NDP Calls for Protest Buffer Zone to Protect Patients and Healthcare Workers

October 8, 2021

Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB - Just weeks after anti-vaccine protestors intimidated patients and healthcare workers outside a Winnipeg hospital, NDP Critic for Justice Nahanni Fontaine introduced a bill that would put a stop to protests outside of healthcare centres.

“Patients and healthcare workers should never have to face intimidation to access services and go to work,” said Fontaine. “But that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago in Winnipeg and across the country. My bill would make sure this never happens again. The PCs need to pass this bill so we can ensure Manitobans can access healthcare safely and healthcare workers can do their jobs without harassment.”

Fontaine’s bill, the “Protest Buffer Zone Act,” would create buffer zones around hospitals as well as COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites. Media reports after the September 1st protest outside Health Science Centre in Winnipeg indicated that patients and staff had trouble accessing the hospital, and some patients were forced to cancel appointments.

Following the anti-vaccine protests outside hospitals across the country, British Columbia and Quebec passed legislation to create buffer zones around hospitals and the Alberta government is amending previous legislation to include a buffer zone around hospitals.

“Access to healthcare is a human right,” said Fontaine. “This bill is about protecting that right for Manitobans and keeping patients and healthcare workers safe and free from harassment.”