OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The prime minister is refusing to guarantee there will be supplies to address any shortages of protective equipment for health care workers battling COVID-19.
Speaking in front of Rideau Cottage, Justin Trudeau said nothing could be guaranteed in a situation like this, and that the government has been working hard to ensure the needs of frontline workers and those battling the coronavirus pandemic are met.
He said work was being done to make sure what supplies we do have are distributed across the country, and that support was available to help get production going domestically.
Trudeau was asked if his government would consider using something akin to what the U.S. is doing with the Defense Production Act in order to increase production of items like surgical masks, ventilators, hand sanitizer, and testing kits.
He said legislation like that is intended to force companies into doing what’s needed — but given the response from Canadian industry, there’s no need for that here.
“But, of course, we’ll always keep an eye on what we need to do in future situations, or how we can adjust,” he said. “Here in Canada, what we’ve seen is companies across this country putting up their hands and asking to do it. Offering any help they can right across the country.”
Personal protective equipment shipments are expected to begin in coming days, the federal government announced this week, adding Ottawa was working on securing more in the weeks ahead while tooling up production domestically.
We are expecting to see PPE shipments in coming days and working more in weeks ahead and working to tooling up production here – doing everything we can to meet pressing needs because we need health care workers to have what they need to keep us safe.JT#bcpoli @NEWS1130 #covid19
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) April 1, 2020
The prime minister declined to get into details when asked whether Canada intends to publish COVID-19 death projections, like the U.S. has done.
Trudeau acknowledged there are a number of scenarios.
Meanwhile, Trudeau said he expects to be dealing with this COVID-19 crisis for weeks and months, but would not specifically comment on a federal document obtained by the National Post which reportedly says, “Current GoC [Government Operations Centre] modelling suggests as a best case scenario that current measures continue until at least July.”
On reports that the federal restrictions to deal with this pandemic could stay in place until July in a best case scenario, the Prime Minister says he expects to be dealing with this for weeks and months, but the timeframe depends on actions of Cdns to stop the spread #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) April 1, 2020
It’s unclear what “current measures” the document refers to.