The acting medical officer of health for Ontario's Haldimand—Norfolk Health Unit, Dr. Matt Strauss, is suing the head of Queen's University's department of medicine over toxic workplace allegations.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Strauss was a faculty member at Queen's University and a critical care physician at Kingston General Hospital. His work was overseen by the head of the department of medicine at Queen’s University, Dr. Stephen Archer.
The statement of claim alleges that Strauss faced “malicious, condescending, aggressive and defamatory” comments within the workplace that caused him to “endure significant stress.” Strauss further alleges that his medical licence and hospital privileges were being threatened, should he continue to express concerns around the COVID-19 response. The toxicity of the work environment was so great that Strauss resigned from his university position as a result.
In the October 20 statement of claim, Strauss is seeking $600,000 in damages as well as lost wages and benefits.
By the summer of 2020, Strauss had sat down with now-former MPP Randy Hillier to discuss the scientific fallacy of indiscriminate lockdowns. He advocated for a focused and mitigated approach, in contrast to the suppressive full societal lockdown that local, provincial and federal governments were implementing.
Strauss committed thought-crime of being skeptical of the government’s COVID-19 response plans, using discernment and data to make informed assessments that he did not shy away from sharing.
He used logic and rationale to question why mandates and lockdowns were being used on a rotational basis while building more hospital capacity was continually ignored.
As recently as September, Strauss kept calm and collected in the face of COVID-hysteria when his colleague Dr. Kaplan-Myrth called anyone wanting a return to normal a “far right, anti-mask, anti-vax ableists.”
When the CBC reported on the lawsuit, Strauss sent out a statement on Twitter saying that he wishes for the proceeding to remain between the parties involved and will therefore not be providing comment on the case.
Strauss remains a “firm believer in academic freedom, particularly on matters of significant public interest” and will “continue to advocate for this principle in my public commentary.”