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.

  • V
    Title: Vapes need same restrictions as tobacco, medical groups tell federal parties: call from health coalition comes after officials announce 1st Canadian case believed to be linked to vaping [OACT mentioned] (CBC News)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) There’s an urgent need for vaping products to be given the same advertising and flavour restrictions as tobacco, a group of health organizations in Canada said in calling for immediate political action…
  • T
    Title: The science behind why vaping is becoming so popular in Canada: experts say surge in use due to advances in technology, uptick in youth vaping (CBC News)
    Description: (September 20, 2019) Vaping is quickly becoming a lot more popular with Canadians, despite what little is known of its long-term health effects. Experts say part of the reason for the surge in use in such a short time is the evolution of the devices themselves……
  • O
    Title: Ontario needs more data before further regulating vaping, says health minister: Christine Elliott says the province needs more information before it decides next steps (CBC News)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) Ontario will not make changes to regulations around vaping until the health ministry collects more data, the province’s Health Minister says. On Wednesday, the Middlesex-London Health Unit announced a London, Ont. teenager was put on life-support…
  • 8
    Title: 8th vaping-related death reported in U.S. as cases of illnesses top 500 (Global News)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) More than 500 people have been diagnosed with vaping-related breathing illnesses, but the cause remains unknown, U.S. health officials said Thursday. An eighth death was also reported…
  • A
    Title: As vaping illnesses rise, doctors warn of possible ‘irreversible damage’ to lungs (npr.org)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) Nationwide, people who vape continue to sicken with severe and unexplained lung illness, leaving doctors and patients concerned about both the acute and long-term effects of the injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced…
  • N
    Title: Nearly 1,500 die from opioid overdoses last year in Ontario, up from 2017 (Toronto City News)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) Newly released numbers show nearly 1,500 Ontarians died from opioid overdoses last year, a fact some harm-reduction workers are attributing to an increasingly tainted supply of street drugs…
  • P
    Title: Public Health Ontario: Interactive opioid tool: opioid-related morbidity and mortality in Ontario (publichealthontario.ca)
    Description: (September 13, 2019) The Interactive Opioid Tool allows users to explore the most recent opioid-related morbidity and mortality data including emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths. Results can be viewed by public health unit, Local Health…
  • 6
    Title: 6 hospitalized by Legionnaires’ disease in south-central London: health officials investigating cluster of cases in one area and are trying to find the source (CBC News)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) London health officials say six adults have been hospitalized due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, with all cases geographically linked to a south-central London neighbourhood they would not name…
  • H
    Title: Harvard Business Review: How Health Systems Are Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change (hbr.org)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) The human and health impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Extreme weather events are disrupting more and more lives and businesses while also exacerbating chronic health conditions like asthma, expanding the…
  • M
    Title: Ministry of Health Statement: Statement by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott [Minister’s Order re reporting & data collection] (news.ontario.ca)
    Description: September 18, 2019) Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, released the following statement: “In light of the growing evidence, I have become increasingly concerned about the prevalence and possible health consequences of vaping, particularly…
  • O
    Title: Ontario orders public hospitals to report vaping-related lung disease: Health Minister Christine Elliott concerned about possible health consequences of vaping (CBC News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) Ontario’s health minister has ordered all public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease. Christine Elliott says she has become increasingly concerned about the possible health consequences of vaping, especially…
  • O
    Title: Ontario teen was on life-support after respiratory illness linked to vaping: first reported case of illness linked to vaping in Canada, officials say (CBC News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) An Ontario teenager was put on life-support after using a vaping device in what public health officials say is the first reported case of illness linked to the practice in Canada…
  • V
    Title: Vaping: as an imaging scientist I fear the deadly impact on people’s lungs (The Conversation)
    Description: (September 15, 2019) Vaping causes severe illness in otherwise healthy young adults and teenagers. It causes a life-threatening, life-shortening and sometimes deadly lung toxicity and injury — with apparently irreversible damage that cannot be cured…
  • C
    Title: CIHI News Release: Health professionals express concerns over rates of youth hospitalizations due to substance use (cihi.ca)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) A new Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) analysis reveals that a substantial number of people age 10 to 24 are being hospitalized for harmful substance use and highlights the impacts of cannabis, alcohol, opioids and other…
  • C
    Title: CAMH: Biomarker associated with chronic stress and anxiety found in higher levels in long-term young cannabis users (camh.ca)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) A first of its kind study led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has found elevated levels of a protein involved in immune function and associated with chronic stress and anxiety…
  • L
    Title: Long-term cannabis use might cause higher anxiety, stress in youths, study suggests: CAMH study raises questions about common perception of cannabis as stress relief (CBC News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) Long-term cannabis use could be elevating stress and anxiety levels in young adults, according to a new study by Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health…
  • N
    Title: Novartis halts distribution of Zantac drug amid probe into impurities: under distribution halt in Canada, existing stock of the drug in pharmacies or stores can still be sold (CBC News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit said Wednesday it was halting distribution of its versions of the ranitidine drug known as Zantac in all its markets, including the United States and Canada, after contaminants were found in the heartburn drug……
  • H
    Title: Health Canada News Release: Information Update – Health Canada requests that companies stop distributing ranitidine drugs in Canada while it assesses NDMA; some products being recalled (newswire.ca)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Health Canada recently informed Canadians that it is assessing the issue of an impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) detected in some ranitidine drugs. Current evidence suggests that NDMA may be present in ranitidine, regardless…
  • B
    Title: Belleville hospital sees opioid prescriptions plunge: managing patients’ expectations about post-surgery pain key (CBC News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) Belleville General Hospital has reduced the number of opioid prescriptions it issues by more than one-third, and they’ve done it one surgery at a time. Prescriptions for powerful painkillers at the eastern Ontario hospital have dropped…
  • S
    Title: SickKids highlights crowded ICU conditions amid massive redevelopment project (Global News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) As Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children begins the early stages of its massive redevelopment and expansion, officials have recreated an intensive care unit patient room to highlight the crowded physical challenges facing medical staff…
  • W
    Title: Why this mom is struggling to have her sick infant’s formula covered by the province: seven-month old Adaline was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (CBC News)
    Description: (September 19, 2019) An Ontario mother whose infant relies on a specific formula that costs $200 a week is in a difficult bind now that the government of Premier Doug Ford has rolled back the OHIP+ pharmacare program…

  • Title: ‘Time to take action:’ Children’s advocates call for national youth suicide strategy: Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates releases research paper on youth suicide (CBC News)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Children’s advocates from across the country are urging the federal government to create a national strategy to deal with what they are calling a youth suicide crisis…
  • H
    Title: Hospital network sets aside $10M parcel of land for affordable housing: University Health Network’s initiative directly answers needs of low-income patients, executive director says (CBC News)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) The University Health Network (UHN) has aside a $10-million parcel of land in Parkdale for an affordable housing project, which it says is a direct response to the needs of its low-income patients…

  • Title: ‘You must be very careful’: Common questions about CBD health claims for pain and other conditions answered: doctors weigh the science behind cannabidiol claims (CBC News)
    Description: (September 18, 2019) The Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils was published earlier this month in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings: https://mayocl.in/2lXB011
  • M
    Title: Ministry of the Attorney General Statement: Statement by Attorney General Doug Downey on the opioid crisis (news.ontario.ca)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Today, Attorney General Doug Downey issued the following statement regarding Purdue Pharma: “In May, the Ontario government introduced legislation to support Ontario’s participation in the national class action lawsuit British Columbia…
  • C
    Title: CMAJ News: Combatting Lyme disease myths and the “chronic Lyme industry” (cmajnews.com)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Medical organizations are developing tools to help Canadian doctors talk to patients about Lyme disease at a time when many frontline physicians report feeling ill-prepared to counter misinformation about the condition and pressured to…
  • H
    Title: Heart and Stroke Foundation News Release: Media Advisory: Health agencies call for urgent federal crackdown on the marketing of vaping products (newswire.ca)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Press conference recommending specific urgent actions that can be taken by federal government to address youth vaping crisis…

  • Title: ‘Entirely predictable’: Toronto respirologist on teens becoming addicted to vaping (CBC Metro Morning)
    Description: (September 16, 2019) Toronto doctor Theo Moraes, respirologist at Sick Kids Hospital, says vaping can be more addictive than smoking cigarettes because the nicotine dose is larger, and there’s no cue to stop, like when a cigarette burns down [audio].
  • P
    Title: Public schools in Durham region trying to crack down on vaping by students: growing number of students being warned, ticketed for vaping on school property (CBC News)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Public schools in Durham region are trying to crack down on vaping and officials say a growing number of secondary students are being warned and ticketed for vaping on school property…
  • A
    Title: A 7th person has died from vaping-related causes. The CDC is stepping up its probe of e-cigarette illnesses (CNN)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) A California man has become the seventh person to die from a vaping-related illness in the United States as the nation’s leading health agency activates emergency operations to better investigate the outbreak of lung injuries associated…
  • T
    Title: Toronto Public Health calling on province to end non-medical exemptions for vaccines in schools: office for Health Minister Christine Elliott says ‘no plans’ to change province’s approach (CBC News)
    Description: (September 16, 2019) Toronto’s medical officer of health is calling on the province to stop allowing children in Ontario schools to skip vaccines for non-medical reasons — but so far, Premier Doug Ford’s government doesn’t plan on changing the approach…
  • N
    Title: New strain of bacteria might be behind U.K. scarlet fever resurgence: study (Global News)
    Description: (September 17, 2019) Scarlet fever, the disease that sickened Little Women’s Beth, was a common childhood illness before the 20th century, causing many deaths. But this staple of Victorian literary drama never really went away…
  • W
    Title: Windsor-Essex health unit confirms first human case of West Nile virus in 2019: Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent previously confirmed positive West Nile cases in mosquitoes (CBC News)
    Description: (September 16, 2019) The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) confirmed Monday the first human case of West Nile in 2019. The case marks the fourth confirmation of West Nile virus in humans in Ontario in 2019…
  • O
    Title: Ontario government to review vaping amid rising concerns (Global News)
    Description: (September 13, 2019) The Ford government says it is “actively looking” to find solutions to rising health concerns around vaping products. In a statement to Global News, Travis Kann, a spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said, “Minister Elliott…
  • C
    Title: CDC activates emergency operations centre for vaping-related illnesses: at central command post, teams of trained disease experts track public health emergencies (CBC News)
    Description: (September 16, 2019) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday it has activated its emergency operations centre to coordinate the investigation into hundreds of cases of severe lung illnesses linked to e-cigarette use…
  • T
    Title: The latest: vaping death reported in central California (ABC News)
    Description: (September 16, 2019) The latest on California action on vaping (all times local): 6:50 p.m. Authorities say a central California resident has died from complications related to the use of e-cigarettes. The announcement Monday by the Tulare County Public Health…
  • O
    Title: Out of the darkness: the Toronto Transit Commission is pushing ahead with a controversial strategy of going public about subway suicides to try to prevent them. And to show how seemingly simple things can stop a tragedy (CBC news)
    Description: (September 14, 2019) On any day, at any moment, Toronto’s subway can transform into a tragic stage. It’s a place where every year people try to end their lives. Those acts of private despair become public spectacles that force transit workers and commuters…
  • K
    Title: Kids and cannabis (Belleville Intelligencer)
    Description: (September 15, 2019) Cannabis and kids is a big research topic, especially since the drug’s legalization here last fall. A new Health Canada study reports that kids, as young as 13, are twice as likely to smoke weed than cigarettes…
  • A
    Title: As Hamilton hospitals cut $42 million, overcrowding expected to get worse (Hamilton Spectator)
    Description: (September 16, 2019) Hamilton’s hospitals must cut costs by $42 million this fiscal year while they continue to struggle with significant overcrowding that has left them with more patients than funded beds. “We are in a crisis when it comes to our hospitals…
  • S
    Title: Sick and on hold — Why we can’t email our doctors [OMA mentioned w/comments form Dr. Sohail Gandhi] (Ottawa Citizen)
    Description: (September 13, 2019) Last week, I emailed my mechanic guy, then my contractor guy, as cars and houses have a way of falling apart in perfect harmony. And because it’s 2019, email is handy when the car guy probably has his mitts on a muffler and the contractor…
  • F
    Title: For high school students, vaping — like cigarettes — is a hard habit to break (Ottawa Citizen)
    Description: (September 13, 2019) Health Canada warnings and reports of vaping-related deaths in the United States have not gone unnoticed by Ottawa high school students. “I found out that vaping is not good for my lungs,” 17-year-old Muhammed said as he sat with friends…
  • L
    Title: Lancet: Progress in cancer survival, mortality, and incidence in seven high-income countries 1995–2014 (ICBP SURVMARK-2): a population-based study (Lancet Oncology)
    Description: (September 11, 2019) Population-based cancer survival estimates provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of cancer services and can reflect the prospects of cure. As part of the second phase of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP),…
  • C
    Title: Canada’s lung, colon cancer survival rates among highest in study of high-income nations (CTV News)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) New international research shows Canada has among the highest survival rates for lung cancer and colon cancer when compared to other high-income countries, but lags in survival rates for esophageal and rectal cancer…
  • O
    Title: Oregon pot retailers begin pulling vape brands in lung scare (CTV News)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) Oregon marijuana retailers on Thursday began removing vaping products from their shelves and offering returns on previously purchased vape pens amid a nationwide scare over severe lung illnesses and deaths tied to electronic cigarettes……
  • I
    Title: Influenza vaccines might arrive after flu season starts in Ottawa, officials say (Global News)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) Flu shot deliveries might be running a little late in some parts of Canada, according to health officials. Ottawa Public Health is anticipating that it won’t be able to provide flu vaccines to the general public until early November, though…
  • F
    Title: Ford government restructuring Ontario’s health ministry: Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus will announce changes later Thursday, no job losses expected (CBC News)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) The Ford government is re-organizing how Ontario’s health ministry is structured, CBC News has learned. Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus is poised to make the announcement later Thursday on behalf of Health Minister Christine Elliott……
  • Q
    Title: Quebec court invalidates parts of medical aid in dying laws as too restrictive (CTV News)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) A Quebec Superior Court judge has invalidated sections of both the federal and Quebec laws on medically assisted dying, ruling Wednesday they were too restrictive and therefore unconstitutional. Justice Christine Baudouin found in favour…
  • D
    Title: Delayed vaccine means flu season could arrive before shots are widely available (Ottawa Citizen)
    Description: (September 11, 2019) The flu vaccine could be delayed by up to a month this year, which means influenza season could hit Ottawa before the vaccine is widely available here, Medical Officer of Health Vera Etches warns. That warning, contained in a report to…
  • W
    Title: What are vaping-associated illnesses and why are doctors concerned? Medical community starting to realize vaping can be a ‘chemical insult to the lungs’ (CBC News)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) Health officials in the U.S. have flagged hundreds of serious respiratory illnesses among people who use e-cigarettes, including six deaths. For doctors in Canada, the sudden illness adds to their concerns that people wrongly assume vaping…
  • G
    Title: Government plans to ban flavors used in e-cigarettes (abcnews.go.com)
    Description: (September 12, 2019) The federal government will act to ban thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes, President Donald Trump said Wednesday, responding to a recent surge in underage vaping that has alarmed parents, politicians and health authorities nationwide….
  • V
    Title: Vaping likely has dangers that could take years for scientists to even know about (The Conversation)
    Description: (September 11, 2019) The rise in cases of otherwise healthy young adults who have been hospitalized or even died from vaping-associated lung injury is alarming. Many people don’t know what is contained in these vaping devices, what the reported health effects…
  • C
    Title: Canadian Family Physician Blog: Family medicine and The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care: are we up for the challenge? [Dr. Roland Grad (member of the task force)] (cfp.ca)
    Description: (September 10, 2019) I’ve just completed 6 years as a member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. As a TF member, I’ve had the privilege to work with enlightened colleagues from across the country, who are physicians or scientists, or both….
  • P
    Title: PC MPP who referees Ontario’s legislature wants to see better behaviour (Toronto Star)
    Description: (September 9, 2019) [Gated] The Progressive Conservative who referees Ontario’s legislature is asking fellow MPPs – including in his own party – to dial down confrontational behaviour when they return from an extended summer break or risk alienating voters……
  • S
    Title: Scarborough hospital to shut women and children’s wards at Birchmount (Toronto.com)
    Description: (September 9, 2019) The Scarborough Health Network (SHN) will start shutting down in-house obstetric and pediatric services at its Birchmount campus on Oct. 30, the hospital confirms…
  • Y
    Title: Youth suicide prevention program aims to expand across Canada: weekly individual and family therapy thought to be key in successful intervention programs (CBC News)
    Description: (September 10, 2019) Rising youth suicide rates have prompted doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto to launch a clinical trial aimed at testing whether involving families in treatment could prevent such deaths across the country…
  • V
    Title: Vaping: what’s known about the lung disease racking the U.S., risks to you and what Health Canada is saying (Globe and Mail)
    Description: (September 10, 2019) [Gated] At least six people in the U.S. have died and nearly 500 others have fallen ill with a serious lung disease tied to vaping products, prompting officials there to suggest people stop using e-cigarettes altogether…
  • W
    Title: What we know so far about the U.S. vaping illness outbreak (CTV News)
    Description: (September 10, 2019) U.S. health officials are investigating what might be causing hundreds of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. They have identified about 450 possible cases in 33 states, including six deaths……
  • M
    Title: Medical Post: The CMA’s long road to restored faith (canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca)
    Description: (September 9, 2019) [Gated] Never in its history has the Canadian Medical Association been sitting on $2.7 billion—with apparently no idea what to do with it…
  • 1
    Title: 1 person dies by suicide every 40 seconds, says WHO: more people die by suicide every year than in war, the World Health Organization says (CBC News)
    Description: (September 9. 2019) Across the world, one person takes their own life every 40 seconds, and more people die by suicide every year than in war, the World Health Organization said on Monday…
  • T
    Title: Toronto doctors aim to scale up youth suicide prevention program across Canada (CTV News)
    Description: (September 10, 2019) Rising youth suicide rates have prompted doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto to launch a clinical trial aimed at testing whether involving families in treatment could prevent such deaths across the country…