Canada put workers at risk of COVID-19: report

news-update

A report by the senior adviser to the SARS commission says Canada put health-care workers at risk of contracting COVID-19 by failing to learn lessons from that epidemic.  

Mario Possamai outlines multiple shortcomings by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which was established in response to the commission's early recommendation as it investigated how SARS arrived in Canada in 2003 and spread, killing 44 people.   

Hundreds of people died of SARS elsewhere, including in China and Taiwan, but Possamai says those countries heeded the epidemic's warnings to be better prepared for COVID-19 compared with Canada, which didn't stockpile personal protective equipment.   

Possamai says the safety of workers, from those in long-term care homes to respiratory technicians and nurses and doctors, has been ignored and their infection rate proves that because it's four times the rate of their counterparts in China.   

Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses' Unions, which commissioned the report, says Possamai's recommendation to include occupational health and safety experts from the health-care sector should be adopted to provide security for the workers, letting them know that their safety matters.   

The Public Health Agency of Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment.