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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | July 20, 2018

  • Health Canada warned it is prepared to crack down on marijuana companies sponsoring music festivals and other promotional activities that go against federal laws. The department said marijuana producers who break the rules will face serious consequences, including possible suspension of licenses.
  • Canada’s premiers met in New Brunswick to discuss a range of issues related to health, including pharmacare and collaboration on a response to the opioid crisis. Premiers also shared information on cannabis implementation and enforcement.
  • Thieves who recently raided the computer systems of an Ontario home care provider are allegedly holding more than 80 000 patient records for ransom. A group claiming responsibility for the breach told CBC News they will leak the data, which includes patient credit card numbers and expiry dates, unless they receive payment.
  • A third-party assessor found a “culture of tolerance of disrespectful and harassing behavior” at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s school of medicine. Among other concerns, residents reported enduring ridicule in front of colleagues, yelling, swearing, and demeaning comments about their race, gender or body size.
  • The BC Nurses’ Union and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction joined a recent call for widespread decriminalization of illicit drugs in Canada to refocus on treating addiction and preventing overdose deaths. However, the federal health minister has said the government is not considering that option.
  • The Alberta Liberals launched an emergency services hotline for patients and health staff to report concerns about response times. According to Liberal leader David Khan, ambulance crews are being delayed at hospitals because emergency rooms are backed up and can’t take patients quickly enough.
  • Doctors warned that pregnant women should not use cannabis to ease morning sickness, despite recommendations from some dispensaries. “People are confusing legalization with safety,” said Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. “Cannabis does go through to affect the baby.”
  • A study of 4430 health professionals in Quebec and Europe found 50%–77% of those in Quebec institutions washed their hands before and after touching a patient. Provincial records show the handwashing compliance rate in Quebec was 58.7% in 2017–18, well below the target of 80%.
  • The Saskatchewan Health Authority will absorb the province’s physician recruitment agency, in a move health officials say will lead to a more efficient service. The agency was created to help with recruitment and retention of doctors, particularly in rural areas.
  • Manitoba announced multiple taxes on recreational marijuana. Revenue from the taxes will help pay for public education on the safety and health effects of cannabis and addiction services.
  • Nova Scotia reported a spike in diagnosed HIV cases. In the first six months of 2018, the province recorded 16 new cases, the number normally seen in an entire year.

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