PoP BC in the Media

New West Record: Protect Our Province masking message on New West billboard takes aim at COVID

Feb 8, 2024

Stop rolling the dice: Why a public billboard ad in New Westminster warning about Long Covid?"

long-covid-sign


CTV News: Dozens sign open letter urging ‘safe return to school’ amid respiratory illness concerns

Aug 8, 2023

“With students returning to B.C. classrooms in four weeks, an open letter to the province is outlining five things the signatories say must be addressed to ensure ‘a safe return to school.'”

Read Angela Jung’s article in CTV News about PoP BC’s open letter to the Ministers of Health and Education on what’s needed to keep kids safe in school this fall.


The Tyee: Why BC Needs to Bring Back Mask Protections

Apr 20, 2023

The removal of mask protections in health-care settings sends the message that the health and well-being of British Columbians is not a priority for the province. The removal of these measures also betrays health-care workers, because they too will be infected and be unable to care for their patients during recovery.

If you are tired of delayed and cancelled health-care services, you should brace yourselves, because removing safety protections in hospitals will only make health-care service delays worse.


Burnaby Now: COVID-19 still poses long-term health threat, group warns

Apr 5, 2023

Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic started, Protect Our Province BC is promoting COVID Awareness Week along with allied COVID-19 safety groups.

The five-day event, which runs from April 3 to April 7, is an attempt to inform Canadians of the harm that the virus can cause to their health and well-being, according a release from Protect Our Province.


CBC: COVID wastewater uptick in B.C. no cause for alarm, says provincial health officer

Mar 30, 2023

As data suggests cases of COVID-19 are rising in British Columbia, the province's top doctor says the situation is under control, even as some critics are calling on the province to do more. 

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), wastewater testing shows a steady increase in viral load across the province in March


The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn: Raising awareness about long COVID

Mar 29, 2023

Protect Our Province will be holding an event this week called "Long COVID: It Could Happen to You". We find out more from Dr. Lyne Filiatrault.


The Tyee: Spring COVID Boosters Are Recommended, But Are They Coming?

Mar 8, 2023

Spring booster vaccines could soon be coming for adults at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in British Columbia, but the province hasn’t yet said when.


On Friday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization advised that high-risk adults should receive a spring booster vaccine dose at least six months after their most recent shot or COVID-19 infection.


The Peak: Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi speaks on COVID-19, public health, and preventive care

Feb 21, 2023

“Scientifically and objectively, we’re really still in the midst of this pandemic,” said Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi in conversation with Protect our Province BC. “Emotionally, much of the population — I think to no fault of their own — is in a different place.” On February 3, the grassroots organization hosted an online seminar with Gandhi to discuss the current state of the pandemic and BC’s pandemic response. 

Gandhi, who specializes in pediatric heart and lung surgery, recently left the BC Children’s Hospital and joined the BC Greens as their deputy leader. In an interview with The Tyee, he cited his reasons for leaving the medical field as a toxic work environment and “the health authority’s positive narrative,” as a barrier to providing patients with proper care. He has been a vocal critic of BC’s current healthcare policies. 


The Province: Dr. Lyne Filiatrault: It’s time to reinstate a mask mandate in B.C. schools

Jan 12, 2023

Like all other Canadian provinces, B.C. is being hit by a perfect storm of respiratory viruses that heavily impacted schools and is overwhelming children’s hospitals and pediatric ICUs.

For many families this experience has been traumatic. For some it has been devastating. Beyond belatedly opening walk-in influenza vaccination clinics, why is B.C. public health doing nothing more to lessen the impact of respiratory viruses on children, educators and their families? An obvious first place to start would be schools.


The Peak: Protect Our Province BC calls for immediate unrestricted access to Paxlovid

Jan 11, 2023

With the onset of the winter season, and a surging triple-demic of respiratory illnesses, the organization Protect Our Province BC released an open letter addressed to the provincial leaders. The letter calls for the immediate relaxation of BC’s restrictive eligibility policies, and increase in access to Paxlovid, for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19.


The Tyee: ‘Kraken’ Rising. Is BC Doing Enough?

Jan 9, 2023

British Columbia is reactivating emergency operations centres at 20 hospitals to prepare for even more hospital demand due to record and sustained case levels of COVID-19, influenza and RSV.

There are more than 10,000 patients currently in hospital across B.C., with 358 having tested positive for COVID-19 and 132 with RSV, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Friday.

But as a new subvariant appears in B.C., the province has said it won’t reintroduce public health measures, like an indoor mask mandate or shortening the waiting period between vaccine boosters, to reduce transmission and serious illness.


The Vancouver Sun: Dr. Lyne Filiatrault: B.C. should have been prepared to protect kids

Dec 15, 2022

Imagine being provided with exam questions ahead of time, a fair amount of time to study, and then still failing the exam.

That is what has happened this fall in B.C. But it wasn’t an exam. It was, and is, a real life-and-death scenario.


In May, B.C. public health leaders were given advance warning from Australia of an early, intense influenza A season with very high case counts, particularly among children.

Knowing what was coming, B.C. should have been prepared, and children should have been protected. They were not.


BIV: Retired ER doc: B.C. pandemic report 'embodies everything that was wrong'

Dec 9, 2022

Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, of the grassroots Protect Our Province BC coalition of public health experts, wonders what the NDP government was really trying to achieve with the Dec. 2-released report.


“This is not independent. This is scope creep,” Filiatrault said in an interview. “They went outside of assessing the government response, they assessed the pandemic response, based on indicators that, in my mind, are not the correct indicator, and with useless data, which is the data that B.C. has based on under-testing, under-reporting.”



The Tyee: ‘Back to Normal’ Is Bringing a COVID Crisis for Children

Nov 21, 2022

Just weeks after schools reopened this fall, the National Post published an opinion piece titled “Let the old normal reign in schools without the threat of COVID restrictions.”


Two of the four authors of the Sept. 23 piece, Dr. Jennifer Grant and Dr. Martha Fulford, are associated with the Urgency of Normal, a movement pushing to end all pandemic protections for children. The group finds an eager audience in those who have largely been spared the worst of the pandemic.


Times Colonist: Don't want long COVID? Don't get COVID, says doctor on lingering symptoms of virus

May 25, 2022

Demand for long-COVID treatment is growing with each wave of the pandemic and the five clinics created in B.C. so far are likely not enough, says a retired Vancouver ER physician who hosted a recent briefing on the impact of long COVID.


“We are really going to have a pandemic after the pandemic, because the number of people affected by long COVID is growing with every single wave and is becoming so prevalent that we cannot ignore it,” said Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, who argues more long-COVID clinics are needed to meet current and future demand.


The Tyee: Hospitals Shouldn’t Be a Place to Get COVID

May 11, 2022

Medical students live and breathe this mantra during their training: “first do no harm.” At their graduation, the Hippocratic Oath is often read aloud. Coming across the following story, then, was not only jarring, but hit at the core of what physicians hold sacred.

“I attended my first funeral for someone who died from COVID-19 this week. This was a man in his 70s who had a previous organ transplant and who caught COVID-19 while in the hospital for something else.”

~ Analysis by Dr. Hardie & Dr. Filiatrault.


OMNY FM: More Information Needed from Dr. Bonnie Henry

May 11, 2022

The latest briefing from Dr. Bonnie Henry had a few key messages including that booster uptake is lower than they wish. Guest: CKNW Contributor Raji Sohal interviewed Karina Zeidler, Family Physician and Protect our Province Co-Founder.


CTV News: Critics call on B.C. to fill gaps in COVID-19 information amid 6th wave

April 30, 2022

With COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing, a group of B.C. doctors is raising concerns around the elderly and others vulnerable to the virus, saying it’s unknown how many of them have been offered a second booster shot. While fewer masks and more people out in public might suggest otherwise, the province is in the middle of a sixth wave of COVID-19. “And based on what we’re seeing in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, this is not going to be a small wave,” said Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, a retired emergency physician and member of the COVID-19 watchdog group Protect our Province British Columbia (PoP BC).


The Surrey Now-Leader: Letter: Relaxing of COVID measures ‘reckless,’ says doctors group

April 4, 2022

The April 1, 2022 opinion piece from B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry seems to be a veiled response to the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner’s letter of March 16th.

“Given the benefits of the mask mandate for thousands of marginalised people and the minimal impact on those being asked to wear one, the balance at this time favours continuing the mask mandate.” – Kasari Govender

Our B.C. public health officer’s opinion was published on the same day B.C. surpassed 3,000 deaths from COVID-19, a number that experts have told us falls short of the true COVID-19 death toll in B.C. Dr. Henry’s piece also appears as B.C. is entering its 6th wave, with three of five Lower Mainland wastewater treatment plants showing rising viral concentration on March 28th and COVID-19 hospital admissions in the two largest health authorities (Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health) trending higher.


The Georgia Straight: After B.C. scraps mask mandates, Premier John Horgan describes COVID-19 as "airborne".

March 21, 2022

Yet as recently as last month, Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical officer, Dr. Patricia Daly, insisted that there remains a great debate over airborne COVID-19. This VIHA comment flew in the face of the Lancet paper. It also contradicted what one of the Lancet article authors, University of Colorado Boulder atmospheric chemist Jose-Luis Jimenez, told Protect Our Province B.C. last month. Below, you can see a slide that he presented regarding myths and facts about aerosols.


The Breaker: NDP’s three-headed pandemic review a waste of time, says expert

March 20, 2022

“It’s an exercise in futility,” retired emergency physician Dr. Lyne Filiatrault said in an interview. “It is sham, it’s going to be nothing useful.” Filiatrault is on the steering committee of the Protect Our Province (POP) BC coalition. In March 2003, she helped identify and contain the first case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) at Vancouver General Hospital in a patient who had returned from Hong Kong. She said there needs to be accountability for those in public health who discounted the airborne spread of COVID-19, in favour of so-called “droplet dogma,” and promoted public use of cloth masks instead of N95 respirators.


North Shore News: B.C health officials downplaying airborne transmission of virus, says advocacy group

Feb 15, 2022

2022 B.C. health officials are failing to acknowledge the airborne nature of the virus that causes COVID-19, thus jeopardizing an adequate response to the ongoing pandemic, claims a group of advocates called Protect Our Province (POP). The group, comprising of about a dozen medical doctors, academic researchers and health policy advocates, has highlighted a recent flurry of incidents whereby officials reportedly downplay airborne transmission, which is when the virus is carried by small aerosol particles suspended in air.



The Tyee: Hey, Where’s My Rapid Test?

Feb 7, 2022

Provincial health officials announced an accelerated rollout of rapid tests in December, a year after pilot test programs began in the province. Since then, the number of tests shipped to B.C. by the federal government has doubled. But some say the tests — which add another layer of pandemic protection — should have been embraced sooner, a move they say could have saved lives.


The Georgia Straight: COVID-19 in B.C.: How many deaths will it take 'til he knows that too many people have died?

Jan 22, 2022

From Wednesday to Friday (January 19 to 21) of this week, there was one COVID-19 death every two hours in B.C.

That's according to the daily updates released by the Ministry of Health. But what if there are other deaths that have been caused by the virus but which are not being classified as being due to COVID-19?


The Province: COVID-19: Calls grow for people to switch to N95 masks in B.C.

Jan 4, 2022

VICTORIA — A growing number of health-care experts are demanding the province upgrade to using N95 masks in all health-care settings and are encouraging members of the public to do the same.


CTV News: Does B.C. need another COVID-19 circuit breaker? Here's what doctors are saying

Jan 3, 2022

On Monday, Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, a retired emergency physician who spent years at Vancouver General Hospital, and is part of the group, told CTV News the province has been entirely reactive in its policies since the first wave of the pandemic, and that needs to change because of Omicron’s infectiousness.


Omny FM: BC Planning Enhanced Safety Measures in K to 12 Schools | The Jill Bennett Show | Live Radio |

Dec 28, 2021

British Columbia planning ‘enhanced safety measures’ for in-person return to K to 12, with Jennifer Heighton - Grade 4+5 Teacher in Burnaby


CBC Listen: Protect Our Province B.C. reacts to rise of COVID-19 cases amid Omicron | On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko | Live Radio |

Dec 16, 2021

Physicians say recent remarks about rapid antigen tests from B.C.’s provincial health officer are misleading, inconsistent and completely inaccurate.


CBC Listen: Advocating for rapid tests in B.C. BC Today with Michelle Eliot | Live Radio |

Dec 10, 2021

Physicians say recent remarks about rapid antigen tests from B.C.’s provincial health officer are misleading, inconsistent and completely inaccurate.


CHEK: ‘Show the work’: Doctors skeptical of B.C.'s rapid test strategy, question Henry's rationale

Dec 15, 2021

Physicians say recent remarks about rapid antigen tests from B.C.’s provincial health officer are misleading, inconsistent and completely inaccurate.


Omny.fm: Doctors’ group urging the province to expedite booster shots as Omicron moves in - The Jas Johal Show

Dec 17, 2021

Dr. Lyne Filiatrault, Retired Emergency Physician & Member of Protect Our Province BC joins us and urges the province to move quicker on giving out booster shots, a the Omicron variant spreads 


CBC British Columbia: As more cases of the omicron variant pop up, there are calls to make rapid tests free and readily available in B.C.

Dec 13, 2021

As @jphballard reports, some health experts say it's an added layer of protection, especially around the holidays.


The Tyee: Doctors’ Group Calls for More Rapid Testing in Light of New Variant

Dec 2, 2021

An independent collective of doctors and researchers are calling on British Columbia to ramp up measures to avert yet another variant-driven pandemic wave now that the Omicron variant has reached B.C.

While the province is focusing on the importance of vaccination, the Protect Our Province BC group says more is needed to prevent Omicron — which has hallmark characteristics of being a more transmissible and severe strain — from overwhelming B.C.’s health-care system like Delta did in the fall.


CHEK: ‘Extremely paternalistic’: Doctor derides B.C.’s policy on COVID notifications at post-secondary schools

Dec 1, 2021

A respected doctor and professor of epidemiology says the B.C. government’s decision to discourage post-secondary institutions from issuing exposure notifications is “extremely paternalistic” and unacceptable.


CTV: Pressure growing to change B.C. COVID-19 booster strategy amid Omicron uncertainty

Dec 2, 2021

VANCOUVER - With Alberta announcing adults over age 60 can start booking a COVID-19 booster shot – and Ontario expected to announce a similar move for those over 50 on Thursday – pressure is mounting on B.C. health officials to do the same as concerns over the Omicron variant continue to grow.


CHEK: As the world watches for omicron, an Island Health critical care doctor says hospitals are still overwhelmed from the fourth wave

Dec 1, 2021

Dr. David Forrest, Nanaimo Critical Care Physician tells CHEK about about healthcare worker overwhelm.


Victoria News: B.C. health experts call on province to use COVID rapid tests alongside other health measures

Nov 3, 2021

A group of doctors and health experts that don’t agree with the province’s handling of the pandemic are calling for better use of the expiring supply of B.C.’s rapid antigen tests, in addition to the current vaccine mandates.


In their third news conference on Wednesday (Nov. 3), Protect our Province B.C. said that only 10 per cent of the 3,147,706 rapid antigen tests B.C. received from the federal government have been used so far in the pandemic.


Globe & Mail: BC Doctors' Group Calls on Province to Focus on COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission

Oct 20, 2021

B.C. doctor says the province should focus on improving air flow in buildings, continue strong mask mandates.


CTV: Time for a Change in B.C.'s pandemic strategy? Former SARS Doctor Urges Grassroots Pivot

Oct 20, 2021

VANCOUVER - A respected emergency doctor credited with a pivotal role in B.C.’s avoidance of the SARS epidemic is speaking up, urging health officials to adopt a grassroots approach to health care as the province struggles in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Tyee: Why BC Needs an Independent COVID Science Group

Oct 19, 2021

It’s been 20 months since the World Health Organization first stated that SARS-CoV-2, which causes the illness we all know as COVID-19, was a pandemic. Delta, the newest and most dangerous variant to date, is wreaking havoc on our daily lives, health-care delivery and the economy. It is causing a huge emotional toll on all of us.


CBC: Health professionals dissatisfied with B.C.'s COVID-19 briefings to start hosting their own

Oct 19, 2021

A new organization — Protect Our Province B.C. — is going to start hosting its own regular COVID-19 briefings because of what its members say is a "worrisome lack of science-informed pandemic response" in British Columbia. The group will stream their first live briefing on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. PT. 


CTV: More COVID-19 Press Briefings Coming to B.C. but they Won't Feature Bonnie Henry

Oct 18, 2021

Protect our Province BC says the government should implement several measures to try and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, including effective ventilation and air purification, expanded use of high-quality masks, easy-to-access rapid testing, improved contact tracing, and better exposure notifications.