Government needs to do more to protect our front-line workers: Jeneroux

April 2, 2020


EDMONTON, AB – As more front-line healthcare workers raise concerns about critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 crisis, Matt Jeneroux, Conservative Shadow Minister of Health, is calling on the government to clearly outline a plan to ensure the safety of medical professionals and other hospital workers.

“Doctors and nurses are concerned about the lack of personal protective equipment, including masks, which is impeding their ability to safely and properly do their jobs,” said Jeneroux, also the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Riverbend. “We’ve been asking the government for over two months if there was enough PPE to protect our healthcare workers and essential service workers in case of a wider outbreak. The government failed to proactively handle this issue and now we are seeing the result: an ill-prepared healthcare system in the midst of a pandemic.”

Health Minister Patty Hajdu acknowledged yesterday that the government “likely did not have enough” personal protective equipment in the national stockpile heading into the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes after the Canadian government sent 16 tonnes of medical equipment overseas in February, including more than 50,000 face shields and 200,000 pairs of gloves.

After the government’s $2 billion announcement to procure new supplies, MP Jeneroux is asking the government to be transparent with Canadians about the number of masks and other PPE items the government expects to acquire in the coming weeks, and where this equipment will be distributed.

“A shortage of PPE is dangerous not only for front-line health care workers but also for those who work in our grocery stores, pharmacies, airlines and trucking companies. It’s also dangerous for their families and the wider public,” said MP Jeneroux. “The government needs to immediately address the shortage of personal protective equipment to ensure that our front-line healthcare workers have what they need to help Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jeneroux has also sponsored a House of Commons petition bringing attention to PPE supplies which is available here.