Health inspectors in Alberta are facing increasing harassment, threats and hostility

Edmonton-As the pandemic continues, public health inspectors are suffering more and more hostility as they carry out their work.

Workers responsible for protecting Albertans and ensuring compliance with public health orders increasingly need to worry about their own safety-on or off work.

Many people say they have become targets of threats, harassment and online bullying.

Meaghen Allen, a member of the Alberta branch of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI), told CTV News Edmonton that the role of inspectors is not only to protect the health of Albertans, but also to protect their own personal safety.

Allen said: “We have posted public and private information on social media and have been threatened,” Allen is responsible for managing a team of 17 inspectors of Alberta Health Services (AHS) in the Edmonton area. .

“This is just a few interactions between us, but it’s frustrating.

She added: “The members of the province have encountered problems.”

To protect the safety of public health inspectors, CIPHI removed the names of its members from its website.

read more: Alberta medical service vehicles “sprinkle eggs”, Edmonton office painted with graffiti

Allen added: “A few people will see more anger.”

People are tired. They suffer from COVID fatigue, so as more restrictions emerge, there is more anger. “

An example is the far-right Calgary mayor candidate Kevin J. Johnston (Kevin J. Johnston).

On Friday, the Alberta Court of the Queen’s Court of Alberta (AHS) issued a restraining order to Johnson on the grounds that Johnson threatened to harm his employees.

Timothy Caulfield, an expert on health law and public health policy at the University of Alberta, said frustration with enforcing health restrictions is becoming a bigger problem.

He said in an interview: “You have seen this erosion of trust happened in the past year.” “At the beginning of the pandemic, we were celebrating public health officials, and now we are in a very different place. The place.

“It does indeed look like various public health officials. They are facing increasing frustration and anger, which is very disappointing… (because) these people take protecting the public as their mission and their goal.”

According to Caulfield, some of the reasons for the decline in public trust are the dissemination of misinformation, the lack of communication on the value of public health measures, and the inconsistent information about restrictive demand.

Caulfield said: “When politicians and public officials fuel this view, it doesn’t help.”

“In Alberta and Ontario, if you believe the statistics, you will see public health officials feel more frustrated.

“In Atlantic Canada, you will see more confidence.”

For Caulfield, data on trends in Canadian public trust underscore the value of maintaining a consistent public health direction throughout the pandemic.

“We need to apply these rules consistently, we need to figure out why these rules are made, and we need to discuss the evidence supporting them.”

AHS said in a statement to CTV News Edmonton that it has strengthened the training of inspectors and ensured that the police accompany the inspectors when surveillance operations take place.

AHS said: “Since the pandemic began, the demands on our team have increased significantly.” “Our inspectors are often the target of harassment, threats and accusations, and they are disrespected in performing their duties.”

AHS also created a peer support group for inspectors and said it is continuing to find ways to further protect officials.

AHS added: “Such harassment and behavior will never and will not be accepted.” We will always support and protect our employees. “

File with Touria Izri of CTV News Edmonton

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