PRESS RELEASE: Manning panel dangerously ignores lessons of COVID-19: McGowan


“Workers will be in peril if Manning’s recommendations are implemented.”

EDMONTON – Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan made the following statement in response to the Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel’s report, led by Preston Manning:

“This panel could not have gotten the last four years of history more wrong. The report misses most of the key lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government’s failure to protect workers, despite having spent $2 million of government funds.

“This pandemic taught us the need to listen to science instead of politicians when it comes to our health. This is necessary even when scientists say things the United Conservative Party doesn’t want to hear. That includes when they’d rather elevate pseudo-scientists, such as those who hawked horse-deworming treatments a few years ago.

“In the face of an alarming health care staff shortage, this report will only make things more deadly for workers. The report sets the stage for a dangerous collapse of our emergency services and disrespect for health care workers and the expertise they bring in that sector.

“COVID-19 hasn’t disappeared in our workplaces. It still endangers tens of thousands of Albertans, and it continues to impact those who are suffering through Long COVID.

“This panel and the government should be focused on infrastructure that can reduce risk and exposure, such as ventilation and air quality monitors in schools to protect teachers and students or masking in health facilities when warranted to protect health care staff.

“Thousands of Albertans died from COVID-19 and thousands more have permanent and persistent injuries, many of whom got the illness at work. Thousands more would have died or been injured if Danielle Smith’s policies been in place during the pandemic. Alberta workers deserve better.”


John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL