Letter to Minister Paradis regarding Ebola in West Africa

Media/Press Release
Monday, August 4, 2014

Letter to Minister Paradis regarding Ebola in West Africa

August 4th, 2014
 
 
Dear Minister Paradis,
 
We are writing to you in order to ask about Canada’s response regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
 
As you know, the scale of the outbreak is unprecedented, with over 1300 confirmed and suspected cases reported, and more than 720 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March, 2014.
 
Therefore, what is your department doing to ensure the safety of Canadians travelling to West Africa to undertake humanitarian work, commerce and trade, or safeguard the well-being of those who are there now and in areas where Ebola is spreading?
 
Specifically, what guidance is being provided to Canadians (1) before they leave, (2) while in areas in which Ebola has been reported, (3) if they think they have symptoms compatible with Ebola, and (4) what they should do upon their return to Canada?
 
Regarding Canada’s humanitarian response, both you and Minister Ambrose announced $1,285,000 to address the outbreak on April 18th, 2014. It is being reported that Canada has spent $1.41 million.
 
What has Canada specifically contributed to the effort, and what is the cost of each contribution please? How many specialists and in what disciplines has Canada sent to the World Health Organization to help out?
 
We are sure you will agree that the needs on the ground have changed significantly since April, with the World Health Organization (WHO) announcing on July 31st a $100 million emergency response plan. The WHO will be reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward. Will the Government consider providing additional funding to humanitarian partners if asked?
 
As Minister Baird expressed, biological threats such as Ebola do not recognize borders, but rather represent a global problem that requires coordinated international action.
 
Finally, we will not address guidance for air transport, border services, or healthcare workers, as this is outside your mandate, but ask that you work with your colleagues and relevant departments to show leadership in these areas.
 
Canada has now followed other countries and issued a travel warning, and we must remain vigilant even though the risk is low. Therefore, is Canada ready to isolate and care for someone if affected, does the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) have a public awareness plan to help Canadians understand the prevention, transmission, and signs and symptoms of the disease, and does PHAC have a communication link with all provinces/territories?
 
Thank you for your attention, and we look forward to hearing from you.
 
Yours truly,
 
 
Kirsty Duncan MP
 
Etobicoke North
 
 
The Honourable Hedy Fry MP, PC
 
Vancouver Centre