Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened today’s briefing by expressing sympathy for Pakistan, where a passenger airliner crashed in a residential neighbourhood. He then provided an update on efforts to re-open the Canadian economy and increase COVID-19 testing, introduced a new tool to help Canadians navigate assistance programs, and spoke out against racism. Economic Re-opening Trudeau reported that in the 10th weekly call between him and the premiers since the pandemic began, the country’s leaders discussed three main elements that need to be in place to support the re-opening of the Canadian economy:
Increased testing capacity to quickly identify and isolate new cases;
Accelerated ability to do contact tracing; and
Ensuring data collected is shared across all provinces and territories.
The Prime Minister added that the federal government will work closely with the provinces and territories on all three of these priorities, which he said are vital to not only support the re-opening of the economy, but to also stem the impact of a potential second wave of the virus.
National Testing Strategy
Building on the first priority noted with the premiers, the PM offered an update on a national testing strategy. He reported that nationwide Canada is testing on average 28,000 people daily, and the federal government is working to increase the number to a target of 60,000 per day.
New Online Tool
Addressing concerns that Canadians may not be aware of what aid programs are available to help their particular situation, Trudeau announced the launch of a new online tool at Canada.ca/coronavirusbenefits. He said that answering a series of simple questions through the tool will generate an array of programs for which people may be eligible.
The Prime Minister ended on a somber tone, addressing racism in Canada during the pandemic, particularly aimed at Asian Canadians — including incidents of vandalism and personal attacks. Trudeau said hate, violence and discrimination have no place in Canada, and thanked those who stand up to and speak out against racism. “To Asian Canadians, please know that we all stand with you,” he said. “We will not let hate divide us.”