Canadian Armed Forces to be deployed in Ontario to assist in fighting COVID-19

 

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including outbreaks at long-term care facilities across the country, the prime minister has announced new measures to assist Ontario and Quebec.

Justin Trudeau confirmed this morning that members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed to provide emergency support after the Minister of Public Safety received and approved formal requests from the two provinces.

“Reconnaissance work is underway in both provinces. We’re identifying what needs to be done and mapping out next steps,” said Trudeau, who stated that this is only a short-term solution.

“As I’ve said many times before, we will be there for Quebecers, Ontarians, and all Canadians during this crisis.”

According to Premier Doug Ford, the additional personnel will be able to provide operational and logistical assistance at long-term care homes so that staff can focus on caring for the residents.

Ford added that they will be deployed to five priority homes: Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton, Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamount Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville in Etobicoke, and Hawthorne Place in North York.

According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been outbreaks at at least 127 long-term care facilities and at least 448 deaths, including the death of a personal support worker.

In his address to the nation this morning, Trudeau added that the federal government is also offering billions of dollars to provinces to top up the pay of essential workers and ensure support for elderly Canadians.

Trudeau is still engaged in talks with first ministers on the situation, including a discussion on reopening parts of the nation’s economy.

The federal government plans to work with the provinces and territories to establish principles and guidelines to start reopening the economy safely.

“Canada is a vast country, and some regions have been hit harder than others during this pandemic,” Trudeau said. “We’re a federation so we have to adapt our response to the realities and challenges of each province and territory.”

However, Trudeau reiterated that “going back to normal” won’t happen overnight, and that Canadians must continue with the measures that are currently in place so as to not lose the progress that has been made in reducing the spread of the virus.

“Over the coming weeks you’ll hear more talk about reopening, but you need to know, we’re not out of the woods. No matter where you live, you should be staying home as much as you possibly can,” the prime minister added.

More information regarding the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces and the reopening of the economy is expected within the coming days and weeks.

With files from the Canadian Press

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