Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | December 7, 2018
- Health experts called on the federal minister of health to recall high-strength opioids to reduce the risk of overdoses and other harms. A CMAJ commentary noted that the minister has the power to recall drugs believed to present a “serious or imminent risk of injury to health.”
- Quebec tabled legislation to prohibit the use of cannabis in all public places and raise the legal age of consumption to 21. The province’s junior health minister also suggested raising the legal drinking age to 21 but later backed off from the proposal.
- The use of talcum powder products may be linked to ovarian cancer and serious respiratory problems, Health Canada warned in a draft assessment. The government is considering expanding warnings on product labels and will seek public comment on the draft assessment until Feb. 6.
- The proportion of Quebec high school students reporting mental health problems increased from 21% to 29% between 2010/11 and 2016/17, according to a survey of 62,000 young people. The number of young people reporting attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity jumped from 13% to 23%, and the proportion reporting anxiety rose from 9% to 17%.
- Newfoundland and Labrador announced legislation that will make it easier for workers in the province to receive benefits for workplace mental injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. People diagnosed with a workplace mental injury by a medical professional will no longer have to go through a process to prove the injury occurred at work.
- Demand in Winnipeg for sterile needles from people using injection drugs jumped more than 70% between 2015/16 and 2017/18, while the rest of Manitoba saw a nearly sevenfold increase in demand. In total, the province distributed more than two million sterile injection supplies last year.
- Doctors Nova Scotia criticized the province for not involving or consulting them in the search for a vendor to develop a province-wide electronic health record system. Two companies were shortlisted but some have questioned the fairness and transparency of the process after an investigation revealed health officials met with representatives of the companies when other bidders were told there was a moratorium on meetings.
- Patients in the southeast of British Columbia are having trouble accessing health care services in Alberta, potentially due to billing issues between the provinces. For the past year, Alberta has been moving non-emergency and elective surgeries for BC patients to Kelowna.
- New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative government relaxed a nutrition policy that required schools to provide “higher nutritional value which are lower in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.” Schools are once again allowed to sell fruit juices and chocolate milk, and extracurricular programs and fundraisers have extra flexibility to sell sugary treats.
- Covenant Health, a faith-based health organization in Alberta, said it will allow assessments for medical aid in dying to take place in its hospitals but will not provide or refer patients directly for the service. The policy change comes after several patients reported being forced out of facilities to have assessments; in some cases, on the side of busy roads.
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