Roger Collier | CMAJ | October 6, 2017

  • Some health experts are predicting that influenza may hit North America harder this year than in recent years. The prediction is based on the flu seasons experienced in Australia, Hong Kong and other areas in the Southern Hemisphere, which have seen a rise in documented cases of influenza, hospitalizations and deaths, with many children being affected.
  • The federal government announced it will begin tracking how many soldiers die from suicide after leaving the military, as part of a suicide-prevention strategy. Veterans Affairs will partner with Statistics Canada to report the data, beginning in December.
  • The Ontario government announced that it is creating an emergency opioid task force. The task force will include health workers and addiction experts, and will advise the province on targeted education campaigns about how to reduce the risks of opioid dependency and overdose.
  • The Quebec government is reconsidering its ban on doctors charging fees for administering vaccines. There are concerns that vaccines for children are being delayed for several months because they can only be given in free, provincially run clinics.
  • The Ontario government plans to overhaul its corrections system, which will include “profound changes to the health care provided to inmates.” The announcement comes a week after the Ontario Human Rights Commission began legal action against the province over allegations that inmates with mental health problems were being put in solitary confinement illegally.
  • Alberta released a proposed framework for marijuana legalization that sets the minimum age to purchase recreational cannabis at 18. The province plans to distribute the drug in specialty stores (separate from alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs) and limit the single purchase amount to 30 grams.
  • Health care assistants have the highest number of job-related injuries in British Columbia, according to WorkSafeBC. There are more than 32 000 health care assistants in the province, and they account for 36% of all injuries (from overexertion, violence, falls, etc.) reported in the BC health sector.
  • Some bars, nightclubs and music venues in Toronto have begun to stock naloxone kits. This initiative has the support of Toronto Public Health, which stated that the opioid antidote “should be available at a location where there may be people at risk of overdose.”
  • British Columbia needs a better integrated system for treating mental illness in young people, according to Bernard Richard, the province’s representative for children and youth. He has called upon the Mental Health and Addictions ministry to implement a “full continuum of mental health services” for children and youth.
  • The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame announced that six new members will be inducted on April 12, 2018. The inductees include Dr. Emily Stowe, who in 1880 became the first female physician to practise medicine in Canada. See the full list with bios on the Hall of Fame’s website.

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