The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) hasn’t held a single COVID-19 briefing since the writ dropped. The Agency won't provide additional in-person health updates until after the federal election.

PHAC provided those weekly updates on the government response to COVID-19 from the onset of the pandemic. Now, the Agency relies on weekly news releases. But that could change, according to Global News.

With the last update on July 30, several medical officials questioned the political nature to prioritize the election campaign. "Daily in-person updates are really important," said Jessica Mudry, chair of the School of Professional Communication, Ryerson University, on Wednesday. "The Public Health Agency of Canada shouldn’t be talking about politics. They should be talking about public health."

She adds they create "a level of confidence" in people and guide them to act accordingly on "doing the right thing in a public crisis."

"It’s one thing to go online and learn about what’s going on, and it’s another thing to hear an esteemed member of the government who has scientific training and works from a position of evidence-based medicine to make announcements and projections or make suggestions about how you should be conducting your life on any given day around COVID-19," added Mudry.

Dr. Peter Juni, the scientific director for Ontario’s COVID-19 science table, echoed Mudry’s sentiments on Wednesday, stating: "I do not think we should compromise now for any political considerations." He said political messaging should not be the current priority, as "I believe we need to absolutely keep the population aboard so that people really just see in a tangible manner what’s actually happening."

"We relate to people, not just to data," said Juni, "Data will be important, but it’s clear that the way we are all built, we actually just want to hear this directly from the horse’s mouth."

PHAC said it continues "to closely monitor COVID-19 activity in Canada." They intend to provide an update on the pandemic on September 3 alongside a written statement by Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer.

"As Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Tam is continuing her weekly CPHO statement, to be issued on Fridays," said the spokesperson. "In addition, Dr. Tam continues to use social media to provide regular information on developments and advice." PHAC said the "decision on how to communicate with Canadians is entirely within [Tam’s] purview."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deflected when asked about the lack of in-person briefings. "Public Health Canada continues its excellent work, and partners across the provinces are doing things to make sure the Canadians stay safe," said Trudeau while campaigning in BC.

He added that PHAC "makes its decisions about how to best communicate in various situations with Canadians" and that they will continue to ensure that Canadians are getting "the information they need to stay safe." PHAC confirmed it will continue to provide information to Canadians about the pandemic response as needed by written statements.

"We’ve seen public health officials across this country, in various provinces, are taking further measures to minimize the impact of this wave of the unvaccinated, we’re seeing right now. But the bottom line is — the way to get through this is — to make sure everyone gets vaccinated," said Trudeau.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole lambasted Trudeau for serving his political ambitions over the public health and safety of Canadians.

"We are in a fourth wave," said O'Toole. "We are only in an election because Mr. Trudeau is putting his political interests ahead of the national interest."

"He [Trudeau] should be transparent with respect to the decisions he took in deciding to cost this election. It’s unacceptable."