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June 18, 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.

Tracing app for Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government has developed an application for smartphones that can be used by all Canadians to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The application was developed by the Canadian Digital Service, in collaboration with the Government of Ontario as well as Shopify and BlackBerry. It will be available in July, free of charge. Using anonymized data, it will notify anyone who has the application that they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

“No personal information will be gathered or shared and no locator service will be used. The private lives of Canadians will be respected,” said Mr. Trudeau.

The application will be active at all times and will not drain energy from cell phone batteries.

Assistance for Canadian museums

Mr. Trudeau also announced a new payout of $25.7 million to maintain some 200 jobs in seven of Canada’s national museums that are facing enormous financial losses due to their closure during the pandemic.

“Our museums tell our stories, pay tribute to our artists and enrich communities. The people who work in these institutions maintain our Canadian heritage and allow us to discover the past of those who have shaped our country,” said the prime minister.

No restrictions for children in daycares

Children in daycares will no longer have to maintain a two-metre distance from each other, announced the minister of Family, Mathieu Lacombe, according to a new endorsement issued by Public Health.

The distancing restriction between children in the same group, that is, a maximum of 10 children, and between children and their educators has been abolished.

The minister stressed that the lifting of the restriction will also allow children to enjoy a freer environment. This will help children consolidate their learning as well as their social and emotional development.

“This is another step towards a return to normal life for children,” said Mr. Lacombe.

100,000 people infected in Canada

Today, the number of people infected with COVID-19 surpassed 100,000 in Canada.

Even though the situation is improving, Prime Minister Trudeau stressed the importance of remaining vigilant and respecting health guidelines, especially in the event of a second wave.

The importance of wearing a mask

The prime minister reiterated that wearing a mark was not recommended at the start of the pandemic because Canadians were in isolation. In the current context of restarting the economy, Mr. Trudeau explained that wearing a mask is an additional measure to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Now that we’ve significantly flattened the curve in most of the country’s regions, and as we restart the economy, the recommendation is that you wear a mask if you’re close to others, but this doesn’t guarantee full protection,” he said.

Emergency assistance for public transit

Québec ministers Chantal Rouleau (Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region), François Bonnardel (Transport) and Éric Girard (Finance) announced a $400-million emergency assistance program for public transit organizations and agencies.

“Since the start of the pandemic, all of the province’s public transit agencies and organizations have maintained their operations despite the dramatic drop in users, and have respected the health guidelines in effect. This emergency financial assistance is a concrete gesture to help ensure that public transit can return to normal,” said Minister Bonnardel.

The federal government may assume half of the cost.