Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response

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Support to provinces and territories

COVID 19: Support to provinces and territories

We are working to support provinces and territories in responding to COVID-19, such as with:

Economic and financial support

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Learn more about Canada's actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Border measures and travel

We are continually assessing travel risks for Canadians. All international passenger flight arrivals have been redirected to 1 of 4 airports:

  1. Calgary International Airport
  2. Vancouver International Airport
  3. Toronto's Pearson International Airport
  4. Montréal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Since May 21, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada, under the Quarantine Act, has gradually increased its presence at key high-volume ports of entry across Canada, including land borders. We have added more:

We are also:

Support for Canadians abroad

Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad

We created this program to help Canadians return home or cope with challenges they are facing while travelling.

The Program will provide the option of an emergency loan to Canadians in need of immediate financial assistance to return home or to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.

Global Affairs Canada is providing 24/7 consular support to Canadians abroad affected by COVID-19 through the Emergency Watch and Response Centre and through consular staff at its network of missions.

Digital tools and apps

Digital government response to COVID-19

Canada has developed apps and tools including the free COVID Alert app which notifies you if someone you were near in the past 14 days tells the app they tested positive.

Public education

Awareness resources

Public education plays a critical role in our response to COVID-19 by providing timely, accessible and evidence-informed information that:

We have developed printable resources in many languages, on topics such as handwashing, making a mask, and how to isolate, so that Canadians can better understand and take steps to protect themselves and their families.

We have launched a national public education campaign that provides Canadians with evidence-based information on COVID-19, and encourages behaviours that protect individuals and our communities. This campaign includes:

Health care preparedness, guidance and ethics

Pandemic guidance for the health care sector

This framework offers guidance on:

Guidance for managing COVID-19

This ethical and technical guidance was developed for health professionals and a broad range of sectors in collaboration with:

Public health ethics framework

We developed this framework to help guide policy makers and public health professionals when making decisions in the context of COVID-19. The framework outlines ethical principles and values for public health authorities to consider. It also sets out questions to help clarify issues, analyze and weigh relevant considerations and assess options to support decision making in real situations.

To help communities across Canada, we have mobilized resources where needed, such as:

Military

Military response to COVID-19

The Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence are working with civil authorities at all levels of government. While helping communities, we're doing everything possible to protect armed forces members from exposure.

Support includes:

Diverse communities

Addressing COVID-19 needs in diverse communities

We are engaging across government and directly with equity-seeking groups - including racialized, religious minority and Indigenous communities - to ensure the federal response to the pandemic is informed by diverse community needs.

Helping people who use substances

Targeted actions to reduce the risk of harm for people who use substances

We are taking a number of targeted actions to address these issues. The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the ongoing public health crisis related to high rates of opioid overdose and deaths, as well as acute substance use harms. These crises are made worse in communities where there is chronic overcrowding, including a shortage of housing or other shelters.

Research and technology

Canadian researchers are working hard to support international efforts. To slow, and eventually stop, the spread of COVID-19, we need to advance research and technology development.

Research is taking place to enhance our capacity to:

Research is also underway to quickly detect, manage and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including:

Collaboration

Federal/Provincial/Territorial Public Health Response Plan for Biological Events

The response plan was created to ensure a coordinated response across Canada.

Special Advisory Committee on COVID-19

This committee was established to advise Federal/Provincial/Territorial Deputy Ministers of Health across Canada on the coordination, public health policy and technical content related to this outbreak. This committee consists of the members of the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network Council and the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, and is co-chaired by Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, and Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer. On May 1, 2020, the committee released: Foundations for Living with COVID-19 in Canada: Lifting of Restrictive Public Health Measures. On May 20, 2020, the committee released a fact sheet on mask wearing for community settings.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working closely with partners domestically and around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to respond to this outbreak.

Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) has developed a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test that can diagnose COVID-19 from clinical specimens. The NML is working collaboratively with Canadian provincial public health laboratories through the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network to ensure there is additional testing capacity in multiple jurisdictions.

At this time, the NML also supports the use of other publicly posted international assays.

Further collaborative scientific studies to investigate the virus are underway.

We are working with international regulators to help fast-track clinical trials and applications for vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities held a global medicines regulators web meeting on March 18, 2020. Discussions included regulatory considerations for anticipated COVID-19 vaccine candidates to advance regulatory convergence. A key objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on an approach to the requirements to support first-in-human clinical trials. The press release and meeting report are available for access. Health Canada has also engaged with international regulatory partners under the Australia-Canada-Singapore-Switzerland Consortium to explore potential collaboration on regulatory issues related to COVID-19.

We are also working closely with international regulatory partners, including the European Medicines Agency, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to share information on any signals of global supply disruptions.

Clinical trials and sponsors

Companies and researchers with drugs, medical devices, or natural health products that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact us to facilitate clinical trials.

Clinical trials are studies to find out whether a drug or medical device is safe and effective for people. We can authorize a clinical trial quickly in urgent situations.

Please contact us at:

Drug and medical device supply monitoring

The Government of Canada is actively monitoring the novel COVID-19 and its impact on the supply of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, natural health products and medical devices in Canada. We do this through regular contact with:

We are aware that there may be supply disruptions related to COVID-19 and are monitoring the situation closely.

Companies that market prescription drugs for human use in Canada must report anticipated or actual drug shortages on Drug Shortages Canada. We have contacted companies to remind them of this requirement. We have also asked industry stakeholder associations to notify us of any early signals of shortages related to COVID-19. The provinces and territories, healthcare professionals or the public can also report drug and medical device shortage signals.

We will continue to use all available tools to help manage critical national shortages when they happen, and work with partners so that Canadians have access to the medications they need.

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