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Roger Collier | CMAJ | February 9, 2018

  • Medical residents in Quebec threatened to strike after failed negotiations with the province’s government over duty hours and pay. The province’s residency association is calling for a 17% increase in remuneration, in addition to maternity and educational leave.
  • Packaging for marijuana should be designed by the government and public health experts, not cannabis producers, stated the Canadian Medical Association. The association said labels on packaging should provide consumers with information about the health risks of using cannabis.
  • Quebec should change its policy barring parents from accompanying children on medical air evacuations, according to national and Quebec pediatric societies. The policy mostly affects families in remote First Nations communities and can be traumatic for children, say child-advocacy groups.
  • Nearly 33% of Canadian seniors were dissatisfied with the quality of health care they receive, compared with an average 24% in 11 peer countries, according to results of the 2016 Commonwealth Fund survey. Canadians cited access to test results and conflicting information from health providers among their top concerns.
  • Health Canada issued a tender to determine the cost of purchasing a million very low-nicotine (VLN) cigarettes that aren’t available in Canada. The government said it was a “preliminary inquiry” to explore researching the product as part of its tobacco control strategy.
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will open a research hub dedicated to helping people with both mental illness and developmental disabilities. According to the centre, mental health problems are more common among people with neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as autism and Down syndrome.
  • British Columbia announced $20 million in funding over three years for overdose prevention in Indigenous communities. Indigenous people are three times more likely than the general population to die of an overdose, and five times more likely to experience a non-fatal overdose.
  • The federal government’s program to promote oral health and prevent dental disease in First Nations and Inuit communities isn’t working, according to Manitoba Senator May Jane McCallum. People in these communities receive only emergency care and have been trained to seek help for dental problems only when in pain, said the senator.
  • Most Quebec optometrists will no longer offer eye exams under the province’s public healthcare plan. The Quebec Association of Optometrists said the $42 payment under the public plan is too low, and is recommending that its members charge $95 for private exams.
  • People should undergo cataract surgery in hospital and the procedure should be publicly covered, warned Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Health and Community Services. The province opened a phone line and is seeking information about private clinics billing patients directly.

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