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Thomas demands meeting about coronavirus with health minister

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent the following letter to Health Minister Christine Elliott demanding a meeting about protecting frontline health care professionals and workers from the coronavirus.

January 24, 2020

Hon. Christine Elliott 
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
777 Bay St., 5th Floor
Toronto, ON, M7A 2J3
Email: christine.elliott@pc.ola.org

Dear Minister Elliott,

I am writing to urge you to protect frontline health care professionals and workers in the face of the coronavirus threat by immediately convening a meeting or meetings with the unions to which they belong.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the SARS Commission reported in 2007 that occupational health and safety voices were sidelined during the SARS crisis, a systemic failure that cost frontline health care workers their lives and made many others ill.

This must not happen again.

Among the commission’s many recommendations was a call to strengthen the role of frontline professionals, workers, and their unions in the protection of public health. I’m calling on you to respect those recommendations. My members are keenly interested in positively contributing to the health and safety of workers and the general public.

Minister, be assured every one of OPSEU’s tens of thousands of frontline health care professionals and workers are committed to protecting Ontarians from the coronavirus. As their employer, you must be committed to protecting them.

I look forward to your prompt response with proposed meeting dates and times.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas

President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union