Barrett bill to address infectious diseases

Nov. 14, 2014

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a bill that will address infectious diseases such as Lyme, West Nile and Ebola.

Bill 27, Provincial Framework and Action Plan Concerning Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases Act, 2014 will propose a framework and action plan to: establish a provincial surveillance program, standardize educational materials and guidelines regarding the prevention, identification, treatment and management of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. The framework and action plan must also promote research.

The concept for the bill was born after Barrett heard from local Lyme victims and how the disease turned their lives upside down. During Barrett’s research, he found there were gaps in the health system not only for Lyme, but also for other infectious diseases.

“Lyme is known as the Great Imitator because it symptoms are similar to many other diseases,” Barrett said. “There is a myriad of conflicting medical, scientific, political and social dimensions. While the Internet is accused of propagating false information and dubious treatment, there are also shortcomings in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme from mainstream medicine.

Dealing with the risk of outbreaks like Ebola is also covered in the proposed legislation.

“There are questions regarding the preparedness of hospitals and other government institutions to deal with Ebola in Ontario,” Barrett said. “Recent criticism from nurses’ organizations, saying they do not feel they are adequately trained or protected is evidence of this. They criticize the lack of a clear, comprehensive plan and strategy for Ebola.”

The bill was introduced on October 20, the week the Legislature returned this fall.

“I am hoping all members of the Ontario Legislature will give this bill serious consideration for the sake of those who have been afflicted with infectious diseases, and the potential that diseases like Ebola have to wreak havoc,” Barrett said.

Barrett’s bill will be debated in the Legislative Assembly the afternoon of Nov. 20. All interested parties are encouraged to contact their local MPP to provide further input.

For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or by e-mail at at