Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | August 30, 2019

    • Health Canada will undertake inspections of vaping products at more than 3000 retailers across the country after American health officials linked nearly 200 cases of severe respiratory illness to vaping. Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang said provincial health officials across Canada are stepping up surveillance, too.

    • Ontario will delist health services deemed unnecessary by an Ontario Medical Association committee tasked with finding $460 million in savings. The changes, which are expected to save the province $83 million a year, include cutting or restricting coverage of outdated pregnancy and fertility tests, sinus scans, ear wax removal, pre-operative assessments, and house calls for patients who aren’t housebound.

    • Patients with the rare genetic disorder cystinosis complained that the recent approval of expensive treatments are making older, cheaper versions difficult or impossible to get. Previously, it cost a few thousand dollars a year to get cysteamine eye drops made at compounding pharmacies, but this option will no longer be available now Health Canada has approved branded drops that will cost $103,272 for a year’s supply.

    • British Columbia parents who choose not to vaccinate their children will be required to speak with public health workers as part of a new immunization reporting program. Unvaccinated students will also be required to stay home for 21 days if there is a measles outbreak.

    • Quebec’s 18 regional health directors urged tougher edible cannabis rules, calling for a complete ban on edibles that could appeal to minors. They also recommended a ban on sugary drinks containing cannabis and restrictions on the diversity of products allowed on the market.

    • New Brunswick’s education minister decried opponents of vaccination as conspiracy theorists during public hearings on a bill that would require children to be vaccinated to attend public school, unless they have a medical exemption. Presentations by anti-vaccination activists, meanwhile, went mostly unchallenged by the legislative committee.

    • A group of law firms is launching a representative action against the Northwest Territories over a series of health privacy breaches affecting 10,000 people. The lawsuit will resemble a class action and will cover several breaches, including the theft of a laptop containing health data for 80% of territory residents.

    • Alberta’s supervised consumption sites have responded to more than 4,300 overdoses with zero deaths, and averted more than 3,700 emergency calls, according to a report by the Alberta Community Council on HIV. The council is urging the province to consider this evidence in a review of the socio-economic impacts of the sites. 

    • A Nova Scotia town hosted a party of 500 to welcome 11 new doctors. As the province faces dire physician shortages, community members in Kentville said they hoped that showing their appreciation for the new recruits will convince them to stay. 

    • Ontario’s new sex education curriculum is much the same as the 2015 curriculum introduced by the former Liberal government and repealed by Doug Ford’s Conservatives in 2018. Controversial points such as gender identity will be taught at later grades and parents have the option to exempt their children from sex ed classes.


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