Sharing knowledge and commentary on COVID-19 - Updated May 25, 2020

Posted on Thursday, April 2, 2020

As we collectively face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting many of our regular activities on pause, researchers from the Faculty of Law continue to offer valuable insights and commentary on COVID-19 and its effects on our lives.

Collected below are some of these important contributions, including media commentary, op-eds, blogs, and podcasts. This list will be updated as the global COVID-19 discussion develops, so mark this page.

 

RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

 

Media Commentary

Ontario emergency order lacks accountability on data collection, says law professor
Professor Teresa Scassa comments on the lack of transparency or accountability measures in Ontario emergency order for data collection.
Law Times
May 11, 2020


Coronavirus: Can I refuse to go back to work if I feel unsafe?
Professor Katherine Lippel discusses options for workers who feel unsafe returning to work.
Global News
May 8, 2020


Un homme plaide coupable d'avoir enfreint les restrictions de voyages au Nouveau-Brunswic
According to Professor Jennifer Quaid, it is possible that excesses may occur when the police or other officers are given greater powers than usual.
Radio-Canada - ICI Nouveau-Brunswick
May 8, 2020
 

Retracer les individus infectés? Pas question, dit le Bloc
Professor Karen Eltis suggests that the idea of tracking down infected individuals is "attractive in the short term", but the risks of slippage are great, especially in these exceptional times.
La Presse
May 6, 2020
 

Privacy experts support call for national plan for COVID-19 contact tracing app
Professor Teresa Scassa comments on the critical need for a for a national plan for the adoption of contact tracing apps.
Financial Post
May 5, 2020
 

Concerns about low uptake, flawed pandemic data linger as provinces pursue digital contact tracin
Professor Teresa Scassa comments on the challenges of using smartphone data to track the pandemic.
CBC News
April 23, 2020
 

Many provinces, territories enforcing border checkpoints and travel restrictions
Professor Carissima Mathen comments on the constitutionality of travel restrictions between provinces.
CBC News
April 6, 2020
 

‘Essential’ Hill workers told to bring ID, permission slip in wake of Quebec border crackdown
Professor Errol Mendes comments on the constitutionality of Quebec's decision to limit border crossings between Quebec and Ontario.
The Hill Times
April 3, 2020
 

Liberty vs. Security in a Pandemic
Professor Colleen Flood discusses civil liberties and the ability of the government to impose restrictions during a pandemic.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
April 2, 2020
 

Government should be careful in using cellphone data to track COVID-19, advocates say
Professors Michael Geist and Teresa Scassa are quoted on the possibility of the government using cell phone data to track COVID-19, noting that any such collection should be subject to specific limits.
The Hill Times
March 30, 2020


COVID-19: des droits suspendus, « mais pas dans l'absolu »
Civil Law Professors Benoît Pelletier and David Robitaille comment on the fact that certain aspects of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are effectively being suspended during the pandemic crisis.
Le Droit
March 30, 2020


Coronavirus: How is Canada planning to enforce mandatory self-isolation?
Professor Martha Jackman comments on Charter rights and the ability of the government to restrict liberty.
Global News
March 26, 2020
 

COVID-19: John Tory sparks debate on possible use of cellphone data for infection detection
Professors Michael Geist and Michael Wolfson are quoted on the implications of using smartphone data to track the pandemic in real-time.
Financial Post
March 25, 2020
 

Ottawa health unit backs away from idea to mine cell phone locations to gauge distancing
Professor Teresa Scassa comments on public tolerance for being monitored through cell phone data.
Ottawa Citizen
March 24, 2020
 

'An extreme last resort': Police reluctant to ticket, arrest COVID-19 rule-breakers
Professor Martha Jackman comments on Charter rights and the ability of the government to restrict liberty.
CBC News
March 24, 2020
 

Could Canada enforce coronavirus self-isolation? Legal experts say yes
Professor Martha Jackman comments on the government’s capacity to restrict Charter rights in curbing COVID-19 cases.
Global News
March 19, 2020
 

Ethics, the law and a public health emergency
Colleen Flood was interviewed on The Sunday Edition about the ethical, legal and civil liberties aspects of measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19.
CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition
March 14, 2020
 

Op-eds

Not all apps are created equal: privacy and ethics should impact design, adoption of contact tracing tools
Professor Teresa Scassa writes about the increased vulnerability of a population asked to use largely untested and unproven technologies.
The Hill Times
May 6, 2020
 

Does the rush to adopt edtech impact the urgency of protecting privacy?
Professors Jane Bailey and Valerie Steeves discuss the privacy challenges linked to the rapid adoption of new education technology.
CyberSecurED – VoicEd Radio
May 2, 2020
 

Attention à la surveillance technologique généralisée
Professor Céline Castets-Renard has co-authored an opinion piece on the challenges related to using smart phone data to track the COVID-19 pandemic.
Le Devoir
April 25, 2020
 

Weapons used to battle COVID-19 are also laying siege to freedoms
Professor Errol Mendes writes about the possibility that tools used to fight the pandemic could also be used to permanently undermine democratic civil liberties.
CBC News
April 24, 2020


Having a Beer in the Driveway and the Rule of Law: Responding to COVID-19
Dean Adam Dodek discusses the Rule of Law and the limits of public authority.
Slaw
April 22, 2020
 

Children’s privacy is at risk with rapid shifts to online schooling under coronavirus
Professor Jane Bailey is the co-author of an article discussing children's privacy as schools use technological solutions to ensure continuity in students' education.
The Conversation
April 21, 2020 
 

Privacy rights should drive our approach to using personal data during pandemic
Professor Teresa Scassa calls for a measured, rights-based approach to using data about people to track COVID-19.
Policy Options
April 9, 2020
 

What are the rights and responsibilities of healthcare providers in a pandemic
Professor Vanessa Gruben and doctoral student Alicia Czarnowski write about the rights, duties and obligations of healthcare professionals and their governments in a pandemic.
Policy Options
April 1, 2020
 

Canada should ensure cellphone tracking to counter the spread of coronavirus does not become the new normal
Professor Michael Geist explores the challenges of balancing public health concerns with fundamental privacy rights.
The Globe and Mail
March 22, 2020
 

Blogs

Private sector data, privacy and the pandemic
Professor Teresa Scassa has authored a blog entry about the role of data in managing the pandemic crisis.
March 24, 2020
 

Podcasts

Data in the time of COVID-19
When will Ontario start lifting restrictions on the economy? When the data tell us it's safe to do so, officials say. Professor Teresa Scassa addresses this topic.
TVO podcast #onpoli
April 21, 2020

 

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSES

 

Media Commentary

Le français et la COVID-19
Professor François Larocque discusses how COVID-19 has revealed significant shortcomings in Canada’s language rights laws.
ici.radio-canada.ca
May 23, 2020


2016 report warned about public health data reporting problems Canada is facing with COVID-19
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the lack of consistent data about the coronavirus across the country.
National Post
May 21, 2020


Economic Stimulus with Renewable Energy?
Professor Stewart Elgie discusses how to stimulate a smart, post-COVID economic recovery.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
May 20, 2020
 

Quebec’s Ottawa-Gatineau checkpoints ‘added anxiety’ for constituents, says MP, as experts question legality
Professor Errol Mendes comments on the constitutionality of Quebec's decision to limit border crossings between Quebec and Ontario.
The Hill Times
May 11, 2020
 

Canada’s labs can now test 60,000 COVID-19 cases per day. But do we need to?
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the lack of guidance to coordinate lab-testing across the country.
The Toronto Star
May 7, 2020
 

'Definitely not ready for it, not even close:' uOttawa law and medicine prof on reopening cities
Professor Amir Attaran comments on plans to reopen cities in Canada.
Ottawamatters.com
May 4, 2020
 

Ontario has struggled with COVID-19 data and testing. Places that mastered both are now lifting lockdowns
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the benefits of using data to track the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Toronto Star
April 24, 2020
 

Un Parlement virtuel, possible ou non?
Professor Benoit Pelletier addresses how parliamentarians can continue to work during the pandemic.
Le Droit
April 24, 2020
 

Building green economic recovery for Canada post-pandemic
Professor Stewart Elgie discusses how to stimulate a smart, post-COVID economic recovery
All in a Day – CBC Radio, Ottawa
April 22, 2020
 

COVID-19 numbers are likely to be far higher than Ottawa predicts, researchers say
A study by Professor Amir Attaran and other researchers explores the possibility that a large portion of the population could still fall ill.
Toronto Star
April 14, 2020
 

Feds partly responsible for treatment of asylum seekers turned back at Canadian-U.S. border, say refugee advocates
Professor Jamie Liew suggests that even in the midst of the pandemic crisis, Canada cannot turn its back on its human rights obligations to asylum seekers.
The Hill Times
April 6, 2020
 

Is Canada bad at sharing public data? COVID-19 rekindles an old debate
Professor Amir Attaran comments on Canada's culture of secrecy, which is now amplified during the pandemic.
CBC News
April 4, 2020
 

'Shocking' and 'indefensible': Feds should release national COVID-19 modelling information, experts say
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the government's decision to keep secret certain projections that model the COVID-19 outbreak.
National Post
April 2, 2020
 

Freedom-of-information requests shunted to sidelines during virus crisis
Professor Teresa Scassa comments on delays in responses to freedom-of-information requests as government agencies deal with strained resources.
National Post
March 26, 2020
 

ANALYSIS:  Expect Ottawa to declare national COVID-19 emergency only when premiers want one
Professor Craig Forcese comments on what defines a national emergency.
Global News
March 23, 2020
 

How did we miss the COVID-19 outbreak and what are we missing now?
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the need for a reassessment of how our early warning systems work when new viruses emerge.
iPolitics
March 23, 2020
 

Op-eds

Canada's pandemic plans must guard against the rise of racisim
Professor Jamie Liew questions whether protective measures also promote the stigmatization of racialized Canadians, temporary workers and asylum seekers.
Policy Options
May 13, 2020


Coronavirus: Importing products without bilingual labels endangers francophones
Professors François Larocque and Linda Cardinal write about Health Canada suspending official languages rules on bilingual labelling in an effort to speed up the importation of certain disinfectant and cleaning products.
The Conversation
May 11, 2020
 

Le français, autre victime de la Covid-19 au Canada
Professors François Larocque and Linda Cardinal address the question of labeling and signage in French in the context of emergency measures.
The Conversation
May 5, 2020
 

Le français devient-il optionnel en temps de pandémie ?
Professor Linda Cardinal and Professor François Larocque discuss the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed significant shortcomings in terms of language rights, which ultimately compromise the integrity of measures taken to respond to the crisis.
La Presse
May 1, 2020
 

Ontario's Safe Streets Act will cost lives amid the coronavirus pandemic
Professors Suzanne Bouclin, Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Joe Hermer and Bill O'Grady write about the consequences of police enforcing the Safe Streets Act during the pandemic.
The Conversation
April 23, 2020
 

What Canada's COVID-19 economic stimulus plan should look like when it comes
Professor Stewart Elgie provides three lessons for stimulating a smart, post-COVID economic recovery.
MacLean's
April 14, 2020
 

Is it constitutional to screen Canadians trying to board flights home?
Professors Yves Le Bouthillier and Delphine Nakache write about the federal government's obligation under the Canadian Charter to ensure that even citizens with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 can return home.
Policy Options
April 7, 2020
 

How invoking the Emergencies Act could help Canada better track, contain COVID-19
Professors Colleen Flood and Teresa Scassa, along with Dr. David Robertson, write about the unprecedented implications of the federal government invoking the Emergencies Act.
CBC News
March 27, 2020
 

Border closures may not be legal and won’t stop spread of COVID-19
Professors Y.Y. Chen and Jamie Liew discuss how Canada’s border closure contravenes the International Health Regulations.
The Toronto Star
March 19, 2020
 

Leaving no one behind with COVID-19
Professor Katherine Lippel of the Droit civil Section comments on the need for governments to act to safeguard workers.
The Toronto Star
March 17, 2020
 

In the face of COVID-19, we must understand Canada’s lockdown powers
Professors Colleen Flood and Bryan Thomas discuss the scope of the emergency powers of our federal and provincial governments.
The Globe and Mail
March 16, 2020
 

Blogs

Emergency Economic Powers in Canada: Bill C-13’s Crown Corporation
Professor Paul Daly’s blog, Administrative Law Matters, features an entry on the considerable increase in spending by governments in response to the pandemic.
April 1, 2020
 

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Proportionality: A Framework
Professor Paul Daly’s blog, Administrative Law Matters, features an entry on the scope of the government’s responses to the pandemic.
March 31, 2020
 

Emergency Taxation Legislation: The Constitutional Framework
Professor Paul Daly’s blog, Administrative Law Matters, features an entry on the government’s ability to modify taxes.
March 24, 2020
 

Some Notes on Emergency Legislation
Professor Paul Daly’s blog, Administrative Law Matters, features an entry on laws passed in emergency situations.
March 15, 2020
 

Podcasts

Do we have the data we need to reopen Canada? One epidemiologist says we better get serious, fast
Professor Amir Attaran discusses the possibility that governments will ease restrictions too soon.
This Matters, Toronto Star
April 23, 2020
 

An Emergency Podcast on Emergency Law
Professor Craig Forcese’s A Podcast Called Intrepid, Episode 121, discusses a range of actual and possible legal responses to COVID-19.
March 19, 2020

 

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSES

 

Media Commentary

Did the WHO mishandle the global coronavirus pandemic?
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the WHO's record of succumbing to diplomatic pressure.
CBC News
April 30, 2020
 

The what, how and why of reforming the WHO
Professor Amir Attaran was interviewed on The Sunday Edition on the challenges of reforming the World Health Organization.
CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition
April 26, 2020
 

W.H.O., Now Trump’s Scapegoat, Warned About Coronavirus Early and Often
Professor Amir Attaran comments on President Trump's decision to cut off funding to the World Health Organization.
The New York Times
April 16, 2020
 

Opinion: Olympic leaders misguided in setting new date for Tokyo Games
Professor Amir Attaran suggests the IOC would be premature in committing to a new date for the Summer Olympics.
USA Today
March 30, 2020
 

Trump Wants U.S. ‘Opened Up’ by Easter, Despite Health Officials’ Warnings
Professor Amir Attaran comments on the possible consequences of Donald Trump’s desire to reopen the U.S. for business by April 12.
The New York Times
March 24, 2020
 

Op-eds

China was in violation of International Health Regulations. What do we do now?
Professor Errol Mendes discusses accountability for the human toll and economic devastation wrought by COVID-19.
Maclean's
May 3, 2020
 

Blogs

Africa and COVID-19: A blog by Professor Chidi Oguamanam
Professor Chidi Oguamanam has authored a blog entry about Africa’s vulnerability amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 27, 2020
 

Podcasts

Professor Michael Geist’s The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 44 features Michael Birnhack on Israel’s use of cellphone tracking to combat the spread of coronavirus
March 23, 2020

 

ADJUSTING TO NEW RESTRICTIONS

 

Media Commentary

'There is no going back': How COVID-19 forced courts into the digital age
Professor Karen Eltis discusses the fact that the pandemic is the perfect occasion to modernize the justice system.
Ottawa Citizen
May 16, 2020
 

La pandémie révèle le retard technologique de la justice
Professor Karen Eltis discusses the fact that the pandemic is the perfect occasion to modernize the justice system.
Le Droit
May 4, 2020
 

The future of long-term care homes
Professor Colleen Flood comments on the challenges facing long-term care homes during the COVID crisis.
CBC Ottawa Morning
April 17, 2020
 

Internet users may face higher prices, fewer options in COVID-19 fallout
Professor Michael Geist comments on the possible consequences if independent internet providers are forced to close.
The Globe and Mail
April 14, 2020
 

How to protect your privacy and personal data while using Zoom
Professor Karen Eltis of the Civil Law Section comments on how vulnerable we've become through our dependence on technology.
CTV News
April 1, 2020
 

Legal casebook publisher offering students free access to ebooks in wake of COVID-19
Dean Adam Dodek applauds Emond Publishing’s decision to offer free resources to law students.
Canadian Lawyer Magazine
March 24, 2020
 

Op-eds

After the tech-lash: new digital policy priorities in the post-pandemic world
Professor Michael Geist discusses how the pandemic is likely to reorient the way we look at the tech sector.
The Globe and Mail
May 5, 2020
 

COVID-19 disruption reveals challenges in our meat supply
Professor Sarah Berger Richardson of the Civil Law Section writes about a possible disruption in the meat supply as a result of the pandemic
Toronto Star
April 13, 2020
 

What does the COVID-19 endgame look like? Five simple steps
Professor Amir Attaran explains the science of COVID-19 for the uninitiated, including the impact of social distancing, quarantine, etc.
Maclean's
March 27, 2020
 

Rolling out a remote teaching plan on the fly
Professor Anne Levesque offers advice to law professors replacing in-person classes with virtual ones.
CBA/ABC National
March 23, 2020
 

COVID-19 : voici comment les profs peuvent enseigner à distance
Professor Anne Levesque offers advice to law professors replacing in-person classes with virtual ones.
Le Droit
March 22, 2020
 

Podcasts

Professor Michael Geist’s The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 43 features Heather Joseph on the Coronavirus and the Urgent Need for Open Access to Research Publications
March 16, 2020

 

DIVERSE TOPICS


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