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Nova Scotia Takes Action on Cancer Care 

Nova Scotia announces plans to advance cancer care research and treatment. 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 

  • With more than three weeks still to go before the House of Commons resumes its business, Health Minister Mark Holland is inevitably preparing for a busy year ahead. On his plate in the new year will be finalizing and tabling legislation to advance pharmacare following last month’s announcement on the creation of the Canadian Drug Agency, signing bilateral funding agreements with several provinces and territories under the re-negotiated Canada Health Transfer, overseeing the successful rollout of the Canadian Dental Care Plan, and stickhandling the opioid epidemic. The Minister is also due to table the final report of the Cannabis Act Legislative Review Expert Panel by March and will be consulted on the government’s decision to stay the course or expand medical assistance in dying, which has a March deadline.

Around the Dominion

  • The Government of Nova Scotia announced it has entered a 10-year multi-disciplinary oncology partnership with US-based company Varian that includes utilizing artificial intelligence in digital imaging and will modernize the way cancer care is delivered in the province and around the world. The province anticipates the partnership will help it expand the provincial cancer screening and cancer survivorship programs, improve early detection, and provide less invasive treatment options. Nova Scotia will invest up to $224 million over the next 10 years in the project, while Varian plans to open a new office in Halifax.
  • In Quebec, negotiations between the Quebec government and the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) remain deadlocked as the two attempt to strike a new collective bargaining agreement. The FIQ, which represents over 80,000 nurses and health care workers in the province, continues to await a deal despite weeks having passed since other unions, such as Common Front, announced tentative deals for their own members and workers after months of negotiations and strikes.
  • In Ontario, CUPE’s Ontario Council of Hospital Unions is calling for the province to invest $1.25 billion annually over four years, on top of keeping up with inflation, to address health human resources issues in the province. The union’s calls are coming as a survey of its membership identified that over one-quarter of respondents have considered leaving their job while over 40 per cent dread going to work due to heavy workloads.
  • The Government of Saskatchewan announced it is opening new addictions treatment spaces throughout the province. This includes a new 60-bed inpatient addictions treatment facility near Lumsden and an additional 14 new addictions treatment spaces at a facility in Saskatoon.
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