CMA, OMA release statement about bullying healthcare workers

Protest sign. August 2020. (Submitted photo)

Growing protests against COVID-19 vaccination have prompted a statement from the Canadian Medical Association and the Ontario Medical Association.

The two groups say protests have escalated in the past few weeks as more employers, including hospitals, make vaccination mandatory for their workers.

“In certain cities and communities, we are seeing mounting protest which is precluding access to much-needed health care settings and demoralizing health care workers,” said their statement. “The health care workers who have worked tirelessly for months on end are being bullied and harassed for doing their jobs.”

The statement calls on protesters to stop harassment immediately, both in-person or online.

“This is wrong and unacceptable — full stop,” continued the statement. “We are in a health crisis of unprecedented proportion.”

For the most part, protests locally have stayed along Windsor’s riverfront, but there was a demonstration last week near Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus. However, CEO David Musyj said it is hard to say for certain if the protesters were targeting the hospital or the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit up the street.

While healthcare workers have joined protests in other cities, CEO David Musyj is confident none of his staff have participated.

“Our union leaders, each of them sent an email to staff asking them not to participate in that event. None of them did,” he said.

Musyj said hospital officials are in daily contact with Windsor Police Service, and he wouldn’t be surprised if future demonstrations targeted his employees.

“It’ll escalate, for sure,” he said, sounding demoralized himself. “It’ll keep escalating. It will.”

Last week, all five hospitals in the Erie St. Clair LHIN announced they would soon make vaccination mandatory for all staff, students, volunteers and contractors who enter those facilities.