Roger Collier | CMAJ | April 13, 2017

  • The federal government released its long-awaited bill on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Highlights include: age limit of 18, possession limit of 30 grams, fines and jail time for selling to youth, adults can grow up to four cannabis plants, and the existing medical marijuana program will continue.
  • Canada must change how it supports science and increase its investment in research to reverse its eroding standing compared to international peers, urges the final report by the expert panel on Canada’s Fundamental Science Review. The panel recommended increasing annual spending on research from $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion.
  • Pioneering Canadian HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Mark Wainberg died at age 71 after a beach incident in Florida. He had been swimming with his son, who found him unconscious in the water. Wainberg was the director of the McGill University AIDS Centre and is a member of Canada’s Medical Hall of Fame.
  • Health Canada is using Facebook ads to find Indigenous children in need of medical care. The department has faced criticism for taking too long to use funding earmarked for improving the health of First Nations children.
  • The BC Supreme Court case that is challenging medicare on constitutional grounds has been adjourned until September. The plaintiffs, who include Dr. Brian Day from the Cambie Surgery Centre, say they have run out of money and suggest the provincial government is using stall tactics.

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  • Winnipeg is closing three of its six emergency departments, replacing two of them with 24/7 urgent-care centres. The move is part of Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s efforts to streamline and concentrate resources.
  • The Ontario government has increased access to naloxone, an opioid overdose medication. It is available for free in more than 200 cities and towns across the province.
  • The Interior Health authority in British Columbia will review 2200 x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and mammography reports after the work of a radiologist came under question. A similar review in another part of the province recently resulted in 700 patients being informed of errors.
  • Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin is lobbying for his city to open safe injection sites to help address its opioid problem. “We can’t hire more police and we can’t arrest our way through our addiction problems,” he stated.
  • A nurse was fined $26 000 by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association for complaining about her grandfather’s palliative care on Facebook. She plans to appeal the decision in court.

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