Who calls the photographs in Ontario’s COVID-19 response? Premier insists top physician is ‘driving shotgun’

Following an auditor basic’s report that discovered Ontario’s pandemic response is being pushed by political employees atop a command construction developed by a U.S. consulting company, Premier Doug Ford is insisting that medical consultants and Ontario’s top physician are calling the photographs.

A tricky-talking Ford fired again at Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk Wednesday after her report raised questions on how the government is making essential choices on lockdowns, college closures and other measures that are affecting the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians.

“To say that [Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. Williams wasn’t leading this response, it just isn’t right. It’s actually wrong,” Ford mentioned at his every day media briefing.

“Dr. Williams has been riding shotgun with me from day one.”

That’s in distinction to the findings of Lysyk’s 231-page report.

“The Chief Medical Officer of Health did not lead Ontario’s response to COVID‑19,” the auditor mentioned.

Command construction led by political employees

According to Lysyk, the government’s command construction is being led by political employees, not public health consultants.

At the top of this construction is the Central Co-ordination Table, which is co-chaired by the government’s cupboard secretary and the premier’s chief of employees. Lysyk writes the desk “does not include key public health officials, such as the Chief Medical Officer of Health and key representatives of Public Health Ontario (although they have been invited to attend meetings).”

Ford countered by accusing Lysyk of overstepping her office’s mandate for monitoring monetary accountability and questioned her capability to critique how the government handles a medical emergency.

“I’m really glad the AG just got a health degree and became a doctor over the last year or so,” the premier mentioned sarcastically.

Infectious ailments specialist Dr. Michael Gardam says the report exhibits that Public Health Ontario has been “sidelined” by the Ford government throughout the pandemic.

“And so a lot of decisions were made, I would argue, for political reasons,” Gardam instructed CBC Toronto.

As for the involvement of Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Gardam believes the place is simply too near the government to offer “arms-length” medical steerage.

“It’s very hard for that role to be outspoken and maybe publicly disagree with the government,” Gardam mentioned.

Consulting agency employed

The report additionally revealed the Ford government developed its command construction by hiring an out of doors consulting company. The agency shouldn’t be named however CBC Toronto has confirmed it was U.S.-based McKinsey & Company.

According to the auditor basic’s report, the government employed McKinsey on the outset of the pandemic to create an organizational construction for the pandemic response, at a value of $1.6 million. McKinsey additionally assisted the government with its COVID‑19 restoration planning at a value of $3.2 million. Of that, $942,000 was spent to offer suggestions on the kid care and college reopening plans, mentioned a spokesperson for the training minister.

Asked in regards to the precise nature of its work with the government, and if its advisers have experience in public health, McKinsey responded with a press release saying, “While we cannot comment on the details of our work, we can confirm that we supported the government of Ontario for a finite period in 2020.”

“McKinsey, like so many other organizations in Ontario and Canada, is committed to supporting the humanitarian and economic response to the COVID-19 crisis,” the assertion mentioned.

NDP ‘deeply horrified’ by AG’s report

Meantime, opposition events at Queen’s Park had been fast to pounce on Ford within the wake of the report’s launch.

Sara Singh, the NDP’s deputy chief, mentioned her get together was “deeply horrified” by Lysyk’s findings, and she or he chided the premier for telling residents that he listens to public health consultants.

“Every single day, the premier got up here at one o’clock and reassured Ontarians that he was following the advice of the chief medical officer, when in fact, today, what we learned is that he lied,” Singh instructed reporters Wednesday.

“And so, when it comes to the appointment of Dr. Williams, we, and I’m sure many Ontarians, have real concerns.”

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca was additionally essential of the way in which the Ford government structured its pandemic response and he too laid the accountability on the premier’s toes.

“He has neglected repeatedly to listen to public health leaders. He has neglected repeatedly to be clear and level with the people of Ontario,” Del Duca mentioned.

  Echoing the critiques in Lysyk’s report, Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner mentioned the government’s strikes have led to “delays and confusion” within the pandemic response.

“The government can’t spin their way out of this report,” Schreiner mentioned.

“It is clear that they spent millions to create a dysfunctional structure, where decisions are being driven by politics and not public health.”

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