• Decriminalization is one powerful force to ease the overdose crisis

    When possession of drugs is a crime, it creates giant barriers to harm reduction and treatment. First and foremost, it means drugs will be supplied by criminals, and the supply will be unregulated, potentially unsafe and over-priced. This, in turn, means more overdoses, more deaths and more hospitalizations.

  • Ontario can’t afford to fumble on the opioid crisis

    Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott would have to be wilfully deaf not to hear the loud and clear message from health care experts… [that] these facilities save lives… if the “community members” Elliott is consulting with are concerned about the supposed “chaos” around drug injection sites that some have complained about, they should consider the alternative. That is people dying of overdoses on the streets outside their homes.

  • Ontario should lift health-care wait period for new permanent residents

    It’s estimated that as many as 500,000 people in Ontario are without OHIP coverage due to their immigration status… the 80,000 new permanent residents who arrive in Ontario annually — mostly economic and sponsored family immigrants — are a relatively small, committed and rigorously tested group of newcomers who tend to be in good health. Why make them wait? … [It] little sense since we all pay the higher cost of addressing untreated illness once the three-month waiting period is over.

  • Our Biggest Health Factor Is Largely Ignored

    … for most people, for most diseases, knowledge isn’t enough… There are much larger forces underlying the choices individuals make that have a much larger effect on how healthy we are as a people. Often described as the “social determinants of health,” these forces play out across populations, providing an answer to the question of why some people appear to make worse choices than others, and pointing towards why some people are healthier than others.

  • Canada must seize the moment to get pharmacare right

    … the new provincial government has announced the cancellation of OHIP+, which provided prescription drug coverage for seniors and people under 25. This announcement turns back efforts to provide greater access to prescription drugs for Ontarians. Without a national pharmacare program, Ontarians will see greater costs and fewer benefits… Failure to take medication as prescribed can greatly reduce health outcomes and put lives at risk. It also adds strain and cost to a health-care system that is already overburdened.

  • Canadian Medical Association should assist with medical education

    One way for the CMA to re-establish the trust of Canadian physicians would be for it to use its new fortune to support the education of doctors and medical students. For example, it could establish a program to finance the costly continuing medical education that all doctors are required to complete, often at their own expense… Alternatively, the CMA could follow the blueprint of New York University, which announced that tuition would be free for all medical students.

  • Safe injection sites are an ethical imperative, not a political option

    This week, Toronto Police reported seven fatal overdoses in 12 days, all in the same area of the city where one of the sites was set to open… The health minister cited a need to review “the merit” of overdose prevention sites despite experts in the field warning that a pause in services could mean “we’ll have a lot more dead people.” … Safe injection and opioid overdose prevention sites are a matter of life or death, an ethical imperative and not a political “option.”

  • 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…

  • 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?