VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – On June 6, the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) ⎯ with the support of 47 other community organizations ⎯ sent a letter to Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, requesting a meeting and calling for the immediate creation of emergency financial and housing supports and wrap-around services for people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox infection. As of today, CBRC has yet to receive a formal response from the Minister of Health.
The recent transmission of monkeypox in Canada poses an urgent public health threat. As of June 16, there are now over 150 confirmed cases and dozens of suspected cases of monkeypox in Canada, largely among gay, bisexual and queer (GBQ) men. While it is encouraging to see increasing community and public health education on monkeypox, as well as vaccination campaigns rolling out for those who are most vulnerable, the lack of attention to financial and housing needs among people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox is concerning.
One of the key lessons from COVID-19 has been that adequate financial, housing, and related supports are necessary to ensure that people are able to follow public health guidelines like isolation. When it comes to monkeypox, people with confirmed cases are required to self-isolate in their home until their skin symptoms completely heal, which can take up to 3-4 weeks or more. This means people with confirmed or suspected infections will not be able to work in-person or enter public spaces, and for many of these individuals, following this public health directive means not being able to pay for rent, food, or medications.
The letter calls on the federal government to implement two recommendations to support people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox: emergency financial support, as well as additional wrap-around services (e.g. food and/or medication delivery) from community-based and frontline service organizations. It is critical that these interventions are swiftly implemented and that they are as low-barrier as possible to ensure that people who need to be isolated due to monkeypox are able to do so.
However, with no response from the Minister, CBRC has decided to go public with these recommendations in the hopes that added pressure might inspire the government to respond and address these concerns. Since sending the letter, an additional 19 organizations have added their support for a total of 68 endorsements. Organizations interested in supporting this call are encouraged to send a brief email to [email protected].
CBRC will continue to advocate for the establishment of emergency supports, as well as funding to frontline and community-based organizations serving GBQ men, and broader 2SLGBTQ+
communities who may also be impacted by monkeypox. It is critical that the community sector is well-resourced to respond to the education and support needs faced by people and communities most affected.
For interviews, please contact:
CBRC’s Media Relations Officer
CBRC’s Associate Director, Communications