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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | October , 2017

  • More than 2000 Canadians have ended their lives with the help of a doctor since the legalization of assisted death. There were 167 assisted deaths in Quebec and 1982 in the rest of Canada, and the number of assisted deaths increased by 47% since the first six months of legalization.
  • Medical marijuana users warned that increased demand for recreational weed could lead to shortages of the drug for patients. Health Canada said marijuana companies should give priority to medical users, and patients urged the government to create a policy to ensure that happens.
  • Saskatchewan’s HIV rate is still the highest in the country a year after doctors called for the declaration of a public health emergency. There were 170 new cases in 2016 and 79% of patients identified as Indigenous.
  • Health Canada is seeking an Indigenous partner to develop cultural training for its staff. According to Valerie Gideon, assistant deputy minister with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, some of the health professionals who deliver federal services to Indigenous people have no prior experience with those communities.
  • A study of transgender youth in Alberta found 73% reported recent self-harm and more than two in five had attempted suicide. About three-quarters said they were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable discussing their unique health needs with walk-in clinic doctors.
  • Fentanyl is going missing from Ontario hospitals, with 254 incidents where the drug was lost, stolen or misplaced between 2010 and 2016, and 50 cases in the past 12 months. Other provinces reported fewer losses over the same period; Alberta ranked second with 135 incidents and 13 in the past year.
  • The federal government reimbursed Quebec the $10 million it withheld from the province two years ago for charging patients extra fees. The Quebec government maintains its position that the fees did not violate the Canada Health Act.
  • British Columbia reported a record number of illicit drug overdose deaths, with 1013 deaths so far this year (83 more than all of last year). More than four-fifths of the deaths were fentanyl related.
  • Indigenous women filed a class action lawsuit against Saskatchewan and Canada for forcing and coercing them and other women to undergo sterilization. The women are each seeking $7 million in damages and allege the province and country were complicit in the racist practice of sterilizing Aboriginal women without informed consent.
  • The federal government announced $28.4 million over four years to support health system innovation in the North West Territories. The funding will allow the territory to “to customize projects to meet unique priorities.”

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