Ontario's Health Minister claims AG report is 'a mischaracterization' of pandemic response


Ontario's Health Minister claims a report by the province's auditor general is a 'a mischaracterization of the province’s pandemic response.'

Christine Elliott says the pandemic has presented a tremendous challenge due to its unprecedented impact and complexity.

She goes on to say, "Thanks to the efforts across government, and with the guidance of our public health experts including our Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario has been a leader in our pandemic response, which has always been informed by evidence, assessment of risks & local context."

The report by auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says the province's response to the pandemic was 'slower and more reactive' than other provinces.

The report cites a number of contributing factors including outdated emergency plans, insufficient staff and significant changeover in Ontario's Provincial Emergency Management Office leaders, a lack of lab surge capacity, and outdated IT systems.

In a release, the auditor general's office writes, "...the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health officials did not lead Ontario’s response to COVID-19. Auditors concluded the Chief Medical Officer of Health did not fully exercise his powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to respond to COVID-19. For instance, it was the
province, not the Chief Medical Officer, that finally issued an emergency order in early October 2020 to require masking for the general public."

The full report is available online.