OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Having seen what’s happened in other countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he plans to discuss with premiers Friday the gradual reopening of the economy.
While coordination efforts need to be done on a national scale, he suggested provinces and territories have been affected by the pandemic differently, and each will require their own economic responses.
“But reopening the economy, regardless of the province or territory, has to be done in a phased-in way,” Trudeau said. “We have to make sure the progress that’s been made won’t be lost.”
He added the federal government is going to work with provincial counterparts to implement principles and recommendations that will ensure the safety of citizens.
Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau says restarting the economy will not be like flipping a switch. Says they have to be very, very careful about gradually reopening the economy. Will be discussing issue with the provinces #cdnpoli #COVID19
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) April 24, 2020
The Quebec government said Friday it will present a plan to reopen the economy next week, while Premier Rob Ford suggested this week that Ontario could reopen its economy around the May long weekend.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Wednesday some businesses that were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic could reopen next month. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has also indicated B.C. is considering loosening some restrictions by mid-May, while Premier John Horgan suggested that such measures could come even earlier.
“Let me be clear with regards to the reopening of the economy, this won’t happen overnight,” Trudeau said.
Canada is learning from what’s happened in other countries, such as Singapore, South Korea, and Japan, he added.
“And we can see the challenges linked to reopening the economy. That is why we have to be extremely careful.”
Trudeau said each province could its own guidelines, but health and safety restrictions will still have to be followed.
“If not, there’s a real risk of losing all the progress we’ve made until now.”
Trudeau also addressed the troubling situations at care homes across the country. Members of the armed forces will be deployed following requests from Quebec and Ontario to provide assistance at such facilities.
“What we are witnessing in long-term care facilities across the country extremely troubling,” Trudeau said.
“We all know that this is only a short-term solution.”
Canada is offering billions of dollars, he added, to top up the pay of essential works and ensure elderly Canadians are supported.
On Friday, the federal government announced an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 per cent for small and medium-sized businesses for April, May, and June.