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June 19th Update From the Federal and Provincial Governments

June 19, 2020

Message from Executive Secretary Treasurer, James Barry:

Below is the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal: 

  • In cooperation with the provinces, the federal government will introduce a smart phone app on July 1st that will increase the ability to identify people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the app and it’s at his daily COVID-19 briefing.
  • The app has been developed by two high tech firms, Shopify and BlackBerry, and with the support of the Government of Ontario.  It works in two ways for people who have it installed on their phone:
    • People who have had a test for COVID-19  and the test is positive, would be notified  by the app and could proceed for treatment.
    • Beyond that initial notification the app would also send a notice to the owners of other cell phones who have come in close proximity to the phone of the person who tested positive. Those people will be alerted that they could now be exposed to COVID-19 and should get tested.  All of this is done anonymously. People who acquire the app are not registered by name but by a number. The numbers are managed by the Government controlled Canadian Digital Service.
  • Acquisition and using the app will be voluntary. However, Mr. Trudeau said it is obvious that the more people that decide to sign up for the app, the more effective it will be. He said if fifty per cent of the population signed up, it would have a “transformative effect” in combating the pandemic.
  • The Prime Minister also announced that Ottawa will provide an additional $25.7 Million to support federal museums and the Battlefields Commission. He said the money will have a direct impact on two hundred jobs.
  • Mr. Trudeau was also asked about the failure of Canada yesterday to win a two year term on the United Nations Security Council.  Norway and Ireland received more votes and will take seats on the Security Council in January. The Prime Minister said despite the result, contesting for the seat had been worthwhile, and that Canada will continue to work for multi-lateralism and the promotion of Canadian values.

Provincial:

  • The Ontario government expanded on their collaboration with the federal government in launching the new COVID-19 contact management app.  The Premier stressed that personal privacy was the paramount issue for the Ontario government in the development of the app.  The Premier also added that he is proud that the app was developed in Ontario.
  • The Deputy Premier commented on today’s numbers, noting that it is the fifth straight day of Ontario being under 200 cases (173).  She discussed how we need to remain committed to keeping case numbers low by continuing with testing, and participation in the new contact management process.  She stressed that these initiatives will dramatically enhance the province’s ability to detect and contain new cases of COVID-19.
  • Premier Ford was asked about his level of confidence that citizens will actually sign on to this app.  The Premier responded by saying that there are three key components to battling COVID-19: the health system, testing, and contact tracing.  He encouraged Ontarians to participate in it.  He also used this as an opportunity to reiterate that they made sure that people’s privacy is protected.
  • The government extended the state of emergency from June 30 to July 15 today.  Premier Ford said that he is hopeful that this is the last extension. He was asked about how he can keep measures in place if there is no state of emergency.  The Premier said “Any orders that we take off cannot be put back on, but the orders that are still in place can continue to moving forward”.

Jame Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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