Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | November 23, 2018
- Forty-five percent of Canadians consider it socially acceptable to use cannabis regularly, and most people believe that occasional use poses no risk or only slight risk to their health, according to the Canadian Cannabis Survey. Nearly a quarter of people reported using the drug in the past year, and people aged 16–24 were twice as likely to use it than those over 25.
- The Canadian Paediatric Society called for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes after a study by the United States Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control showed a 78% increase in vaping among high school students in the past year. Vaping among middle school students also increased by almost 50%.
- Health Canada is seeking outside experts to review the performance of its tobacco control strategy since 2001. The number of Canadian smokers age 25 and older increased from 13% to 16% between 2015 and 2017.
- Health officials in Canada and the United States warned consumers to avoid eating packaged romaine lettuce after an outbreak of E. coli infections. There have been at least 19 cases of E. coli infection linked to consumption of lettuce in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick since mid-October.
- Ontario’s health care system is under increasing pressure, with waits for beds in hospitals, long-term care and home care increasing, according to Health Quality Ontario. Across the province, some 4230 hospital beds, or the equivalent capacity of 10 large hospitals, are taken by people waiting for transfers to care elsewhere.
- Alberta will spend $7552 per person on health care in 2018, up 2.2% from last year and more than any other province, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Even so, Alberta has one of the lowest ratios of health spending to GDP because its relatively high revenues.
- Ontario’s Minister of Health reportedly told advocates the government did not consult her department about the health fallout of new legislation that will cut workers’ rights to two paid sick days. Health care advocates are worried more people will go to work sick or spread infections while obtaining sick notes.
- Legal criteria for the education and training of mental health workers is restricting the recruitment and use of Inuit intervention workers to prevent suicides in Quebec’s Nunavik region. Because many Inuit workers do not have professional degrees, the region must fly in non-Inuit workers.
- A Nova Scotia clinic was overwhelmed with requests from people searching for a family doctor after posts on social media suggested it was accepting new patients. More than 59,000 people in the province are waiting for a doctor, an increase of more than 1000 since October.
- Alberta Health Services is building a new central drug production facility in Edmonton as part of a $66-million project to consolidate the preparation and distribution of medications to hospitals in the province. Construction is slated for 2021.
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