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Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Take Centre Stage

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has launched a 60-day consultation on how to better prevent and mitigate shortages of drugs, and the government of Manitoba has announced a visionary new life sciences strategy.

On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up. 

In the House

  • With the government hard pressed to pass its ambitious legislative agenda before the House of Commons rises for summer recess, the Conservatives began the week by promising to filibuster the budget, both in the House and at Committee, in order to force the government to cancel the carbon tax and reduce spending. This included Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre standing on Wednesday evening to deliver a lengthy speech (though this fell short of a true filibuster).
  • At committee, members of the Standing Committee on Health resumed consideration of draft reports on its studies of children’s health and medical devices (breast implants).

Around Cabinet  

  • Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos launched a 60-day consultation with Canadians (closing August 4, 2023) on how we can better prevent and mitigate shortages of drugs and other health products. The Minister is seeking input on core elements of a strategy to improve access to drugs and other health products for people in Canada. The Minister also announced he would be hosting roundtables on the matter from June to September to discuss strategies and identify solutions to prevent and mitigate drug shortages.  
  • With a backdrop of wildfires raging in all corners of the country, Minister Duclos took the opportunity of Clean Air Day to release a statement remarking on the health risks posed by the air pollution caused by wildfires and how Canadians can protect themselves from wildfire smoke and re-committing himself to supporting the fight against climate change and reducing the effects of air pollution.
  • Minister Duclos also announced funding to help to train and retain more healthcare workers under the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, advancing a shared priority of the federal and provincial governments as outlined in the Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians Plan.
  • Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett announced funding to better support those affected by family and gender-based violence, with a particular focus on aiding women, racialized communities, and those living in remote communities. Minister Bennett also announced regulatory changes to schedule novel fentanyl precursors under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to help disrupt the illicit opioid market.

Around the Dominion

  • In Nova Scotia, it was reported that as many as 100,000 people may have had sensitive personal information stolen in a global privacy breach affecting a file transfer system used by the provincial government. An investigation indicates social insurance numbers, addresses, and banking information of current employees of the public service, as well as those at Nova Scotia Health and the IWK hospital, were taken.
  • The Manitoba government announced a new Life Sciences Strategy that will power innovation and boost the province’s reputation as an internationally renowned hub for biosciences, economic development, investment, and trade. The strategy is designed to capitalize on the proven strengths that have made Manitoba an established industry leader and exporter. The five pillars of the strategy are strong public-private partnerships, a future-ready skills and talent infrastructure, data and analytics excellence, world-class research and innovation, and increasing access to capital.
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