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Ford government seeks to extend Dr. Williams' term as Ontario's chief medical officer of health

Last Updated Nov 23, 2020 at 6:08 pm EST

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario makes an announcement at Queen's Park in Toronto, on Thurs., Aug, 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

The Ford government doesn’t want Dr. David Williams going anywhere but there appears to be some pushback on whether or not Williams should, ultimately, remain as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

On Monday, officials filed a motion seeking to extend Williams’ term but did not receive unanimous consent to keep Williams in the position until September, a source told 680NEWS.

The government will now have to go through a debate and vote before being able to extend his tenure as chief medical officer. ‬

Williams’ term was set to end Feb. 16, 2021 when he was planning to retire.


“I am very pleased to announce that in response to a request from government, Dr. David Williams has agreed to stay on as Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health,” Christine Elliott said on Monday.

“This morning we tabled a motion to reappoint Dr. Williams. Should the motion be passed, Dr. Williams will be reappointed commencing February 16, 2021 up until September 1, 2021.”


Premier Doug Ford has said he relies heavily on Williams’ advice when it comes to making health and safety decisions, such as enforcing restrictions and lockdown measures across the province.

On Monday, Ford defended Williams, saying he has all the confidence in his chief medical officer of health.

“This is what this man is made of and I think he’s incredible,” Ford said. “I don’t believe in changing the dance partner in the middle of the dance and he’s a great dancer.”

 

Williams came under fire last week after he suggested that Ontario could return to the province’s ‘Green Zone’ by Christmas. Dr. Michael Warner, head of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, quickly took to twitter disputing that claim, calling it ‘impossible’.

Elliott later attempted to clarify, saying Williams “is being very optimistic but that is in his nature.”

“In his role as Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Williams has worked closely with our federal and provincial partners as a member of the Special Advisory Committee on COVID-19, as well as continuing to consult with Ontario’s local medical officers of health,” Elliott said. “These collaborations have allowed Dr. Williams to establish and strengthen relationships with our partners as we work collectively to defeat this virus.”

 

“Most recently, Dr. Williams took a leading role in the development of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally,” she added.

Modelling data released in early November suggests we could hit 6,500 cases a day by mid-December.

“The easy thing for Dr. Williams to do (would be) to wash his hands and say I don’t need this any more,” Ford said.

“He’s not built that way.”

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