• Ford’s government starts its misguided moves against safe injection sites

    Last year, nearly 4,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses. And 1,100 of those deaths were in Ontario and over 300 of them in Toronto… Ford’s government hasn’t just stopped three urgently-needed facilities from opening, it seems all but ready to close existing sites and throw the province’s entire harm-reduction strategy out the window… Ford announced during the election campaign that he was “dead set” against the sites…

  • Ontario PC government orders freeze to opening of new overdose-prevention sites

    As the Ontario government reviews whether it should continue supporting supervised drug-use and overdose prevention sites, it has ordered a halt to the opening of any new temporary facilities to combat the opioid crisis… “The minister has been clear that she is undertaking an evidence-based review of the overdose prevention and supervised consumption site models to ensure that any continuation of these services introduce people into rehabilitation”

  • How should Ontario tackle the psychiatrist shortage?

    … of the 1,900 practicing psychiatrists in Ontario, over half are approaching retirement… The average annual number of outpatients seen by psychiatrists in Ontario has increased 20 percent between 2003 and 2013… The OPA offers three recommendations to stave this potential crisis in mental health care: Improve psychiatry exposure in medical school. Increase psychiatry residency spots and reduce residency vacancies. Pay psychiatrists adequately: their average gross annual pay that is 25 percent lower than the across-specialty average.

  • Take profit motive out of drug research

    “for pharmaceutical companies, there is little profit incentive to invest in drugs that quickly cure patients; medicine for chronic conditions presents a more tempting return on investment… ”Since the rise of neoliberalism, governments have increasingly stepped away from research in favour of letting profit-oriented private companies take the lead. The result has been a huge increase in lifestyle drugs, while life-saving drugs are often just a byproduct… Our governments need to reclaim their lead role in research and development so that they follow society’s needs instead of profits.

  • Health-care professionals speak out against changing Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum

    Nearly 1,800 health-care professionals are adding their voices to those urging the provincial government to keep the updated sex-ed curriculum… saying the old curriculum — which was used starting in 1998 — is unsafe for kids… many educators are worried that by teaching the outdated lessons they will actually be violating “their professional obligation to protect the health and well-being of students,” and that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says schools boards are required to be inclusive.

  • Let the light shine on top-billing doctors in Ontario

    It’s high time Ontario taxpayers had more information about where the $12 billion paid to doctors goes… In Ontario, without comprehensive information, we’re left with general complaints about an underfunded and inefficient health-care system, juxtaposed with the troubling picture brought to light in a health ministry audit four years ago. How can one doctor bill for 100,000 patients in a single year? Why did the province’s dozen top-billing doctors received payments averaging $4 million apiece, with one billing $7 million?

  • Should we make drug use illegal, or make it safer?

    The war on drugs has always been about trade and politics, trying to control and contain a lucrative market, and an excuse for political interference. We need to stop treating drug users like commodities to be controlled and contained, and start treating them like people who need to be supported and informed.

  • Supervised drug-use sites work well, and Ontario should keep them going

    Research has shown that the sites reduce overdose deaths, the length of drug users’ hospital stays and HIV infection rates. As if that wasn’t enough, the clinics also save public money by improving the health of intravenous-drug users… We hope this review is a face-saving measure by a government looking for an excuse to keep the clinics open despite its leader’s grandstanding on the issue.

  • Pharmacare consultations should be transparent

    … pharmacare would save Canadians $4 billion annually because Health Canada would be able to negotiate for better drug prices in bulk. However, it will also come with an upfront cost of $20 billion, likely requiring higher taxes to foot the bill, which is why it is essential that leadership gets it right… The government should resist the temptation for making pharmacare a partisan issue and commit to adhering to its own inclusion and transparency framework it promised Canadians.

  • Why Canada’s employers should back national pharmacare

    Canadians could save $7.3-billion to $10.7-billion (42.8 per cent) a year under a national pharmacare system. The bulk of those savings would accrue to employers who currently pay for drug insurance as part of their employee health plans. Even if the government took back some of those savings via taxes to help cover the cost of pharmacare, the net effect would be a major competitive advantage for Canadian employers, much in the way medicare is.