Survey of Coroners and Medical Examiners on Toxicovigilance

A survey was conducted among coroners and medical examiners to assess the usefulness of developing a toxicovigilance program. They are in favour of setting up a toxicovigilance program based on medicolegal toxicological data from ongoing investigations. Toxicovigilance activities in the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service are also presented. 

Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, in collaboration with Institut national de santé publique du Québec and Bureau du coroner du Québec, wishes to set up a province-wide toxicovigilance program. To assess the feasibility of such a program, a review of the grey and scientific literature was conducted. The review was carried out in summer 2017 to identify examples of toxicovigilance activities based on toxicological analysis data collected by coroners and medical examiners on deceased persons before formal determination of the cause of death. The results of the literature review are presented in a related publication (Vac…

Presence of Psychoactive Substances in Biological Samples From Drivers Fatally Injured in Québec From 2002 to 2013

Since 2002, the number of road traffic deaths in Québec has been falling steadily, even though the number of motor vehicles on the road – automobiles, in particular – has increased considerably. Nevertheless, the use of alcohol, drugs and medications is frequently cited as a cause of road traffic accidents by public authorities, since these psychoactive substances have the potential to impair driving.

The aim of this study is to present a profile of the psychoactive substances (i.e. alcohol, drugs and medications) examined and detected among motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers aged 16 years and over who were killed in road traffic accidents in Québec from 2002 to 2013.

The main findings are as follows:

  • The presence of psychoactive substances in the drivers of motor vehicles figured among the circumstances of death, but no assessment of a causal link between this presence and road traffic accidents was made.
  • The proportion of fatal…

Opioid-related Poisoning Deaths in Québec: 2000 to 2009

Prescription opioid use has increased in Québec in recent years. In view of the serious consequences stemming from drug misuse in this pharmacological class, it is possible that the increase has affected the temporal trend in opioid-related poisoning deaths.


Determine the opioid-related poisoning death rates in Québec and describe the temporal evolution of the phenomenon by age, gender of the deceased, manner of death, and type of opioid involved.


Type of study and population

A retrospective trend analysis of poisoning-related death rates from 1990 to 2009 in the population 20 years of age or over.


The death registry of the Registre des événements démographiques and the computerized database of the Bureau du coroner en chef du Québec.

Statistical analysis

A Joinpoint Regression analysis used to determine whether significant chang…

Nunavik Inuit Health Survey 2004/Qanuippitaa? How are we? Exposure to Environmental Contaminants in Nunavik: Persistent Organic Pollutants and New Contaminants of Concern

The Inuit of Nunavik are exposed to metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are carried from southern to northern latitudes by oceanic and atmospheric transport and biomagnified in Arctic food webs. As the Inuit traditional diet comprises large amounts of tissues from marine mammals, fish and terrestrial wild game, the Inuit are more exposed to these contaminants than populations living in southern regions. The traditional suite of legacy POPs comprises polychlorinated dibenzo p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated pesticides whereas emerging POPs include perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), halogenated phenolic compounds (HPCs) and brominated flame retardants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Legacy POPs have been found to be neurotoxic, carcinogenic, hepatotoxic and have reproductive, endocrine and immunotoxic effects. Human health effects of emerging POPs are mostly unknown, but animal stud…

Direct comparison of deposit from aerial and ground ULV applications of malathion with AGDISP predictions

A series of field trials were completed to inter-compare ground deposition from ground and aerial sprays of Fyfanon® ULV adulticide and to compare these results with others predicted by AGDISP. A ground cold-aerosol generator (Clarke GRIZZLY) was used in wind conditions ranging from 3.6 to 12.4 kph. Deposit samples (fiberglass filters) were taken at 10 m intervals to 500 m downwind. Collocated at alternate sites, the spray cloud at 1.4 m height was characterized using rotating 3 mm rods to measure drop density and size within the cloud. Aerial trials using PJ20 high-pressure nozzles were completed in winds of 17-25 kph at spray height (60 m). Ground deposit was measured at 100 m intervals to 5 km while the spray cloud was characterized at 200 m intervals.