Ontario Premier Doug Ford was in disbelief on Wednesday when questioned about the federal government’s plan to immediately vaccinate dangerous criminals in federal prisons ahead of long-term care residents, staff and other vulnerable populations.
“Well when I first heard it I didn’t believe it, I had to get my team to double check that they had the information right because what I understand is you’re giving the most dangerous criminals in the entire country … How do you square this? How do you put them ahead of long-term care patients? How do you put them in front of all of those vulnerable and we’re scraping every vaccine we can get?” said Ford.
“I imagine whoever the minister is in charge of that has dropped the ball majorly. Let’s not give the most dangerous criminals in our country [the vaccine] before we give it to our long-term care patients, the most vulnerable and other elderly people.”
According to the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO), at least 600 inmates will be getting two doses of the coronavirus vaccine as part of Canada’s initial vaccination roll out.
“People are very close together in there, our members are going to work in there every single day. They need to be protected,” said UCCO national president Jeff Wilkins.
A total of five prisons will be included in the pilot vaccination program.
“We have worked very closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada to respond to every aspect of the pandemic, including the provision of vaccines to inmates,” wrote Correctional Services Canada in a statement.
On Tuesday evening, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole also tweeted in opposition to the plan saying that “Not one criminal should be vaccinated ahead of any vulnerable Canadian or frontline health worker.”