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April 1, 2020 - The Public Health and Emergency Measures crisis working group is supported by a group of health academics, professionals and business leaders and chaired by Janet Davidson, Chair of the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Board of Directors, former Alberta Deputy Minister of Health, and C.D. Howe Institute Senior Fellow. The working group’s first meeting was held March 27, 2020. 

The presence of COVID-19 in communities, unlike SARS where cases were primarily concentrated in a hospital setting, broadens the scope of treatment and adds complexity to managing the spread of disease. The challenge of ensuring adequate quantities of medicines and testing reagents, for instance, has been compounded by border and airport closures disrupting commercial shipping routes.

The working group also found:

  • The current pandemic is illuminating cracks in Canada’s healthcare system, in particular the relatively low rates of hospital beds and medical personnel per capita, but also the gaps in Canada’s social support systems for homeless and vulnerable persons—resulting in extensive emergency support from government to effectively manage the crisis.
  • Addressing shortages of personal protective equipment, ventilators and other equipment should be of paramount concern. 
  • Better standardization of electronic health data and medical records would enhance the government’s capacity to track and manage public health crises.

For more information, please contact: Rosalie Wyonch, Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute; Laura Bouchard, Communications Manager, C.D. Howe Institute: Phone: 416 865-9935.