National Newswatch

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Sep 20 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Election administrators in British Columbia are ready with hand sanitizer for voters and personal protective equipment for polling station workers as part of a pandemic plan similar to one used recently in New Brunswick. Elections BC spokesman Andrew Watson said staff have consulted with their counterparts in the eastern province, where voters were the first in Canada to cast their ballots during COVID-19, in case Premier […]

B.C. judge rules against private care in test of universal system

Sep 10 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — British Columbia's health minister says a judge's decision against a surgeon advocating for patients' rights to pay for private medical care highlights the significant role of the public health-care system as a cornerstone of Canada's identity. "Our defence in the case was successful in its entirety," Adrian Dix said Thursday. Dr. Brian Day challenged […]

B.C. parents calling for remote learning options, fear kids will lose spots

Sep 10 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Parents keeping their children home from schools that offer limited or no remote learning options are concerned spots in speciality programs could be lost unless the British Columbia government takes action. Students will be back at school Thursday but some will not return because of their own or a family member's health or general fears about contracting COVID-19. Theresia Reid said […]

Flu vaccine orders up in Canada as simultaneous COVID and flu infections feared

Sep 6 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Pamela Hardy will be getting her 11-year-old twins vaccinated against flu as soon as an immunization program begins but she's worried about how public health officials will deal with any overcrowding at clinics to reduce transmission of COVID-19. "The main concern is accessing the vaccine and not having long lineups," Hardy said in an interview from Coquitlam, […]

Patient wants B.C. to protect legal rights of mentally ill like most provinces

Sep 1 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — A week after giving birth to her daughter, Shareen Nimmo was forced to enter a psychiatric facility without being informed of her rights or having access to independent legal advice. Involuntary detention is permitted in Canada but unlike most of the country, British Columbia does not provide patients with legal representation, which the ombudsperson wants changed in the Mental Health Act. Nimmo, […]

Calls for safer supply of drugs as B.C. records 175 overdose deaths in July

Aug 25 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VICTORIA — British Columbia recorded 175 overdose deaths in July as paramedics responded to a record 2,706 non-fatal overdoses, prompting health officials to call for greater access to a safer supply of drugs as a top priority. The province had its highest-ever overdose fatalities in June, with 177 deaths due to extreme concentrations of illicit fentanyl in street drugs after border closures stopped the flow of substances […]

B.C. pauses controversial overdose bill affecting youth, but groups say drop it

Jul 27 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government has paused legislation aimed at detaining youth under 19 in care after they overdose but the representative for children and youth joined advocates calling on the province to withdraw it altogether. Jennifer Charlesworth said Monday the proposed changes to the Mental Health Act would deter youth from asking for help over fears they'd be […]

British Columbia sets another record with 175 overdose deaths in June alone

Jul 16 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — Another record for monthly overdose deaths related to illicit drugs has been set in British Columbia, prompting the former provincial health officer to call for radical steps to reduce fatalities including access to pharmaceutical-grade heroin produced in Canada. Dr. Perry Kendall, now interim director at the BC Centre on Substance Use, said access to injectable diacetylmorphine needs to […]

Doctors, nurses urged to provide info on racism in B.C. emergency rooms

Jul 9 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VICTORIA — A former judge investigating allegations of racism towards Indigenous people in British Columbia's health-care system is calling on patients, families, doctors and nurses to come forward with their stories. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said Thursday the allegations involving emergency room staff playing a game to guess patients' blood-alcohol level are disturbing but health professionals who provide information will […]

Overdose deaths increase by 93 per cent among B.C.’s First Nations

Jul 6 2020 — Camille Bains, The Canadian Press — VANCOUVER — The First Nations Health Authority says 89 members of its community fatally overdosed from illicit drugs across British Columbia between January and May, an increase of 93 per cent compared with the same period last year. The authority's acting chief medical officer, Dr. Shannon McDonald, said Monday that measures to control the spread of COVID-19 have […]