Halton officials release statement in support of safety zones around hospitals

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Published September 16, 2021 at 5:35 pm

Halton Region elected officials support the call for the creation of safety zones around hospitals to protect people seeking or providing medical treatment from harassment. INSAUGA PHOTO

Elected Halton Region officials are calling for the creation of safety zones around hospitals.

The safety zones would protect people heading to the hospitals seeking medical treatments as well as the doctors and staff who provide the care.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Milton Mayor Gord Krantz and Town of Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette all signed on to the statement along with Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr and several other regional councillors.

“Yesterday, I, along with Halton’s Mayors and Chair issued a statement to protect healthcare personnel and access to healthcare for the public,” Burton said Thursday on Twitter.

“We represent our community’s continuing strong support for our healthcare heroes.”

Recent protests against vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 related public health measures have been held outside hospitals across the province and Canada.

Several protests this week were organized by the Canadian Frontline Nurses, an Ontario group founded by two nurses who have promoted conspiracy theories about COVID-19.

The Halton officials say in the statement that recent protests at the hospitals have included hateful and harmful messages, harassment and misinformation.

Patients and healthcare workers have had at times to be escorted through the crowd by police to ensure their safety.

“We condemn the abuse and harassment of healthcare workers,” said the statement. “Protests against government policy and action should take place at the places of government.

“We represent our community’s continuing strong support for our healthcare heroes. There is an overwhelming majority in our community who support our healthcare people.”

Burton and other elected officials went to state they know the majority of people join in their respect for everyone’s right of peaceful protest.

“We know they also believe protests must not take place in locations or in ways that could impede access to essential healthcare,” the statement continued.

“We all thank our healthcare personnel for the enormous sacrifices you have made and continue to make during this pandemic to heal us and keep us safe.”

On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to criminalize protests that block hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

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