Canada's former health minister joins frontline fight against coronavirus

Mar 19 2020, 4:42 pm

Former Canadian Minister of Health Dr. Jane Philpott is practicing medicine again during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She posted a photo to Twitter clad in full protective gear at the Markham-Stouffville Hospital in Ontario, saying she’s joining hundreds of other Canadian health professionals on the “frontlines.”

Philpott is working at the hospital’s COVID-19 assessment centre, testing patients who may have contracted coronavirus. She also shared a link to Ontario’s online self-assessment tool that people can use if they think they have the virus.

Philpott’s return to clinical work comes as at least one Canadian province called on recently retired doctors to re-instate their qualifications to practice medicine to alleviate the health care crunch as coronavirus cases strain the system.

As part of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, Philpott first held the minister of health position before taking on the role of Indigenous services minister. She resigned her post last year in solidarity with former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was kicked out of cabinet during the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Wilson-Raybould and Philpott both ran as independents in the fall federal election, but Philpott lost her seat.

Since then, she’s been working as a special health advisor for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation and as the dean designate for the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University.

Prior to entering politics, Philpott worked as a family physician.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.