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Letter to Minister of Health to follow-up on critical care triage protocol

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December 7, 2020

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The Honourable Christine Elliott
Minister of Health
College Park 5th Floor, 777 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Dear Minister Elliott:

Re: Follow-up on critical care triage protocol

I am writing further to my letters of October 16, 2020, and November 6, 2020, requesting an opportunity to meet with you to discuss next steps for a consultation with human rights stakeholders on the latest draft of the COVID-19 critical care triage protocol.

I have not received any response or heard directly from your office about these requests, and was surprised to learn that, during the Premier's midday news conference on December 3, 2020, you stated discussions are now ongoing with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) about the proper critical care triage protocol to put in place that is fair to everyone. I understand that you further stated that you were not sure how long these discussions with the OHRC were continuing, "but the [critical care triage protocol] would come forward at the appropriate time."

Given this statement to the media, the concerns I previously raised in my October 16 letter, and the urgent need to ensure that vulnerable groups who will be affected by any critical care triage protocol have an opportunity to share their perspectives before it is finalized, I am hoping that the Government will now agree to broadly disseminate the latest draft of the critical care triage protocol and promptly support and undertake consultations with human rights stakeholders. As you no doubt are aware, many human rights stakeholders have been strenuously calling for your Ministry to make public and consult on the current version of the critical care triage protocol because of potential concerns of inequitable implications in rationing or “triaging” critical medical care.

I would be pleased to meet with you to further discuss the OHRC's interest and participation in a consultation process, as well as our capacity to serve as a resource and support this urgent work. My office will contact your office to schedule a call as soon as possible so we can be in a position to move forward quickly on this important step for protecting all Ontarians.

Sincerely,

Ena Chadha, LL.B., LL.M.
Chief Commissioner

cc:      Helen Angus, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health
          Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health
          Jennifer Gibson, Co-Chair, COVID-19 Bioethics Table
          Hon. Doug Downey, Attorney General
          David Corbett, Deputy Attorney General, Ministry of the Attorney General
          OHRC Commissioners