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August 21, 2020 – Federal and provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian and Québec governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian production of N95 masks

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $46-M subsidy for the company 3M, in equal parts with the Ontario government, to expand its plant in Brockville, Ontario, which will enable it to produced 50 million N95 masks annually as of next year.

“This announcement reflects our decision to put in place a Canadian solution to COVID-19 in order to guarantee the national production of personal protective equipment,” said Mr. Trudeau.

It will guarantee an annual production of 25 million masks for the Canadian government and just as many for the Ontario government.

The prime minister added that this agreement will guarantee a supply of N95 masks should another public health crisis arise.

First death of a youth under 20 years of age

Québec Premier François Legault said that he was concerned and troubled by the first death of a person under 20 years of age in Québec.

“This confirms that the virus is still among us and that it is dangerous, even if it tends to attack older people and those who are vulnerable,” said Mr. Legault.

The premier called on conspiracy theorists who argue that COVID-19 does not exist to acknowledge, with this death, the dangers posed by the virus and the importance of wearing a mask.

Moving toward food autonomy

The premier also announced that he has mandated the minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food,

André Lamontagne, to develop programs that will help to accelerate the diversification of food production and encourage innovations in agriculture. This will allow Québec to move toward greater food autonomy.

Mr. Legault said that 50% of food consumed in Québec comes from the province, 25% comes from the rest of Canada and the remaining 25% comes from overseas.

He reiterated that the government has ensured that Hydro-Québec will be able to conclude advantageous agreements with greenhouse food producers so that they can double their annual production.

“I want us to be able to add new produce quickly,” Mr. Legault said.

Relaunch the economy, not the pandemic

Premier Legault will be completing his Québec tour so that he can determine how to “relaunch the economy without relaunching the pandemic,” he said.

The government had already established a three-step plan, he reiterated, to restructure the development of Québec. First, there was the transfer of personnel from the Ministère du Développement économique to Investissement Québec, then the creation of regional Investissement Québec agencies and, coming soon, the deployment of Centres locaux de développement (CLDs).

“What we want is a single-window approach. That the CLDs are directly connected to the regional Investissement Québec agencies, which are directly connected to Investissement Québec nationally. We want decisions to be made more quickly,” said Mr. Legault, so that businesses with development projects or that need assistance can get support in a timely fashion.