An independent group of volunteer scientists and public health experts who have advised the Ford government on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic since July 2020 has been informed that it will be dissolved as of next month.
The Ontario Science Advisory Table has released a statement confirming that it was told by Public Health Ontario last week that its work will be discontinued as of Sept. 6.
The move comes less than five months after the provincial agency announced that it was assuming “operation and oversight” of the independent table, which had previously been hosted by the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
In a memo sent to Public Health Ontario President and CEO Michael Sherar and released publicly on Friday, members of the table cited several “key principals” of their “original mandate,” including an ability to “identify and study any scientific question that our members felt would help Ontario fight COVID-19” and to “communicate publicly and openly about the results of our investigations.”
The table also shared several lessons that they said that they learned throughout the pandemic.
Those lessons were as follows: science matters, equity counts, transparency is critical, independence must be both perceived and delivered and timeliness and relevance are essential.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues, and it contributes to Ontario’s growing number of health system crises,” the memo states. “Each of us on the science table has a contribution to make in the effort to secure Ontario’s health, and we will now return fully to that work.”
More to come…