me see the screen, but I still need the trifocals to which I have now graduated when I want to read printed material. As the time approached for the next check-up, I was beginning to wonder if this was necessary. The telephone rang. It was the office of the optometrist my wife used. They had a cancellation for the next day and asked if she would like to move her appointment up half an hour. “No. I’ll take it.” I was pleased to work with someone who considered my problem to be a challenge. I gave him the working distance of 0.43 metres my wife had measured. The reciprocal is 2.32 dioptres. Rounding it to the nearest 0.25, would suggest a 2.25 dioptre correction. He jury-rigged a set of lenses and I sat down at his receptionist’s desk to read the newspaper, a few magazines, check the time on my watch, and view her computer screen—a representative list of what I might do with those glasses. Within ten minutes, we repeated the test with 1.75, 2.00, 2.25, and 2.50 corrections and found the 2.00 to be the best. That’s somewhat weaker than the reading segment of my trifocals, but that wide field of view more than compensates. Not only do I use them with my computer, I can also use them to read the newspaper or ACCN. Obviously, the ophthalmologists were not dummies. Why then were their prescriptions inadequate and this one so successful? You can apply logic to calculate

the required correction, but it should be considered as the starting point. The human body has its own ways of responding and the next stage is to tune up that correction to match those ways. Make sure that whoever checks your eyes has the wherewithal to jury-rig a temporary set of glasses with that prescription. Do not accept a prescription for computer glasses unless you have tested it. I have been using my computer glasses for several years. I can wear them all day and jump back and forth from screen to newspaper to whatever. There’s hope for those of you who wear bi/trifocals. You don’t have to choose between 2-ethanoyloxybenzoic acid and operation at 640 x 480 resolution. With the right glasses, you can comfortably run at 1024 x 768. You can reach our Chemputing editor, Marvin D. Silbert, FCIC, at Marvin Silbert and Associates, 23 Glenelia Avenue, Toronto, ON M2M 2K6; Tel.: 416-225-0226; Fax: 416-225-2227; e-mail:; Web site:

October 2004


Canadian Chemical News 9

Chemfusion Section head

Strictly Strychnine One person’s drug is another’s poison—depending on the dose. Joe Schwarcz, MCIC


lfred Inglethorp was up on his chemistry. He knew that strychnine sulfate was soluble in water whereas strychnine bromide was not. When his wife was prescribed a dilute solution of the sulfate as a heart stimulant by her physician, he put his knowledge to use. Alfred had plotted to marry the rich but somewhat foolish lady, induce her to make a will naming him as beneficiary, murder her and run away with his mistress accomplice. The strychnine prescription presented him with a glorious opportunity. Mrs. Inglethorp sometimes used bromide salts to help her sleep, and it was a simple matter for Alfred to add some of these to the strychnine sulfate solution. The result was the formation of a precipitate of strychnine bromide that settled to the bottom of the bottle. So, when Mrs. Inglethorp thought she was dosing herself with medicine, she was only pouring off the supernatant liquid. Then when she got down to the bottom of the bottle, she took a concentrated slurry of strychnine bromide, which proved to be lethal-Why didn’t she notice the difference in consistency? I think the reason is simple. That would have ruined this wonderful Agatha Christie story! The Mysterious Affair at Styles, written in 1920, was Dame Christie’s first full length novel. It introduced Hercule Poirot, destined to become the second most famous detective in literary history. The dapper little Belgian, who relied on his famous “little gray cells” rather than on brawn to catch criminals, proved to be very adept at chemistry and figured out Inglethorp’s dastardly scheme. This should come as no surprise because Agatha Christie was trained as a pharmacist and her science was very sound! The chemistry involved in the precipitation of strychnine bromide is realistic, as is the use of strychnine as a tonic. The description of strychnine poisoning she provides is also accurate. Just mention “strychnine,” and people immediately think “poison.” Justifiably so. Of course, one person’s poison can be another’s drug; it all depends on the dose. Strychnine is a naturally occurring compound found 10 L’Actualité chimique canadienne


extensively in the seeds of the fruit of the nux vomica tree and has long been used both as a poison and as a drug. Cleopatra supposedly investigated the seeds in her search for a perfect suicidal poison. She had prisoners and slaves swallow the seeds to see how quickly they would die. Death was fast enough, but Cleo was disturbed by the convulsions and distorted facial features that strychnine produced. She wanted her beauty preserved even after death and decided that the venom of an asp was the way to go. The spasms with arching of the back that Cleopatra feared so much are typical of strychnine poisoning. Indeed it was just such a seizure that led Mrs. Ingelthorp’s physician to suspect strychnine as the cause of her death. Strychnine, in tiny doses of course, has been used over the years as a heart stimulant and as a digestive aid, although with no established efficacy. Adolf Hitler suffered from chronic gas pains for which his physician, a semi-quack by the name of Theo Morell, prescribed “Dr. Koester’s Antigas pills.” These contained both atropine and strychnine, although unfortunately there was not very much strychnine in the product. But there certainly was enough strychnine in the pills that Dr. Neill Cream prescribed for sickly Daniel Stott in Chicago back in the 1880s. Cream had graduated with a medical degree from McGill University in 1876 and set up a practice in London, ON. His reputation took a beating when a young woman on whom he had performed an abortion was found dead near his office, presumably from an overdose of chloroform. Although an inquest did not implicate Cream, he left London and set up shop in Chicago. Here he began to advertise a patent medicine for epilepsy that led to a meeting with the young wife of Daniel Stott. A romantic entanglement followed. Then suddenly Stott died, some fifteen minutes after taking a pill given him by Cream. The coroner determined that the cause of death was an epileptic seizure, but the arrogant Cream, confident he had committed the perfect crime, wrote a letter to the coroner accusing

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the dispensing pharmacist of having added strychnine to the pills! This prompted an autopsy that did indeed reveal the presence of the poison. Authorities, though, got suspicious when they found that Cream and Mrs. Stott had taken out life insurance on the victim. Finally the widow, perhaps feeling some remorse, testified that the two had indeed plotted to kill her husband. Vestiges of Alfred Ingelthorp! Cream was tried and sentenced to life. Under mysterious circumstances—some suggest bribery—he was released in 1891 for “good behaviour.” We next encounter him in London, England, where he becomes linked with the death of a number of prostitutes. One of these ladies, in the midst of her death throes, described how a man fitting the description of Dr. Cream had given her some “white medicine.” Once again, an autopsy showed the presence of strychnine. The cavalier Cream now offered his services to the coroner to bring the criminal to justice. This aroused suspicion and the doctor was put under surveillance. He was finally arrested when a policeman saw him leave a house where two other prostitutes were found poisoned. A chemist then identified Cream as the man to whom he had sold strychnine. It only took a jury ten minutes to sentence the villain to the gallows. When the trapdoor opened, Cream stunned the crowd as he shouted “I am Jack …” He never got to finish his sentence, but there has been speculation ever since that the man who was hung that day was the notorious Jack the Ripper! We’ll never know. But one description of the Ripper has him sporting a horseshoe-shaped tie pin. And an old McGill class photo of Dr. Cream shows him wearing just such a pin. Popular science writer, Joe Schwarcz, MCIC, is the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society. He hosts the Dr. Joe Show every Sunday from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Montréal’s radio station CJAD. The broadcast is available on the Web at You can contact him at


Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Life Sciences

Bryn Williams -Jones


echnological breakthroughs in biotechnology raise a host of challenging social, ethical, and political questions. Using a review of Rahul Dhanda’s 2002 book, Guiding Icarus: Merging Bioethics with Corporate Interests, as a starting point, this paper explores the place for scientists in public debates. Focusing on four cases of contentious biotechnologies—GM foods, DNA data-banking, personalized medicine, and stem cell research—Dhanda’s innovation is to show the perspective of an industry insider. As a scientist and director of the bioethics program at Interleukin Genetics, his writing is accessible and informative both to scientific researchers and to humanists and social scientists concerned with the socio-ethical implications. The take home message from Guiding Icarus is that integrating ethical considerations into a company’s daily operations will be good for business. By paying attention to the potential ethical problems and ensuring that research and product development are conducted ethically, companies can better manage their research programs, minimize negative public reactions, and maintain government and investor confidence. Moreover, a company that internalizes ethical principles (e.g. equitable treatment of employees) as part of its corporate structure will more likely retain its highly trained and valuable employees—working in an ethically sensitive company can be an important “benefit.” But one might reasonably ask, why should a company pay attention to ethics or social responsibility when its primary mandate is to increase shareholder value through profit- generating activities? Surely it would be “unethical” (and even fiscal suicide!) for a company to put other considerations before profit? This classic view of corporate responsibility is, according to Dhanda and many others working in the field of business ethics,1,2 insufficient for a number of reasons. One important reason to take ethics seriously is that citizens (whether shareholders or members of the public), are demanding greater corporate accountability for the promises for new technologies, along with sensitivity to social, political, and environmental concerns.

Since at least the 1970s, there has been mounting public distrust of corporate, government, and scientific assurances about the safety and effective oversight of new technologies.3 Very public disasters such Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, tainted blood supplies (HIV, hepatitis), and “mad cow”/BSE have been tied to concerns about corporate scandals (Enron/ImClone)and the increasing influence of pro-industry and economic agendas in the shaping (and corruption) of objective “public interest” science.4,5 This has contributed to the formation of public advocacy and activist groups and NGOs (e.g. Greenpeace, ETC Group, various consumer’s associations), and a willingness on the part of certain consumer groups to challenge governments and industry by engaging in political lobbying and consumer boycotts. This activism and apparent rejection of the promises of some areas of science and technology should not, however, be taken as evidence of a technophobic society. Indeed, there continues to be widespread positive public regard for most scientific discoveries and technologies that appear to have both a clear benefit (or potential for benefit) and minimal or at least well understood risks. In contrast to GM foods, for example, biotechnologies that appear to improve health care, such as genetic diagnostics or bio-pharmaceuticals, enjoy strong public support. Yet when the benefits are dubious and the risks are potentially very serious and not well understood, then as with the case of GM foods in Europe, the public as consumers of new technologies may be very wary.6 This wariness will also, to some extent, be the result of often inflammatory and polarized discussions in the media about the harms (but also the hoped-for benefits) of new technologies. The lesson for the biotechnology industry, according to Dhanda and others, is that to be seen as socially beneficial, capable of self-regulation, and worthy of public support, then industry must also be socially responsible.7 Dhanda does not specifically extend this argument to academic or industry scientists, choosing instead to focus his

attention on the need for ethical reflection on biotechnology on the part of corporate executives. Nevertheless, I propose that an analogous argument be made for scientists and technologists.

Science responsibility Discussions about the ethics of science and scientific responsibility are not new. Since at least the time of the Manhattan project and the race to build the first atomic bomb in the 1940s, members of the international scientific community have questioned the social, ethical, and political implications of their research. In the medical sciences, for example, this self-reflection led to the development of codes of ethics such as the Nuremberg Code and the Declaration of Helsinki, also backed by national and international laws, enshrining basic ethical principles to ensure the protection of patients and human subjects participating in research. Alongside these broader national and international policies, individual scientific and professional communities have also developed internally oriented codes of ethics.

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Unethical behaviour is harmful not only to the general public, but also to the trust that the public places in the scientific professions. Most professions—whether they are formally licensed and self-regulating (e.g. medicine, nursing, engineering, accounting), or voluntary unlicensed associations (e.g. academic lecturers or disciplines such as physics or sociology)—have codes of ethics. For example, chemists who are members of the Canadian Society for Chemistry are bound by a code of ethics to practice their profession in a way that embodies the highest standards of honour, honesty, and integrity.8 But beyond prescribing somewhat abstract standards of personal integrity and professionalism, codes of ethics often also embody socially oriented standards; the CIC’s code, for example, calls on chemists to “place the health, safety, and welfare of all persons, and the reputation of their profession, above any consideration of self-interest, and resolve any conflicts in favour of the public good.” In this statement, we see an understanding that chemists, as members of a specialized profession that seeks to be worthy of public confidence and respect, have a duty to conduct research and practice their profession in a manner that is socially responsible. In other words, chemists, and scientists more generally, cannot claim that their practice of science is ethically neutral and that difficult socio-ethical issues only arise once the science is deployed by technologists. Science and technology must be seen as inextricably tied into broader social, cultural, and political contexts, and raising important socio-ethical questions.9 To return, then, to the earlier examples of failures of regulation and oversight of science and technology (GM foods, BSE, nuclear

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accidents), it is clear that the involvement of government, academic, and industry scientists in these and other debacles, alongside very public examples of conflict of interest (e.g. in drug company-sponsored medical research), has gone a long way towards undermining public trust in scientists. Unethical behaviour is harmful not only to the general public, but also to the trust that the public places in the scientific professions. In order to maintain public trust, scientists and technologists must demonstrate that they subscribe to and practice the highest standards of scientific and professional integrity, and that their respective professions never condone unethical conduct. Proof of this trustworthiness comes, in part, when professional associations make their processes, policies, and codes of conduct transparent and promise accountability, along with encouraging their membership to act responsibly. But it will also be crucial that scientists accept the public nature of their research, and thus their social responsibility as scientists. This is not to say that each individual scientist should reflect on the socio-ethical ramifications of every experiment or procedure; most basic research will simply not raise difficult social or ethical questions. Nevertheless, I would argue that scientists as experts, professionals, science educators, and citizens have an obligation to reflect on and engage science students and the public in discussions to determine the potential benefits and risks and socio-ethical challenges posed by scientific and technological developments. This public engagement must, however, be more than just “P.R.” If real long-term enthusiasm for science and technology is to be enlisted, then genuine public engagement is essential. How to do this is of course not an easy question, and the need for dialogue should not be allowed to be mistaken for a need for persuasion10—we must be wary of seeing the public as merely deficient in scientific education.11 If the public is to be engaged, we must strive for sufficient public understanding in pursuit of meaningful public participation.12 Attempts at public engagement by scientists can be seen in recent discussions on the social and ethical challenges posed by nanotechnology.13,14 Scientists and other academics in the U.K., for example, have taken a lead in preparing reports to evaluate the implications of

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nanotechnology, while the U.K.’s Royal Society is conducting a broad public consultation about this area of research.15 As Dhanda argues in Guiding Icarus, there is an important place in industry (and I would argue the sciences as well) for experts in ethics and the social sciences to explore the challenges posed by new technologies. But these discussions must also include the active participation of scientists, to reflect not only on the challenges of particular technologies, but on the very professions, cultures, and institutions that enable technology development. Scientists cannot afford to allow unethical behaviour to occur within their professions, nor can they sit back and let others lead the discussions of the socioethical implications of science. Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Chris MacDonald and Oonagh Corrigan for their insightful comments on this paper. This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and Homerton College, Cambridge, U.K. References

For a full list of references, please visit the author’s Web site at personal/ACCNrefs.html. Bryn Williams-Jones is a post-doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Family Research, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He is broadly interested in the social, ethical, and policy issues arising from the commercialization of new biotechnologies. He has written on the implications of commercial genetic testing, pharmacogenetics, and nanotechnology. You can reach him at Visit his Web site at Interfaces is edited by Richard Cassidy, FCIC. Its purpose is to explore the meaning of science, its evolution, and its role in our society. Your comments and critiques on the ideas published in Interfaces are welcome. Please send your letters to Previously published Interfaces columns are available at www.//

CHOOSING HYPE OR HOPE? The politicization of stem cell research Janet Rossant


tem cell research is back in the limelight, thanks to the U.S. presidential election campaign. At the recent Democratic National Convention, embryonic stem cell research was front and centre among the key issues dividing the Democrats and the Republicans. Ronald Reagan, Jr., the non-Republican son of the former president, made a speech at the convention in favour of stem cell research. And, in his nomination speech, presidential nominee John Kerry promised to allow federal funding for stem cell research. It is hard to think of another scientific issue that has engendered such high-level political debate. The current administration’s position was outlined by George Bush in an address to the nation on primetime TV in August 2001, when he described his heart-searching about the ethics of embryonic stem cell research and his decision to allow research only on lines generated up to that date. Since that time there has been an ongoing debate between scientists, patient advocates, and other groups in favour of stem cell research and groups associated largely with the religious right who oppose all forms of research with human embryos. I watched John Kerry’s speech with a group of U.S. stem cell scientists who were very excited about both the high profile of their research field and the real possibility of a change in administration policy. However, even they were not convinced that Kerry had just become a major convert to the importance of stem cell research for its own sake. There are pragmatic political reasons for his stance. This is a tight election campaign and the Democrats are looking for any issue to sway a few voters their way. Public opinion polls consistently show a large majority of the U.S. electorate is in support of stem cell research. So for the Democrats to take a clear stand on this issue is a no-lose situation. Bush, however, wants the issue off the election agenda because he relies on the

Illustration by Jacqui Oakley

support of the religious right. He is unlikely to come out in open support of stem cell research, despite being pressured by prominent Republicans such as Nancy Reagan. Part of the reason embryonic stem cell research has such a high public profile is that it has enormous potential to improve human health and quality of life. Harnessing the power of embryonic stem cells, cells that divide indefinitely and yet retain the ability to make many different types of cells, could provide endless sources of cells to treat many conditions caused by tissue degeneration or damage such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or spinal cord injuries. Embryonic stem cells are not the only kind of stem cell that could be useful for therapy. Stem cells exist in a number of different adult organs and, indeed, bone marrow transplants are a form of stem cell therapy that has saved many lives. However, most adult stem cells are restricted in their development to a limited set of cell types and they are not easy to grow in large numbers. Embryonic stem cells, in contrast, can make all cell types of the body—they are pluripotent. And they can divide indefinitely in a Petri dish so that, in theory, one culture could provide enough cells to treat many people. In the long run, it may be possible to make adult cells behave like embryonic cells but to do so will require more understanding of both cell types. In the research arena, most scientists feel that research needs to proceed apace on all fronts so the true therapeutic potential of different stem cells can be discovered. Beyond being exciting, why is it controversial? Largely because of the source of tissue used to make embryonic stem cells. Almost all of the existing human lines of embryonic stem cells were derived from fertilized human embryos in the early stages of development obtained with informed consent from donors undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). During the IVF procedure,

women are given hormones that lead to the production of a fairly large number of eggs. The eggs are fertilized and the best are put back in the uterus. The next best are frozen for potential future reproductive use by the donors. What is the fate of the embryos and any excess frozen embryos that are not used for pregnancy? A few are donated to other infertile couples, but most will eventually be discarded. Donation of these embryos for research with informed consent by people who have achieved their pregnancy goals allows these embryos to be potentially used for stem cell research. Opponents of the use of embryos for stem cell research argue that any human embryo has the potential to be a human and so deserves protection from destruction. Realistically, however, these embryos are being discarded and destroyed in IVF programs all the time. What’s the choice? Discard the embryos now or use them to derive stem cells that can be used to help people in the future? Opinion polls done in the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the world show most people find this an acceptable use of human embryos.

What’s the choice? Discard the embryos now or use them to derive stem cells that can be used to help people in

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the future? !

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There is also a push in the U.S. to extend the derivation of embryonic stem cell lines beyond spare IVF embryos to embryos derived through somatic cell nuclear transfer, or cloning techniques. With this technique, the nucleus of a donated human egg is removed and replaced with the nucleus from an adult cell. In theory, this would allow the generation of cell lines that would be customized to tissue-match the person who needs the cells for therapy. Grafts or transplants would then be possible without risk of immune rejection. In my mind, this is a highly unlikely scenario. Even with improvements in technology, it is always likely to be inefficient. It would be highly expensive, personalized medicine. If embryonic stem cells are truly going to be translated into therapies that will be the medicine of the future for vast numbers of people, this is not the way forward. But there is another justification for making embryonic stem cells after somatic cell nuclear transfer and that is a research use. It would be very

Canadians have long been world leaders in stem cell research useful to generate embryonic stem cells from people with particular complex diseases— such as hypertension, arthritis, Alzheimer’s—where we still do not understand all the things that go wrong in the progression of the disease. I think the research argument is quite compelling, but it’s harder for the public to understand because cells are not immediately being used for treatment. In the U.S., the two camps for and against embryonic stem cell research are very polarized. Here in Canada, as is very often the case, we’re somewhere in the middle. Recently, federal legislation has been passed that will regulate all forms of reproductive technology and human embryo research. A regulatory body will be set up to which scientists will apply for a licence to do research with human embryos. With that licence, it would be possible to use spare IVF embryos for research if it has clear benefit for future human health. The legislation bans outright the creation of embryos

solely for research purposes and creation of embryos by somatic cell transfer for any purpose. The Canadian legislation covers all research, private or federal, so everyone is working under the same regulations. It also has a sunset clause that allows revisiting the rules as technologies develop and societal responses evolve. Currently, the federal regulatory body is not set up, so in the interim, scientists must follow the Canadian Institutes for Health Research guidelines. We can expect Canadian researchers to be able to use all existing embryonic stem cell lines and derive new cell lines in the immediate future. This keeps Canada at the forefront of this exciting research. Canadians have long been world leaders in stem cell research, from the first description of the stem cell conceptby James Till and Ernest McCulloch at University of Toronto and by C. P. Leblond at McGill University. Today, research takes place across Canada aided greatly by the formation of the Stem Cell Network, a federally funded Network of Centres of Excellence. The network brings together scientists, engineers, clinicians, lawyers, and ethicists to solve the challenges of taking stem cells from the lab to the patient in an effective, safe, and ethically responsible manner. Because the issue is so politicized, everyone involved in the public debate on stem cells tends to take a strong position. Supporters, in particular, are tempted to overplay the significance and immediacy of stem cell research for curing human disease. This raises the public expectations, which, if not fulfilled, will lead to disappointment and a potential backlash against this kind of science down the road. Researchers have to be careful not to over-hype the potential. Even more important, the temptation to rush into the clinic without full understanding of safety and efficacy issues must be avoided. There need to be many checks and balances before we are sure that stem cell therapies are safe and effective. We must beware the hype, but the promise is real. Janet Rossant is a university professor in the department of medical genetics and microbiology at the University of Toronto. She holds the Tanenbaum Chair in molecular medicine. She is also a theme leader in the Stem Cell Network.

Sources on the Ethics of Stem Cell Research “Stem Cells: A Pluripotent Challenge,” by Chris MacDonald from the BioScan newsletter of the Toronto Biotechnology Initiative Vol. 13, Iss. 4, Fall 2001.

Genetics and ethics Resources compiled by Bryn Williams-Jones from The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics. “Stem Cell Research and Applications: Monitoring the Frontiers of Biomedical Research,” American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute for Civil Society. “Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research. Volume I: Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission,” September 1999.

Cell Research and Applications: Monitoring the Frontiers of Biomedical Research, produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute for Civil Society, November 1999. “Should Federal Funds be Used in Research on Discarded Embryos?” from Physicians Weekly. “Stem Cells and the Human Embryo” from The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. “Research for Clinical Use of Embryonic Stem Cells: Risks and Opportunities,” by Axel Haverich. “Stem Cell Research, The Law, Ethics and Common Sense,” Biotechnology: Ethics and the Industry from Industry Canada.

Biotech ethics bookstore The Moral Landscape of Stem Cell Technology: A Bibliography, complied by Marin Gillis. Stemcells: Testimony and Background Materials from the President’s Council on Bioethics. “The Ethical Considerations,” by Ronald M. Green, writing for Scientific American. The Ethicist’s New Clothes, by William Saletan.

You’ll find these references and more on the ethics of stem cell research at 14 L’Actualité chimique canadienne


octobre 2004

BALANCING ACT Canada shares its patented pharmaceuticals with the world while balancing the needs of public health and private rights. A close inspection of the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act. Daphne C. Ripley, MCIC


learly, there is a need for affordable pharmaceuticals worldwide. Medicines are required to treat diseases such as malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis, with the need being greatest in many of the world’s developing and least-developed countries. In many of these countries however, there is insufficient manufacturing capacity to make the necessary products. In countries that have sufficient manufacturing capacity to make these products, such as Canada, many of the products are protected by patents. Only the patent holder or its licencees can lawfully make the product in that country, even if the product is intended solely for export to another

Canada made history as the first country to adopt legislation … to grant compulsory licences for the manufacture of a number of patented pharmaceutical products for export to countries in need.

country. While a number of pharmaceutical company patentees have entered into donor or discounted pricing programs with countries in need of essential medicines, there still remains a need. In order to meet the demand, some have called for government-granted “compulsory licences” allowing a company (unrelated to the patentee) to make a patented drug. Until recently, however, international agreement prohibited Canada and many other countries from granting compulsory licences to supply foreign markets. In 2001, the international community laid the groundwork for change to these rules. On May 14, 2004 Canada made history as the first country to adopt legislation under the new rules that will allow the government to grant compulsory licences for the manufacture of a number of patented pharmaceutical products for export to countries in need thereof.

International impediment to compulsory licensing In 1994, a majority of the world’s countries signed on to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The signatories are the World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries, of which there are now 147 members of a possible 192 countries. One of the goals of TRIPS is to provide minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property rights, such as patent rights. A patent gives to the holder a timelimited monopoly on making, using, and selling a patented article or process in the country of patent grant, in exchange for the public disclosure of the patented invention. If another party makes, uses, or sells a patented invention during the term of the patent, that party could be sued for patent infringement. However, licensed activity is not an infringement. If a compulsory

licence were granted to allow a company to make a patented pharmaceutical product for export to another country, then there would be no infringement under the licensed patent. Under TRIPS, however, the granting of compulsory licences by government is restricted predominantly to the supply of the domestic market. Thus, a WTO member country is restricted in granting a compulsory licence to allow a company to make a drug patented by another for export.

Paving the way: the Doha Declaration On November 14, 2001 the WTO adopted a Declaration that paved the way for change. In Doha, Qatar a ministerial conference of the WTO recognized that the restriction of compulsory licences to the supply of the domestic market was of little assistance to WTO member countries having “insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector.” Accordingly, the ministers mandated that the “Council for TRIPS find an expeditious solution to this problem.” In 2003 this mandate was fulfilled.

Waiver of the TRIPS obligation The General Council of the WTO released a decision on August 30, 2003 that provided a waiver to the compulsory licence export restrictions of TRIPS. The council decided to allow WTO members to grant a compulsory licence “to the extent necessary for the purposes of production of a pharmaceutical product(s) and its export to an eligible importing Member(s).” The council also set out a number of terms with which member countries must comply in order for the waiver to apply.

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The Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act Despite the General Council Decision, member countries could not automatically begin granting compulsory licences. National patent laws had to first be amended. Canada was the first country to make good on the Doha Declaration and the General Council decision when the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act received Royal Assent on May 14, 2004. The Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act amends Canada’s Patent Act to allow the granting of compulsory licences in accordance with the General Council Decision, and makes minor supporting amendments to Canada’s Food and Drugs Act. The stated purpose of the Act is to: “… give effect to Canada’s and Jean Chrétien’s pledge to Africa by facilitating access to pharmaceutical products to address public health problems afflicting many developing and least-developed countries, especially those resulting from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics.” In order to take the benefit of the Act, the pharmaceutical product and importing country must be “eligible” under the Act, and a compuslory licence (called an “authorization”) obtained.

Eligibility The Act identifies a list of eligible pharmaceutical products and a list of eligible countries for which an authorization may be granted. The government can amend the lists to add or delete products or countries. There are currently 56 products identified in the Act. Many of these products are those identified on the WTO’s “model list of essential medicines,” and include specific dosage forms of: • antiretrovirals, such as abacavir (ABC) or zidovudine (ZDV or AZT); • antituberculosis medicines, such as isoniazid + pyrazinamide + rifampin; • antibacterials, such as azithromycin, ciprofloxacin HCl, and erythromycin; and • antidiabetics, such as insulin injection (soluble) and intermediate-acting insulin. The Act identifies as eligible all WTO member countries that have not provided

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notification that they will not use the system to import, and all non-WTO member countries that are identified by the United Nations as “least-developed.” It will be possible for non-WTO member countries that are not “least-developed” to be added later under certain circumstances. Some WTO member countries have agreed to only import eligible products in the case of a national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency, with this restriction being carried through in the legislation.

The authorization When a person (e.g. a company) or persons are granted an authorization under the Act, the person or persons are free to make, construct, and use a patented invention for the manufacture of an eligible pharmaceutical product and sell the product for export to an eligible country. In order to receive an authorization a number of conditions must first be fulfilled. For instance, before an authorization is granted, an eligible importing country must have identified a pharmaceutical product and expected quantities needed. If the authorization is granted, it will be for that product, for export to that country and for amounts not exceeding the needed amount. Moreover, the country must have insufficient or no manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector for the product in question. All least-developed countries are considered to meet this criterion. If the country has agreed to only use the system in situations of extreme urgency or other circumstances of national emergency, this too must be established in the prescribed manner. Some assurance is also required that import of the product will not infringe national patent laws of the importing country. The applicant for an authorization must establish in the prescribed manner that the product is not patented in that country, or the importing country has granted or intends to grant a compulsory licence if a patent protects the product. This requirement is reflective of the fine balance between public health concerns and the protection of private patent rights that the Act seeks to achieve, and which is also reflected in a number of other ways in the Act. For example, the holder of the patent or patents relating to the product must be given an opportunity to grant the applicant a licence to manufacture and sell the

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product for export. If there is more than one patentee, the applicant must seek a licence from each of them as well. An authorization can only validly be applied for when these efforts are unsuccessful. The authorization is also predicated on the product meeting certain health and safety requirements, and being distinguishable from the version of the product sold in Canada by or with the consent of the patentee. A distinguishable product helps guard against diversion of the product from the intended eligible country to another country, including re-importation into Canada. Once an applicant has complied with all of the formalities under the Act, many of which are discussed above, an authorization is to be granted. Even after the authorization is granted, however, there are ongoing obligations under the Act that the holder must meet, some of which are described below. Failure to meet ongoing obligations could result in an early termination of the authorization. While a patentee will have little, if any, opportunity to become involved in the grant of an authorization, the patentee is to be kept abreast of key information in respect of the manufacture, export, and sale of the product. Much of this information is the same as that which is to be provided to the government both before and after grant, and includes:

Some of this information will also be available to the public on a Web site that the holder is required to maintain under the Act, or through the Web site of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. A patentee is also entitled to a royalty, and will have the opportunity for post-grant Court review of the authorization in certain circumstances. Court review could result in an increased royalty or early termination of the authorization in a number of circumstances that are set out in the Act. Most controversial are the provisions that would allow compensation or early termination of the authorization where:

(a) the name and version of the product to be manufactured and sold; (b) the quantity of product authorized for export and actually exported; (c) the name of the importing country; (d) the person or entity to which the product is to be sold; (e) details of the sale agreement between the applicant/holder of the authorization and the person or entity in (d); (f) details of transit; and (g) the monetary value of the agreement.

In addition to the above, the Act also governs such matters as the term (two years), termination, renewal (one-time only), and assignment of authorizations, among other things.

• the export agreement is “commercial in nature;” and • the average price of the authorized product is equal to or greater than 25 percent of the average price in Canada of the equivalent product sold by or with the consent of the patentee; but not where: • the average price of the authorized product does not exceed the direct supply cost of the product plus 15 percent of that direct supply cost as established by a Court-supervised audit.

• the limitation of the Act to only the listed “eligible” products and not all pharmaceutical products protected by patents; and • the two-year term of the authorization and the one-time-only renewal. Some have even queried whether the Act will in fact be used. Nevertheless, the humanitarian gesture underlying the Act is being applauded by many, including the industry organizations representing Canada’s research-based pharmaceutical companies (Rx&D) and Canada’s generic drug industry (The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association). We will have to wait and see how the Act will be used, as it is not yet in force and effect . This will happen when the regulations necessary to complete the legislative framework are passed, which is expected to take place in the fall of 2004. In addition, the Act also mandates a review within two years of its force and effect, with a report to be given to each House of Parliament. Changes to the Act may be recommended at that time.

Looking forward The Act has its critics. In addition to the Court-ordered termination provisions of contracts that are “commercial” in nature, others have criticized:

Daphne C. Ripley, MCIC, is a lawyer and patent agent in the Ottawa, ON, office of Smart & Biggar.

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Canadian Chemical News 17

WILL MY STRAWBERRIES GLOW IN THE DARK? Is it right to expose food to radiation? Does “cold pasteurization” disguise the nature of the disinfection process? Ethical issues surrounding labelling of irradiated foods ... Larisa Mikelsons, MCIC, and J. C. Scaiano, FCIC


any of the foods that we eat are irradiated in order to kill bacteria, eliminate parasites, improve product quality, and extend shelf life. Irradiation can be a substitute for chemical preservatives in foods. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that if 50 percent of the nation’s meat (hypothetically containing 50 percent of disease-causing organisms) were irradiated it would prevent approximately 900,000 cases of infection, 8,500 hospitalizations, over 6,000 catastrophic illnesses, and 350 deaths each year.1

that eliminates microbial pathogens, so that foods treated with irradiation, high pressure, or ultraviolet light could be labelled as pasteurized. However, labelling irradiated foods “electronically pasteurized” or “cold pasteurized” seems to hide the true nature of the disinfection process. Irradiation is achieved using gamma radiation; irradiated foods are not radioactive after this treatment. The term “cold pasteurization” evolves from the fact that, unlike rays from a microwave which cause rapid heating of food, gamma rays with much shorter wavelengths and higher

potatoes are imported. To cut down on imports, Newfield Products, Ltd., decided to irradiate potatoes so that they could be stored longer. Unfortunately, just as the plant was receiving the potatoes, a torrential rain came down, causing them to be chilled, waterlogged, and in terrible condition. Irradiation accelerated their decay, making them un-sellable. Newfield had to buy potatoes on the open market at much higher prices, leading to their bankruptcy. When DNA is irradiated, it undergoes damage. DNA damage results in a weakened polymer structure at the site of the at-

… foods exposed to low levels of irradiation are safe, wholesome, and retain their quality. Over 40 years of research on food irradiation has found that foods exposed to low levels of irradiation are safe, wholesome, and retain their quality. Although food irradiation does not directly affect consumers, they should have the right to know whether or not the food they purchase and eat has been irradiated. Currently irradiated foods must be labelled “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation” and display a radura—a broken circle with petals and a smaller circle inside it. The 2002 U.S. Farm Bill redefines “pasteurization” as any process

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frequencies penetrate food efficiently. Little or no heat is produced. The irradiation dose applied to food is measured in kiloGrays (1000 Gy). The Gray is a unit of absorbed dose corresponding to absorption of one Joule of radiation in one kilogram of material. The first unsuccessful commercial food irradiation program was attempted in Canada in 1963–1965. The potato harvest season lasts three months and potatoes can be stored for six months so consumers face a four- to five-month “potato gap” when

octobre 2004

tack. However, nicks in DNA do not cause strand breaks on their own. In order to quantify DNA damage, a protocol is required for selectively unwinding damaged DNA without affecting intact DNA. When damaged DNA undergoes appropriate treatment protocol, the damaged sites will result in strand scissions, causing unwinding of the DNA. DNA damage can then be quantified by measuring the ratio of single- to double-stranded DNA. The comet assay, also called single cell gel electrophoresis, is a simple, cheap, but tedious method for determining DNA

Photo by João Estêvão A. de Freitas

damage. It suffers from potential operator subjectivity. Another established technique is electron spin resonance (ESR). Its disadvantages are that it requires expensive equipment and specialized training, and it is strongly dependent on the type of tissue being studied. A recent technique for determining single-to double-stranded DNA ratios in solution involves the measurement of the pre-exponential factors in the fluorescence decay traces of dye–DNA complexes. When the DNA-stain dye PicoGreen® (PG) is free in solution it can dissipate its excitation energy by rotation around its central methine bridge. But when it is intercalated between the base pairs of DNA, its fluorescence yield is quite high. This large increase in quantum yield upon binding to double-stranded (ds) DNA, as compared to free in solution, reflects the inefficiency of radiationless processes. The PG-single-stranded (ss) DNA complex is less rotationally restricted than the PG-dsDNA complex and should exhibit a different fluorescence lifetime. It was found that the PG-dsDNA complex followed a monoexponential fluorescence decay with a lifetime of about 4 ns.2 The PG-ssDNA complex exhibited a biexponential decay with an average lifetime of 2 ns.3 Using this information it is possible to derive an equation where the only unknown is the amount of dsDNA in a sample, thus making it possible to quantify the ratio of singleto double-stranded DNA and hence DNA damage, since the percentage of ssDNA is a

Photo by Alessandro R. Braun Amaro

direct measure of DNA damage. The beauty of this technique lies in the fact that the fluorescence lifetime is an intensive property, i.e. it is independent of the amount of fluorophore and it is unique for a dye within a given environment, and thus blanks are not required. PG fluorescence lifetimes have been used to establish DNA damage in sheep white blood cells following gamma radiation in the 0–100 Gray (Gy) range. Once the fluorescence lifetime was determined the ratio of single- to double-stranded DNA was calculated, giving the percentage of ssDNA and hence the amount of radiation exposure. A dose of 1 Gy produces 1000 single-strand breaks and 40 double-strand breaks in the DNA of one cell4. When studying DNA damage, conditions must be used that unwind damaged DNA while leaving undamaged DNA intact. Work from our laboratory has established the best conditions for selective unwinding, typically involving alkali treatment. The doses used at present in these experiments are too high for practical health sciences applications since 1 Gy is a relatively large amount of radiation. If 3 Gy are delivered over a short period of time to the entire body, they can be deadly. 5 An average chest X-ray delivers a dose of approximately 0.001 Gy. Irradiated foods receive doses on the order of 1 kGy, or the equivalent of 10 6 X-rays! The current dye-DNA fluorescence technique has its best sensitivity in the 1–100 Gy range and is less discriminating for gamma radiation doses in the 100–1000 Gy range; however, changing the DNA unwinding conditions would make it easy to determine whether or not food has been irradiated. In any event, in the context of regulatory issues and truthful labelling, being able to establish if a given foodstuff has been “cold pasteurized” or not may be all that is required. Is it possible right now to pick up a box of strawberries that look too-good-to-betrue and quickly determine whether or not they’ve been treated with radiation? And if they have been irradiated, how much radiation were they treated with? At present the technique for monitoring damage described above employs a complicated (and expensive) picosecond laser system equipped with a streak camera. Currently, a much cheaper and simpler laser setup consisting of a short pulse diode laser and an avalanche diode detector is under development at the University of Ottawa. This set-up is being optimized in the hope

of producing a cost-effective solution requiring less operator expertise. The detection of DNA damage using dye-DNA complexes needs to be combined with fast and reliable methods for DNA isolation from foodstuffs for these techniques to have practical applications. Do you want to consume something that’s been exposed to 1 kGy of radiation in the process of “electronic pasteurization” or “cold pasteurization?” While evidence suggests that this has no adverse effect on the quality of safety of food stocks, the public clearly has the right to know. Developing new fast screening methodologies is part of today’s food authenticity research. The authors of this contribution collaborate with the Canadian Space Agency and the Advanced Foods and Biomaterials Network (AFMnet) on the development of new methodologies to monitor DNA damage.

References 1. R. V. Tauxe, “Food Safety and Irradiation: Protecting the Public from Foodborne Infections,” 2000, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2. G.F. Cosa; K. S. Focsaneanu; J. R.; N. McLean, J.C. Scaiano, “Direct Determination of Single-to-double Stranded DNA Ratio in Solution Applying Time-Resolved Fluorescence Measurements of Dye-DNA Complexes,” Chem. Commun. 8 (2000): 689–690. 3. Ibid. 4. J. F. Ward, DNA Damage Produced by Ionizing Radiation in Mammalian Cells: Identifies, Mechanism of Formation, and Repairability, “Progress in Nucleic Acid Research and Molecular Biology” Vol. 35 (1988, New York: Academic Press, 1988), pp. 95–125. 5. S. G. Y. Levin, R. W. Young; R. L. Stohler, “Estimation of Median Human Lethal Radiation Dose Computed from Data on Occupants of Reinforced Concrete Structures in Nagasaki, Japan,” Health Physics 63, 5 (1992): 522–531. J. C. (Tito) Scaiano, FCIC, holds the Canada Research Chair in applied photochemistry at the University of Ottawa. Larisa Mikelsons, MCIC, is pursuing her doctoral studies at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Tito Scaiano. Her project involves the study of dye-DNA interactions and its applications to the detection of DNA damage.

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Canadian Chemical News 19

WASTED EXPERTISE We welcome professionals to Canada to enjoy a better life. Then we deny them employment in their fields of expertise. While Canada suffers a skilled labour shortage, many foreign-trained engineers suffer the degradation of having to work outside their disciplines. What are their options? A new program integrates foreign-trained professionals into the Ontario workplace. Colleen Mellor


ajendra Kunchwar is a chemical engineer who came to Canada from India in 2001 in search of opportunities to advance in his field. For 20 years, he taught chemical engineering to undergraduates at the Dharmsinh Desai Institute of Technology in Nadiad, India. He now has a “survivor” job assembling and inspecting printed circuit boards at Toronto’s Celestica, but he wants more. “I would like to work in my field of chemical engineering,” he says. “I am interested in teaching at the community-college level.” His qualifications include a Master’s degree earned in India. Options is a new program that offers a path to accreditation and employability for

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internationally educated engineering professionals such as Kunchwar. The program is offered through the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) and its partner, the Centre for Language Training and Assessment (CLTA), a not-for-profit corporate division of the Peel District School Board. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. Options is a $1.5 million project aimed to facilitate the OACETT certification process, address the skilled labour shortage, build partnerships with employers, provide sector specific language training tools, promote recognition of internationally trained professionals’ skills and experience, and

octobre 2004

facilitate their integration into the Canadian workplace. Through Options, CLTA and OACETT offer high-calibre services in certification preparation, language and communication training, employment preparation, and employer outreach delivered by experts in these fields. Kunchwar hopes that the skills he has learned through Options will help him find the position he seeks. He has already benefited from the Options communication training that has improved his communication skills when cold calling for jobs. He also hopes that increased contact with employers through the program will give him and his fellow participants a better chance of getting a foot in the door.

Photo by Simon Gurney

… the country must do more to help internationally trained workers put their skills and knowledge to work quickly. Although Kunchwar has yet to fulfill his desire to work in chemical engineering technology, he is happy he moved to Ontario because his children are getting an education here. His daughter earned a BSc degree and is now pursuing a Master’s degree. It’s a challenge for new Canadians to land their first job in their field, says Angela Shama, PEng, C.E.T., OACETT’s executive director. “One of the major issues that new Canadians face is that employers do not recognize their qualifications. That’s why OACETT certification is a key component of the program,” says Shama. “To get OACETT certification, they need to have experience and proficiency. This is the barrier we need to break down and help them get beyond.” The goal is for as many candidates as possible to earn OACETT certification or be well on their way to it by mid-2006, says Shama. As an associate member of OACETT pursuing OACETT certification, Kunchwar needs to find a job in his discipline and then gain enough experience to qualify him for certification. His previous experience in India will also count. The program goal is to equip

him to find appropriate employment through communication and specialized work search classes, by generating interest in employers through an outreach co-ordinator and through a chapter networking program. In addition to gaining Canadian experience, Kunchwar must pass the association’s professional practice exam to become certified as an applied science technologist (A.Sc.T.), a certified technician (C.Tech.), or a certified engineering technologist (C.E.T.). He must also write a technology report if he seeks certification as a C.E.T. Through the Options program, Kunchwar will be able to take a preparation class for both the professional practice exam and the technology report.

Bridging programs The OACETT and CLTA worked for more than one year to develop the program and expect to help about 180 participants over the next two years. The Options program is part of a provincial government initiative of $19 million to develop and enhance bridge-training programs for internationally trained individuals, including teachers, engineering technicians and technologists, pharmacists, medical professionals and technologists, and others. The Conference Board of Canada says the country must do more to help internationally trained workers put their skills and knowledge to work quickly. An Ontario government report notes that, as the province’s population ages and as people retire in growing numbers, more and more of our labour force will come from outside of Canada. The provincial government will help highly qualified internationally trained professionals gain the skills and recognition they need to increase their opportunity to work in their chosen field here in their chosen province, says an Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities representative.

The province does that by fostering, developing, and facilitating partnerships with regulators, educational institutions, service providers, and organizations of internationally trained professionals says the representative.

Who qualifies? All Options participants must meet the same standards for certification as all other OACETT certification applicants. The Centre for Language Training and Assessment (CLTA) recruits and assesses the program candidates and organizes the communications and employment training. “We conduct information sessions and we conduct eligibility determination for the Options program,” explains Carolyn Cohen, CLTA’s senior manager, assessment services. CLTA applies the language assessment tool that it developed. It’s called the Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment and is used in all federal-government-sponsored Englishas-a-second-language training programs. Candidates must meet Canadian Language Benchmark 7 or 8 to qualify for the Options program. It is expected the program will help participants improve their language skills through training in presentation skills, workplace regulations, and formal/informal communication. CLTA develops the curriculum and training in workplace communication specific to engineering technology and a four-week employment-readiness program covering topics such as job search, working in the field, and understanding ongoing employability.

Communication training The first group of Options participants, including Kunchwar, each entered Canada as independent skilled workers. Eight were in Canada less than a year when they started the program. Four were here between one and three years and two were in Canada between four and five years. They come from Pakistan, India, Macedonia, Kenya, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Iran. Their fields of expertise include chemical and civil engineering, electronics, bioscience, mechanical, geomatics, applied physics (nuclear), mining, and industrial and telecommunication technologies. They first completed the CLTA program called Working Smart—five weeks of study of language/communication, offered by Workplace and Training Services Inc. (other groups start the program every six weeks).

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Canadian Chemical News 21

Photos by Sandra Strangemore

The Working Smart course isn’t academic, says Judith Bond, director of Workplace and Training Services Inc. “It’s language training in the context of the workplace, in this case, technology, and includes information about WHMIS, workplace processes, continuous improvement, quality and health and safety,” she says. “We look at organizational culture and give the students a flavour of common elements.” The benefit of the course is to make their transition to the workplace easier, says Bond. “When people fail in their jobs, it’s usually because of a lack of soft skills. We’re unlocking the language for them.”

Motivated job-hunters Cohen asks employers to take a look at the diverse and considerable skills and experience of the program participants and understand that communications training

More than half of new OACETT applicants are internationally trained engineering professionals.

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will bring them closer to expected job performance on the job. “People are incredibly motivated,” she says. “The motivation and willingness to work of the candidates we have met is outstanding.” An Options advisory board includes two employers who have contributed relevant feedback on the curricula offered to the participants to ensure they are employment-ready. “OACETT’s employment outreach co-ordinator promotes the Options program, the value of OACETT certification and the qualifications of the Options candidates to employers,” says Sharon Leonard, OACETT’s director of member services and benefits. “Employers want to hire the best people, and it’s up to us to show them that Options candidates are just as capable as local candidates. Internationally trained professionals have the skills and experience employers need. We want to make them aware of this talent pool,” says Leonard, who is responsible for the Options project for OACETT. Each year the association informs more and more employers about certification, says Sam DiGiandomenico, OACETT’s registrar. The employer outreach component of Options will accelerate the exposure of employers to certification and create demand for all certified members. More than half of new OACETT applicants are internationally trained engineering professionals, says DiGiandomenico. Like them, the Options’ candidates are very highly educated, he says. Many have fouryear university degrees in engineering and some have Master’s degrees.

octobre 2004

“The new skills that the Options project provides to internationally trained professionals coupled with OACETT certification means we can assure employers that Options graduates are well-qualified,” says DiGiandomenico. In addition to the employment readiness course and employer outreach, the Options program contains a component to build the candidates’ networks. OACETT has a built-in technology network through its provincewide chapter groups and the association is taking advantage of it to strengthen the links of internationally trained professionals. The project partners predict that this combination of employer awareness, training, certification, and networking will lead to success for the candidates. “We’re anticipating a tremendous response because this program provides a tremendous benefit for the community,” CLTA’s director Tony da Silva told the OACETT council during a presentation in February 2004. “Candidates will see that even if they don’t find meaningful employment right away, it will bring them very close to it,” da Silva said. He predicts that the program has the potential to make substantial changes to the numbers of internationally trained people in the field. Another Options participant, a chemical engineer from Colombia, calls the program his best shot at getting work in his field because it takes a personalized approach. Not only are the classes geared to technology professionals from overseas, the program is marketing the participants to potential employers—two key facets not found through employment agencies. The chemical engineer is changing his field in Canada and has tried many ways to get a fair opportunity in his profession. He thinks the Options project is a far better approach to a career bridge. He, Kunchwar and the other Options participants hope the specialized skills learned through the program help them find meaningful work in their chosen country. For more information about the Options project, please visit Colleen Mellor is editor of The Ontario Technologist magazine, published by OACETT. This story first appeared in the July–August 2004 issue of The Ontario Technologist.

COMMON GROUND Is ISO 14001 supplanting Responsible Care® in the realm of environmental ethics? Harvey F. Chartrand


esponsible Care® is the ethic and operating code of practice that covers all aspects of operation of a chemical company including outreach to the public. The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001 is one of a series of auditable international standards and only covers a company’s environmental management system. The apparent similarity between the two has caused many members of the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA) to question whether ISO 14001 would eventually compete with, complicate, duplicate, or even replace Responsible Care. ISO 14001 is concerned solely with environmentally responsible practices and is the only specification in the ISO 14000 Environment Management Standards series for which certification or registration is necessary. All the other standards provide supporting

“ISO 14001 cannot replace Responsible Care® ...” guidance only. Eight years after its introduction, is ISO 14001 conflicting or overlapping with the CCPA’s Responsible Care ethic? Brian Wastle, vice-president for Responsible Care with the CCPA in Ottawa, ON, notes that Responsible Care requires both an ethical approach and a management system to abide by the intent of doing no harm to people or the environment, while meeting social responsibility expectations. “ISO 14001 requires the same kind of management

Photo by France Séguin

system for meeting the intent of minimizing environmental harm,” Wastle maintains. “Therefore, most of our members meet both expectations via their management system, with those for Responsible Care being far broader than those for ISO 14001.” In 1996, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), of which the CCPA is an active member, endorsed in principle ISO 14001 as a potential tool to augment the industry’s product stewardship processes with customers and others who manage and handle chemicals. According to the CCPA’s Environmental Management Systems Action Committee, ISO 14001 covers about 20 percent of the 152 code elements of Responsible Care, but does not address employee health and safety, community involvement, product stewardship, new project development, transportation, former sites, and proactivity in public policy development. The Responsible Care guiding principles, policies, codes, and programs cover and exceed in intent all the elements of ISO 14001. However, the Responsible Care codes are specific enough to meet registration requirements for only 25 percent of the elements of ISO 14001, which is much more prescriptive than Responsible Care in the areas of environmental training, inventory, document control procedures, management roles and responsibilities, and setting environmental targets. “ISO 14001 is designed so that auditors with widely varying backgrounds and experience can consistently audit a wide range of organizations against a clearly defined standard,” Wastle explains. “However, the stakeholders of the chemical industry who worked with us to develop our approach to Responsible Care verification—representatives of government, public advocates and chemical companies—decided that, to be credible to outsiders and industry people, a team made up of industry experts, out-

side critics, and community representatives needed to carry out the visits and interviews and reach consensus.” Another difference is that the output of the ISO 14001 process is a registration certificate, while the output of the Responsible Care verification process are reports to the company, community, industry peers, and general public on the presence of the Responsible Care ethic. Included in the report are best practices, areas for improvement, and specific findings requiring action by the company to correct deficiencies. “ISO 14001 cannot replace Responsible Care, because it is just one element among all the others embedded in Responsible Care,” notes Claude Audet, health, safety, and environment manager at Basell Canada Inc. in Varennes, QC. “The problem stems from the fact that in the U.S., Responsible Care is not audited by a third party, and the automotive industry does not really recognize this program to promote product stewardship that impacts on the environment. The automotive industry basically forced the chemical industry to embrace ISO 14001 if it wanted to do business with them. I don’t believe that ISO 14001 will supplant Responsible Care.” Notes Martin Whetter, health, safety, and environment manager, BP Canada Chemical Company in Joffre, AB: “I don’t think that ISO 14001 can ‘compete’ with Responsible Care on a high level, because the 14001 management system scope is limited to the environment. The same processes we use to address ISO 14001 are used to address Responsible Care expectations. It was a challenge for us to communicate to people the differences and similarities of the two systems. BP registered because it is and wants to be seen as a ‘green’ and progressive company and the ISO 14001 is an international standard.” Craig Wickett, director of corporate affairs for Fielding Chemical Technologies in Mississauga, ON, says there is a synergistic

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Canadian Chemical News 23

effect between Responsible Care and ISO 14001. “ISO 14001 doesn’t cover the community outreach area—nor the TRANSportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) issue—as well as Responsible Care does,” he maintains. “ISO 14001 is geared to identifying environmental impacts, both positive and negative, and from there, one has to show continuous improvement or one loses the designation. Responsible Care isn’t as demanding in terms of the continuous improvement aspect. However, the ethic helps to drive 14001.” In the U.S., ISO 14001 is not supplanting Responsible Care, says Dan Roczniak, director of implementation and performance for Responsible Care with the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “The ACC has taken the concept of continuous improvement and applied it to the ISO model and its own previous verification venture, producing an integrated certification process that allows member-companies to meet membership and business requirements.” By year-end 2004, ACC member-companies will have two certification options to choose from to meet their membership obligations. The first is an audit against the Responsible Care Management System

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(RCMS) Technical Specification developed by the ACC and its member-companies. “The RCMS follows the classic Plan-DoCheck-Act model and covers the full range of Responsible Care activities, including environmental protection, health and safety, emergency response, security, outreach, product stewardship, and transportation safety,” Roczniak points out. The second certification option is a joint ISO14001/Responsible Care audit known as RC 14001, which includes all the elements of the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, plus additional Responsible Care elements that expand the audit’s scope to include activities beyond environmental, both inside and outside the fence line. ACC representatives recognized the limitations of existing auditing options. ISO 14001, while a good framework for a management system, did not have an impact on activities beyond environmental, nor did it require aggressive over-the-fenceline practices. The ACC’s former Management Systems Verification (MSV) process looked at a broad range of issues, but was seen as flawed, due to its peer verifier role and lack of a follow-up mechanism. The ACC believes it has now produced an effective, robust certification process that

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addresses the weaknesses of both ISO 14001 and MSV, drives continuous improvement, and provides greater assurances to the industry’s stakeholders. Judging by the opinions expressed in this random sampling of viewpoints of chemical industry executives, there is no competition between ISO 14001 and Responsible Care for dominance— just a few companies that believe there is such competition, based on a lack of understanding. According to Brian Wastle of the CCPA, ISO 14001 is a tool for Responsible Care. “Basically, while some people who have limited knowledge of what’s really required under Responsible Care or under ISO 14001 see some kind of either/or situation, this could not be further from the truth.” For further information, visit: www.ccpa. ca/ResponsibleCare/ and en/iso9000-14000/index.html. Harvey F. Chartrand is an Ottawa-based freelance writer whose stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and The Jerusalem Post, among other publications. Chartrand is the editor of Ottawa Life Magazine.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS Regina’s NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research


he space has been leased, the offices have been furnished, the laboratories are waiting, a number of staff are in place, and the research connections are beginning to gel. The stage has been well set for the NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research (CSIR) to get up and running. And now, the planned technology cluster in sustainable infrastructure in Regina, SK, should really begin to take off, with benefits for the community and for the whole country. The first CSIR projects will focus on water and wastewater infrastructure, including performance of water mains, life-cycle management, and risk-based decision modelling. This choice of projects reflects the needs expressed in a number of town hall meetings in Regina and an NRC-led innovation roundtable held in cities across Canada in May 2003. It is also in line with the findings of the Civil Infrastructure Systems Technology Road Map, a document that outlines Canada’s infrastructure challenges over the next ten years.

An integrated research effort Since the CSIR’s announcement more than a year ago, NRC-IRC has been working on the time-consuming realities involved in establishing a world-class research facility: recruiting highly qualified personnel, leasing a suitable home for the facility, liaising with local industry, and exploring potential projects. This process is now wrapping up—although recruitment continues—and the Centre is open. The CSIR will be at the heart of an integrated research effort with the University of Regina’s Centre for Sustainable Communities, the City of Regina, and Regina’s local industry. All partners will work closely on projects, optimizing their chance of success. “We’ve leased office space in a building adjacent to the university campus to facilitate the free flow of staff, and ideas,” says Don Taylor, director of the CSIR and NRCIRC’s Urban Infrastructure Program. “CSIR researchers will become adjunct professors at the university and involve students in their projects. In some cases, CSIR and university researchers will share laboratory space to encourage collaboration.”

Going even further, CSIR staff will be charged with finding projects—and champions for them—among Regina’s local industry. As part of the process, the City of Regina will serve as a kind of “living laboratory,” ensuring that the technologies resulting from the projects move readily into practice. Regina’s supportive local government is expected to play a key role in enabling the infrastructure research to take place.

Communities of Tomorrow In addition, as part of the partnership, Regina is now home to the Communities of Tomorrow: Partners for Sustainability, a not-for-profit corporation for research on sustainable communities. This new organization will initiate and fund research, demonstrations, and commercialization projects and collaborations that meet the requirements of sustainable development by improving quality of life, while also producing environmental and economic benefits. Communities of Tomorrow’s board of directors oversees the cluster’s research and project selection committee and approves planned projects. The board also oversees all partnership activities. To achieve balance, the board includes members from each of the groups involved in the research effort, as well as Saskatchewan Industry and Resources and Western Economic Diversification. Expanding the board to include private sector members is currently under consideration. “It’s been a whirlwind year, but it’s been rewarding,” says Taylor. “With our partners we’re creating an entirely new entity in Regina, and it’s exciting that we are really starting to move forward.” This article was first published in the June 2004 issue of Construction Innovation by the National Research Council Canada’s Institute for Research in Construction (IRC). For more information on the CSIR or the Regina technology cluster initiative, please contact David Hubble, Manager of CSIR, at 306-780-3208 or He can be faxed at 306-780-3421.

The NRC model of cluster development Knowing that successful clusters are built upon teamwork and a common purpose, the NRC has developed a process that encourages local strengths while leveraging its national and international capabilities and partnerships. It’s easy to see this process at work in the new Regina cluster in sustainable infrastructure. Members of Regina’s business, university, and government communities have come together with the NRC to develop a vision and a plan to make the cluster a reality. But Regina is not the first community in Canada in which this process has played out. The NRC’s Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon, SK, recently opened its Industry Partnership Facility to support Saskatoon’s world-class agrifood biotech cluster. The NRC’s Institute for Ocean Technology in St. John’s, NL, is establishing a cluster in ocean engineering. And the NRC’s new National Institute for Nanotechnology in Edmonton, AB, promises to create a cluster in nanotechnology around one of the most technologically advanced research facilities in the world.

Funding for the Regina sustainable infrastructure cluster • Federal funding through the NRC-IRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research (CSIR): $10 million over five years • The University of Regina with the creation of its new Centre for Sustainable Communities: $5 million over five years • The City of Regina as a “living laboratory”: $5 million over five years • Saskatchewan Industry and Resources: $5 million over five years • Western Economic Diversification: $5 million over five years TOTAL: $30 million over five years

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Canadian Chemical News 25

The Dalai Lama speaks on science and spirituality

HELLO DALAI The following is an excerpt from an address given by the Dalai Lama at a special convocation ceremony April 27, 2004 at which he received an honorary degree from the University of Toronto. He was honored for his spiritual leadership and commitment to the non-violent liberation of the Tibetan people.


y main point is that human values, like compassion and warm-heartedness, these things are very essential. So therefore our institutions, like this institution, are paying attention but still I think could be more useful. According to recent scientific findings, for good health, a calm mind, certain emotions are good. For example—compassion. A person who meditates on compassion, during that period the left side of the brain becomes more active. That is according to neurobiologists who consider more activities on this side of the brain are good for health. These experiments were carried out on human beings. In another study where some monkeys who were left with their mother and some monkeys were separated from their mother, things become very clear. Those young monkeys who live with their mother, these monkeys are more playful, more joyful, and fight less than those young monkeys who were separated from their mother. So we also have a similar situation with humanity. At a recent dialogue with scientists, one scientist made

26 L’Actualité chimique canadienne


a presentation of his study. He mentioned those individuals who often express the words of self like I, me, or mine, that such people have a greater risk of heart attack. I think the reason they often use these words, this one expression of deep feeling, is they are narrow-minded, self-centred. So under their circumstances I think the actual mental focus is very narrow, just on self. So even small problems within that focus appear very big and unbearable. When you think more compassionately, think about others and automatically your mind can open. So as a result, one’s own problems, even serious problems, appear not to have that much significance. So on the basis of scientific findings I think we can develop some right kind of attitude for our own interest. Also, if we investigate in our daily experiences, when we look at a cer tain object with certain affected emotions, then you can’t see the reality clearly. So on a scientific basis we can promote basic human values without adopting a religious effect. I hope that educational institutions like this university will pay

octobre 2004

“ ... pay more attention to the promotion of human values as secular ethics” more attention to the promotion of human values as secular ethics. In other words, this is also a part of academic work, the study of the function of these emotions. Then accordingly we develop a certain way of looking, a way of life. So that is what I wanted to share with you and I think perhaps if I touch on these things then my own studies seem somewhat relevant to today’s world.” Reprinted with permission from the University of Toronto Bulletin

Photo by Martin Louis

Doug McCutcheon, MCIC, welcomes attendees to the 2004 CSChE-PSM Summer Institute.

A MEETING OF THE MINDS—PART 2 Report on the 2004 CSChE-PSM Summer Institute

Introduction In a previous article (“A Meeting of the Minds,” February 2004 ACCN pp. 14–15), we reviewed the highlights of a workshop on process safety and loss management (PSLM) and education that had been held on October 28, 2003 during the 53rd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in Hamilton, ON. Here we report on one of the workshop discussion topics—the first-ever CSChEPSM Summer Institute for chemical engineering educators, held in Sarnia, ON from May 30–June 2, 2004. Both the Hamilton workshop and the Summer Institute were initiatives of the education team of the CSChE Process Safety Management (PSM) subject division. The Summer Institute was also developed in collaboration with Minerva Canada (, a not-for-profit organization that aims to introduce the concepts and principles of occupational health and safety management into the curriculum of engineering and business schools. The objectives of the Summer Institute were varied and reflect the dynamic nature of both engineering education and industrial practice. Institute activities were aimed at achieving the objectives:

Will industry and government organizations provide the financial and intellectual capital necessary to make the 2004 EHS Summer Institute a reality? YES!

Table 1. CSChE-PSM Summer Institute financial sponsors BASF Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering CIC Chemical Education Trust Fund The Dow Chemical Co. Environment Canada Health Canada Imperial Oil Ltd. Interquisa Canada s.e.c. Irving Oil Ltd.

• Industry and academia working together in order to ultimately improve safety and loss management in the industrial workplace; • Educators acquiring process safety and loss management knowledge, including available resources and how to incorporate PSLM into their curricula; • Industry enhancing its insight on ways to effectively assist universities with respect to PSLM resources and support; • The CSChE PSM subject division and Minerva Canada providing continuing support to universities in implementing topics into the undergraduate curriculum; • Universities committing to a strategy on how to implement environment, health, and safety topics into their programs. Our previous article concluded with a number of questions that had arisen from the Hamilton workshop—questions that would largely be answered by what happened with respect to the Summer Institute. In October 2003, we could only attempt to predict the answers to these questions. At the time of writing this article, we can respond to the following questions with confidence:

LANXESS Inc. (formerly Bayer Inc.) Minerva Canada Inc. NOVA Chemicals Corp. Recochem Inc. Royal Polymers Suncor Energy Inc. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario

Table 1 lists the financial sponsors of the Summer Institute—all of whom deserve a huge vote of thanks from the Canadian chemical engineering community. With their generous support (totalling approximately $50,000), all travel, accommodation, and meal costs of attendees were covered by the Institute’s budget. This was a major factor in enabling a high level of participation from academia.

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Canadian Chemical News 27

With respect to intellectual capital, Tables 2 and 3 tell the happy story. Under the leadership of Summer Institute chair Doug McCutcheon, MCIC, the planning committee (Table 2) consisted of members from both industry and academia. There was a strong core based in Sarnia, ON, with representation from the host companies of NOVA Chemicals Corp., LANXESS Inc. (formerly Bayer Inc.), and Imperial Oil Ltd., as well as members residing in locations both east and west of the Sarnia base.

Table 2. CSChE-PSM Summer Institute planning committee members




Paul Amyotte

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Rob Cairns


Sarnia, ON

Steve Coe

Irving Oil Ltd.

Saint John, NB

Graham Creedy

Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA)

Ottawa, ON

Renzo Dalla Via

Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)

Toronto, ON

Diana Del Bel Belluz

Risk Wise Inc.

Toronto, ON

Jean-Paul Lacoursière

J.P. Lacoursière inc./Université de Sherbrooke

Sherbrooke, QC

Lyle Lalonge

Imperial Oil Ltd.

Sarnia, ON

Manny Marta

NOVA Chemicals Corp.

Sarnia, ON

Patti McCahill

NOVA Chemicals Corp.

Sarnia, ON

Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Edmonton, AB

Tony Pasteris

Imperial Oil Ltd.

Toronto, ON

Liz Scott

Minerva Canada

Toronto, ON

Table 3 provides details of the Summer Institute curriculum in terms of both the speaker and the topic for each presentation. Broadly speaking, the four days were designed to cover various aspects of process safety, environmental protection, health issues, and occupational safety. The curriculum thus reflected the strongly held views of the Summer Institute planning committee that our chemical engineering graduates need exposure to all facets of the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) spectrum. Committee members believe in an integrated approach to industrial safety and loss management, and the Institute curriculum was therefore built around that viewpoint. Of course, it was not enough to design a curriculum—it then had to be delivered. The wealth of information shared by each of the presenters shown in Table 3 represents an enormous contribution to the success of the Institute. Of particular note are the logistic and hosting contributions of the three key on-site sponsors—NOVA Chemicals, LANXESS and Imperial Oil—all leaders in our profession and most definitely leaders for the Summer Institute.

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Table 3. CSChE-PSM Summer Institute curriculum




Day 1: Sunday, May 30, 2004—Holiday Inn—7:00–9:30 p.m. Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Welcome and introduction

Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Objectives, focus, and expectations

Jan Windhorst

NOVA Chemicals

Industry needs

Daneve McAffer

Freeborn & Associates Consulting

Team development activities and organization of teams for workshops

Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Conclusion and adjournment for the day

Day 2: Monday, May 31, 2004—NOVA Chemicals Corp.—7:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. Manny Marta

NOVA Chemicals

Welcome and review of safety rules

Paul Amyotte

Dalhousie University

Overview and motivation

Tom Strifler

NOVA Chemicals

Perspective of NOVA Chemicals management

Jeff Harris

NOVA Chemicals

Perspective of a recent graduate

John Shaw

University of Alberta

University needs

Graham Creedy

Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association

Process Safety Management (PSM) educational module

Paul Amyotte

Dalhousie University

Piper Alpha video (SACHE module)

Steve Coe

Irving Oil

PSM elements

Workshop on incorporation of process safety and loss management (PSLM) in undergraduate curriculum Bus tour of NOVA Chemicals Corunna site and walking tour of control room with focus on how various PSLM elements are applied in industry St. Clair River cruise with narration on chemical valley environmental improvement efforts; presentation by Scott Munro, Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association Day 3: Tuesday, June 1, 2004—LANXESS Inc.—7:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. Rob Cairns


Welcome and review of safety rules

Ron Huizingh


Perspective of LANXESS management

Workshop on incorporation of environmental topics in undergraduate curriculum Rob Cairns


Major accidents and lessons learned

Graham Creedy


Responsible Care®

Steve Coe

Irving Oil

Dow Fire and Explosion Index

Paul Amyotte

Dalhousie University

Inherent safety (IChemE video)

Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Toxic releases, U.S. EPA Risk Management Plan, Dow Chemical Exposure Index

Walking tour of LANXESS with focus on facilities handling toxic materials and how prevention, preparedness and response have been taken into account Workshop on incorporation of toxic release and other health-related topics in undergraduate curriculum Day 4: Wednesday, June 2, 2004—Imperial Oil Ltd.— 7:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Dave Beer

Imperial Oil

Welcome and review of safety rules

Warren Burton

Imperial Oil

Perspective of Imperial Oil management

Tony Pasteris

Imperial Oil

Occupational health and personnel safety

Don McKessock

Imperial Oil

Equipment overpressure protection

Eric Bristow

Imperial Oil

Human factors in plant design

Rob Menzies

Imperial Oil

Behaviour-based safety

Dave Beer

Imperial Oil

Emergency preparedness

Syed Ahmed

Imperial Oil

Emergency response facilities design considerations

Manny Marta

NOVA Chemicals

Video on fires and explosions

Workshop on incorporation of occupational health and safety in undergraduate curriculum Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Summary and open discussion

Steve Coe

Irving Oil

Survey on incorporation of PSM topics in curriculum

Renzo Dalla Via


Discussion of follow-up work with attendees

Warren Burton

Imperial Oil

Closing remarks

Doug McCutcheon

University of Alberta

Final wrap-up and adjournment

October 2004


Canadian Chemical News 29

Will each and every one of the Canadian chemical engineering programs be represented at the 2004 EHS Summer Institute?

Will chemical engineering educators use the PSM lecture in their undergraduate courses to the good effect envisaged by its developers?



If you build it, they will come—or so the planning committee hoped! A key challenge for the committee was to engage the academic community in a way that would ensure a strong turnout of chemical engineering educators. As previously mentioned, a healthy budget was a necessity; a robust curriculum was equally critical. What also turned out to be important was the already high level of interest within Canadian chemical engineering programs with respect to the teaching of EHS principles. The educational community proved to be thirsty for additional PSLM knowledge as demonstrated by the 24 Summer Institute attendees pictured in Figure 1. This inaugural Institute class consisted of at least one representative (and in a few cases, two) from 18 of the 20 accredited chemical engineering programs in Canada, as well as a colleague from an affiliated mechanical/ process engineering program. The personal commitment made by each participant attending the Summer Institute is especially noteworthy given that one of the most precious commodities available to any university educator is time. The demands of their positions are numerous and varied—teaching, research, administration, and service. Also of great importance is the leadership shown by each chemical engineering program chair and department head in supporting the Summer Institute’s objectives. These personal and institutional commitments were critical to achieving the level of success that was attained.

In addition to the Summer Institute, an objective of the CSChE PSM education team was to develop an educational module on PSM that could be integrated into the undergraduate chemical engineering curriculum. To this end, Graham Creedy, FCIC, senior manager of Responsible Care® with CCPA, had been hard at work for several months shaping his extensive knowledge of PSM into a coherent package that could be delivered in a 1- to 2-hour lecture/ discussion format (via a PowerPoint presentation complete with speaker’s notes). Financial support for this endeavour was generously provided by Health Canada and The Chemical Institute of Canada’s Chemical Education Trust Fund. Creedy’s PSM lecture was rolled out on Day 2 of the Institute (see Table 3) and was warmly received by the attendees. Part of their commitment to incorporate Institute material into their teaching efforts is devoted specifically to delivery of the PSM lecture. It is envisaged that this could be done in two ways; first, of course, by faculty members themselves. Alternatively, given the previously mentioned efforts to link Canadian chemical engineering programs with industrial contacts in the local area, the opportunity for a guest lecture on PSM will exist.

Will the Summer Institute participants commit to sharing their new knowledge with their faculty colleagues, spreading the message that not only is process safety important, but that there are sound pedagogical methods for teaching this important subject?


YES! To a person, Summer Institute participants committed to incorporating the presented material into their teaching and to sharing the Institute’s resources with their colleagues. This fact was confirmed by daily feedback given by participants in questionnaires, informal discussion with planning committee members and the summary results of the four interactive workshops shown in Table 3. Some participants will be building on already existing EHS offerings in their programs, while others will be introducing new lectures, seminars, and modules. Case studies such as those available on the Minerva Canada Web site will be a helpful resource for this integration process. It was clear to all in attendance that the true value of the Summer Institute will be measured by what happens in the ensuing months with respect to integration of Institute learnings into undergraduate curricula. As a follow-up to the initial commitments described above, planning committee member Renzo Dalla Via will be leading an effort to help the attendees measure and sustain their integration efforts. This work will be coupled with the ongoing efforts of the CSChE PSM education team to provide a link between each Canadian chemical engineering program and an industrial counterpart with expertise in PSM.

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octobre 2004

Will the remaining Canadian chemical engineering programs become members of SACHE and reap the benefits of a wealth of educational products?

In addition to the Summer Institute and the PSM lecture, a third objective of the CSChE PSM education team is to encourage all Canadian chemical engineering programs to join Safety and Chemical Engineering Education (SACHE), an initiative of the AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS). Annual membership costs US$300 and returns a many-fold increase in value in terms of educational products (as detailed on the SACHE Web site: At the time of writing this article, Canadian membership in SACHE involves 70 percent of the accredited chemical engineering programs (14 of 20). The Summer Institute planning committee is hopeful that our efforts will promote new and sustained interest in SACHE. Committee member Stephen Coe, MCIC, brought several SACHE products with him to Sarnia. These were on display during the Institute and generated significant interest on the part of the participants. One of the available SACHE modules—a video case study of the Piper Alpha disaster—was also incorporated into the Institute curriculum (see Table 3). Additionally, the Institute planning committee itself is indebted to SACHE for its leadership in establishing successful faculty workshops on industrial safety. These workshops provided a foundation on which to build as we designed and delivered our own Summer Institute for Canadian chemical engineering educators. Conclusion So … the answers are in—and they are overwhelmingly positive and supported by a sense of commitment and hope for the future of PSLM education in Canada. The inaugural CSChE-PSM Summer

NCW News Nouvelles la SNC Sectiondehead

Institute was a success by all possible measures, including the levels of financial and intellectual support from industry and government, attendance and commitment by educators, commitment by university administrators and decision-makers, curriculum strength in both design and delivery, and collaboration between the CSChE PSM subject division and Minerva Canada. The CSChE PSM education team is now turning its attention to the next challenge—how do we continue the momentum generated by the Summer Institute? The first Institute was planned and delivered; now we are employing the results as we act for the future. We are attempting to learn from our experiences as we strive to answer a new set of questions related to both the future of the Summer Institute program and follow-up from the first Institute. We welcome your help in addressing these issues and planning for the future. If you have an interest in promoting PSLM education—and working with a great team of colleagues—please contact either the CSChE PSM education team chair ( or the CSChE-PSM Summer Institute chair ( We’d love to hear from you!

Public Understanding of Chemistry The Sponsors (as of August 5, 2004)

Gold BASF Canada Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research


Figure 1. Inaugural CSChE-PSM Summer Institute attendees

Front: S. Rohani (University of Western Ontario), L. Creagh (University of British Columbia), H. Doan (Ryerson University), D. McCutcheon (University of Alberta), N. Peters (McGill University) Middle: A. Prakash (University of Western Ontario), J. Shaw (University of Alberta), V. Bui (Royal Military College of Canada), T. Oshinowo (University of Toronto), A. Gilbert (Lakehead University), W. Anderson (University of Waterloo), L. Diosady (University of Toronto) Back: D. Posarac (University of British Columbia), A. Tremblay (University of Ottawa), J. Jurewicz (Université de Sherbrooke), F. Khan (Memorial University of Newfoundland), P. Amyotte (Dalhousie University), M. Pegg (Dalhousie University), B. Jackson (Queen’s University), A. Phoenix (University of Saskatchewan), F. Collins (University of New Brunswick), C. Filipe (McMaster University), D. Rodrigue (Université Laval), M. Husein (University of Calgary)

Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd./Ltée H.L. Blachford Ltd. Manulife Financial Nexen Chemicals Nova Chemicals Corporation Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Bronze ATOFINA Canada Inc. Cognis Canada Corporation John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. Meloche Monnex Recochem Inc. Rhodia Canada Inc. Seastar Chemicals Inc. Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, Inc. Torcan Chemical Ltd.

Prepared by Paul Amyotte, FCIC, Dalhousie University, and Patti McCahill, NOVA Chemicals

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Canadian Chemical News 31

Careers Carrières

Careers Carrières

The Canadian Society for Chemical Technology




The Norman and Marion Bright Memorial Award The Award will be presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in Canada to the furtherance of chemical technology. The person so honoured may be either a chemical sciences technologist, or a person from outside the field who has made a significant and noteworthy contribution to its advancement. The deadline for submission to this award is December 1, 2004. For the full Terms of Reference, please visit the Web site at or contact the CIC National Office for a hard copy. Please submit nominations to: Awards Coordinator, Canadian Society for Chemical Technology, Suite 550, 130 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2; tel.: 613-232-6252 ext. 235; fax: 613-232-5862; e-mail:

Submission deadline is December 1, 2004

w w w. c h e m i n s t . c a

Corporate Achievement Award: The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering wishes to recognize Canadian-based companies that have achieved significant and recent commercial success as a result of innovative chemical engineering research, design, and practice.

C S Ch E

S C G Ch

The Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering

2005 AWARDS Submission deadline is December 1, 2004

Companies having more than 500 employees will compete in one category and those with less than 500 employees in a second category. An award winner will be selected for each category. Presentation of both awards will take place at the annual conference CSChE Award in Industrial Practice (sponsored by Lanxess Inc.): The award is given to a resident of Canada, a Canadian citizen, or a Canadian group who has made a distinguished contribution in the application of chemical engineering or industrial chemistry to the industrial sphere. This contribution will relate to the practice of chemical engineering and/or industrial chemistry whether it be in research and development, design, construction, and production or some combination of these. Preference shall be given to activities specific to Canadian industry. D. G. Fisher Award (sponsored by the department of chemical and materials engineering, University of Alberta, Suncor Energy Foundation, and Shell Canada Limited): The D. G. Fisher Award is awarded to an individual who has made substantial contributions in the field of systems and control engineering. The award is given in recognition of significant contributions in any, or all, of the areas of theory, practice, and education. R. S. Jane Memorial Award: The R. S. Jane Memorial Award is awarded to an individual for exceptional achievement

in the chemical profession and the chemical industry in Canada. It is the premier award of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. The Process Safety Management Award (sponsored by AON Reed Stenhouse Inc.): The award will be presented as a mark of recognition to a person who has made an outstanding contribution in Canada to the Process Safety Management (PSM) Division of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering recognizing excellence in the leadership and dedication of individuals who have led Canada in the field of process safety and loss management (PSLM). The Syncrude Canada Innovation Award (sponsored by Syncrude Canada Ltd.): The award shall be given to a resident of Canada who has made a distinguished contribution in the field of chemical engineering while working in Canada. Nominees for this award shall not have reached the age of 40 years by January of the year in which the nomination becomes effective. The deadline for submission to these awards is December 1, 2004. For the full Terms of Reference, please visit the Web site at cscheawards/ or contact the CIC National Office for a hard copy. Please send all documents as an e-mail attachment in the format of your choice. For any other paper documents that cannot be sent electronically, mail one copy. Submit nominations to: Awards Coordinator, Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, Suite 550, 130 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2; tel.: 613-232-6252, ext. 235; fax: 613-232-5862; e-mail:

Careers Carrières

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE The following subjects will be covered in

2005 January History of chemistry in Canada February Bioproducts March Public understanding of chemistry April Pesticides May Pharmaceuticals—the tissue issue June Innovation to commercialization July/August Transportation and security September Chemistry and nuclear power generation October Nanotechnology November/December Computational chemistry

Contribute your own ideas!

Contact to find out how.

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octobre 2004

Careers Carrières

EMPLOYMENT WANTED Chemical Engineer (PhD) with 18+ years’ research experience in mathematical modelling of various chemical and engineering processes for their optimization is looking for Canadian employer who is interested in developing new, effective, ecologically benign process of natural gas conversion into synthesis gas (hydrogen). Contact Michael at 416-650-9309 or

Visit for ideas on how to celebrate


38 L’Actualité chimique canadienne


octobre 2004

Careers Carrières

POSITION IN ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY-BIOCHEMISTRY The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Université du Québec à Montréal is seeking candidates for a tenure-track professorship in analytical chemistry or biochemistry. Hiring should be at the Assistant Professor level but could also be at the rank of Associate or Full Professor. Candidates with interests in mass spectrometry, NMR, bioanalytical methods and metabolomics will be given special considerations. They are expected to develop an original research program that can be funded by major granting agencies. The candidates should be able to teach analytical chemistry and/or biochemistry at the undergraduate and graduate levels in French. More information on the department is available at: nobel/dep_chim/dep_chim.htm . Qualified applicants must send a curriculum vitae, a five-page research proposal, a statement of teaching interests and should arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to: Dr. René Roy, Chair of the Search Committee Département de chimie et de biochimie Université du Québec à Montréal C. P. 8888, Succursale Centre-Ville Montréal, QC Canada H3C 3P8 Email : Review of applications will begin November 1st, 2004 and will continue until the position is filled. The start date could be as early as January 1st 2005.

October 2004


Canadian Chemical News 39

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octobre 2004

Events Événements

Professional Directory Répertoire professionnel

Canada Seminars and courses November 5–7, 2004. The 15th Quebec–Ontario Minisymposium in Synthesis and Bio-Organic Chemistry (QOMSBOC), Ottawa, ON. Contact: Louis Barriault or William Ogilvie; Tel.: 613-562-5800.

Conferences July 31–August 4, 2005. 18th Biennial Chem Ed Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. Web site: August 19–26, 2005. 20th International Symposium on Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (ISPAC 20), Toronto, ON. Contact: Chris Marvin; Tel.: 905-319-6919; E-mail:

Careers Carrières

August 19–26, 2005. 25th International Symposium on Halogenated Environmental Organic Pollutants and POPs (Dioxin 2005), National Water Research Institute, Toronto, ON. Contact: Mehran Alaee; Tel.: 905-336-4752; E-mail:; Web site:

U.S. and Overseas September 17–18, 2004. Public Images of Chemistry in the 20th Century, Commission for the History of Modern Chemistry, Paris, France. Web site: October 18–19, 2004. International Symposium for Engineering IT (ISEIT) 2004, AVEVA, Houston, TX. Web site: October 18–22, 2004. Fifth International Congress on Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Cuban Chemical Society, Havana, Cuba. Web site:

GET NOTICED Advertising in ACCN puts your message in front of 6,000

chemists, chemical engineers and technologists every month at a very low cost.

October 2004


Canadian Chemical News 41

Careers Carrières


Analytical & Environmental Chemistry Biological Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Materials Chemistry Organic Chemistry Physical & Theoretical Chemistry

42 L’Actualité chimique canadienne


septembre 2004


SPONSORSHIP 2004 Sponsorship categories for Public Understanding of Chemistry (PUC) activities and promotional materials are listed below. Your support will go a long way towards encouraging elementary and high school students to participate in the wonders of chemistry.

CRYSTAL GROWING COMPETITION SPONSORSHIP The Crystal growing competition encourages Canadian students to grow the best looking crystal and submit it for judging at an upcoming local event. Top crystals are then sent for national judging. Crystals will be judged on shape and clarity as well as size. Schools will receive a resource package with all the necessary materials and instructions. Sponsorship pays for regional competition T-shirts, cash prizes, plaques and a trophy. Your organization will be acknowledged as one of the sponsors at all events, and featured in ACCN and on the CIC Web site.

NAME THE CIC’S MASCOT CONTEST SPONSORSHIP The PUC’s Name the CIC’s mascot contest is a competition designed to increase the interest of elementary school teachers and their students in chemistry, while having fun all at the same time. During National Chemistry Week in October 2004, over 12,000 classrooms across Canada will receive a postcard intended to encourage teachers to

partake in the nation-wide contest, and to promote experiments and articles available on-line at www cheminst. ca/ncw/. Your organization name and logo will be featured on the postcard, in Canadian Chemical News (ACCN), on the CIC Web site and in a press release.

PROMOTIONAL ITEM SPONSORSHIP Sponsor promotional and educational materials such as periodic tables, the Wonders of Chemistry T-shirts featuring the CIC Mascot, rulers, and pens for various awareness activities held in communities across Canada. Your organization’s logo will appear on the product, in addition to being acknowledged as one of the sponsors in ACCN and on the CIC Web site.

GENERAL SPONSORSHIP Your company’s generosity will help increase the success of each PUC program in order to get Canadian elementary and high school students involved in science. General sponsorship includes acknowledgement as a sponsor in ACCN and on the CIC Web site.


55th Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference

Preliminary Announcement October 16â&#x20AC;&#x201C;19, 2005

Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering â&#x20AC;˘


Oct 2004: ACCN, the Canadian Chemical News  
Oct 2004: ACCN, the Canadian Chemical News  

Canada’s leading magazine for the chemical sciences and engineering.