Op-Eds

Every day, more and more Canadians are getting vaccinated, and every day, there is more and more hope that normal daily life and activities might resume soon. To enable international travel and accelerate the return of such activities at home, many countries are considering or have implemented “immunity passports” of some kind to people who pose a lower risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 infection. In Israel, where more than half of the population is fully vaccinated, “green pass” holders are either fully inoculated or have presumed immunity after recovering from infection. Iceland was the first country in Europe to issue “immunity passports” to those who have recovered from infection or been fully vaccinated to...
Gaps in access to healthcare have long been a challenge in Canada, but became a top priority in the midst of the COVID-19 infectious disease crisis. The existing labour supply and mix of professionals puts fundamental limits on the healthcare system’s capacity, as does the availability of the necessary infrastructure, tools and equipment for those professionals to provide care. The pandemic exposed pre-existing gaps in Canada’s healthcare system in terms of preparedness, labour policies and the risks posed to and by providers, particularly those working in multiple locations or facilities. Expansions in virtual care, adaptations to clinical practices and expanding scopes of practice for some health professionals are all examples of...
Vaccines are giving everyone hope that the COVID-19 global pandemic may soon allow us to return to our normal lives. That hope has been tempered by frustrations about vaccine rollout and fear of mutating variants and so almost all parts of the country remain in some kind of lockdown. But what strategy should we follow on lockdowns to get us through to what we hope is full inoculation? What we need is a tool that considers both health and the economy, not the false dichotomy that we must choose one over the other. Research we have conducted for a C.D. Howe Institute paper using an epidemiological-economic model provides important insights to help guide us until a vaccine is widely available. The results we present below show...
Of all the COVID-inspired clichés of 2020, “we can’t go back to how we were before” gets my vote for most trying. Taken literally, it is empty. We can’t undo the deaths, restore students’ lost instruction, give young people the first jobs they didn’t get, erase the huge debts, enjoy the travel and human contact that didn’t happen. No, we can’t go back to 2019 — which is too bad. Taken as an exhortation — “we shouldn’t go back to how we were before” — it is too often a prelude to magical thinking, a great leap to some environmental, economic or political nirvana previously out of reach. That is silly. A sick person who was never an athlete can dream of completing a triathlon. But their first task is to recover. In the same way, post-...
One very big silver lining to 2020 was the dramatic uptake in the use of virtual health care in Canada. During the first wave of the pandemic over 70 per cent of outpatient care was delivered virtually. Before COVID-19, speaking to a family doctor about a new health problem, simply getting a prescription renewal or having a visit with a specialist required most Canadians to take time off work, travel to their local clinic or hospital and sit in a waiting room for upwards of an hour or more. But now doctors can bill for virtual visits and Canadians can receive medical care from the comfort of their own home. As the second wave crests, and hospitals are once again filling up with COVID patients, providing care to other patients while...