Ontario doctor accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation barred from providing vaccine, mask exemptions

Ontario’s medical regulator has barred a family doctor from providing exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines and face masks, alleging that he has deliberately spread misinformation about the ongoing pandemic.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says that Dr. Patrick Phillips — who is based in the rural community of Englehart, about 45 kilometres south of Kirkland Lake — is “incompetent” and that he has engaged in “disgraceful, dishonourable” conduct.

The college said the allegations against Phillips have been referred to its disciplinary tribunal. A hearing date has not been set.

The allegations are, at least in part, connected to Phillips’s statements on social media, where he has a sizeable presence. Nearly 40,000 users follow him on Twitter.

“This includes but is not limited to making misleading, incorrect or inflammatory statements about vaccinations, treatments and public health measures for COVID-19,” the college said in an email.

In a series of tweets on Sept. 25, for example, Phillips drew a comparison between pandemic-related public health measures and the treatment of people with disabilities in Nazi Germany.

He has also called Ontario’s vaccine certificate system, which came into effect last week, “illegal” and claimed it will be used to “deny medical care, food, banking and shelter” to unvaccinated people.

Phillips has refused to co-operate with the investigation into his comments and opted not to “comply with our remedial efforts,” the college added.

In addition to barring Phillips from providing exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines and face masks, the college has restricted him from:

  • Providing exemptions for COVID-19 testing.
  • Prescribing ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine that is the subject of unproven claims that it can be used to treat COVID-19.
  • Prescribing fluvoxamine, an anti-depressant, and atorvastatin, a medication primarily used to prevent cardiovascular disease, in relation to COVID-19.

CBC News has attempted to reach Phillips for comment via his Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

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