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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | November 2, 2018

  • More Canadians over 25 smoked tobacco and cannabis last year than two years earlier, according to Health Canada. Sixteen percent of people aged 25 or older reported smoking cigarettes in 2017, up from 13% in 2015, and 13% used cannabis, up from 10%.
  • The federal government is proposing Canada become the first country to require health warnings on individual cigarettes in a bid to reduce smoking rates to less than 5% by 2035. The government is also proposing warnings on previously exempt products, including waterpipe tobacco and rolling papers made from tobacco.
  • Quebec physicians warned that new federal regulations on the monitoring of medically assisted dying will add to their administrative duties and duplicate provincial regulations. The Collège des Médecins du Québec told members not to file the federal paperwork despite the possibility of prosecution and up to two years in jail.
  • High rates of antibiotic prescriptions in Ontario could lead to increased drug resistance, according to a CMAJ Open study. There were 8.3 million antibiotics dispensed in the province during the one-year study period, and as many as 778 prescriptions for every 1000 residents in the health region with the highest use.
  • Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government came under fire for including the province’s chief medical officer of health in a publicity video for the party that was styled as an independent news report about the importance of getting a flu shot. New Democrats argued that public service announcements should be made through official channels instead of partisan outlets.
  • Alberta proposed automatic licence suspensions for health care providers who sexually abuse or harass patients. Under the proposed rules, regulatory colleges would be required to publicly post the names and discipline history of health providers found to have committed sexual abuse or misconduct.
  • One of the electronic health record providers shortlisted in a controversial contract bid in Nova Scotia previously implemented a system on Vancouver Island that‘s been associated with substantial cost overruns and patient safety concerns. Cerner’s iHealth system was plagued with glitches that resulted in stopped prescriptions and misdirected messages about test orders, lab reports and patient information.
  • Health care organizations endorsed proportional representation in British Columbia’s electoral referendum. According to the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia, a union representing 18,000 health professionals, governments chosen by proportional representation tend to devote more resources to health care, social programs and education.
  • Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government wants the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to find $36 million in savings on top of the $83 million in cuts it directed the authority to make last year. The authority plans to find savings in its food and laundry services, as well as by consolidating beds and staffing.
  • A group of doctors are petitioning the Medical Council of Canada to allow physicians and medical trainees to bring menstrual products into exams. Doctors complained on social media that some must “wear diapers or stuff product in their bras” to get around current rules, which require people to hand over menstrual products before writing the exam.

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