The following letter was read by the Clerk during Public Question Period at last night's Owen Sound council meeting.

Mayor Ian Boddy said "I don't think this letter should be here...I want this to go away until the end of Covid so that everyone who should be focussing on helping people can focus on helping people, and that we don't undermine public confidence in the Health Board, and especially front-line staff...".

No action was taken.

Dear Councillors,

As you are all aware, we are at a critical juncture in our ability to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect our residents. As a collective, we appreciate your continued commitment and tireless work to support constituents during this difficult time.

As a Board, we have grave concerns about a series of misleading assertions being presented by Councillor John Tamming. We worry that these messages, if not addressed by Council, are undermining confidence in public health directives and inhibit our ability to provide vital information to constituents.

With this behaviour, Mr. Tamming has stepped outside the rules of decency, reducing overall confidence in the Health Unit as the leading agency for the management of the COVID-19 emergency.

We see this as a contributing factor to recent belligerence being directed at our employees and the diminished compliance by the public to undertake important measures needed to lessen the spread of COVID-19. The consequence is an increase in case counts in the region. This comes after a sustained period of commitment and diligence by the community that kept cases, and deaths, to minimal levels.

An equally important effect of Mr. Tamming’s ongoing engagement is the diversion of already hardpressed public health staff time and resources to deal with the matters he continues to raise. While we are committed to answering any questions we receive from constituents or Councillors, his repetitive, antagonistic use of inquiries has taken time and resources away from the more critical issue of preventing transmission.

We trust the Council can recognize the seriousness of the matters we bring to your attention. We appreciate all of your support to date and would welcome any additional measures that could be taken to mitigate the harm perpetrated by this individual, and to help us maintain trusted relationships with constituents as we address the monumental public health threat ahead of us.

We are asking for your assistance in correcting the public record and undoing the damage Mr. Tamming has caused to the public’s confidence in our Health Unit.

As a Council, can you support the efforts of the Grey Bruce Health Unit to combat COVID-19 and will you work to ensure that Councillors do not take advantage of their important elected position to divert attention from the fundamental goal of combatting the greatest public health crisis in a century posed by COVID-19?

We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.


Sue Paterson
Chair, Grey Bruce Health Unit Board of Directors


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