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June 2, 2020 – Federal and provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

In the exceptional circumstances of the current health state of emergency, here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian and Québec governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seeking 10,000 patient attendants

The premier of Québec, François Legault, announced a massive recruitment campaign to find 10,000 candidates interested in signing up for a three-month training program to become a patient attendant in an effort to remedy the staffing shortage in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs).

This major recruiting operation is aimed at people who must be motivated not by the monetary benefits, but because they like looking after people and caring for seniors.

“If you like people, we need you!”

“I’m asking all Quebecers, from the bottom of my heart, if you’re ready to put your strengths, your energy and your sense of duty to work, and if you want to make a real difference in the lives of our elderly, please sign up! We really need you!”

New vocational certification

To this end, the minister of Education and Higher Education, Jean-François Roberge, confirmed the new Health Care Facility Patient Service Support study program.

Candidates have until June 15 to register for this accelerated training program that pays $760 a week. Once the training has been completed, the Québec government will offer new patient attendants permanent full-time positions, and an annual salary of $49,000 with full social benefits.

Fifty-two centres will offer this program that consists of 375 hours of learning, until September 15, based on a hybrid training formula in a vocational training centre as well as on-the-job training.

To register, candidates can apply directly on the website quebec.ca/en/education/become-orderly-chsld/.

The premier said that three hours after this announcement, over 17,000 people had already registered for the government program.

Private day camps to open

Following an agreement between the government and private day camps, the minister for Education, Isabelle Charest, confirmed $11 M in aid for the purchase of personal protective equipment, the hiring of monitors and access to more facilities for private day camps.

Most of these camps should be able to open on June 22.

Canadian self-sufficiency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would like Canada to be more independent in terms of the supply of health equipment in the fight against COVID-19, by continuing to invest in production here at home.

He said that more than half of face shields are now being produced in Canada. Four Canadian firms are currently developing COVID-19 screening kits and one plant is in the process of ensuring their production.

“As the economy restarts, the demand for this personal protective equipment will increase. We are going to continue to ensure that they’re available.”

Professional hockey to resume

While the National Hockey League is anxious to see its activities resume in a new format where teams would play in only one Canadian city, Justin Trudeau said that negotiations are underway with Public Health, the government and League officials.

“It’s still too soon (to come to an agreement). First and foremost, we have to protect our communities and our citizens,” he said.

Ensuring the future of airlines

The prime minister stated that the impact of the pandemic on commercial aviation has created a difficult context for airline companies, forcing them to make decisions that are “far from ideal.”

Mr. Trudeau stressed that the government is closely monitoring the industry, particularly the future of Air Canada and Air Transat, from the standpoint that “Canada must remain a competitive country in terms of air travel.”