Canadian premiers and the Prime Minister speak to the media at the First Ministers closing news conference Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 in Montreal. They are from the left: Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick, Justin Trudeau, Canada, Francois Legault, Quebec and John Horgan, British Columbia. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa and premiers release guidelines to reopening economy

The federal, provincial, and territorial governments have agreed to a set of common principles for restarting the Canadian economy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday.

This joint statement identifies the criteria that need to be in place before life returns to a semblance of normalcy.

It calls for restarting the economy through a gradual approach that protects the health of Canadians, including high-risk groups, as well as the need to ensure public health capacity for future waves of the virus, while at the same time continuing to support a range of economic sectors and Canadian workers, Trudeau said.

Given the regional differences in epidemiological situation, the statement acknowledges that provinces and territories will take different steps at different times in order to ease restrictions, reflecting the specific circumstances in each jurisdiction, he added.

“Our priority is keeping all Canadians safe, while getting back to normal as much as we can,” Trudeau said in a statement. “That’s why First Ministers have worked on a set of shared principles to gradually restart the economy, based on science and evidence-based decision-making.”

The statement identifies the criteria and measures that need to be in place in order to begin to take steps to restart the economy:

  • Control over the expansion of COVID-19 transmission, so new cases are contained at a level that Canada’s health care system can manage.
  • Sufficient public health capacity to test, trace, isolate, and control the spread of the virus.
  • Expanded health care capacity to support all needs, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Supports are in place for vulnerable groups, communities, and key populations.
  • Support and monitoring of workplace protocols to keep Canadians safe at their jobs, and prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.
  • Restrictions on non-essential travel are eased and managed in a coordinated manner.
  • Communities are supported in managing local disease activity, including in child care, schools, and public transportation, and industry and economic sectors are engaged to support the health of Canadians, reduced viral activity, and protection of the economy as it restarts.

“The measures we have taken so far are working. In fact, in many parts of the country, the curve has flattened. But we are not out of the woods yet,” Trudeau said during his daily briefing.

“We are in the middle of the most serious public health emergency Canada has ever seen, and if we lift measures too quickly, we could lose the progress we’ve made.”

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