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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | September 07, 2018

  • Nunavut continues to have the highest rate of infant mortality in Canada, with 17.7 deaths for every 1000 lives births in 2016, compared to the national average of 4.5. The same report from Children First Canada showed that Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest percentage of overweight or obese children, with 36.4% of kids aged 12 to 17 falling into those categories, compared to the national average of 27.9%.
  • Ottawa announced $68 million over three years for Indigenous-led health services in Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said the money is aimed to increase Indigenous communities’ control of their care.
  • Health Canada will invest more than $100 million over six years to educate the public about cannabis. This includes more nuanced messages about the drug, focusing on specific risks and situations when use should be avoided, such as during pregnancy.
  • The federal government and British Columbia together committed $71.7 million to increase access to treatment for substance abuse, with $33.98 million coming from a federal emergency treatment fund. In total, Ottawa has earmarked $150 million over five years for the emergency fund.
  • More than 800 health care providers joined growing protest of Ontario’s freeze on new overdose prevention sites. Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said she will work with the province to ensure that existing sites stay open.
  • Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the health sector needs “system transformation” and must find ways to operate more efficiently given “difficult financial times.” The government has hired a hospital CEO and former president of the Ontario Conservative Party to head a new council to find ways to improve the system.
  • Quebec’s program for assigning doctors appears to favor outlying regions of the province over densely populated urban districts. Residents of Montreal Island make up 57.7% of all Quebeckers who still do not have a family doctor, and more than a third of the population in the Montreal region lack access to a general practitioner.
  • Nova Scotia appointed an expert advisory panel on long-term care, prompted by the death of a woman from an untreated bedsore. The panel is tasked with providing recommendations on appropriate staffing levels, recruitment and retention, among other issues, but will not tackle the number of long-term care beds, which drew some criticism.
  • Quebec’s public health institute called on the province to invest one percent of its budget into creating green spaces to cool “urban heat islands,” areas in cities where trapped heat causes temperatures to soar. More than 50 people died during the July heatwave in Montreal.
  • Western University researchers called for clearer policies and procedures for handling organ donations from patients who choose assisted death. They also raised ethical questions about whether doctors should be allowed to opt out of performing transplants in such cases, and whether potential recipients should be told about where their transplants come from.

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