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Roger Collier | CMAJ | March 17, 2017

  • Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the province will not rush into a health care funding agreement with the federal government. Manitoba is the final holdout after Quebec, Ontario and Alberta signed bilateral funding agreements on March 10.
  • There were 461 physician-assisted deaths in Quebec in the year after the province made the practice legal, reported CBC Radio Canada. There were 721 requests for the procedure between December 2015 and December 2016.
  • The Alberta government introduced a bill that would ban payments for plasma donations. Ontario and Quebec have already passed legislation to ban private plasma clinics.
  • British Columbia residents convicted of trafficking fentanyl should face longer stays in prison, according to the BC Court of Appeal. The decision was made to help address the province’s growing opioid epidemic.
  • Cases of mumps have been reported in Hamilton, Ontario. Fewer than five cases have been confirmed so far, but public health officials in the city are on high alert because of the recent outbreak in Toronto.

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  • Ontario’s labour minister should improve safeguards against assault for health workers, according to the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Daily “savage assaults” by patients and their family members leave health workers with injuries such as facial injuries, broken bones and brain injuries, state the unions.
  • British Columbia’s toxicology centre saw a 30% increase in demand for tests to confirm potential overdose deaths in 2016. Deaths associated with illicit drugs rose 78% in the province in 2016.
  • The Manitoba government has ordered its health agencies and authorities to cut 15% of management positions. The cost-cutting decision was made to keep the province’s health system sustainable, according to Manitoba Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen.
  • There are 750 more physicians working in Saskatchewan than a decade ago, according to the province’s government. The increase was attributed to recruitment and retention initiatives, including increasing positions in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.
  • A masters of social work student in Ontario was fined $25 000 for accessing patients’ personal health information. The student, working with a family health team, accessed 139 health records, including those of family, friends and local politicians.

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