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News Release
April 20, 2021

Ontario’s doctors strongly support COVID-19 Science Advisory Table’s “way forward” statement

TORONTO, April 20, 2021 – Ontario’s doctors strongly endorse the six recommendations made by the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table today to reduce transmission of the virus, protect our health-care system and reopen the province safely as soon as possible.

The Ontario Medical Association supports the advisory table’s focus on targeted solutions to stop the worst spread of COVID-19 since the pandemic began a year ago and spelling out what will not work.

“People are dying and being hospitalized at staggering rates, but those rates are not equal among all Ontarians,” said OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. “We call on the government to implement immediately all of the solutions proposed by the Science Advisory Table to stop the virus from transmitting in our workplaces and hotspot neighbourhoods. Failure to do so allows the virus to continue to spread. Failure to do so allows more Ontarians to fall ill, need hospitalization and die. Failure to do so risks doctors’ ability to care for any of us.” 

Here’s “what will work,” according to the advisory table:

  • permitting only truly essential workplaces to stay open with stronger safety enforcement. The OMA also supports giving workers effective personal protective equipment and access to on-site COVID testing
  • paying essential workers to stay home when they are sick, have been exposed to the virus or need time to get vaccinated. The OMA has advocated throughout the pandemic for paid sick days so that no one has to decide whether to stay home or go to work to keep their job or earn income
  • vaccinating residents of hotspots and essential workers quickly, which means allocating as many doses as possible to those neighbourhoods and speeding up the overall vaccination process. The OMA also calls on the federal government to give more vaccines to hotspot provinces such as Ontario rather than distribute them through the current per capita allocation
  • restricting movement into the province and between regions in the province
  • focusing on public health measures that work such as physical distancing, wearing masks and no indoor gatherings with people from outside your household
  • keeping people safely connected by maintaining social connections and outdoor activity. This means allowing small groups of people from different households to meet outside with masking and two-metre distancing, keeping playgrounds open, allowing outdoor team sports with masks, and clearly encouraging safe outdoor activities

The OMA agrees with the advisory table that the following “won’t work:”  

  • policies that harm or neglect racialized, marginalized and other vulnerable populations
  • inconsistent policies with no clear link to scientific evidence
  • policies that discourage safe outdoor activity

About the OMA

The Ontario Medical Association represents Ontario’s 43,000-plus physicians, medical students and retired physicians, advocating for and supporting doctors while strengthening the leadership role of doctors in caring for patients. Our vision is to be the trusted voice in transforming Ontario’s health-care system.

For more information, please contact: OMA Media Relations media@oma.org or 647-962-1387.