Ontario’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Table, a leading group of independent experts in the state’s response to the ongoing pandemic, confirmed Friday that it will disband early next month after more than two years.
At the August 18th meeting, the Public Health Office of Ontario (PHO) informed them that all working groups would be dissolved on September 6th, according to a statement posted on the website.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve Ontario since July 2020,” the statement said. You will remember it as one of the most important tasks you have ever done.”
The group said its work reflected the dedication of hundreds of volunteer scientists, doctors and administrators. Key principles to help Ontario address the ongoing dangers of COVID-19 are that science matters, impartiality matters, transparency matters, and independence must be recognized and served. timeliness and relevance are essential.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues and contributes to the growing crisis in Ontario’s healthcare system,” the statement continued.
The University of Toronto’s Dalarana School of Public Health, which is overseeing an independent group of scientists through April 4, announced that the PHO will permanently host the group of experts.
At the time, the PHO said it would create new terms of reference to ensure the group would be “sustainable over the long term” and able to scale up if necessary in the event of future public health emergencies. I got
PHO Considering New Advisory Group
A PHO statement on Friday suggested it was considering forming a new group, saying it had been discussing new terms of reference with representatives of the scientific table over the past few weeks.
“The new terms of reference reflect a long-term, sustainable approach to continue providing trusted, independent, scientific and technical public health advice to the state regarding COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. It establishes an obligation to ensure that the
“Members will continue to be made up of independent professionals.”
The science table’s advice and guidance during the pandemic sometimes went against government actions.
In February 2021, the government was preparing to ease public health restrictions as new cases eased temporarily.
At a press conference to announce the latest modeling, Table co-chair Adalsteinn Brown was asked by reporters whether the expert group was essentially “predicting disaster.” Brown replied in the affirmative.
You can see the full exchange here:
Brown is the dean of the Daralana School of Public Health and has been a regular at presentations during the most harrowing months of the pandemic. In August, Brown left the group to focus on his role at the University of Toronto.
The government went ahead with that plan, followed by a third wave, which peaked at about 900 COVID-19 patients in ICUs, and the public health order was reimposed a few weeks later.
Expectations for a New Group Guided by “True Scientific Independence”
At its peak, the core members of the table included more than 40 medical professionals and scientists with a wide range of expertise.
The table’s outspoken former science director and most public representative during the pandemic, Dr Peter Youni, resigned from the role in April to take a job at the University of Oxford, UK.
He was replaced by Dr. Fahad Razak, a physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.
In his own statement on Friday, Razak said he was “forever grateful” to those who devoted their time to the table’s mission “often late at night and under severe time pressure.” .
“We hope that the scientific advice we have provided to the public and decision-makers has helped alleviate suffering,” he said.
Razak said the future advisory group will focus on “genuine scientific independence” and principles of transparency, impartiality and will be guided by a dedication to advocating for individuals and communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. He added that he hopes he will be defeated.