Harassment and threats against health care workers

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The federal government last week passed legislation to prohibit the harassment and intimidation of health care workers and patients. These new protections are timely, as we are seeing increasing threats directed at physicians and other health care workers — on social media and, in some instances, at their private homes.

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This is a deeply disturbing trend and one that cannot be allowed to continue.

With the enactment of new legislative measures to protect health care workers, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) encourages local law enforcement agencies in all jurisdictions to ensure they are shielded from violence and threats.

The CMA is also calling on social media companies to increase efforts to ensure their platforms are safe spaces for health care workers to share information and advice with Canadians without being subject to intimidation and threats.

Physicians and other health care workers have worked tirelessly through the pandemic to care for patients. As a fifth wave sweeps across Canada, nearly two years after COVID-19 first emerged, we are still here on the frontlines.

What we need right now is not the ignorance and hate of a small minority, but the kindness, patience and goodwill that most Canadians continue to demonstrate.

We recognize that this has been a challenging two years for everyone. Health care workers on the frontlines of the pandemic are exhausted, yet we remain steadfast in our desire to help others.

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