Roger Collier | CMAJ | Dec. 9, 2016
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with premiers to discuss climate change, officially, but the premiers also pushed to talk more about health care funding. The premiers are concerned about the cut in the Canada Health Transfer annual increase from 6% to 3%, which is set to come into effect in April.
  • Canada should have a universal drug-coverage system to ensure equal access to medications across the country, according to The Citizens’ Reference Panel on Pharmacare in Canada. The panel also recommended the creation of a national formulary of publicly covered medicines.
  • Men and women with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are at greater risk of incarceration, according to a CMAJ Open The study found that men and women with TBI are about 2.5 times more likely to serve time in federal prisons than uninjured peers.
  • The powerful synthetic opioid carfentanil has been found in street drugs seized in Ontario. Used to tranquilize large animals, such as elephants, carfentanil is about 10 000 times more powerful than morphine and can be deadly to humans in even minute quantities.

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  • Quebec is investing $100 million to move patients who don’t need active care out of hospitals to free up beds and reduce wait times. The money will be used to create spaces in facilities for seniors with lost autonomy, patients requiring mental health services and those needing rehabilitation and convalescence.
  • Ontarians who receive medical assistance in dying would be guaranteed to receive life insurance payouts and workplace compensation benefits under a new bill proposed by the province’s health minister. The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act would also provide protections of privacy and civil liability for health care providers.
  • Several drug-injection sites opened in British Columbia as part of the province’s effort to combat its opioid crisis, despite a lack of federal government approval. The number of overdose deaths in the province is expected to exceed 750 this year, which would exceed the yearly average of 273 recorded in 2000-2010.
  • The Ontario government passed the Patients First Act (Bill 41), legislation the province says will “help patients and their families obtain better access to a more local and integrated health care system.” The Ontario Medical Association, however, considers Bill 41 “a significant step backwards” that will give government greater control of health care and “create more expensive bureaucracy.”
  • Quebec’s health system will have to adjust substantially to the needs of an aging population in the next decade, according to a report by the province’s director of public health. A quarter of Quebecers will be age 65 and above by the year 2030, according to the report, and cases of cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases are expected to increase dramatically.

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