Media Release: Statement from Dr. Nicola Mercer on Saturday’s protest

June 5, 2020

June 5, 2020 - Good health should not depend on the colour of your skin or your postal code, but it does for too many people. In the midst of a global pandemic, we can no longer ignore that pandemics of racism and intolerance that exist in our communities. Too many who live with privilege have ignored these realities for far too long.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health stands against anti-Black racism, systemic discrimination, and disenfranchisement. We believe in a community that works to eliminate the barriers that prevent everyone from the opportunity for health and well-being.

People have asked why Saturday’s protest is “allowed” when people have been banned from gatherings larger than five people and have had to avoid visiting members of their families and friends. Balancing protest and public health in this unprecedented time is not easy. The provincial State of Emergency is an important tool in protecting all of us from the spread of COVID-19. The right of people to peaceably assemble is a fundamental part of a free and fair society.

We support the right of people to gather in protest. WDG Public Health along with the City of Guelph and the organizers of the protest have strongly encouraged people to participate virtually. We encourage everyone attending a public protest to do so safely and do everything they can to protect fellow attendees from COVID-19 by wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. If you are attending the protest in person, please self-monitor for the next 14 days. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns you may have been exposed, please get tested right away.


Dr. Nicola Mercer
Medical Officer of Health
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Media contact:

Danny Williamson, Communications Specialist
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4376