Dr. Vera Etches, MD, CCFP, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health
Ottawa Public Health
100 Constellation Drive
Dear Dr Etches,
As we are now approaching the conclusion of a third week of occupation of Ottawa’s downtown core, we are turning to you to ask that you intervene with the power and authority of your office to take every action available to you to protect the health and well-being of workers exposed to unreasonable threats to their safety during this occupation.
It is now a matter of public record that one of the command centres for this occupation has been established in the ARC Hotel in downtown Ottawa. The presence of this command centre presents a daily threat to the health and well-being of the people who work at the hotel. Supporters of the occupation routinely and visibly refuse to follow masking guidelines and other public health measures designed to protect the health and well-being of workers and other hotel guests. This should not be allowed to continue, unchecked.
As a public officer, you have a sworn duty to both promote and protect the health of this city’s residents. As Medical Officer of Health, you have powers under the law unavailable to any other local official. Under Part IV of the Ontario Health Promotion and Protection Act, you alone have the power to direct this city’s response to an outbreak of communicable disease and take measures to ensure that spread is contained and harm is limited to the greatest extent possible.
With that in mind, Horizon Ottawa is asking you to take action to constrain convoy supporters by using your section 22 powers to ban unmasked patrons from the ARC hotel and any other public venues they frequent (such as the Marriott hotel at Coventry and Vanier). And, failing that, to order the temporary closure of the hotel(s) pending the removal of unmasked patrons from the public areas of the premises.
If hotels are forced to close as a result of the order, we are also asking that you petition Ottawa City Council and the Board of Health to press the federal government to subsidize the lost wages of hotel workers due to the ongoing occupation.
We appreciate your dedication and efforts on behalf of the residents of this city. It is essential to the well-being of the people who live in Ottawa that you embrace your authority and accept that the most important contribution you can make to resolving the ongoing occupation is to effectively safeguard the health and wellbeing of the people who live and work in the city. Thank you, in advance, for taking action.
The Membership of Horizon Ottawa
cc Members of the Ottawa Board of Health
Ottawa City Councillors