Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

This is the weekly Amplify newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Amplify and all Globe newsletters here.

Sierra Bein is a digital editor at The Globe and Mail

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past portraits of Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Bonnie Henry on a boarded up business in downtown Vancouver, on April 1, 2020.


When I finally realized the new coronavirus was a serious threat, right here in my home city of Toronto, I’d already been reading about it for weeks. But it had always felt like a distant reality, one with devastating effects, but one that still didn’t affect me personally.

Story continues below advertisement

That changed, of course, and I found myself seeking out reliable information with a new vigour, both as a digital editor at The Globe and a concerned citizen. Soon, I noticed something I suspect many others have as well: Many of Canada’s health care leaders are women. And in a world where women are routinely criticized for being too emotional, and where too few are in leadership positions in the first place, our country is seeing something remarkable: women making a huge impression for leading with humanity, vulnerability and compassion (as well as expertise and transparency) through the greatest crisis of our time. (As Sadiya Ansari reports in Policy Options, “Of the 14 provincial and national chief medical officers and public health officers, 7 are women including Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. There are also women in public health officer roles in major cities such as Toronto and Ottawa.”)

A lot of the coronavirus news has been hard to digest. What seems like a lifetime ago, my heart sank as I listened to B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, ask the public – even members of the same family – to keep their distance from each other. She was on the verge of tears as she shared these difficult directives. Her emotions got the gravity of the situation across, and they also got everyone’s attention (including The Globe’s André Picard, who had this to say: “The welling tears did not show Dr. Henry to be weak. Quite the opposite. It was a rare display of humanity by a public official …”)

I had never heard of Dr. Henry, but now I hear her voice in my head every time I venture outside of my house.

I’m also making a point of remembering the example set by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, when she publicly said she was going to take “some time off” as part of her self care during the crisis. In a piece for The Globe, Stephen Legault asks, what can people working to stop the spread of COVID-19 learn from Hinshaw? “Besides how to provide a calm, steady and reassuring voice in a time of global crisis, we can learn how to take care of ourselves when we’re trying to save the world.”

When it comes to demonstrating compassion, I was struck by Northwest Territories’ Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola’s reaction to protecting individuals in small communities from being shamed for contracting COVID-19. If people are scared of being judged for getting the disease, they might not get the treatment they need, she reasoned. “If you react with compassion, it will help other people come forward," Kandola said.

I also identified with Newfoundland and Labrador Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald who, when asked how she was coping, replied candidly,“It’s a bit overwhelming. Thank you for asking.” I don’t think her display of vulnerability undermined her authority, though I wonder if I’d be asking myself that question if Fitzgerald were a man.

And as Ansari wrote for Policy Options, Prince Edward Island’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has emerged as a celebrity of sorts for her exemplary leadership during the pandemic, with kids in PEI dressing up as the doctor during a superhero-themed virtual hangout. If that’s not human connection, what is?

Story continues below advertisement

My examples cover just some of the women at the helm. I could go on, but I think we can already see why they are being painted on walls, praised on Twitter and printed onto T-shirts.

Two Calgary clothing makers and a local artist have teamed up on a line of t-shirts honouring Alberta's chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, left, Dr. Tam and Dr. Henry.

HO/The Canadian Press

These women are effective leaders because they’re getting the job done and they’re being real people while they do it. They are providing us with a heavy dose of humanity and empathy, which I think we could all use right now. Their work should be remembered the next time anyone questions a woman’s ability to lead.

What else we’re thinking about:

I know a lot of April babies, including me. Which means there are amany birthdays that will be missed or overlooked this month while gatherings are still not allowed across Canada. Ordering gifts online (unless you did so a whole month in advance) is not the best option anymore. So I have been donating money in my friends’ names to foundations helping fight COVID-19 in vulnerable communities. It’s pretty great because it’s instant, most charities can send an e-card directly to your friend’s inbox and they also get to feel like they’ve done something good. For those who are financially strained, you can choose whatever amount you feel comfortable giving. (To any of my friends reading this, yes, you can take this as a hint.)

Inspired by something in this newsletter? If so, we hope you’ll amplify it by passing it on. And if there’s something we should know, or feedback you’d like to share, send us an e-mail at

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies