Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer on Wednesday, April 21, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create stress and anxiety for many Canadians, particularly those who do not have ready access to their regular support networks. Through the Wellness Together Canada online portal, people of all ages across the country can access immediate, free and confidential mental health and substance use supports, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This week is National Volunteer Week in Canada and we're reminded - especially during these difficult times - of how important it is to support each other, to lend a hand when you can, and to know you are not alone when you need help.

To date, over 1,139,000 cases of COVID-19, including over 23,700 deaths have been reported in Canada. Over the past week, an average of over 8,640 new cases were reported daily. During the same time, the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness continued to rise; on average over 3,970 people with COVID-19 were being treated in our hospitals each day, including 1,200 people being treated in intensive care units, representing a 24% and 21% increase, respectively, compared to the prior week. An average of 46 deaths were reported daily over the past week, which is 28% higher than the week prior. There are over 70,300 variant of concern cases reported to date across Canada, with the B.1.1.7 variant accounting for almost 96% of these. This includes 67,417 B.1.1.7 variants, 2,472 P.1 variants, and 421 B.1.351 variants reported to date in Canada.

To tackle this wave we need to use all available tools. That means keeping up with up individual precautions and public health measures in your area, as well as deploying all safe and effective vaccines in optimal ways. Vaccination is fundamental to ending the pandemic and we encourage all Canadians to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities from illness, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. This week we marked the important milestone of over 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine having been administered in Canada.

We know there is a still a way to go, but we continue to gather strength from good news and a focus on the things we're grateful for. This simple note of thanks we recently received from a Canadian reminds us how far we have come: "I received the vaccine this week and I am amazed that this time last year we were struggling to understand this virus and now we are vaccinating against it."

Canadians across the country have been channeling this kind of positive energy to help others. One example is This community group has banded together to supplement COVID-19 vaccination initiatives. By aggregating up-to-date information on vaccine availability on their website and social media platforms, they are helping eligible Canadians find vaccination clinics and pharmacies where they can book an appointment. Their website also provides links to other local volunteer organisations such as "Pink Cars" who are helping seniors 70 years or older in the York region with transportation to get to their COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Similarly, helps Quebecers find same day or next day COVID-19 vaccine appointments through their website.

Another important volunteer effort is dispelling misinformation to support informed and confident decisions on vaccination. Teams of independent scientists, health professionals and science communicators have come together in collectives such as Science Up First and the Canadian-Muslim COVID-19 Taskforce, to make science more accessible across platforms, cultures and languages.

Though it may not be your turn yet, there are many ways younger adults can pay it forward and help family, friends and neighbours get vaccinated by working online, over the phone, or in other ways to help others. Working together, we can bring the infection rate down and keep it down until vaccines have rolled out across the Canadian population. This is how we can all build the vaccines bridge that takes us to greater safety and back to the things we have missed so much.

Read my backgrounder to access COVID-19 Information and Resources, including information on vaccination and ways to reduce your risk of infection and spreading the virus to others.


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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