April 25th, 2024

In the news today: Naturopaths not the answer and Juno Awards celebrated in Halifax

By The Canadian Press on March 25, 2024.

Medical tools are pictured in an exam room at a health clinic in Calgary, Friday, July 14, 2023. British Columbia, along with the Northwest Territories, has the most extensive scope of practice for naturopathic doctors in Canada, including the ability to prescribe drugs and the option to be certified to administer vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Experts say naturopaths aren’t family doctors

Naturopathic doctors say they can be part of the solution to Canada’s primary care crisis.

In British Columbia, they have a wide scope of practice that allows them to prescribe medications and administer vaccines.

Shawn O’Reilly, executive director of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, says that should happen in other provinces and that practitioners have the necessary training to be primary-care providers.

But that idea is raising alarm among medical doctors and health experts across the country.

Dr. Michelle Cohen of Queen’s University says naturopathic doctors might have a specific role to play as part of a patient’s health-care team, but they aren’t qualified to be their main primary care provider.

“They have a completely different type of training and they follow a different path.”

Cohen said she has looked “pretty thoroughly” into the training of naturopathic doctors and found neither the curriculum nor the clinical practice requirements equip them to diagnose and treat serious illnesses.

Nearly $1B spent on Ontario health agency staff

Hospitals and long-term care homes spent nearly $1 billion last year to fill shifts with nurses and personal support workers from private staffing agencies, an Ontario Ministry of Health document estimates.

A November 2023 staffing agency update obtained by The Canadian Press through a freedom-of-information request shows that agency use increased from 2021-22 to 2022-23 by every metric – in hospitals and long-term care, in hours worked and in total costs.

Hospitals and long-term care homes turn to staffing agencies when they can’t fill all of their shifts with employees, and the temporary nurses and PSWs from agencies allow them to continue providing services in the face of staff shortages.

But agencies charge double or even triple the regular hourly rate for their staff, hospitals and long-term care homes have said.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones has repeated recently that agency usage is going down in the province.

Canada’s bright lights shine at music awards show

Halifax played host this weekend to the annual Juno Awards show, with singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado presiding over the music-filled event.

Sunday night’s show was kicked off by surprise guest Anne Murray, with the native Nova Scotian presenting the first award of the evening, group of the year, to Toronto band the Beaches.

Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin scored album of the year with her “99 Nights,” while Ottawa-raised singer Talk was chosen as breakthrough artist for his incredible rise on the back of his hit single “Run Away to Mars.”

Karan Aujla sailed to a fan choice win on the growing popularity of the Punjabi-Canadian music genre, which has seen its profile rise as more listeners gravitate to its fusion of hip-hop, pop and other mainstream sounds.

Pop sisters Tegan and Sara were honoured with the humanitarian award for their work with LGBTQ+ youth and Maestro Fresh Wes was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

More Canadians ditching TV for streaming: report

A new report suggests Canadians’ television viewing habits continue to shift toward streaming platforms at the expense of traditional cable and satellite subscriptions, at a time when the federal regulator is considering new rules to help level the playing field across the sector.

The annual Couch Potato Report released Monday by Convergence Research says 42 per cent of Canadian households did not have a TV subscription with a traditional provider by the end of last year. It forecasts that by the end of 2026, half of all households won’t be traditional TV watchers.

Meanwhile, the report says more than 80 per cent of Canadian households subscribe to a streaming service, while 70 per cent subscribe to both TV and one or more streaming services.

The continued growth of streaming in Canada came despite the average price of those services rising 12 per cent last year across the 10 largest providers.

Higher chocolate prices part of wider trend

Higher chocolate prices this Easter after bad crops on the other side of the world are just the latest example of disruptions in the food supply chain, a trend experts say consumers are noticing in growing numbers.

A February report by agriculture-focused co-operative bank CoBank said cocoa prices were nearly 65 per cent higher than a year ago, and New York futures prices were at a 46-year high.

According to Statistics Canadainflation data, the price of confectionary items rose more than nine per cent between January 2023 and 2024, compared with overall inflation for food purchased from stores of 3.4 per cent.

However, the past few years have seen a number of high-profile disruptions including a spike in lettuce prices due to flooding in California, rising orange juice prices because of bad crops and higher wheat prices linked to the Russia-Ukraine war.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2024

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