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ARCH Disability Law Centre Supports Call for Ontario Government to Clarify the Status of the Triage Protocol

April 15, 2021 – ARCH welcomes the call released today by bioethicists who were, or are, members of the Bioethics Table struck by the Ontario Government in March 2020 and who were directly involved in developing the Triage Protocol. These members of the Bioethics Table express multiple concerns including, the lack of transparency and public engagement in developing the Triage Protocol, the failure to consider social determinants of health, the prioritization of utilitarianism over human rights, and the reliance on problematic clinical tools that compound health inequities. Echoing the concerns that ARCH and other advocates have been raising for over a year, these six current or former members of the very group that has been tasked to draft the Protocol is calling for “transparency and public deliberation on the unfinished work of developing Ontario’s approach to critical care triage in a major surge during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition, ARCH supports the recent statement made by the Ontario Human Rights Commission calling on the Ontario Government to clarify the status of any Triage Protocol distributed to Ontario hospitals and that may be triggered at any moment. ARCH further supports the OHRC’s call to the Ontario Government to confirm that it will not suspend the Health Care Consent Act.

ARCH joins the OHRC and the members of the Bioethics Table to once again call on the Ontario Government to ensure that communities who have borne the brunt of COVID-19, including persons with disabilities, are not deprioritized from receiving equitable access to critical care. At this most critical time, it is imperative that the integrity of Ontario’s legal and health care system is not jeopardized by the suspension of the Health Care Consent Act.

April 15, 2021