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June 22, 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.

No deaths in the last 24 hours

Public Health announced that for this first time since mid-March, no COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded in Québec over the last 24 hours.

Only 69 new cases of people infected with COVID-19 were reported, 15 of which were in Greater Montréal, the epicentre of the pandemic in Québec.

The total number of deaths in the province now stands at 5,417, out of 54,835 people infected with the virus.

Emergency Wage Subsidy to be extended

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that, like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit of $2,000 for anyone who lost their job or cannot find work due to the pandemic, the Emergency Wage Subsidy for businesses will also be extended.

“Over the last two months, we have implemented a series of programs to help Canadians. We also said that our response would evolve with the situation,” said Mr. Trudeau to explain this decision.

Restarting the economy is complicated for many businesses and these measures are designed to support them.

Agreement with Mexico

The Mexican and Canadian governments have reached a new agreement that will allow Mexican workers to come lend a helping hand to Canadian farmers.

Last Tuesday, the Mexican government banned its citizens from coming to Canada after three of its foreign nationals died and hundreds more contracted the virus.

Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that the safety of people working in Canada must be ensured. He said that workers were infected with COVID-19 “because the rules set out by Public Health were not respected.” He added that there will be repercussions for businesses that fail to comply.

Mr. Trudeau stressed the importance of having agricultural workers in order to ensure essential services for Canada’s food chain.

Patience for the resumption of international flights

The prime minister said that ensuring the safety and health of Canadians and maintaining measures to prevent a second wave are of the utmost importance before reopening international borders.

New minister of Health and Social Services

Premier François Legault shuffled his cabinet, replacing Minister Danielle McCann, who will now be responsible for Higher Education, with the president of the Treasury Board, Christian Dubé.

Mr. Legault explained that this is the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into the work that still needs to be done in health even though the pandemic is now under control.

“It’s the biggest management feat in Québec,” said Mr. Legault.

Preparing for the second wave

The outgoing minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, is proud of the work that was accomplished during the pandemic, but was careful to issue a warning.

“We need to prepare for the second wave  […] because it’s coming,” she said.