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Roger Collier | CMAJ | December 14, 2018

  • Cities and harm-reduction nonprofits can now apply directly to the federal government for exemptions to open supervised drug consumption sites. According to Health Canada, this will help remove barriers to providing life-saving services in communities struggling with the opioid crisis.
  • The Ontario government pulled out of the arbitration process with the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), stating that it “lacks confidence that the OMA can deliver on the outcome of any arbitration decision.” That decision was reversed three days later after an angry backlash from the province’s doctors.
  • The Quebec Superior Court approved a settlement for victims of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the province in 2012 that resulted in about 200 illness and 14 deaths. The settlement of $7.5 million will be shared among the victims.
  • Canadians need increased access to a safer supply of opioids, stated Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer. Opioids were a factor in more than 2000 deaths in the first half of 2018 and a toxic drug supply is a large part of the problem, said Tam.
  • Reducing the spread of tuberculosis in Manitoba will require better tracking of the disease and more involvement from First Nations, according to a paper from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. Manitoba has the one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in Canada.
  • Processing times for routine surgical biopsies in Saskatchewan need to be reduced, according to the province’s auditor. Labs in the province are taking an average of 12 to 18 days to complete routine biopsies, which should take only five business days, according to the auditor.
  • A program started in February to recruit physicans from abroad to practise in Nova Scotia has so far attracted 18 doctors to the province. Most of the recruits (15) are family doctors.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart can now sell medical marijuana online. The company was granted a licence by Health Canada for online sale of dried and fresh cannabis, plants, seeds and oil.
  • Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care cut funding to the College of Midwives of Ontario, which regulates the midwifery profession in the province, after 25 years of providing operational grants. The Alberta health ministry, by contrast, announced it is broadening the scope of practice for midwives, allowing them to induce labour, use ultrasounds and prescribe a broader range of drugs.
  • People who receive parking tickets at an Alberta Health Services’ facility have the option to donate a toy instead of paying the fine during the holiday season. The campaign will run until Dec. 21 and the toy should be of similar value to the ticket amount.

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