TORONTO, ON – Ontario premier Doug Ford announced this week the province is ending the wastewater surveillance program that gained widespread praise during the COVID-19 pandemic for providing vital health data.

The $15-million program is scheduled to end on July 31, 2024.

In a statement, the Ford government said the program was being cancelled to avoid duplicity with the federal wastewater surveillance program.

Many researchers have expressed concern and disappointment over the move, citing that the program became one of the world’s leading and largest programs monitoring the spread of infectious diseases through wastewater. At a time when COVID-19 is once again gaining momentum, and other diseases like H5N1 avian influenza are also increasing, detailed health information the program provides is needed.

“The COVID-19 wastewater surveillance program has become a vital tool for tracking infectious disease threats in Ontario – not only Covid, but also influenza, RSV, polio and others,” said Mike Schreiner, leader of Ontario’s Green Party. “I join the many doctors and medical experts calling on the government to preserve funding for the wastewater testing program so that we can continue to benefit from the many insights it offers.”

Last fall the Ontario Public Health Emergency Scientific Advisory Committee, which was set up by the province to advise the chief medical officer of health, urged the province to continue, or even expand, wastewater surveillance, saying it has played a critical role in Ontario as an early warning signal of emergence of a pathogen or pathogen-related variants of concern.


Please enter your name here
Please enter your comment!