Survey investigates mental health issues among Canadian health professionals: Weekly regulatory news
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The Week in Brief is your weekly snapshot of regulatory news and what's happening in the world of professional licensing, government technology, and public policy. Canadian health workers face mental health issues as the pandemic rages on, President Biden is urged to decriminalize marijuana, and California plans to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 in our latest weekly roundup of regulatory news.

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Survey finds nearly a third of Canadian health care professionals have had suicidal thoughts

A report commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has found that 36% of professionals in the health care field have, at some point, suffered from suicidal thoughts. The report, entitled the National Physician Health Survey (NPHS), also found that 14% of respondents had thought of suicide within the last year. Among some 4,000 respondents, nearly half said they were considering a reduction in their clinical work over the next two years. CMA President Dr. Alike Lafontaine said the results of the survey show the direness of Canada’s health care situation as the pandemic continues. Read more at HRD Canada.

Senate candidate calls on Biden to decriminalize marijuana

A Democratic candidate for the Senate in Pennsylvania has urged President Joe Biden to decriminalize marijuana before his impending visit to the state. The President will be visiting the swing states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin next week, in preparation for the midterm elections, and, in the White House’s own words, to “celebrate the dignity of American workers.” Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman has pushed for marijuana legalization throughout his Senate campaign. Biden’s position has moved toward decriminalization since the start of his 2020 campaign, but Fetterman is calling on the President to go further and “begin de-scheduling marijuana” before visiting Pittsburgh. Read more at The Verge.

California moves to phase out sale of new gas-powered cars

State regulators have signed off on a new plan to cut down on and slowly eliminate the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in California. The California Air Resources Board approved a comprehensive plan dictating that by 2035, most new vehicles sold in the state must be electric or otherwise operate without producing emissions. The new rules would impose fines on auto manufacturers who do not meet the outlined zero-emission vehicle production requirements, which will rise in 2026, 2030, and 2035. Citizens will still be able to buy and sell used gasoline-powered vehicles indefinitely under the plan. Read more at the New York Times.  

Montana approves 3D printing in building construction

Contractors in Montana can now use 3D-printed walls instead of concrete and other materials during building construction. State regulators approved the use of 3D-printed walls after a contractor in Billings, MT, filed a motion seeking to use a Florida-based company’s 3D printing technology to build housing projects in Billings and other areas throughout the state. The 3D printing company, Apis Cor, says its tech can make homes cost up to 30% less than concrete or wood-framed homes. The regulatory approval means that now, contractors can use 3D printing to create walls for all types of construction that follow building codes – not just single-family houses. Read more at Building Design and Construction.

Nova Scotia moves to streamline licensure for Ukrainian health workers

Ukrainian health workers who have fled the war with Russia may soon find relief in their accreditation within Nova Scotia’s health care system. Regulators are working to streamline the licensing process for over 230 Ukrainian health workers who are in the province or who have expressed intent to live there. Health Minister Michelle Thompson said roughly 60% of applicants were physicians, 10% were nurses, and 30% worked in other health professions. Candidates who do not immediately meet the requirements to work in their field will be referred to other positions within the province’s health care system. Read more at Global News Canada.

Canadian regulators reiterate “engineer” licensure standards

Engineering regulators in Canada have signed a statement (along with Engineers Canada) reiterating that the titles “software engineer,” “computer engineer,” and others that include “engineer” should belong to those who are licensed as engineers. Gerard McDonald, CEO of Engineers Canada, said the public deserves to know that the engineers responsible for the technology they use have “the skills, expertise, and obligations of an engineer.” Regulators have said those found to be improperly using the protected title of “engineer” will be approached and informed of the licensure rules. Government officials may also levy fines and other penalties in response. Read more at Yahoo Finance.

More news: 

  • Though Newfoundland and Labrador will continue working with a contractor that was blamed for an outage in its MyGovNL system earlier this year, government officials will be eyeing other options for vendors moving forward. Digital Government Minister Sarah Stoodley said the outage was “unacceptable” but the government will still stick with the contractor for the time being. Another incident, Stoodley said, would spur officials to consider a “Plan B” option more seriously.
  • In the wake of allegations that she intervened in her daughter’s real estate licensure application process, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is weighing whether to defend herself in a hearing or accept an “appropriate action” from the state’s Government Accountability Board. The governor so far has chosen to publicly push back against the action, with campaign spokesman Ian Fury alleging the complaints are the work of a political foe, but whether Noem will argue her case – a move that could affect her re-election campaign – remains to be seen.
  • A therapist based in Urbandale, IA, has had her license revoked after regulators found she enlisted one of her patients to sell drugs to teenagers. Joni Hunley has also been fired from Woodward Community Based Services and faces a $130 fine in addition to the revocation. Though Hunley argued against the complaint, regulators said text messages backed up the student patient’s claim.
  • Home care services agencies in the state of New York can once more apply for licensure through the state’s Department of Health (DOH). Licensed home care services agencies (LHCSAs) will be able to apply for initial licensure, change in ownership, and expansion of restricted licensing, allowing new companies to sign up for approval for the first time since a moratorium was issued on new licenses in 2018. Though the moratorium expired in 2020, regulators were too focused on the pandemic to publish a new application at the time.

Also noteworthy:

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IN BRIEF

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Survey investigates mental health issues among Canadian health professionals: Weekly regulatory news

The Week in Brief is your weekly snapshot of regulatory news and what's happening in the world of professional licensing, government technology, and public policy.
Canadian health workers face mental health issues as the pandemic rages on, President Biden is urged to decriminalize marijuana, and California plans to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 in our latest weekly roundup of regulatory news.

Read More »
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Jordan Milian
Written byJordan Milian
Jordan Milian is a writer covering government regulation and occupational licensing for Ascend, with a professional background in journalism and marketing.

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