With the passage of new federal legislation to protect health workers and patients from threats, violence and harassment, the federal government is sending a strong show of support to physicians and all health professionals who are bracing for the next wave of the pandemic. It is heartening to see strong support for this bill, clearly illustrating that harm to health professionals and patients cannot and will not be tolerated in Canada. We appreciate the speed with which government acted on this important issue, and we look forward to continued collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that health workers are supported and protected.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) called for action to prevent bullying, attacks and violence against health workers, having heard countless stories from physicians, nurses and other health workers who have been threatened, intimidated and attacked in person and online. The legislation passed by government today is a strong reminder that hateful behaviour does not belong in our health system or in society.
We have also been heartened by the positive messages, kindness and support of the great majority of Canadians who understand that medical professionals are working tirelessly to treat patients in the most significant health crisis of the last century. I would like to thank those citizens who are supporting their health workers. We hear you, and we appreciate you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been exhausting for all Canadians. We are tired, frustrated and angry that this new wave is upon us. As health professionals, we remain steadfast in our commitment to patients. Unfortunately, this isn’t over. But we cannot give up. We must all support each other and take precautions at this time. Please get vaccinated and get your booster doses as soon as you are eligible, follow public health measures and keep your social circles small. We know what works and, as hard as it may be at this time, we must take this seriously. Finally, please treat each other — and your health care providers — with kindness.
Dr. Katharine Smart
President, Canadian Medical Association