Write to your MPP about Ontario’s Triage Protocol
In March 2020, the Government created a Triage Protocol meant to guide doctors to make difficult decisions about which patients get critical health care during the pandemic. The Triage Protocol would apply if there were too many patients in the hospital and not enough critical care resources available. The Triage Protocol was given to all hospitals in Ontario, but it was not made public. ARCH Disability Law Centre was concerned that the Triage Protocol was discriminatory and would have denied many persons with disabilities the right to access critical care resources on an equal basis.
Following an outcry from disability communities, advocates and activists, the Ontario Government made changes to the Triage Protocol and released another draft in July 2020. This draft still had many problematic and discriminatory elements. In September 2020, after consulting with some disability organizations and advocates, the government-appointed Bioethics Table delivered a set of recommendations to the Ministry of Health about the Triage Protocol. Those recommendations have never been made public.
In November 2020, the Government of Ontario said that the previous drafts of the Triage Protocol were withdrawn and that no hospital in Ontario should follow them. The government has failed, however, to provide a new guidance document to assist doctors and healthcare workers to make these difficult decisions.
What is happening now?
ARCH Disability Law Centre and AODA Alliance wrote an Open Letter to the Government raising concerns about how the Government has not been transparent in this process, and demanding that the Government create and make public a new version of the Triage Protocol that will respect the human rights of all patients, including patients with disabilities. This letter was signed by over 50 organizations, and was raised in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on December 3, 2020.
What can I do to be involved?
You can write a letter to your local MPP to share your concerns. Instructions about how to do this here:
- To find out who your MPP is, visit https://www.ola.org/en/members and scroll halfway down the page where it says “Find my MPP.” Fill in your postal code and press find. The website will then tell you the name of your MPP as well as other information about your MPP including their email address.
- Read the letter below. Copy and paste it in a word document or straight into an email. Insert your MPP’s name where it says [write the name of your MPP here] and fill in your name where it says [write your name here].
- Email it to your MPP using the contact information provided by the “Find my MPP” website. You can also copy your email to: Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario (p[email protected]), Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health of Ontario ([email protected]), and Hon. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility of Ontario ([email protected])
- Tweet about it! If you have Twitter, you can share the following Tweet:
I just sent my MPP an email calling for the Ontario Government to draft a Triage Protocol that ensures persons with disabilities are not deprioritized for critical care. Find the letter here: https://bit.ly/36AKsMA #IDPD2020
Dear [Write the name of your MPP here]:
I am a person with a disability living in Ontario (or an ally). I write today to express my concern about Ontario’s Clinical Triage Protocol, and the fact that there is currently no protocol in place to guide doctors when they make difficult decisions about scarce critical care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am also writing in support of the Open Letter, authored by ARCH Disability Law Centre and AODA Alliance, and signed by over 50 disability organizations. This letter was raised in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on December 3, 2020. You can find that letter https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/resource/arch-and-aoda-alliance-submit-open-letter-to-government-on-the-need-for-a-non-discriminatory-clinical-triage-protocol/
If there is no protocol in place, there is no accountability for decisions made during times of resource shortage. The new Triage Protocol must balance the rights of persons with disabilities and the allocation of scarce resources. This is especially important considering Ontario is in the second wave of this pandemic.
I urge the Ontario government to do the following:
- Make the September 2020 Recommendations public;
- Hold open, transparent and inclusive consultations with persons from communities that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic including, persons with disabilities, elderly persons, Indigenous persons, persons from the Black community and persons from other equity seeking groups.
- Draft a new Triage Protocol that is based on human rights and non-discriminatory principles.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
[Write your name here]