Apr 27, 2021
Justin Trudeau COVID-19 Press Conference April 27
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided coronavirus updates on April 27, 2021. He said that COVID-19 vaccine certificates are “to be expected” as part of the pandemic and announced aid for provinces & India. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
And families these last few weeks have been particularly heartbreaking.
Justin Trudeau: (00:04)
A few days ago, we lost 13-year-old, Emily Victoria Viegas to this virus. Earlier this month, it was a toddler who hadn’t yet turned two. And tragically, they’re not the only children who have been taken by COVID-19. As a father, I know there are no words for the parents’ grief. To Emily’s family from Brampton, and to the family in BC, and to all parents who’ve lost the child, and to everyone who’s lost a loved one, we are thinking of you. We are grieving with you. And you are not alone.
Justin Trudeau: (00:45)
[foreign language 00:00:45].
Speaker 1: (00:46)
The virus has already taken too many victims. We must absolutely ensure that further deaths are prevented. The third wave is still growing strong. And across the country, the number of cases is increasing. Hospitals and frontline workers are exhausted. Now is the time to work together. On our end, we are doing everything we can to help the provinces and territories to master the situation.
Justin Trudeau: (01:13)
Third wave and protect Ontarians, we’re deploying federal healthcare workers to the province. This mobilization includes three medical assistance teams and nine critical care nurses from the Canadian Armed Forces. Yesterday, the forces carried out their assessment of the needs on the ground in Ontario to finalize the details of this operation. We’re working with our provincial partners on next steps and Armed Forces members will be mobilized in the coming days. Let’s be clear, sending men and women in uniform to help in Ontario is a serious step. We’re doing this, because the situation requires it. Today, the first deployment of nurses and doctors from Newfoundland and Labrador will also be arriving in Ontario for the GTA. They’ll land this afternoon at Pearson aboard a Canadian Armed Forces airplane. Newfoundland and Labrador is already organizing a second team of healthcare workers who will rotate in to help. Our government is covering the costs of deploying these teams and we’re ready to do the same for any other province or territory that can also step in with support. Unfortunately, Ontario is far from the only place dealing with a spike in cases. Across Nova Scotia, and especially in the Halifax region, numbers have risen quickly and the province requested help. So we’re there too, we’re sending support. We’re deploying 60 Canadian Armed Forces members to testing centers in Nova Scotia. This will help stop the spread of the virus. For Albertans too, we’re standing ready. Over the weekend, the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray declared a state of emergency. Yesterday, Minister Hajdu talked to Mayor Scott about the outbreak in the region and the situation on the ground. Our government has reached out to Alberta on what support they may need to keep people safe and get the situation back under control. The bottom line is this, across the country, we’re working with provinces and territories to keep you safe. Across the country, we will have your back. And together, we will get through this.
Justin Trudeau: (03:42)
That brings me to vaccines. Because along with public health measures, these doses are key to beating not only the third wave, but the whole pandemic. This week, we’ll get almost two million doses delivered to Canada. This includes our first shipment of the Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. Looking ahead, Pfizer alone, will deliver two million doses a week starting next week and will continue to work hard with manufacturers to deliver a stable and growing supply of doses to provinces and territories as they plan vaccination clinics. When it’s your turn, make sure you book an appointment to get your shot. Sophie and I got our first doses of AstraZeneca on Friday. We’re feeling great, we’re feeling more protected, and we’re also feeling like we’re part of the solution going forward. I want to take a moment to do something I don’t often do from this stage. I regularly are talking about our seniors and our young people, I want to take a moment to talk about my generation.
Justin Trudeau: (04:51)
Over the past number of days, we’ve seen vaccines made available to people 40-years-old and up, and that means generation X has stepped up and stepped out to get vaccinated. And I want to thank everyone who’s been stepping forward, and signing up, and enthusiastically moving forward. Keep it up. Because of the high uptake, because of everything everyone’s doing to get more of doses into Canada and into arms, we’re now second in the G20 in terms of vaccination doses, and we’re going to continue. So thank you to everyone for doing their part there.
Justin Trudeau: (05:34)
[foreign language 00:05:34].
Speaker 1: (05:34)
From coast to coast to coast, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and paramedics are working day and night to ensure that the largest number of people possible is vaccinated as quickly as possible. To everyone who was helping with the vaccination effort, thank you. You’re doing incredible work. We’re working nonstop to provide you with as many vaccines as possible. If we look at the vaccine administration rate, that is the number of daily doses administered to the population, Canada regularly places second among G20 countries. Our goal is to ensure your protection and the protection of your family and to finish this pandemic as quickly as possible. The fight against the pandemic is our absolute priority. To beat this virus, we need to eliminate it everywhere.
Justin Trudeau: (06:34)
From hospitals in India that are unable to keep up with the number of patients. Earlier today, Minister Garneau spoke with his Indian counterpart about how Canada can best help, including the donation of extra medical supplies. We are also ready to provide $10 million through the Canadian Red Cross to the Indian Red Cross. This will support everything from ambulant services to buying more PPE locally. If you want to donate to the emergency efforts on the ground, go to redcross.ca. I know many Canadians are also concerned about rising cases in Pakistan. Minister Garneau will be speaking to his counterpart from Pakistan later today about the situation and what we can do to help. As a world, we are in this fight together.
Justin Trudeau: (07:26)
[foreign language 00:07:26]
Speaker 1: (07:27)
We hope that we’ve reached the last stage of this pandemic, that’s why we need to hang in there and protect each other for a little while longer. Every time that we physically distance and wear a mask, we are one step closer to better days when we’ll be able to throw a backyard barbecue for the whole family. And while we continue our efforts, we need to make sure that people can not only get through the storm, but come back stronger.
Justin Trudeau: (07:57)
As we face she-session, a recession that disproportionately affects women, we cannot allow anyone to get left behind. That’s why a week ago, we introduced our progressive feminist plan for recovery. So what does that mean for people’s lives? Well, for women entrepreneurs, it means almost $147 million to help with financing, mentorship, and training. This is about investing in the kind of entrepreneurs Minister Murray will sit down with today from BC and the Deputy Prime Minister will speak to from the 51 in Alberta. I know Minister Monsef will also be speaking with women on businesses from Toronto about what they need to thrive too. Women-led small businesses strengthen communities and are the backbone of our economy. For mothers, this plan means making sure you have good affordable childcare to balance work and kids. And I know this will come up when Minister Gould speaks to women business owners from Windsor about our plan to reach $10 a day daycare across the country in the next five years.
Justin Trudeau: (09:09)
[foreign language 00:09:09]
Speaker 1: (09:09)
For all women across the country, we must adopt a progressive feminist plan for the future that makes everyone safe. That’s why we’re going ahead with our first national action plan to put an end to gender-based violence. Earlier today, Minister Bibeau and MPs Brière and Bessette met different groups from the eastern townships to discuss our plan and how we can ensure that everyone is safe. Last year has been very difficult for parents, small business owners, students, and seniors, but better days are still to come. And thanks to our plan, we’re going to create good jobs for the middle-class, build back a clean resilient economy, and make a fairer Canada for everyone. Thank you. And I’ll now pass the floor to Minister Blair. Bill, you have the floor.
Minister Bill Blair: (10:13)
Thank you very much, Prime Minister and good morning, everyone. As the Prime Minister mentioned, in response to a request for assistance received from the province of Ontario, we’ve been working with the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Red Cross, and medical personnel from Newfoundland and Labrador in order to help fight COVID-19 in Ontario. We have today identified 62 health human resources from federal departments across the country who have been identified as potential volunteers to be deployed to Ontario. The Canadian Armed Forces is also deploying nine ICU nurses and up to three multi-purpose medical assistance teams. In addition, the Canadian Red Cross is prepared to deploy an initial group of 13 nurses with ICU and emergency response experience and they are prepared to deploy up to 30 additional resources. And finally, as the Prime Minister mentioned, today six nurses and three physicians from Newfoundland have begun to travel to Ontario in order to provide much needed help.
Minister Bill Blair: (11:12)
And that will increase up to 14 nurses in the coming weeks. And at the same time, we are working with the province of Nova Scotia to help them fight back rising numbers of COVID cases. And we have approved today an RFA, a request for assistance from the province of Nova Scotia. And we will be deploying 60 Canadian Armed Forces members to testing centers in that province. Over the past year, there have been seven [inaudible 00:11:38] requests for assistance received from the provinces and territories, including 22 from the province of Ontario. In every instance, we have worked with our provincial and territorial partners and we have marshaled our resources to help out. And for example, we have provided resources to help our seniors in long-term care homes. We have provided assistance to support temporary foreign workers in safe isolation sites, and who come into this country to help Canadian farmers.
Minister Bill Blair: (12:01)
We have been assisted in responding to hotspots with mobile health units. And we have been working in remote communities and indigenous communities across the country to boost capacity in those communities. We will continue to work with the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Red Cross, and our partners in every province and territory to continue this fight. And we will work collaboratively with our provincial and territorial partners. And as we do this important work, I want to urge all Canadians, follow the public health guidelines, wear your mask, and get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible. It’s only by working together that we can beat this. Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: (12:48)
Dr. Theresa Tam: (12:49)
Good afternoon and [foreign language 00:12:51]. This week is National Immunization Awareness week in Canada. And across generations, Canadians are recognizing the importance of vaccination for saving lives and preserving health, well-being, and livelihoods. First, we’ll update the numbers, then focus on the importance of vaccines among other public health measures to control serious infectious diseases. To date, close to 1,190,000 cases of COVID-19, including over 24,000 deaths have been reported in Canada. And over the past week, a somewhat lower average of just over 8,000 cases were reported daily, while the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness continued to rise. On average, over 4,300 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, including 1,350 people being treated in intensive care units, representing over 15% increases compared to the prior week. At the same time, an average of 51 deaths were reported daily, which is also 15% higher than the week prior.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (14:05)
There are over 94,200 variance of concern cases reported to date across Canada, with the B117 variant accounting for 96% of these. A year ago during National Immunization Awareness Week, we talked about how vaccines plays a significant role in preventing and controlling the spread of serious, life-altering, and sometimes fatal diseases like measles, pertussis, influenza, diptheria, and polio in Canada and around the world. We ended by saying a vaccine may also one day be available to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. So what a difference a year makes. And not only do we have many examples of the life-saving benefits of vaccines across the infectious diseases landscape, but wherever COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out, we’re starting to see what a difference they make. In fact, prior to the pandemic, vaccines were credited for saving two to three million lives each year. Now, with over three million reported deaths due to COVID-19 worldwide, it is clear that these safe and highly effective vaccines have a big role to play in ending the pandemic and averting million more deaths. And the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines are increasingly being seen in Canada as well.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (15:27)
For example, thanks to indigenous leadership on a range of public health measures and on the early deployment of vaccines support by all levels of public health and the Canadian Armed Forces, over 340,000 vaccine doses have been administered in over 650 indigenous and territorial communities. With increasing vaccine uptake, active COVID-19 cases have dropped more than 80% in First Nations communities in the past three months. It is enormously encouraging to see how vaccination is serving to protect higher risk communities. Similar benefits have been seen in other high-risk populations targeted for priority vaccination. With vaccines rollout expanding every day, we can expect to see these benefits across the Canadian population.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (16:16)
Vaccines are an incredibly important public health tool throughout our lifespan from protecting children against serious and life-threatening infections to preserving and prolonging health and wellbeing into our senior years. But when it comes to tackling a pandemic with widespread and elevated levels of risk, we must maintain other vital public health measures to bring the infection rate down and keep it down as vaccines rollout across the population. That means keeping up with individual precautions and public health measures in your area until we’ve built the bridge for vaccines to take us to greater safety and back to the things we have missed so much. Thank you.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (16:59)
[foreign language 00:16:59]
Speaker 1: (17:01)
Hello, everyone. This week is National Immunization Awareness week in Canada. Across generations, Canadians are recognizing the importance of vaccination for saving lives and preserving health, well-being, and livelihoods. First, we’ll update the numbers, then focus on the importance of vaccines among other public health measures to control serious infectious diseases. To date, close to 1,190,000 cases of COVID-19, including over 24,000 deaths have been reported in Canada. Over the past week, a somewhat lower average of just over 8,000 cases were reported daily. While the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness continued to rise. On average, over 4,300 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day. This includes 1,350 people being treated in intensive care units, representing over 15% increases compared to the prior week.
Speaker 1: (18:15)
At the same time, an average of 51 deaths were reported daily. That is also 15% higher than the previous week. There are over 94,200 variant of concern cases reported to date across Canada. The B117 variant accounts for 96% of these. A year ago during National Immunization Awareness Week, we talked about how vaccines play a significant role in Canada and around the world in preventing and controlling the spread of serious, life-altering, and sometimes fatal diseases, such as measles, pertussis, influenza, diptheria, and polio. We ended by saying a vaccine may also one day be available to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. What a difference a year makes. Not only do we have many examples of the life-saving benefits of vaccines across the infectious diseases landscape, but wherever COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out, we are starting to see what a difference they make. In fact, prior to the pandemic, vaccines were credited for saving two to three million lives each year.
Speaker 1: (19:37)
Now, with over three million reported deaths due to COVID-19 worldwide, it is clear the safe and highly effective vaccines have a big role to play in ending the pandemic and averting more deaths.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (19:55)
[foreign language 00:19:55]
Speaker 1: (19:58)
The benefits of COVID-19 vaccines are increasingly being seen in Canada as well. For example, thanks to indigenous leadership on a range of public health measures and the early deployment of vaccines supported by all levels of public health and the Canadian Armed Forces, over 340,000 vaccine doses have been administered in over 650 indigenous and territorial communities. With increasing vaccine uptake, active COVID-19 cases have dropped more than 80% in First Nation communities in the past three months. It is enormously encouraging to see how vaccination is serving to protect higher risk communities. Similar benefits have been seen in other high risk populations targeted for priority vaccination.
Dr. Howard Njoo: (20:57)
[foreign language 00:20:57].
Speaker 1: (20:58)
With vaccine rollout expanding every day, we can expect to see these benefits across.
Speaker 1: (21:03)
Expanding every day. We can expect to see these benefits across the Canadian population.
Speaker 1: (21:09)
Vaccines are an incredibly important public health tool throughout our lifespan, from protecting children against serious and life-threatening infections to preserving and prolonging health and wellbeing into our senior years. But when it comes to tackling a pandemic with widespread and elevated levels of disease, we must maintain other vital public health measures to bring the infection rate down and keep it down as vaccines roll out across the population. That means keeping up with individual precautions and public health measures in your area until we’ve built the bridge for vaccines to take us to greater safety and back to the things we have missed so much. Thank you. The prime minister will take six questions starting with the phone. And the doctors will remain available for 20 minutes after.
Speaker 3: (22:11)
Prime ministers and doctors will remain available for another 15 minutes after.
Speaker 4: (22:18)
Thank you. Please press star one if you have a question. The first question is from Tonda MacCharles from the Toronto Star. Please go ahead.
Tonda MacCharles: (22:31)
Yes, good morning, Prime Minister. I’d like to hear your response to Ontario’s requests for the federal government to double sick leave benefits, and they would reimburse you for the extra 500 bucks. Will you do that? Will you do that for Ontario? And will you do that deal for all provinces?
Justin Trudeau: (22:53)
Thank you, Tonda. First of all, as we see the news from Ontario and across the country in places affected by this third wave, our heart goes out to the families facing tragedies, the essential workers in workplaces who are worried about bringing home the virus, who are continuing to need to go to work. This is one of the reasons we brought in a federal sick leave program that individuals could directly apply for many months ago. We know that it’s an important piece of the puzzle.
Justin Trudeau: (23:29)
At the same time, the deputy prime minister and finance minister is engaged directly with the province of Ontario to support them as they look at further measures to ensure that nobody has to make the choice of going to work sick. One of the most efficient ways of doing that is obviously to work through employers as we have through federally regulated workplaces. And I know the deputy prime minister is working with the province of Ontario to ensure that the right supports get there for people as quickly as possible. As we’ve said, we are there to help Canadians. We have people’s backs. We need to work together. And provinces need to look at the way to deliver sick leave directly through employers, which the federal government can’t do.
Speaker 3: (24:21)
Following up, Tonda?
Tonda MacCharles: (24:23)
Yeah, thank you. That actually sounds like a no to Ottawa tweaking its system to deliver the benefit and getting a reimbursement from the province. And if I’m wrong on interpreting the last sentence there that way, please correct me. But you did say in your prepared remarks about the federal government wants to tell parents like Emily Viega’s parents that they’re not alone. But many of them do, especially essential workers do feel alone in all of this. So if the Ford government says to you the best way to do this is for you guys to cut the check and they reimburse you, why wouldn’t you do that?
Justin Trudeau: (25:01)
First of all, the deputy prime minister is engaged directly in conversations with the appropriate authorities and officials in Ontario. And she is engaged on that. I know she’s put out a statement earlier this morning and she is very much the lead on this in terms of making sure that we are there to support Ontario in getting this help to Canadians the right way as quickly as possible. That’s what we all want on this. And we need to make sure we’re using the right tools. And I have tremendous confidence in the finance minister to stick handle this and make sure that we are getting that support to people.
Justin Trudeau: (25:44)
Like I said, from the very beginning of this pandemic, federal government made a promise to have people’s backs through this, as much as it takes, as long as it takes. That’s why eight out of every $10 in pandemic support across this country came from the federal government. We will continue to look at every way we can support the provinces as they do what they need to do to keep people in their jurisdictions safe. We are there to support in any way that will work. And that’s what the finance minister is working on right now with Ontario.
Speaker 3: (26:22)
Thank you. Operator, next question on the phone.
Speaker 1: (26:27)
Mary [Vestille 00:26:31] from the [inaudible 00:26:33]. First question. Prime Minister, I’d like to go back to the European Union’s announcement that Americans who are fully vaccinated will be able to visit the EU this summer. I asked you this same question concerning Canada a few weeks ago. What are your thoughts now? I understand that this is not the time to travel. You don’t need to repeat that in your answer. But there are perhaps tourists who would like to come back to Canada to see family members once the rules have been loosened, once they have received one or two doses of the vaccination. What about tourists from the US who would like to come this summer?
Speaker 1: (27:21)
Answer. A year ago, we took the unprecedented measure of closing our border to tourists. I know this had an impact on the tourists and their plans, as well as a major impact on small businesses and regions across the country. They really face difficulty because of this. We took this decision, however, because we have to protect Canadians from this virus. That’s our priority. And other measures, quarantines multiple rapid tests, shutting down flights. These other measures have also been taken based on science at every stage. The goal has always been to protect citizens. Scientists and other experts are currently closely watching the impact of full vaccination, on the ability of the virus to spread. Once the time is right, we will open up the borders again properly, perhaps with necessary vaccination certificates. But as you said, we’re not yet at this point. We need to ensure that when the time comes, we do things right to continue to ensure that Canadians are safe.
Speaker 1: (28:54)
Follow up question. Yes, but when do you think you’ll have answers to these questions? I understand that not all Canadians are vaccinated yet, but there are other countries where they have been. All citizens have been vaccinated. And concerning the AstraZeneca doses that Americans are willing to share with other countries, do you know if Canada would be a beneficiary of this generosity? When will we receive these vaccines?
Speaker 1: (29:28)
Answer. Once again, we are currently examining the situation, but we’re right in the middle of the third wave. Our priority is the safety of Canadians now. We’re preparing plans to eventually open up again, but it’s too early to talk about when and how. Right now, we’re just concentrating on this third wave and we hope it will be the last one. That’s why people need to hang in for a little longer. As for conversations with the American administration, I had a very good conversation with President Biden last week. We are in touch on a regular basis. I hope to have news soon. But perhaps I can ask Minister Anand to follow up and add her own comments.
Justin Trudeau: (30:18)
Anything to add?
Speaker 1: (30:25)
Of course, Prime Minister. We are continuing to work collaboration with the Biden administration. I’m in touch with Jeffrey Sines, my American counterpart, as well as Kirsten Hillman, our ambassador to the US. We have already received 5 million doses of AstraZeneca from the US in March thanks to our agreement for 20 million doses of the vaccine. We’re eager to keep Canadians up to date. As soon as we have more information, we’ll let them know it. I just spoke to the American administration yesterday again. And we will give you the information as soon as we have it.
Speaker 1: (31:24)
Last phone question, please, operator.
Speaker 4: (31:26)
Thank you. The next question is from Ryan Tumilty from the National Post. Please, go ahead.
Ryan Tumilty: (31:34)
Yeah, good morning, sir. You’re announcing today more support is headed to the provinces in a variety of ways, but you’ve offered the provinces rapid tests that have gone unused. You offered them a drug treatment from AbCellera that went unused. And you’ve offered them a support from Statistics Canada for contact tracing, which is largely going unused. Are you concerned that some of these supports that you rolled out actually don’t get used by the provinces?
Justin Trudeau: (32:03)
Our job as a federal government is to be there with the supports that are needed, and that’s what we have continued to do. We respect provincial jurisdiction and provincial decision-making. But every step of the way, we will work to fulfill the promises we have made to Canadians about having their backs. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. So whether it’s, as you list, rapid tests, contact tracing resources, further supports across the country, we will continue to do that. And I think I can turn to Bill Blair right now to highlight some of the further efforts in the conversations going on with the provinces as we speak to ensure that they use all the help that we are offering them. Bill?
Speaker 3: (32:55)
Minister Bill Blair: (32:59)
I’m sorry, I was on mute or mute there. We maintain a government operations center which has the responsibility for the federal government of collaborating and working very closely with all of our provincial and territorial counterparts. And so there is a daily discussion going on, but between our two orders of government on how we can support each other. They’re very careful monitoring of the emerging situation in each of the provinces. And I think it’s also fair to acknowledge that some of the provinces have had very different requirements of the government and that’s why we also respond to as quickly as possible, as I’ve said over 70 times now, to request for assistance received from the provinces. There are consistencies in some of those requests, but each of the problems has unique needs and we respond as they require.
Speaker 3: (33:48)
Thank you. Following up, Ryan?
Ryan Tumilty: (33:51)
Yeah. So in the case of the rapid test, the government has paid over a billion dollars for the rapid test that it’s ordered so far. And like I said, many of them haven’t been used. The AbCellera treatment costs to government are $40 million and it’s largely gone unused. Do you think there was a breakdown in the communication between you and the provinces in terms of buying a lot of equipment that isn’t being used?
Justin Trudeau: (34:16)
We have continued to reach out to ensure that we have all the potential equipment that we need, all the potential materials. The announcement we made last week about potential vaccine boosters for the coming number of years is another example of how we would much rather be ready and prepared with equipment that doesn’t get used as much as we might have worried that it would be needed, rather than not have equipment ready in cases where it is needed.
Justin Trudeau: (34:48)
One of the things we’ve done consistently is on rapid tests reached out not just to provinces, but directly to municipalities, to large employers and to pharmacies and a range of partners across the country to ensure that they also have opportunities to avail themselves of the rapid tests as an extra screening capacity to make sure we get this virus under control. The federal government has pulled out all the stops, and we will continue to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to get through this as quickly as possible. Because it’s not just about saving lives and making sure our lives get back to normal as quickly as possible. It’s also about knowing that investments that we can make that will bring our economy back quicker will be good for everyone as well, and are more than worth it.
Anita Anand: (35:41)
Prime Minister, I might just add something to that response. And that is that we don’t know what stages and phases the pandemic is going to take in any given situation. And that is why at the beginning of the pandemic when we ordered PPE, when we ordered rapid tests, we made sure to put into place long-term contracts to prepare for any eventuality. And indeed, those contracts are continuing to be useful in terms of the deliveries that have continued to arrive over time. One key example is on ventilators. We put into place contracts for the supply to ventilators early on in the pandemic last spring. And we are seeing now a rise in the use of ventilators because Canada is in the middle of a third wave. Therefore, as the prime minister mentioned, it is so very important for us to be prepared across the board, across the various categories of PPE and supplies so that we can stand ready via the public health agency of Canada to support the provinces and territories in terms of whatever requests they are putting forward, including on rapid tests. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (37:11)
Just a little reminder for ministers to go [inaudible 00:37:17] will continue to take questions. Mr. Roy?
Speaker 1: (37:24)
[inaudible 00:37:24] from [inaudible 00:37:25], Canada. Mr. Trudeau, there are delays in processing rapid tests for people who are under quarantine. Travelers, healthcare workers, sometimes these people must wait up to 26 days to have the results from the rapid test. How can you explain these delays? Your government is in charge of these rapid tests. What will you be doing to improve the situation and reduce the delays?
Speaker 1: (37:56)
Answer. I’m very concerned by this situation. We’re changing the day when you have a rapid test if you’re under quarantine to day eight instead of day 10, which it has been previously. At the same time, I’ve also asked my team and the ministers to look very closely at what’s going on with the companies who process the results of the rapid tests. I’m very concerned about this situation.
Justin Trudeau: (38:28)
We are very concerned about the situations reported on testing delays and result delays that are having an impact on Canadians in quarantine and indeed on temporary agricultural workers amongst others. We are moving the date of the day 10 tests to day eight now to allow for earlier results while people are in quarantine. But I’ve also asked officials and ministers to look very carefully at the contract awarded in this case of providing testing services and ensure that we are fixing this situation that is very troubling.
Tom Perry: (39:09)
Hi, Prime Minister. Tom Perry with CDC. On India, you’re obviously giving some aid to India at this point. Is there more that you could be doing, though? I’m thinking oxygen, I’m thinking ventilators. And do you need to get a formal request from India before you can move ahead with anything like that? Where does that stand?
Justin Trudeau: (39:25)
As I said, Minister Garneau, our foreign affairs minister, has had direct conversations with his Indian counterpart. He will be speaking with the foreign affairs minister of Pakistan later today. We are there to support in any ways we can, and those conversations are very much ongoing. It’s something that Canadians are extremely concerned about as we see the terrible and tragic images coming out of India. We know that we need to be there for our friends. And indeed, we need to be there for everyone around the world because we don’t get through this pandemic anywhere until we get through it everywhere.
Anita Anand: (40:05)
And just on India also, we are across government, as Prime Minister said, with Minister Garneau. And Minister Gould and I have been coordinating to ensure that we are mounting as much assistance as possible that we can work from Canada to India. And in that regard, I have been in touch with Nadia Patel, our high commissioner in India, as well as Ajay Bisaria, India’s high commissioner in Canada, to ascertain the precise supplies that are needed in India and how best Canada can support the needs that India clearly has and that we clearly want to lend a hand with. Thank you.
Teresa Wright: (40:56)
Good afternoon, Prime Minister. Teresa Wright with the Canadian Press. The United States has said it will share up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca with the world once it clears its federal safety reviews. Given that you keep saying Canada expects to have more than enough doses in the coming months, does Canada plan to accept these doses from the United States? Do we have enough or do we not?
Justin Trudeau: (41:19)
Those conversations are obviously ongoing. I had a good conversation with President Biden last week on this and other topics. Canada is positioned to receive close to 50 million doses of vaccine before the end of June, so it is all a question of timing. We know that we have capacity to deliver vaccines immediately into more arms as we can get more vaccine doses into Canada, so we are continuing to work every single day to try and get those doses into Canada to increase our capacity on vaccination. And indeed, it is not about taking vaccines from the rest of the world because we have such significant…
Justin Trudeau: (42:03)
Vaccines from the rest of the world because we have such significant contracts for all the major vaccines that are out there right now. It is a question of simply moving up timings and exchanging doses so we can get through our vaccination quicker and all the quicker turn to supporting people around the world. [foreign language 00:42:22]
Speaker 1: (42:23)
Answer repeated in French. We are expecting to receive more than 50 million vaccine doses by the end of June. So indeed we will be receiving a lot of vaccines. We want everyone to be vaccinated by the end of September, that’s our promise. However, receiving doses more rapidly would enable us to get through all this faster and then help other countries in the world as quickly as possible. So we will work to get doses as quickly as possible here in Canada.
Annie Oliver: (43:00)
[crosstalk 00:43:00] Oliver, with CT National News. I just want to follow up on the idea of a vaccine certificate. You just mentioned that the government is considering it, but they’re not quite there yet. Based on your own timeline though, we’re only about five months out from having every Canadian adult who wants a vaccine to be able to be fully vaccinated. That timeline you’ve mentioned is end of September. So if the EU and the US move forward with this idea of having a vaccine certificate, won’t those fully vaccinated Canadians be at a disadvantage? And when that border does reopen, are you anticipating having every single traveler who comes to Canada, will there be a requirement to make them fully vaccinated?
Justin Trudeau: (43:36)
We are, of course, looking very, very carefully at this issue, even as we are in the third wave right now dealing with extremely urgent and difficult situations, we continue to plan for how we reopen the economy, how we reopen our borders, how we get back to normal, which is something that all Canadians want to do. And obviously, as was the case pre-pandemic, certificates of vaccination are a part of international travel to certain regions and are naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the Coronavirus. How we actually roll that out in alignment with partners and allies around the world is something that we’re working on right now to coordinate. I can assure you that our decisions will be based on science and the fact that those decisions are ongoing and those discussions are ongoing right now means that we will be aligned with our partners around the world.
Annie Oliver: (44:39)
Sounds like a yes, it will likely happen.
Justin Trudeau: (44:42)
We are working on it on a scientific basis, and we will have more to announce when we have to announce. Right now, we’re focused on getting through this pandemic and being prepared to come roaring back once we’re through it. Okay, [foreign language 00:45:00]-
Speaker 1: (45:00)
Answer repeated in French. Obviously vaccine certificates have been part of the international travel reaching for a long time. We’ll be working with our partners in Europe, in the US, and across the world to decide upon measures and what to do with travelers if they’re vaccinated or not. We’re not at that point yet. We still have a lot to do to get through this third wave. This will require a lot of coordination. Here in Canada, we would want to reach a consensus that is based on science. We want to ensure that what we’re doing is safe for Canadians.
It seems like the list of people who knew about concerns about General Vance in your government is growing longer. We had Minister Sajan his chief of staff, senior advisor in your office, and now we’re hearing that your closest advisor, Katie Telford, knew. Should she have told you about these concerns about the top soldier in our military?
Justin Trudeau: (46:03)
Thanks, Mike. Let me first say that the situation that is faced by far too many women and men serving in our military of harassment, intimidation, assault, is absolutely unacceptable. And as a government, from the very beginning, we move forward with measures to create greater support and greater recourse for anyone who comes forward from the military or from other places with concerns or allegations or experiences that they’ve had to survive. We will always be there to support and to ensure that those survivors are listened to and recognized for the strength and the courage that they demonstrated by coming forward in sometimes very difficult situations. When an allegation, a complaint concerning General Vance was brought forward to the minister, he forwarded to the appropriate authorities at the PCO to follow up on it. It is not appropriate for politicians to be the ones following up on these.
Justin Trudeau: (47:25)
The minister, my office knew there was a complaint against General Vance. Nobody knew that it was a me too complaint. We did not have information on what was the nature of that complaint of that allegation. When the appropriate authorities, when the PCO received the information, they were unable to get the further information necessary on the details because the [inaudible 00:47:59] person didn’t have permission to share. Now this highlights the situation that unfortunately is far too real for far too many people facing this in that they don’t feel like there is a process that supports them and protects them because of the strength of the culture that has allowed this for far too long within the military and within other systems.
Justin Trudeau: (48:32)
And that’s why we made movements, and we made investments, and we made changes to the system over the past years, but it’s why we need to do so much more so much faster to ensure that anyone who comes forward with these experiences or experiences these types of harassments or assault or issues is supported and given the right resources and comfort to be able to come forward and launch a process. That is what we are focused on as a government and that is why we will continue to be there and do everything we can, as we have from the very beginning, to support people coming forward with these sorts of experiences and allegations. [foreign language 00:49:27]
Speaker 1: (49:28)
Answer repeated in French. As I’ve said, since the very beginning, when Minister Sajan was made aware that allegations had been made against General Vance, he worked with my office and that information. This complaint was sent to the authorities who are in charge of follow up on these type of complaints. It is not appropriate for politicians to do follow up on these types of complaints. It is the authorities whose mandate it is to do so who should be doing it. The minister knew and my office knew that there was a complaint, but no one knew the exact specifics of that complaint, the nature of that complaint.
Speaker 1: (50:23)
And when the privy council office did follow up, it discovered that the [inaudible 00:50:31] person could not share further information because this person did not have permission to do so. People who have experienced these types of incidents, that is, incidents that are harmful and unacceptable in the Canadian armed forces, have not felt supported or sufficiently equipped.
Justin Trudeau: (51:09)
[foreign language 00:51:09].
Speaker 1: (51:09)
We have to fight this culture and this is what we have been doing. We need to fight this culture within the Canadian armed forces and that’s what we are doing.
Speaker 5: (51:20)
Follow up, how disappointed are you when you hear of the allegations that these women are bringing forward and what they’ve been through, how disappointed are you that you didn’t hear about it until this year?
Justin Trudeau: (51:33)
As I’ve said, this is an issue that this government and me personally, with Katie Telford being an extraordinarily strong leader in this, we have taken seriously since day one. It’s because of Katie that I have sat down with multiple women leaders within the armed forces and elsewhere to have conversations about this over the years to look at what more can and should be done. Katie’s leadership on this every step of the way is why we call ourselves a feminist government and why we will continue to look to do more. I’ve been working and engaged in the issue of fighting sexual assault and harassment since my university days, and it is always extremely heart-wrenching to hear stories of people who went through horrible, horrible experiences, and then for years, and in many cases, decades had to live with that and couldn’t feel like they had any recourse, had any support, could come forward and share and see consequences and see a process and see change move forward.
Justin Trudeau: (52:54)
So it’s those two elements that we have to work on. We have to make sure first and foremost that nobody goes through unacceptable incidents of harassment, intimidation, assault in their workplace, anywhere, particularly in the Canadian armed forces. But also that if the unthinkable does happen, that they have recourse and supports and systems there to make them feel supported and able to go through with getting accountability. This is something that we have always worked on extremely hard as a government, as a team, and we will continue to, every step of the way.
Speaker 1: (53:42)
Thank you, prime minister. This is all the time you have with us today. [foreign language 00:53:47].
All right, and that has the prime minister of Canada on this Tuesday giving largely a pandemic update. Although at the very end there, you heard some ongoing questions around allegations of sexual misconduct against the former chief of the defense staff, Jonathan Vance. There was some testimony last week that suggested that one of the prime minister’s former senior advisors suspected it may have been a complaint of sexual misconduct, but the prime minister making it clear there that no one in his office, including his chief of staff, knew the nature of that complaint. Those questions will likely continue until some sort of action is taken to as the prime minister talked about there, again, address the issue of how complaints are dealt with inside the military and make sure that it is more independent and the people making the complaints feel safe.
I want to bring back David Cochrane and Catherine Colono to talk about what most of the press conference was about and that is of course the pandemic and the federal government’s response to that. Lots of little bits of news of how the federal government is reaching out to different provinces and indeed different countries to help support them. David, I’ll start with you with what you thought was the big news there.
Dave Cochrane: (54:55)
Yeah, I thought the interesting response from the prime minister on Ontario’s request to double the federal sick leave benefit, it sort of mirrors what we’ve seen in the statement we got from Christian Freeland’s office earlier. It seems like the federal government’s willing to help Ontario, but just not in the way Ontario has asked, and it would seem to me based on Minister Freeland’s statement and what the prime minister said that a precondition for the federal aid is for Ontario to mandate sick leave for provincially regulated businesses. Federally regulated businesses have that in some form or another, the federal program that exists, the Canada sickness benefit, is there primarily for people who don’t have sick leave or fall through the cracks or are unemployed or self-employed for example. And it seems like there is going to be some sort of a negotiation here with a side of politics between the prime minister and the deputy prime minister and the premier of Ontario and the finance minister of Ontario.
Dave Cochrane: (55:47)
So that seems to be another potential flashpoint in the fed prov relationship in Canada’s biggest province. It is a simmering unresolved issue and it’s striking to me Rosemary that this could have been an issue in Ontario political conversations for so long that we get to this point and Ontario’s solution is just to enrich the federal program it has criticized. It speaks, I guess, to either a lack of work that’s been done at the provincial level, but it also, I think, speaks to the problems with the federal program that the uptake on it is not particularly good. It’s criticized by a lot of people who want the federal government to step in and it needs to work.
Dave Cochrane: (56:24)
So doubling the value of a program the Ontario government itself has criticized as flawed, and largely ineffective does not seem like a workable solution to the Ontario sick leave challenge that is being confronted right now in the third wave of the pandemic. So clearly something needs to get done, the prime minister is saying that Christian Freeland will be engaging with Ontario on this. It’s a question of how meaningful and fruitful that engagement can be at this point.
Yeah, it’s also not clear to me whether… It didn’t really sound like the federal government was interested in paying for that program. It sounded like from what the prime minister said, that the deputy prime minister was going to work on it, that it had to come directly through employers, something the federal government can’t do. Maybe the federal government’s saying to Ontario, “That extra 500 bucks you have, just redirect it so it goes to employers and they can pay it down to employees.”
Dave Cochrane: (57:17)
Or give them a tax incentive or something like that, find some way through the Ontario system to help Ontario businesses pay for something because the argument from the feds is that sick leave is already largely covered by the wage subsidy that has been in place since the very early days of this pandemic. So we’re getting into one of these federalism tugs of war over this entire thing and meanwhile, essential workers and frontline workers without the support they need, keep waiting.
And I should say, as we were on air, the Ontario labor minister, Monte McNaughton gave a press conference or a scrum and basically didn’t have any further updates either so that he was going to get back to work and try and sort it out. Catherine, over to you.
Catherine Colono: (57:54)
Yeah, David talked about this being something with a side of politics, Rosemary. It is a side dish that you really like. I think there were heapings and heapings of the mashed potatoes of politics in that particular answer. I was really struck by the extent to which the prime minister leaned in on the idea that the federal government is helping here writ large. So much of his answer was, “We want to work together. If provinces need the supports, they’re there.” And you got to the end of the answer and picked up on that little bit of, “But it needs to work this way, but let me insist that it is the deputy prime minister who is working on this.”
Catherine Colono: (58:33)
It has emerged, is it even fair to say that it has emerged? It has continued to be a big issue throughout this pandemic, but particularly in the third wave, it is coming to the fore. And as David pointed out earlier before the prime minister spoke, we’re all sitting here talking about it, but the people who are living the reality of it and in some cases literally losing their lives because they’re going into workplaces when they shouldn’t be, are dealing with the consequences of it.
So if we can just go over the other nature of the help that the federal government offered today, I would say also in the case of Alberta, because we were talking about it before he came on, the prime minister said, “We’re standing ready there as well.” Although no ask has happened from Alberta, but lots of different people and bits of money being shuffled around. David, I’ll start with you on some of that announcement today.
Dave Cochrane: (59:23)
Yeah, there’s a series of medical teams from the military that is being sent to Ontario. They’re being supplemented by a delegation of nine medical professionals for my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. And Rosie, I never thought growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador I would ever see the day where the premier of Ontario went on national television and asked the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador for help. But we saw that a couple of weeks ago, and today there-
[crosstalk 00:59:45] in the country, David. People know what door to knock on.
Dave Cochrane: (59:48)
It’s just a question of wealth disparities and means and capacity. I just never thought I’d see such a thing and here is a delegation that includes Dr. Alison Fury, who is the wife, of course, of premier Andrew Fury, also a doctor. And Dr. Alison Fury has been working in the front lines of the COVID response in Newfoundland and Labrador since the beginning working in COVID wards. She also has experience in field hospital situations in disaster zones, quite frankly, because Andrew Fury, the other Doctor Fury, one of the things he did before politics, was set up a charity called Team Broken Earth, which was part of the medical response to Haiti. And Alison Fury has been part of that as well. So you’re starting to see this ramp up of health professionals, but you look at the situation across the country, like Ontario sent out this plea to all the provincial governments for whatever help they could get saying they needed like 500 critical care nurses, 100 respiratory therapists, significant numbers.
Dave Cochrane: (01:00:43)
You’d think you’d be able to get them from places like Atlantic, Canada, but now look at what’s happening in Nova Scotia. So this is the challenge of this third wave is that just when you think you’ve got it under control, kaboom, it flares up and now you’re seeing dozens and dozens and dozens of daily cases in Halifax at a pace that they’ve never had before. It also speaks to the challenges with the arguments of diverting vaccines away, for example, from low COVID jurisdictions, like the Atlantic provinces to help the hotspots, because what do you do when you get one of these outbreaks and you haven’t vaccinated your vulnerable populations? So the military is being tasked to send I think it’s 100 medical professionals at this point, plus the nine from Newfoundland and Labrador, plus a second deployment from Newfoundland and Labrador and a further scouring of federal capacity to see what they can send in.
Dave Cochrane: (01:01:30)
But three teams are on the way to Ontario with the request standing for help, whatever help people can give. But Rosie, when you look at the numbers across the country, it is going to be very hurt to see where there is slack in the health care capacity of really any province right now to free up these desperately short people at the best of times to send them to Ontario in the worst of times.
And that is because, as Dr Tam said, more than 94,000 cases of COVID are now related to one of the variants of concern, and then this alarming statistic she gave today as well, there’s an average of 51 deaths a day. That’s up 15% over the past week. And that is of course because of the variants and as they spread faster and people end up sick and we are seeing, of course, all of this is a lag in behavior. So although the case count is dropping in Ontario, this is some of the results of what was happening two weeks ago. Catherine, over to you.
Catherine Colono: (01:02:23)
Yeah, I think it really just writ large speaks to the scope of what’s happening in the country now. The focus has been on Ontario and the prime minister’s remarks reminded us today, wait, Nova Scotia needs help with testing right now, Alberta, the outreach is happening to ask, “How can we help?” And that these resources are stretched, frankly, desperately thin. We hear from these doctors and nurses every day about the struggles that they’re facing. It’s, I think, significant to note that the help that is being diverted to Nova Scotia or being sent to Nova Scotia via their armed forces is in testing centers. So that’s not going to require the same level of sophistication of what Ontario is asking for. But these people, we’ve called them frontline heroes all throughout this…
Catherine Colono: (01:03:03)
These people, we’ve called them frontline heroes all throughout this, we’re being reminded of what a finite resource they are right now. It’s difficult to watch. And of course the federal government has to be sensitive as well, Rosemary, to the fact that as more parts of the country are in need, they need to be seeing to be responding to everybody equally, although clearly Ontario is in the worst way leading the pack right now, in terms of the state of the ICU’s.
Yes. Indeed. Thank you both very much, appreciate your help with our coverage today, David Cochran and Catherine [Colin 01:03:33]. Just remind you of another part of the announcement by the prime minister today, we were expecting some news about India. Indeed, the Canadian government is sending $10 million to the India Red Cross in order for them to locally buy PPE and other supplies that they might need. But conversations continue about what more Canada can do to help India, which is struck by an enormous second wave in that country, taking many people’s lives. Okay, we’re going to send you back now to the update with the rest of the federal ministers who are still there and top public health officials. Our coverage continues here on CBC News Network.
Minister Bill Blair: (01:04:06)
[crosstalk 01:04:06] will provide that to you from the Canadian Armed Forces. We’ve had a number of, very significant, Canadian Armed Forces deployments in Ontario. And it really is based on the work that we do between our officials, the professional and public service in the government operation center works with professional public service in Ontario to identify what they need and then we work very hard to meet their requirements and requests.
Speaker 1: (01:04:34)
[foreign language 01:04:34]. We’ll now go to take questions from the room. A question for Dr. Tam and Dr. Nu, I’d like to know whether you think a tourist who comes to Canada, who has received two doses is a health risk?
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:04:53)
Is a tourist who has received two doses who come in Canada represent a health risk?
Speaker 1: (01:05:05)
I can be the first to answer. Your question is an interesting one. There’s always a difference of speaking about one single tourist and talking about the society as a whole. Last Friday, we showed that the goal has always been to vaccinate as many Canadians as quickly as possible so that we would have a vaccine coverage that reaches 75% of the population with one dose, and then something similar with the second dose. Then we’ll see what the situation is. It’s not just a matter of vaccination. We know that vaccines are not 100% effective, but do give a very good level of protection to the public.
Speaker 1: (01:06:11)
We’ve begun to see very good results among our seniors and other vulnerable populations thanks to vaccines for priority people. Now, the prime minister has all already answered your question about the border. It is well accepted that countries have certain demands, may require certain types of vaccine for visitors to enter their country. In that case, travelers need to show a proof of vaccination, and perhaps for tourists who wish to enter Canada, who have been vaccinated, this is a possibility. There are technical standards and others that need to be met. Canada’s vaccines have been approved, but there are other vaccines that have been approved in other Canada’s. Are we going to accept someone who is being vaccinated with a vaccine that has not yet been approved in Canada? That is one question that we could ask. It’s very difficult for me to answer a question concerning a single person, however, and the risk that this person would create for the general population. Perhaps Dr. Tam could follow up.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:07:58)
I think we have to recognize that I think that the vaccines that we have, and certainly the ones that are authorized for use in Canada look like they have a really good effectiveness, certainly against severe illness and deaths. And I think increasing studies showing that they also prevent asymptomatic and symptomatic infections, but there’s not enough data on some of the vaccines at the moment. I think the data is looking pretty good towards the direction that vaccines probably do protect against a reduction in transmission. The extent to which they do that is a evolving scientific study, but I do think that they can reduce transmission. I think it’s looking that way, but we don’t have the data for all vaccines. So I do think that there is a reduced risk potentially in those who are vaccinated.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:09:03)
But if you kind of think about this situation another way, which is how much risk do they pose to Canada? So every layer is a layer of protection. They pose much less risk, if the Canadian population has a high vaccine uptake, so that we can tolerate more potential risk of transmission from that perspective. So I think there’s an interplay between getting our vaccines up, and getting the rates of vaccinations up really high, so that we can potentially have people who come in who’ve been vaccinated, posing, not just less of risk to themselves, but to each other as well. So, that’s another concept we’re trying to work through.
Annie Oliver: (01:09:58)
Hi, it’s Annie [inaudible 01:09:59] Oliver with CT National News. My question is for Dr. Tam and Dr. Nu. Health officials have repeatedly said that all of Canada’s approved vaccines protect extremely well against severe illness and death, but is that true for just one dose of a COVID vaccine? What immunity does one dose provide, and what should people know about the risk of contracting COVID as they await a second dose? And similarly, when will Health Canada provide guidance on what people with one dose and those who are fully vaccinated can do?
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:10:36)
Yes. So there’s increasing evidence that in real life data, that one dose of vaccine protects very good protection against serious illness and deaths. And even at a stretch interval, you can see the impact moving beyond the 12 week mark. So that one dose is highly effective, but it’s not as good as a second dose. So everyone who has a vaccine that requires a second, two dose schedule should get that second dose on the whole, and that will provide increased protection and also increased duration of the protection. And so you have seen, I think, how even one dose of vaccine has reduced long-term care home impacts. And also, as we mentioned in our opening remarks on indigenous communities that have received at least one dose of the vaccine, that it is an extremely important measure. But again, it’s not 100%. So people should keep up with their personal protective measures and observe public health advice in terms of what is going on in the community.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:12:03)
We also, of course, are continuously monitoring any vaccine effectiveness studies against the variants of concern. And so we have seen that on the whole, most of the vaccines studied seemed pretty effective against that [inaudible 01:12:24] variant, which as I’ve said, probably occupies over 90% or 95% of the variants in Canada. So, that’s good news. Even if it’s slightly reduced protection, it looks pretty good for the other vaccines. For the other variants, there’s some data, but kind of limited that suggests they may have a reduced protection against some of them, but they will still provide some protection. So the bottom line is still to get vaccinated. But I think our most important message is to be really clear to Canadians that it doesn’t matter whether you had one dose or two dose, at the moment, please observe all public health practices, because we’re in the middle of a big, third resurgence, and now’s not the time to let your guard down. But when the community is better protected and we protect each other, then we stand a much better chance to [inaudible 01:13:24] public health measures with [inaudible 01:13:26] resurgence.
Speaker 6: (01:13:28)
It’s doctor Yumidia. I just had a couple of points to what Dr. Tam has already, I think, covered very well. And that’s interesting, I think, the way you’ve put the question in terms of the mindset. Of course, at an individual level, you have a very good level of protection with one dose, and we’ve seen that from the real world experience, and that the immunity is long lasting, and even with an increase in dosing interval, you have even better protection after two doses. But rather than looking at what an individual could or should be able to do after one or two doses, the way we’re looking at it in Canada, which is similar to, I think, other countries like UK, is more of a collective or a population approach. So the fact that you get vaccinated, it’s good for yourself obviously to protect you and your family, but it’s also to protect others in your community that you don’t necessarily know because they know it reduces transmission and so on.
Speaker 6: (01:14:17)
So at the end of the day, what we’ve been talking about is that maybe collectively it’s not about what you can or cannot do after one or two doses, it’s that, Hey, let’s look at your whole community. What is, hopefully, the vaccine coverage? And maybe looking at the potential and aspirational goal or something that will follow with the science. Maybe if let’s say 75% of your community has received one dose, and then hopefully everyone is going forward and getting their second dose, and you have a good level of vaccine coverage for that second dose as well. Then we’ll look at the indicators, look at the extent of community transmission, look at hospitalizations, deaths, and so on.
Speaker 6: (01:14:52)
And hopefully, obviously, we anticipate that those indicators will be favorable as more and more of the population gets vaccinated. So I think maybe the other way to look at it, is not a guidance for what you can or cannot do after one or two doses, but what the whole community, what measures could be maybe be less restrictive as we all, as a population and community go forward for vaccination. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (01:15:16)
We’ll take one last question, before we end this presser.
Hi, this is Teresa Wright from the Canadian Press. Just following up on your comments, Dr. Nu. You mentioned, and on Friday, Dr. Tam mentioned that 75% of people will need both doses before we can start easing restrictions. So just trying to get a better sense of what you mean by easing restrictions. And does that mean, for example, that Ontario and Quebec have to have both doses before we start seeing those restrictions starting to be eased?
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:15:49)
So maybe I’ll start. So the modeling that we presented on Friday is a tool for us to look at what could happen if certain parameters are met. And so, we presented a range of different scenarios. Well, two of them, we highlighted, but there’s many ranges of scenarios. And one of the scenarios is where 75% of the population accepts vaccine together, and 20% of the population has received a second dose. You lift, at that point in time, more restrictive measures in terms of these closures that you’ve seen, and any number of them, then you stand a chance for those measures to be lifted without a resurgence that can impact your health system.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:16:46)
So we looked at one aspect of the impact of the pandemic, which is on hospitalizations. Because right now people are concerned because the hospitals have severely impacted ICU’s [inaudible 01:17:00]. So when you get to that kind of level of vaccination, with a whole bunch of assumptions built in about how effective these vaccines are, what the variants are doing, and whether we got this third wave under control, that will be a time to examine whether we can really ease those restrictive measures while keeping up with the layers of personal protection and the testing and contact tracing. That would be a scenario that we can aim for, but those scenarios can be adjusted over time, but it gives you an idea of the kind of levels of vaccination that we need to strive for, so that when you lift these measures, you’re not back into resurgence again, that’s going to overwelm your health system.
Dr. Theresa Tam: (01:17:51)
For now, everyone’s focus must be to flatten this third wave, and don’t let go halfway or even two thirds of the way. Get those numbers down. Then we have a chance for the vaccine to take effect and be able to test and trace and contact trace the smaller number of individuals then that gets infected. So then you stand the chance of lifting measures without having to come down to another of the more restrictive things that we’re seeing right now. So that’s the idea of the model that we did on Friday, but we’ll certainly provide updates as we have more real life data to feed into them.
Speaker 6: (01:18:37)
Thank you [inaudible 01:18:38] maybe just add a few more bits to what Dr. Tam has said. For now, obviously, we’re in the third wave, and certainly many regions and areas of Canada are certainly very, very stressed in terms of the healthcare systems, the number of cases, and so on. And you can see that there are even more restrictive or local measures, for example. I think I’m aware of what’s happening in [inaudible 01:19:02] Region in Ontario, where now they’re looking at what might be the threshold in terms of looking at, let’s say, businesses and what should happen should there be five or more cases in the workplace. So those are the kinds of local measures based on local epidemiology. That’s very important as we move forward.
Speaker 6: (01:19:18)
So as Dr. Tam said, the public health measures, the personal protective measures, we need to keep at it for now. What I think is hopeful, I think, is the fact that we’ve seen a lot of, I think, interest, and obviously you folks in the media as well, about looking at the 75%, I think a good objective in terms of a vaccine coverage for one dose, and then 20% for two doses, and so on. And I think what that indicates is that, that’s something to look forward to. I think that the news is very encouraging that more and more Canadians are going forward to get vaccinated. So I think in a healthy way, if it’s maybe even a competition between provinces. “Hey, let’s see what our vaccination rate is this week, and the number of doses administered. I’ll compare it to our neighboring provinces.”
Speaker 6: (01:20:02)
I think that’s good for all of us, because then as more and more Canadians get vaccinated, we’ll have a closer attainment of the vaccine coverage we’re looking for. And then we’ll look at the data, and rather than, as you put it, what can Ontario and Quebec do? Probably, I think, as the vaccine coverage goes up in various parts of the country and specific areas, it might also be at the local level that we’ll see what type of measures could be maybe be less restrictive, based on local epidemiology and the impacts of vaccines, along, obviously, with the good adherence to public health measures as well. Thank you.
Speaker 7: (01:20:41)
Thank you, Dr. Tam. Dr. Nu and [inaudible 01:20:43]. This is what ends today’s presser.
Speaker 8: (01:20:52)
We are going to take you to Premier [inaudible 01:20:54]. He is giving a COVID update in Quebec City. He’s joined by the Health Minister and the province’s top doctor. Here is the Premier.
Speaker 1: (01:21:01)
– very closely region by region. Well, listen. Good news, the measures are functioning.