Trudeau unveils new measures to mobilize industry in COVID-19 fight, bring Canadians home

By | March 20, 2020

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is announcing a new plan to mobilize businesses and manufacturers to help fight the spread of the virus and boost the health sector’s stockpile of life-saving supplies, and new partnerships with airlines to help those stranded abroad to come home.

The manufacturing plan is meant to help industry accelerate ways to pivot their production lines to help at this critical time.

This effort to mobilize industry includes building up the manufacturing capacity and reprioritize existing innovation and research programs to prioritize the COVID-19 fight through the Strategic Innovation Fund and the National Research Council of Canada.

Appearing once again from self-isolation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is speaking to the next steps Canada is taking towards combatting the spread and impacts of COVID-19. 

He said more is coming in terms of flights to get stranded Canadians back home in the coming days. 

It has been a week of morning addresses from Rideau Cottage, to a population that’s largely been working from home or in self-isolation on the advice of public health officials pleading for people to take the risk seriously. 

As of Thursday, Trudeau said the Canada-U.S. border was likely to close to non-essential travel overnight on Friday. That means, come Saturday, tourists and visitors will not be allowed in. The final details of the agreement were still being worked out. Now, the border is set to close by midnight Friday.

Trudeau also announced new protocols for irregular migrants, who will now be turned around if they appear at the border, rather than allowing them in and isolating them, as the plan had been earlier this week.

Trudeau also signalled that more information would be coming soon on procuring essential supplies and the role industry can play. 

Talks have been ongoing between the federal government and industry representatives about how companies can pivot to producing equipment like ventilators, face masks, and sanitizer in anticipation that the outbreak worsens in Canada and hospitals need additional supplies. 

The push to re-tool to produce life-saving medical equipment is being considered a “war-like effort.”

Parliamentarians are set to reconvene early next week to pass legislation allowing financial assistance to flow to Canadian families and businesses who are already feeling the economic impacts of the pandemic. 

Ministers and public health officials will also be providing an update, following Trudeau’s address, when it’s expected additional details will be provided and perhaps new information on how the billions of already-announced aid is being allocated.

As of Friday morning there are 873 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Canada.  

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