June 10, 2020 – Appearance by the Minister of National Defence
Advice to the Minister - Canadian Armed Forces assistance to Long Term Care Facilities
Question: When will the Government provide military members deployed in long term care homes with the equipment they need, and the hazard pay they deserve?
- The Canadian Armed Forces always stand ready to assist communities across Canada.
- Military members are currently assisting vulnerable populations in Long Term Care Facilities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec and Ontario.
- We recognize that COVID-19 poses unique hazards for Canadian Armed Forces personnel operating in these facilities.
- The Canadian Armed Forces ensures its personnel are properly trained and equipped.
- This is why we defined Operation LASER, including the assistance military personnel are providing in these facilities, as a Special Duty Operation.
- The Chief of the Defence Staff has also tasked his staff to pursue hazard allowance for members directly engaged inside these facilities.
- That work is ongoing now.
- We will continue to support Canadian Armed Forces members as they provide assistance to communities across Canada.
If pressed on requested continued assistance to LTFC in Quebec
- Canadian Armed Forces members are currently making a real difference in fifteen long term care facilities in Quebec.
- Military personnel are proud to have provided assistance in a total of thirty-one facilities in Quebec thus far.
- At the request of the province of Quebec, in the coming days, military personnel will be withdrawing from five centres where the situation has stabilized.
- During this period, the Canadian Armed Forces will be repositioning to other facilities in Quebec that require support.
- National Defence has received Quebec’s request for continued assistance and is currently assessing whether continued support can be provided.
If pressed on COVID-19 testing among CAF in LTCF
- Every day, military personnel risk their own health and safety to protect vulnerable Canadians.
- In both Ontario and Quebec, any military personnel who displays symptoms of COVID-19 is immediately removed from the facility and tested.
- We are now developing more stringent testing protocols for personnel, including those without symptoms.
- All military personnel will be tested before they start work in a long term care facility.
- Whenever a facility orders additional testing, military personnel within that facility will also be tested.
- Finally when the mission is over, all personnel will self-isolate for 14 days, and will be tested again before returning to their home units.
- These measures will be adopted to ensure the health of the force, of residents and staff, and of our overall mission in long-term care facilities.
Location of CAF assistance in LTCF
- Quebec: CAF personnel assisting in fifteen facilities in and around Montreal.
- 10 facilities on the island of Montreal
- 1 facilities in Saint-Lambert
- 2 facilities in Laval
- 2 facilities in Lachine
- Ontario: CAF personnel assisting in five facilities in and around Toronto.
- 1 facility in Scarborough
- 1 facility in Etobicoke
- 2 facility in North York
- 1 facility in Woodbridge (effective 10 June)
COVID-19 cases within the CAF population providing support in LTCF
- Total: 51 cases as of June 9, 2020
- 36 Tested Positive in Quebec
- 15 Tested Positive in Ontario
Responsible Principals: Canadian Joint Operations Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) - June 10, 2020
Advice to the Minister - Security of Information
Question: Why is this government targeting Canadian Armed Forces members who leak information which embarrass this government?
- Our Government is committed to openness and transparency, while also making every effort to safeguard information that if disclosed would cause harm.
- National Defence has policies and procedures in place to provide guidance to the Defence Team on the release and safeguarding of information.
- These internal policies and procedures are guided by the Treasury Board of Canada direction and are updated on a regular basis.
- National Defence is currently reviewing its policies on the release of unclassified information in order to provide clear guidance to the Defence Team.
- This review will ensure National Defence is timely and transparent with the release of information, while ensuring sensitive information is safeguarded.
- We will continue to take steps to ensure the Defence Team is provided with clear guidance on the release and safeguarding of information.
Responsible Principals: Corporate Secretariat, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Judge Advocate General - June 10, 2020
Advice to the Minister - Safety and wellbeing of Canadian Armed Forces members
Question: What is the Canadian Armed Forces doing to ensure its members are not contracting COVID-19, and remain physically and mentally fit to support Canadians during this pandemic?
- As we respond to COVID-19, the Canadian Armed Forces is taking new and unprecedented steps to protect its people and its operational capabilities.
- Members who are supporting essential operations have made social distancing and sanitisation part of their routine, while non-essential tasks are on pause.
- In March we paused certain training and exercises, and repositioned personnel both at home and internationally to ensure their continued safety.
- Throughout the pandemic period, we have maintained healthcare services for our brave women and men in uniform, including mental health support services.
- To ensure the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces, preparations are underway to gradually resume certain activities, including training.
- These activities will resume in a progressive, deliberate and safe manner while protecting the health, safety and overall wellness of our personnel.
- Activities will be resumed in conjunction with each relevant provincial, territorial and local authority, in accordance with their particular policies in place.
- We will continue to ensure that military members are physically and mentally ready to support Canadians when called upon, whether at home or abroad.
- Canadian Armed Forces members are self-isolating and restricting their movements to ensure the spread of the virus is limited and to preserve the Force for future operations and tasks.
- The Canadian Armed Forces operates 37 primary healthcare clinics for its members. All remain open.
- Remote mental health and spiritual support services are deemed essential and remain available to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, including phone lines and online tools.
- The Canadian Armed Forces Personnel Support Program fitness unit is using social media to post daily “work-ins”, health challenges and healthy recipes.
- The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre services for survivors remain operational, including the 24/7 telephone response and support service.
Responsible Principals: Military Personnel Command, Strategic Joint Staff, Canadian Joint Operations Command - June 10, 2020.
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