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COVID-19 Update: November 9

November 9, 2020

Please see below the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal:

  • Today the PM congratulated President-elect Biden and VP Harris, with a special recognition of the milestone reached as Harris is the first-ever female VP, and the first Black and Asian woman elected to high office in the USA.
  • Trudeau acknowledged that Canadians awoke to encouraging news from Pfizer and their progress on a COVID-19 vaccine. Canada has a contract with them to receive millions of vaccines. There are other vaccine candidates that are also producing encouraging results.  Trudeau said to expect vaccines “landing” early next year.
  • Trudeau doubled down on asking Canadians to do their part to prevent the spread by reducing gatherings, wearing a mask, and downloading the COVID Alert App. He indicated that they are seeing the horizon but that we need to expect that the pandemic will still be a challenge for the months ahead, and maybe longer.
  • There are currently 36,471 active cases across the country, with 1,200 hospitalized (including 225 in ICU). Approximately 61,000 Canadians were tested daily last week with 4.7% of people testing positive. An average of 3,350 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days.

Provincial:

  • Today, Premier Doug Ford announced that the government will be making an investment of $511,100 in the Pathways to Post-Military Employment program.  The program will be administered by the not-for-profit organization, Helmets to Hardhats Canada and will help veterans draw upon their unique skills and experience and connect them with good jobs.
  • Earlier today, Minster of Health, Christine Elliott announced that the government is taking immediate action to enhance the local public health response to COVID-19 in Peel Region by expanding access to testing as well as increasing case and contact management and hospital capacity.
  • In response to the increased need for local COVID-19 testing, Ontario is providing more sites and innovative options such as:
    • Establishing three new community-based testing centres in Brampton by Tuesday, November 10 at Snelgrove Community Centre, Gore Meadows Community Centre and Greenbriar Community Centre;
    • Implementing mobile testing sites, including at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Peel Dufferin Mobile Health Clinic in Brampton, to respond to an increase in localized demand for tests within the community and to provide access to testing in communities where travel is a barrier to getting tested;
    • Opening limited walk-in availability at assessment centres for those who can’t book an appointment online or by phone; and
    • Implementing up to 7 pharmacies or specimen collection centres in partnership with LifeLabs, Dynacare and Alpha over the next two weeks.
  • The Ontario Workforce Reserve for Senior Support was also announced today. The new program will be focused on recruiting, training and deploying individuals as Resident Support Aides (RSA) to work at homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. These RSA’s will assist residents with daily living activities including assistance during mealtimes and nutrition breaks or with the coordination of visits and support with technology or recreational activities. The new recruits will be deployed in areas most in need such as Ottawa, Peel and Toronto.

QESTIONS:

  • Ontario’s rising COVID cases over the weekend were top of mind during media questions today to which the Premier referenced that COVID numbers are increasing worldwide and he further commented that Ontario still has the lowest number of cases per 100,000 compared to any other jurisdiction of comparable size.
  • When asked about balancing public health and the economy and some of the criticism of the new framework, the Premier advised that the government is consulting with the best medical doctors in the province and country and will continue to work with them in making decisions with respect to the COVID response. 
  • Peel Region has implemented even more restrictions above the “red level” to which the Premier advised that the provinces framework took into account local needs and fully supports the decisions of the Peel Health team.  Looking to Toronto, the Premier advised that the government is in constant communications with Mayor Tory and Dr. de Villa and will support the decisions that they make going forward.
  • When asked if Ontarians should get used to the numbers of cases being in and around where they are now and continuing the live their lives, the Premier confirmed again that they are taking into account all the advice of the health team and stakeholders.
  • The Premier also had an opportunity to congratulate President-Elect Biden and VP Harris during the press conference today and reiterated that Ontario is a strong trading partner with the USA.
  • With regards to re-opening the border to the USA, the Premier advised that he has not had a recent conversation with the federal government about this, however the Premier did state his support for immediate testing at the airport as they arrive in the country and then test again in a week.  He further advised that he would like to do this with the support of the federal government but if needed, will go it alone and action this as soon as possible.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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