Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement about the release of his 2022 Annual Report titled “Being Ready: Ensuring Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Outbreaks and Pandemics”:
“Over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic required sacrifices from individuals, families, business, the health care system and partners from the public health sector. While Ontario has done well overall, like all jurisdictions we were largely unprepared for a serious outbreak that would last years. We must learn from this experience.
Being Ready is not an assessment of Ontario’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nor is it specific to COVID-19. The report is a call to take key lessons from the pandemic, as well as H1N1 and SARS, to ensure Ontario is ready for any future outbreak or pandemic, whenever it might occur.
Echoing previous public health reports, this report calls for an end to the “boom and bust” cycle of funding, where investments in public health are increased following major events but subsequently taper off as time passes. With continued investments in public health preparedness, Ontario can build and maintain its health system and its community and societal readiness to respond to future challenges.
This includes continuing to build a skilled, adaptable, and resilient health care workforce as well as investing in scientific expertise, technologies, systems, supplies, and other resources we need to detect and manage outbreaks.
It means ensuring all communities and settings, especially those that face health and social inequities, are supported through collaborative partnerships to be resilient and have better health outcomes during future outbreaks.
It is also important to continue building social trust, counter misinformation, and help people understand how and why decisions are made while providing the information and tools they need to protect themselves and those around them.
When considering the next serious public health threat, it’s not a question of if but of when. Global outbreaks such as MPOX and resurgent threats like Polio, are already here. The next pandemic may not be far off. Through this and subsequent reports, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to regularly assess and report on the Ontario’s outbreak and pandemic preparedness to help ensure Ontario’s public health system is ready to respond rapidly and equitably.”