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September 9, 2020 – Canadian, Québec and Ontario government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

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

Funding for health services

The premiers of Québec and Ontario, François Legault and Doug Ford, are calling for a substantial and ongoing increase in heath care funding from the federal government.

The two premiers of the two largest provinces in Canada made this demand of the Canadian government on the heels of the two-day economic summit, held in Mississauga, Ontario, to help improve both infrastructure and health care.

“This demand is not exclusively tied to the pandemic and the risk of a second wave. It’s a pre-existing problem that has been accentuated,” said Mr. Legault.

Both premiers stressed that health spending in Canada represents $200 billion and that the federal government only assumes $42 billion, or 21%.

Premier Ford pointed out that in the past, the federal government assumed 50% of health costs in the country.

The Québec and Ontario leaders stated that health care spending increases each year by 5% to 6%, while federal transfers increase by only 3%.

Importance of remaining prudent

Premier Legault stated that even if, after six months, some people may be “fed up” with the guidelines and wearing a mask, it is important to remain prudent.

The government leader added that penalties will be imposed on those who do not follow the guidelines in regions where contagion is on the rise.

“There are still people who believe that there’s no virus. We need to educate them and to continue to repeat the guidelines, over and over.”

Ten days’ sick leave

Premier Legault pointed out that the federal government committed to funding ten days’ paid sick leave for Canadian workers this fall in the context of the pandemic.

Mr. Legault specified that the minister of Labour, Jean Boulet, is preparing the details of this program, which will be announced shortly.

Financial assistance for cities

The Québec premier reiterated that the provincial and Canadian governments agreed to come to the financial aid of cities to reimburse the costs they assumed in relation to the pandemic, both in terms of financing public transit and their own costs.

Funding for the Black community

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced investments of up to $221 million for Black-owned businesses. Close to $93 million will be allocated for four years to the Black Entrepreneurship Program.