A summary of the day's activities of Monday, September 21, follows.
Federal Government Relief Measures
- There are no federal government relief measures to announce.
Statement of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
- The Prime Minister did not hold a press conference today.
Federal Government Briefings
- There were no federal government briefings today.
Statement of Ontario Premier Doug Ford
Ontario Premier Doug Ford held a news conference in Queen's Park when public health authorities today reported 425 new COVID-19 cases, the highest toll since June 2nd. Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe, joined the Premier.
Premier Ford said, "This is active, this is moving, this is moving at an active pace". He reiterated his call first made last Friday with other premiers for the federal government to increase annual health care transfers to provinces and territories to 35 per cent, up from the current 22 per cent, to help Ontario meet pandemic challenges.
New federal funding would help the province shore up its fall preparedness plan, scheduled to be released tomorrow by Deputy Minister Elliott in her capacity as Minister of Health.
"As we prepare for future surges and waves of COVID-19, we have to be nimble and able to respond immediately to any change in the public health trends," said Ford.
"That's why I'm calling on the Prime Minister to meet the urgent needs of the provinces and territories with an additional $28 billion through the Canada Health Transfer. A strong health care system is the foundation on which we can build a strong economic recovery for Ontario and for the country."
Speaking to reporters, Dr. Barbara Yaffe said the question of whether the province is entering a second wave is difficult to answer this early into the fall.
Statement of Quebec Ministers
Quebec Deputy Premier and Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault held a news conference in Quebec City to report on results on the OSCAR (Opération systématisée de comportements à risque) police operation that took place over weekend. National Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda joined the Deputy Premier.
Deputy Premier Guilbault reported that over 500 warning and 90 statement of offences were distributed. Although a concerted police effort of this magnitude is not in the plans in the near future, accrued police surveillance as well as alert lines will remain present. "We will not have a few sabotage the efforts of millions of Quebecers", she added.
With a staggering number of 586 reported cases today, Dr. Arruda said he was "very, very, very concerned with the current situation" and "believed" the province of Quebec had entered its COVID-19 second wave. He warned that regions of Quebec could change alert levels very quickly, if people failed the respect public health measures.
Over the weekend, Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé and National Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda and the Medical Advisor of Public Health Branch, Dr. Litvak, held a press briefing to report on the evolution of COVID-19 in the province.
They announced that outdoor gatherings were reduced from 250 to 50 people throughout the province. They also announced that Chaudière-Appalaches, Montreal and the Greater Quebec Area were moving to the orange alert level, up one level from the yellow alert level, with a tightening of restrictions. Outdoor gatherings were limited to 25 people and private gatherings to 6 people. In addition, bars and restaurants must stop serving alcohol at 11:00 p.m.
Elsewhere in Canada
British Columbia Premier John Horgan held a press conference in Victoria following his meeting with Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin. He announced that the Lieutenant Governor granted his request to dissolve the provincial legislature and to hold a provincial election on Saturday, October 24, one year earlier than the fixed election date of October 16, 2021.
Premier Horgan said, "Now was the time to call the election". "We are not at the end of COVID-19 but at the beginning. This pandemic will be with us with a year or more. We can either delay the decision and create uncertainty, instability or speculation over next 12 month or put politics behind us and focus on the needs of all BC," he added.
In response to questions from media, Premier Horgan admitted that the alliance with the Green Party was no longer working, as it should. In addition, COVID-19 changed the agreement reached in 2017 with Andrew John Weaver, former leader of the Green Party.
Current Green Party Leader, Sonya Furstenau, did not mince words in her opening press conference for the 2020 provincial election. She said the election was "irresponsible" and "unnecessary". She was disappointed that John Horgan was "putting politics ahead of peoples' safety".
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