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Knowledge Exchange > Health Policy and Systems > Policy eUpdate > Posts > News — March 12, 2012
News — March 12, 2012


  • “MP’s widow makes case for national suicide-prevention plan”
    (Globe and Mail)
    “To a casual observer of Parliament, Dave Batters was the last guy who would take his own life. The Saskatchewan Conservative was one of the most upbeat and engaging young rookie MPs when he was first elected in 2004. So it came as a shock, four years later, when Mr. Batters told Canadians he would not seek re-election in the riding of Palliser due to unresolved mental health issues.”
  • "Toronto to look at expanding outdoor smoking ban now aimed at playgrounds”
    (Toronto Star)
    “The City of Toronto has fallen behind other municipalities in banning smoking where people gather outdoors and will consider new options this year, says the chair of Toronto’s Board of Health. Councillor John Filion was reacting to a Star story noting that the Lake Simcoe community of Georgina is poised to ban smoking on beaches, in parks and on trails. The town is among more than 50 Ontario municipalities pushing the indoor-focused 2006 Smoke-Free Ontario law to the outdoors.”
  • “Tobacco firms face all-out assault in Canadian courts.” 
    (Globe and Mail)
    “It was the start of a life-long addiction that would leave Mr. Blais a lung-cancer survivor and one of the figureheads for two class-action lawsuits seeking $27-billion in damages from the three biggest tobacco companies. The lawsuits set to go to trial Monday are the first of their kind to get to that stage in Canada after nearly 13 years of legal manoeuvring. One of the Quebec suits seeks $10,000 in damages for each of the estimated 1.8 million people in Quebec hooked on cigarettes. The suit represented by Mr. Blais seeks $105,000 for each of the estimated 90,000 people who suffer from smoking-related diseases. Both lawsuits name the three biggest cigarette companies, JTI-Macdonald Corp., Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., as defendants. The companies are facing an all-out assault in Canadian courts. Another class-action lawsuit has been filed in British Columbia on behalf of smokers.”
  • “Methadone requests spike after OxyContin delisting”
    (CBC News)
    “Toronto Public Health says demand for referrals to methadone clinics in the city has tripled in the last week, after the prescription painkiller OxyContin was discontinued. 'Normally, we would see maybe five or six people coming in in a week asking for methadone treatment, and now we're seeing about three times that number," said Dr. Rita Shahin, an associate medical officer of health. "It's hard to know how much OxyContin is still out there on the street and whether that demand for services will increase as more people are worried about going into withdrawal.'”
  • “OLG pushes for Toronto casino in expansion bid.”
    (Globe and Mail)
    “The corporation that oversees government-sanctioned gambling in Ontario is pushing for a major expansion, including a casino in Toronto and greater access to slots and lottery tickets. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation believes their plan to “modernize” gambling could, by 2017, increase by $1.3-billion the $2-billion they already add to Ontario’s coffers.”
  • “Canadian lawmakers staying out of the online gambling game: expert” 
    “The ongoing crackdown by American authorities against foreign operators of online gambling sites begs the question: why haven't Canadian authorities done the same? In Canada, only provincial governments are permitted to operate online gambling sites. Yet, there are an estimated 2,000 offshore gambling sites accessible in this country and Canadians are pouring huge amounts of money into them. Experts say the law is murky and legal opinion is divided over whether these sites are breaking Canadian laws.”


  • “Florida passes random drug tests of state workers”
    (Miami Herald)
    Florida state agencies can randomly drug-test their employees under a bill passed Friday by the Legislature - the first of its kind in the nation. The Senate passed the previously approved House bill (HB 1205) by a mostly Republican party-line vote of 26-14. It next goes to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is certain to sign it. He already tried to enforce random state employee drug testing through an executive order now suspended while it's being challenged in federal court. When approved, Florida would be the first state to allow for random, "suspicionless" drug testing of all state workers, according to the National Association of State Personnel Executives.