The Democracy Fund announces the formal withdrawal of charges by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario against Dr. Jean Marc Benoit for allegedly making posts on X during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TORONTO: The Democracy Fund (TDF) announces that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) today formally withdrew charges against Dr. Jean Marc Benoit, which alleged that his posts on X (formerly Twitter) during the COVID-19 pandemic were “disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.”
Dr. Benoit is a family and emergency physician who works in various clinical and hospital settings. During his career, he has assumed leadership roles, including appointments as Acting Chief of Staff and President of the Medical Staff Association at the Brantford General Hospital. Dr. Benoit also has academic and research interests and has been published in peer-reviewed medical literature.
During the early days of the declared pandemic, Dr. Benoit followed the latest data and stayed on top of COVID-19 developments. He was proactive in engaging with officials, from the hospital level through to government, asking them to employ best practices in pandemic management.
He later moved his commentary to X, primarily posting about inadequate data, lockdown harms, conflicts of interest, treatment alternatives, and VAERS data (vaccine injuries). Ultimately, his posts became critical of the public health response and its adverse impacts on patients and the general public. This was contrary to a statement issued by the CPSO to all physicians, which cautioned them to align their opinions with governments’ public health policies. In its Notice of Hearing, sending his case to the disciplinary tribunal, the CPSO accused Dr. Benoit of making “misleading, incorrect or inflammatory statements about vaccinations, treatments and public health measures for COVID-19.”
Dr. Benoit places a high value on individual rights and on the sanctity of life, as well as scientific accuracy, and was deeply troubled by how quickly our society became swept up in the belief that everyone had to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of their personal risk profile, whether they had natural immunity, and the fact that the shots did not stop the transmission of infection. Physicians like Dr. Benoit, who publicly questioned vaccine mandates or lockdowns, were often subject to public complaints and investigations by their regulators.
Indeed, Dr. Benoit had an unblemished discipline record before he came to the CPSO’s attention in the spring of 2021, following complaints by two other physicians (whose names were not disclosed to him), prompting an investigation.
The matter had been scheduled for a 5-day hearing, but instead concluded with a short appearance today, as Dr. Benoit pleaded “no contest” to failing to respond to a College communication, receiving a reprimand, and the CPSO formally withdrew the balance of the allegations. Dr. Benoit was represented by lawyer Lisa Bildy of Libertas Law, with the support of TDF.
“While many physicians had concerns about novel and potentially harmful public health measures, few were willing to risk the severe financial and professional consequences of speaking up, which led to an illusion of consensus,” said Bildy. “Some, like Dr. Benoit and Dr. Gill, continued their public advocacy in spite of the risk. Thanks to TDF, they were able to present an appropriate defence of their positions with their regulator, which resulted in the withdrawal of some or all of the allegations against them.”
As Dr. Benoit stated, “I respect that the CPSO must respond to concerns about physicians’ behaviour, especially in a clinical setting. During COVID, they went further by curtailing criticism of public health measures, perhaps to contain panic. This approach may have had unintended effects on public trust. I hope that the College finds a smoother approach in the future—one that also respects individual physicians’ rights and responsibilities to advocate for the health of patients and fellow citizens, particularly under emergency situations where the facts and implications are not fully known and should not be assumed.”