Defence Minister Anita Anand, an Oakville MP, self-isolating after staffer gets COVID-19


Published December 15, 2021 at 10:38 pm

Oakville MP Anita Anand has been named the new president of the Treasury Board after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet on Wednesday. FILE PHOTO

Anita Anand, the federal Liberal defence minister who is Oakville’s member of Parliament, is self-isolating after one her staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Perhaps notably, Anand said the staff member initially discovered they had COVID-19 by using a rapid antigen test (RAT). The availability of the tests in Ontario has become a contentious issue. For instance, some school boards are providing them to students but not to teachers per Ministry of Education policy, while others have paid extra to give them to teachers. Until recently, many Ontario residents could only get an RAT by paying $40 at a pharmacy.

With Omicron rapidly becoming the dominant variant in Ontario, the provincial government has begun holding pop-up rapid testing centres, where people can pick up a package of RATs. There were also reports that RATs will be made available for free at over 650 LCBO stores across the province.

A PCR test confirmed Anand’s staffer had the virus.

“I have received two negative test results since then,” Anand said on social media.

Anand decided to postpone a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Instead, they met virtually.

“I have and will continue to self-isolate while following public health guidance to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” she said.

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Tuesday that two of her staffers tested positive for COVID-19 after having RATs. Freeland gave a fiscal update virtually, while stating she had tested negative for COVID-19.

A party official told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that Liberal MPs have been informed that they are to abide by the public health advice and avoid non-essential international travel. That request has also been made of all Canadians as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads.

The New Democratic Party’s MPs have also been told to stay home, but the opposition Conservative Party of Canada has said MPs are free to travel internationally.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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