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A youth vaping epidemic, how seniors use health care, health sector layoffs in Ontario, and more in this week’s top Canadian health news.

Health News Recap

  • Seniors comprised 16% of Canada’s population in 2015–16 but received nearly a third of health services provided by doctors, stated a report by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada based on 216 million medical services provided by 54,000 physicians. Family physicians provided most of these services (51%), followed by internists (23%) and ophthalmologists (11%).
  • The federal government released a national dementia strategy. The 2019 federal budget promised $50 for the strategy, which will focus on “preventing dementia, advancing therapies, and finding a cure, as well as improving the quality of life of people living with dementia and caregivers.”
  • Vaping among Canadian youth aged 16–19 increased 74% (from 8.4% to 14.6%) from 2017 to 2018, according to a study in the BMJ. Cigarette smoking increased 45% (from 10.7% to 15.5%) in the same age group over that period.
  • The Alberta government has proposed legislation to speed up the accreditation of foreign-trained professionals, including doctors. Organizations that evaluate these credentials, such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, would face fines up to $50,000 for failing to meet deadlines set under the proposed bill.
  • British Columbia has seen a “dramatic increase” in the number of youth vaccinated against measles in recent months. About 16,000 children and teens were vaccinated in April and May, the first two months of the province’s new immunization catch-up program.
  • The Alberta government has officially cancelled the $595-million superlab project spearheaded by the previous NDP government to consolidate medical laboratory services for the city of Edmonton. The current United Conservative Party government said it will invest the money elsewhere in the province’s health care system.
  • The Ontario government announced it will lay off 416 health-sector workers as part of its effort to consolidate 20 health agencies into one organization called Ontario Health. The eliminated jobs are “back-office positions” in areas such as communications and finance.
  • The RCMP is seeking to meet with potential victims of coerced sterilization procedures. Speaking before the House of Commons health committee, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said “we would absolutely sit down with each and every victim” to “look at it from a criminal point of view.”
  • Surgeons in Toronto completed the first vaginoplasty in Ontario in more than two decades. The complex procedure involves several medical disciplines, including urology, gynecology, general surgery and plastic surgery.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart is piloting a project to use blockchain technology to track medical cannabis “from seed to final product.” The company’s hopes the technology will create a comfort level among doctors and pharmacists about the quality of its medical cannabis.

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