Roger Collier | CMAJ | October 20, 2017

  • The federal health minister met with provincial and territorial health ministers in Edmonton. Topics on the agenda included the opioid crisis, cannabis, mental health and pharamcare.
  • Canadian children are not getting enough physical activity, reported Statistics Canada. Most children get enough sleep each night but half are too sedentary during the day, and only a third are getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous activity.
  • Ontario has the highest number of medical marijuana users in Canada, with about 86,000 registered users. Alberta is close behind with 74,000 registered users, although it has a population a third the size of Ontario’s.
  • Alberta received approval from Health Canada to open safe injection sites for opioid users. Edmonton and Lethbridge are set to become the first cities in the province to open safe injection sites.
  • Ontario should raise the minimum legal age to purchase cigarettes to 21 and increase taxes on tobacco products, recommended a report commissioned by the province’s government. These and other changes would help reduce the smoking rate in Ontario from 17% to less than 5% by 2035, suggested the report.
  • Smoking contributed to more than 45,000 deaths in Canada in 2012, according to a new report by the Conference Board of Canada. Smoking also cost the economy $16.2 billion that year, including $6.5 billion for health care.
  • The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has changed its policy on calling law enforcement each time an airline passenger is found with medical marijuana. The policy was considered unnecessary and had become too burdensome, with police responding to more than 2900 calls in the past six months.
  • Students in any health-related program at the University of British Columbia are now required to take a course that will help them better understand Indigenous patients. The course will focus on Indigenous history, cultural safety and strategies for empathy.
  • The Quebec government will provide $1 million in emergency funding to help victims of sexual abuse. The money will be used to provide more resources for health and social workers, who are expecting an increase in demand for services following the #MeToo movement.
  • An Ontario MPP introduced a private members bill that would change the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act to ban employers from forcing female employees to wear high heels. The Ontario Podiatric Medical Association supports the bill, noting that high heels contribute to musculoskeletal pain, deformities and other injuries.

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