Doctor quits Ontario science advisory group, alleges political influence

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Published August 23, 2021 at 10:52 am

TORONTO — A member of Ontario’s pandemic science advisory table has resigned, alleging “political considerations” appear to be influencing the group’s work and how much of it is shared with the public.

Dr. David Fisman announced Monday morning (Aug. 23), in a tweet that included his resignation letter, that he would be leaving the group.

In the letter, Fisman says he has recently found himself “increasingly uncomfortable” with how much politics seem to be “driving outputs,” and has had to repeatedly and publicly dissent with the group’s guidance.

Over the weekend, Fisman also alleged on Twitter that the science table was sitting on “important modelling work that projects a grim fall.”

A spokesman for the science table says the group is “completely independent of government and always has been.”

Robert Steiner says the table is not withholding pandemic modelling for the fall, but is currently generating a number of models and has yet to reach a consensus.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government announced Monday it is extending a wage increase for personal support workers brought in during the pandemic.

The province says the temporary $3-per-hour wage increase for workers in long-term care homes and similar facilities will now continue until Oct. 31.

It says extending the program will cost $169 million.

The pay bump was first put in place last October and had since been extended until today.

Premier Doug Ford last month committed to maintaining the change, but did not give further details or say for how long.

The province says some 158,000 workers are eligible for a pay boost under the program.

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