Health News Highlights
Health News Highlights is intended to provide OMA members with a snapshot of recent healthcare news, with links to the news articles.
Health News Highlights
Health News Highlights is intended to provide OMA members with a snapshot of recent healthcare news, with links to the news articles.



Gated Information:
Users may find that some news websites restrict the number of times that non-subscribers can access their site. All effort has been made to avoid these gated sites and alternative sources are included whenever possible.

Viewpoints Presented: Health News Highlights is intended to provide a snapshot of healthcare news on a given day. The headlines and links are for information purposes only. This news list does not constitute any endorsements by the Ontario Medical Association nor should it be considered as a reflection of the item’s importance. OMA does not control or guarantee the accuracy and timeliness of information contained on any linked sites.

Broken links: Every effort has been made to ensure that web addresses provided to the health news stories are active and can be linked directly, however external websites are beyond OMA control and some links may not work for all members.

  • A
    Title: Arbitration award resets relationship [Dr. Darren Cargill] (Windsor Star)
    Description: (March 23, 2019) In December, I wrote a letter to the Windsor Star urging the Ontario government and Health Minister Christine Elliott to return to arbitration with Ontario’s doctors, which they did… NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE
  • W
    Title: Woman sues Toronto doctors for allegedly ignoring father’s wishes to stay alive (CityNews)
    Description: (March 24, 2019) A civil trial is set to begin this week for two doctors accused of ignoring an elderly man’s wishes to stay alive and allegedly imposing a “do not resuscitate” order without consulting him or his substitute decision-maker…
  • B
    Title: B.C. doctor denied access to anonymous reviews of his practice: access-to-information expert says B.C. Supreme Court decision undermines provincial laws (CBC News)
    Description: (March 23, 2019) The Supreme Court of British Columbia has turned down a request from a Vancouver Island doctor who sought to look at the anonymous reviews colleagues made about his practice…
  • P
    Title: Privacy: a hole in the virtual medicine cabinet: researchers find popular medication phone apps share data with third parties (CBC News)
    Description: (March 23, 2019) It’s personal information that can’t get any more personal: your medical conditions, symptoms you’ve searched and lists of medication you take. If you happen to have entered that information into popular prescription drug-tracking Android phone…
  • C
    Title: Changes to OHIP+ leave Ottawa family at disadvantage: on April 1, people under 25 with private insurance will no longer qualify for OHIP+ (CBC News)
    Description: (March 23, 2019) An Ottawa family with private insurance says upcoming changes to OHIP+ will put a “huge financial strain” on their budget because they’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for part of their son’s expensive medication…
  • W
    Title: What we know about how safe cannabis is for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms (CBC News)
    Description: (March 21, 2019) While we know a lot about the dangers of drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes while pregnant, now that it’s legal, what about using cannabis? There is much less that we know about what happens to babies when their moms use pot while pregnant…
  • O
    Title: Ottawa health leader to be new president of Hamilton’s McMaster Children’s Hospital [Dr. Bruce Squires] (Hamilton Spectator)
    Description: (March 22, 2019) An Ottawa health leader has been chosen as the new president of McMaster Children’s Hospital. Bruce Squires will leave his current role as a vice-president at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to join Hamilton Health Sciences July…
  • R
    Title: Rothmans, Benson & Hedges gets creditor protection in $15B Quebec lawsuit (City News)
    Description: (March 23, 2019) Rothmans, Benson & Hedges has become the third tobacco company to receive a temporary reprieve from compensating 100,000 Quebec smokers after securing creditor protection in an Ontario court on Friday…
  • M
    Title: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services News Release: Ontario Enhancing Support for Children with Autism (news.ontario.ca)
    Description: (March 21, 2019) Ontario’s government is putting people first by enhancing the Ontario Autism Program, which comes into effect on April 1, 2019…
  • O
    Title: Ontario government plans more changes to autism program amid fierce backlash (CBC News)
    Description: (March 21, 2019) All families with a child with autism in Ontario will be eligible for some provincial funding — no matter their income — and some children with more severe autism could qualify for additional assistance, the government says…
  • A
    Title: Antipsychotic medications in long-term care (Hospital News)
    Description: (March 19, 2019) The Canadian Institute of Health Information (2016) reports that, in 2014, 39 per cent of long-term care residents were prescribed at least one antipsychotic order…
  • P
    Title: People more likely to want unnecessary surgery if word ‘cancer’ was used: study (CTV News)
    Description: (March 21, 2019) People were three times more likely to want unnecessary surgery when a condition was labelled as “cancer,” according to new research from Women’s College Hospital…
  • W
    Title: Why a mom with cervical cancer needs women — and their doctors — to hear her story (CBC News)
    Description: (March 22, 2019) Karla Van Kessel followed all the rules: She exercised, ate well and got regular checkups, including Pap smears that screen for cervical cancer…
  • B
    Title: Budget 2019: Trudeau government takes first step towards pharmacare (ipolitics.ca)
    Description: (March 19, 2019) The Trudeau government is heeding the recommendation of its expert panel on pharmacare by announcing plans to create a new national drug agency that would oversee the program…
  • L
    Title: Liberals to create national drug agency as building block of pharmacare plan (CTV News)
    Description: (March 19, 2019) The federal Liberal government is promising a new agency to negotiate prescription drug prices for Canadians and try to drive down costs — a move billed as an “important step” on the path to an eventual national pharmacare plan…
  • N
    Title: Nearly $28B in new spending means no return to balanced budget in sight (CP24)
    Description: (March 19, 2019) The final budget of the Trudeau government’s mandate will scatter billions in fresh spending — on everything from pharmacare to retraining workers to first-time home buyers — as the Liberals commit to an electoral fight that pits their deficit-spending…
  • C
    Title: CaRMS: BPAS and CaRMS (carms.ca)
    Description: (March 19, 2019) You’ve likely heard about Best Practices in Application and Selection (BPAS), the faculty-led initiative that is shaping the future of medical residency selection processes. Read on to find out a little about the history of BPAS, how CaRMS…
  • B
    Title: Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint: Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget of its mandate Tuesday, just seven months before the next federal election (Vancouver Sun)
    Description: (March 19, 2019) Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget of its mandate Tuesday, just seven months before the next federal election. Here are some things to watch for…
  • M
    Title: More Canadians leaving country for health care: report (Toronto Sun)
    Description: (March 12, 2019) The flight of the sick continues to rise in Canada. A policy brief — titled Flight of the Sick, by the Calgary-based think tank secondstreet.org -says 217,500 Canadians left the country for health care in 2017, according to Statistics Canada….
  • C
    Title: Children’s hospital issues weed warning after flood of calls to poison line (CTV News – Health)
    Description: (March 18, 2019) Atlantic Canada’s largest children’s hospital is warning parents about the risks of edible weed after a flood of cannabis-related calls to its poison centre. The IWK Health Centre says it fielded three times as many cannabis calls to its poison…
  • E
    Title: Edible cannabis in the spotlight as Halifax children’s hospital deals with flood of calls to poison line (Globe and Mail)
    Description: (March 18, 2019) Atlantic Canada’s largest children’s hospital is warning parents about the risks of edible weed after a flood of cannabis-related calls to its poison centre. The IWK Health Centre says it fielded three times as many cannabis calls to its poison…

  • Title: ‘It doesn’t feel human’: Students angered by U of T practice of not acknowledging campus suicides: school says it’s fast-tracking help for those affected, but won’t confirm death (CBC News)
    Description: (March 18, 2019) Students at the University of Toronto say they know one of their fellow classmates took his own life on campus over the weekend. Only the school itself won’t say the word “suicide” out loud…
  • T
    Title: Tuesday’s federal budget will mark unofficial kickoff of Liberals’ 2019 election campaign; Expect Finance Minister to spend big to ease middle-class anxiety in uncertain economic times (Globe and Mail)
    Description: (March 17, 2019) [Gated] A pre-election budget is the biggest home-field advantage that a sitting government has. The Liberals intend to use it. Finance Minister Bill Morneau will present a budget on Tuesday that will be a launching pad for new social initiatives…
  • C
    Title: Canadian experts say prolonged antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease ‘harmful’ (CTV News – Health)
    Description: (March 17, 2019) A prolonged course of antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease is no more beneficial to a patient than a placebo and can even cause “harmful” health outcomes, Canadian infectious disease experts said in a new position paper…
  • C
    Title: Canada’s fight with Big Tobacco is back on: trove of documents tells uniquely Canadian story of tobacco marketing (CBC News)
    Description: (March 1, 2019) Canada’s cigarette war has suddenly sprung back to life after years in legal limbo. There have been a series of stunning developments over the last two weeks in this uniquely Canadian battle for compensation from the tobacco industry for the…
  • C
    Title: CMAJ News: Confusing privacy rules may penalize doctors for doing their jobs (cmajnews.com)
    Description: (March 14, 2019) Is it snooping for doctors to check up on past patients’ health records? A recent case in Saskatchewan shows the answer isn’t straightforward, and confusion about the rules may land doctors in hot water…
  • H
    Title: Healthy Debate: Do hospital innovation hubs live up to the hype? (healthydebate.ca)
    Description: (March 14, 2019) “Anyone can look around and see that hospitals are trying to become more efficient,” says Sacha Bhatia, director of the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV). “How do we modernize our health…
  • W
    Title: World Health Organization: New WHO study shows more action needed to monitor and limit digital marketing of unhealthy products to children (euro.who.int)
    Description: (March 13, 2019) A new report from WHO/Europe calls for greater monitoring of the digital marketing of alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy food products, especially those high in salt, sugar and fat. It comes amid the advertising industry’s continued efforts to…
  • S
    Title: Shrimp containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in Canadian grocery stores: ‘It’s a gap’: Canada checks for antibiotics in imported seafood, but not for superbugs that could be resistant (CBC News)
    Description: (March 15, 2019) A CBC Marketplace investigation has found worrying levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on imported shrimp bought at major grocery stores across Canada…
  • V
    Title: Vaping is an urgent threat to public health (The Conversation)
    Description: (March 13, 2019) Youth are using e-cigarettes (also known as vaping devices) at a rapidly increasing rate — a practice that constitutes an urgent threat to public health…
  • H
    Title: Health Canada starts releasing protected drug and medical device data: drug and device clinical trial data to be posted on new Clinical Information Portal (CBC News)
    Description: (March 13, 2019) Data about medical devices and drugs that used to be carefully guarded by Health Canada is starting to be posted online. The information includes clinical trials and other submissions provided by companies that Health Canada uses when it considers…
  • W
    Title: World must prepare for inevitable next flu pandemic, WHO says (Reuters)
    Description: (March 11, 2019) The world will inevitably face another pandemic of flu and needs to prepare for the potential devastation that could cause, and not underestimate the risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday…
  • U
    Title: US health officials move to tighten sales of e-cigarettes (National Post)
    Description: (March 13, 2019) U.S. health regulators are moving ahead with a plan designed to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers by restricting sales of most flavoured products in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other retail locations…
  • N
    Title: New strategic plan from Sudbury Police to focus on mental health: strategic plan also includes updates to the community drug strategy (CBC News)
    Description: (March 13, 2019) Mental health will be a bigger focus for the Greater Sudbury Police Service in the coming years. Police Chief Paul Pedersen presented the new four-year strategic plan to the Police Services Board during Monday’s meeting and he says one of the…
  • P
    Title: Public Health Agency of Canada News Release: Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, on the current measles outbreak and vaccine hesitancy (newswire.ca)
    Description: (March 12, 2019) As Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, I am very concerned to see vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly those as serious and highly contagious as measles, making a comeback in Canada and around the globe. From my perspective, even one…
  • A
    Title: Air pollution deaths are double previous estimates, finds research: researchers say dirty air is killing 800,000 people a year in Europe, and urge the phasing out of fossil fuel burning (The Guardian)
    Description: (March 12, 2019) The number of early deaths caused by air pollution is double previous estimates, according to research, meaning toxic air is killing more people than tobacco smoking. The scientists used new data to estimate that nearly 800,000 people die prematurely…
  • B
    Title: Biotin, marketed for hair and nails, could skew some medical test results, researchers warn: biotin, or vitamin B7, can lead to false positives or negatives in cardiac, thyroid and other tests (CBC News)
    Description: (March 12, 2019) For doctors in Vancouver, it was a medical mystery. They suspected their patient might be suffering from low levels of thyroid hormone because the 54-year-old woman reported weight gain and lethargy…
  • S
    Title: Sunnybrook Personal Health Navigator: Why many doctors won’t email patients – and how that could change (health.sunnybrook.ca)
    Description: (March 11, 2019) Question: I have a simple health question that I want to ask my doctor. But his office says I have to book an appointment to see him in person. Why can’t doctors be like everyone else and send emails?…
  • F
    Title: Federal agency looking at fitness trackers for public sector workers: ‘exploratory’ research says devices could cut insurance costs (CBC News)
    Description: (March 12, 2019) A little-known research group inside the prime minister’s own department has been looking at whether public servants should be offered electronic fitness-tracking devices to help reduce their health insurance premiums…
  • W
    Title: What role do parents play in exposing children and teens to vaping?: New study suggests ‘alarming trend’ of permissiveness around vaping (Dr. Brian’s Blog- White Coat, Black Art, CBC Radio)
    Description: (March 11, 2019) Last December, CBC News reported that an increasing number of teens were vaping. And that the rate of increase had grown substantially ever since the government made it legal to sell nicotine vaping products (also known as e-cigarettes) in…
  • $
    Title: $15B judgement in damages to Quebec smokers suspended because one tobacco company in lawsuit given creditor protection (Ottawa Citizen)
    Description: (March 12, 2019) An Ontario court suspended legal proceedings against all three companies until April 5, though only JTI-Macdonald sought protection from creditors. The Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health said Monday that smokers who won a recent court victory…
  • P
    Title: Province vows to bring patients in at the ground floor of health care reform (Ottawa Citizen)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) Patients, families and caregivers will play key roles in Ontario’s revamped health system, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Friday. Elliott, who announced a major reform of the province’s health system last week, was in Ottawa Friday to…
  • D
    Title: Doug Ford hedges on promise that ‘no one’ will lose their job: nurses, education workers, child advocate staff among those facing layoffs despite PC campaign pledge (CBC News)
    Description: (March 9, 2019) Premier Doug Ford and his PCs are backing away from his campaign promise that no one in the public sector will lose their job under his government…
  • C
    Title: Concerns mount as worldwide shortage of bladder cancer treatment drags on: 100 Alberta patients are affected by shortage of most effective bladder cancer drug (CBC News)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) Doctors in Alberta, and across the country, are doing what they can to shield patients from a worldwide shortage of a key bladder cancer drug, but there are concerns patients could suffer as the shortage drags on…
  • C
    Title: CBC Fifth Estate: Officer down (newsinteractives.cbc.ca)
    Description: (March 10, 2019) Ontario’s ombudsman urged the OPP to make changes to prevent suicide among its members in 2012. Twelve officers have died by suicide since then. The Fifth Estate reveals what the OPP missed – and looks at what can be done to fix what some call…
  • N
    Title: Northern Ontario Medical Journal: Drug warning issues in Sudbury (nomj.ca)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) The Community Drug Strategy has received multiple reports of a new potent substance circulating in the community of Sudbury. While we cannot confirm the substance, there are reports of dye possibly being used to create various colours including…
  • C
    Title: CMAJ News: Life expectancy grows with supply of primary care doctors (cmajnews.com)
    Description: (March 6, 2019) People live longer in areas with more primary care doctors, according to data from the United States. But the supply of these doctors is shrinking as more medical students choose higher paying specialties…
  • U
    Title: U of T Faculty of Medicine sees positive results one year after Black Student Application Program launches: new MD application stream helps to welcoming environment for Black applicants (thevarsity.ca)
    Description: (March 9, 2019) One year after implementing the Black Student Application Program (BSAP), the U of T Faculty of Medicine has seen an increase in the number of qualified Black medical students admitted to its Doctor of Medicine (MD) program. From one Black student…
  • T
    Title: Toronto surgeon seeking handgun ban accuses firearms rights group of trying to intimidate her: Dr. Najma Ahmed’s gun control battle started after treating victims of Danforth mass shooting (CBC News)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) A Toronto doctor who has advocated for stricter gun control laws since she helped treat victims of a mass shooting on the Danforth last summer says she won’t be intimidated by a firearms lobby group’s attempts to “silence” her…
  • C
    Title: CMAJ News: Teens, vaccines and the age of consent (CBC News)
    Description: (March 7, 2019) When should doctors start talking to teenage patients about the risks and benefits of vaccines? As unvaccinated children become adults, teens requesting vaccination against their parents’ wishes, perhaps influenced by events like the recent…
  • U
    Title: Unvaccinated six-year-old boy gets tetanus; treatment costs US$800K (CTV News)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) An unvaccinated six-year-old boy from Oregon required treatment costing more than US$800,000 after he was diagnosed with tetanus in the state’s first case of the disease in 30 years, according to a new report…
  • A
    Title: Anti-vaxers’ adult son gets measles; now, he has this message for the world (CNN)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) Three years ago, Joshua Nerius, a 30-year-old software product manager in Chicago, developed a high fever and a rash. Doctors prescribed antibiotics, but Nerius just got sicker and sicker…
  • O
    Title: Ottawa needs to protect our kids from nicotine addiction [Michael Perley (OCAT)] (Toronto Star)
    Description: (March 11, 2019) [Gated] An issue that urgently needs Parliament’s attention is not on its radar — the addiction to nicotine of young Canadians through the use of vaping products. It must be…
  • I
    Title: ICES News Release: Psychiatric care prior to cancer diagnosis linked to higher rates of death for Ontario patients (ices.on.ca)
    Description: (March 5, 2019) Patients who had psychiatric care prior to being diagnosed with cancer have reduced survival rates in comparison to those without mental health treatment, according to a new study by researchers at ICES, a non-profit research institute that…
  • O
    Title: Ontario Ministry of Finance News Release: Ontario to release 2019 budget on April 11: government’s first budget to restore confidence in Ontario’s finances and protect public services (news.ontario.ca)
    Description: (March 7, 2019) As the Government for the People continues to restore trust, transparency and accountability in Ontario’s finances, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance, announced today that he will deliver the 2019 Ontario Budget on April 11, 2019…
  • F
    Title: Families of children with autism, advocates protest program changes at Queen’s Park (Global News)
    Description: (March 7, 2019) Hundreds of families and advocates of children with autism protested at the Ontario legislature Thursday to plead with the government to reverse changes they say will leave kids without the therapy they need…
  • C
    Title: Canadian Healthcare Network: The long march toward gender equity in medicine [Dr. Nancy Whitmore, CPSO Registrar & CEO] (canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca)
    Description: (March 8, 2019) [Gated] There has been a slow but steady shift in both public opinion and public policy towards women’s equality. Slowly but surely, we are seeing more women in board rooms and at the executive level. We are also seeing a similar shift under…
  • W
    Title: World Health Organization: International Women’s Day: women in health innovating for change (euro.who.int)
    Description: (March 7, 2019) The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 – “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” – underscores the important role that women and girls have in building more inclusive systems, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to…
  • O
    Title: Ontario urged to update law forbidding cremation of bodies with radioactive implants: province says it is examining law forbidding the cremation of human remains containing nuclear material (CBC News)
    Description: (March 7, 2019) Radiation and cancer experts say it’s time for Ontario to change an outdated law that prevents people who have received a certain type of radiation treatment from being cremated…
  • S
    Title: Study finds association between vaping and cardiovascular problems (CTV News)
    Description: (March 7, 2019) A new study has found an association between vaping, or the increasingly popular use of e-cigarettes, and negative cardiovascular health outcomes, including increased odds of having a heart attack, developing coronary artery disease or experiencing…