Skip to main content

Insights | Blog

B.C. recriminalizes public use of opioids

B.C. recriminalizes public use of opioids and the feds celebrate another milestone in the Canadian Dental Care Plan. On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-up:

On the Hill

  • At committee, the Standing Committee on Health continued its ongoing study of the opioid epidemic and toxic drug crisis, hearing from substance use experts and community stakeholders. The committee members also approved long-awaited draft reports for its studies on the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (to be titled The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board: Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Reform Process) and on children’s health (to be titled Fostering Healthy Childhoods: A Foundation for Resilient Generations), which are anticipated to be tabled soon in the House of Commons.
  • The House of Commons experienced a drama-filled week with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre being kicked out of the Commons on April 30 after he refused to adhere to the Speaker’s orders to withdraw unparliamentary language levied at the Prime Minister during an exchange about the opioid crisis. The Prime Minister, too, was admonished by the Speaker during the same exchange, but abided by his orders and withdrew his own unparliamentary language. Meanwhile MPs began debate of a Ways and Means Motion to introduce the federal budget.

Around Government 

  • Health Canada announced an investment of up to $1 million in the Roger Neilson Children's Hospice project to develop a resource hub to enhance access to pediatric palliative care across Canada. The project will build capacity in the system to provide care and support that is focused on the unique needs of children and youth diagnosed with serious illnesses and their families, in their location of choice.
  • Health Canada celebrated the expansion of the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP). As of May 1, uninsured Canadians aged 65 and above can now apply to benefit from the program. Over 6,500 oral health providers have signed up and are ready to provide services to CDCP patients. As of July 8, CDCP patients will be able to access the program at any location, with providers directly billing Sun Life for services provided under the plan.

Around the Dominion

  • In P.E.I., the College of Pharmacy unveiled a new practice directive eliminating the age restriction (19+) that previously prohibited pharmacists from assessing and prescribing treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections.
  • In Ontario, the government announced the launch of a new Youth Wellness Hub to serve Port Hope and surrounding areas. This is the 22nd such hub established across the province, with plans to launch 32 in total. The hub will connect youth aged 12 to 25 and their families in Northumberland County and Alderville First Nation to convenient and free mental health, substance use, and primary care services in a safe, youth-friendly space. The province also announced an investment of $45 million to expand the Northern Health Travel Grant Program to help people in northern Ontario connect to the specialized care and services they need.
  • In Saskatchewan, the government announced it will begin providing financial assistance to families who are referred out of province for medical care for their child. The province will reimburse transportation and accommodation expenses for pediatric patients aged 16 and younger, along with a caregiver, effective retroactively to the beginning of the fiscal year April 1, 2024.
  • In B.C., Premier David Eby has asked Health Canada to begin the process of recriminilizing the use of illicit drugs in public spaces. In announcing the stepback, just a year removed from receiving its exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Premier Eby noted that public-use rules should have been included when the province received the initial exemption. The province also rolled out new supports for individuals struggling with addiction and who are most at risk of overdose by increasing the availability and accessibility of opioid-agonist treatment, integrating addictions services with healthcare, housing, and related services, and developing methods to track prescribed alternatives to prevent diversion.
Return to top