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By Roger Collier and Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | Sept. 23, 2016

  • The federal government is dedicated to working with provinces on a new health accord while “respecting the Canada Health Act,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He reiterated the government’s commitment to increasing access to home care to help the health system adjust to an aging population.
  • The federal government will penalize Quebec for charging incidental fees to patients for services covered by public health care, such as pap smears and stitches. The amount doctors charged for the fees, about $83 million a year, will be deducted from the annual federal health transfer to the province.
  • Communities that want safe injection sites should face no unnecessary barriers, said federal Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott. She has directed health officials to review the 26 criteria that must be met to open a safe injection site and to remove or amend any that pose unnecessary barriers.
  • Health Canada did nothing to stop the sale of cannabis products contaminated with potentially dangerous chemicals, the Globe and Mail reported. The regulator learned in October 2015 that several Vancouver dispensaries were selling products containing pesticides and fungicides not approved for human use, but did nothing to halt the stores’ operations.
  • Two people who were forced to undergo psychiatric treatment while involuntarily detained under British Columbia’s Mental Health Act launched a constitutional challenge to the law. Under the act, a person who is detained for mental health reasons is presumed to consent to psychiatric treatment and cannot appoint a substitute decision-maker.
  • The government of Ontario is starting public consultations on how to improve care for people with dementia and better support their caregivers. The consultations are part of the province’s plan to develop a comprehensive dementia strategy.
  • August was the first month of 2016 during which the number of opioid-related deaths in British Columbia was lower than the same month last year, announced BC Health Minister Terry Lake. To address the overdose crisis, the province has distributed 13 000 naloxone kits to hospitals, jails and health centres.


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