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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | May 5, 2017

  • Random testing of federally licensed marijuana producers uncovered the use of a banned pesticide at one company. Leaf samples from Hydropothercary Corp. contained myclobutanil, a chemical used to kill mildew that is a known carcinogen and prohibited for use on plants that are smoked because it produces hydrogen cyanide.
  • Forty-one percent of Canadians are at “high risk” of mental illness, up from 36% in 2016, according to an Ipsos mental health risk index based on reported levels of stress, hopelessness and depression. Young Canadians were most vulnerable, with 63% of millennials classified as high risk, compared to 41% of Gen Xers and 24% of Baby Boomers.
  • Ontario will increase funding for post-secondary mental health services from $9 million to $15 million per year. College and university students have complained of wait times, poorly advertised services and unsatisfactory care on campus.
  • Quebec announced $26.5 million to speed up implementation of its mental health action plan. Of that money, $15 million will go towards training teams to provide intensive follow-up for certain patients and $10 million will be used to create teams to intervene after young patients’ first psychotic episodes.
  • British Columbia health authorities have had to swallow the cost of $75 million in unpaid hospital and ambulance bills from nonresident patients over the past five years. Vancouver Coastal health region, where up to 35% of nonresident patients skip out on their bills, faced the biggest shortfall of $40 million over five years.
  • Saskatchewan health workers incur more injuries from workplace violence than police or corrections officers, according to the province’s Workers’ Compensation Board. Between 2012 and 2016, 316 registered nurses and 942 nurses’ aides, orderlies and patient service associates were compensated for injuries from violence on the job. Health care patients were the number one perpetrators of violent workplace injuries, ahead of prison inmates and dogs.
  • Ontario’s prison advisor called on the province to limit the use of solitary confinement in prisons and prohibit its use for inmates who are suicidal, have significant mental illness or who are pregnant. Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde promised to address all of the recommendations immediately.
  • Quebec’s $100-million investment to create new long-term care spaces to free up hospital beds hasn’t eased overcrowding in emergency rooms. Occupancy rates at Montreal hospitals range from 112% to 187%, and many patients are treated on stretchers in hallways.
  • Alberta Health Services raised the age limit for sexual and reproductive health clinics for young people in and around Calgary from 24 to 29. Health officials cited a high rate of sexually transmitted infections among patients aged 25-29, many of whom were not seeking care outside the youth clinics.
  •  Health Canada revised its position on the safety of the herbicide glyphosate, concluding that the product is unlikely to pose a risk to human health so long as it’s used according to updated labels. The new labels will include instructions to restrict access to sprayed areas for 12 hours and to only use products containing glyphosate where the potential spread to areas of human activity is low.

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