Last Friday, the Ontario government announced the appointment of nine members of the new Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. The task force, chaired by General (retired) Rick Hillier, former Chief of Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces, will oversee the delivery, storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, confirmed the following individuals will join General Hillier to advise on the planning and execution of the province’s COVID-19 immunization program:
Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s Chief Coroner and Coordinator of Provincial Outbreak Response
Dr. Homer Tien, trauma surgeon and President and CEO, Ornge
Dr. Maxwell Smith, bioethicist and assistant professor, Western University
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases consultant and internist, Toronto General Hospital
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou Nation
Dr. Regis Vaillancourt, Director of Pharmacy and Integrated Pain Services, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar Corporation
Angela Mondou, President and CEO, TECHNATION
Mark Saunders, former Toronto Police Chief
“This is a critical stage in our fight against COVID-19. The task force we have assembled will play a key role in developing and implementing Ontario’s immunization program,” said Minister Elliott. “I am confident that with the collective knowledge, experience and advice from these experts, Ontario will be ready to deliver the vaccines in an ethical, timely and effective manner as soon as they are available.”
“Ontarians can have confidence in the experience and expertise that members of this Task Force bring to this critical mission for our province,” said Solicitor General Jones. “The valuable advice and varied perspectives that will be provided by this group of experts will support the safe and effective implementation of Ontario’s largest immunization program in a century.”
The task force will work in partnership with several ministries to provide the government with diverse expertise in operations and logistics, federal-provincial and Indigenous relations, health and clinical domains, behavioural science, public health and immunization, ethics, and information technology and data.
Beginning immediately, the task force will focus on several key areas, specifically delivery, logistics and administration, clinical guidance as well as public education and outreach. This morning, General Hillier led a successful tabletop exercise on the distribution of the first 100,000 doses. The task force will hold its inaugural meeting at 1 p.m. today to discuss priority populations for receiving the vaccine. Premier Ford will participate in this meeting and, as such, will not hold a press conference this afternoon.
“The safe, secure and successful delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is a huge undertaking,” said General Hillier. “I am honoured that these outstanding individuals with expertise in health, industry and logistics are joining our task force and I look forward to working with them on this important mission.”
General Hillier will be provided secretariat support for his role in overseeing on-the-ground vaccine distribution.