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Proposed Bill Would Give Ontario’s Top Doc More Powers

Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's Chief Officer of Health. Nathan Denette, Canadian Press.

The Ontario Liberals plan to introduce a bill Tuesday that would give the province’s top doctor more powers when coordinating a response to a public health emergency.

The proposed changes would allow Ontario’s chief medical officer of health to direct boards of health and chief medical officers around the province should an emergency situation occur.

The proposed bill would also allow the health minister to take over public spaces in a public health emergency for various reasons, including to set up an immunization clinic.

The legislation would also prohibit boards from appointing acting medical officers of health for longer than six months without the approval of the health minister and chief medical officer.

The legislation is reportedly a response to recommendations made by chief medical officer Dr. Arlene King in a report about the province’s response to the H1N1 flu last year.

With files from the Canadian Press