Home Health COVID-19 Premiers have a pre-Easter chat with Trudeau about COVID-19

Premiers have a pre-Easter chat with Trudeau about COVID-19

Discussion included supply of PPE, COVID-19 data modelling, and the Emergencies Act | Trudeau remembers Vimy Ridge (75th anniversary)

Thursday April 9, 2020 ~ NATIONAL

by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

This evening around 7:30 pm Pacific Time, the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) sent out a news release about his meeting today (along with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland) with Canada’s provincial premiers to discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation.

The leaders reportedly discussed preparations and actions taken by federal, provincial, and territorial partners to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and to support workers and businesses. Premiers reaffirmed their commitment to continued collaboration and coordination to address COVID-19, it was stated in the release.

“The Prime Minister updated premiers on progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID‑19, which will provide vital, made‑in‑Canada protective gear and medical equipment to respond to the outbreak,” said the PMO.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Dr Theresa Tam, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks with Chief Medical Officer Dr Theresa Tam and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Chrystia Freeland to a news conference on the coronavirus situation, in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. [THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld]

Trudeau said that increasing domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE) items is a top priority. In the meeting he highlighted work with companies across the country to make sure that Canada has the medical supplies and equipment needed to keep Canadians safe and healthy.

N95 respirator mask
N95 respirator mask as used by health care workers.

Premiers welcomed the initiatives of Canadian companies that have offered to re-tool, repurpose, and innovate to fight COVID‑19. Trudeau confirmed that shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been received this week, and that distribution to provinces and territories is underway. Additional orders placed for PPE and medical supplies, including surgical gowns, N95 masks, gloves, and ventilators were also discussed.

The Prime Minister talked about the need to exhaust all available options to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and the importance of having discussions regarding the Emergencies Act.

Trudeau encouraged premiers to share their views on how the Act could be used, if required. But he noted that current measures and the great collaboration between governments are helping Canada fight the pandemic.

The provincial premiers discussed their approaches to COVID-19 projections and data modelling, which varies among the provinces to the extent that a federal perspective is, in a sense, not fully achievable.

According to the PMO, they agreed that continued data sharing and other measures currently in place, including physical distancing, quarantining, and self-isolation, are essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and to ensuring the safety of frontline workers and the capacity of the health care system.

“Addressing COVID-19 must be a Team Canada effort. The Government of Canada is taking a whole-of-government, comprehensive, and coordinated approach to respond to COVID-19. The well-being and safety of all Canadians is the government’s top priority,” it was stated in the release ahead of the Easter long weekend.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, April 9 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his daily message to Canadians during a press conference outside his official residence in Ottawa on April 9, 2020 [screenshot]

Earlier in the day on Thursday April 9, Trudeau held his daily press briefing as is televised on major TV networks and livestreamed.

“As stark as those numbers are, they are not a surprise for a lot of Canadians,” said Trudeau, with reference to his ministers earlier having delivered the news that more than one million Canadians lost their jobs at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in March. That’s a stark historic one-month figure from Statistics Canada. The number of people applying for federal aid surpassed five million. That wiped out job gains from the past three years.

Job losses in March were eight times worse than the previous one-month record from January 2009 at the height of the financial crisis which caused the Great Recession. At that time in 2009 there was a seven-month stretch where the country lost 426,500 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose 2.2 percentage points in March 2020 to 7.8% (the highest it has been since October 2010 in the early part of the Great Recession recovery).

Most of the increase in unemployment came from temporary layoffs, meaning workers expected to get their jobs back in six months. And nearly 598,000 people were not actively seeking work, meaning they weren’t counted among the unemployed.

“Each one represents a different story” about workers laid off or a family hunkered down.

Those job stats for March will likely be surpassed in April, and the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared mid-March and that’s when businesses began shuttering their doors and laying off employees.

“We all knew this was going to be a tough time,” said Trudeau on Thursday morning.

Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was considered a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness.

Trudeau also acknowledged the 75th anniversary of the The Battle of Vimy Ridge which he called “a defining moment for Canada, but it came at a great cost”.

Nearly 3,600 Canadians lost their lives on Easter Monday in 1917 in northern France, and over 7,000 more were wounded. “It remains one of the bloodiest battles in our country’s military history,” he said, at a time when many more Canadians than that will likely be lost to the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Today Canada’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Theresa Tam stated that Canada could see between 4,400 to 44,000 deaths due to COVID-19.


Trudeau, Freeland, Payette
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with new deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland and Governor General Julie Payette at the cabinet swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on November 20, 2019 [livestream]

Chain of Command during COVID-19: If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were to become unable to fulfill his duties, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland would become Canada’s acting prime minister.

That’s according to an official order made on March 13, the day that Trudeau’s office announced that his wife Sophie had tested positive for COVID-19. 

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