10,000 signatures reached
To: Canadian MPs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos
The Federal Government Needs to Continue Free RAT Distribution to the Provinces
To Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, and my MP,
As many covid restrictions have eased over the past few months, it is becoming more and more difficult for Canadians to find workplaces and public spaces enforcing any covid mitigation measures. Because only a small fraction of Canadians are still wearing masks regularly, and infection rates over the summer plateaued at a high level, most indoor and crowded outdoor spaces are exposing the people who frequent them to SARS Cov-2 on a daily basis. With the growing number of workplaces calling their WFH staff back to the office, this effect is being amplified.
Many of the workplaces where people are at the highest risk for exposure, such as restaurants, meat packing plants, and grocery stores, not only pay some of the lowest wages in our country, they have not upgraded their ventilation, nor do they supply adequate PPE to their workers. People making at or close to the minimum wage cannot afford the daily supply of N-95-type masks recommended by PHAC.
The Rapid Antigen Test kits that are being freely distributed have become one of the only tools most Canadians have left to mitigate the spread of Covid 19. Not just to confirm that one’s symptoms are covid, but to detect asymptomatic and presymptomatic infections, which, before most isolation measures were dramatically eased, were responsible for over half of all transmission throughout the pandemic.
Without access to free RATs, most Canadians will not be able to afford them, and even if they can, may have difficulties finding them in stores, especially during periods of higher covid spread (such as during and right after the holiday season), due to the supply and demand structure of retail distribution. They will not be able to test their children before sending them to school, they will not be able to test before visiting someone who’s at high risk of severe disease, and they will not be able to test to prove to their employer that they need to stay home from work. And those with post-covid symptoms will be unable to find out if they’re reinfected or simply having yet another bad week.
If the federal government halts their distribution of free RATs to the provinces at the end of December 2022, transmission will increase substantially, and once again impact the most vulnerable in our society at a disproportionately high level. The resulting added loss of economic productivity and drain on our healthcare system (both in the short term and long term) will far exceed the cost of continuing the distribution of free RATs.
I urge you to please renew the free RAT program until at least 2024, for the protection of our nation’s health, workforce, and economy. We’ve already had more covid deaths this year than we did in 2021. Please help us keep from breaking that record again next year.
A concerned constituent
P.S. While you’re at it, why not procure good-quality, Canadian-made N-95-type masks for free distribution as well? It would also ultimately mitigate a great deal of damage to the economy.
Why is this important?
Please sign our petition to keep RATs free for all Canadians who need them.
Many people who are at highest risk of being exposed at work or school cannot afford to purchase RATs to test themselves for covid so they can avoid exposing others.
Much of our transmission is still occurring from those who are asymptomatic, presymptomatic, or post-symptomatic. Many people are contagious for days, and sometimes even more than a week, post-symptoms. RATs can help you determine if you're no longer infected before you return to work or visit someone at high risk for severe disease.
Since the easing of many mitigation efforts, spread of covid plateaued at a high level over the summer, but is now creeping up again. We have also already surpassed the number of covid deaths we had in either of the first two years of the pandemic.
The federal government is considering halting the supply of free RATs to the provinces at the end of the year. This will result in people losing yet another tool that allows them to responsibly manage their own risk. With every tool we lose in our mitigation toolkit, the burden on our strained healthcare system and the effect of widespread workplace illness on the economy becomes greater.
Let's do what we can to prevent 2023 from being even more deadly and costly than 2022 is shaping up to be.