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Statement from ETFO President Sam Hammond on retaining scientific experts

January 26, 2021

“In Summer 2020, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) retained medical and scientific experts as part of a legal proceeding; Dr. David Fisman was one of those experts. He was compensated for his involvement, which was public. The provincial government was certainly aware of the experts with whom we were working.

Since then, ETFO has consulted with Dr. Fisman on the health and safety impacts of COVID-19 as it relates to schools. Dr. Fisman has not been compensated for this guidance and the consultation has been done transparently; he’s been quoted in ETFO statements and in letters to Premier Ford.

It’s beyond concerning to see attacks like this on experts who are bringing critical attention to the importance of safeguarding the health and well-being of students, education workers, and the community, by extension.

The Premier should have known of Dr. Fisman’s work with ETFO. One has to wonder, if it is “deeply concerning” to the Premier now, why wasn’t it before? Perhaps the Ford government is becoming increasingly afraid of being called out by the science community for their failures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario.

Given the seriousness of COVID-19 and the government’s proven mishandling of the education file, organizations like ours have no choice but to continue to consult with medical experts like Dr. Fisman who are holding this government to account.”

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca.

Media Contact: Carla Pereira, ETFO Media Relations, 416-576-9074, cpereira@etfo.org.