Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland held their sixteenth call with Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers to discuss their shared response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Ministers discussed the implementation of the Safe Restart Agreement, for which the Government of Canada is contributing more than $19 billion. With the investments from provinces and territories, the total value of the agreement will be over $23 billion, which will be used to support testing and contact tracing, provide paid sick leave to workers, and secure a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment. This funding will also help ensure health care systems have the capacity to manage future outbreaks, help meet the needs of vulnerable populations, protect child care centres, and support essential municipal services. First Ministers reaffirmed the need to collectively ensure a safe and secure restart of the economy, and to minimize future waves of COVID-19.
The leaders talked about coordinated actions being taken by federal, provincial, and territorial governments to support Canadian workers and businesses as economies continue to open up across the country. They acknowledged that while there has been success in efforts to flatten the curve, the recent increase in cases is very troubling and demonstrates that we have not overcome this pandemic. First Ministers agreed that to avoid undermining our collective progress, we need to continue to follow public health advice and remain vigilant.
First Ministers also discussed the measures at the Canada-U.S. border and Canada-U.S. trade issues, including their shared commitment to defend Canadian aluminum workers and the Canadian aluminum sector. The Prime Minister confirmed that the border would remain closed for non-essential travel until at least August 21, 2020. First Ministers also agreed to collaborate in the interests of Canadian workers and industry.
All First Ministers reiterated their support for the Team Canada approach to fighting COVID-19, and the need to closely coordinate their efforts moving forward.