Jan 27, 2021

By Jane Brown

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Staff in Premier Doug Ford’s office are in damage control after a published report revealed one of the doctors serving on the Ontario COVID-19 science advisory table has been paid by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.

A statement from the premier’s office calls this “deeply concerning” and also says the premier nor his cabinet ministers were aware of this potential conflict of interest until they found out about the matter through the media.

(Dr. David Fisman. Photo credit: Twitter/@DFisman)

The doctor in question is David Fisman, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto. He has responded to the report with a series of tweets in which he says his work with ETFO was very much in the public domain and transparent, and consistent with the scientific advice he’s had the opportunity to offer.

A statement from ETFO says the premier should have known of Dr. Fisman’s work with ETFO. It goes on to say, “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.”

As for Dr. Fisman, ETFO confirms they retained the U of T epidemiologist and other medical experts last summer as part of a legal proceeding and he was compensated. The teachers federation says they have continued to consult with Dr. Fisman on the health and safety impacts of COVID-19 in schools, but he was not compensated for that guidance.

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