Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy
By Michael Moore
6 April 2020
The Toronto Public Health (TPH) is planning to move forward with its COVID-19 prevention and testing pilot program even though there are only two doctors in its Toronto Public Health Division. This could be the beginning of another controversy in Toronto.
Mayor John Tory is the chair of the Toronto District Health Authority (TDA). The Health Department under his chairmanship has had the unfortunate distinction of being the city’s largest department, and is responsible for the emergency response.
But during the COVID-19 outbreak, some have complained that the TDA has been slow to respond to the pandemic.
TDA spokesperson Dan Borrie told the Toronto Star, “I hear all the time from staff on the front line, all the time, ‘I need to know something about this, please give me an update.’ When it came to the COVID-19 (pandemic) and the flu, the TDA was there for everyone. That’s what we’re here for.”
The TDA does respond to all communicable disease prevention requests. When the flu hit Toronto in 1976 and hit the city hard, the TDA’s response was criticized by City Hall. Mayor Roy McMurtry called for an “expert committee” to look into the TDA’s response and found fault.
The chair of the expert committee, a man by the name of Dr. G.K. Pannarajan, wrote that the response from the TDA was “not competent” and that “it falls short of the level that should be expected.”
In a letter to the then-Health Commissioner, the mayor wrote, “I would like to inform you that the Toronto Public Health, as the primary public health agency entrusted with the responsibility to provide health care and health education for the city, has