Provinces Debate Allowing COVID-19 Positive Health Care Workers to Remain on the Job

By Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
December 29, 2021 Updated: December 29, 2021

As daily updates resume after pausing for the holiday weekend, provinces are considering following Quebec’s lead in letting health care personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 to continue working out of fear of eroding the ability of health care institutions to treat their patients.

Quebec’s Minister of Health Christian Dube announced on Dec. 27 that the province is allowing some workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 to keep working, as the provincial health care system struggles to stay operational in the face of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“Omicron’s contagion is so exponential that a huge number of personnel have to be withdrawn, and that poses a risk to the network capacity to treat Quebecers,” Dube said, adding that the government is consulting with unions regarding the policy change.

“It forced us to make a paradigm shift. In previous waves, we wanted to identify and remove at-risk employees as quickly as possible. With the current level of vaccination, we have to do otherwise, we have no choice.”

Dube noted that the decision to allow COVID positive staff to continue working will be made on a case-by-case basis, according to “a list of priorities and risk-management.” An updated policy that will involve all essential workers, not just those in the health care sector, will be announced soon.

Quebec’s policy shift has raised some questions regarding its limitation of only certain residents.

“Right now, in my province of Quebec, it’s ok for COVID positive people to go to work, in many cases dealing with our most vulnerable, but it’s not ok for a bunch of people without COVID to go to the movie theatre?” Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos commented on Twitter following the announcement.

While Quebec is the first to implement new regulations for COVID positive workers, several provinces are also considering similar changes.

Manitoba’s top doctor said on Dec. 27 that the province is looking at the possibility of keeping COVID positive workers on the job to avoid overwhelming the health system.

Ontario is also considering similar measures for infected health care workers, while it added new restrictions on Dec. 28 that halt public visits to long-term care homes and bar their residents from leaving for social reasons.

The Canadian Press contributed to this article

Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.