Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians abroad to come home while they still can, as Canada is shutting the border to non-Canadian citizens, with limited exceptions, to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Permanent Canadian residents, the immediate family members of Canadian citizens, diplomats, air crews, and U.S. citizens are still being allowed into Canada at this time.
“If you’re abroad, it’s time for you to come home. If you’ve just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days, and finally all Canadians as much as possible, should stay home,” Trudeau said.
Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 will not be able to enter Canada. Air operators are being instructed to prevent any traveller who presents symptoms of the virus from boarding a plane.
“I know this news will spark concern,” Trudeau said to Canadians who are currently out of the country.
The prime minister said the government will support Canadians currently abroad through a program that will see them either cover the costs to get them home, or cover their basic needs while they wait to return.
He addressed the nation from self-isolation at Rideau Cottage, updating Canadians on the measures being taken to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau said the virus has been spreading quickly across the world, and Canada is no exception. Therefore, Canada is taking “increasingly aggressive steps” to keep Canadians safe.
Trudeau announced additional flight restrictions effective Wednesday, that will see some international flights rerouted to Montreal, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver for dedicated enhanced screening.
The prime minister said these border restrictions will not apply to commerce or trade, and that products will continue to flow in and out of the country.
He was asked why the United States, where a national state of emergency has been declared on account for the level of spread within that country, has been exempted from Canada’s entry restrictions.
Citing the integration of the two countries, Trudeau said that Canada views the U.S. in a separate category from the rest of the world, but the federal government will monitor the situation.
More measures coming
Trudeau said that additional measures will be coming as soon as tomorrow.
“The economic impact of this pandemic is shifting hourly, and we recognize our stress and anxiety that is causing. As I’ve said, we are prepared to see Canadians through this time. We will have additional measures to announce as early as tomorrow to support Canadians,” he said.
“It’s time to take every precaution to keep people safe.”
Several top cabinet ministers held a media availability on Parliament Hill after Trudeau’s address, where the details of the latest measures were discussed.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, Transport Minister Marc Garneau each offered the latest from their portfolios.
Because the situation is ever-changing, the response has been evolving rapidly, Freeland said.
“This is not a time to quibble about federal or provincial responsibilities, or about who will pay the bill. Our clear priority is, and must be the health and safety of Canadians,” she said.
The ministers were followed by Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam.
Going forward, there will be a daily update from Health Canada officials, at noon, as well as a daily government briefing for parliamentarians.
Last week, Parliament suspended sitting for five weeks and the Liberals rolled out a $1-billion health and economic response package, as well as an additional $10 billion for businesses who are being impacted by the virus and consumers’ changing habits.
Situation calls for ‘exceptional measures’
With schools, community centres and businesses shutting their doors in an effort to help contain the novel coronavirus, many Canadians are spending the day indoors, practicing social-distancing or self-isolating.
Over the weekend many employers were evolving their work-from-home policies and municipalities were encouraging their residents to only leave the house if absolutely necessary, leading to concerns from workers who don’t have access to paid leave or employment insurance.
“I know that these measures are far-reaching. They are exceptional circumstances, calling for exceptional measures,” Trudeau said.
He said that while it will be an adjustment, all Canadians should stay home if they can, to do their part to limit the virus from spreading and hopefully avoiding an overburdening of the Canadian health-care system.
Throughout the day provincial governments and health authorities have been providing updates on the number of cases in their provinces, with some premiers calling for more action from the federal government, including tightening up the borders.
The prime minister has been self-isolating and working from home since Thursday, when his wife Sophie was confirmed to have contracted the virus. On Monday morning, Trudeau spoke with fellow G7 leaders, where he likely informed them that all foreign nationals will not be able to enter Canada.
When Trudeau began speaking, there were 377 reported cases in Canada. That number rose to 416 an hour and a half later.
Trudeau said that, to date, public health authorities have administered more than 25,000 COVID-19 tests.
Canada’s coronavirus response can shift economy’s direction to low-carbon: experts – Global News
“The main thing we need to be doing right now is protecting Canadians’ health and well-being,” said Josha MacNab of the Pembina Institute.
“Within that context, we’re starting to turn our minds to what does economic recovery look like.”
Downturns like the one being caused by the global pandemic routinely reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In the past, they’ve always recovered as economies rebuild.
This time, many are asking how the economy can be restored without greenhouse gases tagging along. Open letters on the issue have already been signed by hundreds of thousands of Canadians, from academics to church groups.
Groups such as the World Resources Institute in the United States are calling for clean energy tax credits, programs to increase the energy efficiency of public buildings and a switch from diesel to electric transit buses. It notes similar measures after the 2009 crash saw 900,000 jobs supported.
Pembina has its own list: funding and training for jobs more resilient to market swings, incentives for switching to electricity, support for industries that produce lower-carbon goods.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Canada working with G20 nations to contain COVID-19
“We see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a down payment on a resilient economy and a healthier future,” MacNab said.
Once the immediate crisis has passed, the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices wants any upcoming stimulus package to focus on making the country more resilient to climate-related shocks such as wildfires or floods.
“These are what we perceived as (remote) risks in the past,” said the group’s economist, Dave Sawyer. “Suddenly, they’re happening all the time.”
The long-term response to COVID-19 could be a chance to do things the Canadian economy will have to do anyway, he said, such as retrain workers from high-carbon industries.
“We know that some industries under this low-carbon future will shed workers,” Sawyer said.
“Where do these workers go? There has been a growing trend to think about transitions for workers.”
Not everyone thinks a post-pandemic green stimulus is appropriate.
“Maybe, to some extent,” said Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at Simon Fraser University.
He suggests the need for relief is going to be so great that governments will at first simply try to restore normalcy.
Coronavirus outbreak: Finance Minister says Canada is coordinating with international counterparts to protect the economy
“Governments are going to pour the money in, short-term, to where workers are already skilled and to regions where they’re already working,” he said. “So it’s going to be in to fossil fuel-endowed areas.”
The real challenge, Jaccard said, will be to not let COVID-19 derail policies already planned or in place.
“It isn’t government spending that will lead to a decarbonized economy. It’s policies.”
Groups such as the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation and the federal Conservatives have already called for the planned increase in the federal carbon tax to be delayed. The increase, to $30 per tonne, has gone ahead.
Still, Keith Stewart of Greenpeace said that once the immediate dangers of the novel coronavirus have passed, the upset it will leave behind is a chance for a reset.
“It’s a shock to the system that makes things that once seemed natural and inevitable seem unnatural and avoidable.”
Stewart said any money that does go to companies must be accompanied by promises of change _ much as car manufacturers promised fuel efficiency improvements in accepting their 2009 bailout.
Once initial needs of public health and well-being are funded, government spending should have an eye to the future, said Stewart.
“That investment could entrench existing systems or it could be an investment in the clean-energy economy.”
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Canada to recruit volunteers, offer jobs to reservists amid COVID-19: Trudeau – Global News
Canada has put a call out for volunteers to support frontline healthcare workers and is offering full-time jobs to Canadian Forces reservists, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced during an update to the country’s coronavirus response on Sunday.
“For those of you with specialized skills looking to help our frontline workers, we do want to hear from you,” said Trudeau, who spoke to reporters from Rideau Cottage where he is self-isolating.
According to the prime minister, Health Canada will be building “an inventory of specialized work volunteers” that provinces and territories can draw on, and that some of the work may include tracking COVID-19 cases and tracing contacts.
Trudeau also said that reservists in the Canadian Armed Forces would also be offered full-time jobs over the coming months, with the same pay and benefits as regular enlisted members.
“Bolstering the military’s ranks will help offset some of the economic consequences of COVID-19 and ensure that our communities are well-supported,” Trudeau said.
Volunteer applications will be open until at least April 24, while reservists across the country are going to be contacted directly by the Canadian government.
On Saturday, Trudeau announced “millions” of medical masks would be arriving in Canada from China within 48 hours.
Ottawa is expecting between seven and eight million surgical masks. included in that order are supplies for hard-hit Quebec.
Canada has also leased a warehouse in China to collect and distribute additional supplies “as quickly as possible,” he said.
According to Trudeau, officials are working “day and night” to secure additional, desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.
And, while Canada continues to source the PPE from international suppliers, Trudeau said the government is also working with domestic manufacturers.
Trudeau won’t retaliate over Trump’s order to ban N95 mask exports to Canada
The prime minister’s comments came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump asked Minnesota-based company 3M to stop exporting N95 masks to Canada.
Asked about the move, Trudeau said the dialogue was ongoing with U.S. officials, and that he planned to speak with Trump.
“We are continuing to engage in constructive discussions with different levels within the administration to highlight that the U.S. will be hurting itself as much as Canada will be hurting if we see an interruption of essential goods and services flow back and forth across the border,” he said. “We continue to demonstrate that this is a good thing for both of our countries and we look to continue to ensure that essential supplies get across the border.”
Trudeau said, though, that Canada was not planning any retaliatory measures against the U.S.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, by 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, more than 13,800 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Canada.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam said currently Canada’s healthcare system is not overwhelmed by serious cases of COVID-19, but cautioned that the situation could change at any time.
Tam urged Canadians to continue practising physical distancing, and to heed the advice of medical authorities.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canadians aboard COVID-19 stricken cruise ship to start coming home today – CTV News
Canadians aboard another COVID-19 stricken cruise ship are expected to start coming home today.
The Coral Princess arrived in Miami Saturday with 97 Canadian passengers and two Canadian crew members aboard, and Princess Cruises said disembarkation of guests who are fit to fly would begin Sunday.
The company has said that a dozen people on board have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while others are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Canada’s COVID-19 caseload grew by 1,471 Saturday for a total of 14,018 confirmed and presumptive cases, while the virus-related death toll rose by 46, to 233.
But amid that grim news, there was also some cause for optimism. British Columbia medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the curve in the number of cases in her province appears to be flattening.
And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at his daily briefing yesterday that Canada would be receiving “millions” of desperately needed surgical-grade N95 masks in the next 48 hours by a chartered cargo flight.
Trudeau also said he planned to speak with Donald Trump in the coming days in hopes of persuading the U.S. president to rescind a White House-ordered ban on exports of key COVID-19 medical supplies to Canada and abroad.
Meanwhile, Ottawa is giving more financial support aimed at helping the country’s most vulnerable survive the pandemic.
Trudeau announced $40 million for Women and Gender Equality Canada Saturday, with up to $30 million to address immediate needs of shelters and sexual assault centres.
Another $10 million will go to Indigenous Services Canada’s network of 46 emergency shelters and $157.5 million will go toward addressing the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2020.
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