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PRESS RELEASE: In less than a week, hundreds send emails to Etches, city councilors to use powers to keep COVID protections in place
OTTAWA - In less than a week, over 850 residents have sent emails to Ottawa Public Health Board Chair Keith Egli, Chief Medical Officer Vera Etches and their city councilors demanding that Ottawa Public Health defy Premier Ford and maintain COVID protections including masking requirements.
In an email campaign launched last week by Horizon Ottawa, residents have been demanding that Dr. Etches and Ottawa Public Health use the powers they have under Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act to enact their own local measures to maintain certain COVID protections. The campaign also demands that councillors and OPH take action and advocate for further measures like paid sick days, income support and expanded testing so that the brunt of the spread of COVID does not fall on individuals.
“Residents across this city have been clear that they do not think that individual residents should bear the full responsibility of hindering the spread of COVID” said Sam Hersh, a Board member of Horizon Ottawa. “They want governments and city leaders to accept their responsibility in this health crisis and implement and advocate for measures that help keep people safe, not capitulate to a Premier that is only interested in profit.”
Some across the province have already started the discussion around using a Section 22 Order like Dr. Mustafa Nirji in Niagara who disagrees with Premier Ford’s decision. The Hamilton District Schoolboard also showed its opposition, voting against removing masking requirements. Across the province, residents and medical experts like Peter Juni, head of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Table, know it is too soon to remove mandatory masking.
“Ford’s reckless approach to lifting other restrictions has led to the mass death of seniors in long-term care homes; jeopardized the lives of disabled and immunocompromised people; and has given us an endless loop of lockdowns and closures,” said Hersh. “Etches and OPH can reverse the cycle, defy Ford and use their powers to stand up for the health of Ottawans.”
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