Personal Health and Safety

Havana Syndrome still unexplained

More than eight months after the U.S. administration agreed to compensate some “Havana Syndrome” victims for mysterious symptoms ostensibly connected with their foreign postings, the Defense Department continues to investigate, including whether a “weapon” was involved. The symptoms were first reported by embassy staff in Cuba. [node:read-more:link]

Premier “astonished” by cocaine decision

Health Canada’s approval of a B.C. cannabis company to get into the cocaine market has “astonished” Premier David Eby. Adastra Labs says it received permission February 17 through an amendment to its controlled substance dealer’s licence but Eby said March 2 that “it is not part of our provincial plan” to tackle drug overdose deaths. [node:read-more:link]

Dental care advice for Ottawa

As the federal government continues to wrestle with the notion of universal oral care, the Canadian Dental Association said today that it should preserve private dental programs and using existing clinics. The recommendations are included in a policy paper after consultations with Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos as well provincial and territorial associations and dentists themselves. [node:read-more:link]

Study tracks police killings

A project led by Alexander McClelland, a criminology professor at Carleton University in Ottawa shows that 704 persons have died in incidents involving police use of force in Canada since 2000 and that the annual average has gradually risen. “We're hoping that this data sparks conversations and gets people looking further into why there has been a potential increase, what that means, and brings more scrutiny to the issue,” McClellan says. [node:read-more:link]

Canada steps up Ukrainian support

The federal government today confirmed more than $32 million to bolster “security and stabilization” in Ukraine, including some $9.7 million previously announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The total includes $7.5 million for de-mining, $12 million to “counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats” and some $13 million for “accountability efforts” including addressing conflict-related sexual violence. [node:read-more:link]

Five provinces do health deal

The four Atlantic provinces and Ontario have agreed in principle to the federal government’s latest 10-year healthcare funding package. Each province now must come up with specific spending plans because some $46 billion is contingent on the provinces improving access to frontline care and to upgrading data systems. [node:read-more:link]

Attacker’s house sold to support victim

A B.C. Supreme Court judge (Docket No. 2021 BCSC 210) has ordered the sale of a house formerly owned by a man who left a beating victim permanently brain-damaged in 2016. Sentenced to seven years in October 2021, the attacker had “sold” the house to his parents for $1 in an attempt to avoid civil action by the victim’s family who now will receive the proceeds of an eventual sale. [node:read-more:link]

G-G facing on-line abuse

Governor General Mary Simon’s office said today it is turning off the comments sections on its social media accounts due to increasing “abusive, misogynistic and racist engagement on social media and online platforms, including a greater number of violent threats.” Appointed in July 2021, the former civil servant, broadcaster and diplomat is the first indigenous holder of the vice-regal office. [node:read-more:link]

Doctor shortage a bureaucratic construct

As an estimated 20 per cent of Canadians in all jurisdictions continue to lack access to family physicians, fewer than 30 per cent of Canadian doctors trained abroad are matched to provincially-constrained residency positions. The system explicitly gives priority to students trained in Canada even though some fail their final examinations. [node:read-more:link]

Americans told to leave Russia

The U.S. has advised its citizens, notably those with dual-citizenship potentially subject to conscription, to leave Russia “immediately” due to the risk of arbitrary arrest or harassment as the war on Ukraine nears its anniversary next week. [node:read-more:link]

On-line political threats worrisome

Heavily-redacted reports released by the federal government in response to an Access to Information request show a disturbing trend of “violent rhetoric and intimidation tactics” in on-line threats to federal politicians. Targets included government opposition Members of Parliament and a far-right social network said some should be executed for treason. [node:read-more:link]

Doctors drowning in paperwork

Canadian physicians spend 18.5 million hours a year on unnecessary administrative work, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It recommends that provincial governments could reduce the red tape by 10 per cent, potentially freeing up time for up to 5.5 million patient visits annually. [node:read-more:link]

Drugs decriminalization tested in B.C

Effective January 31, British Columbia begins a three-year experiment in decriminalizing small amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA possessed by persons 18 and older. The federal government granted an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act last May and while it is not expected to stop users from being killed by tainted drugs it is considered a step forward. [node:read-more:link]

Coronavirus here to stay?

The World Health Organization said today that the coronavirus remain a global emergency even though an expert panel says higher levels of immunity can virus-related deaths. “There is no doubt that we're in a far better situation” than a year ago, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging vulnerable group to be fully vaccinated and ignore “misinformation” about masking and social distancing. [node:read-more:link]

Make-or-break health summit?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that he has invited premiers to Ottawa for a February 7 “working meeting” he hopes will address country-wide health care funding problems. The federal government also is looking for a national accord on data and health information as well as long-term deals which would include specific metrics relevant to individual provincial and territorial needs. [node:read-more:link]


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