Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy amid criticism
Toronto Public Health has been told by City Hall that the province will cover the cost to keep public health services in place as part of its COVID-19 plan as part of a series of meetings with the province and Toronto.
“I understand where they’re coming from, but I’m not convinced,” said Dr. Erika Smith, Toronto’s health-care chair. “It is not that the province is not supportive of the city providing services. We are providing services, and we’re doing it in full compliance with the guidelines set out by the province.”
In a phone interview Friday, the city’s acting chief medical officer of health said she would like to see Toronto make more drastic changes to its mental health and addiction services, which are largely funded out of pocket.
“When people call and say they’re going to our emergency rooms in our city because they’re going mad and need mental health care, we don’t have the resources to provide that,” said Dr. Erika Smith. “We’re only providing it when people come in and we say we can do that. We don’t have the resources to address the underlying issues and provide counselling, we don’t have the resources to provide in-patient care services.”
“Why do we have to fund all this stuff?” asked Smith, pointing to the City’s operating budget. “The city needs to have a good, healthy budget. The city needs to have a good budget for health care, that’s the first thing. We need to make sure we’re serving citizens, that’s the first thing. If we don’t have proper services, it’s not good