Criteria for restarting the economy: Statement from Canada’s Prime Minister

On April 28, 2020, the Prime Minister, in a joint minister with provincial Premiers, released a statement outlining their expectations for the required criteria and measures that would need to be in place to restart the economy.

From the statement, the Provinces need to satisfy the following:

COVID-19 transmission is controlled

The incidence of new cases should be maintained at a level that health care systems can manage, with substantial clinical care capacity in reserve. There is a stabilisation in the number of hospitalisations and/or new cases, with the possible exception of isolated outbreaks.

Sufficient public health capacity is in place to test, trace, and isolate all cases

Testing and contact tracing are in place so that suspected cases are detected quickly and all confirmed cases are effectively isolated, while all close contacts are traced, quarantined, and monitored.

Expanded health care capacity exists for all patients, COVID-19 and non-COVID-19

Health care systems should support all needs, including dealing with any future outbreaks, recognizing that this will be achieved through having surge capacity in place and other means (e.g. virtual care) to enable the system support for COVID and non-COVID patients. Provinces and territories are best suited to determine how comprehensive health care services are supported, including primary care, diagnostic services, and acute care services including elective surgeries and non-COVID emergencies. Measures should address health-sector human resource capacity, and resources for personal protective equipment, drugs, and other medical supplies. Procurement of supplies will ensure that there is adequate supply on hand in case of a resurgence of the virus and to support enhanced testing.

Supports are in place for vulnerable groups/communities and key populations

Measures are in place to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus in vulnerable populations, which can directly lead to increased community spread. Sustained measures are in place to protect seniors, residents of group living facilities, workers in close quarters, inmates, homeless people, and Indigenous people and those living in remote locations, along with health care workers and other essential workers. Sufficient testing and personal protective equipment is available to monitor and limit COVID‑19 infection in these groups.

Workplace preventative measures

Support and monitoring of workplace protocols are in place to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID‑19. These protocols could include administrative controls, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, and access to personal protective equipment where physical distancing is not possible. Strong collaboration and oversight processes are in place to ensure protocols are being met.

Avoiding risk of importation

Restrictions on non-essential domestic travel should be eased and managed in a coordinated manner. Re-opening of international borders and access for non-Canadian residents may only happen in later stages, taking into account the spread of the virus outside Canada, and measures to avoid the spread of the virus for everyone entering the country (e.g., self-isolation, testing).

Engage and support

The success of managing COVID-19 will depend on the ability of communities to use and keep the necessary measures, particularly for public services. Governments will support communities in managing local disease activity, including in child care, schools, and public transportation. Governments will also work with industry and economic sectors to support optimal health, reduced viral activity, and protection of the economy as it restarts.

The full statement can be found here.

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