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The following letter was sent from the Northern Ontario Libertarian Caucus to the 6 municipal representatives on the board of health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, regarding the orders to close snowmobile trails, and outdoor skating rinks.  

The Northern Ontario Libertarian Caucus has been asking for clarification of the orders Dr. Chirico has put in place closing snowmobile trails and outdoor rinks.  As of Feb 11th, the Health Unit has refused to provide answers.  When asked to cite the specific provision within a specific act or regulation under which Dr. Chirico has the authority to close trails and outdoor rinks, the Health Unit has only responded with: "On behalf of the Dr. Chirico, no further clarification will be provided pertaining to the authority of the Medical Officer of Health."

The letter below requests that the 6 elected officials on the board respond indicating whether they support Dr Chirico's refusal to provide the authority under which he made the orders. It also requests that those elected officials contact Dr. Chirico to ask him to rescind the decision to close snowmobile trails and outdoor rinks so that residents in the region are not deprived of their Family Day weekend activities, or otherwise encouraged to travel to other regions where those activities can be enjoyed.  

Dear Board Members,

I am writing to you directly because you are a director of the Board of Health for North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, and also a municipally elected representative in your area.  

You may or may not be aware that I have been attempting to ask questions of the Health unit and Dr. Chirico's orders to close the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and sliding hills within the Health Unit region.  I have asked for the specific provision, within the specific act to be identified which gives Mr. Chirico that authority.  I have asked for a copy of the actual order that was issued. The answer I have been given, on more than one occasion, is that "no further clarification will be provided pertaining to the authority of the Medical Officer of Health."

I have also contacted the Ontario Ombudsman's Office about the conduct of the Health Unit with regards to this matter, and I have been directed to contact the Board of Health, and elected municipal officials.  

I am asking you to respond to me and indicate the following by Friday Feb 12th.  I am requesting this of you as a municipal elected representative, and I plan to share your responses (or non responses) publicly.

1.  Do you support Dr. Chirico/the Health Unit in their refusal to provide clarification to citizens pertaining to the authority of the Medical Officer of Health?  Please answer yes or no.  (Although if you have additional comments regarding this, they are still appreciated) 

2.  Do you support Dr. Chirico in his order to deprive citizens of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit region of being able to snowmobile on trails, use outdoor rinks and sliding hills over the Family Day holiday weekend? When you answer this question, I want you to consider that voters in all of the surrounding regions will be "allowed" to use these amenities over this same time.  

The general public deserves to know where you stand on this issue.  While Dr. Chirico is apparently not accountable to citizens, each of you are, in your capacity as elected representatives.  

I am urging each of you, personally, to contact Dr. Chirico and ask him to rescind the decision to deprive citizens(voters) in this region of those activities immediately.  Mr. Chirico has not provided the data to justify his decision, nor has he shown that he has the authority.  Other regions have stated that they would require more data before they would consider making the same orders in their region.  Give voters in your area their Family Day Weekend back.  If you fail to do this, it would seem that you will be encouraging travel outside of the region over the coming Family Day Weekend so that citizens may enjoy those amenities elsewhere.  As an elected official, your re-election hangs in the balance with this decision.  

I urge you to share this letter with the citizen and provincial appointees of the Board of Health as well.  I would also appreciate hearing from them on this matter.  

Thank you for your time in responding to this.  If you require any further clarification, I can be reached by responding to this email.

Dave Lewington


February 17, 2021

Letters to the Editor