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Roger Collier | CMAJ | July 28, 2017

  • The federal government, Ontario government and the Nishnawebe Aski Nation have signed a health care deal that will dismantle the colonial health care system in northern Ontario. It is the first step in eventually allowing First Nations in Ontario to govern how health care is delivered in their communities.
  • The Ontario government announced it is consulting with patients, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies and medical-device makers on how to increase transparency in health care. The discussions will focus on industry payments to health care professionals.
  • Indigenous women in Saskatoon felt pressured by medical staff and social workers to undergo tubal ligation to prevent them from having more children, found a report commissioned by the Saskatoon Health Region. The region has issued an apology and acknowledged it needs to do more to address racism in its health care system.
  • The legalization of marijuana does not mean using the drug is safe and the public should be made aware of the risks, warned the New Brunswick Medical Society. The society is launching a public health campaign to educate consumers on the health risks of cannabis consumption.
  • A company that pays for blood plasma donations has opened in New Brunswick and has a target of 1000 donations a week within two years. Donors receive $30 per donation, increased to $50 for people who donate more than five times per quarter.
  • A music festival in Ontario is asking attendees who bring injectable naloxone to trade their syringes for a nasal spray equivalent. Previously, the festival had banned naloxone syringes and planned to allow only medical staff to carry the antidote.
  • An increase in Canada’s legal smoking age is “inevitable” in light of growing momentum in the United States to raise it to 21 years old, according to a policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society. The minimal legal age in Canada is 18, though some provinces have set it at 19.
  • Military police in Canada are struggling to handle mental health emergencies, reported CBC News. The police are obligated under provincial laws to call in outside law enforcement, which can lead to delays in assisting people undergoing mental health crises.
  • Medical marijuana producers must increase production to meet demand for the “rapidly growing medical cannabis system,” according to one industry executive. In anticipation of the extra demand for the drug when it is legalized next July, producers should “build as much capacity as possible.”
  • An Ontario physician is urging more of his colleagues to accept marijuana as a legitimate pain treatment and an alternative to opioids. The doctor is also advocating for medical marijuana to be covered under drug benefit plans so patients have greater choice in pain management medications.

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