• 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…

  • 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”

  • If Ontario won’t see sense, Ottawa should save the basic income pilot

    It’s possible that this project, costing $50 million a year, will actually save money by reducing health-care costs, enabling people to improve their education and ultimately get decent jobs, so they won’t need ongoing government support. But the fledgling Ford government has cancelled the program before we can find out. Promise broken… The Ford government itself barely seems to know why it decided to kill the pilot. In fact, the reasons given for the broken promise grow more absurd with every sitting of the legislature.

  • 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.

  • Ontario families to launch human-rights challenge against sex-ed curriculum rollback

    Six families plan to file a case with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in the next week, noting that the old version of the curriculum makes no mention of issues such as gender diversity or the rights of LGBTQ students… The government’s decision to repeal the modernized curriculum violates the province’s human rights code and should be declared unlawful, their lawyers said… a parent from Guelph, Ont., credits the 2015 curriculum for making his daughter’s gender transition almost “seamless.”

  • 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?

  • Doug Ford’s social assistance cuts put Ontario’s health at risk

    … our hearts collectively sank as Premier Doug Ford’s Conservatives announced devastating changes to Ontario’s social assistance program… As physicians, we know that income is strongly tied to health. People in poverty have shorter life expectancies and are more likely to suffer from mental illness, addiction, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes… Poverty also has major impacts on our health-care system as a whole, costing an estimated $32 billion yearly in Ontario due to increased use of health services, social assistance, justice services, and lost productivity.