The not too distant future is still a long way away for people who are really suffering, and ketamine is a tool that’s available right now.
Dr. Joe Flanders, Founder and Managing Partner, Mindspace
According to Mindspace, ketamine can have psychedelic and dissociative effects at certain doses and "a rapid antidepressant effect."
Ketamine is currently legal in Canada for medical purposes and, as Mindspace puts it in a statement, "[it's] not currently subject to the same regulatory hurdles as some other psychedelic substances."
“We fully expect to be working with both MDMA and psilocybin [which is found in magic mushrooms] for treating mental health issues like depression, PTSD, and addiction in the not too distant future,” said Dr. Joe Flanders, a clinical psychologist and the founder of Mindspace.
The press release explains that Mindspace offers a range of approaches to therapy including psychological services, group programming and workshops, mindfulness training, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
The government plans to deploy a vaccine passport system only "once the possibility of having access to two doses of a vaccine has been offered to the entire Quebec population aged 12 and over," according to a Thursday press release.
The target date for that benchmark is September 1.
Moreover, it would only be used if there's a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the province — or, as the Ministry of Health puts it, "only if there is a deterioration or change in the epidemiological situation in a given territory that would justify its use."
The idea is that the vaccine passport would give Quebec an option other than simply locking down non-essential sectors again.
What activities could require a vaccine passport in Quebec?
In its press release, the Ministry of Health listed a number of non-essential services for which a vaccine passport could be required.
These include activities it identified as "high risk" ("gyms, team sports, bars, restaurants, etc."), as well as "moderate or low-risk activities involving a larger number of people," like festivals and sports games.
The vaccine passport would not be required for essential services.
In a statement, Dubé called the current state of infections in the province "encouraging," but said officials are "closely monitoring the emergence and spread of variants."
The passport, he added, would enable fully vaccinated Quebecers to maintain some level of normalcy.
"In the event of a further increase in cases, with the deployment of a vaccine passport, adequately protected individuals will be able to continue with their daily activities, and the economy and public sectors will be able to remain open," Dubé said.
The ministry encouraged Quebecers aged 12 and over to get their second vaccine doses this summer.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.
The feds have proposed a retail tax on certain luxury goods sold in Canada effective January 1, 2022.
This means extra tax when you buy luxury cars and private aircrafts priced over $100,000, or boats priced over $250,000 — cause that's definitely something all of us were planning on doing next year (note the sarcasm).
Excise duties are paid by businesses rather than consumers, meaning you won't have to pay the tax if you're just a vape user. But it does mean that vaping products will likely get more expensive to make up for it.
The new duty on vaping would apply to all vaping liquids, regardless of whether or not they contain nicotine, but not to cannabis vaping products.
There's also a proposed increase in excise duties on tobacco products in the budget — up by $4 per carton of 200 cigarettes, along with corresponding increases for other tobacco products.
Again, you won't be paying more taxes on cigarettes but the price could go up because the tobacco industry will want to recuperate the costs.
Netflix, Prime Video & other video streaming platforms
The government wants companies from outside of Canada that sell and supply digital services to Canadians to start collecting and paying GST/HST.
This includes video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and so on.
Crave is homegrown so it won't be impacted.
The measures would come into effect on July 1, 2021.
Experts told the Canadian Press that companies will probably add a GST/HST charge to subscribers' bills or add the price of the tax to the total sale price.
The same way Netflix would be required to collect and pay GST/HST, so too would non-Canadian music streaming platforms, such as Spotify.*
The government's GST/HST proposal also covers "non-resident distribution platform operators" like Google Play.*
Tax lawyers Rob Kreklewetz and Stuart Clark explained in a blog entry that vendors and operators will collect the correct amount of GST/HST based on the consumer's "usual place of residence as determined by their billing address, SIM card, IP Address, and/or banking information among other indicators."
*This article has been updated. An earlier version of this article included Apple Music & the Apple App Store; however, Apple opted to start charging GST/HST voluntarily in 2019.
Canada's Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said that the new federal budget measures "will lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty."
Legislation to increase the federal minimum wage would tie it to inflation and include "provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, that wage will prevail," according to a press release.
"This will directly benefit over 26,000 workers who currently make less than $15 per hour in the federally regulated private sector," the government said.
MTL Blog spoke to Marina Boulos-Winton at Chez Doris to learn more about what shelters have experienced since March.
Chez Doris is a women's shelter that provides care to women in need. Services include meals, clothing and socio-recreational activities.
Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.
What major changes has Chez Doris seen since the pandemic started?
"During 'normal circumstances,' Chez Doris welcomes on average 100 women per day, but since the pandemic, in order to ensure social distancing and the safety of our clientele, staff and volunteers, we had to limit the number of women inside to 40 and consequently focus on the most vulnerable: homeless women.
The pandemic has compelled us to find creative solutions for women experiencing homelessness in Montreal. Between March 17 and December 31, precisely 737 different homeless women have walked through our doors seeking help.
Consequently, our services have become increasingly adapted and expanded. For instance, since July 1, we have extended our hours and now serve dinner, and we now serve an average of 71 unique women.
Since December 1,we adapted our day shelter to offer a 24/7 service from December 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, but since December 24 moved our services to a hotel where we rent a block of 40 rooms for increased safety precautions against COVID-19.
Moreover, we have implemented a housing program with the goal of placing 60 homeless women into long-term apartments by March 31.
How were the first two weeks of curfew with the influx of people who could no longer be on the street after 8 p.m.?
We have arranged for shuttle services to bring women to our hotel and other shelters. Consequently, we have not seen any major problems with our clientele.
However, since the curfew our Inuit clientele (they typically represent 20% of our clientele) use our services mostly in the day and evening for basic needs such as meals, showers, and clothing.
They are not using our overnight shelter due to combined reasons such as wanting to consume [substances], staying with friends, couch surfing, and using the temporary, additional overnight service offered by Projets autochtones du Québec which offers a low barrier service.
What are some ongoing challenges facing Chez Doris and other shelters in Montreal?
Under normal circumstances, at least 70% of our clientele is not homeless but the majority have experienced homelessness in the past. And so, the ongoing challenge is how to serve those in their apartments, many of whom also not have access to phones, wifi, TV, computers, etc.
Ongoing challenges facing our shelter and others are the many homeless and non-homeless people whom we serve with mental health and psychiatric issues in need of support. Moreover, we are all having logistical challenges with our human resources.
First, it is difficult to hire people who want to work in essential services and second, as soon as an employee becomes exposed to the virus, it means that we have to do contact tracing and temporarily lose other personnel as they have to self-isolate. As a result, many shelters are experiencing staff shortages.
Lastly, the ongoing challenge is really for the city and the Quebec government. The pandemic has exposed how pervasive homelessness is. Depending on the time of year, anywhere from 798 to 1,022 emergency beds are available for Montreal’s homeless population. There are now 2,254 emergency beds (a combination of both permanent and temporary beds), and this is still not enough.