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Vaping rules, a public health shake-up, disclosure of top-billing doctors and more in this week’s top Canadian health news.

Health News Recap

  • The Supreme Court refused an appeal from the Ontario Medical Association and other physician groups to keep the names of top-billing doctors private. Ontario’s top court previously ruled that names and financial details disclosed in connection with professional activities do not count as personal information.
  • Health Canada launched consultations on regulations to reduce youth vaping. Proposed measures include banning some flavours, restricting online sales and limiting nicotine concentrations.
  • Ontario’s health care budget will increase from $63.5 billion this year to $64.6 billion next year, but opposition parties said that’s not enough to match inflation. The Ontario government also announced it will save $250 million a year in its health system by improving scheduling and reducing overtime and shift premiums.
  • A proposed bill to make Nova Scotians default organ donors sparked misconceptions and a flood of inquiries to the province’s critical care organ donation program. Health officials clarified that the bill will still allow residents to opt out; health teams will still need to speak with next of kin; and it will not apply to people younger than 19 or those who have just moved to the province.
  • Hip replacement wait times are increasing in Quebec, with 80% of residents receiving the surgeries within the recommended 6 months in 2018, compared to 85% in 2016. Quebec patients are also waiting longer for knee replacements, cataract surgery and radiation therapy.
  • Manitoba chiropractors are suing the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba over concerns the college raised about the safety of spinal manipulation procedures. The Manitoba Chiropractors Association claims the college violated a longstanding agreement not to question the legitimacy of chiropractic practices.
  • Unionized nurses across Quebec are refusing to work mandatory overtime except in emergency situations. The nurses complained that administrators are routinely scheduling mandatory overtime, and a tribunal judge agreed that it should only be ordered in “urgent and exceptional” situations.
  • Ontario proposed merging the province’s 35 public health units into 10 regional agencies by 2021 to save $200 million annually. The move sparked backlash from public health experts who say consolidating units will reduce local responsiveness and accountability.
  • Children in Quebec whose parents’ claim for asylum has not been processed are not covered under provincial health insurance, even if they were born in the province. Since 2017, Quebec’s law on education provides free schooling for non-residents, and child advocates are calling for the same policy for medical care.
  • A class action lawsuit was launched against New Brunswick’s Horizon Health Network and a nurse on behalf of women who were given the labour-inducing drug Oxytocin without their knowledge. The suit alleges Moncton Hospital knew it had unusually high rates of emergency C-sections and instrument-assisted deliveries but failed to investigate.

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