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Federal Government Announces Support for Foreign Credential Recognition 

Health Minister Mark Holland responds to FDA approval of Florida’s drug importation plan and Employment and Workforce Development Minister Randy Boissonnault announces support for programs to advance foreign credential recognition in the health sector. On that, and more, here is your Syntax Weekly Health Round-Up.

On the Hill

  • The House of Commons is on its holiday break until January 29, 2024.

Around Government 

  • On January 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Florida’s plan to import select Canadian prescription drugs in bulk, in response to which Health Canada issued a strongly worded statement about safeguarding Canada’s drug supply. On January 12, Health Minister Mark Holland engaged with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to reiterate the government’s disappointment with the decision and to say that it will take all necessary measures to protect Canadian drug supplies. During the call, Holland received assurances from Becerra that the U.S. government has no intention of creating challenges for Canada to access drugs or to trigger drug shortages. While lines of communication will remain open, Holland remains clear that the government will use its legislative and regulatory tools to ensure no supply disruptions affect Canadians’ access to medications.
  • Health Canada published the results of its 2023 Canadian Cannabis Survey (CCS), for which data was collected from May to July 2023. The data identified no clear trend for cannabis use among many demographics, including youth. The data did, however, identify that smoking as a consumption method has continued to decline. It also indicated that Canadians increasingly source their cannabis from the legal sector, with the number who do so increasing from 37 per cent in 2019 to 73 per cent in 2023.
  • Employment and Workforce Development Minister Randy Boissonnault announced funding of up to $86 million to support 15 projects across Canada to increase the capacity for the foreign credential recognition of approximately 6,600 internationally educated health professionals. The projects, which span across the country, were selected for their ability to reduce barriers to foreign credential recognition, provide internationally educated health professionals with relevant Canadian work experience, and facilitate labour mobility throughout the country.

Around the Dominion

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced a new online tool to improve residents’ access to the health care system and their own health data. Through the MyGovNL portal, residents will now have access to laboratory results, dispensed medications, radiology reports, and allergy records. The tool will also provide access to mental health and health information resources. It is anticipated to be accessible to more than 50,000 residents over 16 years of age within a few months.
  • In Ontario, the government announced nearly $10 million in funding to increase access to pediatric services for children and youth in the Niagara and Kitchener-Waterloo regions. This is part of the government’s previously announced $330 million annual funding boost to pediatric services in communities across the province. The $10 million announced this week is intended to increase access to children’s rehabilitation services (including speech-language pathology, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy), increase access to primary care, and support access to pregnancy, birth, and post-partum care for underserved communities by expanding midwifery programs.
  • The Government of Manitoba announced it is accepting applications for the 2024-2025 Manitoba Accessibility Fund, which offers grants of up to $50,000 to projects improving accessibility and removing barriers for residents living with disabilities. The funding is open to registered charities, non-profit organizations incorporated and registered with the province’s Companies Office, local and on-reserve businesses or corporations, municipalities and local authorities, and education institutions. Projects must either raise awareness about the prevention and removal of barriers; develop tools, resources, and training to support compliance with legislated standards; or remove barriers to information and communications electronically, in print, and in person.
  • The Government of Alberta announced a series of in-person consultation events beginning January 23 to address the challenges, solutions, and innovations that will guide the development of Alberta’s new healthcare system.
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