Joel Harden MPP / Député, Ottawa Centre

Government of Ontario

Government's triage protocol needs public consultation and must respect disability rights

Published on April 13, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK –  MPP Andrea Horwath and MPP Joel Harden said that as ICUs struggle to provide care for a rising number of people in critical condition, the provincial government must hold open consultations on the triage protocol and remove disability discrimination from it.
“We all desperately hope the triage protocol will never have to be triggered, and there is more the provincial government can do to prevent that horrific scenario from playing out in Ontario. But preparing for life-and-death decisions about the lives of people, including people with disabilities, should not be done by the government in secret,” said Horwath. “ It's time for this government to do the work it should have done months ago, and consult with disability and human rights groups, as well as Ontario families — who will bear the consequences of these decisions.”
Horwath and Harden said the government must listen to the over 200 community organizations that wrote to the government over a year ago exposing and denouncing its directions to Ontario hospitals on life-saving critical care that discriminates against people with disabilities. According to the Toronto Star, the government is considering indemnifying critical care physicians from lawsuits — which means the government is planning for doctors to have to make life-and-death decisions about allocating care, but is doing so behind closed doors.
"People with disabilities face a higher risk of getting and being severely impacted by COVID-19," said Harden. "The government must immediately remove disability discrimination from its clinical triage protocol, and respect the human rights of patients with disabilities."