Preston Manning. Photo Manning Centre/Jake Wright

Preston Manning to head panel reviewing Alberta’s COVID-19 response

The Government of Alberta is working to establish a panel that will review the province’s COVID-19 response and examine how to respond to future public health emergencies.

According to a release, as part of the review, the province will invite the public and experts to share their views on how to respond to future health emergencies while mitigating impacts on the social well-being, mental health, civil liberties and livelihoods of Albertans.

“There are valuable lessons we learned from the Alberta government’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” said premier Danielle Smith in a press release.

“It’s important that we apply those lessons to strengthen our management of future public health crises, and the panel’s recommendations will be key in doing so.”

Preston Manning, 80, former leader of the Reform Party of Canada, will head the panel. Manning as chair, will make $253,000 and the budget for the panel is $2 million. Manning will make recommendations to the Premier as to the final membership of the panel in the coming months. The panel will provide its final report and recommendations to the government by Nov. 15.

“It’s crucial that we take the opportunity to review the province’s COVID-19 response and examine whether and how that approach can be improved in future health emergencies,” Manning said.

“I look forward to working with my fellow panelists and hearing from Albertans about how the province can best achieve this objective.”

According to the release, reviewing applicable legislation and governance practices, the panel will consider and balance various factors in the overall context of a public health emergency, including:

-general public health and health information

-mental health and wellness

-child and student health, mental health and education

-health professionals’ practice standards

-effective implementation of emergency measures

-protection of rights and freedoms

-economic and financial effects

-employment standards

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