May 6th, 2015

Liberals Lyme ‘action plan’ all talk, no action: NDP MPP Mantha

QUEEN’S PARK — Today MPP Michael Mantha called on the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to provide details of their actions and progress on developing a Lyme Disease Strategy.

“It’s almost six months since my motion calling for a provincial strategy for Lyme disease unanimously passed in this house. The government says they have an ‘action plan’ on Lyme but it appears to be all talk and no action,” Mantha stated.

Lyme disease is a significant and growing health issue across our province.  To date the provincial government does not have a plan, adequate medical testing and treatment, and many health practitioners are not Lyme literate. 

Health Canada predicts that there will be up to 18,000 cases of Lyme per year in Canada by 2020, and Ontario currently has the highest number of cases in the country. Lyme disease is emerging as a public health crisis here and abroad. 

In a joint press conference with the Ontario Lyme Alliance, Veterinarian Dr. Bev Bateman stated: “The 2015 tick season has begun and I have already been pulling ticks off of dogs in my animal clinic in Toronto. Ticks are ‘nature's dirty needles.’ The Canadian healthcare system is sadly lagging behind veterinary medicine in managing tick-borne diseases. Countless numbers of people are very ill due to late-diagnosed and undetected Lyme disease.”

A critical component of Mantha’s motion was consultation with key stakeholders and experts in the field of Lyme treatment. People from across the province traveled to the legislature today support Mantha’s efforts. 

“If the stakeholders that will speak for patients are not consulted, we will get absolutely no changes made to Lyme education, testing and treatment, and patients will continue to suffer,” said Mantha. “The clock is ticking. When will these stakeholders be called together and consulted in order to develop Ontario’s Lyme disease strategy?”