Legislation that addresses new and emerging diseases

Legislation that addresses new and emerging diseases

By MPP Toby Barrett

To The Haldimand Press

Those who work and play in Ontario are cognizant of COVID, but we need also remember that another emerging infectious disease continues to lurk. As with coronavirus, we must remain vigilant and continue to take measures to prevent the onset of Lyme.

In 2015, and out of concern of what might come next after the SARS epidemic, I introduced a Private Member’s Bill to mandate government to be better prepared for the potential onslaught of the next emerging infectious disease.

As I argued at the time, in our globalized society, diseases are changing and those in charge must be prepared to meet these changes.

The worldwide financial cost of SARS was $40 billion and the bill for Canada came in at $2 billion – part of the reason for my urgency to better enable government to head off the next outbreak which, in my view, could have been MERS, Marburg virus, Zika virus, or Ebola. Of course, no one was talking about COVID-19 back then.

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